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The Role Of Siyasat

Earlier, while discussing the outrage and violence caused in the aftermath of the publication of an unauthorised translation of a Taslima Nasreen article by the weekly magazine section, Saptahika Prabha, of the Kannada daily, Kannada Prabha (New Indian Express group), we had also quoted the following from the Indian Express:

On Monday, Siasat, whose Karnataka edition is managed by Congress leader Roshan Baig, published a report alleging that the Kannada daily had published derogatory remarks against Muslims in the Sunday piece....

Baig said his paper only carried a news item on the Kannada paper’s coverage. “It’s a 2007 article by Taslima Nasreen, which has been up on some hardline Hindu websites and was carried very prominently by Kannada Prabha on Sunday, with a provocative headline from an old Hindi song ‘Purdah hai Purdah’, and pictures of women in burqas. My paper just carried a news item on that coverage which was printed on Monday,” Baig said.

“My mother had passed away on Sunday, so I was not in the office or overseeing things that day. Otherwise, I may have ensured that this was not carried. Anyway, what we carried was a brief report,” he said.

According to Baig, his newspaper cannot be connected to the violence in Shimoga. “It had nothing to do with our coverage as our paper reaches Shimoga only by about 12 noon or 1 pm. Urdu is also not read that much by Muslims in that part of the state. They are mostly Kannada-speaking. There is no way our paper could have contributed to the outrage,” he said. 

While the original 2007 article, a translation of which was carried by the Saptahika Prabha, has been read by all, the English media has not carried details of  the frontpage report from the Bangalore edition of Siasat. As a result, there has been a lot of speculation about what this Urdu newspaper had reported that it also had charges framed against it under sections I53A, 153B and 295A of the IPC. We publish below, in public interest, a translation of that report:

Derogatory remarks against Prophet Mohammad and his wives: women told to burn the burqas

Bangalore, March 1: (Siasat News) 

Kannada Prabha
, the Kannada daily which has earned ignominy for its anti-Muslim write-ups, has in its  weekly pullout, Sapthahika Prabha, crossed all limits while launching a personal tirade against Prophet Muhammad (Peace be upon him). 

The article titled “Pardah hai Pardah” is authored by the god-damned and Murthad (one who has transgressed the boundaries of Islam) author Taslima Nasreen and translated into Kannada by Sindhu.  On the one hand the article launches unpardonable attacks against Prophet’s personality, on the other it makes derogatory remarks about Hazrat Khadeejatul Kubra and other wives of the prophet (Ummahatul Mu’mineen meaning mothers of the believers).

The article contains fictitious findings about how the system of parda came into being and also launches a tirade against the character of prophet’s wives especially Hazrath Khadeejatul Kubra and Hazrath Ayisha. Besides, the companions of prophet Muhammad (also called the Sahabas) have also been accused of looking at Hazrath Ayisha with licentious eyes.

Opposing the system of Parda the article claims that it was introduced about 1,500 years ago by someone for his selfish motives and with a view to protect his own women. Is it necessary that all the Muslims should follow the same system until the day of resurrection (Khiyamat)? the writer asks. 

Accusing Islam of denying women their rights, the article says Muslim women have been caged within four walls of the house or tied inside their kitchens. The writer also dubs Parda as an insult on women and says it casts doubts about the character of menfolk. Urging Muslim women to demand their rights, the article urges them to burn Burkas as a first step in this regard. Otherwise they would not be left with any option, the writer says.

This highly provocative article has sparked concerns across Muslim circles.

Incidentally, the other news item on the front page is about the death of Mr Roshan Baig's mother. Whether or not this article played any part in the outrage and violence in Shimoga is immaterial; this brief report certainly seems to present a  distorted and inflammatory view of the original article under question.

Needless to say, none of the above is to, in anyway, explain or condone the violence, but only to put the sequence of events in perspective. 

***

Incidentally, today's Indian Express has a very incisive piece by Pratap Bhanu Mehta:

Few things are more crooked in India than the discourse on free speech and its relation to violence. Rather than focusing on the basic framework governing speech, the debate quickly descends into the politics of double standards. There is no question that M.F. Husain’s departure from India is a serious indictment of India’s claims as a liberal democracy, and especially the ability of the state to protect those exercising their rights. But this fundamental issue was obscured by three issues that govern the politics of double standards. 

After detailing these double-standards, the piece also briefly addresses l'affaire Taslima:

The incidents in Shimoga have once again brought this question to the fore. There is a technical issue of whether Taslima Nasreen’s piece was used with proper authorisation and in proper context. But the ease with which the appearance of the piece sparked off violence by intolerant groups ought to be an abomination to our democracy. But the state’s reaction is typical: legitimise the violence by classifying the purported article as the culprit rather than those who took offence at it and engaged in violence.

It's a must-read piece because it elevates the discourse on recent cases involving freespeech. It goes on to discuss R.V. Bhasin vs state of Maharashtra, and how our legal provisions on controlling free speech induce, rather than diminish, competitive communal politics, and create a culture of mischief and concludes by saying: 

And religious believers commit the ultimate blasphemy by thinking that they need to protect their gods rather than their gods protecting them.

If one were to offer gratuitous advice to Siasat, it would certainly include translating this piece and carrying it in full as a penance!

