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Of dubious mindset and Islamist world’s actions


Unhealthy competition encourages Iran and Saudi Arabia to feed a mindset that runs the global terror machine. Against this background, can there be any genuine hope for a terror-free world?

Recently, Prime Minister Narendra Modi inaugurated Kerala’s most prestigious project: the Kochi Metro. It was the Marxist Chief Minister,  Pinarayi Vijayan, who was knocking at the Prime Minister’s Office doors in Delhi to ensure that the Prime Minister comes for the inauguration. It was the persistence of the Chief Minister that had forced the PMO to somehow squeeze in the inauguration within the extra-tight schedule of the Prime Minister.

The way the Marxist Chief Minister rolled out the red carpet at this event also meant he was keen that his party, usually associated with the end of capitalism in its ideology, should be seen as pro-investment, pro-modern capitalism and wanting all the goodies of latest technology for his people — for instance, soon after taking charge of Government in June 2016, Vijayan appointed Harvard economics professor Gita Gopinath as his Financial Advisor, sparking a controversy with his ministerial colleagues on the appointment of a market-enthusiast in a Marxist set-up.

He was, in this quest, willing to overlook the fact that in good parts of his State, it was the RSS that was stemming the Marxist political tide and violence was the life blood of political action in parts of the state. In effect, like several other Chief Ministers from non-BJP parties, Vijayan was willing to set aside his political convictions and learn the art of compromise in India’s democracy.

As usual, the arrival of a Prime Minister is an occasion for everyone with a grievance to seek to get the VVIP  to listen to their litany. The Prime Minister had landed for the inauguration of the Metro even as the State was facing an intensified agitation by fishermen of New Vaipin against the construction of a landing facility for natural gas shipping.

As Modi was a good target for getting greater visibility for the simmering agitation, the protesting leaders had planned an aggressive demonstration before him. The event raised huge protests from activists who alleged high-handedness by the police and denial of their constitutional right to protest for the fishermen, but the State police chief defended the action, pointing out his intelligence unit had alerted against the plan of Islamist leaders of using the occasion for an assault on the Prime Minister.

Naturally, the police chief (he retired from service recently) would not take any risk after learning about the plot. The Chief Minister backed him when his action was criticised widely. But thereby hangs a tale.

In the last 10 years Vijayan, as the powerful secretary of the CPI(M) State committee, had been accused by no less a person than the octogenarian Marxist leader and then Chief Minister VS Achutanandan of  support and electoral tie-up with Islamist parties and Muslim leaders in the faction fights in the Marxist party between the “popular” VS and the party boss.

After the Marxist party got a severe electoral drubbing in the 2009 and 2011 elections, Vijayan as the State Marxist boss had piped down on his political support to the Islamic fundamentalist party leader and cleric Abdul Nazar Madani and his People’s Democratic Party — an Islamist extremist organisation alleged to be involved in several terrorist activities, especially the Bangalore bombing.

VS had openly disassociated his faction of the CPM from the electoral support that Vijayan gave the People’s Democratic Party (PDP). Public concern against the rising extremist penetration among Muslims in Kerala had grown as organised fundamentalist attacks on others, Hindus and Christians, also grew, along with reports about Muslim young men enticing girls from other religions to marry them and then converting and taking them to Islamic State locations to join the Islamist fighters.

Much of this prosperity of the Muslim middle class which is utilising its hard-earned wealth from working at various levels of employment in the Gulf countries, is visible through new housing constructions and rising land buying in the State. However, instead of this rising wealth curbing the attractions of a life as a terrorist in Syria and other places, a contrary effect is now visibly clear.

Reports emanating from Muslim families that have suffered due to their young men giving up opportunities in the country in favour of a life of hardship as a IS fighter have now begun to attract public concern — as to why this is happening As we know, the earlier version that it was extreme poverty and lack of opportunities for a better life that was driving young Muslims to the violence movement, is finding fewer buyers among social analysts.

In fact, letters or other communication from youngmen who are now in the IS fighting force tell their Kerala or other India parents about the religious frenzy in their campus life. These communications, some of which have found their way into Malayalam newspapers, also expose how the descriptions of after-life following death in fighting jihad, are brainwashing youngsters making them give up opportunities for a wealthy lifestyle here in exchange of the El Dorado in Heaven.

Interestingly, right now, the world media is finding reports about the other Gulf countries led by Saudi Arabia isolating and sanitising their region over the overflowing wealth of Qatar that is stated to be funding IS and other terrorist activities in establishing Islamic rule over the whole world.  Saudi Arabia has leaked out the details of Qatar’s funding and the recepients of funds for promoting terror-driven Islam.

This is giving a new perspective to the issues raised by inspiration for terror, which is claimed to be in the tenets of Islam’s holy book. Jihad is stated to be explained by leaders of Islamic theology as mandated to a Muslim suitably rewarded to the individual by a life of pleasure in the next life.

The descriptions that common Muslims get of heaven are to a rational mind, illusory and misleading. But they are taught as part of an immutable religious text. These illusory images, however, assume reality for the many. The madarssas are mostly funded from Saudi money.

It helps the Saud royal family to consolidate its hold on the Muslim masses in the world and thereby dominate the Islamic world as its protector and promoter. However, there are now challengers to this Saudi dominance. The traditional schism in Islam between Sunnis and Shias has now become a contest for the Muslim mind between Saudis and the no less fundamentalist Iranian clerical group. The latter draws heavily from the immense oil based wealth of Qatar.

This unhealthy competition encourages both the Islamic powers to feed the mindset, which in turn runs the global terror machine. Against this dismal background, is there any hope for a terror-free world? The answer is obvious.

Balbir Punj

(The writer is a political commentator and a former BJP Rajya Sabha MP)