Why are Hindus trying to prove that they can become ISIS-like extremists: Taslima Nasreen

Activists of Bajrang Dal during a bike rally
(Representational image) Activists of Bajrang Dal during a bike rally in Jammu, India. Photo by Nitin Kanotra/Hindustan Times via Getty Images

This is the kind of politics that divided India once, and may divide India again, writes author Taslima Nasreen.

I have not watched how terrorists hacked to death the Bangladeshi freethinkers Abhijit, Bijoy, Washikur, Deepan.

But I have seen how Shambhulal brutally murdered Afrazul in Rajasthan, courtesy his nephew’s video on the internet. The murder-video was broadcast on the internet, just like ISIS does. ISIS knows that in their strongholds in Syria, no police will come to arrest them. Shambhulal probably also thought that no one would punish him.

Both kindness and savageness exist inside human beings. Some people mute the savage in them, others the kindness.

Shambhulal does not suffer from mental illness. He was cold and composed while he hacked Afrazul to death. But what was Afrazul’s fault? He is a poor man from a poor village in West Bengal. Many from his native village come to Rajasthan and other states as labourers. Afrazul was almost 50 years old, and he was not falsely enticing a Hindu-woman to marriage or converting her.

Friends of Shambhulal have said that the he used to love a Hindu woman but that woman had a relationship with another Muslim man. However, that man was not Afrazul. This woman once ran away with her Muslim lover to West Bengal and Shambhulal went after them to bring her back. Apparently, he got beaten up by some Bengali Muslim workers there.

Many women ran off from Shambhulal’s village and married Muslim men. Some say Shambhulal killed the first Muslim man he got his hands on and killed him to instill fear in Muslim men who marry Hindu women to convert.

The question is: how did Shambhulal gain this ISIS-like courage? Are there other people like him, who support his opposition to Muslims? He assumed he wouldn’t be condemned, but praised.

When I criticised the brutal murder-video on Twitter, many people rose up to support him. Earlier when I condemned gau rakshaks beating innocent Muslims to death, I faced similar ire from the Hindus. They threatened me that I must not utter a single word against Hindus while sitting in India. If I don’t appreciate Hindu culture and traditions, then I should leave the country at once.

Intolerance is at its peak now. I have discussed irrational Hindu rituals and oppression of women earlier but never received such threats. For me, humanity, equality, liberty and generosity have always been greater than any religion. Because I have criticised one specific religion does not mean that I like all other religions.  If religious notions do not change with time, religion will continue to be intolerant. Then people will have to discard religion for humanity, or cleverly assimilate humanity into religion.

The more religious intolerance increases in India, the more the non-religious people are hated and anti-women sentiments celebrated. This is why the release of Padmavati was stopped or people who kill Muslims for eating beef can enjoy impunity. Or why the people who murdered Kalburgi and Gauri Lankesh cannot be traced.

I do not want to accept this changed India and I hope these changes are temporary.

Popular television channels or newspapers treated Shambhulal’s murder and the video like it was just another everyday murder. But it was not. ISIS terrorists wear masks when they kill, Shambhulal did not.

The point of the video is that Muslims can be killed easily. They can be killed because they invaded India, destroyed temples and plundered villages, converted Hindus, took over a Hindu land and ruled over Hindus. And now, they have commenced ‘love jihad.’ Muslim men are apparently faking love to marry Hindu women and converting them to Islam. This is what Shambhulal wants to stop. He will not let Hindu women marry Muslim men under any circumstance.

In opposition to ‘love jihad’, Hindus are doing their own ‘ghar wapsi’ where Muslims should leave behind Islam and accept Hinduism as their faith. Both ‘ghar wapsi’ and ‘love jihad’ are equally deplorable ideas and true love between a Hindu-Muslim couple should not be denied or made the subject of humiliation.

However, the question is: why should Afrazul pay for the mistakes of Muslim invaders in the past?

On 6 December, 1992, after Hindu fundamentalists destroyed the Babri Masjid, Muslim fundamentalists in Bangladesh took revenge by burning down a Hindu temple. Why did innocent Hindus in Bangladesh pay for the crimes of the Hindu fundamentalists in India? And those who think innocent Hindus are not responsible for Babri Masjid demolition, do they also think that innocent labourers like Afrazul should not have to pay for Muslim invaders? If people consider this fair, then they believe in divisive politics. This is the kind of politics that divided India once, and may divide India again.

