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The Deadly Mission of Attendees of Tablighi Jamaat

Here's why Tablighis are on a dark and deadly mission

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Tablighi Jamaat
In the midst of so much conflict, the ant-like precise movements of Tablighi Jamaat attracted western notice and for a good reason. IANS

BY SAEED NAQVI

In the early 70s, Indian missions in West Asia received a curt directive from South Block: do not issue visas to applicants travelling to attend the international conference (Ijtema) of the Tablighi Jamaat, Missionaries for purification of Muslims, at their Markaz (centre) in New Delhi. There were Arab applicants, of course, but also some from the West, including the US.

There are missions and missions: some follow instructions others are more precocious and make inquiries. The subject came up for discussion over drinks and discreet, diplomatic dinners. Some of the western diplomats did not hide their anxiety. The exponential growth of a little known religious, but totally apolitical organization across 150 countries, with a membership of 150 to 250 million caused raised eyebrows. The TJ was different from any other Islamic group: it did not seek to convert non Muslims. It was not the Islamic version of the Salvation Army. It only sought to bring its flock more in the line with the teaching of Prophet Mohammad.

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This dour, dark, vision of puritanism would have seemed a distant dream. But the hundreds of millions of dedicated foot soldiers across the globe keeping the flock on the straight and narrow, a sort of double distillation of faith, made them out to be an enormously successful organization with extraordinary reach.

Tablighi Jamaat
At a time when the West was trying to pull the Muslim world out of narrow Islamism, laying out North Tehran under the Shah as worthy of emulation, the Tablighi Jamaat was weaning Muslims away from modernism into deadly, pious practices. Wikimedia Commons

The 70s were a period of great contestation between the West and the Muslim world. In Egypt, Nasser had made way for Anwar Sadat in 1970, who eventually turned up in Israel in 1977; Black September; war between Jordanians and Palestinians in 1970-71; Yom Kippur war of 1973 leading to Arab quadrupling of oil prices.

In the midst of so much conflict, the ant-like precise movements of Tablighi Jamaat attracted western notice and for a good reason. At a time when the West was trying to pull the Muslim world out of narrow Islamism, laying out North Tehran under the Shah as worthy of emulation, the TJ was weaning Muslims away from modernism into deadly, pious practices. And they were doing it successfully.

Pressure must have been brought to bear on South Block. Which explains the instructions to the Indian missions in the Muslim world to deny visas to luminaries headed for the Markaz at New Delhi’s Nizamuddin.

The address of the Markaz leads to an unhappy mix up. One of the great Indians of all time, the 13th century Sufi Saint of the Chisti Silsila, or lineage, Hazrat Nizamuddin Aulia, had his khanqah or abode in the area. Nearby was his favourite disciple, the multitalented genius, Amir Khusro, poet, musicologist, jurist, statesman and soldier. Their shrines, around which the colony evolved bearing the great guru’s name, became the centre of what is celebrated as India’s syncretic culture.

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That the Nizamuddin shrine should be overshadowed by the Markaz, a six story structure with a capacity to house 10,000 Tablighi volunteers is an aesthetic affront. It also misleads the world which sees the address, “Markaz, Nizamuddin” as same or similar entities. Now that the Markaz has been cleared for fumigation for the mess the TJ have foolishly left behind, there is a case for the centre to be moved to a suitable location.

The Jamaat was founded in 1927 just when there were reverberations across North India after the British moved from Kolkata to New Delhi in 1911. In 1930, Lutyens Delhi was inaugurated. The British, who had taken power from Muslims, were now in close proximity to Maulana Mohammad Ilyas of Khandal, near Meerut. The Maulana started his mission to secure his flock against the blandishments of modernism. The target area for Maulana Ilyas’ mission were the Meos of Mewat, spread over Haryana, Rajasthan and a portion of Western UP.

Tablighi Jamaat
The Tablighi Jamaat was different from any other Islamic group: it did not seek to convert non Muslims. It was not the Islamic version of the Salvation Army. It only sought to bring its flock more in the line with the teaching of Prophet Mohammad. Wikimedia Commons

Even though the Meos were converted to Islam in the 16th century, they obstinately held onto their Hindu culture. Not too long ago, night long recitations of their exclusive Mahabharat called Pandun ka kada were common. Meos claimed descent from characters in the Mahabharat. All Hindu festivals — Holi, Diwali, Dussehra were mandatory. My friend, Ramzan Chaudhary, a lawyer and chairman of the All India Mewat Association, remembers his father as a professional singer of Holi and Mewati Mahabharat. His grandmother wore a “Ghaghra” and performed Govardhan puja — all taboo in Maulana Ilyas’ book.

The Maulana must have been an organizational genius. Today, in each one of the 1,500 or so villages in Mewat is a Tablighi Jamaat Markaz. The number of volunteers is simply staggering.

