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Published in the 16-31 Oct 2004 print edition of MG; send me the print edition


I have a print subscription... It helps me. It would help, if you can share the recent online edition to print edition subscribers atleast. This would help in circulating selected articles to others. Now by the time we get the online copy.... it is too late to share.. Alternately, you can have exclusive online subscriptions too...At the end, our intention is to share this with as much people as possible.
Kammukutty, Yahya I (GE Healthcare)

'Caste' system among Indian Muslims
On caste system among Indian Muslims you have rightly replied to Kaleem Kawaja’s question that the provision of kufu has been exploited by the faqih in the favour of biradari for marriages. (MG, August 16-31, 2004). However, your understanding that the status on the basis of zaat is not permanent: if a certain person of a supposedly lower zaat acquires knowledge, status and wealth he automatically joins the higher zaat people and intermarries with them, doesn’t appear to be correct. Though in certain cases the marriages take place outside one’s caste, the zaat of the individual remains permanently tagged. Indeed according to Hanafi doctrine there are four criteria of kufu namely, ancestry, religiosity and piety, financial equality and occupational equality. The first criteria. i.e., ancestry is acquired by birth, which cannot be changed or upgraded. This doctrine, unfortunately, justifies and encourages casteism in Muslim society. On this basis most of the ulama not only allow but encourage endogamy for the purpose of long lasting married life. 
M Naushad Ansari, Delhi

Message to Muslim MPs
Through your column I want to send a proposal to all the MP's of the parliament especially the 36 Muslim MPs. Sir there are 36 Muslim MP's. If each one of them spends 1% of the mplad towards sponsoring some students by taking their whole responsibility on their shoulders and also by providing scholarship to Muslim students, they can form a committe under the dy, speaker of Rajya Sabha K. Rehman khan.
Ziaul Khan, Phagwara, Punjab

BJP Brahmins gang up on lower caste Uma 
Whatever were the antics of Uma Bharati, a product of the rabble rousing traditions of the Sangh Parivar, the fact that the Brahmin mafia at the helm of BJP, including the top contenders of leadership, from Vajpayee to Sushma Swaraj, Pramod Mahajan and Arun Jaitly, had behaved very shamelessly with a lower caste leader and tireless worker of their brand of politics and seen to it to trick her out of her top spot, has deeply disturbed the 95% non-Brahmin Indian polity. 

BJP Brahmins’ shoddy behavior towards the gullible waif confirms, that whatever human face the Brahmins may don to hoodwink common people of India, they can never tolerate anybody other than Brahmins at the helm of their Brahmanical political power hierarchy. 

The same game had been played in practically all major political parties, including Congress, CPM, and the southern Dravidian party of Jayalalitha’s AIDMK. 

Back in 1940’s Sardar Patel had to submit to Jawaharlal Nehru, just because he was not a Brahmin and Nehru was. The same Brahmanical superiority syndrome still is the way Indian democracy has been blatantly strangled as a regular feature of our caste packing order. 

Brahmins are never tired of touting merit for their successes. However, it is more their manipulative abilities and close caste grouping, that has been the bane of the disempowered masses. 

However, as they cannot go on fooling all of the people all of the time, the reaction will strengthen other political groups that the lower castes have nourished to snatch political power from the minority of interlopers that are ruling on the strength of spurious and conjured majorities.
Ghulam Muhammed, Mumbai

Triple talaq
On the subject of triple talaq, which is a curse afflicting the Muslim community of India, I wish to point out that it is not only violative of the (holy) Quranic provisions to throw out a married woman by pronouncing talaq consecutively three times in one sitting, but it is also against the sunnah of the Holy Prophet (pbuh). It is a great sin to follow the pernicious practice of triple talaq. On the question of who, husband or wife, could take initiative in giving talaq, I refer to the Dissolution of Muslim Marriage Act, 1939, wherein a provision has been made enabling the wives to seek divorce unilaterally under certain specified conditions by approaching a law court. The aforesaid law is still on the statute book but Muslim women have been kept in dark about it with the result that hapless Muslim women, in search of separation on bonafide grounds, have to chase Maulvis and bribe their way through, often losing mehr (dower) and their property also in the process, besides languishing in misery for a long time. Muslim women are never told that, according to the Shariat, also, women can acquire the right to seek divorce unilaterally. 

