मंगलवार, 30 नवंबर 2010

Omar Khalidi, Chronicler of Hyderabad and Champion of Minority Rights

By Mohammed Ayub Khan

The untimely death of Dr. Omar Khalidi leaves a huge void in the field of Indian Muslim studies in general and in Hyderabad studies in particular. The author of more than two dozen books and scores of academic articles, his contributions are many. The subjects of his books include minority rights, history, architecture, economics, demography, politics,  Urdu education, military history, library science, cataloguing, etc. But he will forever be remembered as the man whose incisive writings inspired the Sachar Committee to seek a community wise census of the Indian armed forces. This fact even though officially unacknowledged is widely known.  

Born in 1953 in Hyderabad Dr. Khalidi was initiated into the scholarly world by his father, Abu Nasr Muhammad Khalidi, who was a specialist in the fields of Islamic studies and Urdu literature at Osmania University.  He studied at the famous Madrassa-e-Aaaliyah High School  in Hyderabad. He later on completed his BA in history at the Wichita State University, Kansas (1980), ALM from the Harvard University School of Extension Studies (1991), and his PhD from the University of Wales-Lampeter, UK (1994).  

During the 1980s he worked at the King Saud University in Riyadh and then moved back to the United States, eventually joining the staff of Massachusetts Institute of Technology in Boston.  At the time of his death he served as the librarian at the Aga Khan Program for Islamic Architecture at MIT. 

His scholarly venture began when he wrote ‘The British Residents at the Court of the Nizams of Hyderabad  in 1981.  From then on he wrote or edited more than twenty five books. The most memorable book edited by him continues to be ‘Hyderabad After the Fall’  published twenty two years ago.  The book documents the fall of the independent state of Hyderabad and its impact on the Muslim community. Before the publication of this book the events surrounding Operation Polo and its aftermath were long forgotten and undocumented. It was Khalidi who had dug up excerpts from the Pandit Sunderlal Commission report which for the first time offered a glimpse into what really happened in 1948 as Hyderabad was amalgamated into the Indian union.

Broadening his scholarly horizon Khalidi began researching the socio-economic and political issues from the early 1990s. This culminated with the publishing of Khaki and Ethnic Violence in India: Army, Police, and Paramilitary Forces During Communal Riots (2003) and ‘Muslims in Indian Economy’ (2006). With meticulous documentation these two books were instrumental in shining the light on the institutional discrimination against Muslims in India.  L.K. Advani had personally held Khalidi responsible for the Sachar Committee’s request for a community wise census and attacked him for allegedly tarnishing the secular credentials of the army.

Khalidi’s thesis that India is not a secular state because of entrenched Hinduism in the country’s official machinery caused an uproar. Similarly, there was a nasty campaign initiated against him by right wing groups when he organised a seminar entitled ‘Group Violence, Terrorism, and Impunity—Challenges to Secularism and Rule of Law in India’ on April 9-10, 2010 at MIT.  The right wing extremists called him anti-India and anti-Hindu. He was none of that sort and was often heard reciting  ‘khaak-e-watan ka mujh ko  harr zarra dewata hai.’  At a panel session on Indian Muslims at the Islamic Society of North America convention this year he spoke on the resilience of Indian Muslims and how they can serve as role models for other Muslim communities living as minorities. Most recently Khalidi had written a piece calling the Archaeological Survey of India as a ‘Handmaiden of Hindutva’ for its  distorting of history.  Despite his strong critiques of the Indian state machinery he had a firm belief in the idea of India as a secular, democratic, and progressive nation where the rights are guaranteed for all.  

Apart from his scholarly work Khalidi was also an activist and participated in the activities of all Indian Muslim organizations in the USA including the American Federation of Muslims of Indian Origin (of which he served as the regional Vice president), the Indian Muslim Relief and Charities, the Indian Muslim Council, and the Association of Indian Muslims.  When the right wing Hindu leader Sadhwi Rithambara was scheduled to speak near Boston Dr. Khalidi wrote an article titled ‘No room for extremist hate in Waltham’ which was published in the Metro West Daily News.  He regularly wrote for the Economic and Political Weekly, the Outlook, India Abroad, Two Circles, and other print and internet media outlets.

For myself Dr. Khalidi’s death is a personal loss for he was a friend, mentor, and guide. Despite being much senior he was always eager to know my thoughts on various issues. He had no hesitation in revising his own opinions and discussed all issues in a jovial and friendly manner.  In our lengthy conversations never once did he discuss personalities. He always talked about issues and the ways of rectifying them. 

A bridge builder he  worked on uniting the people. His visits to various countries, sponsored by the US State Department, were a part of this effort. 

The last time we spoke he informed that he was working on a book on Urdu medium schools in India and was eagerly looking forward to attend a conference organized by the history department of Osmania University.  He was also planning on bringing out a book on Hyderabadi Muslims since 1948 and had asked me collaborate on it.  His unfinished work will be greatly missed. 

The void left by Dr. Khalidi will be long felt by the global Indian Muslim community.  For quite some time there will be no one to take to task the might of the anti-secular forces in India on an academic level. May God bless his soul and grant him the highest stations in jannah.  
Aisa kahan sey laiyen key tum sa kahein jisey

Mohammed Ayub Khan is a doctoral student in political science.

Books Written by Dr. Omar Khalidi

Muslims in Indian Economy (2006). Publisher: Three Essays Collective.

Muslims in the Deccan: A Historical Survey (2006). Publisher: Global Media Publications. 

An Indian Passage to Europe: The Travels of Fath Nawaz Jang (2006). Publisher: Oxford University Press.

The British Residency in Hyderabad: An Outpost of the Raj (1779-1948). Publisher : British Association for Cemeteries in South Asia. 

Between Muslim Nationalists and Nationalist Muslims: Maududi’s Thoughts on Indian Muslims (2004). Publisher: Institute of Objective Studies.

Khaki and Ethnic Violence in India: Army, Police, and Paramilitary Forces During Communal Riots (2003). Three Essays Press.

A Guide to Arabic, Persian, Turkish, and Urdu Manuscript Libraries in India (2003). Middle East Librarians Association. 

Romance of the Golconda Diamonds (1999). Publisher:  Mapin Publishing.

Suqut-e-Hyderabad: Chashm Deed Aur Muasir Tahreeron Par Mushtamil  Manzar Aur Pesh Manzar (Edited with Dr. Muinuddin Aqil) (1998). Publisher: All India Majlis Tameer-e-Millat. 

Indian Muslims Since Independence (1995). Vikas Publishing House. 

Islamic Literature in the Deccani Languages: Kannada, Marathi, & Telugu (1995). Publisher:  Hyderabad Historical Society. 

Memoirs of Sidney Cotton (1994). Publisher: South Asia Press.

Shama-e-Faroozan: Chand Ilmi Aur Adabi Shakhsiyatoon Ke Halaat-e-Zindagi Aur Karname (1992). Publisher : Azmi and Sons.

Memoirs of Cyril Jones: People, Society, and Railways in Hyderabad (1991). Publisher: Manohar Publications. 

Factors in Muslim Electability to Lok Sabha (1991). Harvard University Press. 

Indian Muslims in North America (1990). South Asia Press.

Hyderabad After the Fall (1988) Publisher: Hyderabad Historical Society. 

African Diaspora in India: The Case of the Habashis of Deccan (1988) Publisher: Hamdard National Foundation. 

