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Is the rise of religiosity in AMU a precursor to partition?

Discussion in 'Defence Analysis' started by Levina, Feb 18, 2017.

  1. Levina

    Levina Colonel on stilettos Staff Member ADMINISTRATOR

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    Travels of a political pilgrim: Is rise of religiosity on AMU campus a precursor to another 'Partition'?
    Tufail AhmadFeb, 16 2017 11:57:05 IST

    Editor's note: Uttar Pradesh is home to India's sixth largest Muslim population, a figure whose magnitude is amplified when viewed in the context of the sheer expanse of the state and its Byzantine linkages of identities and communities. Such an examination is rendered all the more urgent considering Uttar Pradesh is now in the thick of a tumultuous election. To understand the mind of its Muslim community — its anxieties, aspirations and animating impulses — political commentator and journalist Tufail Ahmed set off on the road, sending us dispatches from its far corners. Firstpost will chronicle his travels in a multi-part series. The following is the third part of this series titled 'Travels of a political pilgrim'.






    In the late-1980s, when I studied there, no girl would be seen wearing a burqa or a boy donning a skullcap. The sociological shift indicates that at some point, from the 1990s onwards, religiosity became overtly significant in the lives of the university students. This growing religiosity is part of the trends among Muslims in India and abroad.

    Clothes are not, sometimes, just clothes. Burqas are ideas. These ideas have their own autonomous trajectories. At the Maulana Azad Library – one of the largest libraries in Asia, which is open till 2 am – students started offering prayers in the corridors some years ago, forcing the university officials to informally designate a separate room for prayers within the library.



    Later, to accommodate the religious needs of burqa-wearing students, they designated two separate reading rooms at the library for female students; though these students are allowed to sit anywhere in the library, alongside male students, and some of them do so.

    [​IMG]
    The rise of burqas at Aligarh Muslim University has led to the demand for separate reading rooms at the library. Image courtesy: University website

    Aftab Alam, a professor at the political science department, sees something positive in this trend. "Earlier, too, girls would be present in class, but would sit separately from boys and they wouldn't talk. Now, there is growing mixing between boys and girls. Burqa-wearing girls can be seen talking to boys freely," he says.


    However, Alam notes that the AMU campus has its own mazaj(character), which reflects a mix of tradition and modernity. "This campus will live with this challenge," he says. If AMU founder Sir Syed Ahmad Khan's objective was to provide modern education and inculcate liberal temperament among Muslims, the overt religiosity on its campus is indeed posing a serious challenge to the university's intellectual environment.

    In this regard, it is pertinent to discuss the role of a Bridge Course introduced at the university – a one-year course in which students from madrassas are enrolled to study English and social sciences. Rashid Shaz, a former member of the now-banned radical group Students Islamic Movement of India (SIMI), runs the Bridge Course, where guest lecturers are also invited.


    There are also courses on inter-faith and intra-faith subjects such as doctrinal differences between Muslim sects, but these courses are exclusively taught only by Rashid Shaz, whose radical books in Urdu are well known. I am left wondering if the teachings on inter-faith and intra-faith by the former SIMI member could be any different from the teachings of Zakir Naik, the televangelist Islamic preacher now facing the brunt of a crackdown for radicalising Muslims.

    "This course has brought a change in my thinking," says Israr Ali, formerly a student of Jamia Arafia madrassa at Ser Sarawan near Allahabad. After completing the Bridge Course, Ali is now enrolled in a Bachelor of Social Work course. Coming from a madrassa background, this is a big experience in his outlook, but he is young. Talking about backwardness among Muslims, he tells me what is normally taught to other Muslims too: "Muslims should have a political platform."


    On being asked what would happen if Hindus, Christians and other religions too started having their own political platform or a political party, Israr Ali responds: "Sir, hum siyasi platform ki baat naheen karte, lekin Hindustan mein Musalmanon ka jo istahsal ho raha hai, aisi halat mein hum kya karein (Sir, I wouldn't talk of a political platform. But in the face of the discrimination Muslims have been facing in India, what can we do?"

    It seems like the Bridge Course, though a good initiative on paper for integrating madrassa students into the educational mainstream, is diluting the character of AMU. With regard to the role of the Bridge Course, Irfan Habib, a professor emeritus at the history department, says, "AMU is divesting itself of its modern character."