When my daughter came of age, at her instance, I had the matter examined by the most learned men of religion (Shia) available in Lucknow, who already knew how to go about it but had never been approached by anyone for the purpose. In the scheme of things, considered legally valid under the Shariat, the bridegroom can, if he so wishes, delegate the power available to him to give talaq (to his wife) in favour of his wife at the time of Nikah itself so that the delegation so made gets recorded in the Nikahnama, and becomes enforceable through a law court, if and when required. Based on the aforesaid premise, the relevant portion of the Nikahnama drawn up at the time of my daughter’s marriage reads as under: "----I (bridegroom) hereby agree that the maintenance of the said (bride) and her other necessary and rightful expenses shall be a claim on me. And further that should I default on this account or that, God forbid, I treat her cruelly or unjustly and fail to discharge my obligations to her as my wife, then in all such events she is hereby constituted my attorney with the power, at the expiry of one year hereof, acting as such attorney, to pronounce divorce or authorize any other person to make such pronouncement. But she is enjoined to act with caution and not to act in haste as by a wrongful divorce one commits a grave sin" 

My daughter in question and her husband both are, by God’s grace, post graduates from prestigious IIMs, with my son-in-law additionally being a graduate from one of the equally prestigious IITs.

My other daughter, a medico who secured first position in the MBBS examination of the King George Medical College Lucknow, followed her sister in adopting the very same clause for her Nikahnama, and, here again, her husband who is a directly recruited IAS officer, had no objection. The point to be appreciated is that both the bride and the bridegroom have to agree with each other, before the Nikah, on the clause in question being included in the Nikahnama. In our case, both my daughters were clear in their mind that they would refuse to marry a boy who fails to agree to the inclusion of the aforesaid clause in the Nikahnama. 

I must add, for general information, that the draft of the above Nikahnama was duly, happily and voluntarily vetted by the most learned men of religion before it was adopted by us. The point to be brought home is that the Maulanas would be prepared to help only those who seek their genuine help and guidance and are, by themselves, informed people. It may not be as simple if you do not know enough yourself and have the misfortune of approaching small time Maulvis, out to exploit your gullibility and ignorance. 
S. A. T. Rizvi, IAS (retd.), Lucknow

False notions about Islam
I feel greatly distressed by the false notion people from other communities have about our religion. I am convinced that much of the fault lies with us in having failed to convey the true character of Islam to the World and there is a great need for Muslim intelligentsia to come forward and work towards rectifying this gross failure. Most importantly we have to learn to be self critical before we actually criticise others. The Muslim intelligentsia could work towards highlighting the failures of the community as a whole. We need to ask ourselves, do we always need to find fault with others for our own short comings? Why our general conduct seems to attract hostile reaction from other communities? Why our commitment and loyalty to the Nation seems to fall short of expectation? Why are we perceived to be intolerant people and how this false notion can be dispelled? 
S.A.R. Adil

What does Safinaz mean?
I like to know the meaning of the Muslim girl baby name- SAFINAZ as one of my friend is looking for its meaning months together.Your prompt reply shall be highly regarded.
Jayavijayan Dharmaraj

Editor: "Safinaz" is a Persian word which in turn is a mixture of Safi (Arabic for 'pure') and naz (Persian for tender treatment, especially of children). It means "pure and tenderly brought up".

Islam and family planning
Islam is a way of life with a considerable degree of intellectuality and hence its greatest misfortune has been its blatant misinterpretation by all and sundry. No religion is a matter of loose talk and tea time discussion, but sadly one sees just this happening. Practising family planning by people is an indication of their thoughtfulness, maturity and sensibility. Discarding it as unislamic is imbecilic. This also goes as a wrong signal to those who do not know much about Islam and they fall prey to all the spiteful propaganda against it. Yes, abortion is bad because of the ill effects it has on the woman undergoing this trauma. Medical world does not approve of it either. But surely there are other methods to check population and they must be encouraged and the general masses must be educated on this issue. Large families are not typical to Muslims alone. It is a common feature that goes with lack of education and poverty and through out the world the fact remains unchanged. Islam is a modern concept and was much ahead of its time in the sense that it talked of human rights and social justice in times when no one had heard of such ideas. But now what one sees is that instead of an objective and unbiased debate religious scholars of all sects run into defensive discussions as if they are scared of their religion being in danger. I am sure Islam is in no danger... it never was and can never be Inshaallah. No religion encourages unlimited and uncontrolled population explosion that becomes a cause of hunger, sickness, joblessness criminal activity and such other vices. The debate over census report should center around future action towards the building of a healthy nation where all sections of the society are taken care of rather than holding a particular sect criminally responsible. Also it will be in the interest of every section of our society to critically analyse its own positives and negatives instead of making a serious document (census report) subject of useless egoistic debate, which kills the spirit behind all effort for progress and the zeal of academicians who may feel frustrated at the sight of their study becoming a political tool. How can we even think of development as a nation under such dwarfed mindset? 
Zohra Javed, Allahabad

