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June 10, 1999

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E-Mail this column to a friend Varsha Bhosle

The Great Indian Illusion Trick

Last week, one of India's greatest statesmen, Shri Laloo Prasad Yadav, finally broke his silence on Kargil: "I have been all along saying that Americans are trying to destabilise India. The time has come when we should teach a lesson to the USA and its henchmen." I never can tell when the dork's serious, but the point to ponder is: After the US intelligence failure at detecting the pre-nuclear-test movements in Pokhran, is it possible that the spooks all went back to sleep and didn't know of the activity near the LoC...? Doesn't America have the most sophisticated surveillance technology in the world? Is the area bordering three nuclear countries designated as low-risk?

Desis are absolutely gloating over the Draft Dodger's letter to Nawaz Sharief, and Madeline Albright's ordering Sharief to get the intruders out of Kargil, and Karl Inderfurth's summoning Ambassador Riaz Khokkar for a slamming... As always, we're happily out of touch with international realities. And how can we be aware of others' perceptions and orchestrations when we've never admitted to the actualities within our home? No matter how much pressure the US is seen to be exerting on Pak, I pray someone in Delhi is trying to crack America's game plan. But, India is a mystic land, one that thrives on illusions...

Talks and pacts with Pakistan aren't Toontown capers: Indians must open their eyes to the nature of Pakistanis -- not just its military and political establishment. Perhaps barring a per cent or two, all of them are obsessed with India, and they'll never forgive the dismemberment of 1971 as we did of 1947. Which is why Muhajirs are the untouchables of that country. Or why would that Paki scumbag's mail published by Rediff -- "Pakistan will gladly accept the bodies of the freedom fighters, not because they are local jawans or Taliban but because they are our Muslim brethren" -- fall flat on its ugly face when applied to Muslim settlers from India?

The secular glee club will of course call the scumbag an exception and not the rule. Fact is, he exemplifies the common Pakistani mindset. When it comes to the crunch, this is how he thought and will always think. Even Najam Sethi, who's suddenly being perceived as a liberal since after his incarceration by Sharief, is as hawkish about Kashmir as your everyday Paki general. And which is why Kuldip Nayar was forced to lambaste Pakistan's liberals for not showing up at Wagah to jointly celebrate the Golden Jubilee of the independence of the two countries (which tops my hilarity charts, BTW).

No other nation in the world would've got itself into a jam as we did. Simply because, unlike us, they never forget their history. Here, the scenario's been stood on its head by the progressive-democratic-forces, who not only feed us offensive distortions of our chronicles but also urge us to ignore what they couldn't warp. The first lesson Indians would do well to remember is: Pakistan is a nation founded on the hatred of Hindus. The Nehru-Liaqat Ali Pact, whereby the two governments guaranteed the security of their minorities and end of migrations, was a non-starter with Pakistan: Between April 9 and July 25, 1950, 1.3 million refugees poured into just West Bengal. Anil Nair is right when he writes, "[The BJP], more than anyone else, should have known that talks with Pakistan, more often than not... are more ritual than real." Atalji is paying the price for forgetting the Shyama Prasad Mukherjee basics.

The Pakistani obsession with India works on two overlapping levels -- political and religious. It's imperative that what's going on in Pakistan gets a thorough airing in India, so that people understand exactly what's at stake and blow through the smokescreen that secularists exude in trying to equate Hindu and Muslim majority cultures. They can't be equated. A case in point is, dharmayuddh has nil to do with religion. But, jihad is a pillar of Islam.

London's Daily Telegraph recently reported on the over 25,000 Pakistani madarsas which are breeding grounds for Taliban recruitment. The correspondent mentioned that one such school, "The House of the Koran", had no desks, few books and "the syllabus is 1,400 years old." The madarsas have provided myriad groups of Mujahideen "whose incursions into Indian Kashmir has provoked the conflict that has pushed India and Pakistan towards war." He quotes Abdul Shakoor, who founded one such school in 1985: "I'm not affiliated to them but I think the Taliban are doing a great job."

What kind of Muslims emerge from these Islamic schools? Reuters' Ovais Subhani dispatched a blood-curling piece from a training camp in Muzaffarabad, PoK: "Moslem militant Abu Haibat Khan says he had to prove he had infiltrated Indian-held Kashmir to wage holy war, so he cut off the head of his captive Indian soldier and brought it back. 'I prayed to Allah for victory... I beheaded him and brought back his head for the Pakistani officer. I heard later the head circulated among the Pakistani soldiers for a couple of days,' he said, with a smirk."

Subhani adds, "Khan is a member of Lashkar-e-Taiba, a militant Islamic group which draws recruits from religious schools or madrasas, much as Afghanistan's Taliban movement did." A 16-year-old says, "I pray to Allah in all my prayers to give me a martyr's death, but not before I have killed at least one Indian." The camp's amir says, "Jihad is part and parcel of Islamic teachings. Our brothers in Kashmir are in distress and that is where jihad becomes a duty for all Moslems."

Here's the crunch: The camp's inmates, all Afghan, Punjabi or Baluchi -- and no Kashmiris -- were worried that the Lahore process would jeopardise their operations "but are confident public pressure would stop the government taking action against them." Public pressure, eh? Let's see the liberals wriggle out of that one.

