Sun, 12 Mar 2006
In a way, the Indian muslim community is between a rock and a hard place. International islamic terrorism, Kashmir, and the viciousness of their own lunatic, extremist fringe has made it vitally important that the community stand up against its crazy fringe elements and, equally importantly, be *seen* as fighting in this fashion. At the same time, the community is woefully ill-equipped to do so.
The problem is that the community doesn't have the people who can lead the required self-policing effort. A poor man couldn't care less about protest rallies, he's worried about roti kapda aur makan. No, protests need two kinds of people, both influential and both relatively well-off. The first set consists of articulate, well-known people who lead the fight in politics, in the media, on the web and elsewhere. The second, much larger set consists of people who show up, i.e. add their voice to the protest, giving it the broad base required. People in both the set almost invariably hail from the middle class, though the members of the first set have probably moved up since then, to be now counted among the upper class.
The Indian muslim community has neither of these people. It has a small upper class, but this upper class is almost completely of feudal origin and totally uninterested and ill-suited to lead any self-policing of any kind. The middle class is miniscule. As such, the muslim community has few people who can be counted upon to stand up against their own fringe elements. Yet, stand up the community must, or have even more fingers pointed at it.
As an aside, they've shunted out the top police officer in Benares . I couldn't make up mind if this was scapegoating or plain old kick-out-the-moron. Then I read that the guy was attending a wedding party in the CM's native village when the blasts happened and I am now leaning towards the latter. Also, it seems a bit too early for the blame game, even by babudom standards.
Yet another aside, this story is heart-breaking.