Pt. Jawaharlal Nehru’s Tryst With Destiny Speech (English)

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How Sunil Dutt’s uncle and Inzamam-ul-Haq’s family were saved during Partition violence

During the dark years of Nazi rule in Germany, there were Germans who overcame their fears of the Schutzstaffel, or SS – a paramilitary organisation under Adolf Hitler and his Nazi Party – and Gestapo, the state secret police, to save many Jews from certain death.

Theirs was a show of human solidarity against a rabid ideology that sought to inculcate in the Germans hatred against the Jews.

This is best symbolised in popular imagination by Oskar Schindler, a German businessman who saved more than a 1,000 Polish Jews. His life was fictionalised by Australian novelist Thomas Keneally in Schindler’s Ark, which, in 1993, was turned into a film – Schindler’s List – by Steven Spielberg.

The film turned Schindler into a global epitome of humanism that is forever under stress from the brutality of the bad.

Two years after World War II ended in Europe in May 1945 – and the Jews whom Schindler had protected were set free – India too was caught in a swirl of hatred even as it gained independence from British rule.

Sixty-nine years ago, the chimes of freedom seemed more a death knell to lakhs who perished in the veritable ethnic cleansing undertaken in east and west Punjab as India was partitioned and Pakistan was born. The brute in us stalked the country with death and devastation.

Yet, as was true of Nazi Germany, there were also people in India and Pakistan whom the virus of communal hatred did not infect. Not only did they refuse to join the murderous mobs, some took enormous risks to save people of other religious communities. They were India and Pakistan’s Schindlers – but largely unknown, mostly unsung and barely finding a mention in the footnotes of our history. Continue reading

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We must look to the past, not Isis, for the true meaning of Islam – Robert Fisk

Emir Abdelkader was a Muslim, Sufi, sheikh, humanist, protector of his people against Western barbarism, protector of Christians against Muslim barbarism, so noble that Abe Lincoln sent him a pair of Colt pistols

After the Manchester massacre… yes, and after Nice and Paris, Mosul and Abu Ghraib and 7/7 and the Haditha massacre – remember those 28 civilians, including children, killed by US Marines, four more than Manchester but no minute’s silence for them? And of course
Counterbalancing cruelty is no response, of course. Just a reminder. As long as we bomb the Middle East instead of seeking justice there, we too will be attacked. But what we must concentrate upon, according to the monstrous Trump, is terror, terror, terror, terror, terror. And fear. And security. Which we will not have while we are promoting death in the Muslim world and selling weapons to its dictators. Believe in “terror” and Isis wins. Believe in justice and Isis is defeated.
So I suspect it’s time to raise the ghost of a man known as the Emir Abdelkader – Muslim, Sufi, sheikh, ferocious warrior, humanist, mystic, protector of his people against Western barbarism, protector of Christians against Muslim barbarism, so brave that the Algerian state insisted his bones were brought home from his beloved Damascus, so noble that Abe Lincoln sent him a pair of Colt pistols and the French gave him the Grand Cross of the Legion of Honour. He loved education, he admired the Greek philosophers, he forbade his fighters to destroy books, he worshipped a religion which believed – so he thought – in human rights. But hands up all readers who know the name of Abdelkader.[more]

We should think of him now more than ever. He was not a “moderate” because he fought back savagely against the French occupation of his land. He was not an extremist because, in his imprisonment at the Chateau d’Amboise, he talked of Christians and Muslims as brothers. He was supported by Victor Hugo and Lord Londonderry and earned the respect of Louis-Napoleon Bonaparte (later Napoleon III) and the French state paid him a pension of 100,000 francs. He deserved it.

When the French invaded Algeria, Abdelkader Ibn Muhiedin al-Juzairi (Abdelkader, son of Muhiedin, the Algerian,1808-1883, for those who like obituaries) embarked on a successful guerrilla war against one of the best equipped armies in the Western world – and won. He set up his own state in western Algeria – Muslim but employing Christian and Jewish advisors – and created separate departments (defence, education, etc), which stretched as far as the Moroccan border. It even had its own currency, the “muhamediya”. He made peace with the French – a truce which the French broke by invading his lands yet again. Abdelkader demanded a priest to minister for his French prisoners, even giving them back their freedom when he had no food for them. The French sacked the Algerian towns they captured, a hundred Hadithas to suppress Abdelkader’s resistance. When at last he was defeated, he surrendered in honour – handing over his horse as a warrior – on the promise of exile in Alexandria or Acre. Again the French betrayed him, packing him off to prison in Toulon and then to the interior of France.

Yet in his French exile, he preached peace and brotherhood and studied French and spoke of the wisdom of Plato and Socrates, Aristotle and Ptolemy and Averoes and later wrote a book, Call to the Intelligent, which should be available on every social media platform. He also, by the way, wrote a book on horses which proves he was ever an Arab in the saddle. But his courage was demonstrated yet again in Damascus in 1860 where he lived as an honoured exile. The Christian-Druze civil war in Lebanon had spread to Damascus where the Christian population found themselves surrounded by the Muslim Druze who arrived with Isis-like cruelty, brandishing swords and knives to slaughter their adversaries.