Deccan Under the Sultans, 1296-1724: A Bibliography of Monographic and Periodical Literature (1987). Publisher: Hyderabad Historical Society. 

Hyderabad State Under the Nizams, 1724-1948: A Bibliography of Monographic and Periodical Literature (1985). Publisher: Hyderabad Historical Society. 

The British Residents at the Court of the Nizams of Hyderabad (1981) Publisher: Hyderabad Historical Society. 

Caste and Caste-Based Discrimination among Indian Muslims

Caste Based Discrimination in Muslim Community seems to be on the rise and it is important that we strongly come out and condemn views which encourage casteism in Muslims.

The below article is only an indication of the malaise.

In 2007, Masood Alam Falahi, a graduate of a madrasa and then a 27 year-old M.Phil. student at Delhi University, wrote a voluminous, almost 600-page, Urdu book titled Hindustan Mai Zat-Pat Aur Musalman (‘Casteism Among Muslims in India’). Weaving together insights from fieldwork and key writings by influential Indian Muslim scholars, including Muslim clerics on the subject of caste, the book is a pioneering study of caste-based discrimination among the Indian Muslims and of the continued domination of ‘high’ caste Muslims that parallels, in remarkable ways, the Hindu case.

Realising the importance of this pioneering book, I have begun translating key portions of it, which I plan to send out as articles once every few days. Once the translation is complete I hope to publish it as a book.

This instalment is a translation of the first thirty pages of the book titled ‘Why I Have Written This Book’. -- Yoginder Sikand for NewAgeIslam.com

Why I Have Written This Book
By Masood Alam Falahi
[Translated from Urdu by Yoginder Sikand for NewAgeIslam.com]

O humankind, indeed We have created you from male and female and made you peoples and tribes that you may know one another. Indeed, the most noble of you in the sight of Allah is the most righteous of you. Indeed, Allah is Knowing and Acquainted (Quran 49: 13)

There are two things that, if they are found among people, take them to the level of infidelity: one is to consider others to be low-born [...] (Saying attributed to the Prophet Muhammad contained in the Sahih Muslim)

In 1994, I was a student at a well-known madrasa, the Jamiat ul-Falah, in Bilariyaganj, in Azamgarh district in eastern Uttar Pradesh. I was then in the final year of the alimiyat course. It so happened that the Uttar Pradesh wing of the Jamaat-e Islami Hind had organised a week-long ‘Introducing the Quran’ programme across the state. Through various activities that formed part of this programme, activists of the Jamaat sought to reach out with Islam’s message of brotherhood and equality to Hindus, especially Dalits, trying to invite them to Islam. Accordingly, a Jamaat activist named Hakim Abdur Rauf visited a Dalit locality in Bilariyaganj and delivered a speech to the inhabitants declaring Islam to be the perfect antidote to untouchability, caste-based discrimination and social hierarchy. He told his Dalit listeners that if they became Muslims and entered the fold of Islam, they would be liberated from the terrible degradation that they had been subjected to for centuries, and that all the other Muslims would embrace them as brothers.

After he had finished speaking, a Dalit youth stood out from among the crowd and said, ‘Sir, it is true that there is no casteism in Islam. But is your Muslim society free from casteism? The Muslims of the town where you are presently in refuse to marry outside their own respective castes, and in this they are no less strict and particular than the Hindus. They refuse to give their daughters to prospective grooms from other Muslim castes, no matter how well-educated and decent such men may be. Instead, they insist that their daughters marry men from their own caste even if the latter are illiterate.’ ‘If we accept Islam’, the Dalit youth went on, ‘which Muslims will agree to inter-marry and inter-dine with us? Who will marry our daughters or give us their daughters to marry?’

It is instructive to note how this Dalit youth’s reaction was interpreted by Jamaat activists who heard about this incident. One of these, a member of the Jamaat, is considered to be an ‘alim, a learned scholar of Islam, and never tires of talking about promoting ‘Islamic revolution’ and establishing ‘Islamic government’ in India through missionary work among non-Muslim Indians. His response to the Dalit youth’s reaction was not to acknowledge the need to launch a movement to end the curse of casteism among the Muslims of the country. Instead, he cynically remarked, ‘Some people concoct lame excuses so as not to accept Islam because they know that if they embrace Islam they are bound to be confronted with problems.’

I am grateful to God that my own family is free from the cancer of casteism. Once, two ‘ulema friends of my brother came to meet him. One of these had married outside his caste, and the other maulvi teased him for this. My brother was very upset with the latter’s behaviour and told him, ‘You claim to be the leaders of the Muslims, but, despite knowing that caste prejudice and ethnic pride is sheer ignorance and un-Islamic, you are fanning it!’

My late mother was also very against caste and caste-based prejudice, knowing full well that these have no place in Islam. She received numerous proposals for my marriage but always insisted that all she wanted was a pious and well-educated daughter-in-law, whose caste did not matter. My late father was like my mother in this respect.

From a young age itself I lived in a city, along with my brother. The environment in cities is quite different from that in the countryside. In cities people are caught up with their own work and do not bother about other people’s affairs. That is why as a child I knew nothing about the horrors of casteism and the great damage that it has done to Indian Muslim society.

The Muslims of my ancestral village and the region surrounding it are followers of the rival Deobandi and the Barelvi schools of thought.  When they need guidance in religious matters they consult texts written by Deobandi and Barelvi writers, such as the Bahishti Zevar, by Maulana Ashraf Ali Thanvi (a Faruqi Shaikh), the Fatawa-e Rizviya by Maulana Ahmad Riza Khan Barelvi (a Pathan), and the Bahar-e Shariat by Maulana Muhammad Amjad Ali (an Ansari), deeming these to be adequate even if the fatwas contained in these books are wholly wrong in the light of the teachings of the Quran and the Sunnah, the practice of the Prophet Muhammad.

Shortly after the incident that I described above, in which the Dalit youth confronted the activist of the Jamaat-e Islami with bitter truths about our caste-ridden Muslim society, I thought of consulting the Bahishti Zevar in the belief that Maulana Ashraf Ali Thanvi must certainly have bitterly condemned casteism, caste-based social hierarchy and conventional fiqh-based rules of kufu’ or social parity that must guide selection of marital partners in his magnum opus. However, I was completely aghast when I opened the book, to the fourth chapter that discusses in detail the rules of social parity that Maulana Thanvi insisted needed to be strictly followed in contracting marriages. It went completely against what I had expected. I am not exaggerating when I say that what I read sent shivers down my spine and tremors that rent my heart. Till then I had thought that caste, caste-based discrimination and conventional fiqh-derived notions of kufu’ or social parity that governed the choice of marital partners were all a social construct, a product of the influence of Hinduism and Hindu society on the Indian Muslims. However, what I discovered, to my utter horror, was that Maulana Thanvi had declared all of this to be an integral part of the Islamic shariah simply because these are legitimised in the traditional books of fiqh. To make matters worse, he did so without providing any legitimacy or proof from the Quran and the Sunnah.  In this way, he legitimised the division of Muslims into what he considered ‘high’ (unch) and ‘low’ (neech), ‘noble’ (sharif) and ‘despicable’ (razil) groups on the basis of individuals’ birth in particular social or caste-like groups.

How, I asked myself in shock, could Muslims be at all branded in this fashion as ‘despicable’? God forbid! Is it not ridiculous? Maulvi Thanvi went further and even declared that newly-converted Muslims (nau musalman) were not the social equals of other Muslims, and that inter-marriage between the two was not advisable. And so we can very well say, ‘He whom we thought was a Messiah turned out to be a Hulagu Khan’.