Two things can therefore be said about the Jamaat. No violence or “Jehadi” activity can be traced to them. Also, they are simply not interested in proselytizing non Muslims.

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They are saving the saved. Indeed, they are the Muslim variant of humourless Calvinism, exactly the sort of self appointed religious constabulary whom Urdu poets describe as Sheikh, Zahid, Mohtasib, Waiz — in brief, an interfering bore.

A puritan, said H.L. Mencken, is someone who is always worried that someone, somewhere may be having fun. In the TJ book the way Bangladesh celebrates Poila Baisakh on April 14 is all “shirk” fit for damnation. Assam, Tripura, West Bengal, Bangladesh, in brief, people of Bengali heritage celebrate Poila (which means pehla or first) in the same way, quite irrespective of religious belief. In fact, in my experience, celebrations in Bangladesh are by far the most spectacular. Women in the celebrated Dhaka sarees apply a bindi on the forehead of any woman guest who enters the house.

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Parks are filled with men and women singing Rabindra Sangeet and Nazrul geeti. While Tagore’s songs are secular, Qazi Nazrul Islam’s geets are charged with Tandav, Shakti, Kali, Durga. At this Maulana’s group would throw a fit.

The present leader of the group, Maulana Saad Kandhalvi’s stupidities during the corona crisis, compounded by police and administrative negligence, call for an independent inquiry. Baying for Muslim blood as some channels seem to suggest is in rank bad taste. (IANS)

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Don’t Lecture India; Look at Your Own Record

Many countries worldwide have a horrifying record regarding human rights

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Europeans have a horrifying record regarding human rights violations. Pixabay

By Maria Wirth

Europeans have a horrifying record regarding human rights violations. Germany is well known for an unprecedented, systematic holocaust of Jews and gypsies right in the middle of Europe only 80 years ago. Yet Britain, France, Portugal and others were as brutal with equal or even higher number of humans killed in their colonies. Their victims count many millions and many of them were Indians.

The Arabs, Turks and Mongols, too, have a horrifying record regarding human rights. The number of victims killed also goes into many millions, and many of them were Indians.

The Muslims invaded India already over thousand years ago and were as brutal as ISIS in our times. Unspeakable torture and beheadings were done on massive scale. Even the supposedly benign “Akbar the Great” slaughtered Hindus in huge numbers. The collective sacred threads of the Brahmins massacred by him is said to have weighed 200 kilogram. Can one even imagine such incredible injustice and brutality to civilians and priests? Thousands of temples were destroyed. Hindu women were sold into sex slavery. Hindus even had to open their mouth and receive gratefully the spittle by Muslims sitting on horses, and slaughtering cows was seen as “noblest deed” because it was so painful for Hindus, is recounted in “Legacy of Jihad” by Andrew Bostom.

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Hindu women were sold into sex slavery. Pixabay

The brutality experienced by Hindus was so horrendous that, even in independent India, they hardly dare to complain when they are subjected to cruel discrimination. It is painful to read comments whenever Hindus are killed or raped by Muslims: “This won’t make news, as the victim is only a Hindu”. It is so sad, but understandable after what they have gone through for over thousand years. They had no way to get justice; had to bear their suffering silently.

Guru Nanak cried out to the Supreme, and it is part of the Grant Sahib, “Having lifted Islam to its head, You have engulfed Hindustan in dread… Such cruelties they have inflicted and yet Your mercy remains unmoved….Oh Lord, these dogs have destroyed the diamond-like Hindustan.”

The British colonial masters were not less brutal. Their disdain for the natives was incredible. Winston Churchill is on record saying that he “hated Indians” and considered them a “beastly people with a beastly religion”. Celebrities like Charles Dickens wanted the Indian race ‘exterminated’ and considered them vile savages and Max Mueller wanted them all converted to Christianity.

Britain looted and reduced the formerly wealthiest country of the world to painful poverty, where during their rule over 25 million people starved to death, 3 million as late as in 1943 in Bengal.

The crimes of the British colonialists are, like those of the Muslim invaders, too numerous to list. They tied Indians to the mouth of canons and blew them up, hanged scores of them on trees, and even just after over one million Indian soldiers had helped Britain to be victorious in the First World War with many thousands sacrificing their lives, General Dyer gave orders to shoot at a peaceful gathering in Amritsar in 1919 where thousands died. An old coffee planter in Kodagu told me that even in the early 1950s there was a board in front of the club house in Madikeri. It read: “Dogs and Indians not allowed”.

Can anyone imagine the pain those Indian generations went through, having arrogant, often uncouth ruffians looting their land and despising them as dogs?

How could Europeans and Arabs be so cruel to other human beings? The reason is that they saw themselves as superior and others not quite as human.

