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Voiceover

 

 

A Letter to

The Prime Minister

By an Indian Muslim

 

 

ummid.com denounces violence in whatsoever form it exists today in the country or in the world. ummid.com believes violence cannot be a solution for anything. At the same time, with fellow citzen of this country, ummid.com is also worried about the prevailing situation where the terrorist activities have become order of the day on one side and on the other, the way investigations into these inhuman acts are underway, they are resulting in more questions than the answers. Inquilab Daily is a leading Urdu newspaper published from Mumbai. Its Editor, Senior Journalist Shahid Lateef has written an open letter to the Prime Minister that was published in Sunday Inquilab on September 21, 2008 and raised many questions that are now haunting many people in the country. Aleem Faizee has tried to translate this letter for ummid.com.

 

 
 
 
 
 

 

 
 
 

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Sare Jahan Se Accha

Hindustan Hamara

In 1905 more than 100 years from today, when Iqbal was a lecturer at the Government College, Lahore he was invited by his student Lala Hardayal to preside over a function. Instead of making a speech, Iqbal sang Sare Jahan Se Accha Hindustan Hamara in his style. Iqbal compiled this poem in praise of India and the poem preaches the communal harmony that had unfortunately started ceasing in India by that time. Each and every word in this poem depicts an Indian’s respect and love for the motherland and the values the Indian society inherited for long.

 

The couplets that were sung in a small hall of the Government College, Lahore, spread to every corner and streets of the country soon making it the greatest patriotic song of the country. Iqbal was sitting in a boat house in Kashmir when some children passed by him singing this song. Iqbal smiled as these small kids were unaware of his presence near them.

 

The poem was set to music in the 1950s by Pandit Ravi Shankar, and is regularly sung on occasions of national importance. When Indira Gandhi asked Rakesh Sharma, the first Indian astronaut who went to space, how India looked from space, he immediately replied, “Sare Jahan se Accha Hindustan Hamara.”

 

When heard of Iqbal’s death in 1938, Mahatma Gandhi wrote in his condolence message for the nation, “ What can I write about Dr. Iqbal except that I was sobbing due to emotions when I first read his famous poem Sare Jahan se Accha. When in Yerawada Jail, I must have sung this poem over hundred times. Each and every word of this great poem is very sweet to me and even while writing this message I can feel hearing the couplets of this poem into my ears.”

 

Sure, the ecstasy revisits a person every time after reading or listening to this great poem even after more than hundred years when this great poem was written by Dr. Iqbal.

 

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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Respected Dr. Manmohan Singh

 

Greetings,

 

I hope this letter finds you in good health. This is the first time in my life that I am directly writing to you. On several instances in the past I intended to write to you but I suppressed this strong desire. How can a minuscule citizen like me dare to write a Prime Minister of a great country with more than billion people population?

 

To introduce myself, I had grown up at the time when the rein of the country was in the hands of Laal Bhadur Shastri and was literally unaware of the power of writing. Even after attaining this privilege and despite the situation demanded to do so on several occasions in the past, I never tried to write to any Prime Minister directly. I avoided doing this when Indira Gandhi, Rajive Gandhi and Nirsimha Rao were ruling the country and places like Aligarh, Allahabad, Neeli, Bhagulpur and Bhiwandi were subjected to the deadly riots. On these occasions, I wanted to ask the Prime Minister why this is happening in this great country. But keeping in mind the respect of the high office you hold I always suppressed the strong desire to do so. When Babri Masjid was demolished in 1992 I wanted to ask the same question to the Prime Minister. However I could not gather the courage to ask this question. Not even when Muslims at places like Mumbai were being looted and subjected to systematic rioting in the riots that followed December 6. When Gujarat was into the grip of marauders and the places like Ahemdabad, Mehsana, Badoda, Bharoch, Naroda and Saber-Kuntha were under the fire, in fact it was in my heart in Mumbai that I was feeling the pain of the people. But I could not dare to write to the Prime Minister even then.

 

There was one more reason for not writing to any Prime Minister directly in the past. It was the faith in the Indian Constitution, secular credentials of the country and its secular people that kept the hope alive for me. And though I was virtually despaired, they did not allow the despair to overrule my faith. Whenever I needed I found them on my sides defending and fighting for my problems. There is no doubt that despite acclaimed efforts many problems continue to persist. But it gave me a sense of satisfaction when I found the Supreme Court rebuking the real perpetrators of these evil acts. And when I see people like R. B. Srikumar, Teesta Setlvad, Arundhati Roy, Rajdeep Serdesai, Mukul Sinha, Mihir Desai and Justice Kolse Patil demanding the answers for the same questions which haunted me day in and day out. It was just enough to revive my hopes in the country.

 

However this time, I could not refrain myself from writing to you. The reason for this is that till yesterday when I was directly or indirectly subjected to oppressions, the identity of my enemy was known to me. I was aware of their numbers and their might. The power of a bunch of communal forces? Pooh! My belief was in the might of the secular people of this country which is comparatively many folds and it was this belief that kept me going in the moments of despair. I still remember 1992 when the trains in Mumbai were having hardly any passenger. But even during those testing moments I was traveling without any fear and without any hesitation.

