Exiled Bangladeshi author Taslima Nasreen faced the wrath of Salafist goons of AIMIM at the Aurangabad Airport, where she was bullied and forced to leave the town after she came there to spend a holiday with a plan to visit the historical sites of Ajanta and Ellora caves. Under the leadership of the Aurangabad Central MLA of All India Majlis-e-Ittehad-ul Muslimeen, Sayed Imtiaz Jaleel, a group of hoodlums flocked the city airport and under the nose of the police forced Taslima Nasreen to return back to Mumbai.
The incident took place on 30th July 2017 and created a ruckus on social media, especially provided ammo to the Hindutva mobsters who used the incident to flare up communal hatred against the Muslim community, by blaming the entire community for the deeds of a handful of Razakars-AIMIM supporters present at the Aurangabad Airport.
MLA Jaleel, who used to be a journalist with the NDTV- the favourite news channel of the BJP-basher privileged libertarians, called the incident a spontaneous protest against “Gustakh-e-Rasool” or the prophet offender. Taslima Nasreen, a physician-turned-author, is best known for her highly critical writings on Islam and patriarchy, which made her a scorn in the eyes of the Mullahdom ruling Bangladesh and the reactionary Salafist forces who are enjoying their monopoly over the political and spiritual leadership over the Muslims in India. Taslima Nasreen had faced similar outrage from different reactionary Muslim groups, especially those run by Saudi Arabian petrodollars in the past as well.
Though there is no law in India that can be equated with a medieval-era blasphemy law prevalent in the Muslim-majority countries like Saudi Arabia or Pakistan, the police force, which takes order from a rabid Hindutva fascist government in Maharashtra, allowed the ruckus to go on so that the Hindutva hate-mongers can take a cue from the situation and score political brownies from the incident and carry ahead their vitriol against the Muslim community. The BJP-Shiv Sena government exposed its deep ties with the AIMIM, which acts as a time-tested lackey of the RSS-led Hindutva camp within the Muslim community.
What makes the Salafists-Islamists hate Taslima Nasreen?
Taslima Nasreen wrote several globally acclaimed fictions and nonfiction over the issues of patriarchy and bigotry prevalent in Islam and how the women of Islamic countries suffer torment under the religion. She tore the veil of the patriarchal exploitation, utmost bigotry and anti-minority violent campaigns that ran smoothly in Bangladesh, where the Salafist-Islamists are gaining power since the country gained independence from Pakistan in 1971. Her fearless criticism of the Islamic theology made her an enemy for the reactionary Mullah fraternity and they called for her death in the early 1990s following the publication of her book – Lajja (shame) that pondered over the topic of repression of minority communities in Bangladesh.
Nasreen was forced to quit Bangladesh and live in exile in several countries like Sweden, the US and Germany, before living in Calcutta for some time, when the Trinamool Congress-supported reactionary Salafist-Islamists, led by the recently ousted former- Shahi Imam of Tipu Sultan Mosque- Nurur Rahman Barkati and the Muslim Personal Law Board started a terrorist campaign in the city with an aim to murder her, which forced the then Left Front government to banish her from West Bengal and she was forced to go into hiding. The mob of incensed Salafists kept haunting her wherever she went in India baying for her blood. The government of India neither protected Taslima Nasreen nor booked the culprits who intimidated the internationally renowned writer. The AIMIM is one of such an organisation that has openly threatened to kill Taslima Nasreen and were not prosecuted for such terror threats.
Through her columns, Taslima Nasreen repeatedly showed the pathetic condition of secularism in Bangladesh and how a state-sponsored Salafist resurgence is taking the hitherto culturally liberal country back to the era of darkness under the banner of “Sahi Islam” held high by the arch-reactionary Jamaat-e-Islami and other organisations that acted as the pawns of the Pakistani establishment and carried out large-scale atrocities on the local populace at the behest of its masters during East Bengal’s struggle against the Pakistani oppressors.
Her writings, which attempts to tear the holier-than-thou image of the Bangladeshi Salafists, who are now holding the nation and its conscience hostage, irks the most reactionary sections of the very fundamentalists who are now waging an overt state-sponsored war against the minority Hindu community and other oppressed nationalities like the Chakmas, hilly tribals, Santhals, etc. to impose the supremacy of Salafism.
