Mother India is Communal

I don’t really know what to say but it’s absurd. I can’t understand what’s so offensive about “Mother India.”

I’m walking around Chennai and so many Muslim ladies are wearing Niqabs (the eyes are only seen).

Why doesn’t Ms. Sherwani direct her tweets, passion and energy towards remedying this disgrace of these swaddled penguins (I’m not in the habit of mocking women but the hijabs and it’s related accessories are hateful apparels).

The question with Muslim “liberals” is their emphasis and emotional focus. Their motto is “offence is the best defence” so it’s far better to police Western, Israeli and Indian societies rather than challenge real injustices that happen to Muslims in the Sino-Islamic world.

Unfortunately the twitter clicks and attention don’t come from checking dictatorships but only democracies.

51 thoughts on “Mother India is Communal”

  1. Arfa has a point. Bharat mata is a goddess and thus a Hindu religious concept. Muslims don’t believe in any kind of deity other than Allah.
    Arfa has just as much right to express her views about “bharat mata” as you do about the niqab. People have the right to dress as they deem fit in accordance with their religion. You (or I) don’t necessarily have to like it.

    1. No one is questioning her right to say stuff.
      In fact she is the one doing so in a subsequent tweet by trying to stomp the MPs’ freedom to say ‘Bharat Mata ki jai’ .

      Doesn’t mean she shouldn’t be roundly criticised for her stupidity.

      Your comment is a non sequitur.

      1. I don’t think there is anything stupid in expressing her opinion that “Bharat Mata ki Jai” is a majoritarian slogan and one that many Muslims are uncomfortable with. If you look at her Twitter timeline, many people have pointed out that self-appointed nationalists make minorities chant this slogan. Let people express their patriotism however they want.

        Arfa doesn’t like BMKJ. Zack doesn’t like the niqab. That’s all that there is to it. Turning this into an attack on “Muslim liberals” is a bit extreme.

        1. It IS stupid. People anthropomorphise all the time. Are Britannia and Columbia haraam?

          This nitpicky offence taking is what Zach is referring to as problems with Muslim ‘liberals’. I am pretty sure she doesn’t even feel offended personally. She is just gatekeeping.

          Muslims shout ‘Allahu Akbar’ while bombing people. Does that mean it is a communal chant and a secular state shouldn’t allow people to say it while observing Namaaz in the Parliament?

          1. The idea is to reduce the cohesion of India as a Hindu state.

            In this trip in India I’ve realised just how much time Indians waste (BP and myself included) discussing origins etc.

            The level of academic discourse is on par with a first world country when India has far more pressing priorities.

            What is shocking is that India can make such “quick wins” that don’t require much investment but it needs that urgent national zeal.

            What I feel Pakistan has done extraordinarily well is bond the nation in a very cohesive and tightly-wound ideology. Even Pakistani “liberals” very happily buy into the national ideology and instead act as hound dogs of the state against India, Israel and the West..

          2. Brittania is not a goddess though right?

            I don’t really care about BMKJ but people shouldn’t be forced to say it if they feel it goes against their commitment to monotheism.

          3. Can you post a list of these ‘quick wins’?

            Should make for interesting commentary on Twitter.

            I think Bangladesh has done that cohesion thing even better. IMO India should free up its states to prosper.

          4. Bangladesh is a good example but I haven’t been so can’t comment but the stats are extremely promising. I hear Sri Lanka (Columbo) is super-clean.

            Quick wins (I am speaking from a Chennai perspective):
            (1.) Cities need to be painted (cost of labour is negligible)
            (2.) Old sites need to be curated and conserved
            (3.) Road Management (traffic rules)
            (4.) Congestion Charging
            (5.) Queue culture
            (6.) Airport revamping; they make air travel as difficult as possible (I did one internal flight from Kerala to TN that was traumatising)
            (7.) Mosques need to be brought up to the standard of Temples. Temples need to be brought up to the standard of Churches, which are the best maintained.
            (8.) Sartorial codes; Muslim dress is awful (Niqab, hijab and bearded). Just because India is a free country doesn’t mean that it should be chaotic.
            (9.) the domestic help culture can be brought up (certification for domestic help and training them – this is a civic issue not a political one).
            (10.) the “clubs” and other instructions are horribly dilapidated; it gives a very bad image.
            (11.) refine the visa process to visa on arrival for certain passports. Become like Thailand
            (12.) become a medical tourism destination; let states set policy.
            (13.) allow Metros to separate from their State.
            (14.) Air pollution must be tackled (congestion charge).
            (15.) Strays need to be managed.
            (16.) Garbage shouldn’t be left on the street.

        2. Again Kabir u miss my point.

          The vehemence with which Muslims select their causes is inexplicable.

          There are so many issues within the Ummah but Bharat Mata Ki Jai is one to dwell on

          1. She is an Indian so she commented on an issue she felt was important in her country. She is not responsible for the problems of the ummah.

      1. You don’t have to like the niqab but people who believe that their religion requires them to wear it have the right to do so. You are not responsible for approving their fashion choices.

        India is a secular state and the Muslim minority has the freedom to practice their religion as they see fit.

