If India does not survive, then who would?


What has conspired in Delhi University (DU) recently is not a matter of ‘freedom of speech’. It is also not a case of ‘intellectual freedom’. Some of the key conspirators are students to whom college degrees have been eluding for several years. In these intervening years, they have been availing facilities and funds provided by the government at the cost of many other more deserving and less privileged young boys and girls. The years that these students have taken in struggle with academics are indicative of their sincerity, character and mental abilities.

Who on this earth would like to listen to eructation’s of such imbeciles in a seminar? These characters have found support from the same teachers who have not been able to bring them to the standards of barely passing the examinations in the stipulated time. These teachers do not carry even a hint of guilt.

What is palpable of these teachers is not their academic learning but their anti-India posturing on various TV channels. Are these teachers only to impart education to those with whom they share ideological affinity? Don’t they have a wider and more sacred responsibility? This criminal compact between subverted teachers and students in the college campuses is wrecking India from within.

The whole DU incident needs to be seen with the prism of national security, which has two vital components, i.e. internal security and external security. In fact, national security is an outcome of the degree of harmony between the two.

To decipher the phenomenon of the student-teacher criminal compact in JNU, Jadavpur, Osmania and now Delhi University, the evolving contours can be traced back to the year 1979. This was the year when the Iranian Revolution took place, this was the year when there was an attack on Mecca and this was the year when the Soviets invaded Afghanistan. Consequently formidable jihadi machinery in the name of ‘global jihad’ was assembled by the military-intelligence establishment of Pakistan on the Af-Pak border region. Money and weapons flowed from Saudi Arabia and US respectively.

The then US National Security Advisor Brzezinski is on record to say that he provoked the Soviet Union in doing so. He told the then US President Jimmy Carter that Soviet Union has been given its ‘Vietnam’. Films were produced in the US with the theme ‘Islam versus Communism’. Communist Soviet Union after a long decade of war in Afghanistan had to retreat and the Union collapsed. The jihadis were triumphant. The grand finale of the Cold War was won by jihadis for the US. It could not have been possible without the Saudi money, its Wahhabi ideology and a jihadi president of Pakistan – Zia-ul-Haq. The US strategic interests in Afghanistan waned and it left the field open to the machinations of Pakistan.

It may be underscored that the collapse of Soviet Union was not because of lack of military wherewithal, but due to the jihadi ideology which proved more formidable than Communism.

The communists retreated and the jihadis won in Afghanistan, but these two vicious ideologies struck with vengeance on India. A number of global jihadi groups were unleashed by Pakistan’s military-intelligence establishment on Kashmir. These groups were indeed heady and over-confident after having humbled Super-Power. They reckoned that Kashmir was not more than six months job for the Afghanistan war hardened mujahideens. The Indian Army made them realize that their jihadi fighting prowess may have defeated communist soldiers, but was no match to Indian nationalism. It is then that the military-intelligence establishment of Pakistan embarked on proxy war. Concurrently, communist China revived its own proxy war in form of ‘Maoists’. Subsequently, some European countries and Church organizations also tapped in.

This proxy war has an overwhelming ideological component. A proxy war cannot be without proxies. Consequently proxies were created at various levels. The communists had mastered the art of infiltrating judiciary, academia and the media. In fact, their capture of these institutions was nearly total. Communist parties in mainstream politics cleverly used the Maoists to terrorize Indians in the hinterland especially in mineral rich areas and areas where they could forge a criminal compact with the jihadis and church organizations for de-stablishing India.

The symbiosis of relationship between the mainstream communist parties and the Maoists was evidenced recently when the CPI national executive member Binoy Vishwam paid tribute to top Maoist leaders Kuppu Devraj and Ajitha, who were killed in an encounter in Nilambur Forests on 24-Novembr 2016. He said: “it is the duty of a communist to pay respect to a felled comrade.” He also went on to say that when the left-wing is ruling the state, police should not resort to right-wing attitude.

It is the communists in India, who have created the term ‘right-wing’ to justify their existence and neutralize the ‘nationalists’.

