Saturday, October 21, 2006

In India What Does it Take to Hang a Person Until He Is Dead?

Terrorist-ridden India wants its collective conscience satisfied by legally organizing the murder of a person, Mohammad Afzal, who might or might not be innocent.

[By Mayank Austen Soofi]

So in India, what does it really take to hang a person 'til he's dead?

The answer is eerie but true: an exclusive opinion poll by a leading current affairs journal or perhaps a couple of agitated television talk shows. But this is getting ahead in the story. Let's start from the beginning.

The Origin of the Tale

On December 13, 2001, five terrorists launched a suicide attack inside Lok Sabha - India's national parliament. Their aim was either to take hostage the entire Indian leadership or to annihilate it. But the attack was foiled by the security forces. The terrorists were killed. It was later revealed that they all were from Pakistan.

Within three days, the Delhi police claimed to have solved the conspiracy and followed it up by arresting four Kashmiris, including a woman, all of them from Delhi. One of the alleged plotters, Mr. SAR Geelani, was an Arabic language lecturer in Delhi University. He was sentenced to death but was later acquitted by the higher court. But the death sentence of another man - Mr. Mohammad Afzal - was upheld by the Supreme Court in September, 2006. He will soon be hanged to death.

After the Attack

The terrorist attack inside the parliament had serious repercussions. The Pakistan connection only made it worse. It enraged the then Indian government, led by BJP - a Hindu fundamentalist party, to an extent that it decided to transfer the army to the international border forcing Pakistan to do the same. The bulk deployment of troops triggered a serious possibility of a nuclear war in South Asia forcing worldwide panic and resulting in fleeing of westerners from both the countries.

Who is Mohammad Afzal?

His story is a mirror into the wasted lives of several Kashmiri youths. Like many of his fellow young men, Mr. Afzal was disgusted and dejected by the alleged atrocities of the Indian army and went across the border into the terrorist camps of Pakistan-held Kashmir. But after returning to India, he was disillusioned enough to surrender to the Indian armed forces in 1993. His later life allegedly turned him into some sort of a police informer, an arrangement in which he willingly or was coerced to supply information on underground dissidence in the strife-ridden Kashmir valley. At least till 2001, he remained in close contact with the Indian armed forces.

Mr. Afzal has a wife and a 5-year old son.

Let's Hang This Man

With the execution sentence delivered, the entire country is abuzz with Mr. Afzal's imminent hanging. Different groups with various agendas have started humming around him and his date with death. On one end of the spectrum is Indian public opinion which, no doubt because of a spurt in Islamic terrorism, seems to be in favor of Mr. Afzal's death. On the other end is a gathering of bleeding-heart liberals and anti-capital punishment groups, which have their own politics to play as they demand clemency for Mr. Afzal.

It must be mentioned that the general opinion, whether against or in support of the hanging, appears to agree that Mr. Afzal is indeed a terrorist, and that he was the actual mastermind behind the Parliament attack conspiracy. Meanwhile Kashmiri Muslims (native Hindus of Kashmir have long been ethnically cleansed by the Islamic terrorists), ever suspicious of anything Indian, have already started seeing Mr. Afzal as a shaeed - a martyr; a hero all set to sacrifice for a greater cause.

Mr. Muhammad Afzal has become something for everyone.

The Lynch Mentality

The Indian court which advocates death penalty only in the rarest of rare cases appeared to be in that rare state where its common sense is apparently reeling under intense emotional excitement. In its death verdict, it decreed that "...the collective conscience of the society will only be satisfied if capital punishment is awarded to the offender."

In a 271-page judgment, the court noted that "the attack was a challenge to the unity and integrity of the country and the conspirators deserve maximum punishment." The honorable court was still not done. It finally concluded that "the accused is a menace to society and his life should be extinguished."

Is This the Rarest of Rare Cases?

However this same court also admitted in its verdict that there was no evidence linking Mr. Afzal to any terrorist group. Most strangely, the court also confessed that there is only circumstantial, but no direct evidence, to link Mr. Afzal to the conspiracy.

So it happens that Mr. Afzal has been sentenced to death, under various sections of the Indian constituion, on the basis of "circumstantial evidence"!

There were other disturbing observations too: the supercop appointed as the investigative officer in the parliament attack case had a complicated reputation of killing 'terrorists' in staged encounters. He was also later caught having liaisons with drug peddlers.

Besides, there have been suggestions of torture. Mr. Afzal's controversial confession, which was arranged by this now-disgraced cop in front of television cameras, conveniently and perfectly, matched the evidence gathered by his investigative team. This indeed happens to be one of those rare circumstances when everything combines together in a most harmonious fashion.

Loopholes do not end here: During the most delicate part of his trial, no lawyer agreed to put in defense for Mr. Afzal. This no-show forced the court to grant the accused the right to cross-examine the witnesses — a questionable privilege to a person with no knowledge of the various permutations and combinations of different laws and constitutional acts.

There are other black drains: Indians still do not know the true identity of the terrorists killed in the parliament. Who were these people? Mr. L K Advani, the then home minister and now the Leader of Opposition in the parliament, had said that 'they (the dead terrorists) looked like Pakistanis'. This was certainly a weird statement considering that one can't make out a Pakistani from a group of Indians simply by their looks - both belonging to the same race.

However even if those terrorists had Pakistani origins, nobody knows about their families: whose sons they were, from where they came and did their families tried to claim their bodies. Everything is muddled and secretive and Mr. Afzal has been sentenced to die by drawing inferences from such discrepancies. Strangely, India's free media has not bothered to raise these issues.

Mr. Afzal's family - Wife, Mrs. Tabassum and Son, Ghalib

The Misuse of Conscience

There are so many unsolved riddles in Mr. Afzal's case that even his circumstantial complicity in the crime is not certain. But since these are disturbing times of terrorism and a warning has to be delivered to future plotters, India has managed to grab its hands on a Muslim to send that signal. It helps that the accused hails from a state infamous for its disloyalty.

So Mr. Afzal, who might or might not be a terrorist, will be hanged to death. This may be against the essence of justice but still it will make most Indians happy. For now. It will comfort them with the false belief that at least something is being done to prevent the repeat of tragedies, like the recent killing of innocent commuters in Bombay trains. So what if one innocent life has to be lynched in the process?

Meanwhile conservative Hindu organisations are aggressively demanding that Mr. Afzal be hanged as soon as possible. The Indian society, it is being said, is in haste to satisfy its collective conscience. This, of course, is the same society which happily votes for tainted politicians who had clear, proven, and merely not conditional evidence against them in killing fellow countrymen of different faiths - Muslims and Sikhs - at various tragic times during the country's contemporary history.

All is Fair in National Interest

India Today, the country's top selling weekly — the Time magazine of India — carried out an exclusive survey in the October 30, 2006 issue. Believe it or not, it asked urban Indians if Mr. Afzal should be hanged or not. More than 78 percent Indians favored the hanging. The magazine ended its accompanying article on the opinion poll by concluding 'when India is terrorized, Indians want to save the life of the nation rather than the life of the terrorist'.

You see it's all for India's sake.

[For Further Reading: Arundhati Roy's Essay 'And His Life Should Become Extinct' ]

Sunday, October 08, 2006

The Mohammed Afzal Execution Debate - A Muslim Family Stands Divided

[This is a Delhi-based family. Names have been changed. Conversations, originally in Hindustani, were held between Abba, Ammi, their two sons - Ershad and Ashraf, and a house guest who was addressed as Mamma. The reporting took place on the Ramadan evening of October 3, 2006.]

Mr. Mohammed Afzal, the mastermind behind the December 13, 2001 Parliament attack, was awarded the death sentence by the trial court in 2002. The Delhi High Court and the Supreme Court later upheld it. His hanging is expected to be carried out later in the month of October, 2006.

Abba: This is all a conspiracy. The parliament was not really targeted. It was stage-managed by the government. Did you observe the eyes of those poor boys killed as terrorists? They were drugged.

Ershad: The man is being trapped. He did not have a good lawyer. In fact he was a RAW agent and after his relations were spoiled they wanted to get rid of him. So he was accused of this terrorist attack.

Ashraf: The problem people are these Pakistanis. They are responsible for turning Kashmiris into fundamentalists. Earlier those Kashmiris were such cowards that they could not even hold a rifle!

Abba - The parliament attack was stage managed by the government

Abba: If there is one country that is jaahil it has to be Pakistan.

Mamma: But is India ours?

Ashraf: What do you mean? What has this country not given you?

Mamma: They only kill us here. Chop us into pieces....

Abba: You are wrong. Whatever we have got in this zindagi, we have got here. Would you be happier in Pakistan?

Ershad - The Indian mullahs are too conservative

Ashraf: Don't forget that the Hindu lawyer Nandita Haskar is fighting for Afzal. Only in this country can a Muslim convict be defended by Hindu lawyers. TV channels of Hindus are telecasting the demands of Afzal's mother and wife. Hindu activists are sitting on dharnas for Afzal's clemency. This is possible only in India. Never in Pakistan!

Ershad: I swear I hate Pakistan. They are the problem. Hindustan ke Mussalmaan has no time to care for the Kashmiris. We are happy here.

Mamma: What about Gujarat? Did not they kill us? What about Babri masjid?

Abba: Babri is the only thing that pricks our soul. Things worsened only from that point.

Ashraf: But Muslims also are so unreasonable. We are intolerant about other religions and we expect other religions not to be equally intolerant. Have you ever tried to understand the sentiments of Hindus when they used to see that old mosque standing on the spot where their Bhagwan Ram was born?

See, we are smaller in numbers. What harm was there to shift our mosque to some other site? Imagine the love and respect we would have got from them.

Ammi - The Afzal case is the result of a saajish

Abba: What are you saying? Why would we have shifted the mosque? That is an insane reason. Babri was an excuse to attack us.

