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Saturday, 14 March 2009

Mullah Mahmood Madani vs. Musharraf. Big applause for hypocrisy?

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Sudha said...

I follow your blog with interest. I am Indian and my fervent wish is that South Asia becomes a truly integrated bloc, so that we can act in mutually beneficial ways.

I just wanted to say that Jawed Naqvi is Pakistani, he's not Indian. I read that in his biography somewhere...and it's pretty obvious from the things he writes about.

Having grown up in Bombay and Madras I have a always assumed that most countries were secular and that it was the natural state of affairs, because secularism is deeply rooted in India. It is different from western secularism because it is a society where faith continues to be important and all the world's major and minor religions have a place. So my friends and I are always rather outraged that many in Pakistan constantly interrogate our secularism. I would recommedn reading the indianmuslims blog ... the person who runs that wrote a piece in Outlook magazine in which he went so far as to suggest that India for many reasons could be considered to privilege Islam over other religions. I'm not saying he's wrong or right...but that it's an interesting viewpoint to consider.

What the Maulana said was met with applause in delhi, not because anyone thought he was dismissing the grievances of many Indian Muslims. They applauded him because he said, and rightly, that India's civil society is extremely vibrant and it acts to protect the interests of its many minorities. So the Maulana objected to Musharraf's feigned 'concern,' and said Indian civil society was on the side of its minorities.

I would like to end by quoting Shashi Tharoor who said the reason india survives with its bewildering diversity of people, is that we have only minorities. We don't have a mjority community. Hindus themselves are divided into more than a hundred ethnicities and linguistic groups, and are socially divided within the Hindu fold. So who is a minority and who makes up the majority differs from state to state. Just my two cents.

I share your concern, as do many of us Indians, about Pakistan. I read somewhere that a SAARC university is on the cards....I fervently hope we see that realized soon.

best wishes.

Admin said...

@Sudha, Many thanks for your very valuable comments.

It was enlightening to read an Indian perspective on what Mr. Madani said. Perhaps you may be interested in knowing why we, the majority of moderate Pakistanis, possibly including Jawed Naqvi, find Madani's remarks as hypocritical. For that you may like to critically explore the connection between Deoband, Neo-Deobandis (Wahhabi-ised Deobandis), sectarianism and jihad-ism in the sub-continent. In other words, these douche bags have two faces, one for the educated, secular world, and the real ugly face is that they frequently demonstrate in Mumbai, Lahore, Swat, FATA and Afghanistan. They are obviously angry with Musharraf, probably not for the reasons that this Mullah tried to explain in this video.

Anonymous said...

this video may put Musharraf's views in context:


Anonymous said...

Karan Thapar: A general point

Musharraf exemplifies a further quality Indian politicians would do well to emulate. He’s prepared to face up to his critics, take their hostile questions and spend hours defending his position whilst attempting to change theirs

