Mullah Mahmood Madani vs. Musharraf. Big applause for hypocrisy?

By: Jibran Haider

The following is the video of an angry exchange between Musharraf and Maulana Mahmood Madani of Jamiat-e-ulema-e-Hind who is also member of Indian parliament. I’d like to know what people on the forum, especially Indians, have to say about Maulana’s comments.

Let me also quote a few excerpts from an article written by another Indian Muslim jounrlaist, Javed Naqvi and his take on this incident.

Please check the video, read the lines below and share your thoughts.

Deobandi Maulana Madani vs. Musharraf


Big applause for hypocrisy
By Jawed Naqvi
Thursday, 12 Mar, 2009 (Dawn)

Perhaps the most popular Holi song is the one filmed on a Muslim actress in the 1950’s movie Mother India.—AFP

Perhaps the most popular Holi song is the one filmed on a Muslim actress in the 1950’s movie Mother India.—AFP

HOLI, the Indian festival of colour, was celebrated on Wednesday with joy. Though rooted in Hindu mythology, its celebration has evolved with time.

Today, it has less to do with organised religion and is more about the music and revelry that goes back to the 19th century court of Wajid Ali Shah, the last Muslim king of Oudh. There are a dozen religious legends to explain the festival but a more convincing one is that it celebrates the changing of a season.

Perhaps the most popular Holi song is the one filmed on a Muslim actress in the 1950’s movie Mother India. A Muslim director made the film and it missed the Oscar by a whisker. The song’s lyricist, music composer and singer were Muslims though until very recently it was not required to underline that fact. Indians were more unselfconsciously secular then. ‘Holi aayee re Kanhaai, rung chhalke, suna de zara baansuri’. It’s Holi again, O Krishna, time to mesmerise me with your flute, the heroine wooed her lover. The sensuous tune composed in the late afternoon Raag Mishr Piloo still reverberates on the radio as a classic.

A more traditional musical tribute to Krishna and his consort Radha is sung in an even more exotic raag called Kaafi. My hunch is that clerics of the Jamiat Ulema-i-Hind or any other will be clueless about this genre of discourse on Indian culture. That Delhi’s city elite applauded a leading Jamiat cleric when he had an angry exchange with Gen Pervez Musharraf at a conclave last week reveals a bit of sociology as well as a slice of history.

The cleric may not know that Muslim women from Morocco to Indonesia still love to dance and sing like women of other communities. This was the uniform practice until a puritan version of Islam (which the Jamiat propagates) struck roots in different parts of the world.

In the 1960s, when Umme Kulthoom sang on Egypt’s radio, President Nasser’s broadcast would be suspended because listeners were glued to her, so the legend goes. Belly dancing is an art form from the same region. Locations where puritan Islam spread subsequently are facing a different situation. A popular female dancer was murdered brutally by the Taliban in Pakistan’s picturesque valley of Swat. The bigots thought her art violated their religious code.

The tense exchanges between Gen Musharraf and Maulana Mahmood Madani were rooted in pre-Partition history. Jinnah had opposed Gandhi’s campaign with the Jamiat for the restoration of the Khilafat in Turkey. Many Indians would not know this bit of communalism. They believe that khilafat was Urdu for opposition. ‘Humne angrez ki khilafat ki’ i.e ‘We opposed the British’, many an MP is still heard telling parliament inanely. Very few are aware of ‘mukhaalifat’ as the word they are looking for.

Last year, the Jamiat and 6,000 muftis issued a declaration against terrorism. It is not clear if it has given up its core beliefs for the new precept. In 1939, it adopted a resolution to rebuff Gandhi’s non-violence saying: ‘We have accepted non-violence only as a policy. This cannot be accepted as a creed. This is against the teaching of the Quran which encourages the Muslims to jihad.’

The Jamiat also said secular education was dangerous because ‘the children will be indoctrinated in such a way that not only would they be friendly to other religious groups, but they would also consider every religion of the world a true religion. This belief is un-Islamic’. In the 1980s, the Jamiat opposed the Supreme Court verdict to allow alimony for a divorced Muslim woman on the grounds that a secular court could not comment on laws pertaining to Muslims.

