Saudi yoga lessons
Both Panchjanya and Organiser appear quite pleased with Saudi Arabia’s decision to allow licenses for yoga and giving it the status of a sport. In an editorial, appreciating Saudi Arabia’s thoughts on yoga, Panchjanya says that even though Saudi Arabia is a “hardcore” Muslim country, it has accepted yoga from a health perspective. The editorial then compares this to the attack on the house of Rafia Naaz, a yoga instructor in Ranchi. It says that if Indian “bigots” learn something from Saudi Arabia, it will be good for the country and for them. “They go on Hajj, but are unable to swallow Saudi Arabia’s acceptance of Yoga,” it says.
Organiser’s cover story for the week also talks about Saudi Arabia, including its stand on yoga. Saying that the country is shedding its image of being “hardcore fundamentalist”, it states, “what is going on in Saudi Arab has a very significant message for Indian Muslims”. Then the article asks whether Indian Muslims will “change too and reform themselves”. Yoga, it claims, was considered “deviant behaviour” in the country as it wasn’t in tune with Islam, but after “persistent struggle and conviction,” it has now been accepted as a sports activity. “This is a fundamental transformation that will inspire the entire Islamic world.”
Wondering whether Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman could prove to be another Mikhail Gorbachev, Organiser says that the world is watching the future Saudi leader’s every move to steer the country towards moderate Islam. It lists many examples, including allowing women to drive, attempts to “foster transparency and accountability”, and asking if the crown prince will stop funding for spread for intolerant Islam internationally. It asks whether the Indian Muslims can learn something from this. Indian Muslims, the article claims, still consider madrasas as “great temples of learning”. “Forget imparting education, many of these madrasas have produced Jihadis,” it states. It concludes that Indian Muslims need to introspect as to why they are lagging behind even compared to other minorities in the country.
The week’s cover story in Panchjanya asks why the Muslim community does not raise its voice against the practice of Arab Muslims marrying under-age girls and then leaving them stranded after divorcing them as their visa expires. In India, it says, this continues as an organised industry involving many pimps, hotel owners and Qazis. The article claims that mostly the “innocent and inexperienced” women are betrayed by their own, who are given the lure of a happy life in an Arab country with the promise of being married to a young man, but are in fact married of to men as old as their grandfathers. These Arab men, the report claims, divorce within a matter of days, sometimes doing this with several women on a single trip.
The report claims that all the people involved in this exercise are Muslims and blames the laws that give Muslim men unrestricted rights to divorce their wives without a reason. It says that people involved in this trade hide behind religion to defend themselves. This is because men are at the centre of the Islamic marriage. “Such medieval practices are still considered laws for Muslims.”
Former chief minister of Jammu and Kashmir Farooq Abdullah’s statement that Pakistan Occupied Kashmir is a part of Pakistan now is at the centre of Organiser’s editorial. Every time Abdullah and his family, the magazine says, who have ruled the state “like a fiefdom”, have to sit in the opposition, they have “virtually spoke(n) the separatist language”.
Answering why Abdullah would make such a treasonous statement now, it says: “After being defensive on the ‘Kashmir’ issue for a long time, domestically and internationally, Bharat is in a position to dictate the terms. The deceptive discourse is being set right and the nationalist voices are gaining ground at the cost of separatists.”
Among the steps taken as part of the “strong and all round policy” of the Union government in J&K, it lists, the “unbelievable alliance” formed in the state that has “shocked the separatists”, promotion of “all round development” and coordinated targeting of terrorists, the “daring decision” of demonetisation and NIA’s raids on hawala networkers. Further, the narrative is being changed with concerns of Jammu and Ladakh regions also being brought to fore and, “the real issue of 35A is being discussed and the façade of autonomy is being challenged on the grounds of human rights and discrimination perpetrated through the fraudulent politics of ‘Azadi’”. India, the magazine says, has also managed to isolate Pakistan, which has not been allowed to make Kashmir an international issue.
It ends by saying, “Internally Abdullah and other vested interests along with State actors in Pakistan would like ‘Kashmir’ to remain as a dispute to further their political and economic interests. Now the time is ripe to be clear about our national objectives and to tell the people like the Abdullahs to forget the fiefdom.”