In the last week of September at Dadri not far from the Indian capital, an angry mob lynched to death Mohammad Akhlaq over allegations that a cow was slaughtered and he ate beef.
In the 1970s and 1980s in Bihar where there was no Bharatiya Janata Party, cow slaughter was still banned and there were times when there would be conflicts over beef and policemen would visit homes.
Beef conflicts are not new to contemporary India. Cows are not slaughtered across the Islamic world, but the reason cows are slaughtered mostly in the Indian Subcontinent is because Indian Islamists introduced the practice of cow slaughter here as a challenge to Hindu religious practice of worshiping cows.
Fikr-e-Nau (New Thinking), a newly launched Urdu magazine published by Pakistani Marxists – explores the issue of cow slaughter (a translation will be published soon by the Washington D.C.-based Middle East Media Research Institute).
You can look further back into history.
During the 16th century when the BJP and RSS did not exist, Emperor Akbar outlawed the practice of cow slaughter but the greatest Islamic scholar of the time Sheikh Ahmad Sirhindi lambasted the Mughal emperor asking why Muslims couldn’t slaughter cows under a Muslim government.
While Akbar was sensitive towards the majority Hindus’ religious sensibilities, Islamists like Sheikh Sirhindi, much like the present-day commentators, were not bothered about them. Fikr-e-Nau goes on to argue that in the lands comprising Pakistan today, cow slaughter was brought by Indian Islamist organisations arriving there after the Partition in 1947.
But the issue being debated about the Dadri lynching is not a religious one.
At this point in time when India is at the cusp of emerging as a global power, even the most so-called right-wing Hindus hold the following view: any person taking the country’s rule of law should be prosecuted and jailed without delay.
Lawmaker and prominent BJP member Tarun Vijay, in an article dated 2 October, advocated this line of thinking, calling for handling this issue “via the lawful path that the Constitution has provided” and urging the Akhilesh Yadav government to “take serious note of this“.
A purely secular view requires this: the socialist government of Akhilesh Yadav must act ruthlessly and quickly against anyone taking the law into their hands. However, such a course is not advocated by India’s liberal-secular intelligentsia which loves to engage in religious politics instead—of late, crudely.
On 1 October, celebrity gossip columnist Shobhaa De tweeted: “I just ate beef. Come and murder me.”
For our liberal-secular intellectuals and Islamists, the issue is not the failing of our rule of law: the issue is politics, more of it if it is laced with religion.
For example, instead of writing a piece asking the socialist government of Yadav to prosecute the Dadri mob, noted left-liberal intellectual Pratap Bhanu Mehta trained his guns on 3 October at Tarun Vijay (who was critical of this sort of“secular” politics).
I view Liberals and Conservatives in the following theoretical framework: Conservatives view social realities as they exist on the ground, while Liberals describe social realities as they ought to be, colored in their own leftist vision.
Conservatives are rooted, truthful and pessimistic. Liberals are hopeful, divisive and untruthful when describing realities. John Lloyd, former editor of London’s leftist magazine The New Statesman, observed: Liberals “tell people to ignore their own experience and to think only in approved ways.”
P.B. Mehta’s ideological-political base is located here: the kind of secular politics his tribe of academics and commentators supported ran the roost in the 1980s when the secular government of Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi surrendered before India’s vocal Islamists.
Mr. Mehta, your tribe is responsible for three historic decisions that have damaged the Indian Republic: the Shah Bano law, opening the Ayodhya locks and the notorious ban on The Satanic Verses of Salman Rushdie.
Mehta’s ideological thought police expected that the country’s majority would keep watching this total surrender of secularism before Islamists in broad daylight, but these three decisions helped the Conservatives prosper and seek truth in the nation’s roots.
Conservatives are truly Indians, unlike your secular tribesmen who appear to be masquerading as Pakistanis in India’s intellectual mainstream.Your politics is recurring. Notably, the secular Congress government in Rajasthan did not allow Salman Rushdie to visit Jaipur in 2012, surrendering before the Barelvi Islamists of the Raza Academy which had threatened to attack him.
Equally, Mehta’s ideological-historical base can also be located here: his ideological cousins and ancestors supported the Khilafat Movement, an Islamist political enterprise supported by India’s secular politicians led by Mahatma Gandhi and the global Islamists of the era – the Ali Brothers. Along with the Aligarh movement, the Khilafat movement would lead to the division of India in 1947.
The Khilafat Movement’s more violent version is nowadays led by Abu Bakr Al-Baghdadi of the Islamic State (ISIS), about whom India’s secular journalists and commentators are largely silent while scores of Indian Muslims are getting attracted to and many have joined the ISIS.
