An Open Letter To Subramanian Swamy
By Shehzad Poonawalla
17 March, 2015
Dear Subramanian Swamy,
Well, for the past few years now you have been spreading your brand of Islamophobia at every platform you get. Ironic, for a guy that has a Muslim son-in-law! I sincerely thought that your own personal experience with Muslims would have helped in shaping your views positively about India’s largest minority group. But then, one realizes that much of your antics are driven by your opportunistic politics rather than your convictions. Till a few years ago you were abusing the BJP and Sangh Parivar, whilst ensuring that the Vajpayee government falls and today, here you are, trying to play the lead role in their home production “50 Shades of Saffron”!
But much like the other hate-mongers out there, you too lack any real sense of belief in the cause you try to exploit in the name of political Hindtuva. So after getting booked in a case of hate speech u/s 153A,153B,295A and 505 of the IPC,1860 in 2011 for your DNA article vide FIR no.223/2011, where you argued that Indian Muslims should be “disenfranchised”, “mosques should be removed” (much like the Babri Masjid) and how we guys, all of us Indian Muslims were being "programmed to become radical and slip into suicide mode against Hindus" would you went scurrying to the Delhi High court, seeking bail on the condition that you “shall cooperate and join investigation and refrain from writing such articles in future.” Here is a copy of that order (http://delhihighcourt.nic.in/dhcqrydisp_O.asp?pn=24653&yr=2012 ) in case you forgot the Delhi High Court’s direction to you to be careful about your rhetoric in the future. Rajya Sabha MP KTS Tulsi appeared on your behalf and gave this undertaking so perhaps he too could refresh your memory. You acknowledged before a court of law that your views were hate-filled and did not even have the courage to stick to your guns, even if that entailed jail time! Talk about being, as you put it, a Virat Hindu!
But the media kept giving you legitimacy that you surely did not deserve and here you are you back to spreading hate.
At the height of the Muzaffarnagar riots in September 2013 in Uttar Pradesh,where hate and false propaganda on social media played a huge role in inciting riots between Muslims and Jats, leaving scores of people dead and displaced, you were doing your bit to fuel the violence!
You then went on a TV debate with Rajdeep Sardesai (back then Rajdeep was editor-in-chief of CNN IBN and is currently with India Today group), who was appealing to you, to restrain yourself at a sensitive time but you used the platform to justify your hate-filled tweet by saying that “it was high time that these Talibanized Muslims realize that if they attack, there will be retaliation.” You further added that since “Hindus are 80 % this (the attack on minorities in Muzaffarnagar) was bound to happen.” Rajdeep expressed how displeased he was with the comments you were making but you carried on nonetheless. Currently, the UP Police is investigating the matter after I approached the National Human Rights Commission to intervene and direct a probe into such hate speeches made by you and your notorious alter ego, Pravin Togadia.
In a number of seminars, which have been captured on video uploaded online onto Youtube, you have elaborated upon how “Muslims pose a danger to Hindus”, how Islam teaches Muslims to wipe out other religions, that unless Indian Muslims and Christians acknowledge their “Hindu ancestry” these “descendents of Ghouri and Ghazani” ought to be disenfranchised and denied the right to vote. That the “problem” with us Muslims was our religion! Each one of these videos, evidencing your bigotry, can be googled and found easily.
Mr.Swamy, you do realize that 99.99% of Muslims in India or the world over aren’t strapping themselves up with bombs and blowing up things right? So how come their version of what seems to be a tolerant, peaceful Islam isn’t the real version and the one that you, Al Qaeda or ISIS seem to advocate (ironically you three agree on this manipulated version of Islam that justifies killing of innocent people) is its real face? You see Mr.Swamy you are no favorite amongst us ordinary Muslims but you would receive the loudest cheer from the ISIS-types who completely agree with you, word by word, on your distortion of Islam as a religion that justifies wanton violence!
Now you are lucky. It is a BJP run government at the centre that has essentially ensured that no action be taken against you for all of this vile, which they know contradicts your bail condition. I have pointed it out to the Delhi Police Commissioner in an email and so has the National Commission for Minorities which in turn has written, on the basis of my petitions, to the Ministry of Home Affairs about your ilk - Yogi Adityanath to Sakshi Maharaj and others. But I can imagine the continuing reluctance of the Delhi Police and your colleague Rajnath Singh to proceed against your habitual hate-mongering.
Yet another example of your bigotry, is when you concocted a crack-pot theory, about “Ravana being a Dalit from Uttar Pradesh”, which is in sync with the RSS’ Manuvadi agenda. How else can you explain that in 2011 in this video (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Nn1Ptp4sMmc ) you had said Ravana was a Brahmin (back then you had not joined the BJP nor subscribed to RSS’ upper caste agenda) and by 2014 you were spewing rubbish about Ravana having Dalit DNA!