NDTV's tormentor in chief
Rajdeep Sardesai, the tormentor in chief at the NDTV, should be nominated as the main terminator of the winning prospects of Congress- NCP alliance in Maharashtra elections, if the so-called ‘secular’ coalition is defeated in this month’s Maharashtra Assembly elections. Barely two week before the Oct 13, 2004, Election Day, Rajdeep badgered Sharad Pawar to find out, if Pawar is willing to accept Sonia as Prime Minister. There was no urgent crisis in Congress/NCP relations that needed Rajdeep’s grilling of Pawar on the subject to bring out the TRUTH on this touchy matter. Pawar’s dithering in giving a straight answer first, and his hedging, went directly to work on Sonia’s human frailties. As Times of India analysis of the behind the scene clock and dagger going-on has disclosed, the defeat of Sharad Pawar in BCCI election, so close to Maharashtra Assembly elections, was more than sealed on that day when Rajdeep was only performing his professional duty that ended up sowing divisions within the coalition ranks. 
Ghulam Muhammed, Mumbai

Scam after scam
The unearthing of unaccounted money from Ajwani has once again exposed the rampant corruption in customs, excise, police, passport, octroi, and all sundry govt. departments. This find is only a tip of the iceberg. Govt. should investigate the source of wealth of politicians and bureaucrats and annex such wealth to the public exchequer. Poep-le know about deep rooted corruption in excise, customs etc. and this writer had brought out specific instannces but of no avail. It is believed that there is a bureaucracy-politician nexus which is responsible for the growth and spread of corruption in every department of govt. Unless we root out corruption and corrupt people our nation will remain poor and malfunctioning democracy. Sincerity and devotion to duty is missing and most of them are ready to compromise quality, safety, efficiency, accountability with the result that we have bad roads, bad airports and bad services. We cannot reach the top if there is no honesty, accountability, efficiency, dedication. This applies to all including the govt. functionaries, politicians and public. India is a cess pool of corruption and no one will want to do business with it unless we improve our image on these accounts. Multicrore Telgi scam, fodder scam, Hawala scam are some of the recent developments of this continuing malady.
Aboobakar Thwahir, Mumbai

Postal service
At a time when very existence of conventional postal system is threatened by electronic devices and courier services, it is unfortunate that often fifteen to tewnty days are taken for a money order or a letter to reach its destination. Strangely, it is often heard that the postmaster detained money orders and invested the money for his own ends. Such delays take place due to lack of supervision and negligence of postal department. Ministry of Communication must set its house in order otherwise people will lose their faith in its working and discard it.
Obaidur Rahman Nadwi, Lucknow

What is the truth?
Is India poised to become the next economic powerhouse to demand a seat at the G8 summit, or fast becoming a US satellite state to merely serve Superpower geopolitical interests?

The people have a right to know and be consulted in a democracy as what the rulers are working towards. The portents are grave. Even though the BJP was instrumental in bringing up India to a nuclear threshold, the nation’s defense preparedness is hollow as a house of card. With the prolonged armed build up at the western borders, under false pretexts, the country seems to be drained of its vital resources to build up the next round of badly needed huge investments to bring its armed infrastructure to even the minimum strategic level for its vast security needs. Its apparent vulnerability in the light of projection of threats supposedly factored in at the behest of the US theoreticians, will force it to seek help from the super-power. In return, India has nothing to offer, except its freedom and sovereignty. The India that our past generation had struggled to free from foreign colonization is again threatened. The people are not informed, not warned, not given choices. The so-called democratic country is in the hands of rulers, who have neither the constraints nor courage to present the dire facts to the nation. The crisis is building up for some years and it has now assumed menacing proportion. The need of the hour is the unity of the people. While the political parties are mindlessly playing out their power games, the future facing the country is being mortgaged to a small coterie to decide and act. Their idea of the future of India may or may not coincide with the consensus of the people. But the people are going to be presented with highly unpalatable fait accompli. 
I graphically recall the plight of Mother India in Director Mahboob’s classic film, when she faced the hard choice of her children dying of hunger against the lurid demands of Sukhi Lala, out to dishonour her with her own mortgaged golden bracelets.

It is still time for lover of this nation, to cut through all the differences of politics, religions, castes, ethnicities, regions, languages and ideologies, to come together with the sole objective to save India for the Indians. We must sink our differences and bring the whole people into a meaningful and effective debate to thrash out all alternatives. It is not a time to play partisan politics. Sukhi Lala is at the door. Didnt you hear Mulford calling?
Ghulam Muhammed, Mumbai

Kerry lacks killer instinct
While Kerry came out strongly on the disastrous Bush decision to divert the war on terror, to Iraq, instead of, in his reckoning, the more important focus on Afghanistan, where Osama is supposed to be holding out, he was willing to wound Bush but seriously lacked the killing instinct to come out with the truth, that Bush decision to divert the supposed war on terror to Iraq, was mainly on the behest of Israel and the neocons that had been taking Bush on a big ride. 

