Strangely twisted dark times are upon us

Hindutva  brigades have burnt down Madrasa Azizia in  Bihar  Sharif –  the  oldest  Madrasa  in that region,  housing thousands of  books, which were  burnt  in a blatantly  targeted attack

Mosques and mosque-goers getting attacked. Perhaps, never before in the recent history of our country, this level of communal barbarism has been witnessed as is being witnessed today.

News reports just coming in more than relay that. Tension hit Haryana’s Sandal Kalan village in district Sonepat after a group of 15-20 armed men vandalised a mosque and attacked people offering namaz inside the premises of that mosque, injuring several namazis.

The list of such blatantly communal attacks taking place in today’s ‘developed’ times is long. Last week, in Uttarakhand’s Haldwani, namazis and also the Imam of a mosque were attacked by Hindutva goons. 

And just days  before that, on 31 March, Hindutva brigades burnt down Madrasa Azizia in  Bihar  Sharif –  the  oldest  Madrasa  in that region,  housing thousands of  books, which were  burnt  in that blatantly  targeted attack on that Madrasa. It  is  estimated  that more  than 4,500  books  housed in that  Madrasa  library  were  burnt  and  ruined  and  destroyed, with the Hindutva  mob  throwing  petrol  bombs  right  into the  Madrasa – mosque- library. Nah, the State couldn’t protect priceless books housed in the 110-year old Madrasa library.

Strangely twisted dark times are these. Yes, fascism is here .Today, to pray is considered a serious crime! Even in this ongoing month of Ramazan, the worshippers are getting targeted! I’m not talking of praying in the open spaces, the so-called allotted open spaces or along the roads, but even inside the interiors of the age-old mosques. 

In these ruthless – barbaric times, I have been reciting this verse of  Akbar Hussain Akbar  Allahabadi (1846-1921):

‘My rivals have lodged complaints against me in police stations for the crime

That Akbar continues to take the name of God in the present age and time.’

Hate-dripping terms

Sinking we are to such pathetic lows that instead of  focusing on the environmental and  human disasters taking place to such an extent that entire settlements are in danger of sinking, we are getting provoked to kill each other along the Hindu-Muslim format! 

After the beef alibi, the next in line alibi is the so-called ‘Love Jihad’. How I detest this term as it reeks of utter communal nonsense and makes little sense along the religious or social or emotional strain. Simply speaking it is a Muslim man falling in love with a Hindu woman …love stretching on to living together and still further towards marriage. What’s so utterly astonishing about this? Love between men and women from different communities and creeds is bound to happen. Happens all over the world. Fall-outs can also happen. Why drag religion into the mess?

Nah, no religion, for that matter no religious speech or scripture, sanctions force or coercion to convert or to change from this to that.  Love and marriage are entirely personal choices between two consenting adults. Why label it along the blatantly communal term — Love Jihad!  In fact, the broader and factual term for Jihad stands for curbing or controlling or fighting one’s own weaknesses, to emerge as a better or finer human being.

Don’t know when will the hate speeches and hate-dripping provocative terms get curbed!  Shockingly, every single day a new voice emerges from the Right-Wing quarters, reeking of communal hatred and bias. Quite obviously, these communal voices do seem to carry the backing of entire brigades and beyond!

It is getting just too dangerous. If these voices are not curbed, then one can well imagine how the poison will infiltrate in that unstoppable way. Hitting the souls if not the physical forms of so many innocents.

Why this spread of communal madness when we share a common cultural heritage or call it legacy? Let me recount this particular incident to relay what I’m trying to say … I’m not getting philosophical but realistic. Professor Kunwar Rifaqat Ali Khan, who taught history at the Jamia Millia Islamia, told me that post-Babri Masjid destruction, whilst riots were peaking in Mumbai, he had to travel by train from Mumbai to New Delhi. Insecurity hit him to such an extent that he removed all signs of his Muslim identity from the suitcase and bags on him. And then, in that state of insecurity, he sat on the top most tier, only to hear a co-passenger talk about obnoxious communal stuff. Rifaqat told me that he had no choice but sit perched up there, all too quiet, and hear all that anti-Muslim tirade. After all, who would be there to save him if flung right out from the running train! “That fellow continued coming out with communal comments but I couldn’t react, even when he uttered words along the strain, ‘Muslims and Christians ought to be killed! They should be finished. Weeding of Muslims and Christians necessary, only then this country will be okay.’ He just wouldn’t stop, till about the time the train reached the Ajmer railway station. And  then all too suddenly announced to  the  passengers sitting around him, that  he had   decided to  get  off  at that  station, to  pay his respects at the Ajmer situated dargah of Khwaja Moinuddin  Chishti!” 

Mind you, a dargah where there’s never been any discrimination along religious or regional formats, so much so that several shops leading to the dargah are said to be manned by Hindu refugee families.

There could be hundreds of such places where persons from different faiths gather. What’s worrying is the fact that there is rapid shrinkage of such spaces, with communal surcharged brigades getting unleashed all over.

Stray dog menace 

Must watch journalist-commentator Arvind Kala’s video focusing on human forms getting mauled!

Viewed and re-viewed journalist-commentator Arvind  Kala’s video ( he posts on You-Tube too) which  raises some disturbing questions about stray  dogs  mauling us, the  human beings. He gives this alarming figure: almost 54 Indians die every single day because of stray dogs!

Stray dogs attacking, biting, mauling, yet the establishment seemingly doing very little to control the havoc. Tell me, why should I get bitten and attacked by stray dogs on the roads and lanes and around parks? Why should I end up dying of rabies?  Why should I be left at the mercy of strays? Why is it getting just too risky to walk down the footpath, as chances of stray dogs attacking hold out?

Though  stray dog  menace  is in all cities and towns and kasbahs of the country but  probably the  worst affected  is the  Kashmir Valley. About four years  back when I was completing  my latest book on the Kashmir Valley,  Kashmir  The  Unending  Tragedy, Reports from The  Front  Lines, focusing on the ground realities in the  Valley, I did  make it a  point  to focus  on this aspect too. I’d also quoted from the findings of three medicos of the Valley – Dr Ovais Habib, Dr Adil Hafeez and Dr MA Darzi – who had conducted a study and raised some level of awareness regarding dog bite incidents in and around the region.

This is what I wrote: It gets difficult to walk on the streets of Srinagar because of the stray dogs around. It’s a worrying factor, definitely for pedestrians and also for school going children, as they are attacked and bitten on their way to bus stops or whilst walking down to their schools. In fact, the dog concentration is noticeable close to the bunkers of the security forces. To the ‘why’ there is this explanation put forth by the local Kashmiris, “The security fellows  feed these stray dogs and that’s why they are not  moving from here …in fact, this (stray dogs)  nuisance  reminds us of the  Israeli  strategy of unleashing  dogs on the Palestinians! “Terrorizing tactic” imported from Israel!’ …The political rulers and administrators seem least bothered. They move about in their big-bodied vehicles, far away from havoc on the streets and roads. I’m not too sure whether they are even aware of the extent of the injuries caused by dog bites and the connected aftermath.”