 

But today?

Respected Prime Minister,

The reason that the identity of my enemy is hidden from me has frightened me. I am scared because I am not able to judge their power and am not even able to find the place they hail from. People say they are Muslims but their identity is not known to me. They are Muslims or someone else, it is not clear to me. They first choose a place, strike and then run away from there for some other place. Sometimes they are in Mumbai, the next they are in Malegaon, sometimes in Hyderabad and sometimes in Bangalore. They are so smart that they do all these things in the name of my religion. They defame me, insult me and at the same time try to dilute the sympathy of the fellow secular brethren of the country towards me. They are my enemies but look at their smartness that they have disguised into my identity and under the cover of my religion they are defaming me with and after every terrorist attack.

 

Respected Prime Minister,

My pain is that with every terrorist attack it is me who is killed, it is me who is injured, it is me who is defamed. But strangely it is only me who is arrested.  I have never experienced such a loss and defamation earlier in the past.

 

When Babri Masjid was demolished, the whole world unanimously observed that I am a victim. Under the series of deadly riots, I found the world standing with me and claiming my innocence. In the past I was never seen with the oppressors. No one even imagined this. But this enemy is pushing me in the ranks of the oppressors. Perhaps it has succeeded in his attempt and it seems that some of the brethren in the country have in fact started believing in my enemy’s ploy that it is me who is planting the bombs at different places, it is me who is killing the fellow countrymen and it is me who has become a threat to the country.

 

It shocked and virtually numbed me when I see the Television channels projecting me with fellow Muslims as the culprits and the perpetrators of the bomb blasts. Someone else is doing this and it is me who is projected as the responsible person behind these inhuman acts. Destruction is planned by someone else and it is me who is defamed all the time.

 

I have become suspicious in aero-planes. In the trains, in the buses and in the offices! In markets and almost everywhere! I have become suspicious in the eyes of my own neighbors, my own friends and my own countrymen. The matter is worst if I sport a beard and attire a Muslim outfit. The fact that I do not look like a Muslim in appearance works till my name is not disclosed. The moment it happens everything changes in a moment. I don’t find any fault in them when I see my countrymen becoming suspicious about me with every passing day. The misery is that they believe this because they are made to by the Media and by our own Police.

 

Let me tell you that there is a major difference between me and those who believe into the cowardice act of terror. I am a peace loving innocent individual whereas they are the dreaded terrorists. They are the murderers while I believe in forgiveness and clemency. I am a moderate and they are the extremists. They are using religion for their own self whereas I believe my religion is for the betterment of the whole humanity.

 

Thanks to the media and the police that they have projected my enemy’s face so vehemently that my identity has become suspicious. Their names are repeated so many times that my name has become doubtful. Now it would be difficult for me to easily go through the police enquiry if I apply for the passport. Just my name would be sufficient for the police to suspect me as the terrorist who use my identity and my name, and are engaged in the destructive, inhuman and terrorist activities.

 

Respected Prime Minister,

I have become tired of my enemy. They have virtually transformed my life into a hell. The bombs are planted by them and the investigations are carried on me. The murderers are they but I am treated like a culprit. It is they who are involved in anti-national activities but I am being punished on their behalf.

 

Since the life for a common man has become tough due to regular terrorist attacks, the police become desperate when it doesn’t find any specific clue. Combined with the pressure from the political parties, they are searching my home to look for my enemy. Am I fool that I will provide sanctuary to my own enemy? But who will believe in me. The attacks are continuing unabated and with every new attack the prevalent mistrust against me gets renewed, making it reasonable enough to target me.

 

How many times I need to prove my loyalty to the country? How many times I need to prove that I am a peace loving individual and denounce the violence at any cost? How my forefathers had fought for the country in its attempt to free the motherland from the imperial forces? In fact the country owes their services for the country. Even I rendered invaluable services for the country. Elaborating these sacrifices I wanted to prove my innocence but the allegations against me are so rife that the sacrifices made by me and my forefathers are overruled by the allegations.

 

I pleaded in front of the police that it is not me they are hunting for. I appealed to the government that it is not me they are blaming at. I pleaded innocence in front of the press. But nobody is ready to believe in me. Instead I fear that the people who were earlier sympathetic towards me are becoming hostile and are started to believe that I am a terrorist.

 

I want to declare by hook and crook that I am not anti-national. Anti-nationals are they who are indulging in anti-national and terrorist activities under the guise of Muslims. They are those who are claiming to be Muslims on the basis of their names. It is possible that they are Muslims. But it is also possible that they are not. It is possible that they are some other Indians? Not the Muslims but someone else from abroad??

 

Police claim that Indian Mujahideen is SIMI. If provided with concrete proofs, I am ready to believe this, not once but hundreds of time. But some other organization can also be behind Indian Mujahideen. Can’t you consider to my claim at least once?

