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EDITORIAL: 1-15 August 2001

Mukhias, mukhota and satraps

Estranged sons of India, that is Bharat, that is Hind, that is Hindustan, once again failed the test of destiny and history. The elder brother, mukhia of his side, wrote a poem inviting the younger brother, who was the mukhia of the other part, to walk with him the high road to peace and prosperity for their divided families...but, when the crucial time came, he failed to take even a few steps, thanks to his left knee, right knee and adva-knee. The impatient young one, too, squandered an opportunity at hand with unthoughtful parleys with the spoil-sport mob. Both were more concerned to go back to their camps and boast of their gallant stands for truth and history than tackle grave issues which keep their family divided which came to be known as the naked, poorest and the most illiterate in their part of the duniya.

Big brother displayed readiness to flout all the norms of civilized behaviour and decency in his part of the meeraas and the younger brother opted to continue to support rebels in big brother’s extended family on the other side of the contentious fence.

The humbled rebels, on the other hand, gobbled all their pride in order to achieve a face-saving taweez from the two brothers meet and were the most dejected by its failure. Big brother’s loss was immediate. His mukhota fell off on the way back home and he was shown to the curious villagers to be presiding over ambitious and competing satraps who, like the nawabs of the mughal empire, paid little heed to the emperor.

And the cunning ‘hidden hand’ which frustrated an almost successful meet remains blameless and ever-ready to step into the shoes of the geriatric mukhia though rebellious satraps on the sidelines would never allow him to grab the crown. The modern-day mukhia presents the sorry picture of a shah alam about whom it was said, ‘the realm of shah alam: from delhi to palam.’

On the other side of the dividing fence are the rohillas who are not interested in the bleeding valley as much as they are interested in extracting their pound of flesh for the ignominy of bengaala decades earlier. But then rohillas are not known for magnanimity and forgiving is not printed in their thesaurus. To reach their hearts’ desire they can gouge out the eyes of the emperor or, in today’s world, take to heart the sight of the mounting piles of the bleeding valley’s youth sacrificed at the alter of their pride to spite the big brother who willingly accepts the continuos sacrifice to placate his himalayan ego.

All this will surely lead to an east india company creeping in sooner than later. Uncle vulture, the sole arbiter of the duniya, is waiting in the wings, ever-ready to swoop in. The chanakyas, no match to machiavelly, have already decided to put their lot with the sole arbiter in order to play it big in the neigbourhood. And if they have to squander away their family wealths, once again, so be it... In between they have struck friendship with shylock, the big vulture’s commission agent at large, who is showing them wet dreams in broad-daylight and is busy extracting his pound of flesh with all the possible inducement and haste. The saffron privar is giggling in their khaki. The going has never been so good. An enemy’s enemy is your best friend, they assuringly tell each other. But can shylock be a friend of even his own tribe? Can a vulture be faithful even to its own progeny... The question will continue begging for an answer till the next meet of the mukhias.. By the time the mounting piles of the human sacrifice will have doubled in the in the bleeding valley...

Internet is haram!
Taliban, or students, are playing mu’allims, or teachers these days. They have issued a fresh fatwa after consulting their Urdu fiqh books: Internet is haram, just like loudspeakers, telephones and TVs were haram earlier... Why? Because the internet may be misused. If this is the logic, what on earth may not be misused? Pens, paper, hands, eyes, roads, telephones, loudspeakers, clothes, sticks, mud... Just think of anything on the face of this earth and it may be misused just like a ruler-by-fluke may misuse his authority which is very much evident in the case of the students, that is Taliban...

If the Taliban were some Mongolian or Siberian tribe we would not bother. But the problem is that many, even some righteous and pious Muslims, think that Taliban are exemplary Muslims, that they are trying to establish a ‘true’ Islamic State and that the whole world is against them simply because of this fact... And this is simply not true. The world would pay them least attention was it not for their offering refuge to the remnants of the’ ‘Arab Afghans’ who are seen as a possible threat to many Arab countries, and hence must be neutralized, and because of the drug traffic of which until recently Afghanistan was a hub.

If Taliban think that by showing their back to civilization they can ward off alien influences on their cherished tribal society, they are free to ban anything be it telephones or TV or radio or roads or electricity or eyes or brains, but, pray, don’t call it ‘Islam.’ Our faith is not obscurantist. It is ever modern and ever progressive. It teaches us how to use every new technology with responsibility and moderation. And if you think you can live without Internet today you alone will be the sole big, fat losers in your fool’s paradise, buying isolation and backwardness in a world whose borders are fast shrinking.

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