Taslima Nasreen’s failure to understand the dynamics of world politics
Due to severe myopia in her outlook, mostly in her failure to understand the role of the US-led Western imperialist bloc and the Zionist Israeli regime in erecting the monster of Salafism and Wahhabism, and her deliberate juggling of facts to give brownie scores to the Brahminical ruling classes of India for a favourable stay in the country, Taslima Nasreen blames the Muslims and their religion, Islam, more for the violence and the menace of terrorism in the world, than the actual parties that promote such acts of violence to farther their political ambitions.
It’s due to her wrong reading of politics and current affairs, where we can see the ubiquitous presence of the US-led Western bloc’s influence in nurturing Salafist terror, that Taslima Nasreen becomes a game for the rabid Islamophobic quarters, like the Brahminical Hindutva fascists of India, who, despite ideologically belonging to a diametrically opposite position, would use Taslima Nasreen as a bait to lure the arch-reactionary Salafist-Islamists to come out, riot and then get into the headlines and thereby help the very Hindutva brigade to polarise the Hindu voters by demonising the entire Muslim community.
Taslima Nasreen’s solution to the rapidly intensifying radicalisation of Muslims in the Indian subcontinent is banning Islam as a religion; a very stupendous and utopian claim. She considers the Islamic theology as the principal danger than the doctrine of Salafism, which is actually gaining prominence due to excessive funding by the Western bloc since the 1970s. Taslima Nasreen never saw the innate contradictions within and outside the religions of the world and the socio-economic conditions that act as the base of the superstructure called religion. Her demand to change the superstructure, i.e. the religion, without touching the base, is another example of her political short-sightedness.
Leaving apart the tedious job of politically arousing the people against the feudal-colonial and comprador capitalist system that foments religious fundamentalism and bigotry in the countries of Asia-Africa and Latin America, which in turn fuels violence and fratricidal riots, the militant atheists and radical rationalists like Taslima Nasreen are interested in super-imposing secular and liberal values inspired by the West, over the politically, economically and socially backward people of these continents.
As their attempts to forcefully lift the level of consciousness of the people of semi-colonial and semi-feudal countries like India and Bangladesh to the level that exists in the Western countries, where capitalism has matured to its highest stage- monopoly and finance capital and thereby taken politics and society to a higher stage of development, backfires due to the lack of the ground base for such ideas, they panic and start hurling abuses at the ordinary religious people and their beliefs, which again works as a weapon for the fundamentalists to garner support by playing with the religious sentiments of these politically backward masses.
This fruitless militant atheist attempts of force-feeding logic and rationality to a people entrapped in feudal production relations, ends up in a chaos, as the fundamentalist forces then use their adventurist ideology to incite the politically backward people against these atheists and their ideas. The contradiction between such militant atheists and rationalists like Taslima Nasreen and the reactionary fundamentalists actually creates a favourable atmosphere for the Western powers and their local lackeys to fish in the murky waters.
The hypocrisy of the AIMIM and other fundamentalist Salafist organisations
Like all religious and fundamentalist organisations, the former Razakars mercenary force of the Nizam of Hyderabad, which was later renamed as AIMIM, is also a diehard feudal and patriarchal organisation that replicates the actions of the RSS and other Hindutva organisations within the Muslim community at those places where it has significant influence due to the political backwardness of the minority community.
The hate monger leaders of the AIMIM, especially the Owaisi brothers, act as the Muslim proxy of the RSS and provides a breeding ground to the Hindutva camp by allowing the latter to milk the Islamophobia prevalent among the majority community at places with significant Muslim population. By carrying out incessant hate mongering against the Hindu community, the AIMIM leaders allow the Hindutva camp to polarise the Hindu voters, while by placing dummy candidates in crucial electoral battles in states like Bihar, Uttar Pradesh, etc. the AIMIM divides the Muslim votes and helps the BJP to sweep the polls.
In return for its numerous contributions to the victory of the BJP in states like Maharashtra, Telangana, Andhra Pradesh, etc. the AIMIM has received huge gratifications in terms of swift victory in few assembly and Lok Sabha seats through the covert support of the BJP and its leadership has thereby secured a lavish lifestyle for themselves when the more than 80 percent of the community lives in utmost poverty and destitution. Despite their war of words, the RSS/BJP and the AIMIM never confronted in any real turf of power struggle, rather shared power with each other wherever it has been convenient for both parties.
