Film and theatre actor Naseeruddin Shah recently released a video where he rued the fact that many Indian Muslims were celebrating the Afghan occupation of the Taliban. He said in the video this was not the Indian Muslim he knew. According to him, Islam in India has always been inclusive, staying clear of Taliban-like ‘extreme’ interpretation of their faith. While that is a historic as well as historical lie on multiple counts, dealing with just the Taliban aspect of it is enough to expose the Shah of the makebelieve world of Hindu intolerance and Muslim multiculturalism. The celebrities propagating the dual myths must be told that Islam, as propagated by the seminary of Deoband in India, is the most popular form of theological pedagogy in the Pashtun belt along the Durand Line that makes the Afghanistan-Pakistan border. Several Afghan and Pakistani Taliban leaders have learnt their Islam from India in seminaries of Deoband.
In fact, the Taliban is not alone; several terrorist organisations have been indoctrinated by India’s Deoband. If Lashkar-e-Jhangvi, Tehrik-i-Taliban Pakistan, Sipah-e-Sahaba Pakistan and Hefazat-e-Islam Bangladesh range from extremism to terrorism, Jamiat Ulema-e-Hind, Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam, Tablighi Jamaat, All India Muslim Personal Law Board, Islamic Fiqh Academy of India do the brainwashing that ultimately produces terrorists. The actor who faked patriotism, essaying roles of characters whose hearts bled for India, the Shah of parallel cinema who went on to act in kitschy films of a frivolous Bollywood since the 1990s, is not expected to know or share such details. In A Wednesday, he tricks a bunch of Indian Muslim terrorists into blowing themselves up with a bomb. In the real world, Shah keeps dropping bombs of subterfuge, the previous one being a video made under the aegis of leftist human rights organisation Amnesty International in 2019. As Shah spoke in that video posted more than two years ago, Amnesty played slides of ideologues of Maoist terrorists in the backdrop, who had been detained by the police for their anti-India activities and were being tried in different courts of the country.
This writer had commented on, among other things, “the choice of a language that 99% of Hindus wouldn’t understand and 60-70% of Muslims would just pretend to understand while wanting to believe he spoke ‘their’ language”.
Listen to this and you will get a hang of how the monologue ended up being a representative voice of Muslims alone:
The Taliban, “students” (of Islam) lexically, while being an Islamic fundamentalist political and militant movement in Afghanistan, might not have spawned to be what it is today if the inception of the fanatic idea had not happened in India. During the reign of its Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan between September 1996 and December 2001, the strict interpretation of the Shari’ah the terrorists enforced was learnt from this country. And it was never unrequited love from one side. The Darul Uloom Deoband in India reciprocated in equal measure, consistently endorsing the Taliban in Afghanistan, including their 2001 destruction of the Bamiyan Buddhas. Influenced by Deobandi fundamentalism and the Pashtun tribal code called Pashtunwali, the Taliban ‘legislated’ the barbaric rules that continue to send shivers down the collective spine of humanity. Especially when the world considers the Taliban’s cruel, uncivilised — but wholly Islamic — treatment of women.
Outside India and Afghanistan, Tehrik-i-Taliban Pakistan or the Pakistani Taliban is an umbrella organisation of different Islamist terrorist groups based in the northwestern Federally Administered Tribal Areas along the Afghan border. This association was formed in December 2007 when 13 groups united under the leadership of Baitullah Mehsud to establish the TTP. Among the Tehrik-i-Taliban Pakistan’s stated objectives are enforcement of the Deoband interpretation of the Shari’ah and a plan to unite against NATO-led forces in Afghanistan (troops that are now gone).
The technicality that the TTP is not directly affiliated with the Afghan Taliban movement led by Mullah Omar is not important, as they both share primarily Deoband’s interpretation of Islam. That’s not all.
