Karbala – a symbol of resistance against tyranny

The Islamic calendar corresponds to AD 622. During that year, the Prophet of Islam (PBUH) and his followers had migrated from Mecca to Yathrib (now Medina) and established the first Muslim State.  The Islamic, Muslim, or Hijri calendar is a lunar calendar consisting of 12 months in a year of 354 or 355 days. The first month of Hijri Calendar begins with Muharram, and in a few days, the moon of Muharram is upon us.

The Muslims, especially the Shia Muslims mourn in this month and recall the Message of Karbala, the martyrdom of Imam Hussain (as) and his family members and companions. Despite all the channels of information available today, non-Muslims particularly those living in the West generally have very little knowledge of the tragedy of Karbala.

It was deserted place in Iraq that was the site of the battle on 10 Moḥarram 61/10 October 680 between Imam Ḥussain (as) and the Omayyad army. Imam Hussain (as) with a party of seventy-two armed men and some women and children, was on his way from Medina to Kufa, whose inhabitants had invited him to lead the Islamic community there.

Before reaching Kufa, the caravan of Imam was intercepted by an Omayyad forces, On 2 Moḥarram his party reached the plain of Karbala, where they were surrounded by another 40,000-strong Omayyad force sent by ʿObayd-Allāh b. Ziād, the governor of Kufa, and led by ʿOmar b. Saʿd b. Abi Waqqāṣ, who had been instructed not to allow Imam Hussain (as) to proceed unless he would sign a pledge of allegiance to the caliph Yazid b. Moʿāwia. On 10 Moḥarram, known as ʿAshurah, the uneven battle took place in which all of Imam’s able male companions were slaughtered.

The Ommayad army looted Imam Hussain’s camp, decapitated the bodies of all his companions, and took prisoners all the women and children. Among them was Imam Hussain (as) surviving son ʿAlī, who became the fourth Shiʿite Imam, Zayn-al-ʿAbedin. The Karbala tragedy became the constitutive event of Shiʿism as a religion and the symbol of the victory of the righteous few over an oppressive majority. It was the backdrop of whatever went wrong in Islamic history.

Going in to the backdrop of this tragedy, let us recall that Imam Hasan (as), the older grandson of Prophet (PBUH) was earlier poisoned at the instance of Amir Muawiya – the ruler of Syria who had rebelled against the fourth Caliph of Islam Hazrat Ali (as). Imam Hussain (as) was the younger brother of Imam Hasan (as). Imam Hasan (as) had succeeded his father Imam Ali (as) as caliph.

The wily governor of Syria, Amir Muawiyah had eyed the caliphate for a long time. At one point, he went to battle with Imam Ali (as) and upon his death, persuaded his son Imam Hasan to abdicate in his favour.  Short of another war and the blood-letting that goes with it, Imam Hasan (as) saw no alternative.  He abdicated on condition that Amir Muawiyah would not appoint anyone as caliph after him.

But Amir Muawiyah reneged on his promise and appointed his hard-drinking son  Yazeed as caliph. Yazeed was the complete opposite of what a religious leader should be – fond of the pleasures of the world. Imam Husain declared “A man like me would never pay his allegiance to a man like Yazeed.

Imam Hussain (as) kept his pledge and sacrificed all that he had in the battle field of Karbala. As the tragedy of Karbala took place in the month of Muharrum, the Muslims recall his sacrifice in this period to revive the spirit of Islam. Karbala was the battle between justice and falsehood, the battle between freedom and slavery, the battle between humanity and oppression.

It is found in traditions that when the Prophet Muhammad [PBUH] informed Lady Fatima [a] of the martyrdom of his son, she burst into tears and asked “O my father! when would my son be martyred?” “At such a critical moment,” replied the Holy Prophet, “when neither I nor you, nor Ali would be alive.”

This accentuated her grief and she inquired again, “Who then, O my father, would commemorate Hussain’s martyrdom?” The Holy Prophet said, “The men and the women of a particular group of my followers, who will befriend my Ahlul-bayt, will mourn for Husayn and commemorate his martyrdom each year in every century.”

What is the lesson of Karbala? Apart from the physical suffering in martyrdom, and all sorrow and suffering that claim our sympathy, it give strength to withstand against tyranny – of any kind, It inspires the humanity to resists against all odds. It gives us courage to oppose the criminal prosecution; it gives us strength to set a bold front against injustice whether committed by Law of the Time, the State and the ruler or by our own people.

In Karbala we see a valiant soul standing against the power; when the noblest motives are reviled and mocked; when truth seems to suffer an eclipse.

Karbala reveals that “Truth after all can never die.” As Moulana Mohammed Ali Johar has said:

“Qatl-e-Hussain asal men marg-e-Yazid hai, Islam zinda hota hai har Karbala ke baad.”

The murder of Imam Hussain, in reality, is the death and defeat of Yazid. Islam is revived after every recurrence of the tragedy of Karbala.

The whole battle Karbala is for keeping hold of truth and righteousness. Imam Hussain (as) demonstrated in Karbala how the conduct – spiritual striving and suffering enduring firmness of faith and purpose. His act beacons that patience and courage goes a long way where ordinary mortals would give in or be cowed down.

Karbala gave the deathblow to the politics of Damascus and Yazid and all it stood for. The month of Muharram has the power to unite the different schools of thought in Islam, and make a powerful appeal to non-Muslims also.

On the eve before the massacre, the Imam Hussain (as) had asked everyone to leave – “The enemy is only after my blood. I would plead with you to leave “. But far from leaving, they exclaim in chorus ” even if we were to be killed 70 times, brought to life and killed again, we would still not leave you”.

Imam Husain (as) has been honoured by non-Muslims all over the world, especially in countries with a sizeable Shia population.

A Hindu poet Jai Singh has paid his tribute to Imam Hussain (as) in the following poem:

Hai  Aaj bhi Zamaay  Maeyn charcha Husain ka
Chlata hai kayenaat maeyn sikka Hussain ka
Bharat maeyn gar wo atay Bhagwan kahtay hum
Harr Hindu naam pooja maeyn japta Hussain ka

Sarr apna peet-ti hai jo pyason ki yaad maeyn
Layti hai naam Gunga o Jumna Husain ka
Is maeyn naheen kalam ke hum but parast haeyn
Ankhon se apni chhomeyn gay rauza Husain ka

Hum Paapion ke wastay Hurr ki mithaal hai
Chamkata hai naseeb ishara Husain ka
Jai Singh panaah manay gee mujh se narad ki aag
Maeyn Hindu hoon magar hoon maeyn Shaida Husain ka

Translation:

Husain’s name lives on to this day
Husain’s currency is valid the world over
Had he but come to India
Every Hindu would have worshipped him in his devotions

