Indian Muslim podcast

I’m doing the Indian Muslim podcast right now.

I’m shocked the Indian Muslim participant (hugely invested in India, family anti-Pakistan) describes feeling fear for the first time in India.

Shocking- Pakistan has a moral obligation to open her doors if/when the time comes.

59 thoughts on “Indian Muslim podcast”

    1. Interesting – the four of us are having a discussion after all. The way History perceived is so communalised; our heroes are their villains vice versa..

      1. “The Hindus and Muslims belong to two different religious philosophies, social customs, litterateurs. They neither intermarry nor interdine together and, indeed, they belong to two different civilizations which are based mainly on conflicting ideas and conceptions. Their aspect on life and of life are different. It is quite clear that Hindus and Mussalmans (Muslims) derive their inspiration from different sources of history. They have different epics, different heroes, and different episodes. Very often the hero of one is a foe of the other and, likewise, their victories and defeats overlap.” – Jinnah in 1940

        1. I mean, Jinnah’s not wrong…Hindus and Muslims are not and are never going to be friends. The most we can hope for is mutual toleration.

          EDIT: Maybe we can be friends in the 2300s. But not before then, I think.

          1. It’s very interesting that a political speech by Quaid-e-Azam is being treated as fact by some people here. TNT was an argument used to claim greater rights for the Muslims of British India (treating them as a nation and not as a minority). It had extremely negative consequences, leading to death and devestation.

            Indian nationalism was based on the rejection of TNT. Otherwise, there is no basis for Kashmir being part of India.

            As for Hindus and Muslims never being friends, that just shows immense poverty of imagination. Many of us are very close in the diaspora. My family was heavily involved in Indian classical music and most of the community was Hindu. My parents also had Indian-American friends and colleagues. Of course, they were not Hindutvavadis but secular Indians.

          2. I disagree with most of what Kabir wrote, but I’ll respond to one thing in specific:

            “Indian nationalism was based on the rejection of TNT. Otherwise, there is no basis for Kashmir being part of India.”

            What doesn’t make sense to me is how a cultural tendency (“secularism” or “Indian nationalism”) has any relation to a military-legal affair (Kashmir.)

          3. The whole logic for why a Muslim-majority state should be part of the Union of India is that India is a secular state. If you believe in the TNT (as Pakistan does) then all of Jammu and Kashmir should have gone to Pakistan in 1947 since it was Muslim-majority. Sheikh Abdullah was attracted to India’s secularism and hence didn’t advocate for joining Pakistan.

            If you declare yourself a “Hindu Rashtra”, you have absolutely no moral basis for holding on to Muslim-majority land. You can’t have your cake and eat it too.

          4. H.M. Brough, respectfully do you know many Indian muslims?

            How do you account for?:
            —Gareeb Nawaz
            —Lal Ded and her disciple Nund Maharaj (central to Trika Kashmiri Shaivism and Kashmiri Sufism)
            —Ek Nath’s Guru Janardan Swami (central to Marathi Sufism, Marathi Shaivism, Dattatreya lineages, Nath Sampradaya)
            —Kabir, Fariduddin Ganjshakar, Bhikhan the Sufi, Nanaka
            —The way Chaitanya use to visit, pray in, and sing in mosques
            —Shirdi Sai Baba

            There are many Indian muslims, Bharatiya muslims, Swadeshi muslims, Hindu muslims, Deshi muslims, Deshi Sufi/Irfan muslims. Only in India (and a few other countries such as Canada, USA) can they safely practice their faith and have a modicum of slight freedom of art and thought.

            Europe isn’t safe for them and Europeans sometimes accuse Indian muslims or Hindu muslims of Islamophobia.

        2. Maybe this is true of places like his home region of Gujarat. The same argument he puts forth can be said of different castes in other regions.

          1. I dont think Jinnah is right even regarding his home state. I was only pointing out to Zach that the idea that “our heroes are their villains vice versa” is not a new one, and not a very good one either.

