April 30, 2006

No more fig leaf

And now they kill an engineer, a husband, a father of three. These guys claim some special connection to their religion? They must be called "religious fundamentalists"? Give me a break. In some circles, that phrase is almost respectable you know. The association with religion, the going back to the book. "Strict maintenance of ancient or fundamental doctrines" is one definition of "fundamentalism".

So tell me how beheading a 41-year-old man qualifies. Tell me how devastating a wife and kids is a fundamental doctrine.

No, let's call these fellows what they are: vandalising (remember Bamiyan) murderous thugs.

These are the guys who killed Daniel Pearl in Pakistan, Sanjoy Ghose in Assam, Ken Saro-Wiwa in Nigeria, Ehsan Jaffrey in Ahmedabad, Rupin Katyal on IC-814, Darshan Kaur's husband Ram Singh in Delhi, my friend Autar Kaw's father in Kashmir, go down the tragic list. Murderous thugs all. Nothing religious about any of them; and if religion is not involved, nothing that we should respect in their assorted causes or reasons or goals.

I find very little to attract me in religion anyway. At times like this, even less. Fundamentalists of any kind nauseate me. Yet even so, I think it's time to stop blaming this kind of thuggery on "religious fundamentalism." That only gives thugs a cloak, a fig leaf. (You persuade at least some credulous sorts if you claim to be "protecting the faith").

Thuggery is what thugs do, that's it, and that's how we must call it. No more fig leaf.


kuffir said...


Anonymous said...

Yeah, ur rite

Rahul Siddharthan said...

I hate to agree with the various rabid-right "anonymous" commenters but, in this case, "anonymous" is right. These people are religious fundamentalists. They believe that their religion tells them to do this.

Whether they are right or wrong in their interpretation of what tke Quran says is a matter of debate (according to us -- not according to them, which is what makes them fundamentalists).

If, indeed, what they do is not what Islam wants, it is up to Islamic religious leaders -- not you or me -- to say so.

Thuggery is what random street goons in big cities do. These people are much more organised. Calling it "thuggery" trivialises it.

Dewaker Basnet said...

completely agree with you. heart goes out to the family who lost a bread earner..more so with no fault of his..

kuffir said...

'2) You have no locus standi to comment in Hindu issues such as caste reform. Hindus are aware and working in this problem. Heck - Raja Ram Mohan Roy to Gandhiwere all major reformers of Hinduism were born Hindu and all advocated reform.'
what locus are you standing on? if you had included ramkrishna paramhamsa in your list of reformers you'd have understood that you'd start practising before you start preaching:who are the hindus working on the problem of caste? the bajrang dal or the vhp? the kanchi math or the dwarks peeth? is the tirumala devasthanam teaching dalit kids vedas in its veda pathshalas? have pravin togadia and singhal, at least,
dropped their caste-advertising surnames? has the shankaracharya of kanchi stopped fawning over his brahmin devotees over his low-caste ones? has he asked his brahmin followers to take off their janeus because he wants caste hierarchy to be abolished?has any sankaracharya at least issued the hindu-equivalent of a fatwa abolishing caste? many imams have issued fatwas condemning terrorist acts as unislamic, why can't hindu clerics do the same with regard to caste? who's monitoring and keeping in check the the two-glass system in tea shops all over the countryside?
caste is an issue everyone has a right and a duty to speak about because it affects all humanity..its excesses spill over the boundaries of religion. just as the hurt caused by terrorism does.

tanvi said...

Religion be it Islam or hinduism is a twisted ideology that can justify the worst kinds of crimes against humanity be it genocide, murder or war. The problem is people actually buy it and listen to a******* like Modi and talibanis and refuse to use god given reason. The scriptures are not to be trusted or followed blindly, there is nothing wrong with faith in God but please don't let others tell you that god wants killing everyone who do not follows your religion. Religious fundamentalism is a form of extremism preached not by those who want to do god's work but ho want to justify their actions as the work of god. But of course religion is a co-culprit because it gives them legitimacy. Muslims today are not to judged on what their centuries old texts say but how much of it they follow just as hindus or jews. Use your mind because religion is nothing but a set of prescribed rules impossible and inhuman to follow but capable of being used to justify all insanity.
The bottomline is to use your brains

Anonymous said...

correction to first sentence: a husband to two and a father of four.

Dilip D'Souza said...

Rahul, calling it "thuggery" trivializes it? For what it's worth, in the 19th Century thugs were this country's (and probably the British Empire's, and therefore likely the world's) most dreaded criminals. They were organized, efficient, brutal in their methods. That's where the word "thuggery" comes from (it's another matter that the phenomenon may have been inflated by British officials -- the dread was real). I meant no less in describing these guys that way.

The trivialization is when people pretend that the brutality in one religion's name is somehow worse than brutality in another religion's name.

And why should I not say what I think about Islam or any other religion? What happened to Ehsan Jaffrey in Ahmedabad had nothing to do with Hinduism, and I feel full confident saying so, without needing to wait for a Shankaracharya or some such to pronounce that much. In much the same way, the murder of this engineer had nothing to do with Islam, and we should collectively spit on the Taliban-type thugs if they claim otherwise.

It's what I meant -- strip them of their fig-leaf of religion.

Anonymous said...

Whoa Dilip.. wait a minute now. Weren't you the one who's been blaming incidents like Godhra and Babri on "Hindu Fundamentalists" till date?

Challo, dare se hi sahi, you have seen the light (so it seems; for now)

Rahul Siddharthan said...

What happened to Ehsan Jaffrey in Ahmedabad had nothing to do with Hinduism, and I feel full confident saying so, without needing to wait for a Shankaracharya or some such to pronounce that much.

I don't think Modi argued either that it had anything to do with Hinduism. It was anti-Muslimism. Nobody claimed that it was mandated by the Hindu religion. Whereas these particular Islamic fundamentalists claim that killing kafirs is mandated by their religion. That's the difference here.

The BJP, Shiv Sena and friends are pure evil, no argument there. Some things that they do, they do in the name of Hinduism. Some they do just for political reasons or to stoke up communal hatred -- in this category I place the Gujarat riots. And some -- like destroying invaluable manuscripts of great relevance to Hindu history in the Bhandarkar Oriental Research Institute -- they do for reasons known only to themselves and their twisted minds.

If you want a real parallel, Hinduism (or some versions/practices of it) mandated that widows should jump in their husbands' funeral pyres, or should shave their heads and wear white and eat and live separately from everyone else, etc. These are genuine evils that Hindu society has been trying to overturn (it helps that there is no single religious book that claims to be God's final word).
Nonetheless, even today a youth in MP can cut off the hands of a social worker who opposes child marriage. This happened nearly a year ago. Outrage for a day or two, then we all forget about it. And I don't hear today's Hindu leaders talking about such things either.

Anonymous said...

Hey Dilip, good to see you keeping the dialogue going. This is Autar Kaw himself commenting on your blog. I wish no stereotyping but with networks just found in Canada and UK who want to do major harm to innocent civilians, I do not know what more to say.

If going and ramming a car into the parliament is not good enough, if innocent visitors getting bombed to see the paradise of the world is not hell on earth, and if such actions do not show that securalism in India has gone amuk, then we have taken the usual passive approach that has served India well in staying corrupt while chanting hymns in the mandir.

Dilip D'Souza said...

A delight and an honour to have you on this page, Autar. I do believe with you that secularism in India has gone astray, and I "like" your last line about the usual passive approach.

Something has to change. Some of us are trying some ideas, I don't know where it will lead. We should chat. Will you be at the 25th in Oct? Can you send me a note at ddd AT rediff DOT co DOT in?

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