Supporters of Shambhulal want to prove that Hindus too can become extremists like Muslim extremists. Shambhulal may be in jail, but thousands of Shambhulals are walking about free with their anger, disgust, and hatred. How many of these people can be jailed to maintain peace? How many Muslim people can be liberated from their daily fears and apprehensions?

We are all Indians, South Asians — religion, caste, language, history do not constitute our identity. Our love and compassion is our identity.

Taslima Nasreen is a celebrated author and commentator.
(Translated from Bengali by Neera Majumdar)

35 COMMENTS

  1. Unfortunately, the more polarised we are getting, the more violent incidents are increasing.

    There is also a ‘self fulfilling prophecy’ going on….. liberals are openly calling RSS terrorists, telling Hindutva Terrorism is taking over, comparing RSS & Hindutva to ISIS. The more such hyperbolic comparisons are being pushed, more sentimental Hindus feel that being assertive & aggressive (like ISIS) is a way to get our voice heard.

    If I call you a terrorist enough times & treat you like a terrorist, the more I might start fitting the profile.

    This needs to stop from both ends.

  2. Taslima is a person of rare kind who have impartial fair thinking is weaves into their body fabric. Let such persons inhabit the earth at all times.

      • You obviously didn’t read the article or at least didn’t understand it. How do you know this single Muslim abused or disagreed with her in the past? And now you calling him a hypocrite for that you assume but don’t know. It’s not hypocrisy on his part but stupidity on yours. Please read the article and try to understand it. 🙂

      • Do you think one Hindu can represent all the Hindus with their diverse views? Similarly, there are many Muslims who are against fundamentalists in their religion and are giving up their lives fighting them. Many such Muslims must have supported Taslima in past or else she wouldn’t have reached India safely from Bangladesh.

      • Not only Talima, Rushdie, Gauhar Raza, Javed Akhtar etc. who are disliked by muslim fundamentalists are hated by hindu extremists also.

  3. The article is nice. There is a secular thought in that. But the headline itself isn’t a secular one. The headline looks like strongly targeting a particular religion.

    • but sometimes not sometimes actually generally diversity hampers the growth bcoz the many decisions are not taken in favour of nation or people.

  4. i do support u r view but u mention after babri masjid only one temple was destroyed actually it was many more,many hindus were killed and the headline u used is irrational.u call isis activities that this is not islam then why dont u consider what shambhulal did was not the part of hinduism.but u take it in another wat that tells how obessesd u are.

  5. One sided facts, and targeting only one religion on the basis of minor incidents…,sadly,the author is blind to see the whole picture,who is really responsible for whole violence…! No, surprise there is a saying in Telugu “gurivi ginja ki daani kinda vunde nalupu kanapadadu”.(gurivi seed, can’t able to see its own black spot down at its bottom).

    • Anna, Taslima Nasreen strongly opposed fundamentalist Muslims in Bangladesh and has many fatwas that call for her killing because of her stance on Islam. She risked her life opposing fundamental Muslims and took refuge in India to be safe from them.

      She is not targeting Hinduism but the changed atmosphere in which radicals are given a free hand by the present government. Please read a little bit about her.

  6. Omg !!! This is the first time when I am appreciating tasleema’s article … For this article is talking about humanity and it has some sense contained in it.

  7. We should focus on our religion and what our people mentality is.
    We should improve our thinking.It is us who has made aggressive to them.

  8. it seems to be a simple case of jillted lover ………again the same old saga of hindu vs muslim( thnks to britishers). Well u have to be impartial in such situation it could a personal perception of the murderer , a personal revenge but soon it snow balled into hindu aganist muslim.
    Rest author had done very nicely to show hindu as aspiring to be desi-ISIS
    Oh forgot to remide about killing of hindu dalit activist killer by pouring hot oil on him in karnataka ..what shall author call that. Not a national news but still ISIS STYLE KILLING

  9. When they have the Master of Godhara now silently encouraging them into violence of sorts in the country, one should not all be surprised at them becoming like ISIS extremists or even going one up on them,since they want to remain on top of everything they do.This is India Today.

