The EndGame of the protests against the Citizenship Amendment Act has become evident after the mastermind of the Shaheen Bagh protests revealed his intentions of cutting off the North East from the rest of India. Sharjeel Imam, the mastermind, also happens to be a columnist at The Wire. If one had read his eulogy of Jinnah that was published on The Wire, then he or she wouldn’t have been surprised with the path he has chosen for himself.
Sharjeel Imam can be heard saying in the viral video, “If five lakh Muslims are organized then we can cut off the North-east from the rest of India. If we cannot do so permanently, then at least we can do it for months. Our responsibility is to cut Assam from India, only then will the Government will hear our voice. If we have to help Assam then we will have to cut Assam from the rest of India.”
More disturbingly, he speaks of isolating Northeast India by blocking the Chicken’s Neck. The Chicken’s Neck is a narrow stretch of land of about 22 kilometres located in West Bengal, that connects the northeastern states to the rest of India, with Nepal and Bangladesh lying on either side of the corridor. Thus, Sharjeel has made his intentions very clear, he wants a Civil War in the country and ultimately, another partition.
Before we speak of his article published on The Wire, we need to focus on some of the extremely problematic posts he has made on Facebook. It would give our readers some clue into how Sharjeel Imam thinks. First, there’s the usual apologia for Yakub Memon and Afzal Guru that we have come to expect from Radical Muslims. According to them, executing two dreaded Islamic terrorists is valid grounds for Muslims to lose their faith in the country.
Then, there is the justification for the Pulwama Terror Attack. Again, while it is true that sensible people would find this rhetoric extremely troubling, the justification for terrorism is a regular feature of the mainstream media. And Sharjeel Imam, here, is no different. He also accuses the USA, Israel and India of Islamophobia because the three countries are not willing to entertain justifications for terrorism.
With regards to the ongoing protests against the Citizenship Amendment Act, Sharjeel’s rhetoric is akin to the rhetoric peddled by the likes of Shehla Rashid and others who have continuously prevented ‘secular’ parties from claiming that these are ‘secular’ protests. Like others, Sharjeel, too, exhorts Muslims to stop liberals from ‘hijacking’ what are essentially Muslim protests.
Now, we shall elaborate on the really problematic aspects of his ideology. It is pertinent to mention here that Sharjeel Imam is a student of Modern Indian History at Jawaharlal Nehru University. The most concerning aspect of his ideology is the fact that he places Jinnah in the context of India in the 21st century. He says about Jinnah, “The more I read Jinnah Papers, the more I realize that almost all of Jinnah’s political career was spent as the leader of a minority community, organising the community against odds, and against what he considered as the Hindu revivalist forces of his time, which intended to monopolize power after British left.”
Sharjeel continues, “Seventy years later, the Muslims and other minorities of India know too well what he meant. In other words, Jinnah who was an Indian Muslim for the first 71 of the 72 years of his life, is infinitely more relevant for the besieged Indian Muslim minority than for Pakistani Muslims. In very specific ways, as an Indian Muslim politician fighting for minority rights, his methods, his arguments, his successes and his failures are lessons for us.”
Sharjeel Imam goes on to assert that Indian Muslims should study Jinnah in order to understand the myth of ‘Secular Congress’. This is extremely problematic rhetoric. Sharjeel hasn’t limited himself to praising Jinnah in the manner in which Mani Shankar Aiyar of the Congress party praises Jinnah. From his portrayal of Jinnah, it is clear that he wants Indian Muslims to emulate Jinnah and seize power in the country.
Where his thoughts about Jinnah become really clear is his article published on The Wire. From his eulogy of Jinnah on The Wire, it is evident that Sharjeel does not find any fault with Jinnah’s conduct that led to the partition of the country. He does not even believe that partition was necessarily a bad thing. He says, “In order to demystify Jinnah and to resolve such contradictions, a fuller discussion of Partition should have been a part of our educational setup. However, it has been made impossible to know such a historic figure by attributing violence of Partition to him. This as an attempt by Congress to hide its failures to accommodate the genuine Muslim demands and aspirations for political proportional representation.”