    There is a concern that after completing the one-year Bridge Course, madrassa students become eligible as "internal students", giving them preference in admissions to further courses at AMU. "If you take 20 percent Muslims from madrassas, then the AMU is still pushing 20 percent Muslims (who could potentially enroll here) to go elsewhere," Habib says, arguing against the belief that the Bridge Course is helping Indian Muslims.

    There are concerns over the course because these madrassa students have not studied non-Islamic subjects such as geography, mathematics, social and physical sciences and therefore, in the coming decade, the course will truly transform the character of AMU on a religious path.

    This process contradicts another process that was introduced in AMU soon after Independence. Habib reminds that the government of the newly independent India ordered AMU that it could no longer deny female students admissions into postgraduate courses. Until then, the female students studied at the university's separate women's college till graduation and were not allowed into postgraduate courses on the main AMU campus. Shireen Moosvi, a retired professor of history at AMU, notes that the Bridge Course is also degrading the academic standards of AMU.


    Habib notes that when he was at Oxford University in the 1950s, frock-wearing girls from Pakistan would mock Indian girls for being orthodox. Religiosity has grown everywhere, not just in India and Pakistan, but in other parts of the world as well. Religiosity is also growing among Hindus. In the life of societies, ideas, whether good or bad, are essentially consequential, whether or not we want them.

    The rise of burqas has led to demand for separate reading rooms at the library. After passing out from the Bridge Course, Ali now thinks of a separate political party. In the 1930s and 1940s, there was a demand for a separate territory for Muslims, ultimately leading to the creation of Pakistan.


    Nowadays, Brigadier (Retired) Syed Ahmad Ali, the pro-vice chancellor of AMU, is leading a campaign for separate reservation for Muslims in educational institutions in India. He is not telling Muslims, however, that the OBCs among Muslims already come under the reservation umbrella. He is not asking for reservation for the backward groups among Muslims, but for anyone who believes in Islam. Muslims want everything separate because this is what Islam leads them to.

    If the rise of the burqa at AMU has led to a demand for separate rooms for female students, the logical consequence will be that even non-burqa wearing female students may not be permitted, socially not legally, to sit alongside boys at the library in coming decades. It is part of a movement of ideas rooted in Islam.


    If the rise of the burqa at AMU has led to a demand for separate rooms for female students, the logical consequence will be that even non-burqa wearing female students may not be permitted, socially not legally, to sit alongside boys at the library in coming decades. It is part of a movement of ideas rooted in Islam.

    An example is Iran, where skirt-wearing Iranian women were forced to wear burqas overnight by the theocratic regime of Ayatollah Khomeini, following the 1979 Islamic Revolution. On a recent visit to Tehran, India's external affairs minister Sushma Swaraj too had to comply by wearing a chador, or burqa.


    I asked Abdul Waheed, a professor at the sociology department, to tell me where this rise of burqas and skullcaps on AMU campus will lead to. Waheed cites historical studies, noting that during the Khilafat Movement in the 1920s, for restoration of the Turkey-led Islamic caliphate, Indian society witnessed the rise of beards and caps but adds that these disappeared after the Partition.

    It is worth mentioning that it was on the AMU campus that the Pakistan Movement was born, because it was here that highly educated Muslims had coalesced together, ultimately forcing the demand for a separate territory for Muslims. Waheed's words, that the beards and caps disappeared after the Partition haunt me, as I am left wondering if the rise of burqas and skullcaps on AMU campus will disappear after another Partition, which need not be territorial in nature.


    The author, a former BBC journalist, is a contributing editor at Firstpostand executive director of the Open Source Institute, New Delhi. He tweets @tufailelif


    ***********************
    The reason I have posted this article is that Indian Muslims have always been considered more broad minded than their counter parts across the world. They have had a peaceful existence with Hindus (mostly).
    Their decision to not quit India during partition itself is a testimony that they didn't believe in a religious divide.
    But very cleverly they are being radicalised.
    An institution which is more than a century old, which was used as an ARSENAL in the creation of Pakistan is once again being used as a tool to bring upon a movement which might cut through India deeper than we realise.


    Do not turn a blind eye!


    *************************
    To the (Muslim) man whom I address as bhai,who chants gayatri-mantra, who says he hates Pakistan, whose views assure me that people like him are the reason that religious divide could never drop its roots in our country.
    I owe this thread to him and people like him.