Reading what Maulvi Thanvi had to say on the subject, my distress knew no bounds. I was appalled at how all this was being associated with Islam and being wrongly sought to be legitimised in its name.  Did the ulema have no idea that this was giving Islam such a bad name? Did they not realise how it was posing an immense hurdle in the spread of Islam? Did they not feel the need to struggle against caste, a system and ideology that has no sanction whatsoever in Islam? I must here mention that I spoke to a number of ulema from various Muslim groups or jamaats about this. With the exception of a very few who admitted that the ulema of their respective schools of thought who had defended caste and caste-based hierarchies had made a grave blunder, they simply refused to acknowledge that these scholars had grievously erred. Instead of critiquing them, they tried to defend their views by resorting to all sorts of casuistry.

In the final year of the fazilat course at the Jamiat ul-Falah we had to do a course on Comparative Religions., which was taught by Maulana Anis Ahmad Falahi Madani, who belonged to the Shaikh caste. In his lectures the Maulana explained to us the theory and history of the varna system of the Hindus and their practice of untouchability. He told us that caste-discrimination, caste-based social hierarchy and the conventional fiqh rules of kufu’ were a product of the Hindu influence on the Indian Muslims. He also clearly indicated that all this was further supported and legitimised by the ulema and the fuqaha, scholars of fiqh, themselves, and by numerous influential fiqh texts. At the same time, he insisted that all this was diametrically opposed to the very spirit of Islam.  The Maulana elaborated, in great detail, on the terrible damage that this had caused to Muslims and to the cause of Islam over the centuries. He also told us how political parties routinely used the existence of caste-based hierarchies among Muslims and Hindus for promoting their own interests.  He insisted that we must struggle against all casteism for it had no sanction in Islam at all.

By this time I had numerous unanswered questions in my mind about caste-discrimination and social hierarchy among Muslims and the conventional fiqh rules about kufu’. I am indebted to Maulana Madani for convincingly answering many of them.  I was greatly inspired by what he taught us. He convinced me that we needed to put an end to caste-based practices in Muslim society, and for this purpose I began reading all that I could on the subject. 

I was curious to learn to what extent caste-based discrimination was actually practised among the Muslims. The best way to do so was, of course, to travel around and see things for myself. Once, during our vacations, I went to my grandmother’s village, Dardi, which is in Sitamarhi district in Bihar. There I met with Muhammad Abbas, a man from the Shaikh caste, who was known for his stern opposition to caste. He had arranged for his sons to marry a girl from the Ansari caste. In the course of our conversation, he related the following incident. Once, two Muslim men from a certain village in Sitamarhi district travelled to another village in the district for some work. There, they met a man from the Shaikh caste, who asked them their names and that of their village. When he learned where they were from he asked them, ‘Are there really any Muslims in that village at all? I have heard that only Julahas, Kabadis (Rain, Kunjeras) and Dhuniyas and so on live there.’

During that visit to my grandmother’s village I met another man who told me of a settlement near his village where three families belonging to a marginalised Muslim caste live under the constant and relentless oppression of Muslims of the Shaikh caste. The former sought to resist this oppression by migrating to a nearby town. Some members of their family even secured government jobs. This escalated their conflict with the Shaikhs, and one day the two groups came to blows. The ‘low’ caste Muslims, although less in number, managed to badly beat up a number of Shaikhs. The incensed Shaikhs then lodged a complaint at the police station claiming that, as they put it, ‘Low caste people had rioted against Muslims.’ They did not mention that these ‘low’ castes were also Muslims—Julahas, Dhuniyas, Kabadis and Qasais.

One day, while in the village, I saw a Muslim man of the Hajjam or barber caste, whom I knew rather well, hurling abuses at the men of the Shaikh community. When I asked him why he was so angry, he told me that a haikh man had mocked him by contemptuously referring to him as ‘Hajjma’, making fun of his caste. He said that his grandfather was a saint or buzurg and that his tomb is a mazar or Sufi shrine, but, yet, he complained, the Shaikhs refuse to recognise that he was a buzurg because they claimed that it was simply inconceivable for a Hajjam to become a buzurg, as if the two were mutually contradictory.

Incidents like these began to bring before me a true picture of the reality of caste and caste-based discrimination in Muslim society. Shortly after I returned to my madrasa from my vacation in my grandmother’s village, I learned of a man who is considered to be a leading Islamic scholar, and who presents himself as passionately committed to spreading Islam and to ‘establishing the faith’ (iqamat-e din). He is a member of the council of representatives of the Jamaat-e Islami.  From very reliable sources I learned that this man insists that ‘low’ caste Muslims cannot, and should not, inter-marry with ‘high’ caste Muslims. Nor, he believes, can they be made the head of an army. Nor, too, he insists, can they be prayer-leaders or imams. On hearing about this, another Islamic scholar, who, unlike this other man, is genuinely committed to Islamic missionary work and to ‘establishing the faith’, bitterly critiqued him and condemned his views as un-Islamic. 

Somewhat at the same time another incident took place. It so happened that the granddaughter of a member of the Jamaat-e Islami, a man of the Shaikh caste, who occupies an important post in the organisation, wanted to marry a man of the Ansari caste. Her family did not agree, and so she escaped from her house. In order to find her, the family even consulted astrologers and magicians. Finally, they located her and brought her back home. Her father and brother then relented somewhat and agreed to her marrying the Ansari boy, but her grandfather, who was wedded to caste prejudice, simply refused, saying, ‘If she marries a Julaha my nose will be cut off.’ Finally, that hapless girl was forcibly married off to a man from her own Shaikh caste.

It was not that the girl’s father and brother did not believe in caste. If they did not, things obviously would not have come to such a pass. I had a long and detailed conversation with her father, and it was apparent that he had strong biases against ‘low’ caste Muslims. When I told him that I had written against casteism, his reply was that this meant that I was under Satanic influence! His son, the girl’s brother, was even more caste conscious than him. Once, when I had to go somewhere on work, he said to me, ‘Brother Masood, why do you want to go there? Only low caste people live there.’ The people he was referring to were all Muslims—Julahas, Dhuniyas, Kabadis and Qasais.

From these and such like incidents and experiences I developed a new understanding of the extent of the problem of caste in Muslim society.  I also realised that many Muslims who never tire of preaching the virtues of Islam and keep talking about the need to ‘establish the faith’ and even dream of establishing a Caliphate or ‘Islamic’ rule in India are so fanatically wedded to caste prejudice and to conventional fiqh rules about kufu’ that in this they are no different at all from caste conscious Hindus. If, suppose for a moment for argument’s sake, a Caliphate indeed comes to be established in India at the hands of such people, I realised that it would not be one structured on the model provided by the Prophet Muhammad. Rather, it would be a carbon copy of the model suggested by Manu, the putative author of the Manusmriti, that Bible of Brahminism.

As I began reading up on various aspects of caste and as the immensity of the caste problem among Muslims became clearer to me, I decided to write a full-length book on the subject, which is now in your hands. Some aspects of this book may be considered by some readers to be harsh and embarrassing, but, undeterred by this, I feel it my duty to abide by the commandments of God and His Prophet to stand by the truth. As the Holy Quran tells us:

No believing man or believing woman, if God and His messenger issue any command, has any choice regarding that command. Anyone who disobeys God and His messenger has gone far astray (33: 36).

