The downturn in US-Saudi foreign relations and the new turn (up or down remains to be seen) in Indo-Saudi relations had its direct fallout when two Indian Muslim religious leaders demanded of Italian Sonia Gandhi and the Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to ?resolve? the Kashmir issue. The world'sworst-kept secret is finally out?Kashmir was never a test case for Indian brand of ?secularism? as some Indian Muslims made it out to be. The call given by these two Muslim religious leaders has finally exposed the truth that Kashmir has always been a pan-Islamic issue and that is why it has been unfailingly raised and discussed in the OIC and the reason why Osama bin Laden has finally turned his beady eye towards India.
The OIC for its part has not minced words with the Indian government?last month it declared that India'sobserver status in the OIC is ?conditional upon the just settlement of the Kashmir issue?. India did not notice the disproportionate nature of what was being demanded by the OIC and what was being offered in turn?Hindu India'sterritory for jehadi Islam (yet again) in turn for observer status in OIC! Our strategic and counter-terrorism ?experts? too have not cared to raise the question about what constitutes a ?just settlement? or the question why bin Laden has finally turned his attention to Kashmir and how did these Indian Muslim religious leaders presage bin Laden'sintentions and issue the call a few days in advance of bin Laden himself and also why, all of a sudden, Kashmir has openly become the single-point focus of the Islamic world.
Significantly, within days of the religious leaders? demand to Sonia Gandhi and the Prime Minister to ?resolve? the Kashmir issue, the Saudi King is reported to have offered to mediate between India and Pakistan ?to the mutual benefit of both?. And within days of the Saudi monarch'soffer to mediate, jehadi Muslims allegedly belonging to LeT massacred 32 Hindus in Jammu?19 from Doda and 13 from Udhampur. Also we should not forget that jehadi Muslims set off bombs in the temple city of Varanasi?in the railway station and in the Sankatmochan temple, which killed 12 Hindus, within days of the Saudi monarch'sofficial visit to India as state guest on Republic Day. Something is happening between Islamic states and jehadi Islam. And in India, Hindus are being made the cannon fodder in this intra-Islam jostling for primacy.
?Lemma? is a proposition or a premise. ?Dilemma? is literally two propositions or premises, connotatively mutually exclusive and forcing to choose between them. Indian Muslims have to decide if their twin identities?Indian and Muslim?pose a dilemma literally?forcing them to choose between being Indians or Muslims. The community must examine if Muslim religious leaders have already made the choice for them and if the choice is both sensible and sustainable. The Muslim community must also introspect on the effect their unwise choice will have upon the Hindus who constitute 85 per cent of the population.
The dilemma is acute because there is no influential Muslim leadership other than the religious leadership and successful Muslim activists?Teesta Setalvad, Shabnam Hashmi, Aamir Khan, Shabana Azmi and Dr. Syeda Hameed are known more for their anti-Hindu posturing than for any real influence within their own community as was seen during the Shah Bano, Imrana, and Gudiya tragic episodes. Jehadi terrorism, jehadi terrorism'sHindu victims and jehadi Islam'sthreat to this nation'sterritory have never been this group'sconcerns because for one, befitting their self-proclaimed appellation of being ?progressive Muslims? they make no mention of their personal allegiance to the ummah.
Mau, Marad, Aligarh, Godhra, Kottaimedu and Triplicane are micro examples of how Muslims conduct themselves wherever they are concentrated in large pockets. Starting with acute intolerance of important Hindu festivals like Holi, Ramnavami and Ganesh Chaturthi, the size of the Muslim population in these pockets has determined the nature and dimensions of Muslim hostility towards Hindus, which is from intolerance for Hindu festivals to ethnic cleansing, genocide, separatism and finally secession. The macro examples of this congenital intolerance are the vivisection and bloodbath of 1947 and the tragedy of the Hindus of Jammu and Kashmir. Indian Muslims have always been sitting on the horns of this dilemma and every time history has forced them to make a choice, they have always chosen to be Muslims first and last.
Which brings us back to the core questions?Why has bin Laden turned his attention now to Kashmir; why have the OIC and the Saudi monarch begun to speak openly and publicly about Kashmir and how did Indian Muslim religious leaders pick up the cue in advance of bin Laden'spublic call on Kashmir?
Islam and Christianity are less religion and more politics?they are an admixture of both in which the political component is the more potent. The White Christian world separated religion and state in an astute move intended to demarcate the jurisdiction of power and authority between the King and the Pope over people and territory. Secularism was White Christian civilization'stool for ?sharing sovereignty??Chris Patten'sfavourite phrase, a tool cleverly crafted to carry forward and intensify White Christianity'shomogenizing mission?a mission in which first the Church alone as in the 14th and 15th centuries, then trade and the Church as in the 17th, 18th and 19th centuries and now the Church, globalisation and democracy in the 20th and 21st centuries, conquer the world together, bound to each other by the common objective of rendering the whole world unto Christ.