    @PARIKRAMA @nair @anant_s @Mercury @A_poster @Aqwoyk @Darth Marr @Wolfpack @Gessler @randomradio @thesolar65 @Rain Man @Hellfire @Grevion and everyone else.


    Btw no troll posts or sullying any religion. This thread is posted in the meeting room.



    http://www.firstpost.com/politics/t...a-precursor-to-another-partition-3284388.html
     
  2. PARIKRAMA

    PARIKRAMA Angel or Devil? Staff Member ADMINISTRATOR

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    I do wonder why you require burqas and skull caps in an education institute?

    I mean honestly my parents or family never said wear a locket with aum written or wear red threads and always keep displaying your religion..

    Education is a path to enlightenment.. somewhere I feel ppl end up mixing education and religion and result is a highly toxic drink.. too hard to consume.. and too attractive to resist..

    For madrassa students who come under bridge course and learn for the first time scientific portions of education besides religion based, it's a wonderful opputunity to enlighten oneself and learn much more... I still don't know why madrassa? Why not gov schools?

    Yet so called burqa girls talking to boys is a point that strict old age customs in the guise of religion and preservation of pious things like crap is still encouraged.. A co-education place will have interactions and that's normal...
     
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  3. lca-fan

    lca-fan Major SENIOR MEMBER

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    Next there will be demand for 2 Canteens a reminder of pre partition HINDU ROTI & MUSLIM ROTI.

    And finally a repeat of 1947. Govt. of India should implement common civil code free from religious interfering ruthlessly, religion at home only not at public places.
     
  4. A_poster

    A_poster Captain FULL MEMBER

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    @Levina Few faults in your observation:

    (1) Indian Muslims are not broad minded. They were and are as broad or narrow minded as a Pakistani Muslim. All internal Islamic issues that exist between Muslims in Pakistan (like Shia vs Sunni, rest of Muslims vs Ahemaddiya, Barelvi vs Deobandi, Saudi funding of madrasas) exist among Indian muslims too, and they are as much, if not more, fanatic as Pakistani muslims. The reason you have this confusion about broad mindedness (which was also demonstrated by Bush Jr too) is due to lack of terrorist activities, which rather than being a function of broad mindedness, is a function of our intelligence agencies keeping tabs on Muslims; a clear cognizance among Muslims that they are vastly outnumbered everywhere except in Kashmir and could not afford open hostilities (as Gujarat Muslims learned the hard way), and they have difficulty in getting visas that would be required for training and execution of global jihad.


    (2) Muslims did not moved to Pakistan because they had assets here and were not forced to move by Nehru-Gandhi duo. In 1946 provincial elections (which were direct and a quasi-referndum on issue of Pakistan), 74.75% Muslims voted for creation of Pakistan, and in indirect election for constitution assembly, 89.2% of Indian Muslims voted for Pakistan. They did not moved to Pakistan is not a valid argument, as they were not forced to. Nearly 100% of Muslims in state of Madras voted for Pakistan, and Muslims in current Pakistan (NWFP, Punjab, and Sindh) were least enthusiastic about creation of Pakistan.


    (3) AMU would cut deeper in India only if we lie to ourself about nature of Islam. I kind of find it funny that even when history repeats itself word by word, people still try to imagine rosy outcomes of train of events which have produced disaster in past.
     
  5. Levina

    Levina Colonel on stilettos Staff Member ADMINISTRATOR

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    Below the article, i have mentioned a man whom I know in my real life, a person i look upto. This is an Indian muslim with good knowledge of Hinduism, respects hindus, at no point in my life i have seen him say anything which reflects a bias towards his own religion.
    I know many like him all over India.

    Syed Ata Hasnain is another good example.

    That is one of the reasons.
    Muslims in India understood that a fledgling country like Pakistan would be nothing but a magnet to all the radical elements within the country. So they did not see a reason to move there.
    They also did not move because many muslim leaders denounced Jinnah like Maulana Abdul Kalam Azad, Author of Vidya mandir scheme Dr.Zakir Hussain, Hakim Ajmal Khan (who questioned Jinnah's knowledge of Quran).
    Muslims were emotionally blackmailed to move to Pakistan.


    upload_2017-2-18_12-15-50.png

    upload_2017-2-18_12-18-24.png
    [1]
    I do not deny the fact that kashmir is what it is due to its demography. But still I would not pull a blanket statement on all the muslims living in India.


