January 08, 2013

Owaisi, Thackeray and 25 crore

Speaking at Nirmal in Andhra Pradesh on December 24 2012, Akbaruddin Owaisi said this:
If the police are removed for just 15 minutes, 25 crore Muslims in the country will show they are mightier than 100 crore Hindus.

The mention of 25 crore (completely wrong, but never mind) rang a bell. Because on December 9 1992 -- twenty years earlier -- Bal Thackeray of the Shiv Sena used that same number. In an editorial in his party mouthpiece Saamna, he wrote:

Pakistan need not cross the borders and attack India. 25 crore Muslims in India will stage an armed insurrection. They form one of Pakistan's seven atomic bombs.
(Note that if 25 crore was wrong in 2012, it was a hell of a lot wronger in 1992, but never mind that as well).
Note the (completely justified) uproar over Owaisi's statement. Note how Thackeray was eulogized after his death.

And if you have any idea, please let me know which of those two statements, if any, should be treated as more offensive and why.

***

Postscript: For those who like to quibble, here's another Thackeray statement from twenty years ago yesterday. Just in case you don't remember -- or have chosen to forget -- both these were from the time of the carnage in Bombay, December 1992 and January 1993, that left some 1000 Indians dead.

In another editorial in Saamna (January 8 1993), Bal Thackeray wrote:

Muslims of Bhendi Bazar, Null Bazar, Dongri and Pydhonie, the areas we call Mini Pakistan ... must be shot on the spot.

Owaisi has been arrested, and faces charges of (among other things) sedition. What do you think happened to Thackeray? What do you think should have happened to Thackeray?


35 comments:

whats in name said...

If you had selected any other speech of Bal Thackerey among many, you could have justified the comparison..but despite having a good thought, the example shows no comparison b/w the two. Owaisi was talking all hatred amongst people of same country and shown the Indian Muslims in bad light (willing to kill Hindus),while Thackerey,was challenging Pakistan an enemy nation not to cross border (in the hope that Indian Muslim will support it)else Indian Muslims will teach them a lesson-Outright Patriot and also telling the patriotism of Indian Muslims.

Armchair Guy said...

You can't be serious.

Actually, I think you are serious -- but you should re-examine your position.

A Muslim politician delivers a speech exhorting Muslims to finish off all Hindus, a large Muslim mob roars its approval of those sentiments. Your reaction is to dig up a decade old quote from a dead Hindu politician and scream at him.

Regardless of your general position on Hindus, Hinduism, and Hindutva, this reaction makes no sense.

Chandru K said...

Why does the speech of some Hindu figure have to be brought up every time some Moslem fanatic incites hatred and violence. The two are surely not linked. Owaisi is part of that Razakar Islamic mentality, that feels Hyderabad should not have been in India in the first place! Thackeray was just something of a Marathi chauvinist-provincialist.

Anonymous said...

Oh D'Souza,
when you will graduate from kindergarten?

Judging _solely_ on the basis of the words you have highlighted, Thackeray is not exhorting Hindus to kill the muslims, but that he is doubtful muslim loyalty to India. Hardly inciting violence.

Owaisi is directly exhorting the muslims to kill hindus.

But we always knew reading comprehension wasn't one of your strong points. Not sure 'rithmetic is either, judging by your yawn-inducing column in Mint.

Thackeray may have engaged in a shyte-load of hate speech, but your example is clearly off the mark by astronomical units.

Anonymous said...

great eulogy , sanghis seem to have lost there bite, Thackeray with hundred times more harmful acts never punished

roadrunner said...

By not arresting Thackeray and the likes of Togadia earlier,we have proved that law is not equal in our country.

Anonymous said...

D'Souis,
I understand your frustration. I think Owaisi should not have been jailed. 'Jaao ja kar pehle uska sign le kar aao... blah blah blah'.. and only then they should have 'talked' with Owaisi.
P.S.: Instead of running to and fro, if you keep running only 15 kms everyday in same direction, it would be good for the country

Dilip D'Souza said...

Ah, the fearless defenders of Thackeray who are frightened of their names! Welcome, friends!

First of all, I've offered you an update with another Thackeray excerpt. Please do read it.

"whats in name": Thackeray was explicitly saying ALL Indian Muslims are traitors. There is a law (Sec 153) that says doing this is a crime.

"Armchair Guy": to begin with, 20 years is two decades, but never mind that. Apart from the update in which Thackeray says Muslims must be shot, please do let me know what you think the intended effect is, during the worst riots Bombay has seen, of calling all Indian Muslims traitors.