There s no doubt that we (Hindus) worship idols
We will kiss his grave and rub our eyes lovingly on it
For us sinners is the example of Husain
Husain’s call can change man’s destiny

Jai Singh, the fire of hell will not touch me
I am a Hindu but I love Husain

Sikh poet Kunwar Mahinder Singh Bedi ‘Sahar’ said:

Lubb pay jab Shah-e-Shaheedaan tera naam aata hai
Saamnay Saqi-e-Kauthar liay jaam ata hai
Mujh ko bhi apni ghulami ka sharaf day dijio
Kota sikka bhi to aaqa kabhi kaam ata hai

Translation:

O Prince of Martyrs, when your name comes upon my lips
I can see the Saqi-e-Kauthar (Imam Ali) offering me the drink of Paradise
Take me into your service as your slave
Surely a fake coin can also be useful

Zinda islam ko kiya too nay
Haq o batil dikha diya too nay
Jee ke marna to sabko aata tha
Mar ke jeena sikha diya too nay

Translation:

You gave a new lease of life to Islam
You showed the difference between the truth and falsehood
Everyone must see death after life
But you taught us how to live after death

In fact, it is not just Hindus & Sikhs who have lavished their praises on our Imams. As just one example, the Christian scholar George Jordach says about lmam Ali as follows:-

“All the treasures of the world cannot match the strap of his shoes”.   [source : The Voice of Human Justice]

Naim Naqvi

Did his graduation in Science discipline from AMU in 1972-73. He was Secretary of University Ali Society in 1970 and M.M. Hall Literary Society in early 70 's and member of Tayyabji Literary Society. Did his Diploma in Bakery Administration from HTT College Oxford Street London in 1987. Worked with National Herald - Delhi, Blitz - Bombay as Trainee Journalist and in Production Department with 'Naya Sansar Pictures' of Khwaja Ahmed Abbas at Bombay in early 70's. Traveled for study and training purposes to Germany, U.K., Switzerland, France, Dubai, Oman, AbuDhabi, Bahrain and Philepines.

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From Hussain Sagar to Lake Mansarovar – Let us watch Rahul Gandhi

It is the latest from the cultural centre of South – Hyderabad where soon after recommending the dissolution of the Telangana assembly, the Chief Minister K Chandrasekhar Rao, on Thursday, launched a blistering attack on the Congress. Describing AICC president Rahul Gandhi as the country’s ‘biggest buffoon,’ Telangana caretaker CM said the Congress party was the “biggest enemy and villain number one” of the state.

Let us recall that it was during the Congress rule when the State of Telangana was created. That a language of sophisticated city of Hyderabad could be so foul and excruciating, it reflects of levels of depravity our politics and politicians have fallen upon.

I hope and pray the scion of Nehru dynasty won’t respond to the un-parliamentary howler as the Persian quote – “Jawab-e-Jahilan bashad khamoshi.” The best response to an ignorant is silence.

Congress Party had been wiped out in the last general election of 2014. Following the same track as RSS / BJP, the tired horses of Congress Party are experimenting the ‘Soft-Hindutva’ approach which is evident from the visits of temples of Rahul Gandhi all over the country. And now, you can see him at the farthest frontier of “Lake Mansarovar” now in China.

There is an incessant propaganda of Bhagats that it was Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru who had surrendered this holy place to China. It’s all moonshine – propaganda gimmick. We all know that Mount Kailash and Lake Mansarovar situated in Tibet is now under the control of Chinese regime.

For Hindus, it’s known as Abode of Lord Shiva and revered place for us. It has mentioned in almost every sacred Hindu scripture. If we look at history of both places, none of Indian kingdom had controlled Kailash Mansarovar for recent past history and always fall under the Tibetan authorities of the time.

Lets us assume for a moment that last 500 year or even 1000 years  some Hindu ruler occupied  it but it does not mean that Indians occupied it. The fact is that Lord Shiva had a balck  skin while the Tibetian and Chinese belong to yellow race. It’s also mindboggling that a symbol of such a big mountain named after Hindu Lord can be in a Chinese territory.

A wild guess could be that there must have been Hindu followers in that area that were either pushed back to plains of India or converted to Buddhism. Of course, one time the whole India was a Buddhist country. So with that logic, it was a Indian territory occupied by black skinned people even before Chinese were Chinese.

We are talking about 5000–10000 years back. So blaming Pandit Nehru for Chinese control of both places is not the right thing. Even British Empire used Tibet as buffer state between China and India and never controlled the territory directly.

We may debate on Nehru’s policies towards Tibet and his role in Sino-Indo conflict but even different outcomes out of both the incidents would not change the fact on Kailash-Mansarovar. Rahul is there for real reasons and for some apparent reasons. Let us hope his prayers are answered and India is saved from previous and new cataclysms.

ut the story doesn’t end here. And Congress is expected to join hands with political opportunist Chandra Naidu of Andhra and now care-taker Chief Minister K Chandrasekhar Rao is going to fall, possibly, in the lap of RSS / BJP like a ripe mango before the assembly election in Telengana this year and at centre in 2019.

Now, let us travel from Hyderabad to China and Lake Manasarovar that lies at 15,060 ft above mean sea level. It is relatively round in shape with the circumference of 88 km. Its depth reaches a maximum depth of 300 ft and its surface area is 320 km2. It is connected to nearby Lake Rakshastal by the natural Ganga Chhu channel.

Lake Manasarovar is near the source of the River Sutlej, which is the easternmost large tributary of the River Sindhu. Nearby are the sources of the Brahmaputra River, the Indus River and the Ghaghra, an important tributary of the River Ganges.

It is believed that Lake Manasarovar is a personification of purity, and one who drinks water from the lake will go to the abode of Lord Shiva after death.

Like Mount Kailash, Lake Manasarovar is a place of pilgrimage, attracting religious people from India, Nepal, Tibet and neighboring countries. Bathing in Manasarovar and drinking its water is believed by Hindus to cleanse all sins. The region was closed to pilgrims from the outside following the Battle of Chamdo; no foreigners were allowed between 1951 and 1980. After the 1980s it has again become a part of the Indian pilgrim trail.

The followers of Buddhism associate the lake with the legendary lake Anavatapa (Sanskrit; Pali Anotatta) where Lady Maya is believed to have conceived Lord Buddha. The lake has a few monasteries on its shores, the most notable of which is the ancient Chiu Monastery built on a steep hill, looking as if it has been carved right out of the rock.

It is believed that Lord Buddha stayed and meditated near this lake on several occasions. Lake Manasarovar is also the subject of the meditative Tibetan tradition also, “The Jewel of Tibet”. A modern narration and description of the meditation was made popular by Robert Thurman.