Sharjeel did not stop there of course. He says that the ‘questions’ raised by Jinnah “are just the starting point of a larger debate which will inevitably take place again and again, as the situation of Indian Muslims is made to worsen.” He believes that Jinnah led a righteous struggle to protect Indian Muslims from Hindu rule. Also, Sharjeel goes to great lengths to prove that Jinnah was a leader of Indian Muslims. He says, “Indian Muslims, despite having been indoctrinated for generations now, retain some memory of Partition and Jinnah. For many of them, Jinnah is the author of Partition and yet one of the greatest leaders of “Muslim India” in the last century, who made the Muslim League into a national party by mobilising millions of Muslims across British India.”
He states further, “Jinnah’s communalism is positive communalism as discussed above, and need not be understood through the contemporary meaning of the word. He did not believe that India was a nation, as is shown by the frequent use of the term ‘continent’ as well as ‘subcontinent’. He was merely representing one community in this grand ocean of communities, and in this process, he was trying to secure rights for all numerically inferior communities.”
Sharjeel adds, “Jinnah argued that it does not matter if we are 15% or 25%, unless we receive safeguards, they have all the resources to monopolise power. In other words, the Muslim majority provinces chose to secede rather than stay in a Hindu-dominated centralised India, as they saw no other option. Hence Partition is not their responsibility, it is their compulsion by the conditions created by Congress.”
Lastly, according to Sharjeel, “Jinnah raised questions which are still relevant. As the largest religious minority in the world, Indian Muslims, are one of the major victims of majoritarian democracy. It is the political struggle of these hundreds of millions of besieged Muslims which will define the meaning of plural democracy for the coming centuries.” He ends the article with the words, “The AMU portrait of Jinnah must not go. If anything, we need thousands more.”
Thus, it is fairly obvious by now that Sharjeel Imam wishes to replicate what Jinnah achieved in 1947. It is also clear that he considers Jinnah as an Indian Muslim who became disillusioned with politics in the country and thus embarked upon a righteous quest to partition India along religious lines. What’s really troubling here is the fact that a widely read Indian media outlet provided a platform to such an individual to spread his propaganda.
Questions must be asked about the mainstream media and intellectual elite who have provided cover to such individuals to run their propaganda. It also shows that the liberal class can be fooled by a Jihadi if he is good enough with words. The manner in which Sharjeel has eulogized Jinnah and portrayed his Jihad against India as a righteous struggle to protect the interests of Muslims should have been the first sign that he is an extremely dangerous individual. However, since he was able to cloak his bigotry in fanciful words, Sharjeel was given great respect by the liberal fraternity. It only serves to demonstrate how gullible the liberal establishment is.
Furthermore, the liberal establishment should at least now stop to reconsider the danger that their rhetoric poses to peace in the country. The love for Jinnah, the justifications for Islamic Terrorism in Kashmir, the whitewashing of Yakub Memon and Afzal Guru, liberals should at least now realize that they are only furthering the interests of Radical Islam by peddling such extremely dubious rhetoric. The liberal establishment should also realize what their whitewashing of history and peddling narratives of Islamophobia without any shred of evidence has led to. It has led to a situation where dangerous individuals like Sharjeel Islam are using the cover their rhetoric provides in order to further the cause of Radical Islam.
It is also pertinent to mention here that Sharjeel Imam’s rhetoric eulogizing Jinnah is textbook Pakistani propaganda. He is regurgitating the propaganda points that the Pakistani establishment makes. Sharjeel doesn’t once refer to the genocides that were committed by the Muslims in their pursuit of Pakistan, he doesn’t once mention the call for ‘Direct Action Day’ that led to the slaughter of innumerable Hindus. He conveniently ignores the genocide of Bengali Hindus that Pakistan committed in 1971. All of this was Jinnah’s tree yielding fruits. And yet, Sharjeel doesn’t once refer to them and continues to whitewash his legacy while demonizing the Congress party.
There is a certain kind of truth that only radicals like Sharjeel Imam are capable of saying. It is the king of truth that liberals try to whitewash for the cause of ‘secularism’. Where Sharjeel Imam really distinguished himself, prior to his recent call for civil war, is when he declared in a Facebook post that Muslims did not choose India due to ideals of ‘secularism’. He said, and it is true, that Muslims remained in India due to their property and other reasons.
