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In praise of a brand new spring offensive

09 March, 2007

By Jawed Naqvi


Swami Agnivesh, the saffron clad social reformer, activist for secularism and Dalit rights busy in subverting the Indian system.

Swami Agnivesh, the saffron clad social reformer, activist for secularism and Dalit rights was busy subverting the Indian system last week. Muslims should marry Hindus, he exhorted his interactive audience in a TV programme that was recorded for state-run Doordarshan. Brahmins should marry Shudras. The money-lending Baniyas should marry farmers of the Jaat community.

 

To narrow their geographical aloofness, Naga tribals from the northeast should marry Tamil Christians from the south, and Kashmiris should marry Keralites. Shias and Sunnis should marry too, like their many Iraqi counterparts, and the upper caste Syeds should not hesitate in taking a groom or a bride from the Mehtar community of India’s caste-bound Muslims, many of whom still work as lowly scavengers.

There was no need for conversion to anyone’s faith. Lord Wavell, the British Governor General, had opened up the possibility of taking religion out of marriage. He had instituted the Special Marriages Act, primarily to give legitimacy to the children of British “Tommies” by letting the soldiers take Indian wives. Today the law enables millions of Indian couples to defy the system which is otherwise heavily loaded in favour of religious and caste prejudices, to marry in a pact that assures unbridled gender and social equality.

The TV programme hosted by Swami Agnivesh is appropriately called Manthan, the churning. If he succeeds in his mission most mainstream Indian dailies would lose a huge chunk of their revenues they siphon off from matrimonial ads. These newspapers wilfully promote caste and religious affinities by carrying notices that are rooted in deplorable social divisions. In the passing a well-known movie actor was also slammed for making his future daughter-in-law, also a successful “bollywood” star, go through degrading religious rituals so that his son would not die as a result of the “ill-starred” matrimony. The heroine’s date of birth is considered inauspicious according to the Hindu calendar, hence the obscurantist antidote to ward off the evil shadow. Agnivesh also rapped the media for not targeting the issue despite its obvious social importance. He thought TV channels and newspapers implicitly endorsed this religious fumigation of the poor woman and failed to question the demeaning rituals involved in making her “marriageable”.

In this sense the popular movie star was not being any better than Najman Bua, the illiterate governess in our Lucknow home. The 80-year-old taskmaster, who clearly could not have read the Quran nor observed a single fast, would caution us nevertheless against playing Holi, the Hindu festival of colours. Najman claimed that “Allah Mian” would slice away a part of the skin if it got tainted by the pagan colours of north India’s spring festival. If Najman Bua is right then millions of Indian Muslims, and goodness knows how many Pakistanis would lose portions of their skin in the next life. Cricketers Rameez Raja, Muhammad Khalil and Yassir Hameed should be heading for hell in the hereafter for allowing their Hindu friends to sprinkle them with colours when they were touring India a few years ago.

And what about the erstwhile Nawabs of Awadh who spent all of 13 days in celebrating Holi? Wajid Ali Shah’s court played Raslila for Lord Krishna. The most famous Hindu dharmic play, Indra Sabha, was composed in his court by a Muslim writer. The Sufis of India celebrated Basant Panchmi by singing in praise of Saraswati, the deity of knowledge. They revived the festival of Basant, by bringing ‘sarson’ flowers and saffron chadars to the dargahs. The great poet, Amir Khusro, has written numerous Holi poems to his Guru, whom he compared to Krishna: Mohe suhagan, rang basanti rang de Khwajaji/ Aao, Sufiion sang Hori khelo.

Mediaeval poet and intellectual par excellence Ras Khan was one of the many Muslim “Krishna bhakts”, not unlike Malik Mohhammed Jayasi who wrote the Padmavat. He renounced everything to live in Vrindavan, upon seeing a Baniya’s son, whom he idolised as Krishna.

Sectarian zealots stalk citizens of Lahore across the border and other venues of Pakistan’s Punjab province where the festival of Basant is observed with gaiety. India’s rightwing Hindu politician Sushma Swaraj was blamed for stirring trouble against the Agra summit because of the loaded statements she made on the meeting between President Musharraf and Prime Minister Vajpayee. Yet, we had seen the same lady in a different avatar in Lahore. It was a day or two after the Lahore summit of February 1999, I think, when Sushma Swaraj was dancing away on the decorated rooftop at a Lahori Basant party. She had missed Benazir Bhutto by a whisper because the bus from Islamabad had brought us late. It wasn’t the fault of the bus though. Ms Swaraj had commandeered all its passengers to the ruins of the ancient Katasraj temple en route. You should have seen her being idolised by Pakistani and Hindu devotees at the shrine.