    I want you to read this article and give me your opinion on this too>>>



    Keepers of the faith: Indian Muslims have a unique role to play in resolving global Islam’s crisis

    February 16, 2017, 2:00 am IST Syed Ata Hasnain in TOI Edit Page | Edit Page, World | TOI


    As the Trump era unfolds, disruption of the old order is the flavour of the day. Nowhere is such disruption more profound than in the world of Islam where radical theology has been making strides for some time. There have been various explanations of the phenomenon, from Huntington’s notion of clash of civilisations to theories around today’s churning within Islam being a precursor to reformation within the faith.

    Current perceptions arising from the Trump administration’s travel ban against seven Muslim-majority countries (now stayed by a court order) has brought to the fore the paradox of US liberal values pitted against extreme nationalism. The problems of Islam worldwide remain highly diffused with no clarity on the direction the faith wishes to follow. The one common thing is the general negativity with which followers of the faith appear to be universally viewed.

    India has almost 180 million Muslims, the world’s largest minority segment. How should common people view Islam? Its conundrum is getting more complex by the day making it difficult for people to comprehend what exactly they are up against. It is equally important for Indian Muslims to realise their unique position.

    Among the important issues remain the development differential between the Western Christian world and the core centre of Islam, the Middle East; as also the socio-political systems revolving around the conservatism of Islam’s values and the lack of modernism in political thought.

    Muslims around the world have to realise that the sectarian divide within Islam can only lead it to doom. The Shia versus Sunni conflict is forcing both groups to withdraw deeper within the folds of conservative thinking to protect their beliefs.

    The crisis within the Sunni sect is profound due to the rise of obscurantist sub sects. The Shia linkage with Iran involves them in an apparently eternal conflict with the US and its allies ever since the Iranian Revolution of 1979.

    Geopolitics mixed with faith based conflict has settled into the Middle East. The Saudis fear dilution of their control as keepers of the faith. This fear arises from two causes: first, their reduction in US perceptions of strategic importance due to the changing profiles and narratives of worldwide energy resources, demand and technology; second, due to the perceived rise in Iranian ambitions leading to its potentially greater domination of the Levant, presence of the Hezbollah, the likely victory of Bashar Assad in Syria and the Iraqi Shia domination of Northern Iraq.

    All the above is a complex handful. As if that is not enough, there is Europe and its problem with migration, both old and new. The older Muslim migrants are facing a generational problem which is preventing the integration of their young. At the same time many of them are being misled by Islamic State (IS) propaganda to rise against the West. On a different count Erdogan’s Turkey is in the midst of a counter revolution, almost reversing the secular and benign Islam promoted by Kemal Ataturk a century ago.

    Islam therefore appears highly unsettled and we have not even begun to describe the problems of Central and South Asia. Afghanistan promises to be in the throes of internal conflict for much longer as the Taliban is unlikely to relent and the US presence may just increase once Trump is a little more settled. Jammu & Kashmir, a conflict with more political than ideological or faith based differences, has slowly drifted.

    The separatist camp has no qualms about using faith as a weapon. Pakistan remains the hub of radical Islam both as a counterweight to Shia Iran and the promoter of faith based conflict in Kashmir. Its strategic importance continues to draw US and Chinese support.

    Bangladesh remains high strung about the violence within, said to be IS influenced yet having extremely local overtones in a society sharply divided over culture-led nationalism against radical Islam.

    Where do Indian Muslims stand, and how should they perceive the situation in the Islamic world? They must understand that they enjoy the benefits and rights of full scale democracy which few of their co-religionists are fortunate to possess or experience across the world. Even as Islam struggles to balance itself in the Middle East and other regions, Indian Muslims are already balanced and must therefore project this to the Islamic world. They have rejected radicalism to a great extent, although no one can deny the fact that efforts to turn their minds have not yet diminished.

    The educated and evolved Indian Muslim community must come out to engage with conservative Muslims whose fears may still be alive. Living in many isolated areas in smaller towns and cities there are a large number who are still poverty-stricken and unsure of themselves. As Islam witnesses turf and sectarian battles elsewhere, Indian Muslims must shun them, battle poverty and enhance their social empowerment. They should avoid becoming pawns in the larger games of other nations.

