In a famous essay entitled “The Eighteenth Brumaire of Louis Bonaparte” (1852), Karl Marx says-all great world-historic facts and personages appear, so to speak, twice: the first time as tragedy, the second time as farce. As nation today is confronted with the grotesque reality of unfolding of the Khilafat 2.0., one is indeed reminded of our modern political history and the lessons that we refuse to learn from it.
Mahatma Gandhi during his stay in South Africa was instrumental in the formation of two major organisations - Natal Indian Congress (1894) and Transvaal British Indian Association - TBIA (1903) – which in future, played a pivotal role in uniting Indians and the larger struggle of South Africa against the Apartheid. These two associations were truly representative in their character and constitution.
On November 22, 1905, Mahatma Gandhi led a delegation of eminent members of the Indian community in South Africa with regard to the repeal of the Peace Preservation Ordinance. Most of the prominent members of that delegation - Abdul Gani (Chairman, TBIA), Haji Habib (Secretary, Pretoria Committee), Haji Ojer Alley and Ayub Hajee Beg Mahomed were no doubt Muslims but they were wholeheartedly accepted as leaders of the entire Indian community in South Africa. This delegation, having failed to avail any redress, tried to enlist the sympathies of a few Britishers including those prominent Indians who had settled down in Britain, the most important among them being Justice Amir Ali.
This meeting of the South African Muslim leaders with Amir Ali forged a long-lasting comradery that led to the origination of All India Muslim League (with Amir Ali as one of the prominent signatories to petition Viceroy) and Hamidia Islamic Society – both established in 1906. Later, in 1908 Amir Ali established Muslim League in London, which, some argue to be a branch of AIML; however, others argue to be an independent organisation. Be that as it may, it is undisputed that an international bonding was forged for the cause of Indian Muslims once the South African Muslims met the British Indian Muslims in London in 1905.
Even though Muslims enjoined the mass support from all sections of society, they felt the need for a movement in which they were vanguards and the constituents too. This was the first phase of isolation where, the Muslims drifting from the larger national cause in favour of their own sectarian agenda and forging of a communal brotherhood.
This was the edifice for the Khilafat Movement that started in 1919 and ranged for about half a decade or so. It was indeed a travesty that an overwhelming majority in Turkey - the nationalist and revolutionary forces - were staunchly in favour of abolition of the caliphate, our leaders were inciting the base religious passions of Muslims with the fond hope that it will aid the cause of freedom struggle. The same naivety, which was in display in the Khilafat, has repeated itself in the recent anti-Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) protests as radical Islamist forces are using the cliched jargons of Secularism, Constitutionalism, democracy to further their communal radicalisation and consolidation.
As Congress and Communist ecosystems rejoice current polarisation as an opportunity to consolidate their vote banks, the nation is bleeding with an incurable scar on its heart and the soul.
While CAA, an innocuous and humane piece of legislation, should have should have been a consensus building point across political spectrum, is being used for radicalisation. What is very striking about this whole process is that impacts of radicalisation are instantly manifest. How the so-called liberal intelligentsia played into the hands of radical Islamism is even more obvious and glaring.
Common Bharatiya has now clearly understood that constitutionalism, secularism and equity were all smokescreens to hide a violent and vulgar polarisation of Islamist forces. While students, youth and academia were used by these Jihadi forces to defame the image of the nation, now, with an All India Strike in the offing, even the trade unions are not contended until they also are used to the fullest to fulfil an unfinished agenda of dividing the nation on communal lines.
Three important things that have come to fore in the recent days have conclusively proved the truthful character of CAA protest.
Shehla Rashid, Rana Ayyub and many more radical elements, who were formerly part of the fringe, have now gained receptivity from the mainstream, thanks to Congress and its ecosystem. If one were to collate their espousal, it broadly falls into the following:
- If Hindus want to be part of this struggle then let the Hindu liberals advocate for Hindu Scheduled Castes must give up their reservations in favour of Muslims and support the cause of Kashmir’s Azadi;
- Islamists will be vanguards of the anti-CAA movement and all others have to sidestep for being dispensable.
It is being preached that Muslims’ assertion of their identity must be seen as strengthening of secular fabric and liberals must not take any exception to Muslim identity politics.
This unravelling of the obvious has proved beyond doubt the true character of the so-called conflict. Be it the statements or the series of tweets from these ‘secular’ celebrities, the entire discourse unleashed from the Islamists corners has thoroughly exposed the naivety of our intellectual class in willingly falling prey to Islamists’ agenda. It is also possible that our Tukde-Tukde Gang sees all this as complementation to their true ideology of Jihadi Bolshevism.
What it has also proved beyond doubt is that the protests are not at all about Constitutionalism, equity, fundamental rights or anything remotely connected with CAA. It was all about asserting religious identity and agenda. The violence and resultant vandalism unleashed on national wealth was in fact manifestation of religious hatred.
The physical damage dimensions are just a trivial and initial facets of this whole game plan. Looking at their tantrums there are clear indications as to what this cabal intends is up to.
Initial step is to internationalise the issue and damage our sovereignty. Mamata Banerjee's call for the UN monitored referendum is one such endeavour.
Secondly, the entire movement will be highjacked by the Jihadi forces. And under the garb of protecting Muslim interests, the social justice will be sabotaged as reservation benefits available to the Hindu Scheduled Castes will slowly be shifted to accommodate Muslims.
Thirdly, the efforts will be unleashed to perpetrate violence akin to the ones that followed the Khilafat and national’s unity and integrity will be damaged from within.
(The writer is a columnist, practising lawyer and
founder of Navayana Law Offices)