Islamic Terrorism in India

Most Muslims are not terrorists, but most terrorists are Muslims

What ails Kashmir Muslims? The Sunni idea of ‘azadi’

Posted by jagoindia on September 8, 2010


What ails Kashmir? The Sunni idea of ‘azadi’

Friday, Aug 6, 2010

Aakar Patel

We know what Hurriyat Conference wants: azadi, freedom. But freedom from what? Freedom from Indian rule. Doesn’t an elected Kashmiri, Omar Abdullah, rule from Srinagar?

Yes, but Hurriyat rejects elections. Why? Because ballots have no azadi option.But why can’t the azadi demand be made by democratically elected leaders? Because elections are rigged through the Indian Army. Why is the Indian Army out in Srinagar and not in Surat? Because Kashmiris want azadi.

Let’s try that again.
What do Kashmiris want freedom from? India’s Constitution.

What is offensive about India’s Constitution? It is not Islamic. This is the issue, let us be clear.

The violence in Srinagar isn’t for democratic self-rule because Kashmiris have that. The discomfort Kashmiris feel is about which laws self-rule must be under, and Hurriyat rejects a secular constitution.

Hurriyat deceives the world by using a universal word, azadi, to push a narrow, religious demand. Kashmiris have no confusion about what azadi means: It means Shariah. Friday holidays, amputating thieves’ hands, abolishing interest, prohibiting alcohol (and kite-flying), stoning adulterers, lynching apostates and all the rest of it that comprises the ideal Sunni state.

Not one Shia gang terrorizes India; terrorism on the subcontinent is a Sunni monopoly.

There is a token Shia among the Hurriyat’s bearded warriors, but it is essentially a Sunni group pursuing Sunni Shariah. Its most important figure is Umar Farooq. He’s called mirwaiz, meaning head of preachers (waiz), but he inherited his title at 17 and actually is no Islamic scholar. He is English-educated, but his base is Srinagar’s sullen neighbourhood of Maisuma, at the front of the stone-pelting. His following is conservative and, since he has little scholarship, he is unable to bend his constituents to his view.

Hurriyat’s modernists are led by Sopore’s 80-year-old Ali Geelani of Jamaat-e-Islami. Jamaat was founded in 1941 by a brilliant man from Maharashtra called Maududi, who invented the structure of the modern Islamic state along the lines of a Communist one. Maududi opposed Jinnah’s tribal raid in Kashmir, which led to the Line of Control, saying jihad could only be prosecuted formally by a Muslim state, and not informally by militias. This wisdom was discarded later, and Hizb al-Mujahideen, starring Syed Salahuddin of cap and beard fame, is a Jamaat unit. Maududi was ecumenical, meaning that he unified the four Sunni groups of thought. He always excluded Shias, as heretics.

The Kashmiri separatist movement is actually inseparable from Sunni fundamentalism. Those on the Hurriyat’s fringes who say they are Gandhians, like Yasin Malik, are carried along by the others in the group so long as the immediate task of resisting India is in common. But the Hurriyat and its aims are ultimately poisonous, even for Muslims.

The Hurriyat Conference’s idea of freedom unfolds from a religious instinct, not a secular sentiment. This instinct is sectarian, and all the pro-azadi groups are Shia-killers. In promoting their hatred, the groups plead for the support of other Muslims by leaning on the name of the Prophet Muhammad.

Hafiz is a title and means memorizer of the Quran. Mohammed Saeed’s Lashkar Tayyaba means army of Tyeb (“the good”), one of the Prophet’s names. This is incorrectly spelled and pronounced by our journalists as “Taiba” or “Toiba”, but Muslims can place the name. Lashkar rejects all law from sources other than the recorded sayings and actions of Muhammad. This is called being Wahhabi, and Wahhabis detest the Shia.

Jaish Muhammad (Muhammad’s army) was founded in a Karachi mosque, and it is linked to the Shia-killing Sipah Sahaba (Army of Muhammad’s First Followers) in Pakistan’s Seraiki-speaking southern Punjab. The group follows a narrow, anti-Shia doctrine developed in Deoband.

Decades of non-interference by the Pakistani state in the business of Kashmiri separatism has led to a loss of internal sovereignty in Pakistan. The state is no longer able to convince its citizens that it should act against these groups. Though their own Shia are regularly butchered, a poll shows that a quarter of Pakistanis think Lashkar Tayyaba does good work. We think Indian Muslims are different from Pakistanis and less susceptible to fanaticism. It is interesting that within Pakistan, the only group openly and violently opposed to Taliban and terrorism are UP and Bihar migrants who form Karachi’s secular Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM) party.

So what do the separatist groups want? It is wrong to see them as being only terrorist groups. They operate in an intellectual framework, and there is a higher idea that drives the violence. This is a perfect state with an executive who is pious, male and Sunni. Such a state, where all is done according to the book, will get God to shower his blessings on the citizens, who will all be Sunnis.