Mr. Mehta, your ideological cousins in our television studios and editorial offices recently supported Aurangzeb, the Abu Bakr Al-Baghdadi of 17th century at whose orders Guru Teg Bahadur, the Shield of India, was beheaded in the public square of Delhi for refusing to convert to Islam in 1675 CE, much like and exactly for the same reasons the ISIS beheads non-Muslims in public squares of Iraq and Syria today.
In his piece, Mehta takes umbrage at India’s Culture Minister Mahesh Sharma for a slip of the tongue, noting:
“The minister of culture, for example, whose praise for A. P. J. Abdul Kalam was accompanied by a congenital suspicion — ‘despite being a Muslim’ — and who described Akhlaq’s death as an ‘accident’, prefigures the moral blindness that [Tarun] Vijay represents.”
As a still evolving democracy, Indians are electing members of parliament and state legislatures who might not have gone to universities:such lawmakers are innocent and honest but are being forced to declare their sophistication to suit the viewpoints of tie-clad suited-booted liberals with a felicity for writing glib pieces in dense prose.
Sometimes these lawmakers are asked to declare their degrees (the Election Commission has an explaining to do as to why it wants Indians to declare degrees). Such elected Indians may not be intellectually equipped like the graduates from the St. Stephen’s College; occasionally, they might not be able to distinguish between a certificate and a degree.
To Mr. Mehta: “the moral blindness” that you speak of has another name: political correctness – that is, of your own.
At the Aligarh Muslim University, I was taught sociology by Dr. Rashida Rana Siddiqui who once used the word “uncultured” in some context when teaching a BA first year class. When asked to explain the sociological meaning of “uncultured” – she looked back, pondered deeply and replied, “If you are so sensitive, do not use this word.”
Tunku Varadarajan, in his otherwise decent piece of 20 September, goes on to describe our minister as uncultured:
“Even if it were a slip of the tongue, let’s not forget that a man’s tongue often slips in a direction where a man’s mind has gone already. But when the uncultured politician who is India’s Culture Minister said that India’s late president Abdul Kalam was a great nationalist ‘despite being Muslim’…”
To Varadarajan and P B Mehta, India’s Muslim atheists and liberals are routinely dubbed by Islamic clerics as follows: not being Muslim, not sufficiently Muslim, not practising Muslim, not proper Muslim, not even half a Muslim, or murtad (apostate).
To reverse this definition for a meaningful discussion of India’s discourse, this is what you get: you are not an Indian, you are not sufficiently Indian, you are not an Indian first, you are a Muslim first – the “you” being the Indian Muslim.
This binary – Islam versus Indian – resides in India’s discourse nurtured over the past century by secularists of Mehta’s type. To Varadarajan: the minister’s statement was not a slip of the tongue, it was hard truth of our social reality coming via his tongue. Even if you accept that “a man’s tongue often slips in a direction where a man’s mind” is, it appears there is a single mind from where Varadarajan, P.B. Mehta, and, oh, Amartya Sen speak.
Therefore, Mr. Mehta, it is not incidental that your tribesmen – journalists, academics,and TV anchors posing as objective journalists and commentators – do not like Dr. A.P.J. Abdul Kalam, the late scientist and former president loved the most even by our schoolchildren.
The question raised by the Culture Minister Sharma remains relevant. Here is a detailed look-back.
During the 1857 war, Muslims and Hindus fought together against the British. Soon after the war, Muslims separated from this togetherness: for example, Sir Syed Ahmed Khan established a university that would give birth to the Pakistan movement. This phenomenon was also evident in the 1980s when the Muslims fought together with the CIA infidels in Afghanistan in the 1980s, but soon after the war ended, the Muslims separated to launch the jihadist project elsewhere, namely in Kashmir, and this time on their own.
You can look back much further. In the 7th century CE, the non-Muslims of Mecca urged Prophet Muhammad to join them and share power, but he told them: “For you is your own religion, and for me is mine.” This Verse No. 109:6 from the Quran is often cited by liberals as an explanation of Islam’s co-existence, but the truth is it was revealed as an antithesis to the pluralism of Meccans.
This is the precise reason Mahesh Sharma, in an un-secular moment of truth, blurted out the reality. In a very unconscious way, Sharma was juxtaposing Islamism of our times with the Constitution and history of India.
Since the Amartya Sens and P.B. Mehtas are the power brokers of India’s intellectual discourse, Sharma was speaking truth to that power, and thus his tribe felt offended at the truth being revealed in this way.