Abdelkader sent his Algerian Muslim guards – his personal militia – to bash their way through the mob and escort more than 10,000 Christians to his estate. And when the crowds with their knives arrived at his door, he greeted them with a speech which is still recited in the Middle East (though utterly ignored these days in the West). “You pitiful creatures!” he shouted. “Is this the way you honour the Prophet? God punish you! Shame on you, shame! The day will come when you will pay for this … I will not hand over a single Christian. They are my brothers. Get out of here or I’ll set my guards on you.”

Muslim historians claim Abdelkader saved 15,000 Christians, which may be a bit of an exaggeration. But here was a man for Muslims to emulate and Westerners to admire. His fury was expressed in words which would surely have been used today against the cult-like caliphate executioners of Isis. Of course, the “Christian” West would honour him at the time (although, interestingly, he received a letter of praise from the Muslim leader of wildly independent Chechnya). He was an “interfaith dialogue” man to please Pope Francis.

Abdelkader was invited to Paris. An American town was named after him – Elkader in Clayton County, Iowa, and it’s still there, population 1,273. Founded in the mid-19th century, it was natural to call your home after a man who was, was he not, honouring the Rights of Man of American Independence and the French Revolution? Abdelkader flirted with Freemasonry – most scholars believe he was not taken in – and loved science to such an extent that he accepted an invitation to the opening of the Suez Canal, which was surely an imperial rather than a primarily scientific project. Abdelkader met De Lesseps. He saw himself, one suspects, as Islam’s renaissance man, a man for all seasons, the Muslim for all people, an example rather than a saint, a philosopher rather than a priest.

But of course, Abdelkader’s native Algeria is a neighbour of Libya from where Salman Abedi’s family came, and Abdelkader died in Syria, whose assault by US aircraft – according to Abedi’s sister – was the reason he slaughtered the innocent of Manchester. And so geography contracts and history fades, and Abedi’s crime is, for now, more important than all of Abdelkader’s life and teaching and example. So for Mancunians, whether they tattoo bees onto themselves or merely buy flowers, why not pop into Manchester’s central library in St Peter’s Square and ask for Elsa Marsten’s The Compassionate Warrior or John Kiser’s Commander of the Faithful or, published just a few months ago, Mustapha Sherif’s L’Emir Abdelkader: Apotre de la fraternite?

They are no antidotes for sorrow or mourning. But they prove that Isis does not represent Islam and that a Muslim can earn the honour of the world.

Source

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Body politic: Women in the cinema of Partition – Feryal Ali Gauhar

Jimi Mistry and Kristin Kreuk in *Partition* (2007) | IMDb
Jimi Mistry and Kristin Kreuk in Partition (2007) | IMDb

The cinematic experience is a gratifying hoax, predicated on a suspension of disbelief. We are convinced that all the disparate elements contributing to the production of a filmic experience – such as the transition of time and space, sometimes expanded, oftentimes contracted, the sequencing of scenes, the staging of action, the movement or stillness of camera, the scripted, memorised, rehearsed, measured, timed and delivered dialogue, the birth and nurturing of characters, the orchestration of light, the composition of music – are not crafted but, combined with each other, represent a well-spliced, invisibly strung-together reality.

Cinema’s power lies in the illusion it creates, in making us believe that the constructed image, carefully (or carelessly) crafted and structured, is a reality that we are privileged to watch from a safe distance.

The act of watching a film, of being in a darkened space, alone yet surrounded by others who are also alone, is like allowing oneself to enter spaces not visible in the stark light of the day. These are constructed spaces, made to seem alive, throbbing with possibility, enabling the human heart to feel things we would otherwise be guarded about.

Film theorists in the 1970s held that cinema provides its viewers a separation from their own egos or perceptions of reality while at the same time reinforcing those egos and perceptions. Perhaps the power of cinema lies in inducing us to subject our ‘self’ to a momentary and perceived loss of control, sort of like a free-fall experience from a twin-engine plane. Continue reading

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It doesn’t matter that an Arab will play Aladdin

Casting an Arab in the role of Aladdin will not correct the film’s inherent racism.

Controversy ensued immediately after Disney announced that it would remake Aladdin, the cartoon fantasy film released in 1992. The outcry centred largely on the casting for the film, and specifically, who would play the roles of Aladdin and Jasmine.

For Disney, Aladdin is far more than just a film. It is a multimillion-dollar franchise – one that encompasses television and film spin-offs, rollercoaster rides, Halloween costumes, and scores of trademarked toys, gadgets and other products that generate considerable revenue for the mass media and entertainment conglomerate. The live action remake, to be directed by British director Guy Ritchie and slated for release in theatres in 2018, will be the latest instalment of Disney’s Aladdin franchise. Continue reading

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U.S. Misreads Pakistan’s Antifragility by L. ALI KHAN

Pakistan thrives on disorder and adversity, pursuing Nassim Taleb’s notion of antifragility. In India, Pakistan is bemoaned as a failed terrorist state. In Washington D.C., Pakistan is smeared as a duplicitous state, a posturing friend in the guise of a surreptitious foe. In Europe, Pakistan is hailed as one of the smartest countries in the world. In the Muslim world, Pakistan is acclaimed as a protective nuclear-state that would safeguard the holy cities of Makkah and Medina. Despite chronic energy shortage, Pakistan’s stock market is a top performer in the world. Pakistan’s cricket team has risen from slimy rigging scandals to win the 2017 international championship.

