Incidents of violence on charges of blasphemy have been abundant during the UPA regime. But there were no protests by writers, historians and scientists. There are many incidents which were condemned by the world but the Left and Liberal historians and writers in Bharat were maintaining a convenient silence.
In 2010, an International Seminar on Languages organised by the University of Kerala turned into a controversy over the list of invitees. The invitees included Yusuf al-Qaradawi, a Qatar-based Islamic scholar, who was to share dias with the CPM Chief Minister VS Achuthanandan. The Times of India reported on April 29, 2010 that, a row erupted on al-Qaradawi who studied under Hassan al-Banna, founder of the Muslim Brotherhood, who also allegedly served as the intellectual basis for the al-Qaida. Al-Qaradawi had also been vehemently criticised for his public support for suicide bombings in Israel and has been banned entry to the US and UK. With the past of al-Qaradawi coming into lime light, his arrival to CPM ruled Kerala was cancelled.
Some of al-Qaradawi's views have been controversial in the West. Hence he was denied entry visa to the United Kingdom in 2008 and France in 2012. Al-Qaradawi has been a principal shareholder and former Sharia adviser to Bank Al-Taqwa, a member bank of the Lugano-Switzerland Al-Taqwa group. This bank has been charged by USA for financing terrorism and the UN Security Council had charted with al-Qaeda links. In 2004, 2,500 Muslim academicians from 23 countries condemned Qaradawi, and accused him of giving ‘Islam a black reputation’ by providing a religious cover for terrorism. In July 2003, al-Qaradawi' visited Stockholm, Sweden, for a conference at the Stockholm Mosque arranged by the Muslim Association of Sweden. During the conference, al-Qaradawi expressed his support for suicide attacks against Israeli civilians, terming the encounter against the Israeli occupation of the Palestinian Territories a necessary Jihad.
This incident was not an isolated event with CPI(M). The Bharateeya Left, especially the CPI(M) has organised protest rallies against the assassination of Saddam Hussein. The CPI(M) was the one political organisation to condemn in the harshest words the execution of Yakub Memon. Memon was executed for 1993 Mumbai bomb blasts. The CPI(M) has remained a severe critic for its electoral campaigns along with the alleged terrorist Abdul Nasar Madani.
Incidents of violence on charges of blasphemy have been abundant during the UPA regime. But there were no protests by writers, historians and scientists. Following Islamic Fatwa when the CPI(M) Government expelled writer Taslima Nasreen from Kolkata, none of these Left-liberal intelligentsia came forward to defend her. Later, on July 4, 2010 at Muvattupuzha in the Ernakulam District of Kerala, TJ Joseph, a professor at Newman College had his hand cut-off at the wrist as punishment on allegation of blasphemy, by people belonging to Popular Front of India, a radical fanatic Muslim fundamentalist organisation. It happened under the CPI(M) regime and we hardly witnessed any response from self styled secular intellectuals. In none of these incidents the intelligentsia identified any intolerance.
When historian Professor Harbans Mukhia wrote an article in The Hindu on October 27, 2015 that Bharateeya historiography is under threat from Hindutva he forgot that he stands on the Left foundation cemented by Yusuf al-Qaradawi, Yakub Mamen and Abdul Nasar Madani. On the global heritage context, Professor Mukhia might not be remembering the monumental statues of standing Buddha in the Bamiyan Valley in the Hazarajat region of central Afghanistan. But the world still remembers Bamiyan Buddhas which were dynamited and destroyed in March 2001 by the Taliban, on orders from leader Mullah Mohammed Omar, after the Taliban government declared that they were idols. Afghanistan Information and Culture Minister Qadratullah Jamal told Associated Press (AP) of a decision by 400 religious clerics from across Afghanistan declaring the Buddhist statues as opposed to the tenets of Islam.
The smaller Buddhist statues at sites such as Falodi and Kakrak were also dynamited a few months later. The Kakrak Valley is one of the three most sacred sites for Buddhists in the region, after the Bamiyan and Shah Foladi. More than 100 caves dating from the 6th to 13th centuries are scattered in the region. A 10 meter tall standing Buddha figure was wiped out from Kakrak by Talibans. The majestic archaeological site of Taxila and its museum were attacked by Islamic terrorists. While all these incidents were condemned by the world, the Left and liberal historians and writers in Bharat were maintaining a convenient silence. It was not surprising since it has been their ideology which has determined their strategies.
Professor Harbans Mukhia and his team of Left historians should sporadically revise the Chinese hallmarks on Tibet. On April 9, 2015, The Indian Express reported that Tibet’s Communist Party chief demanded that Buddhist monasteries should display the Chinese national flag as part of efforts to shore up Chinese control over the region. In an editorial appearing in state newspapers, Chen Quanguo wrote that national flags should be among the key objects found in monasteries.
Like his predecessors, Professor Mukhia has kept beneath the blanket China’s invasion of Tibet and the aftermath. The International Commission of Jurists concluded in its reports, in 1959 and 1960, that there was a prima facie case of genocide committed by the Chinese Red Comrades on Tibet. Sources estimate that up to 260,000 people died in prisons and labour camps between 1950 and 1984. Chinese replaced Tibetan as the official language. Since 1994, the Chinese have imposed a policy of cultural schizophrenia delinking young Tibetans from their cultural past at all levels of education. They also use a distorted history programme which omits reference to an independent Tibet. Since Buddhism influenced every aspect of Tibetan life and culture, it was a special target of the Marxists. Any expression of religion was prohibited and eradicated. The Tibetans were indoctrinated into believing that Buddhism, Bon and their folk expressions are retrogressive superstitions.
Dr B S Harishankar (The writer is Researcher at India Policy Foundation)