I have to admit, I’ve never come across someone like Pervez Musharraf. This is not necessarily a compliment. It’s simply a statement of fact.
But think about it — he’s a former dictator who revels in free speech much like a dedicated democrat; he’s a general who is, amazingly enough, also a gripping orator; he’s a stern disciplinarian but he has a winning sense of humour; he projects a tough commando exterior but his clothes reveal a sharp sense of sartorial elegance.
Indeed, he’s a man of so many apparent paradoxes, he’s impossible to define.
Last Saturday, as he held the India Today Conclave spellbound for over two and a half hours, my mind jumped to our own politicians and I couldn’t help compare Musharraf to them. Would Manmohan Singh and Sonia Gandhi or LK Advani and Prakash Karat willingly submit themselves to such hostile questioning from an Indian audience and emerge both unscathed and with their amour propre intact?
The question answers itself. Yet Musharraf has done just that but with one critical difference. The audience — the lions’ den — he faced was not his compatriots but Indians, who could be more accurately described as his enemies.
In contrast, it’s not just impossible to picture Manmohan Singh or Sonia Gandhi addressing 500 Pakistanis in the banquet hall of the Marriott in Islamabad; the fact of the matter is they are not even prepared to visit the country. And I would hate to think what could happen if they were questioned the way Musharraf was. Perish the thought!
However, the truth is Musharraf illustrates a deeper difference between India and Pakistan. Pakistanis make themselves accessible to us — be it phone-in interviews on television, formal addresses at conclaves and conferences or simply informal off-the-record chats. We, on the other hand, avoid such encounters like the plague.
It’s not simply that Pakistani politicians don’t hesitate to give Indians interviews. It’s also the sheer number of them. Musharraf, alone, probably gave half a dozen. Prannoy Roy and I got two each. Both he and Asif Zardari have addressed large gatherings in India live via satellite whilst in office and Benazir Bhutto was a frequent visitor and a favourite of our news channels. I don’t think there is even one she said no to. In fact, on one particular occasion she gave Aaj Tak two on the same day because the interviewer lost the tapes within minutes of obtaining the first!
In contrast, with the exception of LK Advani, I don’t think a single leading Indian politician has given the Pakistani media an interview. In fact, I’m prepared to bet that most would not even be prepared to meet them! Again, Advani is the exception.
However, Musharraf exemplifies a further quality our politicians would do well to emulate. He’s prepared to face up to his critics, take their hostile questions and spend hours defending his position whilst attempting to change theirs.
We may not agree with his arguments and often we disapprove of his tough language but it’s impossible not to admire his courage and be impressed by his performance. You may walk away from a Musharraf encounter put off by his personality but, despite that, you also know you’ve just met a very special man. That’s why Musharraf has fans in India and not just foes.
Sadly, many of our politicians refuse to face their critics. Indeed, some can even run away from their friends! The problem is they’re not prepared to pit their arguments against challenges. So rarely, if ever, do we see them under pressure, fighting to prove their point, fending off counter-arguments and winning respect for standing their ground.
Yet the paradox is politicians usually grow from such encounters. Musharraf did and still does. But if you shelter yourself from them you appear bonzai and shrunken. That’s why ours lose out.
Five weeks from a national election, I doubt if any of our politicians will heed this advice. But I’m prepared to wager that if one does he or she will win laurels. After all, fortune favours the brave!


Anonymous said...

When I first saw this video posted on Facebook with the title "Musharraf Slapped by Indian Muslim" I winced. I had not seen it yet and assumed an Indian had physically slapped him and thought of the Iraqi journalist who threw his shoe at President Bush. Regardless of the extent of disagreement - socio-political or on any other grounds, it represents a high degree of regression if that's how we decide to settle scores. In today's society and politics the idealistic hope is that people can talk about their issues and points of view.

I certainly dont understant the callouts in the video here because I believe both of them held their own. They have points of view and addressed each other respectfully throughout the conversation. As many people have stated - we can never be sure about the true intent, beliefs, and dark secrets of Musharraf and Madani. But the fact remains that they had a civil and passionate conversation, never once being patently disrespectful.

For anyone to see it as a nationalistic moment where one told the other off is simply juvenile since the issues and history run deeper than that. It is genuinely sad that too many rubbernecking bystanders look for cricket matches, incursions, bomb blasts etc to keep score on how we put the other in their place. The depressing fact remains that there is plenty more where that came from and it was genuinely refreshing to see two opposing personalities divided by their nationality AND united by their religion, language, and secrecy of their politics trying to have an adult conversation. I sincerely wish people would appreciate that.

Mr.Thapar's views and facts were genuinely interesting. I wonder what is at play that prevents Indian politicians from talking to the Pakistani media. I agree completely that it is a politician's job to take unpleasant questions just as much as it is Kareena Kapoor's job to wear skimpy clothes and shake her non-existent hips.

Since you asked for an Indian's view - there you have it. Late in the day I know, but this was when I saw it and have to add that from now I on I'll be a regular visitor to your blog! Very grounded and informative. Here's to hoping for better and saner dialogue between the two nations and more reasonable discourse from politicians. And as I was saying, that is what I believe these two men had but sadly most observers don't seem to think so...

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