However, these factors from the Jamiat’s past could not be the reason for the Indian elite’s resounding applause for Maulana Madani. They were in all probability cheering the fact that an Indian Muslim cleric had stood up to Gen Musharraf, that too when the Pakistani visitor was beginning to count the factors that he thought were responsible for the growing scourge of terrorism in his country and in India.

Why was the Indian political class bristling with rage at Musharraf? One wishes it had to do with the general’s misleading claim that Muslim extremists had fared poorly in last year’s elections in Pakistan. What he did not say was that he had personally enabled the fundamentalists to gain strength in the first part of his tenure. So Musharraf could be criticised here on a valid point, but the applause seemed unrelated to it.

We can count three possible elements that have contributed greatly to the marginalisation of Indian Muslims, something that Musharraf hinted at but was unable to clearly spell out. One set of reasons are contained in the Sachar Committee report requisitioned by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh.

It vividly described the hapless state of India’s 150 million Muslims and recommended urgent measures in education and employment to stem the rot. Another element in the Muslim issue is the Shrikrishna Commission’s report on the 1993 violence in Mumbai. It found the state and police complicit in brutal violence against the city’s Muslims, mostly slum dwellers. No one has been indicted. Nor has anyone been held responsible for the demolition of the Babri mosque in 1992 in spite of numerous commissions and court cases that are going on. Gen Musharraf did not list these issues but he was, probably broadly hinting at some of them as factors that required focus to weed out the threat of terrorism in India.

It would not be difficult to accept the applause for Maulana Madani had he made some progress on any of the issues. One could accept the credibility of the applause if any single member of that audience had the credentials to have worked on just one of the factors. Yes it could be considered fair to tell Gen Musharraf to mind his own business and to not lecture India on how to treat its minorities. After all, the deplorable state of the minorities in his patch is all too well recorded by Pakistan’s vigilant and independent human rights commission. Musharraf’s polite suggestion to everyone to abstain from hypocrisy applied equally to him.

Yet, to applaud Maulana Madani, seemed akin to celebrating the ghettoisation of several million Indians that his group and other clerics represent. Mercifully, occasions like Holi keep India’s secularism from faltering. Neither the state nor its ally, the clergy, has been able to dampen the spirit or quell the song.n

The writer is Dawn’s correspondent in Delhi.


Some Comments:

Maula dha mallan:

i think mushy answered pretty well, whats the annotations all about?

Jibran Haider:

The quoted article of Javed Naqvi, an Indian, says it all. This Jamiat-e-Ulema-e-Hind is the organisation that preached exclusion and which led to the illiterate and deprived Indian Muslims taking up arms. This organisation followed the agenda of ghettoisation and exclusion of Muslims from the mainstream Indian society. And now their representative is confronting Musharraf [or infact anyone] not to comment upon the situation of Indian Muslims that they had a hand in ruining . Hence the title “Applause for Hypocrisy”.

I would agree if it had come from any other Indian Muslim. Because it is important that Pakistan leave Indian Muslims to sort out their own problems. Any Pakistani meddling in their affairs has the potential to create dangers for them inside India.

By the way, their sister organisation, Jamiat-e-Ulema-e-Islam, are the mentors of Taliban and all other whacko Jihadist/sectarianists in Pakistan.

Maula dha mallan:

mushy should have taken out his gun and shot that urdu gibbering clown in the mouth

Jibran Haider:

lol. When Mushy was in GHQ, he actively facilitated the strategy whereby he and his cronies nurtured Taliban as assets in Afghanistan. Check the whole video of the India Today seminar. He admits something to the effect that “realities and demands were different during the times of Zia.” Read – We had to support Taliban and Mujahideen then. “When I was in power 9/11 happened and things changed. We had to make a new strategy”. Read – We had to stop funding and aiding Taliban and like ilk.

Pakistan is reaping what it sowed. Then the intention was to guard the interests of Pakistan but it never worked. Now the Frankenstein’s Monster has come home.




