Sunday, 30 October 2016

Tarek Fatah - A Moses for Indian Muslims?

Girish Menon

Image result for moses leading the israelites out of egypt

I do not sign in to You-tube under the assumption that my preferences will not be known to Google. Yet, whenever I visit the channel I am nudged to watch at least two new videos of Tarek Fatah. This could mean that despite my best efforts Google knows my preferences and tries to keep me happy by suggesting videos of a person I agree with. Could it also mean that Tarek Fatah is a growing Indian phenomenon and may lead Indian Muslims to discard the mullah and embrace secularism? Could it also mean that I am dreaming?

I have been reading and following Tarek Fatah’s writing and speeches for over five years now. When I first came across his work he appeared on Canada’s Rawal TV and had authored the work “The Jew is not my enemy”. Today, he appears to be a permanent fixture on Indian TV channels and is the envy of most aspiring politicians and godmen.

Tarek Fatah “an Indian who was born in Pakistan” is a Canadian citizen. He says that the definition of India or Indianness (Hindustani) cannot be restricted to the current political borders while continuing to ignore the Indus Valley civilisation and the historical cities of Lahore, Kesh and Nankana Sahib.

He is highly critical of Indians who badmouth Gandhi and Nehru while praising Jinnah. According to Fatah, Jinnah was a pork eating Shia, elected from a Muslims only constituency of Mumbai, who espoused the cause of the Nawabs of Uttar Pradesh and Bihar. Jinnah helped the state of Kalat negotiate independence from the British, got rewarded in his weight in gold, and then after Pakistan became free, sent in troops to annex what is now the troubled province of Baluchistan.

He is critical of Nehru and Abul Kalam Azad for not allowing Kalat and the North West Frontier province to join the Indian state despite them being much closer to the Indian border than erstwhile East and West Pakistan. He feels it is India’s responsibility to help resource rich Baluchistan (Kalat) break free from the yoke of Pakistan and to become a free country.

Another anathema to Fatah is the mullah. He feels that Indian Muslims have to make a clear choice between Allah’s Islam and Mullah’s Islam. Allah’s Islam is based on the Quran alone which was a revelation to God’s messenger Prophet Mohammed. Mullah’s Islam, on the other hand, which includes the Hadiths and the Sharia, is a view of the various aspirants to power who used Islam as a political ideology to control people. The mullah in India, like Hindu Brahmins, have ascribed to themselves the role of the sole agent of God and the interpreter of the religio - political legacies. The mullahs along with vote-bank politicians use this power to keep Indian Muslims, especially women, subjugated.

To me, I have been disturbed by some of the developments in history since the fall of the Soviet Union especially the rapid rise in ‘religious movements’ the most prominent being the Islamic one. I have been on the lookout for rationalists and secularists with Islamic sounding names and Fatah was the first one I encountered. I do hope that Fatah can lead a renaissance among Indian Muslims and thereby nudge Indian Hindus to move towards a more secular position as envisaged in the constitution. Power to you Tarek Fatah.

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