National

Sakshi’s Anti-Muslim hate-mongering utterances are planned

SIGNS OF THE TIMES

Though I would have preferred to have completely ignored the third-class utterings of the likes of Sakshi Maharaj but it gets crucial to put forth relevant facts so that the masses are not swayed by the communal poisoning that the likes of him are unleashing for the last so many years.

His latest, “this population rise in not because of the Hindus; population has risen due to those who support the concept of four wives and 40 children,” is not just a blatantly communal remark but in complete violation of the election norms.

What better can be expected from this character who is a rape and murder accused but today he is better known as BJP’s MP from the Unnao constituency of Uttar Pradesh. Don’t ask me why such tainted characters are allowed to be in politics and with that part and parcel of the establishment, and with that the official machinery at their command, at least in the district they are elected from!

In all probability the likes of Sakshi Maharaj are pampered and promoted by the top brass, so that they pollute the atmosphere, spread myths and misconceptions about the minorities …  For years  Right-Wing fanatics have been unleashing this bogus theory that Muslim males marry four times and with that produce forty children!

Its nothing but a vicious propaganda against the minority community. In fact, several years back I had to counter many of the much-in-circulation myths about the Indian Muslims, and when it came to the misconception of Indian Muslim men marrying more than once, I had to actually sit and think of names of those 'brave' men who are saddled with more than one wife. The four names of polygamous men that struck rather spontaneously were that of non–Muslims, who also happen to be the who's who on circuit: Mahesh Bhat, Dharmendra, Raja Reddy, and, of course, Udit Narayan's full blown case!

Even today I don’t see any Muslim man saddled with four, three or even two wives. In fact, in all the 60 years of my life, I haven't really come across a single Muslim man with more than one wife. Yes, many with the divorced and re-married tag, and several with mistresses and lovers, part-time or full-time. After all, men are men, whether Muslims or Hindus or Christians or Sikhs… But I haven’t come across any Muslim man keeping two wives at one go, in any given setting. In the 1990s when I had interviewed the well-known lawyer who'd handled the controversial Shah Bano case, Danial Latifi, I made it a point to ask him what the hue and cry was all about Muslim men marrying more than one wife and in that context he’d said, “Polygamy has been made into an issue by political parties in India. It is certainly low, in fact, very low amongst Muslims. I wonder why are not the real issues pertaining to Muslims highlighted?"

During my recent travels, I have asked Muslims about the much-hyped polygamous aspect. Invariably, their answers were along the strain that it gets difficult for them to manage one wife, so why the hell should they get saddled with a second. “Why marry twice! What for! Why the sar dardi [trouble] of a second biwi!” Implying why should men be stupid enough to inflict on themselves the additional headache of a second wife, as though one wasn’t a big enough burden or blunder! They, like all practical creatures, would rather grab a lover without any of the legal or social sanctions and complexities involved.…And whilst visiting the vast slum area of Mumbai’s Dharavi, I made it a point to ask Muslim families residing there whether Muslim men practiced polygamy. And this is what they had told me, “No, not even one in these hundreds living in this slum.”

The fact is that Islam does not permit a second wife for any of those frivolous reasons but only under serious circumstances related to the health and child-bearing factors to the first wide or if such a situation arises wherein the man has little choice but to give anchorage to another woman and with that marry her rather than abuse her. But even here the bottom line is that the man should think in terms of remarrying only after getting permission or sanction of his first wife and also if he can treat both the wives on the same footing. Otherwise a complete no.

Fascism is here …well inside our courtyards!

Last week whilst seeing shots of the RSS top brass interacting with hundreds of Kashmiri students, who had travelled down to New Delhi from the Valley, I was reminded of the tactics used by the RSS, to make intrusions under the various garbs.

I’m quoting the late Khushwant Singh, from one of my interviews with him, “Whatever one is seeing around are all signs of fascism - appointments to important offices are not done on merit, key posts are given to their men, even governor-level appointments. There could be some two or three showpieces from other communities, otherwise it’s 'their' men in all key positions. Hitler functioned in exactly the same manner. And whilst Hitler's main target was the Jews, for this brigade it’s the Muslim and Christian population in the country.”

In fact, throughout that interview Khushwant had sounded worried of the disasters that communal politics was dragging along. To quote him, “I think most Indians cannot really visualize the magnitude of the communal problem, although the eerie build ups are writ large all around - besides communal surcharge, poisonous and mischievous propagandas doing the rounds. There's a propaganda that the Christian population is rising because of conversions but the reality is that the Christian population in India has actually gone down …And the Sangh has capitalized on old prejudices about Muslims and since Independence, in all communal rioting, the Muslim loss of life and property has been about ten times that of the Hindus…" Nah, he wasn’t optimistic about sane elements coming to the fore, “No, I 'm not optimistic but one should fight, one should make every single effort to save the country and openly challenge and take on these Sanghis/fundoos who are destroying the country. We have to battle with them at any cost, give it back to them, abuse for abuse. For, if we love our country we have to save it from the fascist forces. And though the liberal class is shrinking, I do hope that the present generation totally rejects the communal and fascist politics.”

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