In this book I have, among other issues, discussed the historical background, origins, and development of the institution and ideology of caste in India, and have tried to show how, in all periods of India’s history, forces of truth have valiantly struggled against caste and its upholders, the forces of falsehood. I have tried to relate caste with the historical process of the expansion of Islam in India and have also raised serious questions about the hurdles faced in this path, some of which relate to widespread caste prejudices among a sizeable section of the Indian Muslims.  Readers of this book will, God willing, be convinced that the widespread caste-based discrimination and fiqh-based rules of kufu’ prevalent among the Indian Muslims resemble very closely the Hindu case and, in fact, correspond to the teachings of the Manusmriti. The book highlights the alarming fact that in certain respects, such as with regard to rules governing marriage and caste-based discrimination, there is absolutely no difference between the commandments of the Manusmriti and the rules laid down in the books of Muslim fiqh in the sections that discuss conventional rules and notions of kufu’.
I am grateful to Dr. Fazlur Rahman Faridi (a Faruqi Shaikh) who very kindly arranged for this book to be serialised in the monthly Urdu journal Zindagi-e Nau, published from New Delhi, spanning a long period, from August 2000 to May 2002 under the title Hindustan Mai Chhoot Chhat Aur Musalman (‘Untouchability and Muslims in India’) before it was published as a volume. These instalments of my book invoked considerable interest from readers, who sent in letters, both appreciative as well as critical. Of these letters 34 were published in Zindagi-e Nau between October 2000 and September 2002. These letters brought to the fore many new aspects about caste and caste-based discrimination among Muslims that I was not aware of.

In this book I have used terms such as ‘Brahminical’ and ‘Manuvadi’. These terms are not to be taken to refer to any particular caste, but, rather, to a particular mentality that underlies and sustains caste, caste-discrimination, caste-based hierarchies and untouchability. These terms also indicate that supporters of casteism are not restricted to any particular caste, but, rather, can belong to any caste, for that matter. In places where I have talked about certain individuals from particular castes who support casteism, my intention is to indicate only such individuals, and certainly not to make any generalisations about the caste they belong to. This is because, as I just mentioned, supporters of caste prejudice can be found in every case. It is wholly erroneous to make generalisations about all the members of a particular caste. It is not true to say, as some so-called ‘low’ caste people allege, that all so-called ‘upper’ people are prejudiced and casteist. Likewise, it is not true that, as some so-called ‘upper’ caste people claim, that all those who write or work against casteism are from the ‘low’ castes. That is why I have indicated, where possible, the caste of the individuals whom I have mentioned in this book, although whether their caste origins are really what they claim is another matter.

In my view, the criterion for superiority and status is definitely not caste, but, rather, what the Quran and the Sunnah of the Prophet Muhammad lays down in this regard, which is taqwa, that is to say piety or God consciousness.  I do not regard any caste as being ‘noble’ or ‘despicable’. I have tried not to hurt the sentiments of any caste with my words. Despite this, if any reader does feel slighted by my writing I would request her or him to contact me at once and point out where she or he feels I have not lived up to the demands of the truth and justice. If she or he has a genuine point, God willing I will rectify what I have written in the next edition of this book.

Numerous people have helped me in the preparation of this book and I heartily thank them all. The list of names is so long that to catalogue them all would require several pages. Among them are the numerous readers of my articles that were published in the columns of Zindagi-e Nau who sent me their comments or wrote letters to the editor of the journal expressing their views about what I had written. Some of them even took the trouble of coming to meet me.

It would be unjust of me not to mention specifically the names of some people who played a very important role in this book. Maulana Abdur Rahman Khalid Falahi provided me with considerable valuable material from the library of the Jamiat ul-Falah in Bilariyaganj. Maulana Muhammad Jasimuddin Qasmi, then a student at the Jamia Millia Islamia, New Delhi, and Abdul Hafiz Khan Salafi Balrampuri, then studying at the Aligarh Muslim University, proofread the entire manuscript. Maulana Abdul Hamid Numani, senior office-bearer of the Jamiat ul-Ulema-e Hind, Maulana Muhammad Tahir Madni (Shaikh), rector of the Jamiat ul-Falah, Maulana Abul Baqa Nadvi (Shaikh), former rector of the Jamiat ul-Falah, Professor Yasin Mazhar Siddiqui Nadvi, former Professor in the Departmetnt of Islamic Studies at the Aligarh Muslim University, Dr. Maulana Obaidullah Fahad Falahi (Pathan) of the Department of Islamic Studies, Aligarh Muslim University, Maulana Khalid Saifullah Rahmani Qasmi (Syed), General-Secretary of the Islamic Fiqh Academy(India), Maulana Abdul Bar Asri Falahi (Shaikh), former lecturer in Arabic literature and Hadith at the Jamiat ul-Falah, and Dr. Maulana Muhammad Razi ul-Islam Nadvi (Pathan), Assistant Editor of Tahqiqat-e Islami, Aligarh and of the monthly Zindagi-e Nau, Delhi, were great sources of help and encouragement. In the preparation of the second edition of this book, the assistance of my very dear friends Shamshad Alam, Niyaz Ahmad Falahi, Maulana Fayyaz Ahmad Falahi, and Abdullah Mansur was indispensable.

It would be nothing short of tragic if I forgot to mention the debt of gratitude that I owe to Dr. Fazlur Rahman Faridi, editor of the monthly Zindagi-e Nau, member of the Advisory Council of the Jamaat-e Islami Hind, and founding-member of the All-India Muslim Personal Law Board. It was he who very kindly arranged for the book to be first serialised in Zindagi-e Nau. Many readers of the journal praised these articles. However, others vehemently opposed their publication. Yet, Dr. Faridi did not cave in to their pressure. Many publishers approached me and offered to publish this book. Dr. Faridi was the first to do so, and he also informed me that some people wanted to translate the text into various other languages. It is, in large measure, because of the efforts and help of Dr. Faridi that this book has finally been published. I am grateful to him for writing a foreword to the book.

I must also profusely thank Dr. Muhammad Abdul Haq Ansari, former amir of the Jamaat-e Islami Hind, who also took an interest in this book, and who, on the suggestion of Dr. Faridi, gave his consent, verbally as well as in writing, to the publishing of this book by the Markazi Maktaba-e Islami, the official publishing wing of the Jamaat-e Islami. Accordingly, as per his orders, this book had reached the final stages before printing when a section of members of the Jamaat-e Islami who support casteism and want caste discrimination, which has no sanction whatsoever in Islam, to survive in order to further their own interests, placed immense pressure on Dr. Ansari and Dr. Faridi to stop the publication of the book. The manuscript had already been carefully examined by Dr. Faridi, and I had removed the sections that he had suggested be excised. However, when the supporters of caste in the Jamaat-e Islami succeeded in preventing the publication of my book from the Markazi Maktaba-e Islami, I included back in the text all this excised material and added some additional material.

After the manuscript was returned to me by the Markazi Maktaba-e Islami, I showed it to Dr. Syed Anwar Alam Pasha, who teaches Urdu at the Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi, and asked him to critically examine it and point out what he felt were its faults and limitations since my intention was to promote honest discussion on the subject of caste among Muslims and not to fan strife and dissension. I am grateful to him for acceding to my request. He read the manuscript carefully and, in a note to me, said he found nothing wrong or unacceptable in it and advised me to get it published as soon as possible. ‘The Jamaat-e Islami’, he wrote, ‘must seek forgiveness for halting the publication of such a good book.’