The sad conspiracy of silence that has stricken the whole America including both political opponents as well as all section of media, into a dangerous state of denial of Israeli factor could not lessen the pain of thousand American dying to avenge the blood thirst of Israel over its half a century to subdue the whole Arab and Muslim world. 

Bush is a proxy President for all practical purposes, and unless Kerry has the guts to take on Israel and the Bush neo-con conspirators, Bush will carry the day with his Saddam booty. 
Ghulam Muhammed, Mumbai

‘Veer’ Savarkar controversy:
Every Indian is aware of the posture of Sangh Parivar during the freedom struggle and how they sided with British to perpetuate Brahminical supremacy over the others with the help of British as they donned high positions in the foreign rule. Sangh parivar cannot erase the bold statements of history even though effort was made by M M Joshi to erase these shameful chapters from the history books. Now they are pretending to be the sole claimants of nationalism and they even went to the extend of absolving Chief architect of Mahatma Gandhi assassination Savarkar from the conspiracy and appreciating the assassin Nathuram Godse for his ‘nationalist’ spirit of killing the Muslim sympathizer Mahatma Gandhi. The previous Govt. did everything in the direction of lifting the Hindu Mashasabha leader to the pedestal of National Hero and they installed a plaque of his sayings at Portblair without a national consensus. He had offered to be loyal to the British six times to secure a release from the prison in the same way as Vajpayee did. How such a person can be a Veer? (bold). In fact several Muslims were jailed for number of years during freedom struggle whose names do not find a place in the freedom movement history. Savarkar was the one, who planned a conspiracy to kill the most loved leader and father of the nation M K Gandhi. And yet some people in this country deify him. Mr Mani Shankar Aiyar questioned the installation of plaque of a communalist leader who had openly advocated two nation theory and spread message of hatred against minority. In fact, Muslim leadership was averse to two-nation theory. Sardar Patel, a congress leader, now being claimed and owned by Sangh Parivar himself wrote "It was a fanatical Savarkar that hatched the conspiracy to assassinate Gandhi and saw it through". "There is no doubt in my mind that the extreme section of Hindu Mahasabha was involved in the conspiracy. The activities of RSS constituted a clear threat to the existence of the govt. amd the state." "The followers of Sangh have celebrated Gandhiji’s assassination by distributing sweets" Hindu Mahasabha leaders like Hedgewar, Golwalkar and Savarkar advocated hatred of Muslims. Savarkar wrote "…What is called nationalism can be defined as in fact the national communalism of the majority community. Thus in Hindustan it is the Hindus, professing Hindu religion and being in overwhelming majority that constitute the national community and create and formulate the nationalism of the nation." Golwalkar wrote "the non-Hindus may stay in the country wholly subordinated to the Hindu national, claiming nothing, deserving on privilege, far les any preferential treatment-not even citizen’s rights". 
Aboobakar Thwahir

Uma’s tantrums
Accused in Babri Masjid demolition Uma Bharati is trying to hoodwink the Indian citizens by her tantrums. She had organized thousands of unruly and aggressive henchmen and violated curfew on 15.8.1994 resulting into widespread arson and death of 4 persons and serious injuries to several people. Uma provoked these elements and asked them to attack the police. Petrol bombs were used and several vehicles were damaged. Let it be known it was not the patriotic zeal of Uma Bharati that prompted her to hoist the National Flag in the Idgah Maidan which was given on lease for 999 years by the Hubli Municipality. Though the application for hoisting the flag in that maidan was rejected by the High Court, she wanted to break the curfew orders, which is punishable under section 353 of Indian Penal code, 307 and 436. Sangh Parivar is always looking for issues for fomenting trouble. Former Home Minister Advani supported Uma and courted arrest. These are all vain politics. The people of this country are well aware of BJP posture just to harass the Govt. at the centre and state and to create law and order problem. The police had filed a criminal case against Uma and the court had issued non-bailable warrnt. Questioning the wisdom of the court and creating scenes are all part of the BJP plan who are desperate after losing power in the Centre. BJP cannot hoodwink the people all the time. Whoever has violated the law should be allowed to undergo punishment also. Uma Bharati and BJP has been misleading the public that she is being targeted for her efforts to hoist national flag at Idgah Maidan at Hubli. It is for her violation of curfew orders that is going against her. National is flag now being misused to gain political capital out of it.
Aboobakar Thwahir

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