Saturday, November 29, 2008

India: 80 percent Hindus and 14 percent Muslims

'A very large minority that cannot be ethnically
cleansed without provoking a wider conflict.'

The above was taken from an article by historian and novelist Tariq Ali about the recent Mumbai attacks. It was published in the American political newsletter Counterpunch. Ali explains why India should look closer to home when it comes to finding the people behind the assault on Mumbai.

In Ali's opinion Pakistan may not play a role at all, since the Lashkar-e-Taiba, 'not usually shy of claiming its hits, has strongly denied any involvement with the Mumbai attacks.'

He continues by saying:

'Why should it be such a surprise if the perpetrators are themselves Indian Muslims? Its hardly a secret that there has been much anger within the poorest sections of the Muslim community against the systematic discrimination and acts of violence carried out against them of which the 2002 anti-Muslim pogrom in shining Gujarat was only the most blatant and the most investigated episode, supported by the Chief Minister of the State and the local state apparatuses. Add to this the continuing sore of Kashmir which has for decades been treated as a colony by Indian troops with random arrests, torture and rape of Kashmiris an everyday occurrence. Conditions have been much worse than in Tibet, but have aroused little sympathy in the West where the defense of human rights is heavily instrumentalised.'
Those who think Ali is justifying terrorist attacks ...?

'None of this justifies terrorism, but it should, at the very least, force
India’s rulers to direct their gaze on their own country and the conditions that
prevail. Economic disparities are profound. The absurd notion that the
trickle-down effects of global capitalism would solve most problems can now be
seen for what it always was: a fig leaf to conceal new modes of exploitation.'

About Tariq Ali
Tariq Ali was born in Lahore in 1943. He was educated in Pakistan and later at Oxford. His opposition to the military dictatorship in Pakistan prevented his return to his own country and he became an unwilling exile in Britain. No, he is not a Muslim, but an atheist and has declared this at many a public occasion.

Tariq Ali has his own website:
Photo credits: Steven Siewert