In Jainism, Lake Manasarovar is associated with the first Tirthankara, Rishabha. As per Jain scriptures, the first Tirthankar, Bhagwan Rushabhdev, had attained nirvana on the Ashtapad Mountain. The son of Bhagwan Rishabhdev, Chakravati Bharat, had built a palace adorned with gems on the Ashtapad Mountain located in the serene Himalayas.

There are many stories related to Ashtapad Maha Tirth like Kumar and Sagar’s sons, Tapas Kher Parna, Ravan and Mandodri Bhakti, among many others.

So, Shri Rahul Gandhi had been to a nice place and hope it will do some good for him even if for not the country.

Naim Naqvi

Did his graduation in Science discipline from AMU in 1972-73. He was Secretary of University Ali Society in 1970 and M.M. Hall Literary Society in early 70 's and member of Tayyabji Literary Society. Did his Diploma in Bakery Administration from HTT College Oxford Street London in 1987. Worked with National Herald - Delhi, Blitz - Bombay as Trainee Journalist and in Production Department with 'Naya Sansar Pictures' of Khwaja Ahmed Abbas at Bombay in early 70's. Traveled for study and training purposes to Germany, U.K., Switzerland, France, Dubai, Oman, AbuDhabi, Bahrain and Philepines.

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Peace on Earth

And in despair I bowed my head;
“There is no peace on earth,” I said;

“For hate is strong,
And mocks the song
Of peace on earth, good-will to men!”

Then pealed the bells more loud and deep:
“God is not dead, nor doth He sleep;

The Wrong shall fail,
The Right prevail,
With peace on earth, good-will to men.”

…………………..H W Longfellow

Gimmicks can’t untie the complex knots. Very serious thinking, homework and often sacrifices are to be made to solve the complications created by history, geography, demography, false egos and vanity. Navjot Singh Sidhu has tried to enter into a territory where angels fear to tread.

However, for him, there is no way to retreat. He has made a silly mistake of embracing Bajwa. I still believe it was an innocent mistake of judgement that has harmed to no one and would harm to no one.

My feelings have been echoed in the article in ‘Hindustan Times’ by the well-known sport journalist Ayaz Memon.

He says: “Brouhaha over former cricketer and current politician Navjot Singh Sidhu hugging Pakistan’s army chief at Imran Khan’s swearing in ceremony as Prime Minister is not just manufactured and funny but senseless. The rancorous coverage that has followed shows immense silliness in section of media (and even more on social media) about foreign affairs and human interaction.”…..End of the quote.

Nobody is talking about the fine sensibility the Government of India has shown in directing its High Commissioner in Islamabad to present Imran a bat signed by the current Indian cricket players. There is so much between optics and politics of this gesture.

It should be taken with more sincerity and realism on both sides of the border. It is in the background of what Imran had said about “Taking two steps if India takes one.”

As the famous Eric Margolis, the American journalist has once described:

“A full century after World War I we still cannot understand how generals sent so many soldiers to be slaughtered. Ten million soldiers died on all sides; millions more were left maimed or shell shocked. Seven million civilians died. 20 million horses died.

The image we have of hapless soldiers being forced to climb out of their sodden trenches and attack across a hellish no-man’s land pock-marked by water-filled shell holes, deep mud, thickets of barbed wire and rotten bodies is quite accurate for the Western Front. Waiting for them were quick-firing guns, heavy artillery, the greatest killer or all – machine guns – and, later, poison or burning gases, and flamethrowers.

Ironically, though this big war was covered by very experienced war correspondents and military attachés from many nations, the dire message of the war was ignored by Western military establishments.”

In August 2006, Dr Manmohan Singh had said that peace talks between India and Pakistan can’t proceed unless the latter shows its commitment to dismantle terrorist camps on its soil.

On a question whether he would meet Pakistan president Perverz Musharraf at coming Havana summit, the ex-PM had said, “We can choose our friends but not our neighbours. ‘Batchit karne ke liye kisiko koi itraj nahin hona chaiye.’ (There should be no problem in talking with someone). But if Pakistan does not take effective steps to ‘control’ terrorist activities, peace process cannot simply progress”.

There is no such thing as bad peace and good war. Peace begins with a smile, so said Mother Teresa. This may seem overly sentimental but it is actually a pragmatic and powerful piece of advice.

Naim Naqvi

Did his graduation in Science discipline from AMU in 1972-73. He was Secretary of University Ali Society in 1970 and M.M. Hall Literary Society in early 70 's and member of Tayyabji Literary Society. Did his Diploma in Bakery Administration from HTT College Oxford Street London in 1987. Worked with National Herald - Delhi, Blitz - Bombay as Trainee Journalist and in Production Department with 'Naya Sansar Pictures' of Khwaja Ahmed Abbas at Bombay in early 70's. Traveled for study and training purposes to Germany, U.K., Switzerland, France, Dubai, Oman, AbuDhabi, Bahrain and Philepines.

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The memories of the month of August

BASIC, COBOL, FORTAN and WORDSTAR were the languages that were common before computers became the part of everyday’s life. While studying some computer’s beginner’s course at HTT College, Oxford Street, London, I’d an opportunity to befriend a bright colleague from Portugal – Manuela Coelho.

Most of our class-fellows leave good memories and she was no exception. However, she knew more about Indian history and Goa, about Vasco da Gama and Salazar, about Gandhi and Nehru. These were enough common topics that kept us often busy when she didn’t complain about the rents and bad manners of paying guest facility she was staying at Stamford Brook.

For years, after leaving England, we had been corresponding with each other. She was frank and honest even on paper about her setbacks and achievements; her breaks and new turns of life and the ups and downs of life. A decade passed and we lost touch and I don’t know what is happening to her life while I’m showing all the symptoms of slow down.

However, she taught me a Portuguese word Saudade that has no direct translation to English. May be in Urdu it would be near to Izmahal. It describes a deep nostalgia or profound melancholic longing for something or someone absent that one loves.

It also often carries a repressed knowledge that the object of longing might never return. It can be felt towards people and things whose whereabouts are unknown, or who has gone away or died. Saudade is “the love that remains” after someone is gone.

It is the recollection of feelings, experiences, places or events that once brought excitement, pleasure, well-being, which now trigger the senses and make one live again. It can be described as an emptiness, like someone that should be there in a particular moment is missing, and the individual feels this absence. It brings sad and happy feelings all together, sadness for missing and happiness for having experienced the feeling.

Come August and I begin to feel ‘Saudade’ as it was the month my mother had died in 1999 on 14th August; it was the month when my wonderful son Imroz Adeeb was born; my loving daughter Abida Naheed, the journalist, Script writer, documentary film director of Famous “A Road to Nowhere” had brought cheers for us with her birth. Fortunately or unfortunately, it is also the month when I’d vouchsafed the planet earth.