Sudha said…
I follow your blog with interest. I am Indian and my fervent wish is that South Asia becomes a truly integrated bloc, so that we can act in mutually beneficial ways.

I just wanted to say that Jawed Naqvi is Pakistani, he’s not Indian. I read that in his biography somewhere…and it’s pretty obvious from the things he writes about.

Having grown up in Bombay and Madras I have a always assumed that most countries were secular and that it was the natural state of affairs, because secularism is deeply rooted in India. It is different from western secularism because it is a society where faith continues to be important and all the world’s major and minor religions have a place. So my friends and I are always rather outraged that many in Pakistan constantly interrogate our secularism. I would recommedn reading the indianmuslims blog … the person who runs that wrote a piece in Outlook magazine in which he went so far as to suggest that India for many reasons could be considered to privilege Islam over other religions. I’m not saying he’s wrong or right…but that it’s an interesting viewpoint to consider.

What the Maulana said was met with applause in delhi, not because anyone thought he was dismissing the grievances of many Indian Muslims. They applauded him because he said, and rightly, that India’s civil society is extremely vibrant and it acts to protect the interests of its many minorities. So the Maulana objected to Musharraf’s feigned ‘concern,’ and said Indian civil society was on the side of its minorities.

I would like to end by quoting Shashi Tharoor who said the reason india survives with its bewildering diversity of people, is that we have only minorities. We don’t have a mjority community. Hindus themselves are divided into more than a hundred ethnicities and linguistic groups, and are socially divided within the Hindu fold. So who is a minority and who makes up the majority differs from state to state. Just my two cents.

I share your concern, as do many of us Indians, about Pakistan. I read somewhere that a SAARC university is on the cards….I fervently hope we see that realized soon.

best wishes.

14 MARCH 2009 15:30
Abdul said…
@Sudha, Many thanks for your very valuable comments.

It was enlightening to read an Indian perspective on what Mr. Madani said. Perhaps you may be interested in knowing why we, the majority of moderate Pakistanis, possibly including Jawed Naqvi, find Madani’s remarks as hypocritical. For that you may like to critically explore the connection between Deoband, Neo-Deobandis (Wahhabi-ised Deobandis), sectarianism and jihad-ism in the sub-continent. In other words, these douche bags have two faces, one for the educated, secular world, and the real ugly face is that they frequently demonstrate in Mumbai, Lahore, Swat, FATA and Afghanistan. They are obviously angry with Musharraf, probably not for the reasons that this Mullah tried to explain in this video.

14 MARCH 2009 18:41
Raazi said…
this video may put Musharraf’s views in context:

14 MARCH 2009 18:55
Karan Thapar’s views said…
Karan Thapar: A general point

Musharraf exemplifies a further quality Indian politicians would do well to emulate. He’s prepared to face up to his critics, take their hostile questions and spend hours defending his position whilst attempting to change theirs