In this context I came across an absorbing exchange of ideas by young Pakistanis on the website run as Pakistan Defence Forum. Some of the ideas are illuminating. Here’s a sample: says someone called “visioninthedark: “Just as Basant is celebrated in Lahore and the Punjaab; there are many parts of Pakistan where Nawroz is celebrated as the New Year; specially in the Northern and Western regions. I for one come from a family that celebrates Nawroz and therefore would like to wish all those who celebrate this day a very Happy New Year.”

Thus responds Chursy: “Yes I do celebrate Nawroz and would like to congratulate you on this occasion. As far as Basant goes it was glamorised recently. Initially Basant was limited to Lahore, Gujranwala, Kasur etc. Now I even see people in Karachi celebrating Basant (which is quite odd). Anyway I guess it’s up to us to promote the Nawroz to the extent where people start taking it seriously.”

Ilyas has reservations: “Yaar it is an Iranian thing, why should we celebrate it? I know most of the shias in Pakistan think that they are direct descendant of Persian people so they celebrate Persian events just to show that we are Persian. It is the new year in Persian calendar which we have no business using cause we already have two different calendars that we Muslims use. If somebody makes a case about celebrating Nawroz then why shouldn’t we celebrate ‘diwali’, ‘holi’ and other subcontinent events since most of the population is more closely related to sub-continent culture than the Iranian one?”

The exchange is too long to be reproduced here but for those interested it can be found on the weblink: http://www.pakistanidefenceforum.com/lofiversion/index.php/t9018.html

So what does this debate on Holi, Basant and inter-religious marriages signify? For one there is a new kind of, shall we say, spring offensive under way, one that would make both the Taliban and their American pursuers squirm. No one would be more delighted than Swami Agnivesh and a growing number of like-minded folks across India, Pakistan and even of course Afghanistan.

 

Courtesy-The Dawn

Reader Comments:

India Heritage Custom and Solution

India area is a region or countries where 1/3 rd of world Muslim come from.
Great Akbar (mughal e azam) married a Hindu Maharani Juddabai.Prince
Salim was born out of Juddabai.Muslim rulers had Hindu Professionals as advisors and personal Assistant as Govt Ministers. Ministry included House of common and House of Mughal Royalties (So called Divan e- AAM (common) Divine KHAS (reserved for Royalty).

Solution for survival is a technique. Technique is Islamic religion. Religion is self Sustaining success. There is no Caste system In Islam.Shia of Hazrat Ali Fatima r/u and Holy prophet SWT are just 150 million.1200m are Sunnis.Syed call themselves superior than the poor syed doing low wage job due Need. There is no Mehter Muslim Caste.Holy colour is not the colour which will be sliced off.It is the Permanent Tattoo colour(forbidden in Islam).Islam is a culmination of technique and Hidayat in Universal Nature in Surahs and Hadith.

All Muslim can marry a Hindu Christian Buddhist Sikh Parsee or vice versa Muslim can write Poem Hindu play can be coloured with Divali colours by friends or neighbours Or be involved in nawroaze basant kite festival puja dinners. Hindu women marrying A Muslim can receive Muslim husband‘s Nikah dowry (other way around).Hindu Man marrying a Muslim need to give Nikah dowry (a nominal guaranteed ) in the Event of divorce.Marrying a Muslim need Burial (not burning or putting In Holy River).Muslim can not fear 1 day equal to 50,000 yrs long burning .Muslim Dread fire or burning. That is why they remain as Muslim. Forced Burning or accidental Burning govern by guaranteed protection to believers.

The sun never sets while definition of Allah (Fattah) and alliance protection
Uttered come and Renewed (hidden) none stop 24 hrs a day. These are Muslims
Who fly kites participates in throwing colours (where apply) who celebrate basant nowroze eat Puja puri mithai sweet with friends and Hindu neighbours (more than often) if living condition and Layout permits. Muslim also do not keep Dog cat or other thing as pet as such.Muslim is just belief in Allah of Universe (size of Ocean with a fraction as our Solar system). Recitation of surah fatah and selective lines taking Few minutes is requisite.Fasting one month (continuous) is different than fasting Of Karwachaud(Hindu).Muslim free short term free finance zakat is guaranteed.Poor also
Get free food and meat weeks and weeks with one foreign trip if can afford a hajj or
Umra.Muslim need not build a mosque one in every few block.Festival is a Morning prayer with firni sawai noodles a chicken curry treat which brings Eid to an End by mid morning or noon.Religion is simple and Defined in surah fatah which is uttered more than a billion time daily. Sun never sets while Creator defined in utterance of few seconds
While aligning and bending called Namaz lasting few minutes)


zmb, Hungary - 09 March, 2007

Javed Naqvi

Javed have a good analysis on situation but he have gone a bit far in his conclusion.