Mamma: Why only Babri? They are also creating trouble in Mathura...

Ammi: The bad luck of Muslims is our Mullah leadership. They do not give the right advice.

Ershad: These Mullahs are too conservative.

Ashraf: Our problem is that we have too many madrasas.

Ershad: What's wrong with madrasas? What's wrong with ilm? What are you talking about? Why do you have to say that?

Mamma: They just want to kill Afzal. Did you see the news? Now that Bitta (All India Anti-Terrorist Front chairman M.S. Bitta) is parading the widows of those gardeners killed in the parliament and is making a drama out of Afzal's execution!

Ashraf: So what? Aren't people executed in large numbers in Saudia - your favorite country? Isn't that execution drama?

Mamma: Saudia is different. It is a proper Islamic country.

Ashraf: Here we are so possessive about our mosques but have we asked that why there are no temples there?

Ershad: Where?

Ashraf: In Saudia? In the Arab world?

Abba: Why should we bother? I have lived all my life in India. This is my country, not Saudi Arabia. I want my mosques here.

Ershad: But if there is even an one percent possibility that Afzal was indeed a part of the conspiracy then he must be hanged.

Abba: Yes, it does not matter if he is a Muslim or not. But I tell you he is innocent. It was a plan by the Indian government. Do you remember when the army killed Sikhs in Chattisinghpura before Bill Clinton's visit and blamed the Pakistanis? Now they staged this terrorist attack in the parliament.

Even the judges are untrustworthy nowadays.

Ashraf - They must not hang Afzal

Ammi: It is so bad. Now I ask what was the point of sentencing that poor Monica Bedi to five years in prison?

Abba: Yes, poor girl. She is not a terrorist. She just forged her passport. Five years is too harsh. Bechari! She must have got two years at the most under the 420 act.

Ashraf: I agree they must not hang Afzal. Kashmiris are against it. What would be the point if they carry on with the plan? Saving his life would at least send some good message to the Kashmiris.

Mamma: Who cares for the Kashmiris in this country?

Ammi: I'm surprised. The way you shed tears about the Kashmiri have never done that for the Pandits. The mujahidins burned their houses and killed their family members. You have never talked about them, Mamma?

Mamma: The Pandits deserved it! They had started it all. They used to torture the Muslims.

Abba: Nonsense!

Mamma - But is India ours?

Ammi: But how can Afzal be a terrorist? Dil nahin maanta. It is all a saajish by the police. They needed to show something to the Hindus and they have now got their bali ka bakra.

Ershad: They had also accused Gilani (Delhi University Professor S.A.R. Gilani). But look, he was finally acquitted.

Mamma: This country hangs only Muslims. We are like step-children.

Ashraf: What bakvaas! What are you saying?

Ershad: Rubbish. I trust Hindus more than Muslims. I am more comfortable if my money is in the hands of my assistant Ram Pal Yadav than with any of my Muslims acquaintances.

Abba: You know the low caste Hindus are not so bad.

Ashraf: Yes, in fact they like us. They see us Muslims as people who do not mind sharing a jootha glass of water with them. They notice it when we ask them to sit on our sofas. They know we do not discriminate them because of their chhoti jaat. It is these Brahmins who are the problem.

Ammi: But Afzal must not be hanged. I know they are framing him.

Ashraf: I think he carried out the attack but still he must be pardoned.

Mamma: One day they will hang all of us.

Ammi: Yes, when that Narendra Modi will become Prime Minister.

Abba: If Afzal is a terrorist, which is not true, I will be the first person to take him to a firing squad.

Ershad: I'm saying Afzal is innocent. Parliament attack was a fake encounter.

[The conversation later ended for the Tarabi - a special namaaz in which the entire Koran is recited over a number of days]

Men doing the Tarabi

Friday, September 29, 2006

L K Advani's Journey From Godsegiri to Gandhigiri

Mr L K Advani, the second man to divide India, appears to have again undergone a drastic change of heart.

India's most ambitious Prime Minister-in-waiting is a visionary best known for riding on a Toyota chariot in 1992 that left behind a trail of hundreds of dead Indians in its wake. However, since losing power in a surprise election defeat, BJP's greatest pseudo-charioteer, admired for his cunning political strategies, has developed an uncanny habit of springing surprises every now and then.

In 2005, he had created flutters, to an undisguised media delight, by praising Mr Muhammad Ali Jinnah, who was the first man to divide India. Now the Iron Man is intending to reconcile himself to the values of a man who was completely ignored while India was being divided.

Could Gandhiji be Right?

Addressing a municipal gathering in Rajkot, a city that lies in a state being led by a Bearded Man to a happy Muslim-less future, Mr Advani declared that he has seen the film Lage Rago Munnabhai . He confessed to have enjoyed it.

Lage Raho Munnabhai is the latest Bollywood hit which is said to extol the unfashionable virtues of Gandhiji in a fashion that appeals to the short-attention spans of the new generation.

Mr Advani was particularly impressed by the advantages that a non-aggressive, non-confronting attitude could possibly deliver. He cited a scene from the film where a paan-chewing man had a disgusting habit of spitting on the wall of his neighbor's flat. Munnabhai, the lovable goon, after consulting Gandhiji's ghost ask the harassed neighbor not to pick up a fight with the ill-mannered man but instead to cheerfully smile at him every time he sprays out the betel-juice and clean the entrance wall himself. The paan-chewing man gets embarrassed, felt suitably guilty, and finally stopped spitting on his neighbor's wall.

Softened by this piece of the plot, modern India's modern-day Iron Man had this to say to his spellbound audience: "It's a small incident but there is a big lesson for all of us."

But the former Deputy Prime Minister was still not done. This iconic riot-star who had done a Bamiyan in Ayodhya, long before Taliban had even come into existence, sagely advised, "People should understand their responsibilities towards one another, towards society, their country and also towards the place they live in. Only then can you expect a real change".

Could This be Real?

Is this the same Mr Advani? Is there a hidden message, a warning, an advice, for the Bearded Man who could be scheming for a hostile takeover of Mr Advani's blood-drenched legacy? Is it that Mr Advani is trying to do a Congress which has recommended the film as a compulsory tax-free viewing to its sycophant party members? Is the non-pseudo-secular statesman plotting to snatch Mr Vajpayee's pseudo-moderate aura for his own prime-ministerial ambitions? Could it be that perhaps Mr Advani has finally seen the light of the day? Has he undergone an asli change of heart?

Is The Guilty Man Feeling Guilty?

William Shakespeare's Macbeth, after committing a murder, had wondered "if the all great Neptune's ocean could wash this blood clean" from his hand but realized, regrettably, that "this hand would rather the multitudinous seas incarnadine, making the green one red".
Is Mr Advani, in his old age, regretting the bloodshed of his past? Could there be a tinge of guilt staining his sinned soul?

While watching the referred scene in Lage Raho Munnabhai, did Mr Advani see blood drops in place of paan stains? Did those hundreds of Muslim graves, in all the four corners of India, open up and the sheeted dead rose and squeaked and gibbered into the conscience of his heavy heart?

It was a small incident in the film but was there a big lesson for Mr Advani?

Is the man who disgraced and brought shame to Hindu asmita finally feeling ashamed for all the evil things he has done in the name of his great religion? Could it be that he was sending coded signals to the Bearded Man when he publicly observed that people should understand their responsibilities towards one another and towards the society?

Is There a Real Change of Heart?

Alas, cows would fly and snakes would secrete nectar if Mr Advani could realize that he was wrong, sometimes downright evil, while shining bright on his trailblazing political stardom.
In the same speech, where he discoursed on Gandhigiri, Mr Advani went on to describe his bloodied 1992 chariot tour as "one of the most memorable events of my life....It was a landmark event....People were happy that one particular yatra could bring such huge change."

Fools we are to dream of wolves drinking the cup of humanity's milk and turning to lambs! Fools we are to forget Lady Macbeth's resounding rebuff to her husband's oceanic self-introspection: "my hands are of your color; but I shame to wear a heart so white."

Ah, it's a bad, cruel, unrepentant world.

There Are No Ambulances in Malegaon - How the 8/9 Terrorist Attack Became a Tiding of Good News

Nobody can bring back the sons, fathers, husbands, mothers and sisters who died in the Malegaon bomb blasts on September 8, 2006. Not even Sonia Gandhi. In her healing trip to the city - a city which is used to having its citizens killed in communal riots but never in a terrorist attack - she was seen offering cheques of Rs 50,000 each to the families of the dead.

One chemist whose son died in the blasts sensibly asked her that why were they being given alms. He blamed the state government for doing nothing for the town's development. The chemist passionately pointed out that many lives could have been saved if there was even a single civil hospital which, incidentally, was promised by the Maharashtra Chief Minister after the last major riots in 2001.

But nothing happened. No hospital was built. No development took place.

Mrs Gandhi merely whispered: 'Shaanti se boliyen'. Speak softly.

Why should the People of Malegaon speak softly?

It is said that there was a time when Malegaon was described as the Manchester of Maharashtra. Today it is not fit even for a goat to live in.

In spite of being a textile center power shortages last for more than eight hours. The town has no proper drains. The Mausam river, serving as the boundary between majority Muslims and minority Hindus, is reduced to being a nallah of filth and diseases. In spite of the promises made by the governments of the day, there have been no plans to improve the abysmal infrastructure of the city.

The Special Case of Malegaon

Malegaon could be any small town in India. But it is different. It is one of the few Muslim majority urban settlements in the country. The so-called secular government who came to power aided by the Muslim vote had a golden opportunity - a test case - to show that they actually have the interests of Muslims in their heart. They lost it.