There are three types of Sunnis in Kashmir. Unionists, separatists, and neutrals. Unionists, like Omar Abdullah, are secular and likely to be repelled by separatism because they have seen the damage caused by political Islam in Pakistan. They might not be in love with Indians, but they see the beauty of the Indian Constitution. Neutrals, like Mehbooba Mufti, are pragmatic and will accept the Indian Constitution when in power, though they show defiance when out of it. This is fine, because they respond to a Muslim constituency that is uncertain, but isn’t totally alienated. The longer these two groups participate in democracy in Kashmir, the weaker the separatists become. The current violence is a result of this. Given their boycott of politics, the Hurriyat must rally its base by urging them to violence and most of it happens in Maisuma and Sopore. The violence should also clarify the problem in the minds of neutrals: If Kashmiri rule does not solve the azadi problem, what will?

India’s liberals are defensive when debating Kashmir because of our unfulfilled promise on plebiscite. But they shouldn’t be. There is really no option to secular democracy, whether one chooses it through a plebiscite or whether it is imposed. It is a universal idea and there is no second form of government in any culture or religion that works. The Islamic state is utopian and it never arrives. Since it is driven by belief, however, the search becomes quite desperate.

India has a constitution; Pakistan has editions. These are the various Pakistani constitutions: 1935 (secular), 1956 (federal), 1962 (dictatorial), 1973 (parliamentary), 1979 (Islamic), 1999 (presidential), 2008 (parliamentary). Why do they keep changing and searching? Muslims keep trying to hammer in Islamic bits into a set of laws that is actually quite complete. This is the Government of India Act of 1935, gifted to us by the British.

Kashmiris have it, and perhaps at some point they will learn to appreciate its beauty.

Aakar Patel will take a break from his column to write a book. He will return early next year.

Send your feedback to replytoall@livemint.com

4 Responses to “What ails Kashmir Muslims? The Sunni idea of ‘azadi’”

  1. Xhan2378 said

    Whole write-up is nothing more than the figment of imagination; quite remote from history as well as reality. Kashmiris, more than anyone else, would like to see India and Pakistan as it’s neighbouring countries.

    Further, all the elections since 1950s till date were rigged. What happened in 1987 elections is known to all save our friend Aakar Patel.

    I suggest, our friend, Aakar Patel come to Kashmir and see WHAT IS rather than WHAT EXISTS IN HIS MIND.

  2. Jeet said

    Really a super eyeopener.

  3. Dr. O. P. Sudrania said

    Aakar has done a good job but I think it needs a supplementary. Your thesis of three types is a little far fetched in my mind. Muftis are an opportunistic dangerous back stabers. In fact I have described them even more dangerous than Geelani and Yasin Malik and the mujahideens. Because you know them well. These(PDP) have a far more dangerous ties with ISI than what we heard on 9/7/10 about Geelani Inc. They all are minting money. A boiling Kashmir is the best business in this lame democratic state where the PM even does not have the least idea as well as the least interest in Kashmir problem. Indian leaders in my opinion are not suitable to run the nation. Today they are woken up due to the intractability of situation, i.e. by compulsion, not by their political acumen. Kashmir is a total international diplomatic failure of the centre. On 14-15 July in Islamabad, Krishna performed pathetically and MM Singh penalised Pillai in stead of firing Pak for their dirty game. Delhi took no notice of PoK meeting by these non state players as Pak likes to call them fancifully alongwith the PoK PM. At the same time they failed to take note of Kayani gesture. Yet MM Singh/Krishna were quick to fire Pillai shamefully. Then we expect these hard boiled jihadis trained and kept in hiding for this preplanned clandestine imbroglio as the summer approaches in Kashmir to contain. The Indian media are myopic in their vision of seasoned politicking. They are kept pampered by the western press. White man’s legacy will need centuries to die. World media including the Indian press is indirectly or directly contolled by these powerful international groups like Rupert Murduch. Quite often I write correcting notes. Even NYTimes is controlled by Obama set up. US is the main determining factor. Unless Delhi manages them, mere sweet dishes at White House simply diverts their attention with no diplomatic gain. Need a hard bargain and firm decision making like Bajpai. I am not a BJP man but an Indian at heart soul and mind. I need result, no shallow politicking.

    I had some hope in PC but he is also using escapist political game
    by using cheap political means of “Saffron” terror. I have said it elsewhere, “I wish the Hindus were terrorists”. The problems you see today of “Green Moon And Star Terrorism” would never have arisen. Islam is barely 1600 yrs. That is a negligible period in historical terms. Hindu Monarchs had been so powerful, they would have wiped them all out. Neither Christianity nor Islam nor any other religion would have had a chance. Have we forgotten Ashoka the Great, King Maharana Pratap, Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj and the other wariers India had produced. Hindus are being made captives of their benevolence. Today the world is becoming crucked. Hinduism always preached love, peace brotherhood non-violence, righteousness, truth, and such values which the Muslims by their Sharia and Quranic teachings are kept blind and misguided. Islam needs reformation to survive. If not, it will become extinct and die its premature death like so many other cults have. Islam teaches aggression and non-tolerance.