    The decision of their parents, to remain in India and be Indian should be deeply respected. It is the duty of the Indian Muslim clergy to protect their community from negative influence and project their will to be model followers of the Islamic faith; eventually virtual role models for the reformation which is bound to come within Islam.

    @PARIKRAMA
     
    Last edited: Feb 18, 2017
  6. A_poster

    A_poster Captain FULL MEMBER

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    And your point is?one swallow doesn't make a summer.

    In Pakistan too, Salman Tasser took a bullet for Aisa Bibi. Does than mean that Pakistani Muslims are by and large liberals? Muslims in India does not even get well even with each other. Only thing that is keeping them from slaughtering each other here ,like they are doing in Pakistan, is that they are a minority.



    Pakistan at its foundation was freer than India, richer, and had more potential. No one ,including Muslims that stayed, knew what it would become down the line.



    As implied in your own post, most of criticism that Jinnah and league received from some Muslims was based on the fact that they were not Muslims enough. It may not make a sense, but liberal Muslims left for Pakistan, while most of what we have are bottom of the barrel deobandi fanatics; who opposed partition as they believed that in united India, Muslims would be able to dominate and slaughter Hindus with ease. Even Maulana abdul kalam azad was opposed to Pakistan because he thought that partition would divide Muslims in two while uniting Hindus.

    And how come Muslims were emotionally blackmailed to move to Pakistan, when they voted for it? Have you even read my last post? Those percentages are facts, not debate points.
     
  7. Levina

    Levina Colonel on stilettos Staff Member ADMINISTRATOR

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    You're forcing me into a debate here.
    If i had believed that nothing is wrong with the muslims in our country then I would not have posted the article in the first place.
    But yes I refuse to take a blanket statement on them.
     
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  8. Grevion

    Grevion Professional Think Troll ELITE MEMBER

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    All this depends on the fact that how much India was able to fulfil what it promised to those who stayed after partition. Have we been successful in liberalising those who voted for Pakistan but didn't leave for whatever may be the reason. Do they feel more at home now then they did during the partition. Also we cannot just divide the Hindus and Muslims on communal lines before elections and then ask them to live as a family for the next four years. Stop doubting we have many muslims who made India proud because they kept their country before anything even their religion.
     
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  9. A_poster

    A_poster Captain FULL MEMBER

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    True Indology started a thread on Twitter about Maulana Hasrat Mohani. He was a pan Islamist who actively campaigned for Pakistan, but when it was formed, stayed in India. Staying in India does not mean that they did not believed in religious divide. Off course, I did not needed to confirm my point on this as for me, nearly 75% of Muslims voting for Pakistan is enough proof. When time came to fall on code, majority of Muslims fell on code.



    Jinnah'd camp was most progressive of all Muslims at his time (reason why he was not loved by conservatives), and deobandis were against Pakistan because they wanted whole India for Muslims.
     
  10. anant_s

    anant_s Encyclopedia Technical Analyst

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    I spent first 17 years of my life at a place called Narora, some 40 kms from Aligarh and AMU was the nearest university from the place. naturally a lot of students from my school, went to AMU as a university of choice for graduation.
    So what i'm going to write roughly describes how AMU was in late 80s and early 90s (an era writer describes) based on my interactions with school seniors.

