Co-Written by Areeb Rizvi and Kuriakose Mathew

Recently there was a genocidal campaign against Muslims in India, launched by diehard Hindu Nazis. It called for the complete untouchablisation of Muslims (In Hindu Social Order, sampoorna bahishkar means turning someone into a Sapoorna Bahishkrit, an Untouchable, a point that Hindu Leftists/Liberals fail to understand, since they misunderstand it as mere boycott). The emergence of the slogan points to an important milestone in the development of the Nazist genocidal machinery.

No genocidal slogan can be more explicit than this, if any Muslims ever had any illusions about what’s unfolding in India, this should have opened up their eyes, to the new reality of being New Pariahs of India. Besides, the Nazis made it a point to insult and humiliate Muslims by verbally abusing the Prophet.

Faced with such systematic persecution of his community, what would one expect a communist to do? A communist would call upon the persecuted to rise in rage against the persecutors and fight the injustice on the streets. Unfortunately this is not what Mr. Umar Khalid did, in a typical Gandhian twist, he tried to pacify his community, to which he doesn’t identify with in terms of religion, using a few cursory references to Prophet’s words. Rather than questioning the slumber of the community in decisively dealing with their increasingly confident tormentors, Mr. Khalid’s worry was something else: to quote him “But I was, and continue to remain fearful, that someone might just get provoked by such hate. And here we are talking of about 20 crore people. I feel if progressives who are also Muslims don’t intervene, that vacuum might be filled by someone else which will be tragic, most of all for Muslims of India”. Elsewhere, he wrote that he saw the Nazi campaign “as an organised attack on the dignity of Muslims, and felt the need to intervene”. Yes, he did intervene, but not as communist, not as a Muslim, but as an unprincipled young opportunist, of Gandhian creed, who could instrumentally use Prophet’s words to calm down that stereotypical SOMEONE- a true Muslim who would have fought back.

What an insult to the Muslims is it to think that there are some ‘fundamentalists’ out there waiting to get provoked if a ‘progressive’ do not intervene at the tight time! What an insult is it to instrumentally use Prophet’s words for stopping the Muslims from fighting back when they’re persecuted, insulted and humiliated!

Unfortunately, the debates around the Hindu Leftist discomfort on Mr. Khalid’s utilitarian invoking of the Prophet did not upturn the virgin soil of Muslim-hatred in India. Of course, it was heartening to see a good number of organic leftists and Muslim groups rushing to defend him. But, in order to inform our struggle, it is also worth pondering over what was completely lost in this immediacy of resisting or checking Islamophobia.

The most ignored fact is that there is a fundamental epistemic unity between those who opposed quoting Prophet from secular-atheist standpoints, and the ones who saw no harm in doing so as the “ground must not be lost to the fundamentalists”- who are to be kept dormant for a true progressive and revolutionary politics to reign. In doing so, the most sub/conscious blunder being made is validating the epistemological base of Islamophobia, the caricaturing of a practicing Muslim as an impulsive fundamentalist, waiting to be corrected by a woke, non-practicing cultural Muslim. This is an epistemological base common to both Hindu leftists and Nazists, alike.

Let us shamelessly and unapologetically say, and say it aloud that there has never been, forget a radical response, even a retributive response to the atrocities against Muslims. Muslims are yet to avenge the long-list of crimes committed against them. Other persecuted communities have even taken down their chief persecutors; remember the violent deaths of Indira and Rajiv Gandhis?

Perhaps we, Muslims, have a lot to learn from another People of the Book, the Sikhs. The Sikhs have great lessons for all oppressed communities in South Asia and elsewhere. They have taught us, time and again, that when a community is attacked as a whole, the attacker must not be spared, and the persecuted community shall fight back in its own terms, without consulting the so-called progressives.

We must also learn compassion from Sikhs, compassion for victims, oppressed, the needy and the destitute. And also that one must not be compassionate with our enemies, especially when they’re enemies of humanity. The enemy must not be tutored Gandhism rather is to be seriously dealt with as an enemy- with all our might. Mr. Khalid’s intervention is informed by Gandhian compassion for the oppressor, not the Sikhi compassion for the oppressed. That’s why he was apprehensive about “someone” might do wrong things than teaching a lesson to the wrong-doers. Let’s give a slight turn to Arundati Roy here, Delhi Maoists are Gandhians without guns, they will not come to save you, they will come to save your enemies from your rage.

Muslims shall rise in rage, not only against the persecutors, but also against the Gandhian pacifiers in disguise who would quote Prophet against the People of the Prophet.

Areeb Rizvi and Kuriakose Mathew are research scholars. 


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2 Comments

  1. Avatar Subarna Bhattacharya says:

    This writing takes a lot of courage and spine. Kudos to the writers. Sharing it.

  2. Criticism of Umar Khalid’s stand is unfair ! Extremism of fundamentalism of minorities is always an excuse and justification of majoritarian consolidation and this is what RSS and BJP is doing ! Gandhi opposed this successfully and hence was murdered! Hence to look down on Gandhian method To oppose neo nazi hinduvadi forces is wrong .Authors in fact by advocating identity based resistance are helping fundamentalist who are no different than oppressors waiting for an opportunity to oppress others !