The condition of Muslims can not be improved by continually attacking BJP's communalist agendas. Muslims can not be uplifted from their present state of ignorance and illiteracy by building special Hajj terminals in country's major international airports. Muslims can not become a rich community by organizing Iftaar parties during the Ramzaan. Muslims can not partake of India's economic boom by talking of job reservations for them every now and then.

Muslims are not beggars. They need not be given alms.

What they need is a serious policy that would target their economic sluggishness.

As one victim's father pointed out: "The fassad (disturbances) in Malegaon are born more out of economic reasons than religious ones."

Seeing the Good in the Bad

In a perverse way, Malegaon bomb blasts have done a lot of good. It has broken lots of myths and pre-conceptions of India's largest religious minority group.

Ideally, this is what should have happened following the blasts in this riot-scarred deeply-divided town: angry Muslims suspecting it a Hindu conspiracy would have carried out revenge attacks. Mullahs would have declared murderous fatwas. People would have been burned, knifed and so on. Finally, there would have been a curfew, perhaps an army battalion would have been called in, before things would have settled back to the familar grim state of hopelessness.

But something else happened. And it was beautiful. People were refusing government compensations. They were demanding an improved infrastructure. They were talking about open drains. They are asking for the guilty to be nabbed.

Besides, being failed by the government health department, Hindu doctors took charge of the injured Muslims. Hindu youths assisted in picking the injured Muslims from the bomb-hit streets and taking them to clinics or to the nearest town with a hospital. Hindus donated blood which dripped into Muslim veins.

Remember, this is a town often described as 'sensitive' and 'tense', and which has a history of fierce Hindu-Muslim conflicts. This is also a city often referred as a base for all sort of Islamic terror organizations. Malegaon is considered a launch pad for the attacks aimed for Mumbai and Gujarat.

The Hope Floats

But the bomb blasts proved that Malegaon's Hindu-Muslim problem could be addressed and that relation between the two communities is not irreversibly doomed; that people are capable of acting as simple human beings; that we all are a band of brothers.

Malegaon's post-blast aftermath has shown another new picture: Till September 7, Muslims as a community were still killed; but often in the riots or in police firings. It is perhaps the first time that they lost their lives in a terrorist attack primarily targeted towards them.

In TV screens throughout India, they - bearded men in skull caps and women with their heads covered - were seen mourning the death of their loved ones: a father crying for his son who was all set to fly to China to pursue a medical degree; a mother sobbing, simply sobbing, for her dead child. Their tears were not that of Hindus or of Muslims. They were just tears. Grief, it so happens, still has no religion.

If Only

Malegaon's tragedy could not be ignored. The precious lives could not be compensated by bank cheques. But Malegaon is brave and it has shown to the rest of the country that hope has not disappeared.

Now, if Sonia Gandhi want Indians to believe that she is different from other politicians, she should do just one thing: As Surat became India's cleanest city after the Plague scare, Malegaon should be transformed to India's most striking model town - a paradise of urban living, with hospitals and ambulances, with schools and colleges, with clean streets and functioning traffic lights - and it should also be turned into a perfect symbol of communal amity where Hindus are neighbors to Muslims, in as short a time as possible.

Condolence for the dead and cheers to the living - of Malegaon.


The Truth of Malegaon - The Story Behind the 8/9 Terror Attacks

For a change most of the dead bodies were buried, and not burned. The terrorist attack took place not on a Diwali evening, but on a Shabe-e-Baraat afternoon. The blast did not happen on a Mangalvaar, but on a Jumma. The worshippers who were trampled to death were not rushing out of temples, but from mosques.

For a change it was the Muslims who were the primary victims of terrorism.

But the terrorist attack in Malegaon, which killed 37 people and left more than 100 injured on September 8, 2006, is of no lasting significance, other than its 'breaking news' attention span. Malegaon is no Mumbai. The people who died, many of them children, were no middle-class wealthy citizens of this shining country. A large number of victims included beggars sitting outside the mosques for Friday zakaat.

What Will Happen

There will be a repetition of certain scenes of the past: one lakh rupees would be doled out by the government as relief money to the relatives of the dead; BJP will blame Congress for having a soft spot for Islamic terrorists; Manmohan Singh will affirm faith in country's 'inherent strength'; editorials will call it a conspiracy to disrupt India's communal amity; doubts will be cast on Pakistan and Bangladesh based terrorist groups. But the sad fact is that the Malegaon tragedy will not sear the soul of the nation as the Mumbai train blasts had.

The Dirty Town

Situated in the Nasik district of Maharashtra, Malegaon is a symptom of the worst aspects of urban India. It is also a depressing reality of the mofussil heartland. Malegaon is a kind of city which has no civic sense, no considerate administration, and which seems to have no visionary citizen. It is a city that does not even have a single civil hospital. It is a place where people have no occupation other than dealing with intricacies and petty politics of religious differences. It is also possibly the only town in India to witness processions in support of Osama bin Laden right after 9/11.

Interestingly, Malegaon is sometimes called a 'terror town' - In May 2006, twelve kilograms of RDX, five AK 47 rifles, 1000 cartridges and 10 magazines were seized from an electrical shop.

The Muslims of Malegaon

Malegaon happens to be, let's put it delicately, a Muslim majority town. Muslims constitute three-fourths of the population in this city of 7.5 lakh people. Majority of them are from UP, Bihar and many hail from Bangladesh. The town itself was settled by Delhi Muslims who were fleeing from the violent response of the British after the failure of the 1857 revolution - the first war of independence.

Hindu Muslim Conflict - The Same Old Story

Malegaon's short history is littered with bloodbaths and communal riots between Hindus and Muslims. The first one started in the 1960s over the clashes arising between the Ganpati Visrajan and Muharram processions. Since then Malegaon hasn't looked back from its steady march toward communalism.

However, the city once used to be a great textile center, which consequently was the only link between Hindus, who supplied the raw materials, and the Muslim, who were the weavers.

After a riot in 2001, which resulted after the police firing on the post-9/11 'Hail Osama' demonstration, any pretense of Hindu-Muslim amity disappeared. Hindus moved out of Muslim dominated neighborhoods while Muslims shifted out of Hindu mohallas. Now both the communities live on opposite sides of a filthy river called Mausam.

Further, the downfall of the textile industry left unemployed youths, Muslim youths that is, with no avenues but to do dirty, but paying, jobs for the conservative Islamic organizations, many with divisive and terror agendas. The town took no time in becoming synonymous with acronyms like SIMI, LetT, and RDX.

Malegaon's reputation is now so badly ruined that families from other towns think twice before marrying their daughters to families living there.

Only One Conclusion

No one will grieve long for the innocent dead of Malegaon. No politician will introduce schemes to improve the living standards of this wretched city. No effort will be made to turn this Muslim-majority urban disaster into a successful model town. Nothing concrete will be done to get this city, and this country, out of its Hindu-Muslim tragedy. No one cares - be it a secular or a communal government.

India, and all of us Indians, stand disgraced.

BJP's Dirty Underbelly Exposed, Once Again - Tragedy at Ujjain

While the Bharatiya Janata Party - the custodian of the great Indian culture - is busy devising schemes to force the unpatriotic Muslims sing Vande Mataram or else leave the country, its students' wing showed what the values of Sangh Parivar really stand for.

BJP's Doings in the Heart of the Nation

Guru Brahma Guru Vishnu Gurudeva Maheshwara
Guru Sakshat Para Brahman
Tasmay Sri Guruve Namah

[The Teacher is Brahma, Vishnu, Shiva,
The Teacher is the Eternal Supreme Being
We offer our salutations to the Teacher]

A Vedic Chant

In the holy city of Ujjain, situated in the heart of India where stands the presiding shrine of the great Maha Kaleshwar, the barbarian tendencies of BJP were again in their most sinister display.

The tragedy took place in Madhav College which was holding its students' union elections. Professor Harbhajan Singh, few months short of retirement, was supervising the proceedings. Apparently, there were irregularities and the elections were cancelled. This agitated a group of students belonging to the Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP) - the student wing of BJP - who mobbed the professor and started abusing and threatening him. The verbal assaults later transformed into physical blows. The professor, who had recently undergone a bypass surgery, collapsed and died.

On hearing the news of Professor's death, the principal of the college suffered a cardiac arrest. He is recovering in an Ujjain hospital.

BJP - A Party with Indian Values?

BJP is a political party that claims to be the spokesperson for Indian values and traditions. While it would be extremely difficult to define what exactly constitute Indian culture, there could be no argument that every culture in the world expects a healthy respect for teachers and instructors. In India it is said that a teacher is bigger than even God since it is the former who explains the students about the greatness of the latter.

Ujjain is in Madhya Pradesh, a province ruled by BJP. So far there has only been one arrest following the murder of the college professor.

Nobody must be surprised.

Till the time of writing this post, there has been no word from the culturally-sensitive BJP leadership. BJP President Rajnath Singh who was so quick in asking Muslims to leave if they could not sing Vande Mataram is mum and quiet.

It's top leaders like LK Advani were busy giving wedding blessings to Rahul Mahajan - the Rahul Gandhi of the saffron party - who, perhaps in the best traditions of Indian culture, was caught drinking champagne the night before immersing his father's ashes in Brahamaputra.
These events render it sensible to wonder at the moral hollowness of this party.

Is It Unfair to Only Target the Saffron Party?

If it were the Congress activists who had killed a college professor; if it was a Congress scion caught snorting, it wouldn't have been news.

Do not mistake. Congress, too, is a political party with numerous grey areas. It exploits Muslims. It is corrupt to the core. It insults democracy itself by being slave to the Nehru-Gandhis. But other than banning dance bars here and Salman Rushdie novels there, it never pretends to be morally indignant as to dictate Indians about what exactly constitute their culture. At least, not in the extremist style of the BJP.