Yesterday, a new excitement, a sad event has been added to the joys of Independence Day – the death of Shri Atal Bihari Vajpayee. I used to read his speeches in newspapers as a child. Radio was the only means of electronic communications in those days.

It was only in mid 1970’s when I’d personally seen Vajpayee Ji in Bombay. He had come as a known leader of opposition then, to address a gathering at Mastani Talav (popularly known as Mastan Talab also) that was a Muslim populated area near Byculla. One of my AMU friend, Abdul Rab, from Saadullah Nagar Gonda, who was my resident colleague at Ziauddin Hostel, was teaching at SabuSiddique College suggested that we participate in the gathering.

We went together that evening and Vajpayee ji didn’t disappoint us, He was at his oratorical best with his chaste and polished Urdu. After his speech, he was surrounded by the crowd of admirers. What I heard of him and I can still vividly recall is as follows:

“Are mohatram, hum ne to kitini bar in Congress walon se kaha ke Shah Zafar aour unki begum ki qabron ko poori taran ehtram se takniki etabar se mumkin ho wapas Hindustan laya jaye. Magar yeh log sunne ko tayyar naheen………Pata naheen kab badshah ka koo-e-yar men do gaz zameeen na milne ka shikwah sukoon paye ga….”

Sir, how many times we’ve asked these Congressmen to bring back the graves of Shah Zafar and wife back to Hindustan. However, these people are not willing to listen…….No one knows when the emperor’s sorrow of two yards of earth in his friend’s habitat would me assuaged. …

I had fallen in love of Vajpayee Ji that moment. I know he was a smart and cunning politician and master of political gymnastics and his was not far behind his myopic colleagues of extreme right who had razed the Babri Masjid. He played his cards well. However, the first impression that Vajpayee Ji had created dominated over all his tricky errands.

He went the same day but 19 years after my mother died. I was in Hyderabad when I got the call of my younger brother that Mom had met a severe heart attack. I returned to Delhi by the earliest flight. We got her admitted in the hospital of well-known Muslim Heart Specialist and those few days were the most painful, according to her, of her life.

I used to sleep in the gallery of the hospital at night as it was ill equipped for the care she or patients like her needed. She was assigned a boy-nurse and that was the first time that she cried in her life. There was no female nurse near her. Early in the morning when she was taken for the natural call, she refused to go with the male-nurse. After coming back from toilet she refused to allow all the pins and needles and told me to take her back home – no hospitalization any more.

Somehow, the whole family persuaded to go to another hospital – Metro Heart, Noida. She was relieved and felt happy over there. We saw the serenity and satisfaction on her face. We thought and so the doctors that she would recover. After many days we all took our lunch in peace.

By the evening her condition took the turn for the worse. By 10.30 pm doctors called us that pray for her. They suggested to put her on ventilator if we so desire. As her obedient children we asked the doctors to do what they felt good. They put her on ventilator and after half an hour they announced the end of her journey.

By 11 pm she was gone, for ever. She died in peace and honour with all her children grieving at the hospital. By 1 am, as it was now 15th August, they handed over the body. She was, for us, everything in life – a pillar of our existence. Thank God, she was not a politician and there was no confusion in her death.

Let me share the sincerity of the heart specialist who had first admitted my mother at Rohini: He had apologised every time we met in any social gathering about the negligence that my mother had met at his place. He had also sent verbal messages of regret also through common friends.

Naim Naqvi

Did his graduation in Science discipline from AMU in 1972-73. He was Secretary of University Ali Society in 1970 and M.M. Hall Literary Society in early 70 's and member of Tayyabji Literary Society. Did his Diploma in Bakery Administration from HTT College Oxford Street London in 1987. Worked with National Herald - Delhi, Blitz - Bombay as Trainee Journalist and in Production Department with 'Naya Sansar Pictures' of Khwaja Ahmed Abbas at Bombay in early 70's. Traveled for study and training purposes to Germany, U.K., Switzerland, France, Dubai, Oman, AbuDhabi, Bahrain and Philepines.

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The sweeet-bitter memories of the month of August

BASIC, COBOL, FORTAN and WORDSTAR were the languages that were common before computers became the part of everyday’s life. While studying some computer’s beginner’s course at HTT College, Oxford Street, London, I’d an opportunity to befriend a bright colleague from Portugal – Manuela Coelho. Most of our class-fellows leave good memories and she was no exception. However, she knew more about Indian history and Goa, about Vasco da Gama and Salazar, about Gandhi and Nehru.

These were enough common topics that kept us often busy when she didn’t complain about the rents and bad manners of paying guest facility she was staying at Stamford Brook.

For years, after leaving England, we had been corresponding with each other. She was frank and honest even on paper about her setbacks and achievements; her breaks and new turns of life and the ups and downs of life. A decade passed and we lost touch and I don’t know what is happening to her life while I’m showing all the symptoms of slow down.

However, she taught me a Portuguese word Saudade that has no direct translation to English. May be in Urdu it would be near to Izmahal. It describes a deep nostalgia or profound melancholic longing for something or someone absent that one loves. It also often carries a repressed knowledge that the object of longing might never return.

It can be felt towards people and things whose whereabouts are unknown, or who has gone away or died. Saudade is “the love that remains” after someone is gone. It is the recollection of feelings, experiences, places or events that once brought excitement, pleasure, well-being, which now trigger the senses and make one live again.

It can be described as an emptiness, like someone that should be there in a particular moment is missing, and the individual feels this absence. It brings sad and happy feelings all together, sadness for missing and happiness for having experienced the feeling.

Come August and I begin to feel ‘Saudade’ as it was the month my mother had died in 1999 on 14th August; it was the month when my wonderful son Imroz Adeeb was born; my lovely daughter Abida Nahid, the journalist, film documentary maker, script writer and national award winner for her film “A Road to Nowhere” had brought cheers to family with her birth. Fortunately or unfortunately, it is also the month when I’d vouchsafed the planet earth.

Yesterday, a new excitement, a sad event has been added to the joys of Independence Day – the death of Shri Atal Bihari Vajpayee. I used to read his speeches in newspapers as a child. Radio was the only means of electronic communications in those days. It was only in mid 1970’s when I’d personally seen Vajpayee Ji in Bombay. He had come as a known leader of opposition then, to address a gathering at Mastani Talav (popularly known as Mastan Talab also) that was a Muslim populated area near Byculla.