Earlier, while discussing the outrage and violence caused in the aftermath of the publication of an unauthorised translation of a Taslima Nasreen article by the weekly magazine section, Saptahika Prabha, of the Kannada daily, Kannada Prabha (New Indian Express group), we had also quoted the following from the Indian Express:

On Monday, Siasat, whose Karnataka edition is managed by Congress leader Roshan Baig, published a report alleging that the Kannada daily had published derogatory remarks against Muslims in the Sunday piece....

Baig said his paper only carried a news item on the Kannada paper’s coverage. “It’s a 2007 article by Taslima Nasreen, which has been up on some hardline Hindu websites and was carried very prominently by Kannada Prabha on Sunday, with a provocative headline from an old Hindi song ‘Purdah hai Purdah’, and pictures of women in burqas. My paper just carried a news item on that coverage which was printed on Monday,” Baig said.

“My mother had passed away on Sunday, so I was not in the office or overseeing things that day. Otherwise, I may have ensured that this was not carried. Anyway, what we carried was a brief report,” he said.

According to Baig, his newspaper cannot be connected to the violence in Shimoga. “It had nothing to do with our coverage as our paper reaches Shimoga only by about 12 noon or 1 pm. Urdu is also not read that much by Muslims in that part of the state. They are mostly Kannada-speaking. There is no way our paper could have contributed to the outrage,” he said. 

While the original 2007 article, a translation of which was carried by the Saptahika Prabha, has been read by all, the English media has not carried details of  the frontpage report from the Bangalore edition of Siasat. As a result, there has been a lot of speculation about what this Urdu newspaper had reported that it also had charges framed against it under sections I53A, 153B and 295A of the IPC. We publish below, in public interest, a translation of that report:

Derogatory remarks against Prophet Mohammad and his wives: women told to burn the burqas

Bangalore, March 1: (Siasat News) 

Kannada Prabha
, the Kannada daily which has earned ignominy for its anti-Muslim write-ups, has in its  weekly pullout, Sapthahika Prabha, crossed all limits while launching a personal tirade against Prophet Muhammad (Peace be upon him). 

The article titled “Pardah hai Pardah” is authored by the god-damned and Murthad (one who has transgressed the boundaries of Islam) author Taslima Nasreen and translated into Kannada by Sindhu.  On the one hand the article launches unpardonable attacks against Prophet’s personality, on the other it makes derogatory remarks about Hazrat Khadeejatul Kubra and other wives of the prophet (Ummahatul Mu’mineen meaning mothers of the believers).

The article contains fictitious findings about how the system of parda came into being and also launches a tirade against the character of prophet’s wives especially Hazrath Khadeejatul Kubra and Hazrath Ayisha. Besides, the companions of prophet Muhammad (also called the Sahabas) have also been accused of looking at Hazrath Ayisha with licentious eyes.

Opposing the system of Parda the article claims that it was introduced about 1,500 years ago by someone for his selfish motives and with a view to protect his own women. Is it necessary that all the Muslims should follow the same system until the day of resurrection (Khiyamat)? the writer asks. 

Accusing Islam of denying women their rights, the article says Muslim women have been caged within four walls of the house or tied inside their kitchens. The writer also dubs Parda as an insult on women and says it casts doubts about the character of menfolk. Urging Muslim women to demand their rights, the article urges them to burn Burkas as a first step in this regard. Otherwise they would not be left with any option, the writer says.

This highly provocative article has sparked concerns across Muslim circles.

Incidentally, the other news item on the front page is about the death of Mr Roshan Baig's mother. Whether or not this article played any part in the outrage and violence in Shimoga is immaterial; this brief report certainly seems to present a  distorted and inflammatory view of the original article under question.

Needless to say, none of the above is to, in anyway, explain or condone the violence, but only to put the sequence of events in perspective. 

***

Incidentally, today's Indian Express has a very incisive piece by Pratap Bhanu Mehta:

Few things are more crooked in India than the discourse on free speech and its relation to violence. Rather than focusing on the basic framework governing speech, the debate quickly descends into the politics of double standards. There is no question that M.F. Husain’s departure from India is a serious indictment of India’s claims as a liberal democracy, and especially the ability of the state to protect those exercising their rights. But this fundamental issue was obscured by three issues that govern the politics of double standards. 

After detailing these double-standards, the piece also briefly addresses l'affaire Taslima:

The incidents in Shimoga have once again brought this question to the fore. There is a technical issue of whether Taslima Nasreen’s piece was used with proper authorisation and in proper context. But the ease with which the appearance of the piece sparked off violence by intolerant groups ought to be an abomination to our democracy. But the state’s reaction is typical: legitimise the violence by classifying the purported article as the culprit rather than those who took offence at it and engaged in violence.

It's a must-read piece because it elevates the discourse on recent cases involving freespeech. It goes on to discuss R.V. Bhasin vs state of Maharashtra, and how our legal provisions on controlling free speech induce, rather than diminish, competitive communal politics, and create a culture of mischief and concludes by saying: 

And religious believers commit the ultimate blasphemy by thinking that they need to protect their gods rather than their gods protecting them.

If one were to offer gratuitous advice to Siasat, it would certainly include translating this piece and carrying it in full as a penance!

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