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Thursday, February 3, 2011

Walking on thin ice

THE TIMES OF INDIA
02 February 2011

Tarun Vijay

Even if Muslim Brotherhood’s upsurge in Cairo is an Islamist war cry and Hosni Mubarak remains Egypt’s last hope as a liberal, secular Muslim ruler, the message is welcome — the old must give way to the new.

A time comes in the life of every nation when the accumulated anger and frustration of the people makes them say “let’s choose a new path”. I love this spirit. The spirit of an angry Chanakya helping Chandragupta overthrow Nanda.

Muslim Brotherhood may prove to be a talibanizing force in Egypt. The radical group has been kept away from mainstream politics since the days of Nasser, who brought land reforms, nationalized the Suez canal and rose to become the undisputed leader of the Arab world.

There are fears that soon we may see the destruction of pyramids, mummies and the remaining symbols of Egypt’s pre-Islamic past, as was witnessed in Afghanistan. But Muslim Brotherhood representatives are taking care not to spread fanatic messages. Reassuring Coptic Christians, a note on the organization's website says: “Prophet Muhammad declared that Christians and Muslims the world over are his ‘citizens’ — one people albeit with different faiths. The attack on Christians and churches is condemned by Islam.” of course, they have warned the US not to lend support to another puppet regime and instead help the democratic movement. Commenting on an attack on Christians on New Year, in which 21 people were killed, Hesham writes on the MB website: “Suspicion falls upon Al Qaeda, which has attacked churches in the past, most recently in Iraq. I pray, those responsible are swiftly brought to justice and rot in jail for the rest of their lives. If this is indeed Al Qaeda, who proffer themselves as ‘holy warriors’, they have committed treason against Islam and the Prophet Muhammad in the vilest manner.”

We can only hope that this will not be the kind of phony rhetoric we used to hear from the butchers in Kashmir and the Taliban in Afghanistan. For Kashmir’s Yasin Maliks and Geelanis, using globally acceptable terminology becomes a tool to gain mass support. Once they are suitably placed, the real intolerant hands begin to act.

Do we have a lesson from Cairo for the rulers in Delhi? The nation has never experienced such a low before. Our students are humiliated and radio-tagged by an arrogant US, but the government fails to protect their honour and dignity. A deputy collector is burnt alive with the connivance of black-marketeers having strong political support. Chiefs of the forces, whom we used to revere as epitomes of bravery and patriotism with their pictures hung on school walls, appear before politicians to explain their conduct in corruption cases and the retired top brass is put in the question box for shady deals shaming Kargil martyrs. The judiciary is mired in questionable money-making charges and senior journalists turn lobbyists. The Supreme Court characterizes the black money of Indians stashed away in Swiss banks (several lakh crores) as “theft” and “plunder”, yet the government of the day chooses not to do anything about it. The Prime Minister is one who is not the real one, and the real one has no accountability to the people of the nation. The present regime is walking on ice thinner than what we see in Cairo.

Yes, hope was generated when we participated in a demonstration against corruption in New Delhi last week. Maybe something would be done by those who are apolitical and still enjoy some credibility in the hearts of the people. But it looked as if they were targeting someone from the Mars or Saturn for the crimes of corruption, and shielding the corrupt. The well-intentioned people who gathered and provided an engine to such a mass expression of angst and disapproval to corruption couldn’t make up their minds whom to put in the question box.

At least the Egyptians are not so vague and circumspect.

Unless the Indian movement rises against the unholy regime that has protected and nurtured the corrupt and is trying to foist on the nation a family rule actively supported by media houses with a blinkered vision, neither would its credibility percolate to the common rural folk, nor would it gain momentum. It could at best get into coffee table books.

The leader of any such uprising has to take a risk on his head, like JP, and call for the complete overthrow of the regime. The looters and the plunderers are in our neighbourhood. The same tribe that testified against Bhagat Singh and the revolutionaries of 1857. They rule like Hosni Mubarak, like Saddam, and award the yielders. Unmask them — ruthlessly. The political system that nourishes them is voted to power by us. Rip it apart and have a new system injected into the ruling mechanism, which is not colonial. A whitewash over the already crumbling walls won’t help. Blood in the veins that move the caravan of change has to be fresh.

The rest is all hogwash, including the fashionable admiration of the Cairo upsurge.

2 comments:

Charan said...

More people would have trusted the BJP if not for its penchant for divisive issues like Telangana.

Aditya Dogra said...

Fantastic Sir . You are always my inspiration in true writing.