And how goes it in India? On Saturday, The Free Press Journal reported the possibility of the Kargil infiltration being guided and directed by Warangal-born Azam Ghouri. Before hoofing it to Pakistan to serve the demands of his religion via the Lashkar-e-Toiba, Ghouri fulfilled his service to society with the pinko People's War Group: 60 heinous crimes, including the bombing of a police station in Hyderabad. Even then, he was known to be in regular touch with Junaid, the arrested ISI agent for Hyderabad. Military Intelligence got a whiff of Ghouri's presence in Kargil when they intercepted a message from him to his Paki bosses.

On Sunday, 5 Pakistani spies, loaded with RDX and arms, were nabbed in Haji Pir, Kutch (the sixth is absconding). One of them is Chittorgarh-born Sharif Khan, an associate of Latif, the Ahmedabad don. Khan started off as Karim Lala's goon in Bombay, then shifted to Gujarat, where he developed contacts with the ISI before fleeing to Pakistan. He was back in India to augment the agony of Kargil.

The Intelligence Bureau has warned senior police officials of the southern states that some hardcore extremists had crossed the LoC before Operation Vijay ensued and were probably in UP or Andhra... So tell me, what makes a Telugu like Ghouri feel one with Afghans, Baluchis and Punjabis invading India? Which group is likely to give sanctuary to the untraceable ultras?

Go on: jump up and down with rage at the stereotyping of Indian Muslims as traitors! That's an excellent way to distort arguments, and it's a proven means to avoid answering uncomfortable questions. No, it's not my case that all Indian Muslims are renegades, so shove it. However, a massive lot that imbibes Islam in madarsas *has* been readied for treason. There's no other explanation, for I don't buy that "poverty" and "circumstances" hogwash. Also, don't give me crap about Islam being a peace-loving religion: It's a darn bellicose one; besides which, the version taught in madarsas has zero to do with sublimity.

The Pioneer wrote about Havaldar Salim Mohammad of 16 Grenadiers who was hit after completing over *18* months of posting in the god-awful Dras sector. He said, "the shrapnel entered my left hand, poisoning it. My palm also got fractured. I don't know what to write and tell my parents, wife and four children who are waiting for me to arrive home." Therefore, what "poverty" and "political genocide" leading to thuggery and terrorism...? Was the havaldar more privileged than Azam Ghouri and Dawood Ibrahim? Nope; simply, his parents taught him nationalism.

In March 1997, the Jamait-e-Islami's Syed Ali Shah Gilani exhorted Indian Muslims to join the jihad against India. Who gave him the platform to address Indians? Well, the caucus was organised by the Students Islamic Movement of India. Gilani raged that the ummah (community) was indifferent to the Kashmir jihad and warned that it would one day be answerable for the apathy. Journalist Sultan Shahin wrote, "As the professional Muslim leadership has maintained total silence, one may safely assume that it is at least in partial agreement with this appraisal... Professional Muslim leaders like Syed Shahabuddin say that Indian Muslims are victims of political genocide... [but Pakistan's] Muhajirs are not just faced with political genocide, they are facing genocide, just as the Bengalis in East Pakistan once did... Our religion is safe in India."

Yes, a Muslim wrote that. I'm aware of it. I know you are, too. But how aware are you of SIMI and Shahabuddin and madarsas? Did you know that J&K Education Minister Abdul Qayoom admitted in 1997, "It is true that 1,100 teachers who are basically Jamait-e-Islami activists were absorbed into the government service on court orders." Did you know that these "teachers" indoctrinated young minds in government schools till Governor Jagmohan ordered them closed? What "court orders" were these? Where were the Muslim intellectuals then? It's this head-in-the-sand attitude that's encouraged the Ghouris and Bashas to a point where they invade and set ablaze India.

The "progressives" have lost all credibility, and Hindutvawadis are shaitans, anyway. Therefore, it's up to the Muslim community itself to wage war against the madarsa culture: Personal Law Board's Maulana Sadiq rejects Vande Mataram with, "We love India, but we cannot worship her"; the Deeni Talimi Council, which controls 22,000 madarsas in UP, ditto... M J Akbar claims that Muslims are "ready to leave the politics of Jinnah for the education of Sir Syed Ahmed"; Zafar Jung indicates that "the wall of distrust and suspicion between Hindus and Muslims must be demolished" via dialogue... Nice thoughts, but what's next when there's not even the hint of a reflection over something being possibly amiss in the Muslim attitude?

It's not enough to heap all the blame and evils on politicians -- here or in Pakistan. We all know why the Bukharis and Shariefs do what they do. But what is the ummah doing to fight it? After Parwez Hafeez wrote, "Muslims need no lesson in patriotism from the BJP... today's Indian Muslims are the proud descendants of those who had refused to buy Jinnah's two nation theory," the entire throng of Haj-bound Believers refuted it by declaring they had nothing to do with the Indian elections... There was no reaction from Hafeez, or Shabana Azmi, or Asghar Ali Engineer...

On Tuesday, the Army said: "Reliable intelligence inputs have revealed that the armed intruders comprise mainly Pakistan Army regulars supported by a sprinkling of hired Mujahideen to give it a facade of jihad." Maybe there are more regulars than mercenaries. But "facade of a jihad"? Bugger all, more of the Great Indian Illusion Trick... Pakistan's assault on and terrorism in India involve Islam. Till we don't come to grips with that reality, Kargil will continue, in one form or another.

Varsha Bhosle

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