          1. As long as people are not breaking the law, I don’t see what the problem is.

            We get it. You don’t like “swaddled penguins” but that is really only your fashion preference. Thankfully, Muslim women don’t have to get your approval of their attire.

          2. And they should; I’m really surprised that as a Muslim you see no shame in such demeaning attire.

            Muslims need to join the Modern world rather than condemn it constantly..

          3. It is a woman’s right to wear (or not wear) the niqab as she chooses. You are not the fashion police and whether you think a particular item of clothing is “demeaning” or not probably doesn’t matter much to the woman concerned.

        1. Kabir, where exactly does the holy Koran say that the niqab is “required”?

          The holy Koran merely requires modesty (equally of males and females).

          Niqab is backward Arab culture and not Islamic.

          Niqab should only be required for rich and powerful Gulfie men. No one else. Who do they think they are showing off their attractiveness to others?

          1. It is the right of the individual Muslim woman to decide what the religious injunction to modesty means for her. Some think that it means shalwar kameez and dupatta, others hijab and still others full niqab. The opinions of those outside the faith are neither here nor there.

            You are not an authority on what is “backward” or Islamic. Let the people concerned decide how they want to dress.

      2. Now Zack will get why this quibbling is forcing the Hindus who mostly tried to remain centrist since Independence are moving to the Hindu Right.

        You will now be in better position to understand why i keep trying to bring up nuances in all discussions about India.

        I hope that you are having a good time in India.

  2. I try to scroll by a lot of stupidity here because of a few informative comments sprinkled around. Sorry for this outburst.

    But whoever is calling Bharat Mata as goddess is height of the stupidity. It is not like they don’t know the meaning of this. It is LITERALLY Mother India. Where is goddess here?

    Also, can’t believe the shamelessness to promote in public that it is equal to being goddess when calling someone “bade ma” or “chote ammi” is quite common among Muslims, even Pakistani ones. Perhaps they are making their aunt as goddess too by calling them younger mother?

    Such stupid sh*t.. man… ?

    1. Haha @Violet! Comment of the day!

      Anyone who thinks that bhArata mAtA is worshipped needs to actually talk to Indians sometime (or step out of the bubble they inhabit).

    2. Arfa Sherwani is Indian and presumably knows what she is talking about.
      Even if Bharat Mata is not literally a goddess, BMKJ is still a majoritarian slogan (not exactly secular) and those who are not comfortable chanting it shouldn’t be made to.

      1. By the way, even Wikipedia says that Bharat Mata is a mother goddess. So this is not some fringe idea.

        1. There are temples dedicated to Gandhi ji and Rajnikant in India as well. Should we call Rajni fans ‘majoritarian’?
          This whole thread is a big face palm.

          1. What is majoritarian is making people say a slogan they don’t want to say.

            I believe Ms. Sherwani was upset that this slogan was recited in Parliament (which is supposed to be secular) after the signing of what she saw as an anti-Muslim Triple Talaq bill.

          2. Why is saying “India Mother” or “Bharat Mata” controversial?

            It is because of the “Matriarchy”? Is it because Indian Durga mata or Kali mata type powerful females (“Mataji” a la Indira) are oppressive towards males and weak young females?

          3. Inshallah India will end all four compromises India made in 1947 to back Islamists against moderate Indian muslims. Gandhi’s and Nehru’s deal for peace in our time:

            1) ban all interpretations of Shariah which treats males differently from females (which oppresses moderate Indian muslim woman)
            2) ban triple talat (which allows crazy men to oppress woman)
            3) ban all LBTGQ restrictions (eastern philosophy has no issue with LBGTQ . . . Shiva Agama has 11 genders)
            4) remove the first amendment to the Indian constitution and bring complete freedom of art, speech and thought to all Indians.

            This is pro Islamic. This is pro Shariah. This is pro muslim. This is holy Koran compliant. This is closer to how I think prophet Mohammed, peace be upon him and the perfect hazrat Fatimah, and Imams Ali, Hassan and Hussein would have wanted. The five eternally pure and eternally existent and eternally perfect lights.

            Allah ho Akbar.

            # Jagguji is Lord
            # Stan is the hood

          4. The triple talaq (not talat) bill in its current form is very problematic. It only criminalizes the saying of the phrase “talaq talaq talaq”. If a Muslim man throws his wife out of the house without saying these words , he has not broken the law. The bill does nothing about the many Hindu women abandoned by their husbands. Rather it simply allows the government to seem like they are protecting Muslim women while demonizing Muslim men.

        2. Every man in the world is a “mother goddess” according to Hindus. Every male is mostly female according to Hindus.

          This has to do with the deep ancient eastern understanding of gender. Shiva Agamas have 11 genders.

      2. What stupidity! No one is forcing parliamentarians to chant it and she was talking about the parliament. Idiotic defense.

