Veteran journalist, columnist and author of “Being the Other: The Muslim in India” Saeed Naqvi talks about ‘Being other’, Muslims as a cultural entity, Asaduddin Owaisi, and Ganga-Jamuni Tehzeeb in a conversation with Fasiullah SM in Hyderabad.
Below is a brief transcript of the conversation.
The feeling is a retrospective effect. I felt that all of us were fooled. We have come this far. My lovely grand parents said never call Jawaharlal, instead call Panditji. Were they all fools? Didn’t they know? The Pandit was like a virtuous young man who played piano in a brothel and did not know what’s going on upstairs. Is that what it is?
Now, these questions became very pertinent when my friend Rajiv Gandhi started talking about Ram Raj, got Shelanyas done, then Babri Masjid was demolished as Prime Minister PV Narsimharao did not intervene. Later came Sachar Committee report, showing that the conditions of Muslims have degraded to a level below Dalits in the last 60 years.
Dalits haven’t gone to that level. But Muslims have. Why it happened?
I have no problem. I studied in a good school. I have good Hindu friends. I never experienced communalism. Then why is the problem? The problem is when my childhood friend asked me: “Buddy write an article from the Muslim perspective.” I asked them, “Have I become Muslim for you as well?” From that point I started thinking (on that subject).
Vinod Mehta was my school friend. There was no difference. Then he surprisingly asked me once to write from Muslim point of view. What’s this Muslim point of view? This was imposed upon us. Sriram asked me: ‘Naqvi saab, why everyone does not become like you?’. I said there cannot be more dangerous question than this. Because by conferring your approval of me, you are buying the rights to dislike the other.
By conferring of your approval of me as a Muslim, you are buying the rights to dislike the other, to hate the other. The idea is to remove hatred from the bargain.
Muslim as Cultural Entity
Our young people have fallen into the trap of politicians. Gandhiji never identified Muslims as a cultural entity. Muslim were Ghalib, Mir Taqi Mir, Maqdoom Mohiuddin, Quli Qutb Shah, Wali Dakkani, and many like them. But you get hold of Imam Bukhari of Jama Masjid, and identify us with him. Why? Why you want to identify us with Mahmood Madani of Deoband?
Because you want to treat me only as a religious identity. You don’t want me to stand up. You don’t want me to talk to you as cultured human being.
And your Mullah, he has confined us. He bargains with them. They speak with him for your votes. He wears typical attire and skullcap. For that matter, even Jews wear skullcap and sports ringlets. Let them do. But you do not try to be unique, if you want to remain together. Try to be as close to them as possible. Until recently you never attempted to be unique. They use to emulate you. Now you try to be unique. Because some people have gone to Dubai for job? Because West pressed you, you are making your identity? Be cautious! Mingle with them.
All of them are not bad. Politicians are bad. They are not bad, politics is.
These organizations (that are making Muslims eat cow-dung, etc.) are indecent people. Indian Hindus are not indecent.
Asaduddin is a very good speaker. He cites the Constitution. He says nothing that I have any objection to. But they do not like Asaduddin Owaisi because he speaks to them. They don’t like a vertical Muslim. They don’t like his intellect. They also do not like Shahabuddin (IFS) in Bihar. They like Muslim who keep silent and remain in their dwellings. The moment you want to stare in their eyes, they don’t like.
It’s not Hindustanis who don’t like it. The people in the establishment don’t like it.
The composite culture of Hindu-Muslim has come to Hyderabad from there (Awadh). Nizam’s bureaucracy came from Awadh. Jung, Bilgrami and likes came from there. But the rule here was of Nizam. Here Vittal sings Ghazals, and many Hindus are poets.
The way people were killed here (Hyderabad) indicate what was in your heart. You killed 40,000 people, according to the Pundit Sunderlal report. And kept the report under wraps. No one talks about it. That’s the regret.
Note: For clear understanding of the topics being discussed, you are recommended to watch the full conversation below.