Pakistan, this land of Osama bin Laden and Malala Yousafzai, harbors both predators and preys with open hearts and clear conscience, baffling rectilinear moralists, orthodox policymakers, and nations as strong as the United States. Continue reading

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Did You Know that Jihad is in the Bible?

Did You Know that Jihad is in the Bible?

This may be shocking to some readers, but the Bible has been translated into Arabic. In fact, if you open your Bible right now and peruse through all of the translations of John 3:16, “Allah” is the word used to refer to God in the Arabic version right at the top of your page. Therein lies the problem with the clash of civilizations that extremists of all sorts seek: There are many elements in the opposing civilization that are also part of yours. The hate machine, however, depends on making people and concepts as foreign as possible for the sake of demonizing them. This brings us to the discussion of the big scary J word. At a lecture at Tulane University a decade ago, I asked the audience what they thought jihad means. One woman shouted out at the top of her lungs, “Death And Destruction!” Her answer might be what many Americans have been led to believe about this word.<more>

Muslim Americans often find themselves in an impossible place. Islamophobes define and impose their definitions of Islamic terms, such as jihad, in ways that are inauthentic and violent, and then demand that Muslims reject the terms and texts as they have portrayed them, or risk being deemed extremists for clarifying their meanings. The latest example of this is the controversy surrounding Linda Sarsour’s usage of the word to define opposition to Donald Trump in accordance with the saying of the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him): “The greatest jihad is a word of truth spoken in the face of a tyrant.” Of course right wing pundits quickly pounced on the opportunity to not only demonize Linda, but the forbidden word that she dared to invoke. It’s too late to rescue the true meaning of the word now, they insist. But if we’re going to ask Muslims to remove jihad from their dictionary, what about Arab Christians who read the Bible in Arabic?

In 1 Peter 4:18, the word jahada, the root of jihad, is used to describe one’s internal struggle. It reads, “If it is a jihad (struggle) for the righteous to be saved, what will become of the ungodly and the sinner?

???? ????? ????????? ??????????? ????????? ???????????? ???????????? ?????? ????????????” (????? ???? ?????? ?????? 4: 18)

In both I Timothy and II Timothy, we find two references to jihad in the Arabic Bible: “I have fought the good jihad (fight), I have finished the race, I have kept the faith.” (II Timothy 4:7)

????????? ?????????? ?????????? ?????????? ?????????? ???????? ??????????? ?????????? ???? ?????? ??? ????????? ????????? ??????? ???????? ??? ??? ????? ?????????? ???????? ??????????? ??????????? ???????? ??? ??????? ????????????? ????????? ?????????? ????????? ???????” (????? ???? ?????? ??????? ??? ???????? 4: 7? 7)

“Fight the good jihad (fight) of the faith. Take hold of the eternal life to which you were called when you made your good confession in the presence of many witnesses.” (I Timothy 6:12)

??????? ??????? ?????????? ?????????? ?????????? ???????????? ????????????? ??????? ????????? ??????? ???????? ????????????? ???????????? ????????? ??????? ??????? ??????????” (????? ???? ?????? ?????? ??????????? 6: 12)

Crusade and Jihad

The fact of the matter is that Muslims use the term jihad similarly to how Christians use the term crusade. The Christian term can mean anything from a spiritual mission to evangelism to politics to military action, depending on context and the individual understanding of the person who uses it. Cru, or Campus Crusade for Christ, was founded in 1951 on the UCLA campus to “launch spiritual movements.” The evangelist Billy Graham led over 400 “crusades” throughout the world, by which he meant non-violent missionary activities. (Unlike his wayward son, Franklin, Billy Graham had a softer position vis-à-vis Muslims.) The late right-wing Congressman Alan Nunnelee characterized his political activities as “a crusade to save America.” And last but not least, President George W. Bush clearly used the term militarily when he referred to his war on Iraq. To characterize Sarsour’s clear use of the word jihad in a political context as a call to violence would be as misleading as saying all Christian uses of the term crusade are about violence.

In normal everyday usage, a jihad doesn’t mean killing Christians and a crusade doesn’t mean killing Muslims, even though extremists in our respective traditions may twist those terms that way for their own selfish ends.

Do terrorists and war mongers have scriptural justification for their actions in the Quran or the Bible? Either book could be read and interpreted in a way that justifies violence, but that’s true for pretty much any sacred book, religion, or philosophy. Violent interpretations say more about the reader than they do about the text itself. A violent person will find violence no matter what the words really intend, like one who “by peace shall destroy many.” But is the Quran a particularly violent scripture? This study here actually shows the Quran contains fewer verses of violence than both the Old and New Testaments.

It would be far more helpful to focus on the sociological root causes of terror and violence, rather than let the extremists find validation in their unholy interpretations of scripture by affirming their ownership of terms like jihad.

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