No place is better than India for Muslims : Maulana Mahmood Madani
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Maulana Madani delivering the talk

Democracy is the greatest virtue and strength of India and no place is better for the Muslims than India, Maulana Mahmood Madani, Leader of Jamiat Ulama-i-Hind, who is also the member of the Rajya Sabha, said on February 21, 2010 evening while delivering a talk on “Terrorism: Response of Indian Ulema”.

Maulana Madani, known for his stiff opposition to the jihadi brand of terrorism, did not hold back any punches on the subject during his talk organised by the Vivekananda International Foundation at the VIF campus that was attended by eminent personalities from such diverse fields as politics, bureaucracy, armed forces and religious organizations. VIF Director Ajit Doval introduced the subject and the speaker, while former Vice Chief of Naval Staff Vice Admiral K K Nayyar presided over the function. Doval, a former Director of the Intelligence Bureau, described Maulana Madani as a major representative of the ‘Indian Islamic thought’ who had contributed a lot to the national interest.

The Maulana said there was no place for wanton killings in Islam and stressed that the roots of the problem of what is happening today in the name of Islam are not in India, but outside. “Violent activities in the name of Islam are actually against Islam. This is the greatest unIslamic act. To kill or oppress somebody who is innocent and weak is an unIslamic act and I can give innumerable citations from the Koran and the Hadith,” he argued.

The Deoband chief spoke extempore in Urdu for about 40 minutes and then answered questions from the audience. He described how the Jamiat Ulama-i-Hind, the biggest organisation of Indian Muslims, launched a movement against terrorism, but quickly added that it was a short-term strategy. He recalled how he was criticised by fellow Muslims and some other leaders of his community who repeatedly taunted him for this and asked whether he had nothing better to do. He said his movement against terrorism was aimed at giving the much-needed make-over to the “Muslims, Maulvis and Deoband” whose image was getting dented by terrorist activities.

Significantly, in this context, he pooh-poohed the claim of the Taliban leaders that they were ‘Deobandis’. He quoted Maulana Mahmood Hassan, a prominent Muslim leader from Deoband who in 1915 sent his five Maulvi disciples to Afghanistan to wage India’s freedom struggle from there. Maulana Madani pointed out that Maulana Hassan’s disciples set up a government-in-exile and Mathura’s king Mahendra Pratap was made the head of this government-in-exile. Maulana Madani quoted this example to drive home his point, which was Maulana Hassan’s conviction too, that India could be made independent by oneness, by staying together, wherein the citizens keep the national interest supreme by sinking their differences on religious grounds.

Maulana Madani said the need of the hour was to thrash out a long-term strategy to deal with the menace of terrorism. He opined that the long-term strategy will have to ensure three things for the Indian Muslim community: economic upliftment, education and deliverance of justice – the kind of justice that is not only done but seen to be done also. He also advocated reservations for Muslims to achieve these objectives.

The Maulana recalled with a tinge of bitterness and regret the utterances of former Pakistan President Pervez Musharraf at a conclave in New Delhi in early 2009. He said he had thought that since General Musharraf was visiting India a few months after the 26/11 terror attacks in Mumbai, he would be applying a soothing balm to the Indians through his words. The Maulana said he was totally disappointed with General Musharraf, who instead of saying a few soothing words “spoke like a General addressing his troops”.

In response to a question seeking his reaction to the fact that after the Delimitation of Lok Sabha constituencies last year, the number of those constituencies where the Muslim population was 15 per cent or more had risen to 164 from 119 earlier, Maulana Madani replied this was one of the reasons for the Muslim community to feel proud to be Indian. The Maulana also pointed out that India had never been an invader or a colonialist power. Amid thundering applause from the audience, he said India pulsated in its soil and throbbed in its air, something that has to be felt and cannot be taught through any book.

(Reported by Rajeev Sharma)

Event Date 
February 21, 2010
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