 

In Malegaon fake beards and skull-cap were allegedly found after the blasts. Had the names been some material things, I am sure some fake names would have also been found there. After all it is name on the basis of which I am being blamed. It would have been better had you ordered your investigating agencies to investigate the truth behind this name game, the truth behind the fake beards and skull caps, the truth behind the bomb-making in Nanded, the reality behind the death in Kanpur by bombs. It would have been better if you order to investigate all these incidences so that I come clean of all the charges leveled against me.

 

Respected Prime Minister,

Even if the people with Muslim names are Muslim, how can I be related with them? If they are the culprits, you punish them with strongest possible punishments but please spare me from these daily sufferings. I am fed up with all these things. Worse the combing operations have transformed my life into a hell. The suspecting eyes of my own friends and the communal differences are not allowing me to live in peace. Despite repeatedly proving my loyalty and innocence I am being framed every day. The life for the Indians Muslims will become so terrible in India I had never imagined this.

 

Few days back Shabana Azmi had complained, she could not buy a flat in Mumbai because of her Muslim identity. Just thin, if a liberal duo like Shabana Azmi and her husband cannot get a flat how I, the one with beard and skull caps, can get a house there? Whenever the Muslims go to search for a house they are told to go to “their own people.” The reason for this is said as Muslims being non-vegetarians. Tomorrow the very people may say that Muslims are terrorists. If at all such situation arises, don’t you think, the Muslims will have to suffer because of the sins they have never committed?

 

By all accounts it seems that the communal forces are in full command of the situation and to conspire against the Muslims. They are using the moment to defame the Muslims in the name of terrorism. At the same time some police officers are terming the bomb blasts occurring at some specific places as the explosions because of the firecrackers.

 

It is interesting to note how Heywood was detained from New Mumbai after Ahmedabad blasts. Just imagine, instead of Haywood had this person been a Hashim, a Hakeem or a Haris, would he been spared so easily? Haywood was allowed to flee the country, Hashim or Hakeem or Haris would not have been allowed to come out of their own homes.

 

Respected Prime Minster,

Why this double standard when it comes to implementing the law? A mockery of the law under your leadership! I remember, once you had said that you feel the pain of the minorities’ right in your hearts. Your gesture had immensely helped the minorities. But the pity is that in your tenure the pain of the minorities is escalating with every passing day and you are not ready to take the notice of this pain. Are you also with the same people who have become hostile against me because of the bomb blasts? Are you also not ready to feel the trauma the minorities are going through every day?

 

Respected Prime Minister,

One of my friends has observed that after a bomb blast or a riot before suspecting anyone it should be investigated who is the one most benefited from these incidents. The Sangh Parivar is clearly benefiting from these blasts taking place all across the country. Don’t we need to investigate their role? We have seen the Sangh Parivar killing Mahatma Gandhi. We have seen them instigating several riots. And we have seen them demolishing the Babri Masjid. Can we term them as innocent? Aren’t we defending the Sangh Parivar in the same way America is famous defending Israel for? It is the fact that Israel is an American Pet. Is the Sangh Parivar our pet?

 

I had mentioned this in the beginning that despite all odds I didn’t write directly to a Prime Minister in the past. This time I am forced to do so because the secular fabric of the country is at stake and the situation is worsening day by day. In the past sixty years after the independence, the communal forces tried hard to divide the people on communal line but they failed. This new enemy, it is possible the same old one but disguised in a new attire, is trying to achieve their goal by doing the bomb blasts. Dividing the very nation for which Mahatma Gandhi had said Hindus and Muslims are like two eyes.

 

Respected Prime Minister,

No matter if you have changed your External Policies. For heaven’s sake, save the Internal Policy of the country and give a breather to my sovereignty, my identity, to the communal harmony, the pride of the country and our democracy that is famous for its human rights and equality. If you cannot do this, I fear, tomorrow the world will say that even a Prime Minister from a minority community could not help the minorities in India.

 

I request you to arrange for the proper investigations into these incidences so that the real culprits, weather from within the country or outside along with their supporters could be brought to book so that the country is saved from the regular terrorist attacks. That can work as a breather for me so that I can be spared from suspecting eyes and can work for the betterment of the country. Just imagine if I am busy in defending myself the whole time how would be I able to play my role in the nation building?

 

Yours,

An Indian Muslim. 

 

 

 

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Sare Jahan Se Accha

Hindustan Hamara

In 1905 more than 100 years from today, when Iqbal was a lecturer at the Government College, Lahore he was invited by his student Lala Hardayal to preside over a function. Instead of making a speech, Iqbal sang Sare Jahan Se Accha Hindustan Hamara in his style. Iqbal compiled this poem in praise of India and the poem preaches the communal harmony that had unfortunately started ceasing in India by that time. Each and every word in this poem depicts an Indian’s respect and love for the motherland and the values the Indian society inherited for long...Read Full

 

 

 
 
 

 
 

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