I am thankful to Mr. Inayatullah, senior advocate of the Supreme Court of India, who looked through the text from the legal perspective and made some important and necessary corrections. Many thanks, too, to Mr. Syed Qazi Shamsuddin of Al-Qazi Publications, New Delhi, for publishing the first Urdu edition of this book, and to the Ideal Foundation, Mumbai, for its second Urdu edition.

Masood Alam Falahi can be contacted on:  masoodfalahi@gmail.com

सोमवार, 29 नवंबर 2010

Adarsh protest banner: This is organized crime, apply MCOCA

रविवार, 28 नवंबर 2010

Send this letter to the CM to tell him that we are not fooled:

Shri Prithviraj Chavan,
Chief Minister of Maharashtra,
Mantralaya, 6th Floor,
Madame Cama Road,
Mumbai 400032

Sub: Your Failure to Act against Adarsh Culprits shows Contempt of Citizens


Congratulations on your new assignment as Chief Minister. Need we remind you that you are in this post because of the Adarsh scam? As an unfamiliar figure in the politics of this state, your only claim to legitimacy as CM in the common man’s eyes is your seeming willingness to punish the scamsters; otherwise, what is the difference between you and your tainted predecessor?

Two days ago, Supreme Court Justice A K Ganguly reprimanded CBI for “beating around the bush” in the 2G Spectrum scam instead of interrogating Mr A Raja and filing FIR. In the case of Adarsh also, your government and CBI are beating around the bush. Mr Sushilkumar Shinde, Mr Vilasrao Deshmukh, Mr Ashok Chavan, Dr Suresh Joshi, Mr Ramanand Tiwari and Mr Jairaj Phatak have not been interrogated. Also, no FIR has been registered despite ample documentary evidence of criminal wrongdoings. There is no move to put these influential persons under judicial restraint to save evidence from being tampered, and witnesses being pressured.

Instead, the culprits’ positions of eminence in the State and at the Centre are intact. Mr Tiwari continues to be State Information Commissioner. Mr Phatak is Additional Secretary, Union Ministry of Panchayati Raj. Dr Joshi, who recently retired as Chief Information Commissioner of Maharashtra, is tipped to become advisor to YASHADA.
Sir, you were until very recently Minister of State (MOS) of Prime Minister’s office and of DOPT—the department in charge of CBI. And now you are Chief Minister of Maharashtra. No matter which way one looks at it, you are squarely responsible for the government’s extreme leniency in this matter.

We ask you to take immediate action to make amends. 

Yours Sincerely,

(Your signature, name, address, phone number)

Copy to:        
1.     Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh, South Block,    New Delhi -   110001.
2.     Mrs Sonia Gandhi, 10 Janpath, New Delhi - 110001. 

लावारिस लाशों के वारिस

    सभी ताल ठोकतें हैं कि अयोध्या हमारी है। यही वह दावा है जिसने अयोध्या की ऊर्जा को सोख लिया है। पिछले दो दशक से मंदिर-मस्जिद के नाम पर हुई सियासत ने जीवन की तमाम खूबसूरती को छीन लिया है। शालीनता और धैर्य की चादर में लिपटी इस ऐतिहासिक नगरी में विकास का पहिया ऐसा थमा है कि लगातार पिछड़ता ही चला गया है। यहां का जूता उद्योग ऐसा उखड़ा कि दोबारा अपने पैरों पर नहीं खड़ा हो पाया। लेकिन इन सबके बीच कुछ उम्मीदें भी हैं,जो जीवन को नई राह दिखाने और जिंदगी को जीने का हौसला देने वाली ताकत बनी हुई हैं। 

  अयोध्या और फैजाबाद जिसे गंगा-जमुनी तहजीब का जुड़वां शहर भी कहते हैं,पिछली आधी सदी की राजनीति के इतिहास में मूल्यों का प्रतीक बनी हुई है। लेकिन बड़े अफसोस की बात है कि राजनीति और मीडिया ने इस शहर को सिर्फ मानव विरोधी अंधकारमय मूल्यों और जगहों पर ही दिलचस्पी दिखाई है। जिसका असर रहा है कि इस शहर की छवि में भय और आतंक की आहट महसूस की जाने लगी है। ऐसे कठिन हालात में शहर की एक शख्सियत पर केंद्रित डाक्यूमेंट्री फिल्म राइजिंग फ्रॉम दे एशेज जारी की गई। जो अंधकार की गतिविधियों के बीच उजाले के क्षितिज का निर्माण कर रही है।

  डॉक्यूमेंट्री फिल्म के केंद्र में हैं,मोहम्मद शरीफ यानी शरीफ चाचा..शरीफ चाचा पेशे से एक साइकिल मैकेनिक हैं। लेकिन यह सिर्फ उनकी जिंदगी का आर्थिक जरिया है,न कि मकसद। फैजाबाद के खिड़की अलीबेग मोहल्ले में रहने वाले शरीफ चाचा लावारिस लाशों के वारिश हैं। ऐसी लाशें जिनका कोई वारिस नहीं होता,उसे शरीफ चाचा अपना आसरा देते हैं। वे लाशों का उनके धर्म के अनुसार अंतिम संस्कार करते हैं और इस बात को अगर आंकड़ों की जुबानी कहें तो वे पिछले 18 वर्षों में अबतक 1600 लाशों को उसकी मानवीय गरिमा दे चुके हैं। वह मानवीय गरिमा जो मानव होने के नाते हर किसी का हक है।

   लेकिन शरीफ चाचा के ऐसा करने के पीछे एक बहुत ही मार्मिक कहानी भी है,जो व्यवस्था की संवेदनहीनता से उपजी है। दरअसल, शरीफ चाचा के बेटे मोहम्मद रईस किसी काम से सुल्तानपुर गये थे। जहां उनकी किसी ने हत्या कर लाश को फेंक दिया गया था। यही वह मोड़ है,जहां से शरीफ चाचा ने तय किया कि वे लावारिश लाशों को उसका मानवीय हक जरूर देंगे। वे कहते हैं कि हर मनुष्य का खून एक जैसा होता है,मैं मनुष्यों के बीच खून के इस रिश्ते में आस्था रखता हूं। इसलिए मैं जब तक जिंदा हूं किसी भी मानव शरीर को कुत्तों के लिए या अस्पताल में सड़ने नहीं दूंगा। फैजाबाद के वरिष्ठ पत्रकार सी के मिश्रा कहते हैं कि शरीफ भाई के साथ जो त्रासदी हुई,उसमें सामान्यत तौर पर लोग समाज और दुनिया से नफरत करने लगते हैं,लेकिन इन्होंने इसके विपरीत राह दिखाई। लावारिस लाशों को गरिमा प्रदान करने को ही अपनी जिंदगी बना ली। क्योंकि उन्हें लगता है कि ऐसा करने से उनके बेटे की जन्नत नसीब होगी। वहीं लेखक व पत्रकार कृष्ण प्रताप सिंह बताते हैं किमानव सेवा का सिलसिला उस वक्त भी जारी रहा,जब अयोध्या-फैजाबाद हिंदू उग्रवाद के केंद्र के रूप में तब्दील करने की कोशिश की गई।  

