Varaaha Series by B S Ranganath

Came across an essay entitled ‘The heart rending elegy: Many mothers of Kashmir’ by Syeda Hamid. Its narration, in a deceptive tone, points out how the cheer in praise of all merciful God Allah turns out to be a death call, on innocent children of Kashmiri mothers.

The stone-throwing agitators cry Allah Ho Akbar. Curious innocent children who come out in search of their brothers, are hit by police bullets. In an Islamic country, Pakistan, suicide bombers attack the places Ahmmadias and Sufis worship, kill innumerable people branding the victims as ‘Imperfect Muslims’.

It is just terrorism, not Islamic Jihad, that has gripped the psychology of such killers.

An outfit called ‘Popular Front’ in Kerala – India, chopped off the forearm of a professor for his alleged hurting religious sentiments of Muslims. The culprit is held and the organization is to be banned. The professor’s hand is sutured to its original place.

Popular Front, the Taliban of Kerala, must have realized that weapons cannot scare society into submission.

Blind faith in a religion, or deep love for mother-tongue, can be exploited by narrow minded activists for their effortless gains. In India, an organization which proclaims to revive ancient Indian culture, has mustered the support of many gullible people to fight for their cause. Terrorism is the mode of their action. Their lawless acts are termed Moral Policing. They invade public places where men and women gather for recreation. They find fault with the way some women are dressed. They thrash such ladies, and create a great commotion. When police arrive, these Moral Police try to vanish.

Some political agitators have found these goons very useful, to impress their power behind their demands. They hire the services of these hooligans, for their agitation. The hired goons carry on anti-social activities like damaging public property, and burning of private vehicles.

In India, the land of Gandhiji, people worship God in many forms, and believe that whatever may be the name by which you call Him, your call searches the supreme power ‘One God’.

But, unfortunately a group of Hindus attacked the place of worship of another religion. Some misguided fanatics placed bombs in crowded places causing death of many innocent people. May be, such senseless acts are in retaliation to frequent, more powerful attacks from across the border. But Indian way of life has no place for such criminal anti social acts. It applies rigorous sanctions against criminals. It shuns harmful act against innocent people.

Of late there is another cruel misinterpretation of ancient Indian culture. A few elected bodies in north India (Khap Panchayths) resort to killing of young, loving, newly married couple in the name of Honour Killing. Their firm opinion
is that, the Indian culture does not allow a marriage between two people belonging to same Gothra or belonging to different castes. It is a mistaken belief that people of same Gothra are descendants from a common patriarchal ancestor. In fact Gothra means a cowshed. Many families in ancient India, which used the same cowshed for their cattle, identified themselves as belonging to the same Gothra. Usually such Gothras were named after a great saint (Rishi).

Not only boys and girls belonging to the same Gothra, but also those who belong to different castes are forbidden from marrying. Khap Panchayaths take it as an honour, to kill such couples who marry under forbidden condition.
There are many same Gothra marriages, beyond the reach of Khap Panchayaths. Parents who belong to the same Gothra adopt a simple procedure, when their children are to be married to each other. Father of a girl or a boy request a relative belonging to some other Gothra, to act as an adopted father of the boy or girl, until marriage is solemnized. Many same Gothra marriages have taken place. Such families are leading a very happy life, with bright and healthy children.

Inter Caste marriages have become quite common among willing people. They have smashed caste barriers and made families enjoy the custom of different castes.

There was once a custom in India, which was called Sati or Sahagaman. A woman would be revered as Sati if she followed her dead husband’s body to the funeral fire, and burnt herself alive along with her dead husband’s body. This became a custom and whether the widow likes it or not, she would be made to follow the funeral procession of her dead husband, and forcefully burnt alive along with her husband’s body. Raja Ram Mohan Roy worked hard to eradicate this horrible custom. Lord William Bentinck, the first British Governor General, declared this custom a punishable crime, and the custom ended.

To-day Indian society is so enlightened and powerful, that Moral policing or Honor Killing cannot be carried on in the country.

Writer Sadia Dehlvi says that Islam has inclusive and accommodative nature. Scholars have collectively failed to communicate alternative enlightened narratives of Islam. The writers’ opinion enlightenment should accompany the study of religion, not the dogma become applicable to scholars of all religions.

Dar-ul-Uloom has issued many anti-women Fatwas. Begum Shahnaz Sidrat links this rise in anti-women Fatwas with the ‘Imrana case’. Imrana was raped by her father-in-law. The clergy had declared her husband as her son. Imrana stood up to the edict and fought for justice. This made the clergy insecure. Therefore the Fatwas against women increased.

Subsequently, three women had roughed up some Maulvis of Shariat court for issuing ex-parte Talaqnama.

Nazy Raza, the state convener of Bharathiya Muslim Mahila Andolan, had a march of 100 angry women who took Hina and Arshi, two of the three divorced women and helped them re-enter their inlaws’ home.

Refering to anti-women Fatwas which include forbidding women from working, becoming an advocate or a judge, writer Sadia Dehlvi says: Islamic history has countless role models of women empowerment in areas of politics, economics, social engagement and spirituality. Prior to his marriage, Prophet Muhmmad worked for Khadija, a woman trader who became the first financier of Islam.

Days are not far-away for Maulvis

to realize the futility of Jihad and Fatwas. Experience make them understand that man is a social creature. These are days when people from far off places have to stay together and work together.

Religion and custom have become personal matter. They cannot interfere with the

general mode of social activities. People have learnt to admire and enjoy the good qualities of the faith, and customs of one another.

Nations have joined hands to fight terrorism. They fight not only the terrorists with weapons, but also dissuade gullible people from becoming terrorists. A generous heart, kind speech, and a life of service and compassion will make our future society harmonious and joyful.