Thus, India has been impacted by two ideologies completely foreign in their import and alien to the Indian soil, i.e. jihadism and Maoism.

This author as a part of government sponsored study project on Maoism travelled through the ‘Red Corridor’. In this study tour, he interacted with the District Magistrate of Gaya, who narrated an incident wherein the Maoists had issued a diktat that only ‘Black Flags’ will be hoisted in all schools on the Independence Day. In one of the schools, a girl of Class-VIII in a fit of reaction pulled down the black flag and hoisted the ‘National Flag’. Her family is missing since then. Was she a ‘right-winger’? Did she not deserve ‘nationalist freedom’ in the school campus? Was she a ‘right-wing’ goon?

The fact of the matter is that all these terminologies, i.e. left-wing, right-wing, communism and socialism are foreign terms, which do not reflect the reality and genius of the Indian land. The word ‘socialism’ was inserted into the preamble of our ‘sacred Constitution’ 25 years later. It may be mentioned that B R Ambedkar had refused to put it in the preamble arguing that it should be best left to the genius of future generations, who may come-up with better political concepts. Ironically, it is these foreign ideologies that are buffeting India.

Indian military thinkers and planners look at Pakistan and China only through the prism of force levels and military capabilities. The ideological component of Pakistan as an ‘Islamic State’ and China a ‘Communist State’ has not engaged their due concern. The attack on the Pathankot airbase was not a military attack, but an ideological attack through jihadis, nurtured in the religious factories of Pakistan which provides an endless supply of suicide-bombers. Similarly, the Chinese are not fighting the war on the borders, but inside the Indian hinterland through the Maoists in all forms. Its manifestation is the ‘Red Corridor’ and over-ground anti-India agitation of the Maoists in some universities of India. No wonder the students at the JNU danced and feasted all night when 73 CRPF soldiers were killed. So much respect for martyrs and martyrdom!

The meeting of Maoists and the jihadis in the universities or the national capital is not incidental. One source, who was in Pakistan, revealed to this author that in a gathering in Karachi, a Pakistani ISI operative, Cheema, unveiled the project of bringing the jihadis and the Maoists together in the national capital. This ISI operative was posted in the High Commission of Pakistan and orchestrated the anti-national drama at the JNU. He was subsequently identified and sent back to Pakistan by the Indian authorities.

The process of forging the nexus between the Maoists and the Jihadis has been going on for some years now. Some of the ISI-operatives based in Bangladesh have confessed as such during their interrogation. It also emerged that Dawood too wanted to tap into this nexus to get a foot-hold in the illegal mining industry.

What is, however, most alarming is the ISI–Maoist criminal nexus to cause large scale casualties on hapless, unsuspecting railway passengers in India. An ISI man Shamshul Hoda, an aspiring politician in Nepal, was one of the key plotters in this regard. He was responsible for the derailment of Indore-Patna Express in which 150 people had died. Later there was also an attempt to blow-up a railway track at Ghorasan in East Champaran District of Bihar. When the bomb failed to explode, two Indian operatives (Maoists with criminal record), were called to Bara in Nepal and killed by Hoda’s men. Such attempts have also been made in Andhra Pradesh and Maharashtra. The conspiracy is linked to Karachi in Pakistan and subsequently it traverses through Dubai, Nepal and into North Bihar. Money, more importantly fake currency, plays a big role in this entire affair. Nepal is thus serving as a nerve center for targeting railways by the ISI-Maoists nexus. It needs to be emphasised that this nexus is being forged under the Maoist dispensation in Nepal.

What India is witnessing in some of the University campuses is the meeting point of two murderous foreign ideologies – jihad and Maoism. Both have traveled to India after spilling rivers of blood through the territories that they traversed. Communism arrived in India after killing nearly two million people in Russia and three million people in China.

