April 02, 2001

India Today, April 2, 2001



The Importance Of Being Brajesh
The Opposition and the Sangh Parivar launch an attack on the Prime Minister's Office by targeting the Principal Secretary to the Prime Minister Brajesh Mishra. The Vajpayee camp finds itself fighting a grim political battle to retain credibility even as the Establishment tries to discredit the Tehelka allegations. An analysis.

Supercrat In His Labyrinth
There are 240 secretaries to the Government, but N. K. Singh is always a cut above-in style, networking, and power. The economic policy wizard gets defensive.

The Ways And Means Of Ranjan
Ranjan Bhattacharya's role as nursemaid to Atal Bihari Vajpayee gives the fun-loving foster son-in-law
the image of one who dabbles in government decisions.

Congress' Coalition Flight Grounded
With sceptic constituents, Congress President Sonia Gandhi's
plan to form an alliance just before the assembly elections in five states, may backfire.

Desperately Seeking loopholes
The Bharatiya Janata Party and Samata Party find discrepancies
in the charges levelled against them by Tehelka. But it's just details.



Nursery Of Hate
The week-long violence in Kanpur has cooled down, but the spectre of the Students Islamic Movement of India still looms large. A look at the reach of India's in-house Taliban.



Vroom Service
The four-stroke motorcycle overtakes middle-class India's greatest icon since the valve radio set, as sales of the doughty old scooter stagnate in spite of a spirited fightback.



George Cross
The FIR against Sonia Gandhi's private secretary is a plain corruption issue says the CBI. But, an embarrassed Congress complains of vendetta.



Nothing Official About It
The payment crisis is temporarily stemmed, but clandestine financing ticks like a time bomb.





"I Am Very Bitter About Being An Indian"

Safdar Nagori, SIMI's secretary-general, spelt out his group's agenda to principal correspondent Sayantan Chakravarty:

"We have no regard for Nehru, Gandhi... Osama has shown great character."

Q. Are you aware the Government is keeping a watch on SIMI?
Yes, we are. But it is expected of this Government, isn't it?

Q. A line on your calendar says that "Jehad is our Path". Can you elaborate?
Let me explain the concept of jehad as detailed in the Quran. It is not when an individual is harmed but when an entire community finds itself collectively persecuted that the cry for jehad is given. There are various stages. You raise your voice. Protest democratically. Warn. If nothing works then one is forced to
revolt, take to arms.

Q. So what stage of jehad do you find yourself at?
A. When the Muslim voice is muffled, when we are fired upon and killed, like at Kanpur, when you find the Sangh Parivar making statements that the mandir will be built by March 2002 at Ayodhya, then I can say Muslims will not take it lying down. And I am not too sure of the consequences.

Q. But the Government is not being run by the RSS.
Of course it is. Atal Bihari Vajpayee's statement that "I am a swayamsevak" has left no doubt in the minds of the Muslims. At times he seems to be shedding tears for the Babri episode but they are only crocodile tears.

Q. SIMI is known to launch vitriolic attacks against Indian leaders. Why?
We Muslims, and not just SIMI, do not recognise leaders as ideals. There is only one true Lord, one true Ideal.

Q. Can you elaborate?
When we are told that there is a rashtrapita in Gandhi, and another great statesman in Nehru, we feel it is a direct attack on our fundamentals. Nehru wanted Muslims to recognise Ghulam Ahmed Qadaini as our Prophet. He was forcing us to alter our religious belief and we have no regard for such a man. Also, Gandhi is not our greatest ideal by any stretch of the imagination. Nor is Indira Gandhi.

Q. So what is your agenda. Is it to Islamise India?
Look, we have respect for the practitioners of other religions. As true Muslims, we always will. But at the same time our aim is to propagate the Quran's tenets. This will be done even among non-Muslims but there will be no coercion. It's not like you want everybody to sing Vande Mataram.

Q. You seem bitter at being Indian.
Yes. Very bitter. Even in Jerusalem where the atrocities on Muslims have been like in no other part of the world, the main mosque, Masjid-e-Aksa, is still intact. At Ayodhya, sadly, it isn't. They use rubber bullets to keep protesters at bay in Israel, here they kill Muslims, like in Kanpur.

Q. In your conferences you have openly eulogised Osama bin Laden.
Not once, but dozens of times. We believe that he has shown great character in standing up to the Americans, the biggest terrorists in the world. The US made allegations that he was behind the embassy bombings in Nairobi and Dar-es-Salaam, but we know that Osama had no hand in them.

Q. But he does support the ISI's terrorist activities in India.
Incorrect. The ISI is different. Osama has no links with the ISI. His enemy no. 1 is not India, but the US.

Q. At SIMI meetings speeches of Qazi Hussain, the Jamait-e-Islami chief in Pakistan, are played. Why?
We link up with him in Pakistan through phones and the speeches are amplified for the audience. The Qazi wants us to take Islam to non-Muslims.

Q. Is SIMI's presence in the north stronger than in the south?
We are everywhere, as strong in Kerala and Maharashtra as we are in Delhi and Uttar Pradesh. Even Assam.

Q. Where do you see your agenda taking you?
We are not interested in focusing on leaves and branches. We are interested in changing things at the roots. In the world's largest democracy there must be open ideological discussions and not just false propaganda. Our madarsas are not nurseries of terror.


Care Today

The Itch For Kitsch
When Kitsch Kitsch Hota Hai opened to an overflowing house at Delhi's India Habitat Centre last week, people didn't quite know what to expect.

Looking Glass

Delhi Exhibition:
Unbuilt India-Vision 2001

Delhi Music:
Shriram Shankarlal Music Festival, 2001

Delhi: Showroom
Interiors Espania


    Web Exclusives

The 457-acre estate of the Roerichs near Bangalore is in a pathetic condition. But does anyone care, asks INDIA TODAY's Principal Correspondent Stephen David in Despatches.



India Today, March 26, 2001

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