It is instructive that the culture minister was speaking in the context of renaming the Aurangzeb Road after A.P.J. Abdul Kalam who is not liked by P.B. Mehta’s clan, who instead love and defend Aurangzeb, the butcher of Hindus.
We can debate whether A.P.J. Abdul Kalam was the right example to give, but Sharma’s speech was not scripted; inadvertently, his way of comparison was straight out of India’s national discourse for which largely the liberal-secular fraternity is responsible.
So, the Varadarajans, Amartya Sens and Mehtas need to do four things.
First, stop beating up our members of parliament who may not be educated like you from the Presidency of Kolkata or Delhi’s St. Stephens College.
Second, try to look within the corpus of your liberal knowledge and its moral relevance (for example in the context of 20 million humans butchered by Stalin in USSR and 65 million similarly dead in Mao’s China).
Third, try to understand rationally and reasonably from where these “uncultured” and “uneducated” lawmakers and ministers come from.
Fourth, offer reasoned analysis that will educate the Indian youths who are hungry to hear the truth about our society and history.
If you wish, you can do a fifth point: keep your prejudices from your writings and to yourself.
Our lawmakers are the products of the great Indian democracy that we chose, but Mr. Mehta, your kind of analysts are products of the St. Stephens College, not of India’s College of Democracy.
There are also some Indian commentators who speak like Pakistanis in our media. It is profoundly enlightening that Mehta sees creativity in Pakistan’s chaos when Pakistan’s own writers are describing their social reality in more crystalized ways.
I hate to say this Mr. Mehta, but you appear like a Pakistani national masquerading as Indian in the Indian mainstream much like Gandhi who supported the hardcore Islamists of Turkey right here in India.
You taunt Tarun Vijay for seeing the loss of creativity in Pakistan’s cultural withering, but the true Pakistani and acclaimed historian Ayesha Jalal has described Pakistan for having entered a state of “cognitive disability”.
It also does not appear that your type of commentators are honest. You pose as a neutral analyst in our public discourse but the very first sentence of your article uses vile words that make your intellectual intent clear:
“If you wanted an example of how vile, nauseating and morally odious our public discourse…”
Sorry, but this cannot be a way to begin a serious analysis especially given your stature as a serious and insightful commentator. It’s more of an abuse than an analysis. It is more of a vile attack from you on a sitting member of the Indian parliament.
It is interesting that Mehta’s article is titled “Dadri Lynching: the Party and Its Poison.”
The truth is this: you and your tribesmen in the academia and media industry are – to state it in academically neutral terms – both the seeds and fruit of this poison that this nation’s discourse is afflicted with.
Your article was also published by Huffington Post under the following title: “Dadri Lynching Incident Blame Has To Fall Entirely On Modi: Pratap Bhanu Mehta.”
Your article is published on the website of The Indian Express under the title: “Dadri reminds us how PM Narendra Modi bears responsibility for the poison that is being spread“.
Frankly, Mr. Mehta do you really think that Modi was born in the Emperor Akbar’s era when beef conflicts used to occur?
When spouses of Politburo members take over as editors – the Bihari writer George Orwell would have explained it better – scholarship is the casualty, truth is the concubine of the pen. Nowadays, India’s youth are left wondering if the motto of The Indian Express is “Journalism of Courage,” or the “Practice of Cowardice.”
Of liberal intellectuals, George Orwell wrote:
“[They] are more totalitarian than the common people…Most of them are perfectly ready for dictatorial methods, secret police, systematic falsification of history, etc. as long as they feel that it is on ‘our’ side.”
It is often noticeable that writers, journalists and commentators in India who have not lived the life of hunger are not on the side of social reality; most often they are secular, liberal and communist, the three-in-one intellectual of India who has forced our daughters to beg at traffic lights by his/her policy advocacy during the past six decades.
Most of India’s Left-Liberal activists are happy to spill blood from their pen from their posh apartments, some of them convert and find professorships, or long to marry a White professor and settle in the West.
The intellectual types of Mehta and Amartya Sens never put poverty on the nation’s agenda during six decades when their secular party was in power. Now, for the first time, a tea-seller has risen to the top but Mehta’s clansmen in our newsrooms are uncomfortable that Modi’s priority isto build toilets, clean our roads, and focus on skill development—in short, the most basic and fundamental reforms that will have a long-term, lasting and positive impact.
I do not want to defend the BJP and the RSS, but it is abundantly clear that at this turn in history, Prime Minister Narendra Modi is tirelessly working to make the BJP the most inclusive party of India, especially as democracy is robustly destroying the dynasty’s Congress party.
