Monday, July 30, 2007

'Whose Law and Whose Order?'

Bombay 1992: "Stiffen the sinews, summon up the blood"

Now that 'judicial justice' has finally been delivered after 15 years of persistent pregnancy in the infamous Bombay serial blasts, it must be termed as post-mature judicial delivery! Judicial potency to convict accused on the basis of 'prima facie evidence' is unquestionable, but its potency gets punctured when it comes to analyse 'cause' and 'effect' theory (as explained in Justice Sri Krishna Commission report) on a mass scale.

The cause was callous and chaotic. The effect was conceited consciousness.

And its aftermath — a chartered accountant's belief in India's judicial system being shaken. Shaken after 13 years of incarceration.

Why did it took so long to decide whether the surrendered Memons — Yakub, Abdul Razak, Hanifa, Suleiman, Rubina, Essa and Yusuf — were guilty or not? The Memons surrendered believing in the government 'deal' that the female members will only be 'questioned but not arrested' and the male members would be 'arrested and helped to get bail' since 'none of the Memon family members was part of the underworld except for Tiger Memon'. Yakub and his other family members had no 'clue that Tiger was planning the serial blasts'.

The demolition of Babri Masjid and the riots that followed was the 'cause'. Bombay serial bomb blasts were its 'effect'. This is not to glorify the gory incident that left 257 people dead. This beginning of the serial bomb blast culture has done more harm to the Indian Muslim than anybody else. He has become a permanent suspect in the eyes of the security agencies. He is still reeling under its aftermath. In Malegaon and Hyderabad, it has made him a 'victim' as well as a 'suspect'. The Indian Muslim is perhaps going through the identity-crisis phase!

Justice is not a word but a complete sentence. The Indian Muslim has only heard the word 'justice' and yet to see the completion of the sentence. Time and again, he has been promised by the so-called 'secular' Congress party that the sentence will be completed by implementation of the Sri Krishna Commission report.

But alas, the report and the commission have become his fate. In each and every election, he has been put on an oxygen mask of implementation by the 'secular' souls. The oxygen mask has always been removed before he could breathe the air of implementation.
Perhaps, he should realise that oxygen masks are made for temporary use!

Deliberate State neglect and the Muslim politician's indifference towards the implementation of the Sri Krishna Commission report has made him to split the word 'justice'. Justice means just ice. Justice is like the ice that melts before he could quench his thirst.
The 'outbursts' witnessed in the TADA court are a true reflection of his anger against the establishment which believes that justice is a one-way street. (Zakir Hussein Shaikh on his death sentence: "Musalmano ko aisi hi phaasi ki sazaa milegi. Hamare ghar dukaan, loote gaye, phir bhi humko phaasi mili. Yeh kaunsa insaaf hai?" This is wrong. Muslims will always be hanged. Our houses and shops were looted but we are still being given the maximum punishment. What kind of justice is this?)

The police practised state genocide under the watchful eyes of the establishment and let other politicians indulge in the naked dance of communalism that included riots after riots. And there is nothing unique about it because it has been going on since 1961. "For all my adult life," wrote M.J. Akbar in 1990, "across two decades of reading, observing, trying to understand, trying to write, it has been one long sequence of riot after riot after riot: of the single dreams of young women charred by the brutality of an irresponsible destiny: of mothers punished with the death of their children: of fathers broken, battered because they bowed their heads to Allah".

Mr. Vilasrao Deshmukh, recently offered the oxygen mask of implementation once again: "I will take action".

Against whom? Against himself? That will be some cleansing of the political conscience!

Yakub Memon, an educated Indian Muslim (a practising chartered accountant) did not blame Justice Kode. "I forgive him," he said. That must be a good news for the judiciary. An Indian Muslim might have forgiven the Justice; but justice is still a far cry for Hajirabi Qureishi whose husband and eldest son was dragged by Shiv Sainiks and are still missing since January 10, 1993.

Sunday, July 22, 2007

‘Not Many Academics in the U.S. Believe in the Clash of Civilization Theory’

American journalist Amar Bakshi is a man with a mission. After spending a month in UK, he is in India for his project ‘How the World Sees America’ ( Here are some excerpts from the interview. Posing Lensman: Amar Bakshi trying to show his 'shooting' skills!

Q: Tell me about yourself and your project briefly.

A: I have been working as the editor of PostGlobal for the past year which basically connects editors around the world to answer questions twice a week hold by David Ignatius and Fareed Zakaria. I have just graduated from Harvard University, majored in social theory and documentary video. I did features on Zimbabwe looking at media propaganda. And as I was there I became interested in the way Mugabe regime consolidates its power. As soon as I graduated, I started working for the Washington Post. It was an interesting theme to explore; how America is perceived and why different pockets of the world harbours so much resentment and so much hope for the United States at the same time. I think this love-hate relationship is very complex one. I came up with the idea when I was in Zimbabwe.

Q: It’s almost been two weeks that you are in India. Can you share your experiences?

