Rajdeep Sardesai, while interacting with Bollywood entertainer Naseeruddin Shah on Tuesday tried to put the blame on ‘rising Hindutva forces’ in India for the unabashed cheering of Taliban by certain section of Indian Muslims.
In the video, he asks Shah if he expected the backlash he received, especially from some of the educated, influential Indian Muslims for expressing caution and concern. Shah says that he should have been ‘clearer’ in his video and specified he did not mean entire Muslim community. “Muslims have taken an offence to it, the Hindus are celebrating. Neither of this was my intention,” he said.
Shah further claimed that Muslims in India are already being demonised and their lives and livelihoods are being threatened and ‘openly vilified’, and hence, his cautionary message against celebrating Taliban was ‘badly timed’ he felt.
Sardesai then at around 6 minute 30 seconds mark urges Shah to be ‘honest’ and claims how a section of Indian Muslims feel they have “been pushed on the backfoot by the rising Hindutva forces in the country. So when they the Taliban in Afghanistan taking on western power, perhaps they seem to identify with the Taliban. Almost seeing this as a war against Islam,” he said.
To this, Naseeruddin Shah justified the cheering of Taliban as ‘desire for vengeance’. “A section of Muslim community feels the need for… because of the way they have been vilified and attacked. But they should also realise that the people whom the Taliban have oppressed, beheaded, hanged and castrated were all Muslims. Taliban will not be bothered by the cause of Indian Muslims and the people who think they have another thing coming,” he says.
Rajdeep then likens the Taliban to Bajrang Dal, the Hindu organisation that supports and fights for Hindu rights, does not really advocate beheading in name of blasphemy unlike the other group. To that, Naseeruddin Shah goes ahead and dismisses claims that Hindus in India are also persecuted and that temples are also attacked only because of their religious identity. Shah claims that Hindus in India cannot feel threatened because Muslims are in ‘minority’.
Ever since the Islamist group toppled the Afghanistan government, a certain section of Indian Muslims have been rooting for them and referring to them as some sort of saviours from the ‘oppressive’ American forces. Earlier this month, Naseeruddin Shah cautioned Indian Muslims against cheering for Taliban and was attacked by educated and influential Indian Muslims for the same.
Now, Rajdeep Sardesai has put the blame for some Indian Muslims cheering for Taliban on ‘rising Hindutva forces’, thereby furthering the ‘Dara Hua Musalman’ narrative that has been making rounds since the Modi government took charge for the first time in 2014. In fact, just recently, senior Congress leader and Wayanad MP Rahul Gandhi on Krishna Janmashtami pushed the same ‘Dara Hua Musalman‘ construct. This, too, came close on heels of Taliban taking over Afghanistan.
Amusingly, both Shah and Rahul Gandhi spoke about ‘hate crimes’ against Muslims, but both of them forget to mention the hate crimes against Hindus. That when a temple is desecrated and idol demolished by culprits who believe idol worship is a sin and they destroyed it because their faith asks them to, then it is a hate crime. Even if Hindus are in majority.
When an entire community is asked to leave their homes overnight or get converted to Islam. When announcements are made from loudspeakers to leave the women behind asking Hindus to leave their homes, it is hate crime. These hate crimes are either dismissed or watered down because perpetrators are ‘dara hua’ in India.
When a Hindu woman is harassed, stalked, raped and murdered because she refused to give in to advances of the ‘dara hua’ man and did not want to convert her religion, and when people speak out against it, it is called ‘hate speech’. This crime of forced religious conversion is dismissed because ‘hateful Hindus’ do not believe in love.
Sardesai an old player in the narrative
Sardesai has been an old hand who plays to the gallery. And it was not even after 2014. Back in 1993, right after the serial bomb blasts in Mumbai perpetrated by Dawood Ibrahim in response to the communal riots that broke out earlier in the year after the demolition of disputed structure at Ayodhya often referred to as Babri Masjid, Sardesai in an article wrote how Indian Muslims were being maligned just because Dawood Ibrahim – a Muslim – was accused of carrying out the Mumbai serial blasts.
Later in an article published in Hindustan Times in September 2015, Sardesai said, “Soon after the 1993 Mumbai blasts, I had raised a controversial question — why had Dawood, who in October 1992 was seen waving the Indian tricolour during an India-Pak cricket match in Sharjah and had offered gifts to the Indian team if they won, been transformed into the man who bombed Mumbai six months later in March 1993? Why had a Dubai-based smuggler become a Karachi-based terrorist? Was the demolition of the Babri Masjid in December 1992 the turning point?”
This is how Sardesai gave ‘context’ to Dawood Ibrahim turning a terrorist. That the one who waved Indian flag just weeks ahead of Babri demolition, turned murderous and killed hundreds, mostly Hindus, in a series of bomb blasts by that just one point. Like how ‘rising Hindutva forces’ are making certain sections of Indian Muslims cheer for Taliban.
Sardesai quite nicely painted a global terrorist a victim of politics around the Babri demolition. Poor little dara hua Dawood Ibrahim who got radicalised and turned into a global terrorists planting bombs and killing people in just few months because a disputed structure was pulled down.
And poor little ‘dara hua people’ who root for Taliban because Bajrang Dal fellow in neighbourhood likes to chant Jai Shri Ram.