Mr. Mehta, it is due to your poison that our youths, especially those with B.Tech and M.Tech degrees, and middle and upper middle class working professionals have begun describing themselves on Twitter profiles in these terms: “Yes, I am a bhakt”; “Proud right-winger”;”Politically Incorrect”; “Right-wing Hindu”; “Nationalist and proud to be Hindu”; “India First”; “I am nationalist”; “Betrayed by Left”; “Indian nationalist national”; “Leftist in the past, Rightist in the present”; “Call me Sanghi”.
The three different titles under which Mehta’s article has been published in the aforementioned outlets remind us clearly that the purpose of his writing is not a concern for India, Indian Muslims or Hindu-Muslim relationship but to launch yet another attack on Modi.
Mr. Mehta, you take umbrage at Tarun Vijay’s comment that seculars don’t care for Dalits: but the fact is Tarun Vijay is correct here, not you.
India’s Constitution and democracy have cared for Dalits and empowered them in millions, but the secular Left has always abandoned them or has fed them with Marxist poison.
The best example of this is the history of India’s Left. For years, India’s Left has denied Dalits any representation in leadership. Generally, Brahmins have risen to the top of the communist parties’ leadership.
The intellectual hypocrisy of the Left was such that when it came to the issue of feminism, Leftists (morphed as “Liberals” today) like you reversed the Marxist principle:economy is the infrastructure and ideas are superstructure of society. You used this argument to deny caste identity and to simultaneously deny Dalits any presence in the Left’s leadership positions. However, you reversed it to accommodate upper caste women into top-posh ranks.
Mr. Mehta, you attack Tarun Vijay for falsehood, but how about looking into your own brand of intellectual heritage of past six-plus decades?
You ask Tarun Vijay to read more novels, but what are you reading? Secularists fail to grasp that your article is pure abuse published in a mainstream newspaper.
If you look within your soul, you will be able to grasp why the so-called rationalists are being murdered: charvakas were always welcome in India’s diversity. When Maoists are arrested, journalists from your tribe describe India’s laws as “draconian” for arresting these terrorists. When Indian’s Muslim youths join the ISIS, Hindus are being urged togo soft, just to please the seculariate.
Shockingly, Mehta writes: “Vegetarianism is an excuse for violence.” As history shows, secularism too, is the birther of riots. You write: “tradition is an excuse to assault freedom.” In India, the press too, is an assault on basic principles of journalism.
You further write: “ideas are an excuse to curb debate.” I agree: India’s discourse has been poisoned by the likes of you.
You next write: “disagreement is an excuse for provocation.” Yes, disagreements of a personal nature are indeed an excuse for unprovoked intellectual attacks on Modi.
You still write: “facts are an excuse for mendacity.” But of course, this mendacity is rooted in the falsehood of our discourse nurtured by your type of three-in-one intellectuals.
India’s secular-liberal writers who have neither time nor shame to peer into their own hearts, pen such sentences: “It is as if the nation is acting out the violent convulsions of a deranged being, with no calm light of reason, or compassion.”
Frankly, what kind of seeds that you nurtured over the years that are flowering now? Here is the mirror Mr. Mehta: your secularism is the intellectual barbarism of our age that has divided India’s youth to the benefit of your politics, poisoned the heart of Indians and pushed the Indian youths to the wall from where the only path open for them is to fight back.
India’s youth no longer trust your type.
You write: “The blame for this has to fall entirely on Modi. Those who spread this poison enjoy his patronage.”
For now, please do enjoy the fruits of said seeds.
It is interesting to observe that social media has come to the aid of India’s common people, and it is more interesting that social media is disliked by India’s three-in-one thought brokers like you. More importantly, speed being the essence, social media can quickly expose your kind.
It will be good if Narendra Modi worked out a partnership with Facebook to allow every Indian to publish an online newspaper. Such a development will prove a political graveyard for the Mehtas and Amartya Sens. It will demolish the Berlin Wall in India’s public discourse rooted in the half-Italian, half-Indian dynasty that disempowers India’s masses.
Meanwhile, here are your own article’s last sentences with a few alterations.
But we can be grateful to Pratap Bhanu Mehta for reminding us that the threat to India’s soul emanates from the centre of discourse, almost nowhere else. It is for that centre – and Mehta and Sen in particular – to persuade us otherwise.
Former BBC journalist Tufail Ahmad is the executive director of the Open Source Institute, New Delhi. Ahmad is the author of “Jihadist Threat to India – The Case for Islamic Reformation by an Indian Muslim.” He tweets @tufailelif