I have to admit, I’ve never come across someone like Pervez Musharraf. This is not necessarily a compliment. It’s simply a statement of fact.
But think about it — he’s a former dictator who revels in free speech much like a dedicated democrat; he’s a general who is, amazingly enough, also a gripping orator; he’s a stern disciplinarian but he has a winning sense of humour; he projects a tough commando exterior but his clothes reveal a sharp sense of sartorial elegance.
Indeed, he’s a man of so many apparent paradoxes, he’s impossible to define.
Last Saturday, as he held the India Today Conclave spellbound for over two and a half hours, my mind jumped to our own politicians and I couldn’t help compare Musharraf to them. Would Manmohan Singh and Sonia Gandhi or LK Advani and Prakash Karat willingly submit themselves to such hostile questioning from an Indian audience and emerge both unscathed and with their amour propre intact?
The question answers itself. Yet Musharraf has done just that but with one critical difference. The audience — the lions’ den — he faced was not his compatriots but Indians, who could be more accurately described as his enemies.
In contrast, it’s not just impossible to picture Manmohan Singh or Sonia Gandhi addressing 500 Pakistanis in the banquet hall of the Marriott in Islamabad; the fact of the matter is they are not even prepared to visit the country. And I would hate to think what could happen if they were questioned the way Musharraf was. Perish the thought!
However, the truth is Musharraf illustrates a deeper difference between India and Pakistan. Pakistanis make themselves accessible to us — be it phone-in interviews on television, formal addresses at conclaves and conferences or simply informal off-the-record chats. We, on the other hand, avoid such encounters like the plague.
It’s not simply that Pakistani politicians don’t hesitate to give Indians interviews. It’s also the sheer number of them. Musharraf, alone, probably gave half a dozen. Prannoy Roy and I got two each. Both he and Asif Zardari have addressed large gatherings in India live via satellite whilst in office and Benazir Bhutto was a frequent visitor and a favourite of our news channels. I don’t think there is even one she said no to. In fact, on one particular occasion she gave Aaj Tak two on the same day because the interviewer lost the tapes within minutes of obtaining the first!
In contrast, with the exception of LK Advani, I don’t think a single leading Indian politician has given the Pakistani media an interview. In fact, I’m prepared to bet that most would not even be prepared to meet them! Again, Advani is the exception.
However, Musharraf exemplifies a further quality our politicians would do well to emulate. He’s prepared to face up to his critics, take their hostile questions and spend hours defending his position whilst attempting to change theirs.
We may not agree with his arguments and often we disapprove of his tough language but it’s impossible not to admire his courage and be impressed by his performance. You may walk away from a Musharraf encounter put off by his personality but, despite that, you also know you’ve just met a very special man. That’s why Musharraf has fans in India and not just foes.
Sadly, many of our politicians refuse to face their critics. Indeed, some can even run away from their friends! The problem is they’re not prepared to pit their arguments against challenges. So rarely, if ever, do we see them under pressure, fighting to prove their point, fending off counter-arguments and winning respect for standing their ground.
Yet the paradox is politicians usually grow from such encounters. Musharraf did and still does. But if you shelter yourself from them you appear bonzai and shrunken. That’s why ours lose out.
Five weeks from a national election, I doubt if any of our politicians will heed this advice. But I’m prepared to wager that if one does he or she will win laurels. After all, fortune favours the brave!\03\15\story_15-3-2009_pg3_3

15 MARCH 2009 08:41
utterdesiness said…
When I first saw this video posted on Facebook with the title “Musharraf Slapped by Indian Muslim” I winced. I had not seen it yet and assumed an Indian had physically slapped him and thought of the Iraqi journalist who threw his shoe at President Bush. Regardless of the extent of disagreement – socio-political or on any other grounds, it represents a high degree of regression if that’s how we decide to settle scores. In today’s society and politics the idealistic hope is that people can talk about their issues and points of view.

I certainly dont understant the callouts in the video here because I believe both of them held their own. They have points of view and addressed each other respectfully throughout the conversation. As many people have stated – we can never be sure about the true intent, beliefs, and dark secrets of Musharraf and Madani. But the fact remains that they had a civil and passionate conversation, never once being patently disrespectful.

For anyone to see it as a nationalistic moment where one told the other off is simply juvenile since the issues and history run deeper than that. It is genuinely sad that too many rubbernecking bystanders look for cricket matches, incursions, bomb blasts etc to keep score on how we put the other in their place. The depressing fact remains that there is plenty more where that came from and it was genuinely refreshing to see two opposing personalities divided by their nationality AND united by their religion, language, and secrecy of their politics trying to have an adult conversation. I sincerely wish people would appreciate that.

Mr.Thapar’s views and facts were genuinely interesting. I wonder what is at play that prevents Indian politicians from talking to the Pakistani media. I agree completely that it is a politician’s job to take unpleasant questions just as much as it is Kareena Kapoor’s job to wear skimpy clothes and shake her non-existent hips.

Since you asked for an Indian’s view – there you have it. Late in the day I know, but this was when I saw it and have to add that from now I on I’ll be a regular visitor to your blog! Very grounded and informative. Here’s to hoping for better and saner dialogue between the two nations and more reasonable discourse from politicians. And as I was saying, that is what I believe these two men had but sadly most observers don’t seem to think so…

23 OCTOBER 2009 18:50



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