        1. I believe her point was that religious/communal slogans should not be chanted in the parliament of a secular country.

  3. A few observations:
    1) Bharat Mata is not a goddess in any normal sense, but then this is Hinduism – easy to have fun with. Since Bharat is also a king in Hindu mythology, maybe in a 100 years the ideas will combine and future Indians (and Orientalist academics) will pontificate on the symbolism that can be drawn from this vis-a-vis trans rights 🙂
    2) No one forced anyone to say BMKJ in this instance. I assume the original tweeter took this opportunity to express quite a long running leftie complaint about the term Bharat Mata (I think the origins are pre-Independence) made salient by some recent incidents where people have been forced to prove their “patriotism” by empowered bigots. I like giving people the benefit of the doubt. So, I’ll assume her expression is genuine (though twitter is an exhausting place for this disposition).
    3) I’m not sure what this has to do with the ummah. She’s Indian and has every right to say what she thinks about things occurring in India. Can’t wait for the entire ummah to be fixed!
    4) Zach – such little time in India has made you a Sanghi! What’s in the water in Chennai!? (this is on a lighter note from someone who doesn’t wish for India to become a Hindu state but does raise an eyebrow at those who consider such a proposition fascistic and anti-secular while assuming countries like Pakistan can be Muslim and secular)

    1. Bharat was no normal male human. His grandfather was Vishwamitra and grandmother Menaka (not human but Apsara).

      Bharat did not pass on his empire to progeny, regarding his own family to be incompetent. He passed on the kingdom to Bharadwaja rishi (also not a human) and retired to the forest.

      Bharat is one of the figures in ancient history without clear gender. He changed everything. Ever since his time much of Aryavarsha has been known as “Bharat”.

    2. Pakistan’s experience should serve as an example of what happens when a state is seen to belong only to one religious group. I would much prefer that Pakistan not be an “Islamic Republic” but a state for all its citizens. India should hold itself to higher standards than Pakistan. Otherwise, both countries will become hell for their respective minorities.

  4. It a common pattern for countries or culture to compare their land, language, culture or tradition, as a parent or a metaphorical figure that leads them to the destine path, or as parent provides or nurture their children. We see German refer Germany as fatherland. France and English uses ideology as females figure (lady liberty). But only in India, Bharat mata is consider religiously offensive when it’s pointless for it to be. Who hasn’t referred India as motherland?

    1. There is a difference between “mother” and “mother goddess”. It is the goddess part that makes some Muslims uncomfortable.

      Those that don’t like this particular slogan (or Vande Mataram) should not have their patriotism questioned.

  5. The more secular nationalists /liberals cede national icons/symbols to the RSS the better for the right. Soon I think they will cede even flying the national flag to the right wing calling the flag communal

    1. Does the flag represent any specifically Hindu concepts? If not, then it cannot be communal in the sense that praising a mother goddess is.

        1. Whether the slogan is in Urdu or Hindi doesn’t change the fact that Bharat Mata is a mother goddess and chanting a slogan in her praise goes against the strict Islamic commitment to monotheism.

          My limited point is that people should not be made to chant slogans that they are not comfortable with (for whatever reason). If some Indian Muslims prefer saying “Jai Hind” or “Hindustan Zindabad”, there is nothing wrong with that.

          1. Kabir you are just assert something without offering your arguments for why it is true.

            For the life of me I don’t understand why “Bharat Mata” is a “goddess”. It literally means “India Mother”.

          2. Take it up with Wikipedia. The first sentence of the article states that Bharat Mata is a mother goddess:

            “Bhārat Mātā (Hindi, from Sanskrit Bhāratāmbā भारताम्बा; अम्बा ambā means ‘mother’) is the national personification of India as a mother goddess.[1]. ”

            You may see no problem with “India Mother” but some Muslims don’t like the idea of worshipping/praising an entity other than Allah. It is their right not to chant that slogan if they do not wish to. You cannot impose your majoritarian preferences on a minority in a secular state. That is the bottom line. The original tweet by Ms. Sherwani expressed her disgust that this majoritarian Hindu slogan was chanted in the Parliament of a supposedly secular state. Feel free to disagree with her.

        1. Exactly. That is one of the reasons that the Indian and global post modernists are demanding that the Indian flag not be honored.

          Personally . . . I wonder. Are these people on drugs?


          Kabir, seriously this is crap. Most Indian muslims find this stuff insane and don’t appreciate being dragged into fights that are not their own. The vast majority of people pushing this narrative are marxists and post modernists (many of whom are American or European) who put a non representative muslim face in front to mask themselves.

          Conservative Sunni Indians have their own grievances which are different. For example they feel that Modi sides with Sufis, Shiites, liberal Sunnis and Sunni liberal females against them. It would take an article to explain all the reasons they feel this. Plus I would like to interview some conservative Sunnis who support Congress (not the few who swim with post modernists) to better understand their concerns. There is also a difference on Kashmir within Indian muslims. And a difference regarding perceptions of the Gulf, Pakistan and Bangladesh.

          Intra muslim politics in India is very complex. Much as it is in Pakistan.

          Kabir, why don’t you talk to Indian muslims and hear their perspectives? You now live in the UK and have that option.

          1. I really don’t care that much.I’m not Indian so no one is going to make me chant this slogan.
            Ms. Sherwani is an Indian Muslim and she does not like BMKJ. You are of course free to disagree with her. My only contention is that no one should be made to chant anything they don’t want to say. That is not how secular states operate.

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