When the war between jihad and communism began in Afghanistan, the great Pashtun leader Bacha Khan said: “I can see the rivers of blood flowing across Pakistan and when it reaches India, it would be catastrophic for the region”. When questioned about the logic of including India in his prophecy, he said: “I have seen the violent response of ‘Hindu Baniya’ in retaliation to Mullahs provocation during the partition riots. Violence shall not confine itself to geographical boundaries, but it will travel far and wide and would be impossible to extinguish”.

India can only ignore the murderous ideological component of proxy wars by Pakistan and China at its own peril. As China and Pakistan move from strategic embrace to territorial embrace twin ideological threat is getting increasingly accentuated. Those who need to be immediately confronted are the ones who have taken the English route to jihad and Maoism under the garb of liberals and intellectuals. In India, English speaking jihadis generally masquerade as Communists. Liberty can survive only in secure space. Both the ideologies have killed the liberal space wherever they have held sway.

This author was told by the Collector of Dantewada in Chattisgarh that the Maoists repeatedly destroyed all electric poles erected under the Rajiv Gandhi Vidyutkaran Yojna, because they did not want their captive tribal to be exposed to benefits of electricity and TV. The agenda of Maoists is destruction and not development.

It is therefore the sacred duty of English speaking and non-English speaking patriots to take-on the English speaking shopkeepers of anti-nationalism in this war of ideologies or war of narratives. If India does not survive, then who would?

(RSN Singh is a former military intelligence officer who later served in the Research & Analysis Wing. The author of two books: Asian Strategic and Military Perspective and Military Factor in Pakistan, he is also a Guest Blogger with Canary Trap. The opinions expressed by the author and those providing comments are theirs alone, and do not reflect the opinions of Canary Trap or any employee thereof)

Carnage at Qalandar Shrine: The Shia, Sunni, Sufi triangle


Audiences in their hundreds of thousands across the subcontinent will remember Reshma with her flashing eyes and haunting, gypsy voice singing “Dama dum mast qalandar”. Well, that’s the Dhamaal signature tune. It was the punchline of this song which had become controversial when President Zia ul Haq set Pakistani Islam on a course of Arabization in the 80s in order to wrench it away from the syncretic Islam which hundreds of Sufi schools had established in India since the 13th century. “If Iran imbibes Indian culture, it will still remain Iran, but if Pakistan retains Indian traditions, it will over time become India.” That was the General’s warped reasoning.

The suicide attack on the shrine of Lal Shahbaz Qalandar, in Sindh, which killed nearly 100 devotees last week, is unlikely to dampen the Dhamaal spirit, the ecstatic dance performed in the shrine’s courtyard at dusk every Thursday to the magical rhythm of drums. Nazir Akbarabadi has a brilliant poem on “haal” or trance. It describes perfectly the transcendent dance at Dhamaal. Terrorism is too feeble an instrument to kill the idea.

The punchline of the Mast Qalandar song is “Ali da pehla number” which means “Ali is first”. This, unfortunately, touches on the principal point of difference between Shias and Sunnis. Shias believe that the prophet’s son-in-law, Ali should have been the first inheritor of the Prophet’s worldly and spiritual responsibilities, the Caliphate. Sunnis accept what actually happened: the Prophet’s senior companion, Abu Bakr Siddiq became the first Caliph of Islam.

To avoid further controversies, the punchline was amended. It became “Ali dum dum de andar”, or Ali is in every breath.

The two sects cite different traditions to advance their claims. The Shias point to the episode of Ghadir Khumm. Returning from his last Haj, the prophet stopped at an elevated spot in Ghadir, held Ali by the hand and announced to the congregation that they must respect Ali’s primacy after the Prophet’s death.

While creating Qawwali as a devotional form of music, Amir Khusro dressed up this episode as a compulsory Qaul or declaration of faith to be sung at the start of every Qawwali session. Google Qawwali and search “Mun Kunto Maula, Fahaza Ali Maula”, (Roughly translated it means: he who considers me his spiritual and temporal leader must accord the same status to Ali).

It is an open and shut case, claim the Shias. The prophet had publicly passed the baton to Ali.