A: I think, India so far, has been very personal experience for me. First couple of days I interacted with my grandmother and really looked at her for the first time. I explored what America meant to her and done to her, having her family migrated there, the opportunities that opened up for me and the loss in some way that it caused to my family rooted in India. So far as I have been to Delhi, Gurgaon, Chennai, Mumbai and I am trying to get away from big cities to get a sense of what it feels to be in less urban parts of India. I think the sense I had is America here has great ideas and stands for things that many Indians hold dear to both the cultures. But certain actions rubbed against that idea come across as critical…I think that there is a lack of citizenship and communications from Americans and Indians. And I do think that the second and third generation of Indian Americans can play an important role in bridging that divide.

Q: How do you perceive Indian Muslims as compared to Muslims in the United States & elsewhere?

A: I have interacted with Muslims in England. And this is the first time that I am interacting with Indian Muslims. But I should say that among American Muslims that I interacted with [In Coney Island,New York], there was a real sense of fear that they couldn't necessarily trust their own government. I think the same sense is very much in Britain [in Blackburn and parts of London]. And I am not sure yet what the sense is here. In terms of the views of the America, I think in UK there was more open hostility to United States than I saw here. And in terms of American Muslims there is a real sense of wanting to belong properly and I think its sad as to what happened post 9/11; deep concerns of pure alienation.

Q: What kind of reactions do you come across as an American on your visit to UK and India as far as Anti-American feeling is concerned.

A: I don't think I have experienced Anti-American feelings yet. I think the real way I experienced being American is the source of pride people have that I don't speak Hindi and I am not rooted in India and yet I am brown and look like that I could be an Indian. I am confused about my identity. I think the way my family tried to Americanize me; it had some unfortunate consequences so there is a desire to reconnect. I want to retain my Indianness and I want to be a 'global American'!

Q: Do you think that Indian Muslims living in a secular country like India could be an ideal example for rest of the Muslim world, leaving aside isolated incidents as to what happened in Glasgow recently?

A: I really don’t know since my interaction with Indian Muslims has been minimal so far.

Q: What do you think of American foreign policy towards the Muslim world?

A: I understand those perceptions outside America that it is conspiring to target the Muslim world. If you were in America, say Washington DC, people and policy makers would say that this is an attack on terrorists and no one would say that this is an attack on the Muslim world. And, you know, the goal of American policy should be to go after few extremists and do whatever to capture them and the fact that U.S. is perceived as fighting is Islam is very unfortunate.

Q: Don’t you think that America might be winning war on the battlefield but losing battle for hearts and minds?

A: I wouldn't say losing battle on the battlefields. I would say that it is unnecessarily extending on the battlefield. There is a very much perception outside America that America is doing this to dominate the Muslim world. There is resentment in America as well. And you must remember that there is right now a fundamental difference between American government policy and what American people want. American government does not necessarily stand for what majority of Americans want.

Q: In Iraq war, there have been many civilian deaths. As per one study published in The Lancent, at least 6, 50,000 innocent civilians have been killed since the invasion of Iraq.

A: Nobody is pleased about that in America. In no way Americans approve of as to what happened in Iraq. There are many many people who abhor it, I would say a tremendous number of Americans hate it. Now the question is what we are going to do about it now that it has happened. And that’s what Americans are grappling with, and it’s very tragic. Majority of people believe that we should not have entered Iraq in the first place. Now that we have, what will be the complications if we pull out? These are some of the questions being raised by the Americans.

Q: What do you think of American mainstream media as far as the Iraq invasion is concerned? I mean almost the entire American media was gung-ho about the invasion. You had columnists like Thomas Friedman hell-bent on attacking Iraq. Isn’t it a classic case of Yes-Man-Journalism?

A: Although I am not a media expert but I agree. It was a big think in the US. How media lied down. And this project is trying to bring together viewpoints from people all across the world. It will be great to find out how America is perceived outside. It will give Americans an insight as to what people think of them and their government. There was so much turmoil in the U.S. media. But now the media is moving very quickly especially this project. We want more voices articulated on world views and people who don’t find an avenue to express their feelings; this project is a good platform to share their ideas.

Q: Will your project have some kind of imapct on the U.S. foreign policy?

A: U.S. government is a very complicated thing. I mean who will have effect and how… but as far as Americans are concerned, they will get to know what people think of their government . It gives a little bit of sense to the reader & viewer what other person is like. For example, once they see people working in BPO industry (call centres), they probably would understand them better and might not shout at them.

Q: How is Samuel Huntington’s theory ‘clash of civilizations’ viewed in the U.S.?

A: I don't think people take it too seriously, especially At Harvard University, many professors and academics don't believe in it at all. I mean there are bunch of interests not known and is not considered but in terms of fundamentals I don't really agree with the theory.

Q: Can media play an important role in bridging the gap between the U.S. and the Muslim world?

A: Media definitely plays an important role in bridging this gap. I think the media should encourage human interactions as well, dialogues. This project is all about creating dialogues.