The AIMIM and other such Salafist organisations that creates ruckus over the purported insults to the Islamic prophet and cries that “Islam is in danger” at the drop of a hat, remains conspicuously silent when the democratic and progressive forces fight against the saffron terror and resists the aggression of the Hindutva fanatics, especially the mob lynchings, through different type of resistance programmes. None of the Salafist organisations on the payroll of the US lackey Saudi Arabian monarchy and clergy is seen in the forefront of the struggle against Hindutva terror unleashed upon the Muslims, Dalits and Adivasi people of the country.
While many Muslim men and women are now joining the broad patriotic platforms initiated by different progressive and democratic forces that aim at resisting fascism, these Salafist organisations are busy in raising reactionary demands to preserve the medieval and utmost patriarchal practices like Triple Talaq, Muslim Personal Law codes and to bar the women from entering the sanctum sanctorum of Dargahs and Mosques. These Islamist pawns of big foreign monopoly capital-owned corporations, their Indian comprador and crony capitalist lackeys and the big feudal landlords, always put their energy and resources behind splitting any democratic struggle waged against the Hindutva fascist empire by the progressive and secular forces of the country.
The history of India shows that without the covert support extended by the Muslim League to their attempts to polarise the Hindus under the banner of Hindutva, the organisations like RSS and Hindu Mahasabha could not have survived the great waves of anti-colonial struggles that were waged by the toiled people of the country against the British imperialists. Born as the bastards to British colonial rulers, the Hindutva fascism and its Islamist twin, the Salafist fascist reactionary bloc, always worked in tandem to promote bigotry to drive a wedge between the Hindus and Muslims in the subcontinent and thereby help the foreign monopoly capital to rule the subjugated people with brute force and exploit the resources and labour from this part of the world.
These cowardly organisations that doesn’t represent the interests of the broad masses of exploited and oppressed Muslims of India, who are now lynched by the Hindutva fascist army with impunity, can only show their power by bullying and intimidating authors, especially women like Taslima Nasreen, who vehemently questions the very institution of patriarchy and regression that these organisations protect as the apples of their eyes. The recent attack on Taslima Nasreen in Aurangabad by the AIMIM MLA Sayed Imtiaz Jaleel showed the hollow and cowardice nature of the organisation that hoodwinks the Muslim people of India by presenting itself as their true representative.
The Salafist organisations like the AIMIM and their several wings cannot represent the broad masses of the exploited and oppressed Muslims because they serve the very interests of the foreign monopoly and finance capital-owned corporations that the RSS and the BJP serves. Their nature is identical with that of the RSS and the BJP, and hence, the AIMIM or other such reactionary Salafist organisations cannot be found in the ranks and files of large-scale democratic struggle against the BJP government and its Hindutva agenda. Like truly fascist outfits, their presence can be felt only in the incidents where an exiled woman like Taslima Nasreen will be intimidated and thereby, an ammo for the anti-Muslim diatribe will be made available to the hate mongers of the saffron camp.
The struggle against the Hindutva fascist menace cannot succeed unless the democratic and progressive forces take upon them the task of also fighting and resisting these proxy Muslim organisations set-up by the RSS and other Hindutva outfits to act as their dummy within the Muslim community and divert the genuine resistance struggle of the oppressed Muslims astray through their betrayal and religious sermon-mongering. The secular and progressive forces cannot remain, mum, when an exiled author like Taslima Nasreen, who faced religious and patriarchal persecution in her home country, is tormented for her free views in India and let the Hindutva groups hijack the issue and use it for their vitriol against the Muslim community as a whole.
It’s imperative to defeat the hundreds of AIMIM like Salafist organisations that are serving the interests of the US-backed Saudi Arabian monarchy, which also awarded the orchestrator of the anti-Muslim pogrom of 2002–Narendra Modi-its highest civilian order – the Order of Saudi Arabia. It’s clear that a nefarious nexus is at work, which involves the Hindutva fascists, their AIMIM brotherhood and other reactionary forces that are hell-bent in preserving the semi-colonial and semi-feudal characteristics of India, the root of all type of patriarchal and reactionary Brahminical oppression and exploitation. Taslima Nasreen was only a subterfuge, the real threat is to the ideas of secularism and democracy that the majority of India’s poor has dreamt for a long time. Either these forces are defeated by the people’s united struggle or the country is rendered into a heap of ruins through communal conflagrations, there remains no middle course for India to choose from.
Based in Maharashtra, Anand Patil is a staunch opponent of opportunist politics and supports democratic voices. He is vocal about Dalit, tribal and Muslim rights and has been a rights activist all his life.