This timely and astute separation of powers and demarcation of authority between Christian religion and Christian polity staved off the threat of the Christian Church turning violently upon the Christian state and civil society, and vice versa. The Christian state and the Christian Church now jointly turn against the rest of the world. Secularism in the West did not render the state irreligious or religion-blind, as is being fondly peddled by the anti-Hindu Indian peddlers of secularism, but merely divided the empire between two equally murderous power centres, which have however an undeclared understanding and partnership to pave the way for the second coming.
Secular India is secular Hindu India, let us be very clear. Muslims of the world and Muslim states never bought the Christian concept of secularism while secular Christian states were never secular-irreligious but secular-sharing sovereignty; only Hindus bought the secular argument. And that is why Hindus were helpless witnesses to the creation of Pakistan and that is why we still have problems in the Christian-majority north-east and the Muslim-majority J&K.
Islam unlike White Christianity, however failed to demarcate the jurisdiction of power and authority between religion and state, between the sultan and the maulvi with the cumulative effect that today Islam is vertically, sharply and mutually confrontationally divided between the Islamic states and the jehadis. This division and mutual confrontation within the Muslim world began after the former USSR withdrew from Afghanistan and sharpened after 9/11 because jehadi Islam, which until 9/11 was the most effective weapon of the Islamic states, concluded that the same Islamic states were distancing themselves from Islam'score tenet?to make a Dar-ul-Islam of all world. Jehadi Islam, post-9/11, therefore, made the significant transition from being a weapon in the arsenal of Islamic states to becoming a power by itself, which believes that it now has to fulfill Islam'score objective without the backing of Islamic states.
The origins of this mutual confrontation between Islamic states and jehadi Islam lie in the cosmic war between ?Christian? capitalists and anti-Church, irreligious communists, which was narrowed down to a battle inside Muslim Afghanistan where the Christians had to co-opt the radical Muslims to defeat the communist Soviet Union. This was the second public coming together of the ?believing? crusaders and the jehadis against a common, irreligious enemy?the first was the tacit understanding among the White Christian nations in 1947 to support the newly-formed jehadi state of Pakistan against the Hindu India on the issue of Muslim-majority J&K.
The West could manipulate jehadis, Islamic states and ordinary Muslims to serve its political and strategic interests in Afghanistan, in the Middle East, in Pakistan, in the Balkans and subsequently in Indonesia and Iraq. In Indonesia, the fall of Suharto heralded the Christian state of East Timor. In Afghanistan, the war against the Soviet forces and then the Taliban and subsequently the continuing hunt for Osama bin Laden, Mullah Omar and other Taliban and Al Qaeda terrorists have facilitated the American and NATO presence in that country and in Pakistan, besides giving these countries partial access to and control of Afghanistan'sclandestine opium trade. Expat Iraqis in the US colluded with the US regime to bring down Saddam Hussein, and are solely guilty of virtually delivering the entire region and all of Iraq'soil into America'shands. The Islamic world was rudely shaken awake to this realisation and Bush and Blair no longer pretend otherwise. Blair as recently as a few days ago declared that the war against Iraq was only about implanting Western (read Christian) values in the region, which in effect only means Christianising the Muslim world through democracy and its attendant ?freedoms?. This realisation is only now dawning upon the Muslim world.
Jehadi Islam therefore feels not merely humiliated by White Christianity but also betrayed by the Islamic states because until the ignominy of post-9/11 infamy heaped on its head, jehad was an integral part of Islamic polity and foreign policy, where, historically Islamic states and Muslim rulers including Pakistan'sMusharraf have used it to achieve Islam'spolitical and strategic objectives. Jehad was Islam'sreligious weapon to achieve political objectives, but jehad ended up becoming a tool in the hands of White Christianity and ultimately its pawn. White Christianity has not given up on its fundamental objective to render the world unto Christ?only it has cleverly crafted weapons other than the crusading poisoned spear in its arsenal to achieve its goal. Because of Islam'sstubborn refusal to separate religion from state and its refusal to devise modern weapons of war to usher in Dar-ul-Islam, White Christianity has used 9/11 to pin the terrorist cap on Islam'shead. White Christianity has also manipulated Islamic states to turn against jehadi Islam in the guise of war against terror. For White Christianity it is a win-win situation all the way.
(To be concluded)