            Thinking of Ghaznavi, Babar and Abdali as ‘Muslim’ heroes only indicates an obsession with political power. All these guys killed way more Muslims than they killed Hindus.

          2. It does make sense though / Muslim and Hindu attitudes toward Mughals are an indication.

            For instance Ghaznavi was Ferdowsi’s patron.

            QeA is being proved right for better or for worse

          3. girmit by some estimates 40% of Gujarati muslims voted for the BJP. Why do you think Gujarati muslims and nonmuslims do not get along?

  1. You just sound like the loser liberals in India right now, there are a million Muslim countries and countless christian countries. India chose to vote BJP two times in a row and people are losing their shit!! Wow, as long as India is serving the abrahamics it’s a good country, if it decides to self determine things, it’s a bad country!!

    1. “Self-determine” is an interesting way to put it. A more accurate phrasing would be,

      “India voted into power a party that advocates for the destruction of its non-Hindu minority”, and yes, that makes people pretty nervous.

  2. “Shocking- Pakistan has a moral obligation to open her doors if/when the time comes.”

    How much support / opposition would there be in Pakistan for this if Muslims actually face large scale curtailment of religious freedoms in India? (Hopefullly never going to happen, but certainly not in the foreseeable future)

    In my view India has had a moral obligation to open its doors to Pakistani minority religious groups and also Ahmediyaa (Muslims ? since 1984).

    But there is a lot of opposition to this, partly due to the ‘idea of India’ as a secular country.

    1. Pakistan has over 200 million people. The country cannot cope with Indian Muslim refugees coming in en masse (Hopefully the need for this will not occur). It is the duty of both countries to protect their own minority populations.

      India cannot claim to be a secular country and at the same time have discriminatory policies where Hindu refugees get fast-tracked for citizenship while others do not.

      1. “India cannot claim to be a secular country and (some more sanctimonious stuff)”
        Every time you start a sentence advocating India or Hindus should do this or that, spend a moment on what that implies for Pakistan or Muslims. For instance,

        Can Pakistan claim to be an Islamic country (the basis on which it came into existence) and refuse to accept Muslim refugees ?

        Of course the absurdity of the situation is that even the Muslims in India – “suffering” under BJP rule and in fear for their lives after the elections – are showing no inclination to seek refuge in the land of the pure. Immigration, they say, is the sincerest form of flattery. Could its absence be the same ?

        1. Pakistan is not Israel. We don’t claim to be a refuge for all Muslims everywhere. Pakistan exists for Pakistani citizens. There was a period where the borders were relatively open and Indian Muslims were free to come over. That period obviously lapsed long ago.

          It is India’s duty to protect its own minority population especially since it is a secular and not a Hindu state. But I understand whataboutery is the last resort of someone who has no defense.

          1. Dear God, what is so difficult? Countries are supposed to ensure the rights of their minority populations. Why do you have an obsession with being held to the low standards of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan which otherwise you guys delight in calling a “failed state”?

          2. Yes I have to agree with Kabir on this.

            Virtually all religions are the same; it isn’t necessarily that Islam is worse than the rest. The minute one lets the genie out of the bottle that’s when trouble starts ..

            Dharma may allow for a “multiplicity if views” but it seems extraordinarily hostile to the Ganga-Tehzeeb culture.

          3. The people most tied to “Ganga-Tehzeeb” high culture, the Islamicate elite, are the people who left India during Partition. The rest of us cowbelt folk had a negligible attachment to that high culture. So we lose nothing by ignoring it.

          4. HM Brough, let me save you some time and recommend that you not expect any meaningful engagement from Zach on this topic. He has a supremacist mindset and thinks that Bollywood is (or more accurately should be) Pakistani. Pakistanis do not produce any cultural of their own and do not have any shame in appropriating the output of others it seems.

          5. “Pakistanis don’t produce any culture of their own”– Ever heard of Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan, Abida Parveen, Ustad Amanat Ali?

