Death of a good leader

Updated 07 March 2017
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Death of a good leader

The late Indian leader Syed Shahabuddin was a distinguished parliamentarian. Even though he achieved too little in politics, he was free from all the avarice prevalent in Indian public life. It is well known that no political party, including that of Indira Gandhi, could win him over and buy him at any price. He was successful in bringing awareness to Indian Muslims regarding their infallible right to negotiate for their constitutional rights without becoming the fodder of vote-bank politics.
He was the epitome of the collective angst of Indian Muslim suffering, simmering since independence but obviously without the force of a long-lasting mass movement. The Indian political system was not ready to impart even constitutional rights to its religious minorities and Babri Masjid was the embodiment of this blatant prejudice.
Shahabuddin was ahead of his time. The Indian Muslim community was incapable of taking advantage of his intellect in parliamentary democracy. He was certainly not a mass leader or a demagogue but rather a sincere thinker with great cognitive power.
His journal, “Muslim India,” is a testament to the discrimination suffered by Muslims in democratic India: In the economy, jobs, education, the share in governmental benefits, social uplift, judicial apathy, the extinction of their culture and language, non-participation in policy-making, inadequate representation in parliamentary politics, de-listing of Muslim backward classes from the list of reserved castes, the high-handedness of the delimitation commission, manipulation of census reports, tribulation in communal carnage, non-presence of any mechanism for dispensing justice to the victims of communal carnage, etc. It was he who brought all such issues to the forefront of Indian politics without mincing words. This was anathema in free India.
Whether Indian Muslims agree or disagree, it is a fact that Shahabuddin gave a voice to Muslims so they could be heard on issues which were swept under the carpet by mainstream political parties. For this, we owe him a lot and we can learn much from his “Muslim India.”


Syrian civil war

Updated 18 April 2017
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Syrian civil war

Since it broke out six years ago, the disastrous war in Syria has claimed about 400,000 lives, with the victims being more civilians than fighters. Of the civilians, the most affected are women and children. Peace is shattered in and around Syria only to safeguard the most selfish monster in the world: Bashar Assad.
According to a UNICEF report, grave violations against Syrian children during the war have been recorded. The children in Syria are not only maimed and killed as a result of bombings but also forcefully recruited to be part of the conflict. Children as young as 7 years old are pushed into the front line as fighters, suicide bombers and executioners! The actual figures of those injured, dead and forcefully-recruited children are far higher than in the UNICEF report.
The innocent children “used” in the conflict have had the right to blossom, the right to enjoy life and the right to be on a play-ground torn from them. They have been deprived of the right to education and, according to UNICEF, nearly two million children have been forced to stop their education with one-third of school buildings rendered inoperative due to destruction.
With their often physically crippled parents, the children have to be the sole bread-winners in nearly 75 percent of Syrian households. Unwillingly, the children are forced to serve as garbage collectors, hairdressers and cleaners. Keeping aside what Assad gets out of this war, the beneficiaries of the war are weapon manufacturers who may well be dubbed parasites living on the blood of innocents.
Assad, the inhuman butcher of humanity, does not care what the world says, opines, suggests and warns about the catastrophic war in Syria. More than the ruinous acts of Assad, Russia and Iran, it shocks, grieves and pains to see that the world and the Muslim world has done nothing to stop the butcher of this century from his brutal and barbaric destruction of his own nation and his own people.