If both your parents are Muslims, that is no problem: you are Muslim. If one parent is Muslim and the other not, you have the choice of opting for the faith of one or the other. However, if the father is a Muslim of one nationality, and the mother is a non-Muslim of another nation, the child is all at sea, not knowing what faith or nation he or she should opt for.
Stranger to History is a personalised study of Muslim identity in different countries: Britain, Turkey, Syria, Iran, Saudi Arabia, Pakistan, India. The only thing they have in common is the passion to restore Islam to what its founder Prophet Mohammed had in mind by destroying its enemies today as they perceive them, notably the US, Israel and Britain. Their methods of achieving this end are determined by their own internal problems. In between analysing responses given to him, Taseer interposes his own problems with his father betraying his mother’s trust. The reader should know something about their family background.
Salman Taseer’s father was a minor literary celebrity in pre-Partition days. He married a Scandinavian (or maybe English). As often happens in cases of mixed marriages, Salman turned out to be a very handsome young man who had no problems seducing good-looking women. He was also a great admirer of Zulfikar Ali Bhutto and hitched his wagon to the rising star in Pakistani politics. He wrote a highly laudatory biography of his hero and came to Delhi with his publisher to promote his book in March 1980. They stayed at the Oberoi Hotel where Tavleen met him.
Tavleen is the granddaughter of Sardar Bahadur Bajamber Basakha Singh, one of the principal builders of New Delhi, including the North Block of the Secretariat. He lived next door to us on Jantar Mantar Road and was my father’s closest friend. We saw him almost everyday. He also stayed with me in London. When Tavleen met Salman, she was in the prime of her youth and extremely attractive. A fair game for our Lothario from Pakistan. Though married with children, he had no compunction in seducing Tavleen. They hit it off and spent the whole week together. Tavleen became pregnant. She wrote to him in Lahore and toyed with the idea of aborting her pregnancy. He dissuaded her from doing so. He rented a flat for her in London. He joined her for a while. But his ardour had abated. He had more affairs, including one with an Indian film star whose name is not revealed by Aatish. Tavleen sensed the romance was over and returned to Delhi much embittered by her experience. Some of it washed on her son. Salman was unfazed and remarked that he had left his foreskin in India but brought the body back to Pakistan.
As might be expected, Aatish had a disturbed childhood. At school in Kodaikanal he spelt out his view of his father to his counsellor. She asked: "How do you feel about your father today?" He replied: "Nothing. I mean the man is obviously a shit. He abandoned my mother with a baby to bring up on her own. Everyone has shitty people in their lives."
Meanwhile, Salman Taseer had his ups and downs. Under Bhutto he prospered. He turned to business and made a tidy killing. He acquired a large house, yet another wife, drank Scotch, ate ham, bacon, pork and lived it up. When Bhutto fell and was hanged, General Zia-ul-Haq put him in jail. The only book he was allowed to read was the Quran. He admitted he read it front to back and back to front but found nothing in it for him. When General Musharraf was forced to resign and Zardari took over, his fortunes were again in the ascendant. He is now governor of Pakistan’s Punjab. His son Aatish met him before that. He was welcomed by his stepmother and step siblings but his father remained aloof and cold. He never wanted to see him again.
Aatish Taseer’s account of his meeting the new generation of Muslims makes depressing reading. In England he met British-born young Pakistanis wearing skull caps and sporting beards to assert their Muslim identity; in Turkey, a group of people who regretted Kemal Ataturk’s attempts to modernise them. It was the same in Iraq and Syria and worst in Ahmadinejad’s Iran. He performed the lesser pilgrimage (Umra) in Mecca carefully hiding the tattooed image of Shiva on his arm and the steel kada his Sikh grandmother had given him. In Sindh he was disappointed to see its age-old Sufi Islam give way to Wahabi bigotry. However grim his portrayal of Muslim communities in countries he visited, his account is honest, perceptive and makes riveting reading. I will look forward to reading his personal exploits which got wide coverage in the world media, Inshallah, another day.
Thank you to all those who have taken the trouble to read the article and share their thoughts. Out of the arguments made here, there are two that perhaps need answering. So here they go.
