What is P in this PUF?
Exactly what was M in the MUF. We know it, but timidly, harbouring self delusion, don’t want to say. They know, and they say it, like they said ever, violently, and virulently. Before any further, here is a video featuring Shah Faesal.
It is a promotional clip that begins with an irresistible note for me. Unlike the new age politics, all rant and rage, Faesal begins with Iqbal. For someone brought up in an Iqbalian atmosphere, it touches the chord. Faesal begins:
Uss Qoum Ko Shamsheer Ki Haajat Nahin Rehtee
Ho Jiss Kai Jawanoo Ki Khudi Surate Fawlad
If the self consciousness of our young is strong as steel
Our nation can defend itself without an armour
As much, or as little, I know Faesal, he knows Iqbal. So invoking Iqbal cannot be perfunctory. Incidentally, the moment I watched this video, I was reading Iqbal’s biography Zindarood – which means The Living Stream of Life . Reading how Iqbal wrestled with the situation then – the future of Muslims in the sub-continent, the disasters faced by the Muslim world, the gathering storm around the Muslims, the rising influence of Hindu Mahasabha, the hypocrisy of the Congress and its leadership, and the disarray in the Muslim political organisation – it looks like nothing has changed since then. For the Muslims left in India, and stranded in Kashmir, if anything has changed it is darkness and despair getting layered.
Reading how Iqbal reacted to the crises of his times, one can easily imagine how he was overwhelmed by despair, hopelessness, and frustration. And if a person like Iqbal, who infused life in the Muslim collective, and is still doing it, felt like weighed down by the enormity of the dangers, how about the ordinary souls like us. If a genius like Iqbal who believed in the universality of the message of Islam, and assimilated diverse philosophical and religious traditions, gave up on any chances of reconciliation between the radical Hindu leadership and the Muslims, do we stand a chance.
Iqbal knew well that Hindu Mahasabha stood on three pillars. One, to get to the power by displacing Congress, hence participation in elections. Two, to arm the Hindu masses – Sanghathan. Three, to chase Muslims back to the Hindu fold – Shuddhi. This was the time when the undivided India had a much bigger Muslim population. There were many provinces where Muslims were in majority. It was the time when India was still ruled by the British. And don’t forget there were people like Iqbal, Jinnah, Abul Kalam, and many more in the positions of leadership.
In our times they are finally, and fully, in power, displacing the Congress altogether. In every sense they are armed to teeth. Lynching is a chilling reminder. And the Ghar Wapsi is the modern version of Shhdhi. In such a situation one shudders what is to befall us.
And who are we? The M of 1980s, the P of 2019. Without making it theological, communal or parochial, we need to know who we are. What it means to be Muslims in Kashmir.
Rest unchanged, suppose Kashmir was a territory in the middle of Indian state. The same Kashmiri language, the same Shah of Hamadan as our destiny maker. The same Maharaja ruling us, and the same Sheikh M Abdullah, and NC, leading the struggle against the autocracy. The same Nehru befriending the Sheikh, and then the time of partition came. What would happen. We would be part of partition orgy with Muslims and Hindus at each others’ throat. A good percentage of Muslim population would migrate to different parts of Pakistan. Onwards Hindus from the surrounding areas would fill in the spaces, and it would be a place with Muslim dominated patches, like UP or Hyderabad. There was a good likelihood of the reorganisation of the territory. And people would have lived happily, or otherwise, ever after. So my geography determines my politics. It is a given. There is nothing secular, liberal, or Islamic about this. It is like gravity, and gravity is its own centre.
Now take the second part. Rest unchanged, suppose Kashmir was a Hindu dominated territory. What would happen. Nothing. Things would be in place, so no need to fall in place, not to speak of forced to fall in place.
So the problem with this People, is that it’s Muslim, and lives in contiguity to the Muslim world. Right now this is our geography, this is our history, and God knows what is our future. But can we say this little loudly, more clearly, without sounding radical, without being communal, saving ourselves from curses like being parochial or violent. Well, if Faesal begins with the verses from Iqbal, he needs to go further up the way with the genius of Iqbal. May be if he can steal some moments in this hour of crises, he can read, if he has not already read, some relevant portions of Zindarood. En Rashid and others may join. The present crises demand a much bigger expanse of understanding. Iqbal is our Khizre Raah. He is our Zinda Rood – ever living stream of life.
Tailpiece: Late Mufti Saeed took the Pen & Inkpot, but what he finally scribbled proved someone else’s script. He took the symbol, but never took the trouble to own the substance, hence doomed. Now we have a new party – PUF. Don’t take just the name. Look for the substance. There is something in this name. Surely, there is.
Iss Naam Sai Hai Baqi Aarame Jaan Hamara.