   शरीफ चाचा सुबह नमाज पढ़ने के बाद अपने इस काम में लग जाते हैं। वे अस्पताल में मरीजों की तीमारदारी करने के बाद मुर्दा घर और रेलवे की पटरियों पर लावारिस लाशों की खोज में निकल पड़ते हैं। चाचा के इस काम को स्थानीय लोगों का सहयोग मिलता है। ज्योति कहते हैं कि रात या दिन जब भी हम लोग चाचा को कोई लाश ले जाते देखते हैं अपनी गाड़ी दे देते हैं। वहीं मौलाना फैय्याज, जो मुस्लिम लाशों का जनाजा पढ़ाते हैं, बताते हैं कि चचा इन लावारिश लाशों की किसी अपने की तरह देखभाल करते हैं। शरीफ चाचा मुस्लिम की लाश को दफनाते हैं,तो हिंदू लाशों को सरयू किनारे खुद अपने हाथों से मुखाग्नि देते हैं।

     यह फिल्म शरीफ चाचा जैसी अयोध्या की अजीम शख्सियत पर रौशनी डालने में सफल है। फिल्म में कुछ और पहलू भी हैं। अयोध्या की रामलीला में लंबे अरसे से हनुमान का किरदार निभाने वाले एक अफ्रीकी नागरिक,जब लंका दहन में जल गये,तब किसी ने उसकी सुध नहीं ली,तब भी शरीफ चाचा ही आगे आये और उन्होंने अफ्रीकी नागरिक की देखभाल की। श्रीरामजन्म भूमि के मुख्य पुजारी आचार्य सत्येंद्र दास बताते हैं कि मानवता को प्रतिष्ठित करने में इस महान काम के लिए मोहम्मद शरीफ को तुलसी स्मारक भवन में सम्मानिक किया गया है और उनकी इज्जत हर तबके के लोग दिल से करते हैं

   सूफी संतों की नगरी अयोध्या को उसकी वास्तविक पहचान देने की कोशिश में लगे शरीफ चाचा की बढ़ती उम्र लोगों को मायूस करती है। बौद्ध गुरू डॉ.करूणाशील पूछते हैं कि शरीफ चाचा की उम्र पचहत्तर साल की है और किडनी खराब हो चुकी है,कल जब वे नहीं रहेंगे तब उनके काम को कौन आगे बढ़ाएगा ?’ मार्च बानवे से जारी नफरत की राजनीति से बेखबर चाचा शरीफ अपने ही रौ में अपना काम किये जा रहे हैं। दुनिया की नजर में अयोध्या की जो भी छवि पल रही हो,चाचा शरीफ गंगा-जमुनी तहजीब की शान बने हुए हैं। शाह आलम, शारिक हैदर नकवी,गुफरान खान और सैय्यद अली अख्तर द्वारा निर्मित यह फिल्म अयोध्या की बेहद मजबूत खूबसूरती को सामने लाने में कामयाब है। साथ ही यह फिल्म इस बात का संदेश देने में सफल है कि नफरत का मुकाबला आसानी से किया जा सकता है। शरीफ चाचा का मानवता को समर्पित यह जीवन इस बात का सबूत है। लिहाजा शरीफ चाचा एक पाठशाला हैं,जिनसे सीखने की जरूरत हर किसी को है।

शुक्रवार, 26 नवंबर 2010

लोकतंत्र के चौथे खंभे (पत्रकारिता) को सूचना के अधिकार के दायरे में लाने के संदर्भ में एक खुला पत्र

सेवा में,                                                                                                                      ....................... 

विषय: लोकतंत्र के चौथे खंभे (पत्रकारिता) को सूचना के अधिकार के दायरे में लाने के संदर्भ में 

            मैं अफ़रोज़ आलम साहिल पत्रकार के साथ-साथ एक आर.टी.आई. एक्टिविस्ट हूं। मेरी मांग है कि लोकतंत्र के चौथे खंभे यानी मीडिया को सूचना के अधिकार अधिनियम-2005 के दायरे में लाया जाए। लोकतंत्र के पहले तीनों खंभे सूचना के अधिकार अधिनियम-2005 के दायरे में आते हैं। यह कानून कार्यपालिका, विधायिका और न्यायपालिका तीनों पर लागू होता है। इसका मक़सद साफ है कि लोकतंत्र को मज़बूत किया जा सके। इसी मक़सद की मज़बूती की खातिर मेरी ये मांग है कि लोकतंत्र के चौथे खंभे यानी मीडिया को भी सूचना के अधिकार अधिनियम-2005 के दायरे में लाया जाए, ताकि लोकतंत्र में जवाबदेही और पारदर्शिता को हर स्तर पर लागू किया जा सके।
                   दरअसल, पिछले कुछ दिनों में कई ऐसे वाक़्यात हुए हैं, जिन्होंने मीडिया में पारदर्शिता को लेकर सवाल खड़े किए हैं। ऐसे कई मीडिया समूह हैं, जिनकी आमदनी और निवेश संदेह के दायरे में है। ऐसे कई पत्रकार भी हैं जिनकी संपत्ति उनकी आय के ज्ञात स्त्रोतों से कई गुना ज़्यादा है और ये सब उसी मीडिया के हिस्सा हैं, जो समाज के तमाम तबकों से लोकतंत्र में पारदर्शिता और जवाबदेही की मांग करता है। ये उसी मीडिया के लोग हैं, जो राजनेताओं से लेकर अधिकारियों और न्यायपालिका के प्रतिनिधियों की आय के स्त्रोतों की छानबीन में खासी दिलचस्पी दिखाता है और उस पर तमाम तरह के सवाल खड़े करता है। मीडिया इस बात की वकालत करता है कि समाज और लोकतंत्र के ये तमाम तबके अपनी आय का ब्यौरा सार्वजनिक करें। सार्वजनिक तौर पर अपनी ईमानदारी और पारदर्शिता का सबूत दें। फिर सवाल ये उठता है कि आखिर ये मानक खुद मीडिया पर लागू क्यों न हो। समाज और लोकतंत्र के दूसरे तबकों की खातिर जवाबदेही और पारदर्शिता की वकालत करने वाला मीडिया अपनी जवाबदेही और अपनी पारदर्शिता के सवाल से क्यों बचना चाहता है। आख़िर मीडिया इस बात की मांग क्यों नहीं करता कि ख़ुद उसे भी सूचना के अधिकार अधिनियम-2005 के दायरे में लाया जाए।

                   यहां हाल की कुछ घटनाओं के जरिये मैं कुछ सवाल आपके सामने रख रहा हूँ-

1.   अगर NDTV 24X7 की ग्रुप एडिटर बरखा दत्त और हिन्दुस्तान टाईम्स ग्रुप के एडिटर वीर सांघवी का नाम टेलीकॉम घोटाले के मामले में सीबीआई के दस्तावेज़ों में बतौर दलाल दर्ज है, तो इन लोगों की आय का ब्यौरा सार्वजनिक क्यों नहीं किया जाना चाहिए या इस घटना (या दुर्घटना) के सामने आने के बाद सभी पत्रकारों और माडिया हाउस को स्वेच्छा से अपनी संपत्ति का ब्यौरा सार्वजनिक क्यों नहीं कर देना चाहिए?

2.   अगर संसद नोटकांड मामले में CNN-IBN के एडिटर-इन-चीफ और मालिक राजदीप सरदेसाई का नाम बतौर सीडी मैनेजर सामने आता है तो उनकी संपत्ति की छानबीन क्यों नहीं की जानी चाहिए? एक पत्रकार के मालिक बनने की राह में लिए गए तमाम फायदों की कलई सूचना के अधिकार अधिनियम-2005 के ज़रिए क्यों नहीं खुलनी चाहिए? क्या पत्रकारों को पत्रकार होने के नाते सूचना के अधिकार का इस्तेमाल सिर्फ दूसरों के खिलाफ करने का कोई विशेषाधिकार हासिल है?