New generation of Pakistan, which is educated, have access to knowledge and world affairs have proved to be more pro Pakistan then the previous generations. They understand that being moderate is the only way ahead for our society but at the same time they understand that India is always there to harm our country to fulfill their dream of rule over sub continent, which is the basic belief of Hindu fascism.

Well, things are moving ahead internally and people are inclined to reject extremism but there is no way that our new generation can compromise on our national security and borders.

For any fundamental change as expressed by writer, we would need an equal honest and sincere approach from other side of border, which is not insight and this fact make Pakistani youth to think of future and their indipendence.

They day low castes in India have equal rights as the Brhaman's enjoy, we would be pleased to trust them as friends, any thing before would be a delusion and unacceptable by Pakistani youth.

Long Live Pakistan.

mirbadshah, Malaysia - 09 March, 2007

Swami Agnivesh

His dream that muslims marry hindu and vice versa is nothing but a crappy dream. Let him marry a shudra, then he will back off.

Sunil Sinha, United Kingdom - 09 March, 2007

Saffron color Swami agni vs naqvi

Agni is fire. Fire color is saffron color. Saffron Robed country could be Hindu Buddhist or plainly saffron color robed expected Muslim reformer .To the best of my knowledge Syed is neither a tribe nor Caste in India. Mehter meaning dome is reserved for achuut or dalit Hindus. Never heard Mehter being a muslim.consequently, Swami Agnivesh, the saffron clad social reformer, activist for secularism and Dalit rights. Attempt is being made to switch achutt dalim dome or mehter assigned to Muslims of India. It cannot go too far. Fire Pyre belongs to Hindus Buddhist and Sikhs. Usually they do not bathe janaza and robed them in kaftans (a costume of hajj).attempt is being made to show Palestinian or Iraqis Victim picked up from road put on bed like Hindus and taken to burial or being seen them In different format. Attempt to switch custom of Islam cannot go too far.

z_sunarto, Iceland - 10 March, 2007

Rediculous

Just look at the mistrust in the replies. There is common sense in implementing objectives, step by step.

First lets learn to leave each other alone. Then we will worry about the rest.

ganenthiran, Pakistan - 10 March, 2007

Liberal tolerant thoughts will prevail

History has shown its always tolernat, liberal thoughts which have succeeded in the end. This applies in religion, political, personal, public interactions. Civilisations, cultures will sutrvive which transform, evolve with tolerant thought processes. Intolerance for others view point ( however radical or different it will be ) will never make societies grow. Hence, Intolerance in any form colour, religion, political thoughts, castes..etc will have to handled to have soceities prosper.

Sanjay, Hungary - 11 March, 2007

From Janaza to Chelum Horse & Democracy Gimmick

Democracy, Tons of court papers and law citation or implementing bills of democracy
By USA Canada allied EU is not the cause of success of Canada USA EU.If this was the case, they would not be terrorizing Muslims around the Globe or Successful Mahattir Badawi Ibrahim of Malaysia. There is fine line which divides rights and wrong. From Janaza to chelum Natak horse of Indian Natak - Muslim professionals are in error. They
Have been fooled .They are in error manifest. The self declared individual Mullahs and individual Leaders who claim to represent Islam is being fooled by Chelum Natak horsy presentation .Foreign troops’ energy feasibility studies and benefit they drive have been
Misunderstood. .Muslim are nervous wreck self destructive short cut progress making Professionals .They ignore implant and subversion even if they Apparently seem Harmless when none Islamic custom being introduced while Islamic custom being glorified .They are shinning in Lustre in golden domes amid fake victory glorification
Against Muslim Professionals. Beware and Be an Islamic before infiltrated foreign troops in subversive activities working with foreign troops nearby insulting Islam.


z_sunarto, Iceland - 12 March, 2007

human

if there was no religion,
what would be the difference between us.
which GOD says hate others.

riky, - 12 March, 2007

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