Radical Islamists Are Now Looking To Destroy Tamil Nadu's Dargahs

by Aravindan Neelakandan - Feb 2, 2016 12:13 AM +05:30 IST
Radical Islamists Are Now Looking To Destroy Tamil Nadu's Dargahs

While the entire world is at a loss today to deal with radical Islam, India has an enviable alternative vision of Islam that is spiritual and  accommodates “theo-diversity”. But radical elements are now trying to destroy it.

Jeyakumar Srinivasan has published his first book in Tamil. It is about present day Iraq, the suffering, the fall, the tears of mothers, the plight of the daughters, fathers burying their children, the ransacked museums, demolished Shia mosques. But amidst all this fury the economic activity and daily life has to go on.

Jeykumar is a Tamilian who found himself doing business in Iraq and thus had a unique ringside view of the happenings there. He laments about the greatness of its pagan past, all the while remaining respectful of its Islamic present and points out how a completely virulent version of  Islam has infiltrated and sabotaged the centuries of co-existence in Iraq.

Travelling throughout Tamil Nadu one finds such a strain of Islam entering Tamil Islamic society as well. In the last six months, Tamil Nadu Thowheed Jamath (TNTJ) has been doing a massive propaganda against what it considers ‘Shirk.’

The six months long intensive campaign which created a lot of clashes between traditional Tamil Muslims and radicals in various places, ultimately ended in a huge public function at Trichy on 31 January, 2016. The campaign went virtually unchallenged by the so-called conscience keepers of the Nehruvian state.

Radical Islamists Are Now Looking To Destroy Tamil Nadu's Dargahs
Radical Islamists Are Now Looking To Destroy Tamil Nadu's Dargahs

TNTJ, though well known in certain pockets of Tamil Nadu for its proselytizing, found itself in limelight when it coordinated a strong opposition to Kamal Hassan’s movie Viswaroopam. The actor who usually takes pride in his uncompromising attitude towards offending Hindus meekly submitted himself for an extra-constitutional censor preview by the Islamists. After negotiations, TNTJ became a clear winner with the actor agreeing to their demand. TNTJ has also become the self-professed voice of Tamil Nadu’s Muslims.

‘Shirk’ in Islamic theology is holding anything equal to Allah – the Creator Deity in Islam. The primary targets of this highly offensive campaign are the Tamil Muslims. Centuries of co-existence in India has led to many syncretic practices which bind Hindus and Muslims culturally and emotionally.

For example, take the Dargah worship. Islamic Dargah worship in Tamil Nadu is a vibrant inter-religious phenomenon. Of course, there are Hindus who accuse them of doing proselytizing work and at least in some cases, the accusations have validity, but overall they are centers of harmonious co-existence.

The high voltage propaganda of TNTJ quotes Hadis to oppose Dargah worship. It opposes every form of cultural connection that may bind the Muslims with the rest of Indian communities. And over the webzines, many Hindutvaites have rightly zeroed in on the tolerance brigade – questioning their absence in the face of such blatantly intolerant effort to annihilate diversity.

Then there are internal dimensions of this Indic Islam which need exploration, documentation and preservation. From Gunankudi Mastan Sahib to Thakkalay Peerappa,  Tamil literature and spiritual traditions have a strong stream of Indic Islamic mysticism.

The leftists have often tried to explain away such Indic-Isalmic saints through their ideological prisms – often as Islamic people’s poets against ‘Brahminism.’ This robs the seers of their innate spiritual value and has made them easy targets for Wahabhi forces.

Both Hindus and Muslims have joined hands even through the recent decades to disseminate the spiritual message of the Indic-Islam. The lineage of such seers still produces great masters. It may be a real surprise for many to know that a Yoga stream, popular today in Tamil Nadu has its roots in an Islamic seer Paranjothi Mahan (1900-1981), whose samadhi  is in Madurai.

Another mystic seer called ‘Mahananda Baba’ (real name: Muhammad Abdul Kadhar, 1891-1959), wrote many Advaitic classics. His poetic verses rival that of Bhagwan Ramana in its espousal of non-dualism.

Radical Islamists Are Now Looking To Destroy Tamil Nadu's Dargahs

Consider the following:

Being conscious Brahman pervades all
In forgetfulness Maya pervades all
In all that which becomes the all
is what I call the Union

Or consider this verse which also reminds one the wisdom of Mullah Nasrudheen:

Searching all over the street
that which I have kept in the house,
Similarly I searched in the scriptures
and declared there is nothing.

Unfortunately such great spiritual treasures can be published in a limited manner through small groups of dedicated followers cutting across religions. They are nothing when compared to the monstrously funded Anti-‘Shirk’ conferences that dominate the cultural and ultimately, political space of Tamil Muslims.

The ‘Shirk’ conference strikes at the root of the organic growth of Indic Islamic spirituality. Beyond the Hindu-Muslim binary and the abject hypocrisy of the Nehruvian brigade, the real danger is in the complete destruction of one branch of Indic spirituality.

Decades ago Mahommedali Currim Chagla had a bitter complaint against Gandhi that he always let down nationalist Muslims for appeasing the fanatical Muslims. The same way today the silent voice of Muslim community wants their Hindu brethren to stand up and guard their right to Dargha worship.

While the entire world is at a loss today to deal with radical Islam, India has an enviable alternative vision of Islam that is spiritual and  accommodates “theo-diversity”. It is time we stand up and proclaim it to the world.

We should not make assaults like ‘Annihilate-‘Shirk” conference victorious through our inaction alone. As his faith, and cultural umbilical chords get threatened by forces catalyzed by Saudi string-pullers, it is the duty of every Hindu to stand by the common Tamil Muslim.

I do not want Tamil Nadu’s fate to be like the one Jeyakumar Srinivasan has written on Iraq.

Aravindan is a contributing editor at Swarajya.

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