It is the BJP which advocates itself as the propagator of cultural nationalism and so it becomes perfectly valid to particularly point it out in the blame games.

The so-called Bhartiya Parampara and the Private Lives of the BJP Wallas

It is wrong to conjecture about the personal lives of the politicians but BJP leaders could not be granted this amnesty. Since they are always so eager to define Bhartiyata and feels so responsible and self-important in ordering Indians as to what they should think, which films they ought to watch, what dresses they ought to wear, what morals they need to follow, what history to read, it is encumbering for them to stick to the most clichéd, sometimes most regressive aspects of what is generally assumed to be the great Indian culture.

But they do not.

So, there is Maneka Gandhi who had publicly fought and humiliated her mother-in-law. So, there is Sadhvi Uma Bharati (a former BJP leader who recently launched a new party claiming it represents the true values of BJP) who lives, as she herself once put it, under the same roof as Govindacharya. So, there is the bachelor AB Vajpayee whose adopted daughter, with a startling resemblance to him, once insisted Mahesh Bhatt to make a film on her and her father. So, there is the RSS leader Sanjay Joshi who was literally caught with his pajamas down in a secretly-recorded DVD (of course, he was later, very conveniently, given a clean chit by the BJP-ruled Madhya Pradesh government). So, it had its close ally Bal Thackeray once showing off his immortal toilet bowl in his Matoshree residence where popstar Michael Jackson had gracefully consented to pee. Then there were the colorful tales of the late Pramod Mahajan who was killed by his own brother. The list is endless. But this post has already grown tasteless so this blogger will stop here.

But remember, the BJP is the biggest hypocrite today.

Vande Mataram.

Fiction: Satire: I'm a Hindu and I Believe All Muslims are Terrorists

I repeat: I'm a Hindu and I believe all Muslims are terrorists and murderers.

It is half-past seven in the morning. I have just woken up. I slither my hands under my briefs for my morning masturbation. What is this! I can not feel my foreskin! It is missing. It was there when I had gone to sleep last night. I look all over the bed, under the sheets, but it is nowhere. I climb down and feel the floor under the bed with my hands but there is only dust. Where is my foreskin? I open the cupboard but close it back since my foreskin could not have walked by itself.

Suddenly I see my face in the mirror. The reflection staring back at me does not look like me. I had no beard! Till yesterday! But now I have one - a wild bush of thick, long, wiry, black hairs, looking so filthy as if they have not been shampooed since a long time. I am looking ferocious and am scared of myself. I peer closer to the mirror. There is a half-moon mark on my forehead.
What is happening?

I am worried now. I take out my notepad to jot down my anxieties, as I always do in stressful situations. But my hands are not behaving like my hands! They are moving strangely. Instead from left side to the right, my hand is writing from right to left. Oh, my fingers! My fingers are forcing the pen to draw signs and symbols of sinister shapes - all slashes and swords. What script is it? It is Arabic! But how am I able to read it? How do I understand the language so perfectly? Oh, I'm even thinking in Arabic! But I had never read Arabic before. I had never studied it even.

I am shaken. I pick up the phone and dial my girlfriend's number. As she receives the call, 'Allah Ho Akbar' blabbers out of my tongue. I put off the phone.

Allah oh Akbar?

Oh Allah!
No! I mean 'Oh God'.

No! Oh Allah.

Have I become a Muslim?

Am I in a nightmare?

I go out. I know the people in this apartment complex. I had rented this one-room flat, with a kitchenette and a small balcony, around fifteen months back. But no one is recognizing me. The three school-going daughters of my first floor neighbor look strangely at me. I smile at the retired widower in Flat No. 121 but he scowls back at me. I do not know what to do. I decide to go and sit in the park which lies on the other side of the boundary wall.

A cop comes and nods his head at me. He asks my name and enquires why I am sitting on the bench. This makes me angry. I was never asked such a question before. I shoot back saying, "I bear witness that there is no god but Allah and I bear witness that Muhammad is the messenger of Allah '. The cop stares hard at me, nods his head understandably, and leaves.

Feeling rejuvenated by a sudden rush of masculinity, I walk back into my apartment complex and choosing a flat randomly, knocks at its door. An old lady in a sari appears and glancing at my sight quickly shuts the door. She shouts in a panicked voice from behind the door informing that there is no one at home. Foolish, intolerable woman! I tell her to stop worshipping stone idols and bow to Allah instead.

As I turn, I see a young man formally dressed in a navy-blue tie, white full-sleeve shirt and grey trousers going out, presumably to his office. I know him. He is a Hindu, an engineer working in a software firm in the suburbs. We had passed many evenings together, drinking whiskey and discussing the Muslim problem and that how India should follow the Israeli method in combating Islamic terrorism.

I am now filled with rage thinking of my pre-Islam days. I go to him and ask if he knew me, or like everyone else can no longer recognize me. This Hindu man looks with unrestrained repulsion at me and shakes his head. Keeping a check on my emotions, I request him to give me five minutes of his time. The man is puzzled, appears irritated, checks the time at his wrist watch and wonders loudly how the guards allowed me inside the apartment. This infuriates me and I slap him. I tell him that Muslims are being killed everywhere, in Kashmir, in Iraq, in Chechnya, in Palestine, in Lebanon, and that one day we Muslims will have our revenge against the Zionist-Indian-American conspiracy that wants to destroy all the Muslim people.

The Hindu man, like all Hindus, is scared and quickly goes back to from where he was coming.
I climb up the stairs. My head is feeling hazy with confusion and my mind is full of hatred for all the non-Muslims of the world. But I'm also feeling thankful to Allah that he circumscribed me in the middle of the night and made me a Musslamaan. If only he would have circumscribed all these people, too.

But why did Allah only did it to me? I wonder. Could it be that he has some objective for me in his mind? Does he want to realize some noble purpose for the sake of Islam through me? Am I to be the instrument of the attainment of his holy purpose? Overwhelmed with gratitude, I am determined not to disappoint Allah. I love Allah. He is my master. I can do anything for him.

I can even kill for him.

My musings come to an abrupt death by the sound of footsteps from behind. I stop to give way to two young girls. They are in short skirts and sleeveless tops. The Satan flashing in the shameful flesh of their naked legs and arms is trying to tempt me. I shut my eyes close and turn my face to the other side. Prostitutes! I'm filled with contempt.

The girls have left me shaking. There are no Muslims in this complex. It is disgusting. It is a Jahilya world. They all are Kaafirs here. They have to die. Suddenly it is revealed to me. I am appointed to kill them all. This is the great task Allah has chosen for me.

But how will I proceed with it? I have not even killed a goat in my life? I comfort myself believing if Allah converted me to Islam (albeit late in life), he will also provide the means to carry out his task.

I walk back to my flat. I pick up a large Swiss knife, lying on the gas range in the kitchen, and turn it around repeatedly. I press the thumb of my right hand into its sharp edge. The blood seeps out. I lick it.

As I'm going out to kill all the Kaafirs living in this building, I am surprised to find a man sleeping on my bed. He looks familiar but I can not remember where I had seen him. He is stark naked. His foreskin, pitifully covering his penis, is the proof of his despicable unMuslimness. I quietly approach him. Bringing my knife close to his sleeping face, I murmur 'Allah Ho Akbar' and slit his throat.

I wake up in pain. There is a terrible sharp feeling in my neck. Blood is gashing out of it in spurts. I'm writhing in agony. My arms are flaring. I cry but no voice comes out. Suddenly there is darkness....

The Dark Age of Narendra bin Laden

It is the worst of times; it is the bleakest of times. It is the age of evil; it is the age of the devil. It is the mayhem of Hindutva; it is the terror of Islam. It is the season of riots; it is the season of blasts. It was during the spring of Godhara; it was during the fall of Manhattan. There is something rotten in the state of Gujarat. There is something rotten in the state of Islam. It is the democratic reign of Narendra Modi. It is the undemocratic reign of Osama bin Laden.

Muslims Ask Narendra Modi; Jews Query Osama bin Laden

"If you prick us, do we not bleed? if you tickle us, do we not laugh? If you poison us, do we not die? And if you wrong us, shall we not revenge?"
The Merchant of Venice (Act III, Scene I)

On Narendra Modi's Gujarat Vaibhav Dreams; On Osama bin Laden's Khalifate Dreams

"Like not fair terms and a villain's mind".
The Merchant of Venice (Act I, Scene III)

Narendra Modi Exploits Hindutva; Osama bin Laden Abuses Islam

"The devil can cite Scripture for his purpose".
The Merchant of Venice (Act I, Scene III)

The Rise of Narendra Modi after Gujarat Riots; The Rise of Osama bin Laden after 9/11

"Some rise by sin, and some by virtue fall".
Measure for Measure (Act II, Scene I)

The Ideology of Narendra Modi; The Ideology of Osama bin Laden

"Fair is foul, and foul is fair".
Macbeth (Act I, Scene I)

When Narendra Modi Goes to Akshardham; When Osama bin Laden Bows to Mecca

"And thus I clothe my naked villanyWith odd old ends stol'n out of holy writ,And seem a saint, when most I play the devil."
King Richard III (Act I, Scene III)

Narendra Modi and Osama bin Laden - A Common Portrait

"O villain, villain, smiling, damned villain!"
Hamlet (Act I, Scene V)

Conversations With A Muslim Lady from Delhi

[Mrs Falak Khan is a young wife with two children. She lives in Gaffar Manzil, Jamia Milia Islamia - a Muslim-populated locality of New Delhi. The interview was done in Hindi.]

Falak, what is the meaning of your name?

Aasmaan. Sky. It is an Arabic word.

You are an Indian Muslim woman. Do you feel victimized in this country?

Don't you think that there are occasions when you are discriminated because of your name ... because of your religion?

