FARAZ AHMAD | 3 JUNE, 2017
NEW DELHI: After the British had vanquished the Indians in our first war of independence in 1857 under the leadership of the last Mughal emperor Bahadur Shah Zafar, they virtually leveled the entire sprawling fashionable market cum residential colonies of the Mughal nobility living in the land between the Jama Masjid and Lal Qila, and turned that into their first cantonment and the regal Jama Masjid into a stable for their horses.
The Indian nobility was so badly demoralized and pauperized that it was in no position to dispute much less challenge this sacrilege of their prized heritage. That was when the butchers of Meerut and vicinity rose and offered to buy back the place from the British and restore it as a mosque. And they paid a princely price in those days of Rs 12 crore to buy back the Jama Masjid and restore its preeminence.
Such was the monetary strength of the butchers among the Muslim community. Even today Makki mian’s palatial house is situated opposite Jama Masjid alongside Chawri Bazar/Dariba Kalan, close to where they sell the fireworks. Makki mian’s forefathers had collected the amount and handed over to the British. Makki mian himself must have died several decades ago.
It is not for nothing that the Hindutva outfits have targeted the meat trade, for this, they have keenly observed, will break the economic backbone of the Muslims.
So, the first thing Yogi Adityanath did on assuming the office of the chief minister of Uttar Pradesh was to attack the meat trade, fully aware that this more than anything will hurt the Muslims, not merely in terms of attacking their food habits but the source of sustenance, neigh prosperity of the Muslim community.
That it will also hurt the Dalits who apart from being non vegetarians are also intricately involved with the meat business in several accessory trades, including the leather industry and even the OBCs who are the main cattle traders, is an add on. So with one stroke you kill three sets of despicable non Aryan social groups.
If the object was merely to protect the cow, and we may or may not agree, but never mind that, if the object was to protect the cow and mind you not the bullock or an ageing bull, least of all a buffalo or an ox, why issue the diktat to implicitly obstruct the slaughter of the buffaloes as well? Because, the real purpose is to close the cottage meat industry and remember only the next door meat seller, for the big factories owned by the Jain community, exporting from Saudi Arabia to Mexico are still running and will continue to run full steam.
The Aryavrat, even Rajasthan High Court judge Mahesh Chand Sharma, has never put any premium on the buffalo. Buffalo is black and only the Yamaraj, himself black, rides the black animal. There is no religious sanctity attached to the buffalo in any Hindu text.
So the Hindutva brigade and their private army of cow vigilantes are not fired by any love for their religion or the alleged hurt to their religious sentiments. It’s what Guru Golwalkar said long ago: “The Muslims will seek nothing and expect nothing.” They will live merely on sufferance. Under the current dispensation what else should be expected?
So in this far right establishment the Muslims will not become second class citizens, they already are reduced to that state. For decades the RSS/BJP were looking at neighbouring Pakistan with amazement and dare say,appreciation: “If they can achieve this why can’t we?” . Pakistan has been their ideal for all of the 70 years of its creation, and we are copying Pakistan in every which way, unmindful of what a situation that country has landed themselves in.
1977 elections were my first opportunity to cast my vote and like many others I too was campaigning actively for defeating Indira Gandhi. My best friend and class fellow from AMU Hari Kishan Sharma, no leftist, was dismayed at my rooting for the Janata Party pointing out what a communal rabble rouser Atal Bihari Vajpayee was then. But I brushed him aside. But as soon as Vajpayee became India’s External Affairs Minister, where did he go first? To Islamabad to enjoy the hospitality of that mullah in khaki General Mohammad Zia-ul Haq to virtually endorse the dismissal of the first constitutionally elected government of Pakistan led by Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto. Bhutto was hanged later and thanks to Vajpayee presiding over the Foreign office, we refused to condemn that judicial murder by Zia ul Haq.
Soon as Vajpayee became the Prime Minister he headed Lahore wards yet again with much fanfare to bless the then Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif. Then, soon after NDA went out of power. L K Advani led a large contingent to Pakistan and travelled all around from Lahore to Islamabad to Karachi.
Now our very own Narendrabhai Damodardas Modi, first thing he thought even before being sworn in was to beckon Nawaz Sharif to come and join in the celebrations which he did. Mind you, I am all for very cordial diplomatic relations with Pakistan and regular exchange of people and people to people dialogue. Bu we are here talking of those who said “Doob maro, doob maro ( go drown yourself)” when Pakistan’s Prime Minister came to pay obeisance at Ajmer Dargah.
The point is that while the Sangh fans hatred and anger against Muslims, in India or Pakistan, they are bewitched by the Pakistani model of governance and are ever ready to emulate that. There was one difference though: we bet that the ethos of democracy is so ingrained in us in India that we can never become a military dictatorship. Seeing the way the Army is today being made into a holy cow, and the way that out of turn promotee General Bipin Rawat is gloating about Major Gogoi for tying a Kashmiri youth as a human shield to his vehicle, I can’t say how far we are from a military takeover now.
(Faraz Ahmad is a senior journalist based in New Delhi).
(Cover Photograph: aerial view of delhi’s Jama Masjid and adjoining areas)