One of my AMU friend, Abdul Rab, from Saadullah Nagar Gonda, who was my resident colleague at Ziauddin Hostel, was teaching at SabuSiddique College suggested that we participate in the gathering. We went together that evening and Vajpayee ji didn’t disappoint us, He was at his oratorical best with his chaste and polished Urdu. After his speech, he was surrounded by the crowd of admirers. What I heard of him and I can still vividly recall is as follows:

“Are mohatram, hum ne to kitini bar in Congress walon se kaha ke Shah Zafar aour unki begum ki qabron ko poori taran ehtram se takniki etabar se mumkin ho wapas Hindustan laya jaye. Magar yeh log sunne ko tayyar naheen………Pata naheen kab badshah ka koo-e-yar men do gaz zameeen na milne ka shikwah sukoon paye ga….”

Sir, how many times we’ve asked these Congressmen to bring back the graves of Shah Zafar and wife back to Hindustan. However, these people are not willing to listen…….No one knows when the emperor’s sorrow of two yards of earth in his friend’s habitat would be assuaged. …

I had fallen in love of Vajpayee Ji that moment. I know he was a smart and cunning politician and master of political gymnastics and he was not also far behind his myopic colleagues of extreme right who had razed the Babri Masjid. He played his cards well. However, the first impression that Vajpayee Ji had created dominated over all his tricky errands.

He went the same day but 19 years after my mother died. I was in Hyderabad when I got the call of my younger brother that Mom had met a severe heart attack. I returned to Delhi by the earliest flight. We got her admitted into the hospital of well-known Muslim Heart Specialist and those few days were the most painful, according to her, of her life. I used to sleep in the gallery of the hospital at night as it was ill equipped for the care she or patients like her needed.

She was assigned a male-nurse and that was the first time that she cried in her life. There was no female nurse near her. Early in the morning when she was taken for the natural call, she refused to go with the male-nurse. After coming back from toilet she refused to allow all the pins and needles to be reinserted and told us to take her back home – no hospitalization any more.

Somehow, the whole family persuaded her to go to another hospital – Metro Heart, Noida. She was relieved and felt happy over there. We saw the serenity and satisfaction on her face. We thought and so the doctors that she would recover. After many days we all took our lunch in peace.

By the evening her condition took the turn for the worse. By 10.30 pm doctors called us that pray for her. They suggested to put her on ventilator if we so desire. As her obedient children we asked the doctors to do what they felt good. They put her on ventilator and after half an hour they announced the end of her journey.

By 11 pm she was gone, for ever. She died in peace and honour with all her children grieving at the hospital. By 1 am, as it was now 15th August, they handed over the body. She was, for us, everything in life – a pillar of our existence. Thank God, she was not a politician and there was no confusion in her death.

Let me share the sincerity of the heart specialist who had first admitted my mother at Rohini: He had apologised every time we met at any social gathering about the negligence that my mother had met at his place. He had also sent verbal messages of regret through common friends.  

Naim Naqvi

Did his graduation in Science discipline from AMU in 1972-73. He was Secretary of University Ali Society in 1970 and M.M. Hall Literary Society in early 70 's and member of Tayyabji Literary Society. Did his Diploma in Bakery Administration from HTT College Oxford Street London in 1987. Worked with National Herald - Delhi, Blitz - Bombay as Trainee Journalist and in Production Department with 'Naya Sansar Pictures' of Khwaja Ahmed Abbas at Bombay in early 70's. Traveled for study and training purposes to Germany, U.K., Switzerland, France, Dubai, Oman, AbuDhabi, Bahrain and Philepines.

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The latest target of opprobrium – MEA Smt Sushma Swaraj

“Being a woman is a terribly difficult trade since it consists principally of dealings with men.” ― Joseph Conard (well known Polish British novelist)

It had been my firm conviction as a son, as a brother, as a husband, as a father and as a friend that women are more patient, tolerant, sophisticated and decent in most respects than men folks.

I assume that the trolls who are using all sort of filthy language against Minister of External Affairs Sushma Swaraj on social media now are men. They are a crowd of irrational bigots and the shame they’re bringing to their upbringing.   Sheer hate, just because the Minister of External Affairs Smt Sushma Swaraj has helped an inter-faith couple to get passport, she is being made the target of abuse and all sort of fanatical absurdities.

Earlier this week, Vikas Mishra, an officer in the regional passport office in Uttar Pradesh’s Lucknow was transferred after he allegedly humiliated the inter-faith couple, asking the woman to change her last name and the man to convert to Hinduism. Tanvi Seth and Anas Siddique had also alleged that Mishra misbehaved with them when they went to the passport office for the mandatory personal interview to get the travel document. Seth alleged Mishra not only declined to clear her application but also refused to renew her husband’s passport.

After the action taken by the Minister of External Affairs, all hell of social media is let lose upon her and her family while there seems to be no help coming from her party BJP or the leadership.

Someone asks her husband Swaraj Kaushal on twitter to “beat her up” for “Muslim appeasement”. Another troll re-tweeted the message posted by one Mukesh Gupta (@MG_IITDelhi) which asked him to beat his wife “when she comes home” and “teach her not to do Muslim appeasement” as “Muslims never vote for the BJP”.

I’ve often felt that Smt Sushma Swaraj is NOT in a party she deserves to be or she she should be. Of course, she have had often shown her feet of clay in politics. However, she is unlucky also as she had narrowly missed in the last race of Prime Ministership. In Sep 2012, the Shiv Sena Supremo Bal Thackeray  had said that leader of opposition in Lok Sabha Sushama Swaraj is the only leader in the ally BJP who would make a “deserving” Prime Minister.

In part three of his marathon interview, published by Sena mouthpiece ‘Saamana’ he wrote: “At present there is only one person who is intelligent, brilliant – Sushma Swaraj. “I have said this many times… She would be a great choice for PM’s post. She is a deserving, intelligent woman. She would deliver a great performance.”.

Mr Thackeray’s comments had come in the wake of pre-poll arguments about the then Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi who had been widely pitched as a potential prime ministerial candidate. Before that his party had consistently refrained from projecting him as one.

This was largely due to the strong discomfort among its allies, most notably Nitish Kumar’s Janata Dal(United) which has made it amply clear that Mr Modi would not be acceptable as the NDA’s prime ministerial candidate. Mr Kumar, the chief minister of Bihar, did not name his Gujarat counterpart, but said a contender for PM must have “clean and secular” credentials. What had followed after that is now part of history and very soon the story would go into the folklore. We have to wait for 2019 Lok Sabha elections.

The silent observers in India and around the globe are helplessly watching journalists like Barkha Dutt, Sagarika Ghose, Ravish Kumar, Rajdeep Sardesai, Rana Ayyub, Rahul Kanwal and others facing online abuse every day. Even politicians from political parties across the spectrum, on some occasion or the other, have been victims or part of internet trolling.

In 2015, former Union Minister Arun Shourie was attacked for criticising the Modi government. In an interview to NDTV he had said, “If you gave me an opportunity to read the kind of abuse that has been hurled at me and my handicapped son, your viewers will be horrified…. They wrote, ‘Jiska mental son hai, woh aur bhi mental banega.’ These damned fools are followed by the PM on the social media.”