In this instance too, action was directed to be taken against you by the SC Commission because this wasn’t some exercise in intellectual honesty but your cynical attempt to make inflammatory and denigrating hate-speech against the Dalit community! Sadly, the Delhi Police ignored this complaint as well and allowed you to carry on with your business as usual.
Your latest gyaan is on mosques not being a religious place. And according to you, they can be demolished at anytime (you have given this lame justification to for the Babri Masjid demolition in your speeches as well). Obviously, your understanding of Islam is as factually incorrect as your revised take on Ravana’s caste. Nonetheless, may be you want to check an authentic version of the Quran as opposed to the distorted ISIS version that you seem to be subscribing to, for the following mentions:
Masjid-e-Haram in Mecca [(“The Sacred Mosque”) - the largest mosque in the world. It surrounds Kaaba - Islam’s holiest place.
Masjid-e-Nabawwi in Madina [called: “Prophet’s Mosque.” -considered the second holiest site in Islam.
Yet another mosque, the Al Aqsa mosque in Jerusalem which is considered by Muslims as their third holiest site!
The Holy Quran and Hadith, establish beyond doubt, that mosques are sacred, holy and a place of worship for Muslims. Here are some quick quotes:
(Surah 72, Ayah 18 Al- Jinn)
And [He revealed] that the masjids are for Allah, so do not invoke with Allah anyone.
Uthman ... said, ... (B. 8 : 65.)
I heard the Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings of Allah be on him, say:
"Whoever builds a mosque, desiring thereby Allah's pleasure, Allah builds for him the like of it in paradise."
What follows logically is that neither you, nor the lunatic fringe you cater to nor a BJP led government can ever justify or rationalize the wanton demolition of mosques (or any other place of worship) so long as Article 25 guarantees us all the fundamental right to practice one’s religion.
Just a few days ago you also said that “Whenever Muslims are in majority whether it’s the Kashmir ghati or Malappuram in Kerala – there is no democracy or secularism . Hindus are in danger in such places. ” You then argued that only if Hindus are in majority, democracy can be ensured! ( Link: http://www.abplive.in/india/2015/03/03/article516780.ece/Minority-Hindus-in-danger-in-Kashmir-valley--Malappuram-Subramanian-Swamy-BJP)
Clearly, you missed the elections held in Jammu & the Kashmir ghati, following which a BJP-PDP government was sworn into power just recently!
Of course, we get it that you were referring to Saudi Arabia , Pakistan and Iran when you were hinting that Muslims and democracy are incompatible. You only added the Kashmir and Kerala examples for some local flavor to your bigoted rants. Well I don’t understand why Indian Muslims should be answerable for Saudia Arabia, Iran and Pakistan’s track record on democracy but here is an interesting factoid. In the latest ranking of global democracies, India comes in at rank 70 and Nepal, with its overwhelming Hindu majority comes in at 89, much below Muslim majority Malaysia, Bangladesh and Lebanon at 79, 80 and 88 respectively! Also, Muslim majority nations like Albania at 60, Indonesia at 65 and Senegal at 66 rank higher than Hindu majority India at 70 in the 2014 ranking list! http://democracyranking.org/wordpress/ranking/2014/data/Scores_of_the_Democracy_Ranking_2014_a4.pdf
So may be, democracy and secularism has nothing to do with any particular religious group being present in a majority or minority but has more to do with the absence of religious zealots like you in power?
And that’s exactly what Harvard University realized about you in 2011, didn’t it? After we led a campaign against your outrageous DNA newspaper write-up, for which you were booked, The Harvard Crimson, in its piece titled “So long Swamy” (http://www.thecrimson.com/article/2011/12/12/swamy-racism-dismissal/) rightly said this about you:
“Indeed, Swamy has been known to invoke his status as a Harvard professor to bolster his image in India. Considering that Swamy uses whatever prominence he has as a platform to malign the world’s Muslims, trumpeting a thickheaded and violent brand of Hindu hyper-nationalism, Harvard must not continue to add legitimacy to his name. The Harvard community has an obligation to maintain a minimum standard of decency among its members. Those who stand for bigotry, hatred, and violence have no place instructing students or wearing the Harvard name.”
So, in conclusion, Mr.Swamy, you continue to remain an accused out on bail and the law will catch up with you eventually, notwithstanding the Delhi Police dragging its feet. The kind of politics you subscribe to is also subject to the law of diminishing returns in the long run. Even Mr. Modi has begun to realize that and every now and then, he and his good friend “Barack” throw in a word of caution, for your ilk, even if it is only for symbolism. Frankly, Harvard can and did prevent you from wearing its name. I only wish secular, tolerant Hindus and Indians could have had that authority and choice too.
Shehzad Poonawalla is a 27 year old, lawyer-activist engaged in politics and civil rights movement.
Tweet @Shehzad_Ind Email: email@example.com
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