Monday, January 18, 2016
By Virendra Kapoor
National interest should guide the ‘award-wapsi’ crowd
Dadri is some fifty kilometers from Delhi. Malda over 1,500. But that cannot be the only reason why Malda has not entered national consciousness. Dadri was in the headlines for several weeks. The crime was gruesome. An innocent man was killed in a fit of rage that he ate cow meat. This was unpardonable. Culprits would soon be brought to justice.
However, in Malda there was a method in the madness. The state withdrew, leaving the field open for criminals behind opium cultivation, narcotics trade, gun-running, counterfeit-currency distribution, etc. As a result, there was a spree of arson and looting. The local police station was burnt down, Hindu homes torched, shops looted. Nearly one lakh Muslims in the border town of Kaliachak, which is 90 percent Muslim, had marched in response to a call given by a little known religious group, ostensibly to protest the blasphemous remarks of a Hindu Mahasabha leader a month earlier in
Kamlesh Tiwari, who had since been arrested by the UP Police, had no doubt made an offensive reference to the Prophet, apparently while reacting to an odious comparison of the RSS with the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria. Irfan Habib, the darling of ‘jhollawalla’ liberals who struts his act as an authority on ancient and medieval India, had likened the RSS to the barbarians of the IS, thus exposing his own highly jaundiced mindset and undermining his scholarship. Predictably, he found a ready backer in the great oracle of Rampur. UP Minister Azam Khan, Mulayam Singh’s passport to the vast Muslim constituency in the State, certified that the great historian of the Aligarh school of thought was right in comparing RSS to the IS, a claim so far heard only on television channels from the nightly Pakistani guests. But, then, some may say there was little to distinguish between Indian and Pakistani Muslims when it comes to nationalist organizations like the RSS. Anyway that is a different story. Let us return to the matter in hand.