This article was first Published on Sunday, April 13, 2008 at – :
God’s Sake – Khuda Ke Liye
1. My Rebuttal to Myths of Modern Islam comments
2. Film opens Indian eyes to life in Pakistan
3. The myth of moderate Islam by Tavleen Singh
[( Rebuttal to Myths of Modern Islam )]
In Sunday’s Indian Express, Tavleen Singh wrote the review for Khuda Ke Liye and has made a few wrong judgment calls. I am pleased to do a rebuttal.
My reaction would have been similar to Tavleen Singh’s, when the Pakistani hero tells his girl friend that “we built Taj Mahal”. We who, would have been my reaction too. The prejudices she has observed are well expressed. As Indians we are sensitive to what the Pakistanis say and I am sure the vice versa is true. The movie has to play it up too to arouse the sentiments of the audience. Then I am surprised at her conclusion “the film was that in seeking to show Islam in a good light, it accidentally exposes the prejudices that make moderate Muslims the ideological partners of Jihadis”. Since when did we start drawing conclusions based on a movie?
Tavleen Singh states that Moderation is in short supply among Muslims? In fact that is the only thing in abundance with Hindus, Muslims, Christians, Sikhs or any one for that matter. Most are moderate people and they go on about their daily responsibilities of earning a living and taking care of their families. They do not wear their religion on their sleeves; one may know some one is Muslim or a Hindu, but they don’t wear a neon sign.
In Dallas, we are about 80,000 Indians and our Association’s membership is about 1+% – We are about 75,000 Hindus, but you will not find 2% of the Hindus on any given Sunday at the temple, same goes with the Muslims or Christians. You are always looking for the volunteers and you find the same faces over and over again in every place. A majority of the people do not want to be tied up with the politics, religion or even civic affairs. They mind their own lives. About 9/10th of a percent of people are worriers like you and I, worried about what the 1/10th extremists will do. The 99% cares less.
The majority of any group is moderate, they are plenty in numbers and you never see them in any broils or Hangamas. For a good movie, you see a lot more of Desis than you would see them at the place of worship; religious movies are seen by far fewer people, when Khuda Ke Liye was shown at Fun Asia, the turn out was very low, even the Pakistanis did not come to see Khuda Ke Liye, they went to Om Shanti instead. The number gets bigger if it is a Bollywood entertainment extravaganza.
Look at the Election results of Pakistan, whom did the people vote? Not the religious parties. Out of 336 Seats in the assembly only 6 went to the religious parties and 330 to the secular ones. 2.2% v 97.8%.
Tavleen Singh needs to study more before she draws the conclusions.
She fails to mention the 10 minutes of critical dialogue where Naseeruddin Shah challenges the traditionalists, some thing that compares to the Brahmins washing the water faucet several times after a non-Brahmin has collected water from the public tap. Neither was religious, but practiced regardless. As a Journalist one has to tell the story that people can relate, it is just not what others do that is weird; we do it too in our own unique way.
She is iffy “If ‘moderate’ Muslims believe that the West is the real enemy of Islam” She can keep that to herself, because she does not understand who the moderates are. Like the movies, she must be running into only those people who are not moderates and they are just a few. Look at your own group, any group, Caucasian, African Americans, Latinos, Chinese, Hindus or Muslims – go for a sample of 100, you will find only one or two bullies in such a small sample.
The world is run by extremists and bullies while the moderates silently endure. It is time to get the moderates activated and assertive for the good of humankind. It is also time for the Tavleen Singhs of the world to think before they have their runs on the key boards.
Mike Ghouse is a Speaker, Thinker, Writer and a Moderator. He is a frequent guest on talk radio and local television network discussing Pluralism, politics, Islam, Religion, Terrorism, India and civic issues. His comments, news analysis, opinions and columns can be found on the Websites and Blogs listed at his personal website http://www.mikeghouse.net/. He can be reached at mailto:MikeGhouse@gmail.comor (214) 325-1916