Never. My daughter, Aital, is in the IVth standard. She was earlier studying at Summerfield School. I wanted her admission at KR Mangalam World School which is one of Delhi's best. Aital was a topper. She was instantly admitted to Mangalam. I know this happened because she was very good in her studies. We did not resort to any bribe. We did not depend on any sifarish [recommendation] by any influential person. Aital is a Muslim and there was no trouble.

So, you feel Muslims are not discriminated, after all?

Mayank, in India, if you are good, nobody can stop you. Isn't filmstar Shahrukh Khan a Muslim? What about (India's former cricket captain) Azharuddin? He is also a Muslim.

Then why are Muslims so backward? Why are they so uneducated?

It is because they don't study much. Schools are there but they don't send their children there. They are also very poor. They are tempted to put their children into work for extra income. Since parents are not educated themselves, they do not realize that a good education could change the lives of their children.

Falak, tell me about yourself. About your family, your husband, your childhood, your education.

(Smiles) ...From where to start? Ok. I'm from Kaimganj. It is a small town in North India. Papamian, my father, is a landlord there. Our great-grand father's grand father had come from Afghanistan and had settled there.

You are from Afghanistan? That is very exotic!

I'm from India. So I was saying that there are about two dozen Pathan families in Kaimganj. India's former President Zakir Hussain too hailed from Kaimganj. We are the two most renowned families there. We are distantly related, too.

Where did you do your education from?

I did my schooling in Kaimganj itself - in a all girls' school there. Later, I completed graduation in Political Science and Sociology from Aligarh Muslim University.

Being a young Muslim girl, do you think you had to face restrictions? How did your father let you live in Aligarh? Away from home?

There was no problem. Papamian wanted all of us four brothers and sisters to have good education. And then I lived in a girl's hostel in Aligarh. But now when I remember, there indeed were restrictions for being a Muslim girl. There were fifty advices of what-to-do and not-to-do once in Aligarh. And we were not allowed to visit the homes of our girl friends there. Dupatta (a scarf or covering for the head and upper body worn by women) was very important. We just could not go out without a dupatta. Our lives revolved around it. However inside the hostel, we were relatively free. We could even wear jeans!

Your description sounds so normal. It could be the life of any Indian girl. The general impression among the non-Muslims is that Muslim girls live behind black burqas and that their life is very tough. Perhaps you are an exception.

Well, I don't know. But yes, there are problems. Sometimes our religion comes in between. It restricts us. Sometimes there is confusion because of this. We get scared if we could be doing anything wrong. That it might be at variance with our religion. My younger sister wanted to be a dancer. She even wanted to become an actress. But Papamian did not allow it.

What about purdah?

It is a religious thing. But we are not forced to wear purdah. My husband has no problems. I go to gym, exercise on treadmill at home, and go for evening walks. It's fine. But when we go to Kaimganj, there things are different. If we go out there, we have to wear a chaddor. However now customs are relaxing. You know what Mayank: In Kaimganj, we do not feel comfortable outside without a chaddor...

Was yours an arranged marriage?

Yes, of course. (Laughs)

But were you consulted?

Yes if I would not have liked Avsaar Mian, my parents would had dropped the idea and looked elsewhere. But I liked him. He is very nice. I can shout at him for ever and ever but he has never raised his voice at me. Inshaallah.

Your life may be different, perhaps because you come from a wealthy family. But what about the general condition of Muslim women? Do you know a recent survey has revealed that only one in 101 Muslim women in India is a graduate?

Is it so? Very bad. But Islam doesn't stop women from doing all sorts of things. Take that famous bar dancer from Bombay - Tarannum. And then there is Tennis star Sania Mirza. And take me - a house wife. We all are Muslims. Only your religion can not define the life you chose for yourself.

What do you feel when you hear about the bomb blasts? It is believed that the Bombay blasts were carried out by Muslims. Do you think they could be justified?

I feel very bad. When I see all those dead bodies on TV ... Mayank, how can you distinguish a Muslim or a Hindu from those dead bodies? I feel terrible. That somebody somewhere must be waiting for those dead people ... it is horrible.

I still remember Rupin Katyal. You know him? He was a honeymooner who was killed during the plane hijacking by Muslim terrorists. I cried when he was shot dead by the hijackers. I know if I would have been in that plane, I would have prayed, pleaded, and impressed those terrorists with my knowledge of Koranic verses and would have bought the plane back with all the passengers alive and safe. My heart still bleeds for that poor man, and his parents and widow.

When terrorist events take place, what is your first feeling? Do you think that 'oh now we Muslims will again be blamed', or something on those lines?

I just feel sick. Kasam Khuda ki. (I swear on Allah) My only plea to terrorists is to please stop all this. We are scared. I'm afraid even while going to cinema theatres. What if something happens to my children? How could a bomb planted by Islamic terrorists know that my son is a Muslim?

[After a pause]

Evertime a blast happens, accusations are pointed towards Pakistan-based terrorists, and then it is the turn of us Muslims. Why are we accused for their actions? It is so insulting. I feel so humiliated.

Hundreds of Muslims were killed in the Gujarat riots of 2002. Some people say that terror attacks like what happened in July 2006 in Bombay were a reaction to it. Muslims were not getting justice. So they were humiliated and they took revenge by killing Hindus.

Mayank, tell me how could you imagine that I might get any satisfaction by watching the dead bodies of Hindus on my TV?

My son's best friend is a Hindu. His name is Ankush. He makes our life terrible by calling Arbaaz at all the odd hours and talking non-stop for hours and hours. Can I derive satisfaction if Ankush is killed in a bomb blast?

How could I be happy by the killing of Hindus? What sort of a question is this? My best friend till the Vth standard was a Hindu. Her name was Anita. I still remember her. We were very close friends. I even used to get her clothes stitched from our family tailor. How can I hate Hindus? You are a Hindu yourself, Mayank. Why will I talk to you if I dislike them? How can I get pleasure by Anita's husband being killed by terrorists?

[Here we are joined by Khaleda Begum, Falak's mother, who is visiting from Kaimganj]

Falak: Mayank, here is Ammi (mother). You must talk to her. Her youth was very different.

In what way? Were you discriminated? Were the rules harsher in your time?

Falak: Mayank, she was very beautiful when young. A real diamond!

[Khaleda Begum laughs]

Khaleda Begum: Son, if my parents were not my own mother and father, I would have gone on cursing them till the end of my life. They did not let me study. All I wanted was education. But even to mention the word 'school' in front of our father was sin.

Oh, tell me about your life. How were you raised?

Khaleda Begum: It was very bad. We were locked inside purdah. We could not go out. We had to stay home all the time. Even if we had to go to meet relations, which was rare, we had to go in a tonga that had a purdah draped all around it. It was terrible. All we did was stay at home and talk about wedding proposals.

Did you see your husband before marriage?

Khaleda Begum: No. We were not allowed to.

Oh, that's sad.

Khaleda Begum: But he was a distant relative so I knew about him. It was not bad. I'm very lucky.

Tell me more. What did your parents think of Hindus? That Hindus are bad people? One must not sit with them? One must not mingle much with them? That they were Kafirs?

Khaleda Begum: Rubbish. Nothing like that. I never heard any bad thing being said about Hindus. My maika [mother's home] is in Lalpur. We used to live, and still live, surrounded by Hindus. We have some close relations with some of the Hindu families there.

And what is this about not sitting with Hindus, Mayank son. Aren't I sitting with you? My sister-in-law is a Hindu. Many years back I had certain silly notions about Hindus. But when (sister-in-law) Rekha came and when she started drinking water from my glass, I gave no second thoughts of using her used glass, too. Where's the difference?

Khaledaji and Falak, what do you think about the present environment? Isn't it has grown ugly? Isn't there a deep divide between Hindus and Muslims, now?

Khaleda Begum: It is all because of the politicians. They all are bad.

[After a pause]

Falak: Mayank, the problem with Hindus is they do not think deep. They think every bearded man with a skull cap is a terrorist. They do not understand that these are merely the symbols of our religion. Do you look upon every turbaned Sikh as Khalistani supporter?


Falak: Then why is it with our case? Hindus just do not know anything about us. Mayank, I know everything about Hindu rituals. I'm familiar with every little ceremony in their marriages. But I'm sure that if you query Hindu women about rituals in Nikah (Muslim wedding), they would be tongue tied.

Khaleda Begum: I really like some of their festivals, like Raksha Bandhan (a Hindu festival for borthers and sisters). It has nothing to do with Hindus or Muslims. It is all about heart.
Falak: If only Hindus know more about us, they will change their opinions.

Khaleda Begum: But Mayank son, you must also write that I do not view people as Hindus or Muslims. If I'll see a Muslim child and a Hindu child falling off from a cliff, I will rush to save both of them. I won't go first only to the Muslim. I will save them together.

Why, every time I come to Delhi I take Arbaaz's and Aital's old clothes and give it to the Bhurbhuriyas [Rajasthani gypsy tribes] living in our Kaimganj farm since 5 years. They all are Hindus. So what!

Now a sensitive question: do you cheer for Pakistan, or know anybody who does so in India-Pak cricket matches?

[Both burst into laughter]
Khaleda Begum: Save us from such questions.

But really, what do you think of Pakistan?

Khaleda Begum: We are better in all the respects than Pakistan. There are so many restrictions and control on women there. India is a much better place. Allah be grateful for making me born in India.

Falak: I think their women are too much into makeup and hair-dye. Too modern.

Khaleda Begum: Falak, the place where you took me yesterday evening! Tell that to Mayank.
Falak: We had taken Ammi to Barista coffee shop. She was so shocked to see the girls there.

Khaleda Begum: They were wearing almost nothing. No clothes. No looks. And no clue about education!

But the world is changing. Your grand daughter will roam around in micro minis when she grows up.

