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Taking Stock
Conflict Resolution
By Rizwan Ullah

Rizwan UllahConflicts and clashes have covered more space in the human history than peaceful avocations that led civilisation to a place where it stands today. Conflicts of various intensity and dimensions still haunt and in all probability still continue to be so as it is part of the ways of this gregarious being. But then there are means and ways for resolving conflicts and restoring peace and harmony which is the basic requirement for preserving the pace of progress in social life. However, the basic condition for peaceful resolution of conflicts is the will to do so with sincere intent. Without that will no amount of effort will succeed in resolving any conflict big or small and will be likely to run for generations which has been the practice and tradition of the tribal society. 

In the contemporary world human aspirations know no bounds and at the same time man has become extremely conscious of and curious about the slightest stir in any direction. So whenever a move is made for resolving any conflict it takes no time for the people concerned to realise whether the spirit for resolution is genuine or farcical, it is intended to solve an issue or for dressing it to gain time for deceitful purposes. Thus in any attempt to resolve a conflict the clarity of purpose and solemnity of intention are preconditions otherwise, all efforts will be wasteful.

After this generalisation I am coming to a specific Indian situation. Here through a long process of propagated misconception an impression is almost indelibly imprinted that there is a permanent and insolvable conflict between Hindus and Muslims. Let me state it very clearly that there is no such thing as a permanent conflict between Hindus and Muslims. Even if it is assumed for a moment that there exists such a conflict then it will have to be admitted that any effort to resolve it will be a sham effort, sheer waste of time, rather befooling ourselves and it would be better to devote the time for doing something better and more useful. 

What has been alleged to be a sort of permanent Hindu-Muslim conflict is, in fact, a phenomenon, a chain of more or less similar events, having almost similar origins, with similar stages of development, in the more or less similar results with lesser or stronger intensity in terms of causalities and other losses. Such events have been happening and in all probability will continue to happen for the simple reason that the process of history has woven our society in a particular pattern with the element of conflict as an inalienable factor. Thus an event happening, say in the South, is immediately linked to a similar event, say in the North or elsewhere reviving all the memories of the past. Thus a continuity of conflict is shown by filling in some links.

Now speaking more specifically, take the instance of Gujarat events. A group of mischief makers were continually committing provocative acts against a minority. It was certain to reach a boiling point at some time or the other which it did at last engulfing wider areas, involving a large number of people and resulting in huge loss of life and property, all Indian after all. 

In fact, it was the responsibility of the state authority to take necessary steps to keep the situation under control. All mischief makers without any distinction should have been strongly dealt with. One need not go into the details of what had happened. The point to be made here is that neither all the Hindus of India nor all the Muslims of India were involved in the long drawn series of heinous acts. More Hindus condemned it than those who had directly or indirectly participated in the pogrom including their supporters and the officials of the state government who had violated the oath for performing their duty faithfully. Thus it was a case of utter failure of the government in protecting the life and property of common Indian citizen whosoever he or she might have been. Constitutionally or legally speaking such a government forfeits its authority to run the administration under any pretext and amounts to collusion in the willful violation of the Constitution. Then the administration failed to bring proper and timely relief to the suffering victims. Thus it is not a case of Hindu-Muslim clash. To say so would be an affront to the overwhelming majority of conscientious people of both communities. It should be condemned in the strongest terms. We may take another glaring example, the demolition of the historic mosque under the caretaking charge of the government of the largest democracy in the world with its second largest Muslim population in the world and having one of the largest armed force failed to stop the crowd of ruffians from razing the huge structure of the mosque to the ground. Obviously, it was a case of collusion between the state and the lawbreaking ruffians. It was certainly not a case of a clash between all the Hindus and all the Muslims of India. Many Hindus in India and elsewhere felt ashamed over that act of vandalism. This leads to the conclusion that in all such cases Muslims as a victimised minority should always deal with the government and refer to the judiciary a surviving gloom of hope in abandoning darkness of lawlessness. In fact, it is not the lawlessness that we find ourselves face to face with, it is a state of social injustice which is eating into the fabric of society bit by bit and if it is given a free hand to continue under any guise it is certain to break up the whole society sooner or later.

The foregoing observations lead to the propositionas to how common Indian Muslims should react to the reported talks between some Muslims and some Hindus, neither of them having any mandate from their communities to negotiate on their behalf. The only course open to the aggrieved community is to deal with the government even if it is biased and prejudiced, and stick to the position that in each and every case they will accept and abide by the court decision only. The reported talks between the two groups of people are their own affair and it has nothing to do with all the Hindus and Muslims of India.

It must be noted that those who have come forward as self-styled representatives of Hindus are none but a well organised group of money makers chequered by a group of Dharma guru. They are asked to give an account of the money they have been accumulating in the name of mandir nirman. The NRIs donating huge amounts in good faith are also realising their mistake in trusting them. Thus these people feel the ground slipping under their feet. These are the people who have been accusing Muslim citizens of India as unfaithful to the country and anti-national. Such people should be sued for libel in law court instead of talking to them.

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