    I am sorry but I must clear your doubt on the point of plebiscite.
    I think you are also a little misinformed on this point. The UN had put a condition that Pakistan will withdraw its army totally while India will maintain its minimal army to supervise and prevent further Pak invasion as a deterrent. But Pakistan never fulfilled that condition. There is a lot more in the archives. Please acquaint yourself before you make such dangerous allegations against India.
    Aakar please do not give them (Pakis) more excuses. Their ISI is a good inventor. Kashmir is nothing but one step even beyond the Sunni Wahhabi/Salafi/Deobandi barbarism. I have recently termed it as Zia-ul Haqisation of Islam. The problem in Valley is Zia-ul Haqisation Islamic ideology at its best. Kashmir is a legacy of the failed diplomacy at Delhi level started and thoroughly messed
    up by the great Platonic lover and maintained by the same ill informed PMs.

    Person like Narsimsa Rao even did not know the difference between Laddakh and Leh when he passed some order regarding some Union territory or so. I am exactly forgetting the details. But when I came across the irregualrity, I was flaberghasted. Again in Sharm-el Sheikh, what a mess was made by MM Singh by adding Baluchistan with Kashmir dispute. A historical blunder. No wonder Pakistan is inventing newer and newer agendas like water dispute and getting bolder day by day. It has nothing to do with Kashmir. Water issue is a totally different thing. Even Hillary could shut them up in one word when she said that it is due to your mismanagement. If you raise this issue, you will have to first show the proper use of available water to the world bank. They just shut up.

    India needs a better leadership. That is where the problem is. Vote bank narssistic politics is to be blamed for as opposed to the nationastic attitudes.

    I do not want to make it dirtier by making more obtuse comments on this open forum. But Delhi’s lakadassical and step motherly attitude combined with the Islamic card is the main factor. Delhi’s attitude provided these Islamists the best fertiliser for their hidden agendas. They have still not learnt it. MM Singh is a good man but bad politician. India needs a good politician not a good man or a good economist. Please peruse the link:
    http://www.international.to/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=605:religion-motivation-terror-and-law-part-i&catid=50:dr-om-prakash-sudrania&Itemid=78
    Do not forget that today the world sits at a click of a mouse. I can talk to any corner of world in less than the time you will finishn your glass of water. The super powers are controlling the entire world and we have to live at their mercy. Sometimes I wonder, should India go commie?
    God bless
    Dr. O. P. Sudrania

  4. hindu militant said

    This is a brilliant exposition. Need to add a few things. Jammu and kashmir is divided in 3 regions. Jammu (hindu majority) kashmir (sunni muslim majority) ladakh (buddhist majority with shia muslim minority). There is no problem in jammu and ladakh. Even in kashmir valley the problem is limited to sunni majority incidentally, NOT illiterates, but educated english speaking middle class from srinagar. Since they are in majority they dominate not just kashmir but even jammu and ladakh.
    Now the problem is very simple. NOBODY least of all muslims tell this inside story. “The muslim just cannot tolerate POLITICAL DOMINATION from others, least of all non-muslims.” As rightly pointed out, all the chief ministers are kashmiri muslims, so what is the problem? State government and central government in Delhi. State govt comes UNDER central govt, which incidentally ruled by hindus.SEcular or otherwise. If Delhi was still ruled by mughals; believe me the problems would not exist. Even pakistan wouldnt exist.India was partitioned becuase the muslims were afraid of ” hindu domination under the garb of secular democracy.”
    This is the same problem where muslim majority provinces in non-muslim countries will have a separatist insurgency going on. Russia has a separatist insurgency in chechnya, china in zinjiang, thailand in yala and pattani; phillipines in mindanao province. SAME kashmir problem in all different countries, because SAME reason. Central govt in delhi, moscow, beijing, bangkok, manila etc is ruled by non-muslims. Muslims CAnt tolerate non-muslim domination, hence separatism.
    Talking of kashmir, it is we hindus dont understand the theological differences amongst muslims. Shia muslims are considered heretics by suni muslims. as correctly pointed out, no shia gang terrorises India, because in classical shiaism there is strict separation between mosque and state. No shia muslims are not doodh ke dhule. Jinnah was a shia khoja ismaili. But brick is softer than stone. They are okay if kashmir stays with India, becomesa separate country, or goes to pakistan. shias, poor people, are caught between sunni militants, and Indian forces. Because we cant differentiate between muslim sects.
    Now the point is to isolate the sunni muslims ; keep them fighting each other(deobandi and brelvi) and weaken them, dont touch the shia muslims. problem solved.

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