(Below is a piece which the editor of OpIndia, Nupur J. Sharma has penned on her namesake Nupur Sharma who was with the BJP not long ago before her comments quoting Hadiths on Prophet Muhammad had Islamists baying for her blood. Worse, even the BJP has cast her aside.)
It was a Monday morning when Nupur Sharma (the now-former BJP spokesperson) and I sat down for a tête-à-tête. She had already been getting the vilest death and rape threats from the members of a cult who believe in seeing those threats too. During our conversation, which can be viewed on YouTube, I acknowledge I had a strange look of worry that engulfed my face, no matter how hard I tried to look ‘normal’.
OpIndia and I personally, have covered far too many incidents of “Blasphemy violence” to not be concerned. I wouldn’t lie, but in my mind, there was a tiny voice that said Nupur Sharma’s fate was sealed. Much like that of Kamlesh Tiwari, who was arrested for his speech and subsequently beheaded for it.
But then during the interview, Nupur Sharma told me that she was in constant touch with the HMO, PMO and even Mr Devendra Fadnavis had called to tell her that they were standing firmly behind her. “My party is extremely concerned about my safety”, she told me and that eased my worry to a certain extent. There is certainly no amount of protection that could be considered adequate when there are two calls for beheading against you, however, it was some consolation. The powers that be had taken cognisance and Nupur had the institutional support she needed so desperately – or so we thought.
Soon after my interview with her, news surfaced that Nupur Sharma had been suspended from the primary membership of the party. “You have expressed views contrary to the party’s position on various matters”, the suspension read. Pending further inquiry, Nupur Sharma had been suspended from the party.
There was widespread condemnation and outrage from average supporters whose lives would not be diminished by who the party chooses as a spokesperson. Almost immediately, my heart sank. The institutional support Nupur so desperately needed had been taken away from her. One may argue that it is entirely possible that she is still being protected, but for the Islamists who wanted her head, the decision worked like blood being smeared on a hungry lion’s mouth. Nupur had been fed to the wolves, alone, cast aside, humiliated and disgraced. For the Islamists who were baying for her blood, the message was simple – BJP does not endorse the criticism of Islam – nay – even reading of the Hadits – because it may offend the intolerant minority.
Those who support the party unconditionally claimed that this move was done in “national interest”. It turns out, that certain Islamic nations had started dog-whistling about Nupur Sharma’s comments, threatening to boycott Indian products if action was not taken against her. Qatar had even summoned the Indian Ambassador demanding an unequivocal apology for comments “against Prophet Muhammad”. Kuwait, Saudi Arabia and Iran gave statements too.
Indian Muslims had celebrated and per the Ummah that they believe in, goaded the Islamic nations to take cognisance. Mohammad Zubair tagged the Indian Embassy of Doha and said that he could provide several such tweet examples where Hindus had made “insulting” comments. The celebratory tweets from these elements had a distinct hint of victory. “She was suspended for insulting Prophet Muhammad” the terrorist allies chimed in.
While the hounds continued to bark, Nupur Sharma’s actual comment was brushed under the carpet. So too was dismissed that in her interview with me, she had categorically said that she did not even give an opinion on their Prophet, all she did, was mention what was already mentioned in their own Hadits. After being angered by comments on the Shivling, she had merely asked if she should start mocking their faith as well, like they mock ours. She had also said that she would be happy to take her comments back if any established Islamic scholar would come forward to correct her – “If I am factually wrong, I will be happy to take my statements back” she had told me.
None of this mattered.
Islamists, the world over, don’t particularly rely on facts and proof. All they need is the word “blasphemy” whispered in their ear and they suddenly turn into those mindless zombies who walk around with their arms extended looking for fresh flesh to chew on and blood to quench their thirst. One recalls the incident in Bangladesh where Hindus were one Iqbal Hussain had placed a Quran in a Durga Puja pandal and it led to widespread violence against Hindus and their places of worship.
In another incident in Sialkot, Pakistan, where a man from Sri Lanka was lynched to death and burnt. Eyewitnesses denied that he had committed any blasphemy, but all it took for a mob of walkers to Lynch and burn a man alive was the mere allegation of blasphemy. There is just no winning with a cult that gets murderously enraged even if they “feel” like the Kafirs have breathed wrong. Frankly, I believe that blasphemy is a mere excuse. They want to murder Kafirs and even a false whisper is considered a good enough excuse to put their murderous dreams in motion.