1. The first part of the article compares outcomes (relative percentages of population of the religions concerned) irrespective of the process that led to those outcomes - whether immigration, relatively faster population growth or conversions. This was for two reasons. One, to put the figure of 2.3 per cent in "numerical perspective", as the article itself explained. The second reason was that outcomes are ultimately what the crux of debate is about. The rest of the article in any case dealt with process - or conversions in this case, from both a contemporary and historical perspective.
2. Some commenters have tried to cast doubts on the reliability of Census 2001. Those who do this should bear in mind that Census 2001 was conducted by a BJP government. Considering the extreme importance that BJP gives to this issue, it would be reasonable to expect that IF it had perceived a problem with the methodology that was distorting the numbers, it would have fixed it. As the article mentioned, BJP or BJP-supported governments have been in power for 10 of the last 40 years, or about a quarter of the time, and the only reasonable conclusion one can arrive at is that any misreporting of numbers, real or perceived, would be marginal and hence, not of importance.
To all other arguments made, my answer is the following: Please read the article again, with particular focus on the quotations of Vivekananda and Monier Williams, and the history of the missionary efforts in Bengal and their outcome.
seems strange hat people can stoop so low to make money............they can sell their conscience and their own identity.......
"Ask a Pakistani. If you want to see Indians involved in similar activty, you have to go no farther than India." - Anwaar
I agree. Our own backyards are so filthy that we have no leeway to mock at others; And, least of all, at Pakistan.
>> I wonder what anwaar would say about the story which TIMES newspaper published on its front page.
Ask a Pakistani. If you want to see Indians involved in similar activty, you have to go no farther than India. I am fed up with dumb questions.
The above story is about Pakistani Muslims,the religious lot,what they do intheir host country. Times published it today, 5th january, 2011 on its front page.
Please read the story.
I wonder what anwaar would say about the story which TIMES newspaper published on its front page.
This sums up the muslim psyche.
Anwaar will have his own excuse.
We at Outlookindia.com welcome feedback and your comments, including scathing criticism
1. Scathing, passionate, even angry critiques are welcome, but please do not indulge in abuse and invective. Our Primary concern is to keep the debate civil. We urge our users to try and express their disagreements without being disagreeable. Personal attacks are not welcome. No ad hominem please.
2. Please do not post the same message again and again in the same or different threads
3. Please keep your responses confined to the subject matter of the article you are responding to. Please note that our comments section is not a general free-for-all but for feedback to articles/blogs posted on the site
4. Our endeavour is to keep these forums unmoderated and unexpurgated. But if any of the above three conditions are violated, we reserve the right to delete any comment that we deem objectionable and also to withdraw posting privileges from the abuser. Please also note that hate-speech is punishable by law and in extreme circumstances, we may be forced to take legal action by tracing the IP addresses of the poster.
5. If someone is being abusive or personal, or generally being a troll or a flame-baiter, please do not descend to their level. The best response to such posters is to ignore them and send us a message at Mail AT outlookindia DOT com with the subject header COMPLAINT
6. Please do not copy and paste copyrighted material. If you do think that an article elsewhere has relevance to the point you wish to make, please only quote what is considered fair-use and provide a link to the article under question.
7. There is no particular outlookindia.com line on any subject. The views expressed in our opinion section are those of the author concerned and not that of all of outlookindia.com or all its authors.
8. Please also note that you are solely responsible for the comments posted by you on the site. The comments could be deleted or edited entirely at our discretion if we find them objectionable. However, the mere fact of their existence on our site does not mean that we necessarily approve of their contents. In short, the onus of responsibility for the comments remains solely with the authors thereof. Outlookindia.com or any of its group publications, may, however, retains the right to publish any of these comments, with or without editing, in any medium whatsoever. It is therefore in your own interest to be careful before posting.
9.Outlookindia.com is not responsible in any manner whatsoever for how any search engine -- such as Google, Bing etc -- caches or displays these comments. Please note that you are solely responsible for posting these comments and it is a privilege being granted to our registered users which can be withdrawn in case of abuse. To reiterate:
a. Comments once posted can only be deleted at the discretion of outlookindia.com
b. The comments reflect the views of the authors and not of outlookindia.com
c. outlookindia.com is not responsible in any manner whatsoever for the way search engines cache or display these comments
d. Please therefore take due caution before you post any comments as your words could potentially be used against you
10. We have an online thread for our comments policy:
You are welcome to post your suggestions here or in case you have a specific issue, to directly email us at Mail AT outlookindia DOT com with the subject header COMPLAINT