AMAN in Media

Of Fatwas and Fascism

The intellectuals of Deoband need to understand that their mindless Fatwas contribute to the fascist degeneration of the Indian polity 
By Dilip Simeon, Delhi

Over the past four months, the Deoband Ulama has contributed to the climate of intolerance and religious bigotry in India. First, by opposing Salman Rushdie's presence at the Jaipur Literature Festival, and now by sabotaging a perfectly legitimate subject for research.

In the first instance they succeeded by riding on the backs of various hooligans disguised as 'Muslim leaders', and now by presenting themselves as the self-appointed representatives of 'hurt sentiment' - that tried and tested weapon of communal politicians of all colours. (Witness the hue and cry over AK Ramanujan's Three Hundred Ramayanas). They want Rushdie’s work to be excluded from bona-fide literary research, even if the research does not explicitly take up The Satanic Verses. 

In Jaipur, there were threats of violence - with talk of 'rivers of blood' etc. The Ulama ought to have condemned such statements in clear and explicit terms, but we did not hear of it. We only heard of their sentiments. After this precedent, the Deoband Ulama can continue dictating our research programmes indefinitely.

By any sensible standard of reasoning, to research something does not imply 'glorification'. If I study various versions of the Ramayana, this does not imply that I am glorifying this or that version. If I study the bombardment of Hiroshima, this does not mean I approve of atomic warfare. The study of Mein Kampf does not imply an admiration of Adolf Hitler. If I read Golwalkar's or VD Savarkar's writings, it does not follow that I sympathise with the RSS. Studying Pol Pot does not make the researcher a proponent of genocide.

The Deoband Ulama should reflect on the damage they are doing to the very basis of academic research by citing 'hurt sentiment' to oppose a legitimate literary research programme.

It's ironic that in India today we can study the ideas of mass murderers, Nazis, fascists, racists, imperialists, communalists etc., but Deoband will not let us study Rushdie.
Wonderful! I suggest the Ulama examine the compatibility of their religious norms and sentiments with the brutal treatment of Asiya Bibi, a worker and mother of five children, condemned to hang on mere hearsay; and the acquittal of the men who assaulted Mukhtar Mai. The intellectuals of Deoband need to understand that by raising such issues repeatedly, they contribute to the fascist degeneration of the Indian polity.
Editor’s Note: The female student researcher at Chaudhary Charan Singh University in Meerut had proposed a post doctoral research project exploring Magic Realism in the works of Amitav Ghosh, Vikram Seth and Salman Rushdie. The Satanic Verses was not part of the proposed thesis.

Source:  hardnewsmedia

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