Indian Muslim Leading Newspaper, New from India, Islam, World
32 pages, Twice a month. Subscribe Now.  (RNI DELENG/2000/930; ISSN 0972-3366)

Since Jan 2000

Cartoons .  Special Reports . National  . Issues . Community News Letters to the Editor  . Matrimonials . Latest Indian Muslim Statements . Book Store ++

Subscribe Online

About Us

Online Book Store  

Jobs @ MG

Advertise on MG
Our Team
Contact Us

Muslim Matrimonials
Our Advertisers

Add to your RSS reader - Indian Muslim Islamic News online media web site

Ľ  Lastest Indian Muslim 
Statements & 
Press Release
Web (WWW) OR  
only MG

Ľ Tell me when the next issue comes online:






If you haven't seen the print edition,

missed it ALL

send me the print edition


INDIA TODAY Rejoinder: We are finest, matchless..

Please refer to the "SIGNPOST" {Anti-Muslim Innuendo} by Mohd Zeyaul Haque {"The Milli Gazette" dated 16-31, 2000 P-7}. I was shocked to go through it not because you criticized our story {"Corridor of Doubt"} Ė we get hundreds of letters from readers every issue and most of them are critical, which editors regard as a healthy sign, but mainly because the write-up is full of venom and communal bias against INDIA TODAY and its highly respected editors. I am proud to say that both Mr Chawla and Mr Dasgupta are among the finest journalists in the country with matchless caliber.

But just to level baseless charges and abuse all of us you, as per the nature of your organization, which sees everything through Hindu-Muslim glasses, have also tried to brand us Hindu and Muslims instead of treating journalists as journalists.

Do you think M Rahman, Zafar Agha, Javed M Ansari, Saba Naqvi Bhowmick or myself were taken on the staff of INDIA TODAY because we happen to be Muslims? And do you think these were the only ones to leave INDIA TODAY during the past 25 years and join elsewhere? Did you talk to anyone of them about their experience in this Magazine before mentioning their names?

As in any other profession, journalists leave one organization to join somewhere else for various reasons but rarely does anyone leave purely on religious ground. Again Rahman joined TIME, Agha joined a dotcom company, Ansari joined The Hindu and Bhowmick joined Outlook because of their journalistic abilities and experience and not on the basis of religion. Is there any quota for Muslim-journalists in these organizations? We all came from other organizations. Did they also leave the organizations with which they were working earlier to join INDIA TODAY because they were being discriminated against on the ground of being Muslims.

While they were with this magazine they were respected by the editors because of their professional merits. As far as I know they were hired because of that and all of them were political correspondents holding various senior positions.

Why you did not react when we wrote stories unflattering to the Sangh Parivar? Mr Haque in a calculated manner described both Mr Prabhu Chawla and Mr Swapan Dasgupta {Editor and Deputy Editor respectively} as "Sanghis" {whatever it means to Mr Haque, it certainly does not mean being anti-national or anti-India}. This is utter nonsense, reflecting a sick mind and I wonder how such dirty writings directed against senior journalists could find space in your paper.

In a bid to abuse, insult and run down INDIA TODAY and its editors Mr Haque, it seems, has imagined certain things like what I had filed and how it was edited or "polished" and then went on analyzing facts which did not exist. Mr Haque seems to be knowing everything about INDIA TODAY except one thing, that is unlike other publications, here itís a teamwork and not a single line is changed without reporterís approval. Facts are checked at various level and finally editors trust reporters and writers. Where were you when we highlighted issues like Shah Bano case, Courts crossing its limits, various communal violence in which Muslims were at the receiving end. Why you ignored our stories on the demolition of Babri structure and the Editorial comment? Do you know I, despite being a Muslim as you think, was sent from Patna to Ayodhya to cover the controversy in Sept. 1984? Why? Because INDIA TODAY trusts its reporters who treat journalism as a profession and not as medium to trade religion and spread hatred.

But we donít publicise these facts just to shout we are secular. We treat it as part of our job. Perhaps you or Mr Haque canít read or remember these stories because it may expose your intentions.

There are contradictions too in Mr Haqueís write-up. At one place he acknowledges my "integrity" and "ability to withstand political pressures" {for your information all journalists have the same integrity and ability and this is why they are in INDIA TODAY and this is why INDIA TODAY is on the top} but at the same time he feels that I was under pressure to do this story. For doing a baseless story there was no need for me to travel across the border.

Mr Haque seems to have been hurt because we tried to expose ISIís gameplan. But the fact remains that no Muslim in course of my investigation on both sides of the border could justify mushrooming of Madarsa and Mosques {the number of institutions and population percentage are official, not ours}.

He is also angry because I called "Milli Council" a "non-political fundamentalist" organization. I am not aware of Milli Councilís political activities except that some of its leaders, may be for personal reasons, had issued "fatwa" for or against a political party in the past.

But why is he provoked over the word "Fundamentalist"? Does he really think itís a derogatory word. As I understand, Islam is based on five fundamentals and no Muslim can be a true Muslim if he does not follow these fundamentals. What are the aims and objectives of Milli Council? Ask the respected scholar Qazi Mujahid-ul-Islam Qasmi to understand the significance of Milli Council being a "non-political and fundamentalist" organization.

