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Gaddafi tries his hand with Indian issues

Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi took an initiative to end hostility between the two neighbours. He recently invited a galaxy of prominent Indians to his tent in the Libyan desert, and spoke to them on a wide range of subjects from colonialism to how to perform prayers...

At the time when India and Pakistan are on the verge of nuclear warfare, thousands of miles away in the desert of Africa, efforts are on to do a bit for the cause of peace in the Subcontinent. 

The Libyan leader Colonel Muammar Gaddafi took an initiative in his own style to end hostility between the two neighbours. Gaddafi recently invited a group of prominent Indians in his tent in the Libyan desert, some distance from his birth place, Sirte. The impressive Indian team included a galaxy ranging from a Hindu pontiff (Shankaracharaya) to luminaries of Darul Uloom Deoband, the Subcontinent’s largest seat of Islamic learning. 

The 30-member group included two vice chancellors and two members of Parliament. They visited Libya during May 20- 25 at the invitation of Gaddafi International Foundation for Charity Association (GIFCA) which is headed by Saiful Islam, son of Muammar Gaddafi. It may be recalled that Saif visited India only last Ramadan and interacted with many groups of Indians.

"In fact the group was invited at the behest of Col. Gaddafi who is very much concerned over the growing tension between India and Pakistan," says MA Kazmi, who was one of the members of the group. 

The Indian group sat around Gaddafi and listened to his lecture carefully. He caused them to leap every once in a while with his surprising observation like "you know nothing about God," or "when I come to India I shall lead you all in prayer."

Shankaracharaya Sri Adhokshjanand Dev Tirthji of Puri, Maulana Asad Madni president of Jamiatul Ulema-e-Hind, Dalit leader Udit Raj, JNU vice chancellor GK Chaddha, Jamia Hamdard VC Siraj Hussain, Prof. K Mathew of Delhi University’s department of African Studies, members of Parliament AR Kidwai (a former governor) and KM Khan, journalist and former MP, M Afzal, Namdhari Sikh leader HS Hanspal, president of the Universal Association for Spiritual Awareness, Pandit NK Sharma, once political advisor of the then Prime Minister Narasimha Rao, chairman of the Hind Agro Industries, Sirajuddin Quraishi, besides other businessmen, retired civil servants and a representative group from Deoband. This was really a unique combination, which seldom could meet at one place in India, was flown to Tripoli onto Sirte.

"Imperialism does not want India as a strong nation. Imperialists are trying to divide India, Pakistan and Bangladesh to create mini states there, and create rivalries among them. There is no reason that could lead to a war between India and Pakistan as the boundaries are known, but plots are continuing to engage them into war" said the Libyan leader to Indian group.

According to him, "Israel and United States want to see both India and Pakistan destroyed. US nowadays is pushing Israel to have a close relationship with India. Of course Israel is not going to give any appreciable help as it does not like Indians. Israel is inciting India against Pakistan and vice versa."

In Gaddafi's view the rulers in India and Pakistan are blind and are against the masses. "There has been no use talking to the rulers of India and Pakistan," he said. It may be recalled that Gaddafi had sent his special envoy Salem bin Amr to India and Pakistan last January during the SAARC summit to ease tensions between the two counties. He stayed in the region for full 20 days. "We talked to the leaders of India and Pakistan on many occasions but it did not bear fruit, so I invite you people to talk peace, " he told the group.

"We know the role of the US and Israel. They did same thing during Iran-Iraq war. US was supportive of Iraq to oust Khomeini, while Israel was supplying arms to Iran. Now Israel and US are in agreement to destroy both India and Pakistan," argued Gaddafi.

He said that the US on the one hand hatched plots, while on the other had, it tries to play the role of an intermediary. He advised the people of both the countries to seek unity and safeguard the territorial integrity of the Subcontinent. "The Subcontinent is one family and you have to maintain the sanctity of the family," he said.

While European nations, African nations are uniting you are talking of further division. Mini-nations are not viable in present days and can’t face new challenges" he opined. He advised Indian religious leaders that Islam means submission to God - in this way Hindus, Muslims, Sikhs and Christians are all believers in God. In fact we are unified in God. "If Muslims kills Hindus in the name of religion or vice versa then take it from me that they will both burn in Hell". "If I visit India I will lead the prayer and invite all of you to join these prayers to God or Brahama who belongs to everyone. Dividing people in His name is the worst sin," said the Libyan ruler.

¯ Andalib Akhter, New Delhi

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