  10. Taslima has been a target herself and still is of this fanaticism.She still lives under the shadow of these extreme elements.
    But this is a new wave of Hindu fundamentalism which is tearing apart India on sectarian grounds.

  11. I agree with Tasleema. The attempts to convert Hindu into extremists will be the undoing of the soul of the Hindu way of life. Hindus have survived last 5000 years or more despite all ups and downs. Let’s keep it as it is.

  12. I believe the concept of Hindu and Muslim should not even cross our minds. When India and Pakistan separated, we decided to be known as Indians and not by some religious or regional group. Shambhulal is a murderer. And ISIS is a terrorist group. And in my opinion a criminal, any criminal at that, does not have a religion. Because NO RELIGION PREACHES HATE. We are the youth of this country… We will lead this country to its success. Our motherland was not called ‘sone ki chidiya’ for no reason. The British did not only rob us of our wealth but also our love towards each other..

    We can not bring back Kohinoor… But we, the youth, can sure as hell bring back the love and brotherhood that we once shared.

    This Hindu/Muslim thing has been going on for ages… and it has not taken us anywhere good.. ITS TIME TO RISE ABOVE ALL THIS.. AND HELP INDIA TO REACH ITS REAL POTENTIAL. I am sure if we all come together, we’ll leave US and China far behind.

  13. Well thought out and a very sad but true article. Sadly this is what is happening now. Just last night over 200 people rioted in support of the killer! Why would anyone support a killer?

  14. Politicians are playing with sentiments so that they can stay in power. This nation is diverse in regio-socio-racial lines. This can never me erased.

  15. Shambhulal brutally murdering Afrazul is a deplorable crime. He has been booked and the law will take its own course. Indian judicial system is fairly good at it albeit a bit slow. Things should be left at that. Muslims protesting for Afrazul, Hindus again love Jihad is of no consequence for a purely criminal act committed by one or two individuals. The author has gone many steps further and linked ISIS like Hindu extremism, intolerance & so forth. It has painted one billion Hindus and a democratically elected government as a villain. I have a lot of respect for the author & consider her to be a brave woman. She is a guest in India. I expect her to contribute positively to Indian Muslim community by addressing social issues like status of women, early marriage of girls, plural marriages, poor education penetration, and high population growth. It would be better than stoking communal issues for publicity. I think she owes so much to her host country.

  16. I totally agree with the author .What our country is becoming?why we are not thinking of humanity once over any religion Religions were made for the betterment of the society,not for these blood sheds.evrything in extreme is dangerous ..Let’s together concentrate on right n wrong instead of hindu n muslim..We are human first let’s not behave like animals.

  17. It is like pieces of steel on a table..If none of the piece is polarised, all are mere steel blocks. But when one of them is polarized, all other blocks get automatically polarised.So extremism in any form would further create extremism to balance it…Remember one cannot save oneself by reading bible in front of a charging boar.

  18. Many days back saw a completely shattered beggar woman outside my house screaming for help. Gave her shelter, food, clothes & told her she cd stay here for some days She still stays with my family, hurls abuses at us, quarrels, throws tantrums. Forgot to tell, her name is Taslima

  19. Afsral a 50+ old man who went to Rajasthan as a labour loved a Hindu girl, a labour n 50 yr old can he really love somebody at that age, he priority was just loving a Hindu girl , was he not interested in his making a decent living by working hard,? A lesson for other immigrants who go to work outside their state n end up their lives like this,

  20. Bharat,your proverb us applicable to you only.Yoy are 100%baised.Tadkeena Nusreens article us well balanced and ut us Intellectual.

  21. Juvenile, elementary & worth a read for LKG-UKG Students!
    Your emphasis in the trolls you received on Twitter brought me to this article & unfortunately you have fallen in the trap of pseudo sickulars & leftists who are simply using you as a disposable tool that would be discarded once their purpose is achieved and you have no more to give! ( You have very little, any way!)
    Hindutva is just another name of true secularism, not the western version of it. But it is perfectly embraced in the preamble to the constitution and in the entire constitution itself.
    It was a waste of time reading this article and another waste of data to painfully write this response!
    Grow up Lady!