3.   अगर इंडिया टुडे के ग्रुप एडिटर रहे प्रभु चावला अमर सिंह की चर्चित सीडी में डिलींग करते हुए सुनाई दे रहे हैं और उनके बेटे अंकुर चावला का नाम सीबीआई के दस्तावेजों में बतौर वित्तीय घालमेल के दलाल के तौर पर दर्ज है तो क्यों नहीं प्रभु चावला की वित्तीय और ज़मीनी संपत्तियों का ब्यौरा सामने लाया जाए?
             ये तीन सवाल तो सिर्फ उदहारण भर हैं। ऐसे न जाने कितने मीडिया हाउस और पत्रकार हैं, जिन्होंने लोकतंत्र के चौथे खंभे की आड़ में भ्रष्टाचार की गंगोत्री बहा रखी है। इन तमाम तथ्यों और लोकतंत्र की प्रतिबद्धता के नाम पर मेरी आपसे ये मांग है कि कृपया मीडिया को भी सूचना के अधिकार अधिनियम-2005 के दायरे में लाने की पहल की जाए। ये लोकतंत्र की आत्मा के हक़ में होगा।  
                   आपके सकारात्मक जवाब का आकांक्षी
                             अफ़रोज़ आलम साहिल

सोमवार, 15 नवंबर 2010

भ्रष्टाचार का मकड़जाल

अफरोज आलम साहिल

आदर्श सोसाइटी का मसला हो या फिर 2 जी स्पेक्ट्रम का कोहराम। किसी को कोई फर्क नहीं पड़ता। घोटाले राजनीति का हिस्सा हैं। अगर घोटाले नहीं होंगे तो राजनीति चलेगी कैसे। पक्ष हो या विपक्ष दोनो के लिए ये बातें बेहद आम हैं। अगर कोई सोचता है कि आदर्श घोटाले ने महाराष्ट्र के मुख्यमंत्री की बलि ले ली तो वो अजीब खुशफहमी में जी रहा है। हुआ तो ये कि महाराष्ट्र के मुख्यमंत्री को करोड़ों देशवासियों की आंखों के सामने ही अभयदान दे दिया गया। रंगमंच के स्टेज पर पड़ने वाली स्पॉट लाइट का मुंह घुमा दिया गया। बड़ी चालाकी से अशोक चह्वाण स्पॉट लाइट के दायरे से बाहर कर दिए गए। अब कोई जिम्मेदारी नहीं, कोई जवाबदेही नहीं। इससे पहले के मुख्यमंत्री विलास राव देशमुख भी हटे थे तो वे फिलवक्त केंद्र में भारी उद्योग मंत्री हैं। आदर्श घोटाले की स्पॉट लाइट उन पर व एक और केंद्रीय मंत्री सुशील कुमार शिंदे पर भी थी, मगर थोड़ा हल्के तरीके से। सो दोनों बख्शे गए। राजनीति का मतलब ही करप्शन हो चुका है। जो गलती से पकड़ा जाए, उसे घबराने की जरूरत नहीं है। थोड़ा वक्त बीतेगा, फिर एक नई मलाईदार पोजीशन मिल जाएगी। करप्शन करने की खातिर। उसकी बंदरबांट की खातिर।

हमाम में सभी नंगे हैं। हिमाचल के सुखराम को इस मौके पर याद करना बेहद ही प्रासंगिक होगा। सुखराम इस सिस्टम में अमर हो चुके हैं। जब भी ऐसा कोई मामला होगा, उनका नाम अपने आप ही सामने आएगा। ए. राजा के नाम पर जमीन आसमान एक कर देनी वाली बीजेपी को भी इस मौके पर सुखराम को याद करना चाहिए। बीजेपी ए. राजा का विरोध इसलिए नहीं कर रही है कि उन्होंने एक दैत्याकार घोटाले को अंजाम दिया है। ए. राजा का विरोध इसलिए हो रहा है क्योंकि वो कांग्रेसी सरकार के मंत्री हैं। अगर कल मान लीजिए कि सत्ता का समीकरण कुछ इस तरह से बैठता है कि ए. राजा और उनकी पार्टी के समर्थन से बीजेपी सरकार बनाने की हैसियत में आ जाती है तो राजा के पक्ष में कांग्रेस के जो तर्क हैं, वही तर्क बीजेपी के हो जाएंगे। फिर बीजेपी भी कहेगी कि बिना जांच कोई फैसला कैसे हो सकता है। खुद को दूध का धुला साबित करने में तुली बीजेपी पहले भी ऐसा कर चुकी है। जिस पूर्व केंद्रीय संचार मंत्री सुखराम के भ्रष्टाचार को लेकर बीजेपी ने संसद में हंगामा काट दिया था, उसी सुखराम से बाद में गठजोड़ कर बीजेपी ने हिमाचल में सरकार बनाई थी। क्या बीजेपी को ये बातें अब याद नहीं हैं। उस वक्त बीजेपी की वरिष्ठ नेता सुषमा स्वराज ने यह कहकर सुखराम का बचाव किया था कि वे पहले सुखराम थे, अब सोखाराम हो चुके हैं। उनके पास अब करप्शन के नाम पर कुछ नहीं है। दरअसल, ये बीजेपी का ही चरित्र नहीं है। यही सत्ता का चरित्र है। सत्ता में जो भी आता है, ऐसा ही करता है। करप्शन सभी की जरूरत है। राजनीति वो हथियार बन चुकी है जो करप्शन को पर्दे के पीछे घसीटने का काम करती है। अगर करप्शन सामने आ जाए तो राजनीति के हथियार से इसे पर्दे के पीछे धकेल दिया जाता है। यही चह्वाण मामले में हुआ।

हैरानी इस बात की है कि सुरेश कलमाड़ी को लेकर बीजेपी जमीन आसमान एक कर देती है। ऐसा करना समझ में भी आता है। कलमाड़ी पर इल्जाम है कॉमनवेल्थ गेम्स के नाम पर करोड़ों के हेरफेर और अभूतपूर्व भ्रष्टाचार का। मगर सुधांशु मित्तल के नाम पर बीजेपी बचाव में क्यूं आ जाती है? क्या मित्तल पर भ्रष्टाचार का आरोप इसलिए मायने नहीं रखता क्योंकि वो बीजेपी के साथ हैं। क्या बीजेपी ये मानती है कि उसकी पार्टी का कोई भी नेता भ्रष्ट हो ही नहीं सकता। इस लड़ाई में यही बड़ी दिक्कत है और यही करप्शन को जायज ठहराने की बड़ी राजनीति भी है। कांग्रेस को बीजेपी का करप्शन दिखाई देता है। आदर्श सोसाइटी मामले की राजनीतिक जांच करने वाले प्रणव मुखर्जी अशोक चह्वाण के हटने के बाद बयान देते हैं कि चह्वाण इस मामले में दोषी नहीं हैं। उन्होंने तो पेंडिंग इन्क्वायरी इस्तीफा दिया है। सवाल सीधा सा है कि अगर अशोक चह्वाण दोषी नहीं हैं तो उनका इस्तीफा आलाकमान ने क्यूं लिया। और अगर इस्तीफा लिया तो फिर उन्हें निदरेष साबित करने की मुहिम क्यूं चलाई जा रही है। क्या इसलिए कि कांग्रेस की नजरों में कोई भी कांग्रेसी नेता करप्ट हो ही नहीं सकता। जैसे बीजेपी की नजरों में सुधांशु मित्तल निदरेष हैं, वैसे ही कांग्रेस की नजर में अशोक चह्वाण पाक साफ हैं। क्यों बीजेपी को कर्नाटक की माइनिंग लॉबी का खेल नजर नहीं आता है और क्यों कांग्रेस राजस्थान के राजनीतिक माइनिंग माफियाओं पर चुप्पी साधे बैठी है। मूर्ख कौन है। बीजेपी, कांग्रेस, हमारी संसद या आम जनता जो इन्हें चुनकर भेजती है।