Sipah-e-Sahaba Pakistan, a banned Pakistani terrorist organisation that was formerly a registered political party in Pakistan, established in the early 1980s in Jhang by terrorist Haq Nawaz Jhangvi, has a stated goal to deter any Shi’ah influence in Pakistan in the wake of the Iranian Revolution, which is again a goal India’s Deoband gave them to attain.
After then-Pakistan President Pervez Musharraf banned the SSP in 2002 as a terrorist group under the Anti-Terrorism Act of 1997, Maulana Masood Azhar ― who was once an inmate of an Indian jail but released by India in exchange of hostages during the Kandahar hijacking of Indian Airlines flight IC-814 ― the founder of Jaish-e-Mohammed, said, “Sipah-e-Sahaba stands shoulder to shoulder with Jaish-e-Muhammad in jihad.” A leaked US diplomatic cable described JeM as “another SSP breakaway Deobandi organisation”.
While I have called Bollywood frivolous, the communist-jihadi cabal in the entertainment industry is reasonably well informed, as is evident from the films directed by the likes of Shyam Benagal, Govind Nihalani, Sai Paranjpye, Saeed Mirza, Kundan Shah and their arthouse peers, which Naseeruddin Shah was a part of in the 1980s. My ideological differences with these film personalities apart, they cannot be dismissed as uneducated. It is unlikely, therefore, that Shah is unaware of how Indian Muslims, whose ‘unique culture of assimilation’ he waxed eloquent about in this week’s video, contributed to terrorism in south Asia as well as in faraway lands.
Away from the subcontinent, about 600 of the UK’s nearly 1,500 mosques are run directly or indirectly by “a hardline sect”, the leading preacher of which loathed values the West holds dear. They appeal to all Muslims to “shed blood” for Allah and preach contempt for Jews, Christians and Hindus, British journalist Andrew Norfolk said in a 2007 report published in The Times. The investigative report said further that 17 of the country’s 26 Islamic seminaries abided by the fundamentalist teachings of Deoband which, The Times established with evidence, had created the Taliban. According to the famous woke magazine of the US, Indian Islam-inspired hardline seminaries trained about 80% of all domestically trained ulema — body of Muslim scholars who are recognised as having specialist knowledge of Islamic sacred law and theology.
What Shah deliberately misses in his demagoguery is the undeniable fact that, national boundaries notwithstanding, Muslims are or Islam is one nation. Hell, even an avowed or posturing atheist like lyricist and storyteller Javed Akhtar, who is detested by the ummah, is on the same side of the political divide as is Aamir Khan who hobnobs with a Pakistani cleric of Tablighi Jamaat — and says his (now ex-) wife is scared of ‘Hindu intolerance’ — or Shah Rukh Khan who never misses an opportunity to say he believes in Allah since the time Dawood Ibrahim’s gang had allegedly threatened him of eliminating his family. Even a Ganesh Chaturthi-observing Salman Khan (whom the Islamic community must excommunicate for shirk) looks up to followers of his father Salim Khan’s religion for support every time he is in some legal trouble, which he is quite often. There is perhaps no bigger proof that Shah is misleading people than the existence of Pakistan and Bangladesh (formerly East Pakistan). Imagine, today’s Bangladesh comprises Muslims who used to, once upon a time, customarily contribute to some preparations of Durga Puja! If these former Indian Muslims were such champions of plurality, or their show of accepting Hindus was not fake, why could they not live with the oldest community of India?
The Qur’an that Muslims of all denominations swear by says, “You [Muslims] are the best nation brought out for mankind, commanding what is ma’rūf (righteous).” The differences in fiqh (Islamic jurisprudence) of Sunnis like Hanafi, Maliki, Shafi’i, Hanbali, Zahiri, Jariri or those of Shi’ahs like Jafari, Ismaili, Zaidi, etc do not matter when it comes to taking a political position. They may kill one another within the boundaries of an Islamic country but when in a land dominated by Hindus or Christians, they will gang up as one formidable political force to destabilise or oust the occupants of seats of power. The tolerant Indian Muslim is not actually a figment of Naseer’s imagination. Shah has, on purpose, lied.