The Islamist angst

K N Pandita
Nupur Sharma quoted an authenticated hadith while debating some issues in a television programme. Hadith are the validated sayings or doings of the holy prophet recorded by leaned Islamic theologians with the Sahih of Imama Bukhari taking the lead.
The ahadith (plural of hadith) are always taken as sacrosanct texts after the divinely revealed book. The tradition of drawing from hadith is as old as Islam itself. Hadith is for quoting and following, so say the doctors of Islamic jurisprudence.
Last year, Crown Prince Muhammad bin Salman of Saudi Arabia declared that the hadith is neither a proven nor valid jurisprudential source for modern times, and hence, should be discarded. No Muslim country, no member of the OIC summoned the Saudi Ambassador in their respective countries to record displeasure over something that touched on the realm of innovation (bid’at).
The Holy Prophet’s cartoon was drawn by Hebdo in France. There was resentment by the French Muslim citizens and some violence as well. But no Muslim country summoned the French ambassador to record displeasure. Two days ago, a Hindu temple in Sindh, Pakistan, was vandalized and destroyed by the people professing the faith of the holy prophet. Pakistan police simply ignored the event. India formally protested but did not call in the Pak Ambassador.
About fifteen Islamic countries calling in the respective Indian ambassadors and registering their displeasure is less a religious and more a political stance.
Some Islamic countries are trying to oust the Saudi monarchy from enjoying the unique honour of being the Guardian of the Twin Holy Shrines (Imamul Haramayn). Pakistan, Turkey, Iran and Malaysia had even formed the Islamic Quad-4. It should be noted that while the Malaysians are of Sino – Mongoloid ethnicity, the rest of the Islamic Quad-4 are all from the Aryan stock and none is a Semite.
Opinion on the decision of BJP echelons expelling both Nupur Sharma and Naveen Kumar, two senior office-bearers of the ruling BJP from the party for their “indiscreet remarks” is vehemently questioned by some political observers. They have even charged PM Modi with succumbing to the pressure brought by the Gulf States as well as the OIC. For the first time in the history of independent India, our country under the leadership of PM Modi has been able to establish cordial relations with most of the Gulf countries. He has been honoured by UAE and Saudi Arabia by bestowing upon him the highest civilian honours. They have been in consultation with PM Modi on several international issues with wider implications.
These Islamic States have seen that India speaks to world powers from the standpoint of equality and justice. Be it the US or the European Union, Indian External Affairs Minister has been forthright in how India looks at contemporary world political scenarios. When the US expressed its concern about India allegedly meeting out unfair treatment to its Muslim minority, the Indian EAM told his American counterpart that India too can keep a track of how the rights of minorities in the US are tenuous. When the British foreign minister told Jaishankar that India was fuelling Russian terrorism against Ukraine by purchasing Russian oil, he said that the amount that India paid to Russia for the purchase of oil was equal to the price of half a day’s consumption of gas by the European countries. Who then was fuelling so-called Russian terror in Ukraine? The Indian EAM bluntly told the EU that Europe should understand that times have changed and it should change its old mindset about India. Neither the US nor the EU is used to such reaction from a developing country.
The American and the European hawks are peeved by India mustering the courage to call a spade by its name. They are on the horns of a dilemma how India can face both of her arch-enemies, China and Pakistan, at the same time? It speaks a lot about how much confidence Prime Minister Narendra Modi has instilled in his people.
The question is why Qatar, a Gulf State smaller than the city of Agra, take the first initiative of summoning the Indian Ambassador and lodging a protest on why a member of the BJP had cited a hadith. Then entire Gulf countries followed suit.
The TV broadcast in which Nupur Sharma and Naveen Kumar had participated, and which was made the cause of rage, was made on 27 May. It was on June 4 that Qatar took the initiative of lodging a formal complaint with the Indian government through the Indian Ambassador in Qatar. For Qatar, there must have been a reason to keep lying low for eight days. What was brewing in those eight days, and where and by whom, are the questions that shall have to be answered?
On 24 April, a meeting took place between Pakistani officials and the representatives of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) for giving final shape to an 8 billion dollar loan to Pakistan. On 14 May, the Indian Government announced a ban on the export of Indian wheat saying that given the dry spell and very hot summer, India needed to have adequate stock of wheat for her home consumption.
IMF knew that Ukraine was the biggest exporter of wheat to the European markets. But the ongoing war had destroyed Ukraine’s export of wheat. And the commodity was in short supply to the world markets. On IMF’s almost readiness to sanction a loan of 8 billion dollars to Pakistan, India said that Pakistan was still on the grey list of the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) because she had not fully stopped funding terrorist organizations. Providing her with the hefty IMF loan would mean an escalation of her terrorist agenda in Kashmir. India made a valid point.
The slogan-mongering and an ugly situation created by the pro-TIP vandals, who had arrived in large numbers for presumed umra in Saudi Arabia, had left a bad impression on the Saudi monarch. The Saudi government had even arrested many of these vandals for carrying their home-bred political problems to the House of the God.
On 25 May, the IMF denied sanction to the proposed 8 billion dollar loan to Pakistan. Saudi Arabia and Kuwait refused to support the sanction of a fresh loan to Pakistan because it was still on the grey list of FATF.
The US and the EU are already feeling mortified by India, the world’s largest democracy, declining to label Russia as the aggressor in Ukraine, and standing steadfast to her decision. Imposing a ban on the export of wheat worked as fuel to fire. They cannot feel reconciled to the fact that India has an important player in the international strategies, and will first look to her national interests as do the world powers.
There was yet another episode that has almost made the US and the EU mad with rage. Recently, at the invitation of the Taliban, an Indian delegation arrived in Kabul where the two sides got engaged in talks on bilateral and multilateral issues. These talks were held without the knowledge of either the US or Qatar. We know that Qatar had become an important and strategic point for the Taliban leadership where they had opened an office and conducted negotiations with the Americans and others and then signed the famous or notorious peace agreement there. The Taliban are reported to have told the Indian delegation that India should reopen its embassy in Kabul and that the Taliban government would guarantee its safety and security. They wanted India to resume vast developmental activities in Afghanistan of course supported by the great goodwill of the people of Afghanistan.
The Qatar authorities took it as an insult that India, which was not invited to Qatar negotiations because of the persuasions of Pakistan, was now the prime country in the region with which the Taliban had established direct and very cordial relations. Pakistan, which had gloated on its triumph of ousting India from Afghanistan has now to eat the humble pie particularly when the Taliban have issued Islamabad a warning that any attempt of forcing the Durand Line on Pukhtuns would mean war with Pakistan. This is the reason why General Bajwa was eager to augment negotiations for peace with the TTP.
The Nupur Sharma and Naveen Kumar episodes have to be understood in this intertwined and somewhat messy political background. It is PM Modi’s hawkish eye that spots its target and directs its swoop. A state is run by diplomacy and those who take up the sword become the victims of the sword.