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Vastanvi Verdict: Historic and in synch with Muslim sentiments

Monday July 25, 2011 01:02:17 PM, Aleem Faizee,

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For India's Muslims, Vastanvi has got it right

Six months after what many had described rubbing salt into the wounds of the Indian Muslims specially those in Gujarat by praising Narendra Modi, Maulana Ghulam Mohammad Vastanvi has finally been voted out July 24 as Vice Chancellor of Darul Uloom Deoband, one of the most respected Islamic seminaries in Asia. The voting to remove Maulana Vastanvi as the VC was conducted during the two day Majlis-e-Shoora – meeting of the advisory board, after he refused to resign as promised following the controversy erupted in the wake of his reported praise for Modi.

Maulana Ghulam Vastanvi has been one of the very few in India who tried to redefine the Madrasa education. Also, for the status, dignity and respect he enjoys among the masses and the work in the filed of education he has done, it is unfortunate that he had to abandon the post in this manner. Yet the decision taken by the Shoora to remove him is historic, in synch with the Muslim sentiments and will have a long term impact in many ways.

First, the stand taken by Maulana Vasatnvi vis-à-vis Narendra Modi barely few days after he was elected as the Deoband Vice Chancellor was not only painful but it was a grave deviation from the policies maintained by his predecessors. It wasn’t therefore quite unexpected when the community leaders while condemning him in very strong words also blamed him of degrading the post of the Vice-Chancellor. Otherwise, rubbish, uncalled for, misleading, far from reality, lacking credibility, absurd and irresponsible – the words used by the community leaders while condemning Maulana Vastanvi, are not the manner in which a Muslim could dare to speak against a sitting VC.

Second, the Majlis-e-Shoora demonstrated remarkable restraint before arriving at this decision. The Shoora was under tremendous pressure. The violence which erupted at the Darul Uloom also made things difficult for its members. But the Shoora, though had all power to remove him immediately, constituted a committee on February 23, 2011 to investigate the entire issue. By doing so, the Shoora made it clear that it is not in favour of taking a hasty decision out of emotional overtures, something the Indian Muslims are always accused of. The committee also did not show any haste and took five months to submit its report. According to available information, the committee during this time met several people including Maulana Vastanvi and then submitted its report to the Majis-e-Shoora. The Shoora even then mooted an honourable exit formula to Maulana Vastanvi and reminded him of his promise to resign. It was only when he refused to do so that the Shoora decided to vote him out from the post.

The decision is also a slap on the faces of those who advise the Indian Muslims ‘to forget and move on’. True, the 2002 Gujarat riots are not exception and India has seen many riots on its soil including the Gujarat state in itself. It is also true that the Indian police cannot escape the blame of being biased towards the Muslims. But is there any example where the state machinery had so openly backed the rioters?

Also, the Indian Muslims, despite suffering the brunt of the communal riots and prejudice by the government machineries, baring few condemnable occasions including the 1993 Mumbai blasts, always practiced the policy of forget and move on. But in return they were subjected to more riots, more harassments and more bias, and at the best, lame duck enquiry commissions, which did not have any power to bring to book the culprits and justice to the Muslim victims. And now in Gujarat when because of the courage and determination shown by the people like Zakia Jafery and activists like Teesta Setalvad and Mehir Desai, the rioters and killers are facing trial, the Muslims are again advised to forget and move on.

Why? Are the rioters ashamed of their crimes against the innocents? Are they showing any remorse for what they had done during those tragic days? No, there is no one who is ashamed of their evil deeds. In contrast to this, there are many who not only justify their evil acts but are also proud of their aggression against the innocent people including women and children. The Shoora decision has clearly said that the killers of Gujarat must be punished and Narendra Modi cannot hide under the development claims and stories of economic growth the grave injustice he and his government had done to the Muslims.

Lastly, the Majlis-e-Shoora by its decision has also indicated to the Cong-led UPA government in a very clear term that the Indian Muslims are no longer ready to compromise on their security. They have suffered a lot, first because of the communal riots and now in the wake of the fictitious war against terrorism. The Shoora by its decision has shown to the government that the Muslims in India now seriously want business and real action against those who are responsible for the sufferings of the community.








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