Senior journalist Paranjoy Guha Thakurta, who was trolled for an article recently, shared how the world over people were fighting an “organised army of trolls, paid for by those with vested interest, either political or corporate”.

“And, especially the extreme-right-wing people are using the techniques and the tactics in a Goebbels-like manner to spread misinformation, which is propaganda, for a purpose, which is extremely pernicious. Fake news is being spread through WhatsApp and other media to foment hatred and tension, like in the Muzaffarnagar riot case,” he said. “Facebook has more users than the population of China and it’s only growing. So, it cannot be ignored or wished away,” Thakurta said.

In this episode of Sushma’s trolling, Her husband Governor has sorrowfully replied the trolls:

“Your words have given us unbearable pain. Just to share with you, my mother died of cancer in 1993. Sushma was an MP and a former Education Minister. She lived in the hospital for a year. She refused to engage a medical attendant and attended on my dying mother personally. Such was her devotion to the family. As per my father’s wish, she lit my father’s pyre. We adore her. Please do not use such words for her. We are first generation in law and politics. We pray for nothing more than her life. Pls convey my profound regards to your wife.

The soft and sophisticated response of Sushma Swaraj is really appreciable:

“I was out of India from 17th to 23rd June 2018. I do not know what happened in my absence. However, I am honoured with some tweets. I am sharing them with you. So I have liked them,” she tweeted.

Will it make any difference?

Naim Naqvi

Did his graduation in Science discipline from AMU in 1972-73. He was Secretary of University Ali Society in 1970 and M.M. Hall Literary Society in early 70 's and member of Tayyabji Literary Society. Did his Diploma in Bakery Administration from HTT College Oxford Street London in 1987. Worked with National Herald - Delhi, Blitz - Bombay as Trainee Journalist and in Production Department with 'Naya Sansar Pictures' of Khwaja Ahmed Abbas at Bombay in early 70's. Traveled for study and training purposes to Germany, U.K., Switzerland, France, Dubai, Oman, AbuDhabi, Bahrain and Philepines.

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The Dark Clouds

“A Sunset with Peace” is an article that was written eight years ago. I’ve received thousands of likes for that article and it is included in my book “Despair and Hope.”

However, an article published today, 27th June 2018, in “Hindustan Times” by an Anonymous writer has sent a shiver down my spine. It is a story of a septuagenarian who was shifted to an assisted living facility by his NRI son after a by-pass surgery.

Here are some excerpts of the article:

Living away had taken its toll on my outlook and life turned negative.

More than even children, I miss my wife. She moved to my daughter’s house in another city when she developed arthritis. She was not able to walk on her own and I was not able to assist her. I did not want to be an additional burden on my daughter so I continued to live on my own. It is difficult for her to come visit me here as she can not travel alone.

It was my bad luck that my son found a job in America. He came down to India, stayed with me while I had a by-pass surgery and moved me to a short stay, assisted living facility for the elderly in Delhi. He returned. I did not question the decision as I believe that my son wanted the best for me. I would never want to come in the way of his successful career. He had promised me to visit in March. It is already June.

As parents grow old, their needs actually become fewer. They don’t want to become a burden on anyone. They understand if their children live separately.

The only thing they want from their children is a little time.

I do hope and pray that when I die I am not alone. My children may be busy so I can accept if they are not with me but I want to be with my wife in my last days.

I saw some other people pass away without having their family around and that scares me.

Note : I hope and pray that it won’t happen with other parents facing the similar dilemma. But it reminds me the story of film “Baghban.”

Naim Naqvi

Did his graduation in Science discipline from AMU in 1972-73. He was Secretary of University Ali Society in 1970 and M.M. Hall Literary Society in early 70 's and member of Tayyabji Literary Society. Did his Diploma in Bakery Administration from HTT College Oxford Street London in 1987. Worked with National Herald - Delhi, Blitz - Bombay as Trainee Journalist and in Production Department with 'Naya Sansar Pictures' of Khwaja Ahmed Abbas at Bombay in early 70's. Traveled for study and training purposes to Germany, U.K., Switzerland, France, Dubai, Oman, AbuDhabi, Bahrain and Philepines.

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No Iftar Party in President House this Ramazan

During the Parliament’s winter session of Nov 2015, Indians watched an interesting debate about Secularism and its status in the reality framework. Indians also recalled an earlier attempt by the previous NDA regime (1998-2004) to force a review of the Constitution.

India is socialist, secular, democratic republic and word secular was added into the preamble by the 42th Amendment (1976). As per this there would be equality of all religions in India, along with religious tolerance and respect. As per the written Constitution of India, India is a secular country and we as citizens of India must abide by it. Even the old age philosophy of oneness of religion has been mentioned in Hindu scriptures known as the Upanishads. The Upanishads preach ‘Sarva Dharma Samabhava’ which means respect for all belief systems.

Let us remember that Indian constitution has not made the laws to define the relationship between religion and state. However, soon after independence, many political leaders started preaching communal ideology, which led to India becoming a combination of communalism and secularism. Since the early 1980’s communalism became so strong that it began to overshadow the secularism. New words like “sickular” and “pseudo-secularism” were coined.

The 1984 anti-Sikh riots in Delhi, The Babri Masjid demolition controversy in 1992, militancy in Kashmir have brought up the sharp contours of communalism versus secularism. Communal forces began to oppress the minorities and the fault lines of democratic India began to emerge in broad day light. Communal and religious clashes became the biggest question on the definition of “secularism” in present day India.

Today, the vested interest of people behind communalism are trying to defeat the ‘Sarva Dharma Sambhav’ philosophy. Religion is personal and must not interference with politics. However, in situations of damage to religious sentiments the government is expected to deal with the perpetrators strictly and the guilty must be punished.

On the occasion to mark the 125th birth anniversary year of Dr. B.R. Ambedkar and to commemorate the adoption of the Constitution in the Constituent Assembly on November 26, 1949, the Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh had questioned the manner in which secularism is being used in contemporary discourse. The background of this disputation was the idea of the Bharatiya Janata Party-led National Democratic Alliance government. It wanted a two-day debate on how far the values of the Constitution are being understood today.

The Ex-Congress president Sonia Gandhi had argued that the principles enshrined in the Constitution were ‘under deliberate attack’ and secularism is a core value in the constitutional system. Mr. Rajnath Singh had expressed the view that ‘secularism’ is the most misused word in Indian politics and that the time has come to end such misuse came close to questioning the continuing relevance of the very concept of secularism.

It was interesting and reassuring that Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s had emphatically ruled out any such review and reaffirmed his government’s commitment to the core principles of the Constitution. In fact he had deflated the trial balloon flown by communalist fringe elements of BJP / NDA who are always engaged in fomenting the communal utterances. The prime minister had shut the debate asserting that the only religion for his government was ‘India first’ and the only holy book, the Constitution.