          6. “Why do you have an obsession with being held to the low standards of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan”

            I have no obsession with Pakistan. I fully expect them to do what they do and worse and couldn’t care less. My “obsession” is with people like you who have so many tears to shed on events in distant countries and ZERO for your own countrymen.

  3. I’m all for india being a Hindu country, only if that definition doesn’t include ‘one country, one religion, one book, one language’. Essentially Eastern and Western religions are different and any country with eastern religion as a majority will be a safe haven for minorities who are persecuted outside India!! There will be/have been a few incidents between Hindus and abrahamics but that doesn’t mean that india lost its soul. Because of social media these terrible incidents are coming to light, which honestly is good for the society. During the INC rule (2001 to 2014) social media not so prevalent and we didn’t hear a lot about this terrible tragedies. Our animal brain will always make us discriminate “others” but we also have human component that will teach us compassion and acceptance to the “others”. It’s the core principles like #DharmaNirapekshatha and #SarvaDharmaSamaBhaavam will lead India into the modern world. I have hopes on BJP that they will hold this principles. Again, only time will tell us.

    #OmShanti Shanti Shanti hi!!

    1. I think the worst case scenario for Muslims in India is that there will be some elements that will want to shove their version of orthopraxic north indian normative hinduism down everyone’s throats through intimidation.

      The cow slaughter ban is one such area where I think it has already begun.

      (I am a vegan, and have mixed feelings on this tbh. But obviously can’t support coercing other humans to stop harming animals through force).

      I think some curtailment of the Muslim call to prayer via loud speakers might happen, along with some sharia repeals via Uniform Civil Code.

      Maybe an alcohol ban like in Gujarat may come about, which would be annoying for me, but not for Muslims lol.

      There will be some relatively (by Indian standards) small scale law and order issues, but I really cant imagine a scenario in which anything major or sinister comes about.

      1. Would be better if the Hindutva gang left Muslims alone and issued a ban on people criticizing or denigrating India or Hinduism. That’s the crux of the matter, I don’t care if people eat beef or practice sharia law or shout azaans (except for night/early morning of course.)

        1. Dear God, no! That would be akin to the blasphemy laws currently enforced in in Pakistan. I would much rather retain free-speech rights and have, say, a cow slaughter ban (which seems to be so near the heart of so many people) to keep the peace.

          1. Yeah, you’re probably right. I’m just tired of Lutyens types who have nothing good to say about Hinduism. Curtailing speech always has the risk of getting operationalized very badly. Probably a few specific laws to cut off the most egregious abuses would be good though.

        2. And who would decide what “denigrates” Hinduism? Banning speech is quite authoritarian. Why are you so afraid of criticism?

          1. I just said I don’t care about Islamic matters or issues, and am fine with Muslims going their own way on a social and legal level. Since your concern on this blog is exclusively on Muslims, why do you care about what is a Hindu vs “Hindu” Kulturkampf?

          2. I’m simply noting your authoritarian tendencies. Also it is interesting that you have the right to decide who is or is not a real Hindu. There are Muslims like you and their behavior usually has terrible consequences (up to and including murder).

          3. Right, I’m not a libertarian (I used to be), and in any case libertarian ideas are not very useful for a fractious land like India. It’s time for us to have a robust conversation on what speech adds to India, and what speech detracts from it. I recognized above that having too many laws curtailing speech tends to get operationalized badly. What we want are a small number of specific laws that get enforced effectively.

  4. “issued a ban on people criticizing or denigrating India or Hinduism”

    On the contrary, I think the BJP would do well to lift all restrictions on free speech and allow full critique of all religions. More than Hinduism, this would benefit Islam, because India is perhaps the only country where a Muslim community is large and evolved, but can also have the full freedom to examine their religious tenets.

    This will eventually benefit Muslims all over the world.

    1. I have a feeling that if we did this, most criticism of Islam would be very low in intellectual quality, the Muslim community would (very rationally) pull up the drawbridge and stop engaging, and we would end up ceding even more cultural space to mullahs.