Falak: Mayank, in Islam they say: Aurat wohi bakshi jayegi jo sharamgaho ko chhupakar rakhegi. [Loosely translated: Only those women will be rescued who will carefully hide their assets from public gaze.] We believe that those Muslim women who expose their bodies will burn in hell.

In that case I'm nervous for the afterlife of your grand children, Falak.
[We all burst out laughing]

Khaleda Begum: We Muslims say that during the time of resurrection, buildings will be so tall that just looking up will make your topi fall down from your head...

Falak: And each boy will be surrounded by four girls...

It sounds delicious...

[A pause]

Let me change the subject. I see you have a Honda City car parked in your yard. You seem to be very wealthy. Then why are you staying in this locality? Do not misunderstand me please, but when I was coming here I had to cover my nose. The drains are open. It is stinking outside. You can afford to live in a better place. Why here?

Falak: I understand your point. But after so many communal riots we are just too careful. We want to live amongst our co-religionists.

My husband is a builder. Many wealthy people returning from Dubai and Saudi Arabia come to him looking for houses. Their only condition is for a Muslim locality. They have money to buy apartments in posh areas but nobody feels safe any longer.

Falak, any last word you would like to say?

[Long pause]

Mayank, I'm proud of being an Indian. I think Indian Muslims are the best Muslims in the world. Have you ever heard of any terrorist from India being caught in Kashmir? We are the most forward people. Our president is a Muslim.

Please tell for my sake that I do not like Pakistan. Neither have I any desire to go there. I love the freedom here. I love my India.

Thanks for sharing your thoughts.

Do You Know Where The Next Bin Laden Is Coming From?

...FROM superpower-in-waiting India, silly!

All Muslims are not Terrorists, but all Terrorists are Muslims

After the death of more than 200 commuters in the coordinated Mumbai train blasts in July, 2006, the city police in an effort to prove that no stone is being left unturned to catch the culprits raided the shanties and flats of the Muslim ghettos throughout the metropolis. Houses were searched, cupboards were emptied, and mattresses were turned upside down. While the women were spared, the men in the house - fathers, sons, uncles, cousins - were taken to the nearest police station for further interrogation. Almost all of them were later released.

It is believed that Islamist terrorists were behind the blasts and this logic gave a moral license to the country's authorities to put an entire community to suspicion.

Muslims in India

Islam is the second largest religion in India. True. India has the largest number of Muslims after Indonesia. True. Indian Muslims are the only Muslims in the world who are fortunate to repeatedly caste votes in free democratic elections in their native lands. True. Some of India's top film stars are Muslims. True. There have been three Muslim Presidents in India, including the present one. True. India's richest man is a Muslim. True. The Indian whose company manufactures cheap AIDS medicines for the world's poor is a Muslim. True. India's greatest ornithologist was a Muslim. True. Taj Mahal was built by a Muslim. True.

So what's the problem?

Muslim Pie in India

According to the 2001 Census of India, Muslims constitute 13.4% of the country's population. But they account for just 3% of government employees, and an even smaller percentage are employed by private Hindu businesses. Meanwhile, in the cities, 30% of Muslims are illiterate, vs. 19% of Hindus. Literacy rate of Muslims is 59.1, vs. 65.11 of Hindus. Work participation rate is 31.3%, vs. 40.4 of Hindus. The statistics of the Hindus, who constitute more than 80% of the total population, should be kept in perspective while comparing these figures.

Islam in India's Domestic Politics

Muslims are generally sympathetic to the country's apparently secular political parties. They are advised to vote for these parties if they do not wish to be eaten alive by the Hindu fundamentalists, who happen to have a very impressive following in the country.

Sadly, these secular parties have done nothing to lift Muslims from their pothole of primitive madrasa education and abject poverty. They treat Muslims as mere vote banks.

Muslims Not Wanted

Salman Rushdie in his novel The Moor's Last Sigh observed that if somebody hates India, he just needs to destroy Mumbai. We Indians are quite up to the task.

Mumbai is considered to be the most cosmopolitan city of India. In a land where everything is ancient and thousand-years-old, Mumbai stands out as a New World where old identities can be jettisoned to shape a new one. What New York City is to the world, Mumbai is to India. People from all corners and communities of the country are attracted to this dream city for the realization of a better future. Mumbai is said to accept all in its arms.

Do not believe it. It is a myth. If you are a Muslim, no matter how much money you have, you will find it difficult to rent a flat in any respectable middle-class locality. A Muslim in an otherwise-cosmopolitan Mumbai is bound to end up in a ghetto. The story repeats itself in cities like Delhi, too.

Those Dirty Muslims

Muslims are generally deemed by a majority of Hindus as minorities in bigoted nations are usually considered to be: unclean, uneducated, and unpatriotic. But if anyone in the community tries to get himself out from this cliché, he is quickly dumped back to his old place.

So, why not continue to live within the frames of the stereotype picture?

The Culture of Riots

Indian spirit, if vaporized down to its essence, consists of four essentials: Politics, Bollywood, cricket and Hindu-Muslim riots.

According to a 2005 report in the TIME magazine, in all the communal riots since independence, official police records reveal that three-quarters of the lives lost and properties destroyed were Muslim.

It would be seriously biased to only blame the Hindus but it is the Muslim community which always suffers the most.

One of the worst tragedies that could have befallen on independent India was not Mahatma Gandhi's assassination, but the 1992 destruction of the abandoned Babri Masjeed in Ayodhya, which many Hindus believed and still maintains so, was built on the ruins of an ancient temple. The event led to riots breaking out between the Hindus and Muslims throughout the country. Thousands of Indians lost their lives. Muslims were the worst victims. The Hindu fundamentalist leaders who were responsible for this tragedy nevertheless reached to power during the later years. In spite of the blood of innocent people sticking on to their hands, they remain as some of the most respectable politicians today.

Lesson of the story: In India, you could kill innocent Muslim men, rape their women, burn their children and still could become the country's prime minister. A Musslamaan's life, or death, do not matter in this country, where everybody's life is cheap anyways.

Justice to Muslims? No!

When Bombay was still not renamed Mumbai by Hindu conservatives, a riot, as a repercussion of the mosque demolition mentioned above, erupted in the city in 1993. Mr Bal Thackeray, the former cartoonist, was believed to have used his speeches to inflame the 'sentiments' of his thuggish partymen who took up the hint by massacring the Muslims in the streets. The Mussalmans were told to go to Pakistan or else...

More than 1000 innocent Muslims were killed.

One could be sure that some semblance of justice would be delivered to the recent blast victims who happened to be mostly Hindus. Some show of punishment would be accorded, this year, next year, or after fifteen years, to the perpetrators of that heinous attack. But as for the daylight murder of the 1000 Muslims, no justice has been provided yet. There has been not even a single conviction for the murder of thousands of Muslims. Mr Bal Thackeray has meanwhile retired from active politics and is expected to die a respectable natural death.

More Stories of Inhumanity and Injustice

In 2002, the wealthy state of Gujarat witnessed the first live televised riots of Indian history. More than 2000 Muslims were killed in order to avenge the burning of 58 Hindus in a train compartment. The then political party that was governing the state during the time of riots and which had encouraged this massacre was later re-voted to power by the Hindu majority as a thank-you gift for teaching a fitting lesson to those Muslims.

It was like Adolf Hitler being re-elected after the Final Solution by the jubilant Aryan Germans.

The Gujarat government, which markets itself as the icon of Hindu Asmita, had even went so far as to price Muslim lives below those of Hindus, offering Rs 1 lakh in state compensation for Muslims killed but doubling that amount to Rs 2 lakhs for those 58 Hindus.

Besides, the government of that state continues to adopt aggressive postures to deny justice to the Muslim victims of the riot.

If these are not giving reasons to the Islamists terrorist to increase their rank and numbers, then what else could be?

India Shies Away

Following the London subway blasts, the British authorities there prepared a comprehensive study titled Report of the Official Account of Bombings in London on 7 July to find out the conditions and causes which prompted otherwise decent middle-class young Muslim men to carry out terrorist attacks. The effort was not to serve an excuse for the Muslims but to identify the areas that create a breeding ground for such acts.

However India doesn't want this kind of introspection. Any public personality who tries to reason the possibility of violent discrimination against Muslims as a cause for the induction of Muslim men among the Jehadi terrorist groups are instantly hooted as pseudo-seculars, Muslim-appeasing and unpatriotic citizens who are bent on destroying the country's fair name.

It is like as if the country doesn't want to remind itself that its earlier sins could come back to haunt its soul.

Strictly For Dummies - A Chemical Formula for Detecting Terrorism

So, according to the accepted wisdom in India, a train blast is always a terrorist attack. But the killing of innocent people by swords and tridents is not. The Hindu massacring of the Muslims is merely a communal riot, an internal problem. But the Muslim blasting of Hindus is of course one more instance of international terrorism.

Problems simplified.

But the Accepted Wisdom is turning to Reality; Our Muslims are Changing...Now

Indian columnists always boasted that their Muslims are decent and civilized. They do not associate themselves with Al Qaeda. They were not in the 9/11 hijack team. They were never a part of the Talibani barbarians. They were not terrorists.

The country could teat them like a doormat but they would still be tame and loyal like the ugly luckless wife of a philandering man who has nowhere to go.

However, the world is changing, and so are our Muslims. Pakistan could be blamed for every terrorist act taking place in Indian cities but it so happens that educated, English-speaking, computer-literate, Muslim men are nowadays planting the bombs and setting the timers in trains and buses. And they are home-grown Indians. And no, they have never traveled to Pakistan or Afghanistan for indoctrination.

India itself suffices.