Sunnis advance their claim differently: when the Prophet was fatally ill, he asked his companion Abu Bakr to lead the Friday prayers.

Why are Shia-Sunni differences being explained in the context of an attack on the Sindh Sufi shrine? Because in popular perception there is a lack of clarity on the Shia, Sunni, Sufi triangle.

Sufi saints were all of Sunni origin as are the overwhelming majority of devotees at their shrines. There will be a sizeable number of Hindu and a sprinkling of others.

If most of those in attendance at shrines like Shahbaz Qalandar are Sunnis why would Jihadist Salafis, who are also Sunni, kill them so brutally. Islamic State claimed “credit” for the carnage in Sindh. The IS, let it be clarified, is an amalgam of Salafis, Muslim Brotherhood, offshoots of Al Qaeda, Jabhat al Nusra and dispossessed Baathists from Iraq now standing on a militant, Sunni platform because post Saddam Hussain Baghdad is largely in Shia hands. In other words each component of IS may have different emphases but together they form a critical mass.

The harsh Salafi disapproval, even visceral hatred for Sufis, can be explained in broad terms: the Sufi incorporation of music, dance, local customs into their practice of Islam. Also, their acceptance of people of all faiths, castes, their general Catholicism, contrast sharply from the arid austerities of the Salafis. But this does not fully explain the intensity of their anger. This is focused on the personality of Ali who is the centerpiece of Sufi ritual.

Ali, as I have mentioned earlier, is the main point of contention between Shias and Sunnis. After the coming of the Ayatullahs in Iran, the Arab-Ajam, Saudi-Iranian antipathies began to determine the geo-politics of the Arab world.

In this churning, Israel and Saudi Arabia have, overtime, become strategic partners. Partly as a result of Saudi clout in the region, the Palestinian issue has lost saliency: Shia-Sunni was promoted as the fundamental faultline. At a recent lecture in Oslo, Henry Kissinger said it in so many words: the defining issue in the Arab world is not Palestinian homeland but the Shia-Sunni conflict.

If the West, Israel and Saudi Arabia are on the same page on what is increasingly being described as the central faultline in the Arab world, namely the Shia-Sunni divide, what does one make of the Sunni Salafi suicide bomber, sometimes wearing the IS cap, on a relentless spree of murder and mayhem? On whose side is the West? It must be added, in parenthesis, that no suicide bomber has ever been identified as a Shia. Mysteriously, this fact has never been highlighted by the western media, currently under severe pressure to arrest its plummeting credibility.

In the Indian sub continent, the Shia, Sunni, Sufi triangle has its own dynamics. From the Delhi Sultanate right upto the last Moghul, rulers had Central Asian antecedents with a sprinkling of Persian, Shia elite in key positions.

This may have been one enabling factor for most the regional Muslim dynasties being Shia – Bahmani Sultanate, Sharqi, Berar, Bidar, Qutub Shahi, Adil Shahi, Awadh Nawabi, Najafi Nawabs of Bengal, Nawab of Murshidabad and Rampur.

All these came under the cultural influence of Iran which has an abiding respect for its Zoroastrian past. Shias of the subcontinent, like the Parsis, celebrate Navroz, the Persian New Year.

The catchment areas of these Kingdoms and Nawabis were fertile ground for Sufi schools to take root. In Awadh Holi, Basant, Diwali, Krishna, Radha, Rama were incorporated into Sufi songs. Mohsin Kakorvi’s celebration of the Prophet’s birthday invokes Ganga, Jamuna and Krishna. Maulana Hasrat Mohani belonged to a school which respected Krishna as God’s messenger. His numerous poems on Radha and Krishna are high points of Sufi mysticism. All Urdu poets are of a Sufi bent. There is not a single line in the annals of Urdu poetry supportive of the hapless Mullah.

(Saeed Naqvi is a senior Indian journalist, television commentator, interviewer, and a Distinguished Fellow at Observer Research Foundation. Mr. Naqvi is also a mentor and a guest blogger with Canary Trap)