Religion played a big role in making them feel superior. Both Christianity and Islam teach their members that only their religion is true and that the Creator will reward them with eternal heaven, but will severely punish all those who do not follow their ‘true’ religion. If God himself will torture them eternally in hellfire, why should his followers be good to them? Wouldn’t it mean siding with God’s enemies and betraying Him?

But on what basis do they consider only their religion as true and themselves as superior? The reason is that the respective founder of their religion allegedly said so. No other reason exists and no proof. On this flimsy basis, Christians and Muslims treated other human beings most inhumanly, believing they are destined for hell while they themselves are God’s favorites and will go to heaven. This brainwashing in the name of religion happens even in our times and its effect is still not questioned and analysed.

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Christians and Muslims treated other human beings most inhumanly. Pixabay

Yet today, neither white Christians, nor Arab or Turkish Muslims are constantly reminded of those terrible crimes of their forefathers. “The present generation must not be held accountable for the sins of their fathers”, is however not applied to Hindus and especially not to Brahmins. Media keeps hitting out at them as if they had been the worst violators of human rights in the past. Hinduism is portrayed as the villain due to the “horrific and oppressive” caste system.

Anyone, who knows a little about history, knows that this is false and malicious. The structure of Hindu society into four varnas or categories is mentioned in the Vedas and depends on one’s aptitude and profession – Brahmins, who memorise and teach the Vedas, Kshatriyas, who administer and defend society, Vaishyas who supply the society with goods and Shudras, who are the service sector. The varnas are not fixed by birth in texts like Bhagavad Gita or Manusmriti. But the British themselves cemented ‘castes’ (a Portuguese word) in their census and then turned around and accused Hindus of their birth-based, fixed caste system.

There was however one more category which the whole world has been told about and which is used to the hilt to despise Hinduism. They were the untouchables who do unclean work, like handling dead animals, cleaning sewers, etc. The fact that other varnas avoided touching them is still made a huge issue of in the West. In fact it is portrayed, as if this practice made Hindus the greatest violators of human rights and makes the millions tortured and killed by Christians and Muslims pale in comparison.

Yet there is no proof that even one of those untouchables has been killed for doing unclean work. Higher castes may indeed have looked down or still look down on those whose job involves dirt, which is unfortunately a human trait in all societies. It has nothing to do with Hinduism. Most people are aware that such work also needs to be done.

There is in all likelihood another angle regarding “untouchability”, which the British did not realize: Ayurveda knew already 3000 years ago that invisible germs can cause serious illness and those dealing with cadavers and dirt are more likely to carry and spread those. However, the British didn’t know about this fact till only some 150 years ago, when Louis Pasteur claimed that germs cause sickness. (By the way, Google describes this discovery as “crowning achievement of the French scientist”, and avoids mentioning India’s ancient Ayurveda).

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Higher castes may indeed have looked down or still look down on those whose job involves dirt, which is unfortunately a human trait in all societies. Pixabay

Now in today’s time of “social distancing” due to the Corona Virus, we know that not touching others is a precaution to prevent potential infection and has nothing to do with discrimination. The British could have given Hindus the benefit of doubt that they avoided physical contact with certain people due to caution. But since the British didn’t have the advanced knowledge about harmful germs they could not see the possible reason behind it.

Since Independence, the caste system is officially abolished and discrimination against lower castes is a non-bailable offense. Yet the West still makes a huge issue of the caste system and untouchables. Why? Was this the greatest crime the British could find against the “natives” and therefore exaggerated it tremendously?

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This is not to say that people of higher castes didn’t or don’t look down on lower castes, but the demonization of Brahmins is most unwarranted, as Brahmins are least likely to harbour hatred for others due to their strict rules for sadhana which requires them to keep a very high standard of mental and physical purity.  Yet evangelicals, NGOs, international media, Muslim organisations, they all are after them and Hindus in general. They attack them for “atrocities” which never even happened, while the unspeakable atrocities, which were perpetrated upon them, are ignored. It’s a classic case of noticing the speck in the brother’s eye, but not the beam of wood in one’s own eye.

They got away with it for too long, because Hindus didn’t react. The meekness of Hindus was legendary. They were even called cowards. Yet in recent time, Hindus are becoming more assertive. They realize that the constant attacks on them are malicious, and that they are being fooled in the name of secularism because neither Christians nor Muslims can be secular. They are by nature communal because they need to make their community spread all over the world.

It is time to call out this blatant insincerity. When a head of state, like Imran Khan, accuses the Modi government in a tweet of “moving towards Hindu Rashtra with its Hindutva Supremacist, fascist ideology”, he better looks at his own country and his own ideology. A Hindu Rashtra with its inclusiveness and freedom are any time better than the exclusive, supremacist ideologies of Islam and Christianity, which force human beings into a strait-jacket of blind belief and several Muslim states threaten even today those who want to get out with death sentence.