हमाम में सभी नंगे हैं। मायावती से लेकर लालू व नीतीश तक करप्शन के इल्जाम सब पर हैं। दूसरे घोटालेबाज अफसर जो इस मामले में संलिप्त हैं, उन्हें क्यों नहीं निकाला जा रहा? क्या आप सोच सकते हैं कि सी़बी़आई़ के कॉमन वेल्थ गेम्स में शीला दीक्षित पर भ्रष्टाचार के जो आरोप हैं, जयपाल रेड्डी पर जो इल्जाम हैं, स्पोर्ट्स मंत्री पर जो इल्जाम हैं, उनके खिलाफ कार्रवाई कर सकती है। शायद कभी नहीं..

हद तो यह है कि जो भाजपा ‘आदर्श घोटाला’ मामले पर इतना हंगामा कर रही है वो भी खुद दूध की धुली नहीं है। भाजपा के शासनकाल में ही कॉफिन कांड, बंगारू लक्ष्मण के जरिए हथियार खरीदने में रिश्वत लेने जैसा मामला, यूनियन ट्रस्ट ऑफ इंडिया का यूएस-54 का पांच हजार करोड़ का घोटाला, अरविंद जौहरी के लखनऊ के साइबर ट्रोन तकनीकी आईटी पार्क सहित गुजरात सरकार के सुजलाम सुफलाम के ग्यारह सौ करोड़ का घोटाला, डिस-इंवेस्टमेंट के नाम पर बाल्को का पांच हजार करोड़ का घोटाला, मुंबई के सेंट्रल होटल के सौ करोड़ का घोटाला जैसे न जाने कितने घोटाले देश की जनता के सामने आ चुके हैं। यहां तक कि आडवाणी साहब का नाम भी जैन हवाला की डायरी में दर्ज है। मजेदार तो यह है कि आदर्श घोटाला मामले में अजय संचेती का नाम भी लोगों के सामने है। तो भाजपा खामोश है। शायद इसलिए कि अजय संचेती नितिन गडकरी के करीबी हैं और झारखंड में सरकार बनवाने में इनका अहम रोल रहा था।

बहरहाल सबसे अहम मुद्दा यह है कि यह सारी चीजें इस देश में क्यों हो रही हैं? आज तक किसी भी केस या मामले में किसी नेता को सजा क्यों नहीं हुई है? देश के तमाम सियासी पार्टियां अपनी गंदी सियासत छोड़ कर एक साथ बैठ कर यह क्यों नहीं सोचते कि देश में एक ऐसी एंटी-करप्शन एजेंसी की जरूरत है जो आजाद हो? आखिर इस देश में सी़बी़आई़ और सी़वी़सी़ क्या कर रही हैं? खुद इनमें कितना करप्शन है? केन्द्रीय सतर्कता आयोग (सी़वी़सी़) के पास कोई पावर नहीं है। वह सिर्फ एक एडवाइजरी बॉडी है जो सरकार को सिर्फ सलाह दे सकती है, कार्रवाई करने का कोई पावर उसके पास नहीं है। सी़बी़आई़ के पास पावर तो है, लेकिन वह आजाद नहीं है। हंसी तो इस पर आती है कि जिस सूचना के अधिकार कानून के जरिए आदर्श घोटाले की सच्चाई सामने आई है, उसी कानून का रखवाला घोटाले में संलिप्त होने के आरोप के बावजूद अपनी कुर्सी पर बना है और सच के सिपाही इनके खिलाफ सारे सबूत के साथ अपनी जंग लड़ रहे हैं। खैर जब तक हम एक ऐसी स्वतंत्र, प्रभावशाली एंटी करप्शन मशीनरी की बात नहीं करेंगे तब तक हम एक एक घोटाले पर चर्चा करते रह जाएंगे और देश की जनता बार बार ठगी जाती रहेगी..

(लेखक आर.टी.आई. एक्टिविस्ट हैं।)


शुक्रवार, 5 नवंबर 2010

Eidiyaan: A short film on custodial disappearances in Kashmir

By TCN Staff Writer,

Eidiyaan is a story of a little Kashmiri girl, Sadaf and her mother. The family has suffered the tragedy of custodial disappearance of Sadaf’s brother. The film tries to untangle such a serious problem in a very sophisticated way. It looks from the eye of a little child who inherits this tragedy, the emotional struggle behind the families who suffer from such disappearances.

The script deliberately chooses the day of Eid to bring the disparity of celebration and tragedy. The director continuously weaves the film around this conflict which makes it joyful and yet heartbreaking experience. It has tiny, hidden metaphors which convey the very complex emotions. The scene of a little girl writing a letter to her disappeared brother complaining that how her mother only loves him, and not her, makes you feel not only compassionate for the character but angry with the situation. The other two characters of the film are Sadaf’s uncle (M K Raina) and her cousin Razin. There is a sharp contrast between these two girls who are best friends. Sadaf aggressively asserting the fact that she never cries makes her character much stronger for her age. The scene of where both the kids are playing which eventually leads to an argument makes us go back to our own childhood. Uncle’s presence lightens the film and brings the element of humour in it.

No other world is more simple, pure and magnificent than the child’s world. The film takes the child’s world seriously because it is closer to reality. It looks at world differently without losing faith in thing like prayer or God. It constantly, with small references, revokes the blank space unoccupied by Sadaf’s brother. The longing of Sadaf’s mother makes the little girl take her position; and therefore, a particular scene where she is singing a lullaby to her mother elevates her position from just a little child to the caretaker of the house. The film is commenting in a very complicated way how childhood is shaping in such conflict areas without taking away the essence of innocence from it.

The climax of the film is silent but the sheer quietness of the situation makes it very violent. In the end the film leaves you with an uncomfortable felling of emptiness. The actors bring true emotions to the character especially the character of Sadaf is done brilliantly; the little child robs your feelings with her innocence. It is story of innocence, fear, struggle, faith and pain. If you are a fan of subtle things and believe that everything does not need screaming to bring an attention then this is a must watch. The time film is made, makes it a crucial film to understand the politics of Kashmir.

The film has been produced by students of AJK MCRC, Jamia Millia Islamia: Afroz Alam Sahil, Aman Kalim and Mohd. Irfan Dar. The 18-minute-long film, which deals with custodial disappearance in Kashmir, is a fictional piece derived from real life incident of the families which have suffered such tragedies.

Eidiyaan, the best film of the year 2010 of MCRC, has been screened at eight film festivals including Delhi (IIC) and Hyderabad (Short Film Festival). The film will be screened at Madurai Short Film Festival and Alp Viram Film Festival organised by NID and Pune International Film Festival.
The Confession: A Novel