      1. “I have a feeling that if we did this, most criticism of Islam would be very low in intellectual quality, ”

        This is what you often need. Public shaming. ‘Conservative’ RW Hindus are not calling for the extermination of the caste system because of intellectual critique. But because they have been beaten on about it for decades.

        “the Muslim community would (very rationally) pull up the drawbridge and stop engaging, and we would end up ceding even more cultural space to mullahs.”

        That’s a very pessimistic view of both Muslims and their critics. One thing I find lacking in the Indian Muslim community are unabashed critics akin to the ex-Muslims of the West. You might have a Tasleema Nasreen or an Ahmad Shariff here or there. But nothing comparable in scale and influence to Hindu ‘liberals’.
        This can only happen with absolute free speech.

  5. Zach’s comment – “Pakistan has a moral obligation to open her doors if/when the time comes” is rich, given that Pakistan did not open its doors to millions of “Biharis” from East Pakistan who are still living in refugee camps in Bangladesh……

    India has always had a plethora of religious schools, philosophies and practices that have waxed and waned. Till the advent of Islam, these broadly fit under the large umbrella of “Sanatana Dharma”. Apparently, it was not uncommon for Indians to embrace one or another “Darshana” or perspective. There are many examples from history. Chandragupta Maurya was supposed to have become a Jain and retired to meditate in Karnataka, and of course, Ashoka converted to Buddhism, etc.

    Even the spread of Islam in India as mediated by Sufis would have blended in as one more strand in the social fabric and perhaps fit under the broad definition of Sanatana Dharma. The problem was that the spread of Islam was accompanied by political and military domination by Islamic invaders and their descendents in India. The (apparently) aggressive proselytizing of Islam and its iconoclastic fervor, made it impossible for Islam to become just yet another religious school in India.

    While peaceful coexistence continued to be cherished by those who followed one or more schools of Sanatana Dharma, eventually a militant reaction to Islamic dominance did emerge in the Deccan under the Marathas. Too much to write here, so cutting to the chase…..

    The BJP’s re-election is modern day reaction to 500-800 years of domination by Abrahamic religious practitioners. Muslims are an obvious target of Hindu ire because their iconoclasm is well documented. But there is resentment against Catholic atrocities in Goa as well, where many temples were replaced by churches and communities were forced/coerced into conversion. The reaction against Christianity is mostly muted as India embraced the English language, and Western culture has become universally dominant. OTOH, Muslims are a much easier target.

    I expect the BJP to push for a Uniform Civil Code, limitations on the Muslim call to prayer, even limits on the use of the burkha, a-la Sri Lanka. All this is “soft reconquista”.

      1. It made a lot of sense for them. They got a productive coastal city, government jobs and cultural supremacy. Pretty much a disaster for the Sindhi Muslims though.

    1. JT, you write very well. Loved your comment.

      I would be curious to hear your thoughts about Indian Islam (or Hindu Islam or Deshi Sufi/Irfan Islam)–many but not all of whom subscribe to Murāqabah .

      Do you think our viewers would like a podcast on this subject?

      1. Thanks AnAn for the compliment.

        I am by no means an expert on Indian Islam. I cannot claim more than a fleeting familiarity with Muraqabah. The emphasis on meditation, asceticism, and a personal connection with the almighty as mediated by the “wali” or “guru” – are all themes that will be familiar for followers of the various schools of Sanatana Dharma. So, the popular theory that many conversions to Islam may have happened because of Sufi mystics seems very plausible to me.

        Sufi Islam seems to on the decline in the sub-continent as Wahhabi and Salafi preachers have come to dominate the discourse over the last 100 years. In the decline of Sufism we are losing a very vital element of Islam in India which served as a bridge with schools of the Sanatan Dharma. Somewhere in there is a topic for a podcast.

  6. All this is really laughable. Because a fictional construct of muslim fear is being overplayed in the media, don’t hyperventilate. There’s an odia word called as Bhaand, loosely translated as a clown who thinks he is speaking sense + ch**ya. Overall people shouldn’t try and be like one. This game can go both ways like for example, some samples:

    Relax. India will still be here without many issues.