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COVID-19 Makes it Difficult to Manage Cancer Care: Oncologist

Dr Abhishek Shankar said that coronavirus has made it difficult to manage the cancer care delivery system

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Coronavirus outbreak has made it difficult to manage cancer care. Pixabay

By Dr. Abhishek Shankar

A recent report– ‘Cancer Care Delivery Challenges Amidst Coronavirus Disease – 19 (COVID-19) Outbreak’ published in the journal of Asian Pacific Journal of Cancer Prevention has pointed out that cancer patients are more susceptible to coronavirus than individuals without cancer as they are in an immunosuppressive state because of the malignancy and anticancer treatment. Oncologists should be more attentive to detect coronavirus infection early, as any type of advanced cancer is at much higher risk for unfavorable outcomes.

Author, Dr Abhishek Shankar, assistant professor in the department of radiation oncology at Lady Hardinge Medical College said that coronavirus has made it difficult to manage the cancer care delivery system.

“As we are having a lockdown in the whole country, patients can’t travel from one place to another. About 95 percent of the cancer care services are restricted to the urban areas but we also know that 70 percent of the people live in rural areas. So, there is a lot of disparity in cancer care. For cancer patients, stress is more disturbing for the patient rather than cancer itself,” Dr Shankar told ANI.

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Dr. Shankar added that in this situation, it is very difficult to manage these people as they are unable to come to the hospital as we are running only emergency services. Pixabay

Also Read: Having a Child with Cancer Doesn’t Impact Parents’ Separation: Researchers

He added that in this situation, it is very difficult to manage these people as they are unable to come to the hospital as we are running only emergency services.

Talking about the report, Dr Shankar said, “We have published the paper on cancer care delivery, although guidance is that you shouldn’t delay and you should continue with the treatment. But there are many challenges that are coming right now. We have also advised cancer patients about the precautions they should take. Also, patients need to verify social media messages coming in from a credible source like the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) and WHO.”Furthermore, he suggests that persons suffering from cancer should get treated from nearby hospitals and try avoiding the delay.

The cancer specialist remarked that it is a dilemma for healthcare professionals as well as patients because there is an issue regarding what to follow and what not to. “To date, there is no scientific guideline regarding the management of cancer patients in the backdrop of coronavirus outbreak,” Dr Shankar informed.

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India Witnesses a 37% Rise in Cyberattacks in the First Quarter of 2020

The report shows that India ranks 27th globally in the number of web-threats

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India has seen a 37 per cent hike in cyberattacks in the first quarter of 2020. Pixabay

India has seen a 37 per cent increase in cyberattacks in the first quarter (Q1) of 2020, as compared to the fourth quarter (Q4) of last year as a result of social media disadvantages, a new report revealed on Saturday.

The Kaspersky Security Network (KSN) report showed that its products detected and blocked 52,820,874 local cyber threats in India between January to March this year.

The data also shows that India now ranks 27th globally in the number of web-threats detected by the company in Q1 2020 as compared to when it ranked on the 32nd position globally in Q4 2019.

“There has been a significant increase in the number of attacks in 2020 Q1 that may continue to rise further in Q2 as well, especially in the current scenario where we notice an increase in cybercriminal activities, especially in the Asia Pacific region,” said Saurabh Sharma, Senior Security Researcher, GReAT Asia Pacific at Kaspersky.

The number of local threats in Q1 2020 in India (52,820,874) shows how frequently users are attacked by malware spread via removable USB drives, CDs and DVDs, and other “offline” methods.

Protection against such attacks not only requires an antivirus solution capable of treating infected objects but also a firewall, anti-rootkit functionality and control over removable devices.

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The high numbers of cyberattacks are likely to keep rising in Q2. Pixabay

According to the firm, the number of local threats detected in Q4 2019 was 40,700,057.

India also ranks 11th worldwide in the number of attacks caused by servers that were hosted in the country, which accounts of 2,299,682 incidents in Q1 2020 as compared to 854,782 incidents detected in Q4 2019, said the report.

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“We see smartphone users being targeted more due to mass consumption and increased digitalisation,” Sharma said.

“Risks like data leakage, connection to unsecured wi-fi networks, phishing attacks, spyware, apps with weak encryption (also known as broken cryptography) are some of the common mobile threats that Android users face,” he added.

“In order to mitigate some of the major risks like data breaches, targeted ransomware attacks, large scale (distributed denial-of-service) DDoS attacks, etc, businesses will need to allocate their budgets correctly to build a stronger security infrastructure,” said Dipesh Kaura, General Manager for South Asia, Kaspersky. (IANS)