Instead of going into other baseless charges I request you and Mr Haque to under stand things in real perspective. Perhaps only then both of you may be able to serve journalism better instead of trying, consciously or unconsciously, to defend organizations which are indulging in anti-India activities.
Farzand Ahmed
Associate Editor, India Today
F-14/15 Connaught Place, New Delhi 110 001

M. Zeyaul Haque replies:
I stand corrected on Mr Chawla's pluralist beliefs and Mr Dasgupta's multi-cultural conviction. I also accept that the "right" in the latter's Right Angle is about optics, a subject beyond my grasp. I do accept that the Sangh has a copyright on patriotism as Mr Ahmed rightly claims in his letter.

Secondly, I agree that India Today has been the best in the business. 
However, we are talking about its present, not its past achievements as rightly enumerated by Mr Ahmed.
However, what I don't agree with is the insinuation that I have been hurt because India Today "tried to expose ISI gameplan." Sorry, this is not at all the case. I (like all Indian Muslims) am hurt because India Today is trying to take potshots at Indian Muslims in general, instead of "exposing" the ISI, which it can do to everybody's heart's content. Despite some people's patent on patriotism, Muslims would be happy to join efforts against ISI.

Mr Ahmed is chagrined over what he calls the "mushrooming" of mosques and madrasas, a phenomenon which nobody in those areas could satisfactorily explain to him. India Today's vaunted claims to quality journalism ring hollow when its senior editors use words carelessly (or mischievously). The growth of mosques and madrasas (as well as the growth of places of worship of other religions) during the last 10 years or so is not difficult to understand. Population growth automatically necessitates building of more places of worship. I would advise Mr Ahmed to someday count the places of worship driving on way to work. How many of them were there ten years ago? How many of them are mosques? Only mosques make news? Is it not a dishonest way of looking at things? Did he ask anybody about these new places of worship and demand a "satisfactory" answer? Is it legally and morally correct to ask a group of citizens to provide an explanation of why they want to build a place of worship? Who has given the powers of an Inquisitor to India Today?

It is not we who are looking at things through communally-tainted glasses, but Mr Ahmed and his colleagues who don't object to the growth of one set of religious places while branding another set as dens of anti-national activity. We don't mind the exponential growth of non-Muslim places of worship because we know that the last two decades of the 20th century witnessed a strong surge of interest in religion worldwide. The surge continues. It is easy to understand why people who were great liberals and leftists in their university days are now looking at everything from a right angle.

India Today's understanding of English language is remarkable, on the whole, if we ignore its propensity for hype and hoopla. Mr Ahmed thinks mosques and madrasas have "mushroomed" lately. What he describes is not "mushrooming" but ordinary growth explained by a spurt in interest in religion. If he wants to understand what "mushrooming" means, he should go to Chhatarpur on the outskirts of Delhi. He will have a revelation: none of those religious places happens to be a mosque, and this is what can justifiably be called mushrooming.

I don't have to go to Maulana Mujahidul Islam Qasmi to learn that the word "fundamentalist" does not carry any negative undertones. As Mr Ahmed and his colleagues know quite well, this word began its career in the twilight years of the 19th century. By the early 20th century it had emerged as a hurrah word in the American Protestant Church. By the middle of the century, it became a neutral word, and from the 1970s onwards it started putting on negative connotations. Today, it is purely a boo word, no longer used in its original context. Mr Ahmed and his colleagues are not naive enough for their pretensions to innocence being taken for anything other than what they are -- pretensions, that is. Also, Maulana Qasmi is no authority on English language.

And, Sir, we are not defending "anti-India activities." We are defending ourselves, all Muslims, from the vicious campaign of calumny unleashed in the wake of Babri Masjid destruction. Farzand Sahab, what was destroyed on December 2, 1992 was not "Babri structure" as your letter says, but Babri Masjid. How did India Today refer to it in the wake of its destruction? As Babri structure? Is masjid a four-letter word that you avoid writing as a concession to civility?

Sadly, we have reached a point where some simple-minded Muslims have started accepting the charges levelled by determined anti-Muslim organizations. If the Shahi Imam of Delhi's Jama Masjid is branded as an ISI agent, he says "yes, I am one." He does that in the belief that one cannot argue with evil people. If the Milli Council publishes its own findings on the mosques and madrasas, it is promptly labelled as "retaliatory" by India Today, the paragon of objectivity. No wonder, people like the revered Maulana Qasmi have to explain their position as "fundamentalists," which gives India Today the licence to describe them as such. Is it fair? Is it honest?

Finally, the letter (long on accusations, short on substance) does not address the issues raised in my column. To recap: 
-Does an area automatically become an ISI hotbed by merely having 20-30 per cent Muslims? (This is the assumption in the bulletted part of India Today's story.)

How does the presence of mosques and madrasas in an area make it liable to be maliciously described as an area of "Crescent Expansion" (as shown in the box item)?

How does carrying tazia, an act of faith, become synonymous with sowing disunity? Is the practice of Islam a seditious act? (This is what one of the captions slyly suggests.)

How is the building of a place of worship an ISI-sponsored activity? (This is what another caption suggests.)

To our regret, the letter does not resolve the core issues raised in my column.

Subscribe Now


Get Books from India at cheap attractive ratesArabic English High Quality translation

Help Relief, Welfare, development work in India - Zakat

Read books on Indian Muslim Islamic topics only on MG bookstore !

Subscribe 2 MG print edition | Muslim Educational Loan AidContact Us | Muslim Baby Names | OutreachIndia | Suggestions | Muslim  Islamic greeting cards

Bookmark The Milli Gazette

Privacy PolicyDisclaimer  © Copyright 2000-Present  Publishers: Pharos Media & Publishing Pvt Ltd, New Delhi, India