  7. All this is really laughable. Because a fictional construct of muslim fear is being overplayed in the media, don’t hyperventilate. Overall people shouldn’t try and be like one. This game can go both ways like for example, some samples:

    Relax. India will still be here without many issues.

    1. DM, would you be interested in posting a more detailed version of this as an article on BP?

      It would also be helpful if you wrote a detailed summary of each hyperlink (and maybe where in the video you suggest we watch).

      It is very sad that Islamists attack Deshi muslims and most nonmuslims the world over say little to nothing about it.

  8. “Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan, Abida Parveen, Ustad Amanat Ali”

    They exist(ed) in spite of Pakistan not because of it. Would have prospered and created a million times more if they were Indians.

    Adnan Sami (not comparable to NFAK, Abida of course) is living proof. Just think about what Abida would have achieved as an Indian.

    1. This tirade has gotten old – India has rejected her Muslim heritage and culture (not socially but politically).

      Pakistan has done the same to its Hindu heritage and culture but then I regularly call it out.

      The sophistry in being both left and right is impossible.

    2. Your original assertion was that Pakistan has not produced any culture of its own. I named three people in just one cultural sector which disproves that notion. Pakistan has great artists, writers, etc. There is no need to denigrate Pakistan in order to build India up.


  9. Zach, please back this up with facts – “This tirade has gotten old – India has rejected her Muslim heritage and culture (not socially but politically).”

    Indian history books discuss Muslim rule at length – the Delhi Sultanate, the Mughal dynasty, and myriad Muslim dynasties from the Deccan. Monuments built by Muslim kings are well preserved and regarded as a heritage of all Indians. Mosques are preserved and new ones are being built all the time. Hindi/Urdu – a heritage of Islamic rule – is becoming more widely spoken every year since independence.

    How is this similar to what has happened in Pakistan?

  10. “India has rejected her Muslim heritage and culture (not socially but politically).”

    How is this? Has India rejected Deshi Islam or Hindu Islam?

    Muslim spiritual masters are bigger than ever among Hindus (Shirdi Sai Baba, Kabir, Nund Rishi, Bhikham the Sufi, Gareeb Nawaz etc.)

    India can celebrate Indian Islam.

    Is your complaint that India does not respect Arab Islam?

    1. With references –
      Sufism is a 50-50 thing. Its a shady thing. Their history is shady. Essentially it is soft Islam, and it would be wrong to believe that their means were only peaceful. For example,
      “Khwaja Muinuddin Chishti entered Ajmer with the conquering troops of Ghori.”
      “But over a longer period of time it was the Sufis who were welcomed into Kashmir from Hamdan, by Emperor Sultan Shahabuddin of the Shah Mir dynasty, during mid 14th century. One Sufi Saint, Syed Ali Hamdani, and 700 of his disciples came and started building khanqahs and converting people to Islam, as well as convincing the ruler to destroy temples and make khanqahs. After Hamdani’s death the task was taken over by Nuruddin, who conned the locals by dressing up as a Rishi, “the highest appellation of Hindu Seers in Kashmir”. Nuruddin took advantage of the Hindu psyche and started focusing on conversions of Brahmin Priests, as he knew they were natural teachers for the Kashmiri Hindus(19).”
      “According to Nehemia Levtzion’s assertion, ‘Sufis were particularly important in achieving the almost total conversion in eastern Bengal.’(20) The Sufi influence and conversion of Buddhists as well as some Hindus into Islam was done at a very high pace by Sheikh Shah Jalal and his disciples during the 13th century. According to some sources, he took part in a holy war with 700 of his disciples against King Gaur Govinda (21) and was sent to do so by his Pir Nizamuddin Aulia.”

      As far the current Indianized Islam is concerned the sentiment is captured well by Swarajya mag’s article –
      Essentially the dichotomy between the pure Koranic muslim and selective bad muslim – A good muslim has to accept every word in Koran, while the bad muslim helps maintain a bit of plurality.

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