  22. Just because one guy (unaffiliated with any group) committed a crime, you want to connect RSS with ISIS. You are truly stupid to think that you are unbiased. Nothing can compare with the atrocities committed by them. If you are truly concerned with community well being, you can concentrate on Bangladeshi illegal immigrants and how they are using the public resources that are meant for actual Indians.

  23. ধর্ম যতদিন থাকবে ততদিন মানুষে মানুষে এই সাম্প্রদায়িক বিষ ছড়াতেই থাকবে। আর রাজনীতি সেই সুযোগের সদ্ব্যাবহার করেই চলবে। মানুষের সভ্যতায় ধর্ম অর্থে রিলিজিয়নের মতো অভিশাপ আর নাই। অনেকেই মনে করে কোনো রিলিজিয়নই খারাপ নয়। খারাপ মানুষরাই রিলিজিনয়কে অসৎ উদ্দেশ্য ব্যবহার করে মাত্র। বিষয়টি আদৌ তা নয়। সব কয়টি রিলিজিয়নেই অধর্মের ছড়াছড়ি। কোন রিলিজিয়নই মানুষের ভালো করতে পারে নি কোনদিন। রিলিজিয়নের সেই ক্ষমতাই নাই। বস্তুত রিলিজিয়নের মধ্যে দিয়েই পিতৃতন্ত্র নিজের কায়েমী স্বার্থ সুরক্ষিত রাখে। আর সেই কারণেই রিলিজিয়ন আর সাম্রাজ্যবাদ হাত ধরাধরি করে চলে। তাই যতদিন না পিতৃতন্ত্রের উচ্ছেদ ঘটবে ততদিন রিলিজিনগুলির বলি হতেই থাকবে সাধারণ নিরিহ মানুষে।

  24. Taslima Nasreen’ s allusion to further political dismemberment of India seems more of a threat than a warning, coming as it does from a national of a country which has been a lineal successor of Pakistan which was separated from India by the vote of Muslim populace of undivided India. But since Taslima is no longer a legitimate national of India, her compatriots having already got their pound of flesh in 1947, she has no locus standing to demand another truncation of India on behalf of her co religionists. Such an act is tantamount to waging war against India from Indian soil, which carries the death penalty under law. The case against Taslima gets corroborated by her assertions that she cannot accept India in its present form. Taslima as a foreigner from what was erstwhile East Pakistan has no legal or moral right to dictate what the religious disposition of the people and the state of India should be, whether the people should be religious or secular and whether India should be a secular or a theocratic state. Making that choice is the sovereign prerogative of the people of India whom it seems Taslima is trying to pit one against abother. Taslima should save her sermons for Israel which continues to. Be a theocratic state denying nationality to anyone but Jews even to the exclusion of Muslim Palestiniabs. Taslima has almost as much moral right to squat in India lecturing Indians as she has to put up a tent in Tel Aviv to lecture the Knasset. The case against Shambhu lal Rahkar is pending in court of law and it is imprudent of a foreigner like Taslima to obfuscate the picture by passing off her biased presumptions for hard fact. Taslima might as well consider opening shop in Kuwait, a model Islamic state, to lecture the locals on ethic after an Arab juvenile thrashed and locked up his female relative after he caught her chatting on the phone with a fellow Muslim Arab; and then suspecting the fellow Arab to be going out with his female relative, he hatched a plot to teach him a lesson. He tricked the guy into meeting him in a secluded place whereupon he thrashed him with the help of another friend and then raped him. In another instance, the Kuwaiti police arrested a teenaged beautiful Iraqi girl for the crime of allowing a man to make love to her, after the girl’s mother complained to the police that another Arab youth had tricked the girl into stepping inside his home on the pretext of introducing her to his mother and sister, and this chap forced himself upon the girl to violate her chastity once she had entered his home. A leading Kuwaiti lawmaker has tabled a bill stipulating life imprisonment for persons who cross dress and transgender, probably implying that any male found carrying a purse big enough to be mistaken for a lady’s moneybag shall be thrown into prison for life, regardless of his sexual orientation. Bottom line is that Taslima had about as much business being in India as she does in Madina Hawally, Darmiyan or in Tel Aviv.

  25. Taslima has an uncharitable habit of using words like garbage’ to deride the opinions of posters whom she disagrees with. A disagreement should never be a problem in civilised discourse.

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