    80s and early 90s were very different times in India. Country's economy was stagnating and religious tempers ran high leading to painfully frequent communal riots. Gangetic plains of UP were hotbed for politics based on religion before VP Singh's government introduced caste based reservation system changing course of politics especially in UP. In the region i'm describing was notorious for street hooliganism, crime primarily because there were little means for a youth to gainfully employ himself. To top it all society was deeply divided on religious grounds and Aligarh with its history of communal tensions was a nightmare for administration.
    Some areas of city were said to be off limits for hindus and vice versa. Places like upper court bore the brunt of anger whenever tensions flared.
    All this would give an image of an extremely volatile city, a place you rather would not want yourself to be in.
    But there was an oasis (i've not been to aligarh since 1999 and therefore can't comment how things are right now), AMU.
    A muslim dominated school of learning which welcomed everybody. People made friends there and if one was to find a proof for @Levina line that indian muslims are far liberal than elsewhere, one needn't look beyond AMU.
    I have vivid memories of 6.12.92 when babri masjid was demolished and all hell broke loose. Those students who couldn't get out of Aligarh in time (there was a curfew imposed), made their parents and families extremely nervous. with almost no means of communication, the condition of families was no different than that of a soldier's, who is in a war.
    after about 6 days, curfew was relaxed and arrangements were made to escort the students back from Aligarh.
    My father's boss Mohammad Akmal Rashid (Rashid uncle to me), whose elder daughter Sufia Shaheen was doing graduation, went to Aligarh, in a bus provided by father's employer.
    He returned back not only along with his daughter and other AMU students but also with some other students who studied in local colleges like Digamber Degree college etc. we later came to know that those sought refuge at AMU and AMU authorities did correct step of allowing them to stay in Hostels (they call it Hall in AMU). needless to say they didn't ask their religion.
    in times of utter madness, AMU was sanctum sanctorum of peace and humanity. i hope it is still that way now, coz that is how its founding father Sir Syed Ahmad Khan wanted it to be.

    AMU has an identity of its own. It is a powerful institute that breeds and fosters ideas. revolutionary at times, maybe radical sometimes.
    I therefore am not sure, if things are as bad as writers wants us to believe.
    & for sake of my respect for the institution and its idea, i hope AMU still is what it was in those troubled times of Indian society.

    @PARIKRAMA @Levina @Hellfire @Robinhood Pandey
     
  11. PARIKRAMA

    PARIKRAMA Angel or Devil? Staff Member ADMINISTRATOR

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    Magnificent post my friend..
     
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  12. dadeechi

    dadeechi Lieutenant FULL MEMBER

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    One should not make the mistake of applying rational scientific logic to rigid dogmatic religious philosophy.

    Dharmic religions are based on science and have always been open to debate and change with time while in case of Islam, debate and change is strictly prohibited. One cannot challenge what's written in the book no matter what and one cannot even change or forsake their faith, if they disagree.
     
    Last edited: Feb 18, 2017
  13. Wolfpack

    Wolfpack Captain FULL MEMBER

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    Remember history, The Pakistanis we now call them were once Indian Muslims and if they were broad minded and believed in peaceful coexistence,then why did they demand a separate nation?
    All these years the Muslim Population was below 10% when they attain 20% or more they will then start demanding special rights and territory. Mark my words, that is coming in future.
     
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  14. Levina

    Levina Colonel on stilettos Staff Member ADMINISTRATOR

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    Each time you reiterate this fact you absolutely ignore the fact that till 1944 Muslim parties like AML had not won any major elections. Last major election of 1937 was an absolute disaster for them.
    The turning point for AML was quit India movement when all the congress leaders were put behind the bars and AML got sufficient time to prepare a ground for the next elections and subsequently for partition.
    I agree.
    KSA is also a rich country but how many Muslims like to migrate to that country???
    I hope you got the drift of it.
    Merely a rich and (ostensibly) freer Pakistan wasn't enough.It had all the ingredients within itself which could trigger a self destruct mode.
    Only those who were myopic would have not seen this coming.


    I read his post on Mohani.
    Each time we discuss a Mohani and Owaisi, let's not forget the contributions of ppl like APJ Abdul Kalam to this country.

    Yes I called Indian Muslims broadminded and liberal compared to their counterparts across the world. I still stand by my stance.
    Let me give you an exampl, how many Indian Muslims do you think take fatwas serioulsy???
    Every alternate day there's one or the other fatwa announced by some braindead qazi. But it finds no takers for example women should not work, no life insurance etc etc.
    Isn't Najma Heptuallah a Muslim woman and isn't she still working???


    Yes. I know there are a few who suffer from the artificial victim complex and then there are few fear mongerers like Owaisi, but don't such people exist on both side of the spectrum? The majority ? And the minority???


    But then again what's happening inside AMU is not something that should be turned a blind eye to.
    With a pro-Hindu govt in power in the centre there's every possibility that places such as this would be used to radicalise the Muslim youth. That is perilous....and is.the reason why I posted this thread.

    Thanks for your insight though. I hazarded an opinion which is divergent from your's. :)
     
    Last edited: Feb 18, 2017
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  15. Levina

    Levina Colonel on stilettos Staff Member ADMINISTRATOR

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    Your post is a reminder that good and the bad co-exist.
     
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