Tinderbox of Errors
Reliance over secondary sources and driven by a selfish motive, MJ Akbar has committed error after error
COMMENT BY DR SHEIKH SHOWKAT HUSSAIN
Majority community of India has a minority complex. They often feel that they will be dominated by Muslims as they were prior to advent of British. This sense of insecurity is exploited by RSS to rally Hindus around various extensions of Sangh Parivar. After independence of India RSS and its extensions suffered euphoria of revival – revival of Akhand Bharat, from Bali in Indonesia to Bamiyan in Afghanistan. Creation of Pakistan was perceived to be a temporary phenomenon. This perception was shared by Nehru as well who thought that after six months Pakistan will beg for reunion with India. When Pakistan survived for years it was used as a phobia to mobilize Hindus both by RSS and the Congress.
In 1971 Pakistan got fragmented as a result of Indo-Soviet intrigue against Pakistani role of facilitating US China proximity. Indians were overtaken by the impression that the remaining Pakistan will submit to Indian Hegemony and will be unable to sustain itself after segregation of its eastern wing. Even so called moderates within the Sangh Parivar, like Atal Bihari Vajpayee, went to the extent of describing Indira Gandhi as an incarnation of Durga for her role in dismembering Pakistan. To the dismay of everyone within India, Pakistan again survived and within a decade became instrumental in changing the course of History in two ways. It for the first time managed to block an invading Soviet army at Khyber. It was unlike the established convention of five thousand years in the history of the sub-continent. Every invader after reaching Khyber would invariably move to Panipat and the rest followed. Pakistan not only blocked the entry of Soviet Union within the sub-continent but also became instrumental in getting it dismantled. During that era it utilized its proximity to the West for pursuing its nuclear designs.
By virtue of being in power at the time of nuclear tests by Pakistan, none other than BJP knows the implications of this phenomenon. It has become clear now that it was Pakistan which was planning to test its nuclear weapons and India in order to pre-empt the psychological implications of these resorted to nuclear experiments in 1998. So many question marks have been put upon success of these hurriedly conducted tests by none other than the Indian scientists involved. Most of the western defense experts concede that in nuclear technology Pakistan is far ahead of India and is likely to overtake France in near future. It is on this account that world powers are bent upon destabilizing and isolating Pakistan on the same pattern as they did with China after its first nuclear test. India too had to impose emergency in order to overcome destabilization that followed its nuclear test in 1974.
Jinnah’s assertion that nations are equal irrespective of their size became a reality. BJP geared up to reconcile with this reality. Atal Bihari Vajpayee visited Minar-e-Pakistan in Lahore. BJP reconciled to the two nation theory of Mohammad Ali Jinnah and proceeded to re-understand and rehabilitate Mohammad Ali Jinnah within the Indian political thought process. Statements of LK Advani and write ups of Jaswant Singh about Jinnah were aimed at this re-understanding. BJP as an organization now stands reconciled to Muslim nationalism of which Jinnah was the biggest expression. BJP is in a process of orienting itself in tune with this reconciliation. The reconciliation however, plunges it into a paradox. Having thrived on negative sentiment of Muslim phobia for decades raison deter of its existence stands threatened. It needs a phobia to keep its flock together and rally Hindus around it.
The phobia of Muslim League and Pakistan can’t be sustained. A new phobia needs to be discovered to substitute it. This discovery has been made by MJ Akbar through his book “Tinderbox: the past and future of Pakistan” with all positives for Mohammad Ali Jinnah, in line with the views of Advani and Jaswant Singh, he discovers Maulana Maudoudi as Godfather of Pakistan. Maudoudi was the pioneer of Islamic revivalism, but opposed nationalism in all its forms. He wrote against Indian nationalism and did provide ideological foundations for modern Muslim political thought. He, however, in the same breath opposed Muslim nationalism. While Muslims for Jinnah remain a nation likely to be overshadowed by a rival Hindu nation - thus in need of a nation state of their own - for Maudoudi, Muslims were not a nation but an ideological group, upholders of a way of life. Every non-Muslim for Maudoudi remains a potential Muslim. With this paradigm he could hardly, envision Hindus and Muslims as competing nationalities. He did subscribe to the notion of Pakistan as an Islamic state after its creation but he had same vision for India too. Instead of winding up his organization on the pattern of Muslim League his Jamat-e-Islami continues to work in India and remains a vanguard of Islamic renaissance. M J Akbar misrepresents Maududi goes to the extent of printing Mufti Mahmud’s picture in his place in pursuit of inventing new demon for BJP. On page 60 Akbar writes that Genral Zia attended the funeral of Maududi while the reality is that he attended funeral of Khan Abdul Gaffar Khan & skipped that of Maududi - Akbar’s “ god father of Pakistan.
The chapter pertaining to Kashmir too is replete with similar errors. Author’s understanding of Jamat-i-Islami, Tableegi Jamat, Taliban & and their mutual differences, remains fallacious on account of reliance on secondary sources .
MJ Akbar tended to be an ideologue of Congress during the days of his association with Telegraph. Like Najma Heptullah, he shifted his focus towards BJP after non-fulfillment of his ambitions within Congress. He through this book tries to substitute ‘Muslim Phobia’ with ‘Islamophobia’ for BJP and Sangh Parivar. In this pursuit he resorts to apologetic historiography, misinterprets and concocts it in so many ways including his depiction of Maudoudi as Godfather of Pakistan. The revolution which has dawned to the world through information technology makes it impossible for parties to survive on phobias. The West tried to thrive on Islamophobia after the demise of communism, the strategy boomeranged and Islam became the fastest growing religion within US even after 9/11. Despite the services of MJ Akbar, BJP can’t be an exception to this phenomenon. The book may, however, help facilitation of MJ Akbar’s acceptability as ideologue of Sangh parivar on Muslim affairs as he tends to prove himself more Sanghi than Sangh.
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Lastupdate on : Mon, 22 Aug 2011 21:30:00 Makkah time
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