"Chandru K": All hate-mongerers are a threat to this country, whether they profess Islam or Hinduism

"Anonymous": let me repeat. Apart from the update in which Thackeray says Muslims must be shot, please do let me know what you think the intended effect is, during the worst riots Bombay has seen, of calling all Indian Muslims traitors.

The sum total of the first 4 comments here: it's actionable hate speech if it comes from Owaisi. It's harmless rhetoric if it comes from Thackeray.

Nice.

Sufi said...

Both should be condemned in same voice. but Analysis of charges should be done based on the Post speech consequences.
There you have a clear Winner among two.
& those who justify any of the hate mongers should be made a pariah.

PS-: I have heard you speak at Manthan,Hyderabad.And I was amazed how you handled the fierce questions posed at you.So no ill will there.

Armchair Guy said...

Dilip:

I'm not sure what you're arguing for or against here. I think you aren't either.

Your original post had nothing to do with Thackeray's statements advising action against Muslims. Your conclusion didn't follow from your premises. This was actually fairly obvious upon even a cursory read. The first and fourth comments by "whats in a name" and "Anonymous" (though the latter was written in an offensive tone) were spot-on content wise. Now you've changed the question by adding your Postscript, and you're pretending it's the same question.

Next, you say: "The sum total of the first 4 comments here: it's actionable hate speech if it comes from Owaisi. It's harmless rhetoric if it comes from Thackeray." Your reaction is very Dubya: "if you disagree with me, you must be a supporter of Thackeray". Read again. None of the first four comments said anything defending Thackeray. The first comment (by "whats in a name") explicitly stated that other speeches of Bal Thackeray's could have been interpreted as you intended. Hardly pro-Thackeray. My comment and Chandru's didn't state any opinion about Thackeray at all. The point being made in my comment and Chandru's is that the effect of Owaisi's speech on you is quite odd: it goads you to find a Hindu politician to criticize.

"20 years is two decades" You sure got me there.

" please do let me know what you think the intended effect is, during the worst riots Bombay has seen, of calling all Indian Muslims traitors." You're missing the point. Usually, if Mr. X does something wrong, people condemn Mr. X. It's a question of proximity. If, instead, they point at Mr. Y and say Mr. Y did something similar and so should be condemned, that statement could be correct but it reveals that you have an agenda -- that your reporting has less to do with what's going on and more to do with the fact you want to condemn Mr. Y. Though you make an offhand remark about Owaisi's speech being bad, it's clear that condemning him is not interesting to you, and that condemning Thackeray is.

I don't really think there's any point explaining all this -- I think you know it already. You're just trying to shift focus to the people you are interested in condemning.

Anonymous said...

Why is it necessary to bring up the behaviour of some non-Moslem figure, when a Moslem rants and raves like a maniac? It's this mentality of always trying to balance things, in order to be seen as 'fair' or 'objective'. It's not called for. We can condemn Owaisi unreservedly, without mentioning Thackeray.

Anonymous said...

Cannot justify one wrong, saying some one else did it.
If some one has committed a crime (hateful speech - dont know if it qualifies) then should be charged irrespective.

No justification, saying some one else got away.

Dilip D'Souza said...

Armchair Guy: The first question to ask is, since you mention it, what do you think my "conclusion" was in my original post? Please be specific.

I very deliberately put in only that first quote to start this off, because I knew there'd be guys who'd turn up to say of course it is different from Owaisi's stuff. And as soon as they did that, I planned to offer them that second quote. I've used both these quotes (and two more, out of several more) in various places, for example here (May 1997).

I find both Thackeray's and Owaisi's comments profoundly offensive. I want Owaisi to face the law. He has -- he's been arrested and charged. I would have liked to see Thackeray face the law. He never was. Instead, he was made a national hero on his death.

Only a Thackeray fan would pretend that saying that means that "condemning Owaisi is not interesting to you" (whatever that means).

Dilip D'Souza said...

Thank you, Sufi.

It beats me how anyone reads this post and suggest that it "justifies" Owaisi. It beats me, until I remember that these guys who talk about "justification" must be Thackeray fans, and to them any criticism of Thackeray must amount, of course, to "justification" of other maniacs.

Anonymous said...

So the point of this post was to 'bring out' Thakeray's supporters using Owaisi as a tool?
I am glad that you are not in any position of power... shudder to think what kind of atrocities you would have brought.

Dilip D'Souza said...

"Bring out"? The only person who has used that phrase on this page is you. So please shudder at your own intentions.