It is a good news that President Ram Nath Kovind will not host an Iftar party at the Rashtrapati Bhavan this year, said an official on Wednesday. “After the Ram Nath Kovind took office, he decided there would be no religious celebrations or observances in a public building such as Rashtrapati Bhavan on taxpayer’s expense. This is in keeping with the principles of a secular state and applies to all religious occasions, irrespective of religion,” Ashok Malik, Press Secretary to the president was quoted as saying by PTI.

Let all the religious fanatics who want to turn the Secular India into a Theoritical Hindu Rashtra take a lesson or two from the example the President is setting.

Naim Naqvi

Did his graduation in Science discipline from AMU in 1972-73. He was Secretary of University Ali Society in 1970 and M.M. Hall Literary Society in early 70 's and member of Tayyabji Literary Society. Did his Diploma in Bakery Administration from HTT College Oxford Street London in 1987. Worked with National Herald - Delhi, Blitz - Bombay as Trainee Journalist and in Production Department with 'Naya Sansar Pictures' of Khwaja Ahmed Abbas at Bombay in early 70's. Traveled for study and training purposes to Germany, U.K., Switzerland, France, Dubai, Oman, AbuDhabi, Bahrain and Philepines.

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“Despair and Hope” – a book by Naim Naqvi

Despair and Hope

My valuable readers,

This book “Despair and Hope” is written for those who are looking neither for a broad social, political and historical canvass nor a specialization of any topic. It is meant to help you pass your time in a positive way without racking the brain. It is likely to impart the feelings of a Parisian flaneur in a book bazaar doing a literary tour. You may find a variety of subjects that are not new but refreshing. You may agree or disagree with the views and observations but would open a window for argument and discussion.

You might find it interesting to read how a non-intellectual, ordinary mind also puts up an idea that makes some sense. You may discover a latent streak of rebellion against the established thoughts without a touch of being iconoclast. No techniques of complex solutions are concocted here but an interesting easy way out of problems is presented for most of the loaded discussions.

In my literary journey, I had come across a lot of friends who talked about the subjects presented in this book. I have added some ideas to their dialogue. There is nothing extraordinary in this book but I’m sure that it would satisfy a little of your curiosity.

In the very first chapter ‘Religion and Reason’ of this book I’ve tried to open a dialogue and the tone what follows next.

“It was not my personal choice to be born in a family I landed. In the busy life of today, very few of us have time to go through and study all that the contemporary religions could offer. A normal human being is defined by his her birth certificate which is the description of birth and antecedents. If one has to explore the deeper truths of creation and existence today, one life or several lives won’t suffice to find the ultimate reality. The concept of FAITH has to enter in life. So, I’m satisfied with the set of beliefs I’d inherited from my parents, relatives, neighbors and the society where I lived. My religion is a Gift of God. Good luck also to all deeply religious zealots and sincere souls. I have no argument with those who believe otherwise. Everyone has to bear his own cross. I’m what I’m and I’m content with what I’m.”

The article is concluded with the following lines:

“To me, the spirit of religion is to serve the mankind. Unfortunately, the new insular movements in the Islamic world are closing the windows of fresh air of thoughts. The kind of freedom that science demands is not to be found among the fanatic fringes of Islamic world.”

In another chapter – ‘The Shia Sunni Unity’ I’ve expressed the following personal thought:

“I have worked hard through my life to understand this cleavage and discover the real reason but have miserably failed to decide the side which is RIGHT in absolute terms. My feeling of being torn between the doctrines of Shia Islam and Sunni Islam has often driven me to despair and nervous breakdown. And every new quest for truth led me to a sadder explosion or transported me into an even worse cul-de-sac. Ironically, several individuals both from the major Islamic sects sincerely seek to please God by disparaging the other sect with all their might.”

Similarly, the article ‘Black is Beautiful’ begins with the following lines:

“The centre of cultural gravity was shifted when Nelson Mandela challenged and defeated the Apartheid regime of South Africa. The prejudice against dark skin gave way once Barrak Hussain Obama, a darky himself, became the President of the most powerful nation on earth. Back home, a lot of water has also flown below the bridge of the river Gomti since Gandhi’s return from South Africa.

However, the bias against swart, swarthy and dusky skin persists extensively in our Indian society.”

For a change of taste, in the chapter – ‘Rooh Afza’ you would read these lines:

“But none of these drink command that love, respect and loyalty that the ‘Rooh Afza enjoys from its consumers. On a hot day nothing quenches the thirst like Rooh Afza. From the time of ‘One India’, before the advent of Pakistan and Bangla Desh, the pleasant rose-pink tint and its delicate flavor has been savored by most of the denizens irrespective of faith and geography. Rooh Afza still unites the three divided nations. In almost every third home of the county you can find the half empty bottles that had never changed its looks.”

Paying my tributes to Baba Amte I’ve written:

“However, a rainy night changed his entire approach to life.

No, he didn’t meet a beautiful girl that ‘Barsat Ki Raat’ as happens to romantic and impractical poets in dreams. Sagacious and practical people encounter harsh realities. On his way home, he saw a leper named Tulshiram who was lying naked by the road.  The sight of his fingerless and maggot-ridden body sent shock through Amte’s spine. He was horrified. His initial impulse prompted him to leave the place fearing infection. However, a second thought and call of conscience compelled Baba Amte to help the destitute. He decided to feed the man with his own hands and gave him shelter for the rest of his life.”

In the chapter – “Islam and Suicide” there is heartrending discussion about this horrible act and attitude of Islam.

“Suicide is the act of intentionally causing one’s own death. It is an act of helplessness, defeat and nihilism (the rejection of all religious and moral principles). Several causes like disturbed family life, free fall from a high social, political and economic pedestal, loneliness, breach of trust etc. are attributed to it. But the fulcrum of this move is always depression.

The Holy Quran Prohibiting Killing of Oneself or Others:

O you who have believed, do not consume one another’s wealth unjustly but only [in lawful] business by mutual consent. And do not kill yourselves. Indeed, Allah is to you ever Merciful.”.

………………………………….Surat An-Nisa 4:29

“And spend in the Cause of Allah and do not throw yourselves in destruction.”

………Surat Al-Baqrah 2:195

The book ends with a very humble confession and revelation about my own life:

“I never looked back since then. Jamal touched the dazzling heights of his professional career, and I had somehow managed to survive as I stand before you. Today, this one of the dearest friend of my life is suffering from Retina Eye Problems. He is going to be operated on 4th of April. I’m willing to give him one of my eye but being a severe heart patient with several stunts in my body, coupled with the SUGAR visitation and Backaches, the Doctors feel that no choice would be worse than any of my body organs.”