The Coming Scare

Indian Muslims have begun to pay attention to bin Laden broadcasts in Al Jazeera. They think he makes sense when he rants about injustice and powerlessness and arrogance of the empires. They look around and they nod their heads understandingly. Muslim children are being killed. Haanji. Islam is in danger. Sahi bola. Muslims are the victims. Haan haan. The roots of the rage are growing right under the bloodied soil of this nation. How True.

Indian passport is destined to be a problem in the airports of the western world. Very soon.


for Insanity - I for Ignorance - I for Islam

"What kind of a god is it that's upset by a cartoon in Danish?"
Salman Rushdie

Prologue: The Muslim Fury and its Impotence

From the ghettos of Bombay to the alleys of Beirut, from the tall minarets of Chittagong to the imposing domes of Birmingham, Islam is scaring the world like a terrifying dinosaur — its fiery tongue lashing out, its eyes red with tears of victimhood, its mind ravaged with the visions of the glories of the past, its whole body seething with rage at its wretched defeated present.

Islam is furious and the entire world is being seared by the flames of its outrage.

Why is Islam Angry?

Mussalmaans have one book. Koran. They should have another, too, detailing all the new legends, stories, and facts which have come to lay siege to the barren landscape of their closed minds.

The brutal stories are too many: Heads still hung down in mourning over the fall of Andalusia. Fists are frustratingly tightened over the unsuccessful Turkish sieges of Vienna. The decadence and fall of the Ottomans hurt like a rotten tooth.

Then there are shameful episodes of the near centuries: The fabled Mughal Empire of Hindustan compressed to present-day pathetic bubbles of Pakistan and Bangladesh, Jerusalem lost, Palestinians dumped, fellow Muslims massacred in periodic Indian riots, myths of Muslim blood coloring the Kashmiri and Chechnya mountainsides red, ungodly Amreekans camping over the holy sands of Mecca-Medina...

The Way They Were

Islam is a religion that once shined in innovation and dazzled the world with its scientific inventions and mathematical discoveries. Remember, algebra derived its name from the Arabic al-jabr, meaning 'the reunion of broken parts'. The great Muslim astronomer Nasir ad-Din at-Tusi wrote the Book of the Transversal Figure, which was the first treatment of plane and spherical trigonometry as independent mathematical sciences.

Edward Gibbons in his fifth volume of The History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire had written that the science of chemistry owes its origin and improvements to the Muslims. The legendary Al Azhar University was founded in Cairo in 970 AD, making it older than Oxford — the oldest institution of higher learning in the English-speaking world.

Islam as a Beggar King

Today Islam resembles the last Mughal emperor of India - Bahadur Shah Zafar - whose writ was not obeyed even with the walls of his own palace in Delhi. He was thin, old, and dying. His skeleton figure, wrapped in unwashed, smelly, but royal kaftans and gowns, was exiled to Rangoon by the British in a buffalo cart!

This is what Islam has evolved itself into - the memories of the golden grandeur of the Past haunting the shameful poverty of the Present. The Muslims know it. They are grieving. They are hurt. They are ashamed.

They blame everybody but themselves for their state.

The Intellectual Retardation of Muhammad's Children

Islam has plummeted to depths of ignorance and backwardness. The first word revealed to Muhamamd was 'read'. Today they just read Koran. There are no great universities any longer in the world of Muslims. There are no invigorating publishing houses. There are no great authors coming from a religion which literally worships a book.

Incidentally, there are no good book shops in Pakistan, Bahrain or Saudia!

The few Islamic countries which are rich owe their wealth to the drilling of oil holes, not because of their people. The despots and kings of those lands waste their easy money in building more palaces and acquiring more jet planes. In the true traditions of the nouveau riche who lapped up fortunes by winning a lottery rather than doing hard work, the money is spent insensibly in a seriously flamboyant fashion.

This oil wealth, apart from being burned in pursuing private pleasures, is generously used to fund uneducated village mullahs to churn out atrocious fatwas, to build ugly tiled minarets in South Asia, to arm mad frenzied minds with bombs and missiles, to supply Korans, more Korans, more and more Korans for children to mug them up in the grimy madrasas of Xingjiang, Abuja, and Bukhara.

The early brilliance of Islam is gone and forgotten. What is left resembles a dog's two-day-old rotting corpse that stinks up an entire neighborhood.

The Complete Muslim Dictionary - Fatwas, Kafirs, and Jehads

The apologists plead that these Koranic terms have been hijacked by people who have no religion. They reason that Jihad does not mean killing people but actually it is all about struggling against evil inside oneself. It is about trying to become a better person.

The endnote being that terrorism has no religion.

No. Terrorism has a religion. People are killed, raped, and burned alive because they belong to this religion or that. The verses, quotes, stories, and legends are selectively lifted by modern day prophets to justify the killings of the people belonging to a different religion.

This is a crisis faced by every religion in the world but Islam, thanks to a surplus of weapons and combustible substances that are amply stockpiled and easily accessible in the regions where it dominates, the murderous frenzy of this faith has become the most damaging and visible.

Islam — A No-Tolerance Zone

The non-Islamic world sees Islam as a group of followers with no tolerance.

They ask why the problem areas of the world chiefly consist of Muslim-populated regions. They ask why Muslims could not live in harmony alongside people not following their faith.

Why did Salman Rushdie have a death fatwa issued against him? Why couldn't he freely roam the streets of Bombay - a city he loves and which has formed the backdrop of almost all his novels?

Why was there such intense fury against the Danish cartoons of Muhammad? Why does Allah seem so angry and his followers so violent?

The Rigidity and Hypocrisy

Do the Islamic societies exploit the free democracies of the rest of the world?

The Muslims happily leave their undemocratic, oil-rich, or oil-poor lands, to pursue happiness and wealth in free liberal countries. They make money, get educated, and are also free to recite Koran and perform five prayers a day. They have their own Friday mosques in their own neighborhoods in these foreign cities.

But their dictators and Imams do not allow the same benefits to non-Muslims in their own societies. There are no churches in Saudia. A non-Muslim cannot visit and attempt to understand the pull and magic of Allah in the al-Haram mosque of Mecca.

Saudia can send missionaries to India, fund Islamic societies there, but Hindus or Sikhs or Christians or Buddhists or Jains or Jews or Parsees in India cannot receive permission to propagate their respective faiths in Medina.

Islam appears to be a religion that has no qualms about using and exploiting other societies but remains reluctant to let it be equally open to outside influences.

Epilogue: Crib Crib Blame Blame

George Bush, Tony Blair, Commie China, Hindoo India
Red Sea, Ariel Sharon, Bloody Serbia

Hezbollah, Hamas, Mujahideen, Jehad
Kashmir, Chechenya, Abu Gharib

Al Sauds, H Bomb, bin Laden, Taliban
Bamiyan, The Koran and I, and The Satanic Verses

Allah, Medina, Muslims get a new Ummah
Hindus, Jews, Christians goodbye

We didn't start the fire
It was always burning
Since the world's been turning
We didn't start the fire


Mr. Narendra Modi In His Own Words

[The following is not a work of fiction. Neither is it a satire. These are real statements of a real Mr. Narendra Modi made in real time in a real world]

"What should we do? Run relief camps for them? Do we want to open baby-producing centers? Hum paanch, humaare pachhees. [We five, our 25]"
This remark was made by Mr. Modi in a speech during his very well received Gujarat Gaurav Yatra in 2002. He was referring to Muslims. According to Mr. Modi, riot-scarred people of the minority community, surviving in refugee camps, were busy having sex. Paanch, pachhees is Mr. Modi's pun on his version of an ideal Muslim family - one man with his 4 fertile wives.

"We have to teach a lesson to those who are increasing population at an alarming rate."
This remark too was made during the same Gujarat Gaurav Yatra. Anybody who is even faintly familiar with views and opinions of Mr. Modi can recognize that this warning was directed towards the same Paanch, pachhees community.

"We brought Narmada waters during Shravan, but the Congress would have wanted it in Ramzan."
Shravan is a Holy Hindu month that often falls on July-August. Ramzan is the ninth month of the Muslim year in which fast is observed from sunrise to sunset. This statement must be seen as another instance of Mr. Modi's tendency to force communal symbology into issues that have nothing to do with religions.

"Is James Michael Lyngdoh from Italy? Or is he helping the Congress President Sonia Gandhi because he is also a Christian?"
During his election campaign for the Gujarat state elections in 2002, Modi was particularly miffed by Chief Election Commissioner JM Lyngdoh. Mr. Lyngdoh was being a minor irritant for continually raising objections to certain parts of Mr. Modi's speeches that were considered to be offensive to Muslims. So Mr. Modi made it a point in his campaign speeches to refer to Mr. Lyngdoh by his full initials of James Michael. All in order to emphasize the religion of Mr. Lyngdoh which did not sound Hinduish.

"With the entire population of Gujarat very angry at what happened in Godhra much worse was expected".
These words of wisdom were said during a press conference on February 28, 2002, a day after the Godhra tragedy when 58 Hindus pilgrims, out of which 40 were women and children, were allegedly burnt alive by a Muslim mob in the S-6 railway coach of the Ahmedabad-bound Sabarmati Express train. What did Mr. Modi imply by 'much worse was expected'? Was it a signal to the rioters? Did it reflect his disappointment in (till-that-time) so low-scale killings? Whatever be his intention, anti-Muslim violence was renewed with a new vigor from the next day onwards.

"We should be happy that curfew has been imposed only at 26 places while there is anger and people are burning with revenge."
These are the words of a Chief Minister of a state that was still reeling under the shock and outrage of the daylight burning of 58 Hindus, and where attack against Muslims, as a form of revenge, had just started taking place . The statement was made a day after the Godhra killings.

