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Tavleen Singh writes: Islamism has no place in India

There have been hundreds of jihadi killings in India, especially in Kashmir, but this beheading in Udaipur indicates that the fanaticism that defines radical Islam has gone up a few notches.

Tavleen Singh writes: There are Muslims who believe that Hindutva is a mirror image of Islamism. (Express Photo)

The sordid shenanigans in Maharashtra ended last week with the toppling of the government, but the drama of this political saga made us almost forget the barbaric, jihadi killing in Udaipur. This is unfortunate. In my view, the beheading of Kanhaiya Lal and the way in which a video of it was posted on the Internet is more significant than politics because it seems to mark a new phase in the spread of radical Islam in India. The killers were clearly inspired by similar killings in the Islamic Republic next door and by the savagery that we routinely saw when ISIS still had control of its truly repugnant Caliphate.

There have been hundreds of jihadi killings in India, especially in Kashmir, but this beheading in Udaipur indicates that the fanaticism that defines radical Islam has gone up a few notches. In the horrific video that the killers posted, they can be seen smiling proudly and flaunting their machetes, because in their sick, twisted minds they were convinced that by killing an innocent man for the sake of their Prophet, they would be on a fast track to Islamic paradise. The mullahs and madrasas that put these ludicrous ideas into their heads are as responsible for the beheading of Kanhaiya Lal as his killers.

Tavleen Singh writes: |Religion and politics do not mix

Arif Mohammad Khan, whom I am proud to call an old friend, has become the voice of sanity in an insane time. It made absolute sense to me when he said last week that it was useless to react to ‘symptoms’ and do nothing about destroying the roots of the problem. Will someone in Delhi please listen? Jihadist Islam is a sickness that is crammed into the heads of small children in the mosque schools they attend, usually because their parents are too poor to afford proper schools. So far nobody has made a serious effort to inspect the curriculum in these schools, but it is time that this happened. It is from dodgy ‘religious’ books taught by semi-literate mullahs that Islamism comes. It is for Islamic scholars and seminaries to bring more enlightened ideas into madrasas, but if they are not prepared to do it, then it must be done by the State.

It cannot be said loudly enough that India is (mercifully) not an Islamic country, so there is no room for schools that teach children to think in terms of infidels and believers. This is another idea perpetuated by madrasas that must go. If there are Hindu, Sikh, Buddhist schools that spread ideas like this, then they also need to be ordered to reform their curriculums.

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There are Muslims who believe that Hindutva is a mirror image of Islamism. It is not. We have recently seen far too many fanatical Hindu priests preaching genocide at religious gatherings and they deserve to be locked up. But because the distinction between believers and infidels does not exist in Indic religions, there is less reason for fanatical Hindus to go around beheading people.

Having said this, I admit it would be stupid to pretend that much poison and hatred has not been spread in recent years by Hindus who believe that Hindutva is a better idea than traditional Hinduism. These people seem not to have noticed that the real harm done by spreading hatred is to India, and not to our Muslim communities. When mobs wearing saffron scarves lynch some random Muslim cattle trader, they make India look bad. When they demand that Muslim shops be boycotted, they do the same. When BJP spokesmen vomit bile against Islam and Muslims, they cause incalculable harm as the Supreme Court pointed out when Nupur Sharma appealed last week for the cases against her to be transferred to Delhi.

Using unusually strong language, the judges hearing her plea upbraided her for ‘igniting emotions’ with her comments on the Prophet. “This lady is single-handedly responsible for what is happening in the country. She and her loose tongue have set the country on fire.” She has been suspended by the BJP and spokesmen for the government of India have dismissed her as representing a ‘fringe element’. If only this were true. As someone who is attacked constantly by those who speak for Hindutva, I can say with certainty that she represents the mainstream and not the fringe. There has been a campaign on social media in support of her and prominent BJP voices have spoken up in her defence.

Fanaticism exists in every religion. But it is only the violent ideology spawned by Islam that makes ordinary Muslims go off and kill people in ways that are primitive, barbaric, and utterly unacceptable. Radical Islam has become a problem even in Islamic countries, but in India it has no place at all. This needs to be made clear to madrasas that teach small children to think of beheading infidels as a noble act and not a horrific crime.

The beheading of Kanhaiya Lal has caused so much outrage in India that there are demands that his killers be summarily executed in a public place. This cannot happen in a country that believes in the rule of law. But, if their trial and punishment is conducted at the usual, languid pace of our justice system, the anger and hatred that exists between Hindus and Muslims will intensify. This is something that we cannot afford at a time when tensions are already at boiling point.

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First published on: 03-07-2022 at 04:15:12 am
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