The point of this post was to ask why we are so reluctant to act against some people who spread hatred, yet so swift to act -- as we indeed should -- against some other people who spread hatred.

I am yet to see one Thackeray fan here give me an answer to that question. Not that I'm surprised.

Radhika Misra said...

The entire owaisi jhanjat reminded me of thackrey. If the law punishes and society repremands the first time someone does this, irrespective of who they are, it serves as a deterrent.

Of course, both are offensive. The followers of both luminaries will rationalise their leader's words. I just think the country loses.

Anonymous said...

"The point of this post was to ask why we are so reluctant to act against some people who spread hatred, yet so swift to act -- as we indeed should -- against some other people who spread hatred."

Umm... simply because humans react to current instances first?
I did react to Thakeray's speech back in 1992 and 1993, but since we didnt had internet then, it will be tough to find. I can mail you a scanned copy from my 'diary' though?

Armchair Guy said...

Armchair Guy: The first question to ask is, since you mention it, what do you think my "conclusion" was in my original post? Please be specific.

Er, that those snippets somehow convey the same sentiment.

I very deliberately put in only that first quote to start this off, because I knew there'd be guys who'd turn up to say of course it is different from Owaisi's stuff. And as soon as they did that, I planned to offer them that second quote. I've used both these quotes (and two more, out of several more) in various places, for example here (May 1997).

First you change your question. Then you come up with this implausible explanation for your original post. Even if true, what's the point of the elaborate scheme? All it did was make clear it is you who has a biased worldview, not the commenters you've so very cleverly drawn out.

I find both Thackeray's and Owaisi's comments profoundly offensive. I want Owaisi to face the law. He has -- he's been arrested and charged. I would have liked to see Thackeray face the law. He never was. Instead, he was made a national hero on his death.

And maybe Owaisi will be, too. Right now, it's Owaisi who is making statements, and it's Owaisi whom we should focus on. No sense in trying to shift focus away from Owaisi to your favorite punching bag.

Only a Thackeray fan would pretend that saying that means that "condemning Owaisi is not interesting to you" (whatever that means).

Your logic is flawed. I consider Thackeray a thug. What this statement shows is the paranoia of your worldview. Your universe is filled with Hindu fundamentalists ready to jump to the "defense" of your favourite Hindu punching bags. If someone disagrees with you, you're eager to label them Hindu fundamentalists (or "fans" thereof).

Anonymous said...

Armchair Guy,
what you see on display are typical D'Souza Debating ploys, oh I could write a book!

Let's assume for a second, Thackeray had been the one to be arrested. Instead of pointing at a muslim fundamentalist who should also be arrested but isn't (and there are plenty of those), D'Souza would instead bring out the big guns and start asking 'Us Indians' to question why we don't condemn Thackeray's hate speech, and if you tried to make the conversation more objective and raise the issue of a muslim fundamentalist, you would be admonished with the same sentence we're using on him - why must every act of violence by a Hindu have to be countered with one by a Muslim.

Furthermore, just like Hindutva supporters, D'Souza is not interested in having a real debated, he's more about verbal masturbation than anything concrete. Therefore, he is attempting to get you to foam at the mouth by calling all of us 'Bal Thakre' fans. This bit of misdirection is supposed to get us all seeing red defending our 'secular' credentials. Now the problem that arises is that in doing so, we may not necessarily agree with D'Souza that all Hindus are evil, and may even point out mistakes on the other side. D'Souza will then pick apart each instance that you mention, and then obfuscate and misdirect some more until you are no longer debating the real issue. If you try to bring the conversation back to the same issue, D'Souza will ignore the latest salvo, and attack some other minor point.

So don't waste your time.

Anonymous said...

Well, probably dilip doesn't want to say it, but he wants to 'bring out' the Hindu hypocrisy at work in most comments. Was praveen togadia made to face court when he made those wonderful remarks about hanuman, and the tail, and the Lanka being in naroda patiya? Let me say it loud for the guy on the armchair... This is not deflection, this is bringing out hypocrisy to avoid the hatred that discrimination brings. Most Muslims believe it is bias at work in punishing only owaisi. They should be told, that owaisi is wrong and many people don't support the bias.

ramble said...

birds of the same feather!

Gurpreet Singh said...

Hi Dilip,

Great assertions and apt comparison. Unfortunately, the internet these days is choked with the neo-right-wing nut jobs. All the Modi-worshipping has gotten to their heads and their is no place left for reasoning and logic.

The very simple assertion here is that whoever wishes ill towards a fellow human being (irrespective of the religion either of them belong to) is wrong. Now, you may assign names, faces, and religion etc. to these individuals but the basic fact remains the same: ALL HATE IS BAD. Why is it so difficult for people to understand that?