The above Facebook post from September 2019 is the biggest slap on the face of the likes of Asaduddin Owaisi who like to boast about how they chose ‘secular’ India over Islamic Pakistan. Imagine if a BJP politician had said such a thing. The entire liberal establishment would have nailed him to a cross. And here we have Sharjeel Imam who is provided a platform by The Wire and the liberal establishment which have helped the mastermind of the Shaheen Bagh protests at every turn by painting these protests as ‘secular’ and about saving the constitution.
Sharjeel Imam has also flaunted the fact that Indian Muslims cheer for the Pakistan cricket team. He sees nothing wrong with it and, in fact, exhorts Muslims to not be on the defensive about it. Most conspicuously, however, he says that growing up, he had great knowledge about Saeed Answar but did not have much idea about Saurav Ganguly. He asks his audience to figure out the reason behind it.
The evidence of his bigotry is abundant in his Facebook posts. In another Facebook post, Sharjeel denigrates Idol-Worship and calls it ‘Shirk’. He also insults polytheism, the form of religiosity most Hindus subscribe to, by using it as an insult. He equates atheism, secularism, humanism, even nationalism, to Shirk.
Thus, what is clear from Sharjeel Imam’s Facebook posts and his eulogy of Jinnah is that he doesn’t see any difference between Pakistani and Indian Muslims. He equates Nationalism to ‘Shirk’ because the Ummah transcends national boundaries. He asks Indian Muslims to not be ashamed of celebrating Pakistan’s cricket team because he believes it is natural for Indian Muslims to identify themselves more with Pakistan than with India. In fact, he encourages Indian Muslims to feel that way. At the most fundamental level, Sharjeel Imam sees Jinnah as an Indian Muslim who revolted against Hindus in order to create the Islamic State of Pakistan. He sees Jinnah’s Jihad as a righteous struggle for the protection of Muslim interests and he believes the ‘oppressed’ Muslims of India should tread a similar path.
Let this not be forgotten. The liberal establishment helped a Radical Islamist like Sharjeel Imam achieve his objective perfectly. While the Liberal Establishment accuses ordinary BJP voters of being fascists, they are the ones who collaborated with someone who whitewashed a Jihadist who was responsible for the death of millions and millions of Hindus.
Sharjeel Imam has been at the forefront of the anti-CAA protests from the very beginning. In a video that had gone viral on social media by the 17th of December, he could be seen inciting Muslims to do ‘Chakkajam’ in Delhi and wherever they have sufficient numbers. He called for Muslims to bring entire cities to a halt. “There are over 30% urban Muslims in UP. Do you have no shame at all? Why cannot you do Chakkajam in UP? The area in Bihar where I am from, the rural Muslim population is 6% while the urban Muslim population is 24%. Indian Muslims mostly live in cities. So it is upon you. You can bring your cities to a halt. If anyone asks you not to, disown them” he was heard saying in the viral video.
There is another aspect that needs to be investigated here. A thorough investigation needs to be conducted into the extent of the collusion, if there was any, between Sharjeel Imam and the students of Jamia who gave a call for Jihad. As we have reported earlier, days before violence erupted in the national capital, the students Barkha Dutt labelled ‘Shero’ gave a call for violent Jihad. While Sharjeel Imam eulogized the man responsible for the partition of the country, the Jamia Jihadans eulogized the men responsible for the Moplah massacre which resulted in the slaughter of hundreds and thousands of Hindus. Like Sharjeel, one of them did express great grief at the execution of Yakub Memon.
The role of the media also needs to be investigated amidst the current unrest. Slogans such as ‘Hinduon se Azadi‘ and yet, they were whitewashed the media. Slogans of ‘Jinnah Wali Azadi‘ were raised at the Shaheen Bagh protests and still, these protests were painted as secular. It needs to be investigated whether the Liberal Media is doing so due to their ideological affinity towards Radical Islam or whether there are more sinister reasons behind it.
The role of politicians needs to be investigated as well. AAP MLA Amanatullah Khan was spotted with Sharjeel Imam, it also needs to be mentioned that Amanatullah himself is accused of inciting riots. He had created ruckus outside Delhi police demanding the release of a 22-year-old Muslim youth named Furkan who is accused of instigating riots in Jamia Millia University in December. There is every indication of a grand conspiracy here. And as had said earlier, this is truly the Khilafat 2.0.