Thursday, May 24, 2007

B. Raman, Hyderabad, and Bushra Zaidi

It is reassuring that I am not the only one making the connection between Hyderabad, Kashmir, and other hotspots where Muslims are a "community of concern". But it's also worrying that I am in a small minority trying to advocate for folks to take a look at the bigger picture. Just reacting to the current outrage only guarantees that the cycle of mayhem continues—and that the people and groups whose political fortunes are contingent on that cycle continue to win
.

I could have written my last two posts (this and this) almost as a rejoinder to a column from B. Raman in Outlook India. Of course, he is taking it from the perspective of a "Security" hawk within the Indian establishment and not looking, as I am trying to do, beyond the tension between Muslims and other communities and on to intra-Muslim tensions, as in Karachi. The issue really is one of fanaticism being left on the table as the only option for a lot of young, educated folks (and yes, it is the educated ones I am particularly concerned about)—Muslim or not. South Africa, where Mandela himself has never said that their resort to violence was wrong, Ireland and Sri Lanka come to mind.

Of course, Mr. Raman's article is triggered by the recent tragedy/atrocity in Hyderabad, and I haven't yet commented here about it. I have, however, been having a very interesting conversation with a young friend in the city of the Nizams and hope to post excerpts from that here soon. Suffice it to say that the circle is complete; where we in Karachi once looked at the Muslim Majlis's role in Andhra Pradesh politics as an inspiration for what a minority can achieve, the events of the last fews days, with the role of the police in shooting protesters being a very major sore point for Hyderabadis, is eerily reminiscent of the episode that kicked off Karachi's troubles 22 years ago. (Look in the righthand column here--the story is not complete on that site. What really kicked off the riots was the one-two punch of Bushra Zaidi's accident and the police's inaction about it coupled with acts like starting and moving a police van while a young female student of Bushra Zaidi's—and my mother's—alma mater was standing atop it making a speech.)

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