Dilip D'Souza said...

Right now, it's Owaisi who is making statements, and it's Owaisi whom we should focus on.

Certainly. And you said the same thing, with "Thackeray" substituted for "Owaisi", back in 1992, right? No really, you did, right?

Let's assume for a second, Thackeray had been the one to be arrested.

Fine assumption to make, considering he never was arrested. Fine edifice of "reasoning" to build on that, too. I could ask you to point out one instance supporting it, but you know as well as I do that that's a futile thing to ask you.

Thank you, Anon (1203am), ramble and Gurpreet.

Anonymous said...

Hey, even Imam bukhari was never arrested?

Rohit Parmar said...

@Anonymous (Jan11 246pm): "you would be admonished with the same sentence we're using on him"

Ha ha! This is funny!! This guy is complaining that the same retoric he IS using now MIGHT HYPOTHETHICALLY be used against him!!

Where do these chingaris spring from, I wonder! You *should* write a book. It would be facsinating.

Whatever you think D'Souza's faults, he has never claimed (or implied) that "all Hindus are evil". At least have the honesty to attack/debate what he really says, not the lies that you find convienient to try to stick on him.

Dilip D'Souza said...

Hello and thanks, Rohit.

Armchair Guy, I overlooked this: None of the first four comments said anything defending Thackeray.

Really? Thackeray says all Indian Muslims "will stage an armed insurrection" and "form one of Pakistan's seven atomic bombs", and the first commenter says this actually means Thackeray was "telling the patriotism of Indian Muslims" -- and this perversion is not a defence of Thackeray?

Mysterious are the ways of some folks.

Anonymous said...

Again, why must a denunciation of a Moslem figure be counterbalanced by an equal excoriation of a Hindu one? To show equality and secularism? But that's a poor reflection of the atmosphere in India, and an indictment, indirectly, of Moslems or a large number of them, that they need such counterbalancing in these cases.

Dilip D'Souza said...

counterbalanced by an equal excoriation.

Owaisi is in custody and charged and will face trial.

Thackeray was never charged, never tried, never taken into custody. On his death, he was given a state funeral.

Apparently these two, juxtaposed, amount to "counterbalancing" and "equal excoriation".

Like I said earlier, mysterious are the ways of some folks.

Anonymous said...

Let's also remember that Owaisi can freely abuse Hindus and Hinduism, because the atmosphere in India allows it. Can you picture a Hindu in a Moslem majority country denouncing Moslems and Islam, even in milder way? He would already be dead.

Anonymous said...

Furthermore, why does a Moslem figure's rant, have to be counterbalanced by a Hindu figure's rant? Why not contrast the treatment of Owaisi, to that of a Christian, Sikh, Buddhist, Parsee, Jain, Jew, Atheist, Agnostic, or another Moslem?

Unless one is categorically stating that any rant by a Hindu leader, must be expected to be countered by an equivalent rant by a Moslem one? Why?

Armchair Guy said...

Certainly. And you said the same thing, with "Thackeray" substituted for "Owaisi", back in 1992, right? No really, you did, right?

Nope. But then I didn't try deflect to someone else either. And anyway, I didn't make any comment about Owaisi in 2013 until I saw this silly post. Did you make a comment about every single hate speech through history? Do you point fingers at someone else every time (or hey, even ONE time) a Hindu fundie makes a nasty speech? Didn't think so.

But trying to shift focus away from Owaisi and towards Thackeray at this time is silly.

Really? Thackeray says all Indian Muslims "will stage an armed insurrection" and "form one of Pakistan's seven atomic bombs", and the first commenter says this actually means Thackeray was "telling the patriotism of Indian Muslims" -- and this perversion is not a defence of Thackeray?

You're trying really hard to ignore this part of that same comment: "If you had selected any other speech of Bal Thackerey among many, you could have justified the comparison".

Mysterious are the ways of some folks.

Ha! Owaisi makes a nasty speech and this makes you want to critique Thackeray. Mysterious indeed.

Suraj said...

This Armchair guy is sounding very much more and more like much-missed Sapathan and Chick Pub. (And any other names I have forgotten). Thanks, DSouza, for bringing him back.

Anonymous said...

Dear Armchair Guy,

Told you so.

Rajdeep said...

"whats in name": Thackeray was explicitly saying ALL Indian Muslims are traitors. There is a law (Sec 153) that says doing this is a crime.
http://www.tempsens.com/rtds.html