By: Shachi Rairikar
July 23, 2005
expressed here are author’s own and not of this website. Full disclaimer
is at the bottom.
Actress-turned-activist Shabana Azmi finds the opposition to the
reservation for Muslim students in the Aligarh Muslim University from
certain sections "unfortunate", saying the move was aimed at benefiting
"This step will ultimately benefit 2000 deserving students," she said.
Reservation for deserving students? An intellectual person like Ms. Azmi
is expected to understand that reservations are meant to provide
opportunity to the weaker students. If the students are really
“deserving”, they should not need any reservation. Deserving students
should be open to face competition and it should make no difference
whether this competition comes from Hindu students or Muslim students.
She told reporters "It is unfortunate that it has been given a communal
colour. It should not have had any political ramification". Ms. Azmi fails
to realize that the issue has not been “given” a “communal colour”, it
“is” very much “communal”. Secularism implies equal treatment to all
irrespective of religious identity. Any discrimination made on the basis
of religion is communal and reservation in education on the basis of
religion is no exception to this basic rule.
It is unfortunate that educated, progressive, so-called secular Muslims
like Ms. Azmi and her husband Javed Akhtar, who have been doing lip
service to secularism and fighting against both Hindu and Muslim
communalism, have always vigourously protected Muslims against Hindu
communalism but have failed to show the same enthusiasm when it comes to
the protection of Hindus against Muslim communalism.
While their hearts bleed for the victims of the Best Bakery, they don’t
feel the same pain when Hindus are burnt alive by Muslims in the Radhabai
Chawl in Mumbai. When the 58 kar sevaks were burnt alive in Godhra, these
liberal secularists, who are otherwise eager to hog the limelight, did not
even care to condemn it. Their efforts to take up the cause of the Hindus
burnt in the Godhra carnage appears to be only for the purpose of
countering the allegations of favouring Muslims.
When asked about Kashmir, Ms. Azmi feels that what is happening in Kashmir
is really “extremely complicated”, that there has been a systematic
attempt at “communalizing the Kashmir issue and into making it into a
Hindu/Muslim case”, that we have to understand that the Kashmiri people
have a “right to live in their own homeland”, that there is a “very strong
movement” in Kashmir itself where people want independence and that there
have been “excesses of the state”. While her sympathies seem to be with
the separatist movement, no serious effort has been seen to be made from
her side for the rehabilitation of the 3.5 lakh Kashmiri Hindus who have
been so injudiciously driven away from their homeland.
While she finds Gadar, a film based on the backdrop of the partition,
showing Pakistan in poor light, “provocative”, positioning “Muslims as the
other”, no concern is felt or expressed about a film on Gujarat riots
showing Hindus as communal. Is Ms. Azmi’s concern limited to the portrayal
of the Muslims?
Ms. Azmi has often been reported to be upset that “every single incident
of violence that happens is immediately ascribed to the Islamic
terrorists” but she fails to even adequately condemn the loss of innocent
lives that fall prey to this brand of terrorism. While the entire world is
busy fighting mujahideens waging the holy jehad, she is not ready to even
concede that a terrorism which has its roots in the tenets of the Holy
Quran is “Islamic” terrorism.
Ms. Azmi has been telling the world more about Islam, that it resides in
many countries around the world, that it is not a monolith, that it takes
on the culture of the country in which it resides. In some places it is
moderate, it is reformist, it is intolerant, it is various things, but we
cannot just have one opinion of it. What she does not tell is that the
popular perception of fanatic Islam is owing to the way it is practiced in
majority of Muslim countries. Out of 57 nations in the Organisation of
Islamic Conference, not a single country is a democracy. All the countries
of the world, where Muslims form a substantial part of the population, are
facing either jehadi terrorism, separatist violence or ethnic clashes.
Secularism demands equality for all irrespective of religious identities.
It has no place for majority or minority status. The nation expects her
leaders to practice true secularism and not the brand that so-called
intellectuals, secularists practice which provides for differential
treatment to majority and minorities which in turn promotes communalism.
Though her combat against communalism both Muslim and Hindu is really
commendable, a hidden love for the “Muslim cause” is apparent in the
conduct of Ms. Azmi. On a deeper probe the so-called “communal” and
secular Hindus are forced to wonder whether she is merely a more modern,
liberal and acceptable face of the Muslim communalism which she so
vehemently opposes but in practice indirectly supports. Is her brand of
secularism just a tactical mask to allow easy and peaceful breeding of
Muslim communalism? Just like a secular and liberal Jinnah changed sides
when India needed him the most, will she change her colour when the
opportune time comes? Will her stress on “celebrating” the Hindu-Muslim
difference hold good even when Hindus are rendered to minority?
A country which has faced vivisection on the basis of religion has every
right to be cautious. A people who have been back-stabbed in the past
cannot be blamed if they are skeptical in the future– once bitten twice
shy. In fact, prudence demands that we be vigilant. We have been
blackmailed by Muslim communalism once and have paid a heavy price for it.
We cannot afford to make the same mistake again.
Send your views to author
Do you wish to reach our readers?
submit your guest column
Copyright and Disclaimer:
The views expressed in this article are the author's own and not of this
website. The author is solely responsible for the contents of this
article. This website does not represent or endorse the accuracy,
completeness or reliability of any opinion, statement, appeal, advice or
any other information in the article. Our readers are free to forward this
page URL to anyone. This column may NOT be transmitted or distributed by
others in any manner whatsoever (other than forwarding or weblisting page
URL) without the prior permission from
us and the author.
The UPA has done it again!
July 17, 2005
Danger comes disguised & bewitching
June 30, 2005
Congress and the Mahatma
May 02, 2005
Mr. Singh, Don’t Play With The History
April 05, 2005
For the sake of Democracy?
March 13, 2005
Goa: Murder of democracy February
The Hindu Art of Self Hate
January 22, 2005
Why Celebrate Christmas? December
Media’s Disgusting Double
Standards December 01,
Know More About the RSS November
Fake Historians & Sold Media
September 19, 2004
The Indian Science of
Aeronautics March 12, 2004