Naim Naqvi

The book is available as an e-book   :    https://www.my-books.in

Also on amazon.com

In India     : https://www.amazon.in/dp/9386474832

In USA       : https://www.amazon.com/dp/9386474832

In UK          : https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/9386474832

In France    : https://www.amazon.fr/dp/9386474832

In Italy        : http://www.amazon.it/dp/9386474832

In Japan     : http://www.amazon.co/jp/dp/9386474832

In Brazil      : http://www.amazon.de/dp/9386474832

Naim Naqvi

Did his graduation in Science discipline from AMU in 1972-73. He was Secretary of University Ali Society in 1970 and M.M. Hall Literary Society in early 70 's and member of Tayyabji Literary Society. Did his Diploma in Bakery Administration from HTT College Oxford Street London in 1987. Worked with National Herald - Delhi, Blitz - Bombay as Trainee Journalist and in Production Department with 'Naya Sansar Pictures' of Khwaja Ahmed Abbas at Bombay in early 70's. Traveled for study and training purposes to Germany, U.K., Switzerland, France, Dubai, Oman, AbuDhabi, Bahrain and Philepines.

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An honourable settlement of Ayodhya dispute

“Yad-e-Mazi azaab hai Ya Rabb, cheen le Mujh se Hafza mera.”

The recollections of past are scourge. Oh my God, take away my memory from me.”

I could vividly recall the ‘Chariot’ of Shri L K Advani, Shri Narendra Modi sitting almost at the vanguard before the razing of the Babri Mosque at Ayodya. Babri Masjid was ultimately demolished and the demolition sparked some of the deadliest riots in India’s independent history and deepened religious divisions that still exist today.

I want to forget that disastrous incident like a bad dream.

Those were the heady days for Advani Ji. Even Shri Atal Bihari Vajpayee didn’t enjoy that clout. Come 2012 and in the month of September, the Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi would use the hi-tech “chariot” that his mentor L K Advani rode during his Jan Chetna Yatra last year.

On a visit to Ayodhya, the BJP’s state chief in Uttar Pradesh that time, Shri Keshav Prasad Maurya had described the BJP’s electoral strategy: emphasize development, expose corruption.

Asked about demands to build the Hindu temple, he said the courts should decide.

In 2002, Shri Rajnath Singh was the first chief minister who had offered prayers at the Ayodhya Site. No Mukhya Mantri of UP has, in the past 15 years, visited the disputed site to offer prayers. After a long passage of time, Yogi Adityanath, the well known Sadhu / Politician known for his aggressive pro-Hindutva stand for many years offered prayers at the Ram Lalla temple in Ayodhya after the demolition of the Babri Masjid on December 6, 1992. His visit to Ayodhya was described by the tamed media and saffron brigade as as a ‘return to Treta Yuga.’

Kick-starting the BJP’s civic poll campaign for the three-phase civic election in the state due on November 22, 26 and 29, the chief minister Yogi Adityanath said that SP and BSP did not like his visits to the temple town. Ayodhya goes to polls in the first phase.

The ‘Art Of Living’ founder on Wednesday pays a “courtesy call” to Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath. The CM welcomes Sri Sri Ravi Shankar’s role in talks and says, “Since the government isn’t party to the case, I had already told the stakeholders that if they can come to a final decision on the matter through dialogue, then the government is committed to fully back it. But if they can’t come to such a decision… if they can’t talk it out… then it is in the court… and we will obey whatever is the court’s decision.”

Following the meeting, Shankar said, “I want unity… I want amity. This is just a beginning. We will talk to all,” reported PTI.

Former BJP MP Ram Vilas Vedanti on Thursday questions Sri Sri Ravi Shankar’s offer to mediate in the Ayodhya dispute, adding that the Art of Living Founder has intervened in the issue to “avoid” being probed for his amassed wealth. His comments come on the same day Ravi Shankar is scheduled to visit Ayodhya to meet all stakeholders involved in the dispute.

“Who is Sri Sri Ravi Shankar to mediate? He should continue running his NGO and hoarding foreign funds. I believe he has amassed a lot of wealth and to avoid a probe he has jumped into Ram Temple issue,” Vedanti was quoted as saying by news agency ANI. Vedanti, who has been associated with the Ram Temple movement, has in the past too rejected Ravi Shankar’s offer to mediate in the dispute.

The people of town of Ayodhya have witnessed frequent visits of Yogi Adityanath. He has been sharpening his Hindutva agenda as he has recently attacked the SECULAR concept of Indian democracy. It is strange that a law maker who has taken the oath of Indian Constitution openly repudiating rather disparaging a focal concept of Constitution.

Our Prime Minister Modi has chosen to maintain silence but has given second-rung BJP leaders carte blanche to act as loose cannons and that is a part of well thought out RSS strategy. Modi has not visited Ayodhya even once in his prime-ministerial tenure of more than three years. Even when Modi visited Ayodhya’s twin city, Faizabad, in 2014 to address a rally organised in support of the BJP Lok Sabha candidate Lallu Singh, he refused to open his mouth on the Ayodhya issue.

It is neither Modi nor Adityanath who prefer their own tracks. It is the RSS design. Politics, Otto Von Bismarck said, politics is the art of the possible. But trust our politicians; they just don’t make things possible, they create them.

Yesterday, the senior saffronites had pulled down the Babri Masjid and now the new turks want to build a temple there with harmony and goodwill, persuading the Muslims to show magnanimity on the Ram temple construction issue. The argument is triggered that in a Hindu-majority country, it is expected of the Muslim minority to show big heart to Hindu majority and respect the faith of the Hindus. The idea has no place to include respect for the faith of the Muslims. The fundamentals of a peaceful and honourable settlement demand that all parties to a dispute are treated as equals. With the cunning tactics to force the other side into abject surrender is unacceptable.

However, as so many are joining the BJP bandwagon and the never-ending stream of Turncoat politicians and chameleon politicians knock the door, the saffronites are sure of winning Gujarat in 2017 and centre in 2019. Only the time will tell what the future holds for the secular India.

Naim Naqvi

Did his graduation in Science discipline from AMU in 1972-73. He was Secretary of University Ali Society in 1970 and M.M. Hall Literary Society in early 70 's and member of Tayyabji Literary Society. Did his Diploma in Bakery Administration from HTT College Oxford Street London in 1987. Worked with National Herald - Delhi, Blitz - Bombay as Trainee Journalist and in Production Department with 'Naya Sansar Pictures' of Khwaja Ahmed Abbas at Bombay in early 70's. Traveled for study and training purposes to Germany, U.K., Switzerland, France, Dubai, Oman, AbuDhabi, Bahrain and Philepines.

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