Monday, November 16, 2009


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    • "What the Muslims... are looking for... is a defined political space within which they can find food-and-faith security." Were these words uttered by MA Jinnah a little before he formally articulated the demand for a separate nation, a homeland, for all Muslims of India? Not at all. 63 years after India was violently divided on the premise that Hindus and Muslims cannot live together, a well-known and secular Muslim journalist and writer has quietly re-voiced what is essentially that very demand on that very unstated premise. On behalf of Indian Muslims who, in 1947, chose a secular India over an Islamic Pakistan.

      MJ Akbar, writing in the Times of India of November 15, 2009, has, in one stroke, felled the very concept of secularism on which India is founded, by reiterating that not just mullahs, but even so-called secular Muslims like him, place their religious identity above all else. Should India be surprised? If a Westernised, whiskey-drinking, pork-eating, non-practicing Muslim like MA Jinnah could effortlessly don a separatist, communal coat and tear the country apart, are the likes of MJ Akbar going to face any difficulty in doing a volte face and attempting an encore?

      Akbar, conscious of the heavy baggage of history, has begun with a call for carving a separate state in western Uttar Pradesh, comprising of areas where Muslims live in large numbers. "Such a state will have a substantive Muslim population, as well as a string of important Muslim educational institutions, from Aligarh to Deoband. It will become a natural socio-economic magnet for Muslims of the north."