"Every action has an equal and opposite reaction."
Mr. Modi applying the balm of Newton's Third Law of Motion on the riot victims of his state, when asked to comment on the unprecedented violence that spread through Gujarat following the Godhra burnings. This statement was made two days after the Sabarmati fire. More than 600 Muslims were killed within two weeks of the Godhra tragedy. And many more, after. Clearly, it was not a replay of the Newton's Law. This must had been Modi's Law of Motion - Every action has an opposite and bigger reaction!

Epilogue: Mr. Narendra Modi may not be very different from various other politicians, but what makes him unique is that he does evil things in broad day-light when the rest have conscience enough to patiently wait for the night to proceed with their sinister schemes. True, there are still some, like the Gujarat Chief Minister, who are too shameless to depend on the cover of darkness, but they usually linger on the fringe lines of our political map. However Mr. Modi happens to be a popular, mass politician which makes him altogether more dangerous. But India is a strong entity and will survive him, as it has others whose samadhis now litter the memorials.

Narendra Modi's Little Saffron Book

[The following are excerpts from the soon-to-be-published The Little Saffron Book. This condensed collection of Narendra Modi quotes - taken from his speeches, interviews and books - has an introduction by L K Advani]

"Hindus of Gujarat, unite and defeat the Mussalmaan Mullahs and all their four wives! Hindus of Gujarat, be courageous, and dare to fight, be brave, and defy decency and humanity; advance wave upon wave like Ravan's rakshasas. Then the whole Gujarat will belong to Hindus. Mussalmaans of all kinds shall be destroyed."

Statement Supporting the Municipality of the Vadodara City Against the Muslim Aggression (May 5, 2006).

"The richest source of power to wage war lies in the masses of Hindus. It is mainly because of the submissive state of the Hindus that Mussalmaans dare to bully us. When this defect is remedied, then the Mullah aggressor, like a mad bull crashing into a ring of flames, will be surrounded by hundreds of millions of our people standing upright, the mere sound of their voices will strike terror into him, and the Mullah will be burned to death."

On Planned Riots (May 2003), Selected Works, Vol. II, p. 186.

"What is a true bastion of Shakti? It is the Indian masses, the millions upon millions of people who genuinely and sincerely support Hindutva. That is the real Shakti, which is impossible for any force on earth to smash. The Aamir Khans of the world cannot smash us; on the contrary, we shall smash them. Rallying millions upon millions of people round my government and expanding our holy war, we shall wipe out all the pseudo-secularists and take over the whole of India."

Excerpt of a Speech Made on the Successful, Complete and Absolute Conclusion of a Ban on the Film Fanaa in the Theatres of Gujarat (May 28, 2006).

"The secularists are bullying us in such a way that we will have to deal with them seriously. Not only must we have a powerful, regular and a more violent Bajrang Dal, we must also organize contingents of the ladies-only Durga Vahini on a big scale. This will make it difficult for the secularists to move a single inch in our Gujarat in case of an anti-Mussalmaan genocide, an event which is not very far."

Interview with the Saamna Newspaper (September 29, 2004).

"Without preparedness, a communal riot is not a real pogrom and there can be no final solution either. Having grasped this point, it is good to remember that while making a list of Mians and their Begums in their across-the-'border' Pakistani mohallas, care must be taken to accomplish the task without attracting much notice. The dogs must not be warned of their terrible ends."

Strategies for Genocides and Other Experiments in Rwanda (May 1938), Selected Works, Vol. II, pp. 165-66.

"The communal riot is a war of the Hindus; it can be successfully waged only after enlisting the support of the police force and relying on them to wage it."

Be Concerned with the Manipulation of the Masses, Pay Attention to Methods of Murder (January 27, 2002), Selected Works, Vol. I. p. 147.

"Democracy is one of the ways to be cleverly employed and manipulated to struggle for a just, absolute, pure Mussalmaan-less society."

Talk with Prabhu Chawala in Seedhi Baat, Aaj Tak TV Channel (August 2004).

"The Bhartiya Janata Party of Gujarat, having made a clear-headed appraisal of the national and state-level situation on the basis of the science of Nazism-Fascism, recognized that all attacks on the non-Hindus in Gujarat have to be launched in the shortest possible time. If some Mussalmaans still have guts to live here with their countless hordes, we only have to stop doing any dealings with them."

The Present Situation and Our Tasks (December 25, 1997), Selected Shakha Writings, 2nd ed., p. 347.

"If a single Mussalmaan attack us and if the conditions are favorable for battle, we will certainly act in self-defense to wipe him off and all the people of his wretched community resolutely, thoroughly, wholly and completely (we do not strike rashly, but when we do strike, we must win). We must never be cowed by the bluster of English-speaking secularists.."

On Peace Negotiations with Pakistan - Circular of the Central Committee of the Bhartiya Janata Party of Gujarat (August 26, 2001)

"As far as the massacre of Hindus by terrorists in Kashmir is concerned, those Islamic militants, in spite of belonging to the enemy civilization, are like our brothers-in-arms. They provide us an opportunity, reason, and excuse to kill the Maulavis of Ahmedabad."

Talk with the Harvard University Proffessor Samuel Phillips Huntington (August 1946), Foreign Affairs Magazine

Vadodara Violence, May 2, 2006 - It's Easy to Burn a Mussalmaan

His name was Mohammedrafiq Abdulgani Vora. He was a Mussalmaan. He was burnt alive sometime during the late hours of May 2, 2006 by a mob of around 1500 people in the Gujarati town of Vadodara.

Mr Vora was a transport contractor and was returning home from his work place, Gujarat Refineries, when his car was surrounded by a chanting crowd of Hindus which later burnt him to death.

Six people have been killed in violence since Labour Day when a Vadodara Municipal Corporation demolition drive demolished the over 200-year-old Rashidudin Chisti-ni-Dargah in the Fatehpura area of the walled city.

God! Godhara wounds are still fresh and they still hurt; and once again a similar tragedy is being repeated. I want to cry. That same fear is creeping again into my body. I'm terrified. I love this country but what is happening to it? How can people do such a terrible thing?

Why did they kill that man? Why did they burn him alive? If there was no option, couldn't they have first swiftly cut his throat with a Rampuri knife, and put him on fire only after he was dead and safe? At least it would had been less painful that way for Mr Vora.

But how could they do it in the name of God? What upbringing did they receive? What values were instilled in them by their parents?

How did it all happen?

Of course they must have first spotted that man while he was inside his car (what car model it was?) driving towards their direction. But how did they make out that he was a Mussalmaan?

Was his name, Mohammedrafiq Abdulgani Vora, tattooed on his forehead? If it really was, was it visible from a distance? Or did they first force him out of his car and unzipp him to check if he was uncircumcised or not? And after confirming that he indeed was a katua, what did they do next? Pushed him back, locked the car and poured kerosene? Or perhaps he had a Mullah-like beard and that helped identify him as a Muslim? Could it be that they first requested him for his ration card? Or for his driving license? To find out his religion by his name!

What was the next plan of action after torching the car? Did a silence envelope the mob as it watched the 'bloody mullah' writhing and crying in pain while his skin was peeling off his flesh? Did the brightness of the flames glisten in the furious eyes of the mob? Did they feel the sensation of heat due to the raging fire? Did they fall back a little from the car to save themselves from the untrustworthy flames?

Were they smiling a contended smile as Mr Vora's flesh started turning white? Or were they chanting? If yes, what were they chanting? Om? Bam Bam Bhole? Jai Shri Ram?

Or did they make human chains in concentric circles and dance around the burning car?

Imagine the last moments in the life of late Mr Mohammedrafiq Abdulgani Vora.

Difficult? Ok, imagine a crowd of 1500 people surrounding you. Can't believe it happening to you? Ok, I'll imagine it for you: I'm a Hindu and what would I go through if I am surrounded by thousands of blood thirsty Mussalmaans screaming for my death just because I do not belong to their religion! And then they tie me in my seat belt and empty a medium-sized plastic box filled with petrol over me. Then some smoker among those Muslims thoughfully offers his cigarette lighter to the mob leaders while I'm crying and screaming all the time.

What will be my last words? Surely not 'Mummy Papa'! I think I'll be crying Please mujhe chhor do. And then I will be burned alive. I will then perhaps think of nothing but experience an intolerable horrifying unimaginable burning sensation pulsuating throughout my being.

Oh God Oh God Oh God!

What sort of people were in that crowd of 1500 murderers? What were their profiles? Frustrated slum dwellers? Unemployed youths? Small time traders? Young lampoons from Vishwa Hindu Parishad and Bajrang Dal? Were there senior citizens too? Was the gathering graced by the presence of empowered women cadres of the famed Durga Vahini? Were they accompanied by children? Did those children dance with innocent glee the instant that the Muslim's Mullah-like beard caught fire?

Was somebody also teasing the burning Mr Vora by calling him 'Osama bin Laden', 'Osama bin Laden'?

It is early morning as I'm writing this piece and not even 12 hours have passed since the burning of that Mussalmaan. What are all those people that made that killer mob doing now?

Right now it is 9:33 AM (Vadodara time). Are they having their breakfast? What is the menu for today? Aloo Poori and Jalebis dipped in chilled milk (without sugar)? Or are they watching news headlines on Aaj Tak? Perhaps they are getting their children ready for school? They could even be reciting Lanka Kand verses from Ramayana.

What were these people thinking when they brushed their teeth this morning? Did they look back on the last night's events with satisfaction? Did they think of Mr Vora? His family? Can it be that some of them have started feeling a bit guilty?

On what burning topic did their thoughts dwell on while they were shitting? By the way do these people use Indian pot or the western style toilet for shitting? Will they now go to their respective offices and work on the files? Will the ladies observe a 'thank-you fast' today?

What will they do tonight? Have sex? Watch Kumkum on Star Plus? Till they are again called out for an emergency!

And what should I do?

Oh damn oh damn oh damn oh damn!