Nupur Sharma today is dealing with this frenzied mob. She has been declared a blasphemer by the Islamists, by the zombies baying for blood. The last thing she needed was for the institutional support to be taken away from her and for her to be declared guilty by the very party that was supposed to protect her. Those who would like to defend the BJP may say that the party ‘had to act’ given the statements from Gulf countries and that they have not “officially removed her” but “suspended her pending inquiry”, but there mere fact that an inquiry has been ordered and she has been suspended for the duration of that inquiry declares her guilty.
The Islamists demanding her head now know that the BJP is, in its official capacity, considering a statement worth investigating. That it COULD HAVE been an insult to Islam and that if it was, she does not get support from the party. Essentially, the BJP, with one swift move, has declared all commentary against Islam or even the mere quoting from the Quran and Hadit as a blasphemous act, much like the Islamists, that is not to be condoned. Therefore, when critics today say that Nupur Sharma was thrown under the bus, they are not very far off the mark.
Personally, as someone who has been at the receiving end of threats and intimidation when I was in Bengal (where I got immense support from the BJP leadership), I was sad, angry and disgusted by the conduct of the BJP in disassociating itself from one of their own, who frankly, did not even say anything wrong. They threw her to the wolves, to fend for herself and emboldened the barbarians multifold, not just against her, but all of us.
That said, this issue now needs to lead to a far greater realisation than “what BJP did was wrong”. This incident where Islamic nations came together under the Ummah, aided by Indian Muslims, only proves to us how powerless we truly are when up against the global Ummah. The Islamic community has over 50 nations to rally behind their cause and ensure that every slight, every comment, and every incident that they perceive as an affront to their regimental faith is challenged.
Hindus are no match and right now, it almost seems impossible that we would ever reach a stage where we can challenge their propaganda. One has to realise that the Islamists have several avenues to build alliances. They have their Ummah, which essentially deems all Muslims as one separate nation incapable of existing with Kafirs and then they have the global Left that is all too happy to ally with Islamists against any civilisational state that they think needs to be broken up. Hindus, on the other hand, have to fend for themselves. Hindus can’t possibly ally, not as completely, at least, with the Christian Right of the West because the Abrahamic perspective they come from is wildly different from the Indic perspective that Hindus rely on.
Therefore, this is an uneven fight that Hindus are fighting. Think of it as going into a sword fight with a pencil. When Islamists like Rana Ayyub, Mohammad Zubair etc dog-whistle, they get Qatar, Iran, Saudi Arabia etc to support them, even Pakistan and other Muslim nations, along with the global left. When Hindus need to outrage, they are stuck with writers like me. The plain is not even. The fight is woefully unequal.
In the run-up to the partition, what saved Hindus at least to some extent is the fact that the civilisational battle was geographically confined to India. Even when Muslims were fighting for the Turkish Caliphate, their fight was geographically confined. They massacred Hindus within our borders and while we can safely blame our leaders from then, like MK Gandhi, for allowing Hindus to die, it was still a battle that India was fighting at home.
Today, that has changed. We are no longer fighting the rabid Islamists like the Moplah Muslims or those Muslims who massacred Hindus during Direct Action Day, we are today up against an unseen enemy. The alliance between the global Left, the Islamists, the Periyarists, the Ambedkarites, the Church, and so on and so forth.
What is needed for a vast majority of people, is to hear me be an optimist. “We will not go quietly into the night”, I should say. While we won’t go down without a fight, it almost feels like “going down” is an eventuality that seems hard to escape. I often say I feel like every day, I am documenting our end. End of a grand, ancient civilisation as we know it.
Out of this abyss of dismay, my Wishlist is rather simple. Hindus need to wake up and realise that they are not in a battle of narratives for the benefit of a political party, but in a fight for their lives, for their existence, for their survival. While we have shifted the Overton Window to a level previously thought impossible, in the real world, one still hears deracinated and uninformed Hindus saying that Nupur Sharma should not have “unnecessarily insulted their Prophet”. I wish they understood that they will take a mile if you cede an inch.
Today, you might say it is unnecessary to comment on Islam and “provoke them”. Once you stop Hindus from doing that, tomorrow they will say your “idol worship is unnecessary” because it provokes Muslims who are theologically and ardently against idol worship. Our temples, our rituals, our customs, our traditions, and our entire existence would be deemed as an unnecessary provocation. This attitude is defeatist. With this attitude, we are bound to lose this war and the price we would pay for that loss would be our civilisational demise. It is an attitude that would lead us to our end, and an attitude, that was, unfortunately, also reflected in the plight of Nupur Sharma today.
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