South Asian citizens face systematic persecution by the state authorities on non-mainstream thinkers, activists and writers. Equality before law and the value of human life dance to the to the tunes of a few at the top echelons of power. In Dhaka, some activists were provided police security while some others became the targets of police brutality. The factor that separated one group from another was the type of message that was being carried by the activists. People will not be permitted to think about ideas that go against powerful elite. Censorship rules on media in effect cut their ability to hold the administration accountable. Licenses are terminated, channels are taken off air if news coverage goes against the “thought control” strategy.
Issue of rights, equality and freedom does not come into consideration when one particular group is discriminated against another by higher authorities. The fact that both groups are made up of equal citizens of the state does not register when one group is protected while another is fired upon. Should we look farter for the definition of tyranny?
Resistance in such cases would be to take a stand against the unfair and unjust policies. In the past, resistance leaders gathered popular support using racial and religious bondings as attraction tools. It is much harder now as the oppressors sport the same color, language and religion as of the oppressed. It was a lot simpler for Indian politicians to raise mass movement against the “western” occupying colonialists, but its a lot harder for a South Asian to make fellow South Asian politician accounatable through a popular mass movement.
Muslim resistance must be in such fields where basic value of human life, rights to safety and security faces defeat. The last known Muslim Resistance in South Asia was the Khelafat Movement, organized by the famous duo – the Ali Brothers. Other regional resistance leaders gave their support for it as well. This movement’s thoughts, ideas and concepts rest on universal outlook and global understanding of politics.
Bangladesh has always been a peaceful country. Its occasional collective outbursts managed to tear open the coats of imperialism in such fury that it left behind permanent divisions in the regional map.
In the 18th century Bengali muslims rose up against two superpowers. They opened up two fronts militarily and culturally. On the one hand they had to resist the rising power of unjust zamindars (landlords of mostly non-muslim origin), and on the other hand were the British mercenaries employed by the British East India Company.
Two names cant escape this blog. Titumir and Haji Shariatullah (followed by his son Haji Mohsin). These two Bengali Muslims ignited the passions of the freedom loving Bengali peasants. The British eyed them suspiciously fearing rebellion against the Company, while the newly crowned zamindars needed the peasants to remain subjugated like slaves for the sake of safeguarding their British blessed wealth and property.
Titumir’s Basherkella and Haji Shariatullah’s Faraizi Movement printed their immortal footprints in the history of this land.What is the connection between Titumir’s Basherkella (fortres made of bamboo sticks), or the Faraizi Movement of cultural revolution? Are’nt those stories now way too old for us in the 21st century?
The connection lies in between the colonization of Bengal by the British East India Company (with the help and support of zamindars) and the current usurpation of peoples’ freedom under domestic totalitarianism. The struggle then and now are like the two wings of a bird. It is a struggle against the power of an evil and corrupt system.
The culture that is on the rise seems quite clear if someone picks up a newspaper. More and more people are discovering their roots in the rural country side. Younger people want to know from where did our current conflicts originate? More importantly, they would like to be get a convincing reply to this, “who is right?”
To find answers to the right vs wrong questions one will have to go back and look at the sources of social set-ups and the structure that holds families together. Because this curiosity will grow larger I am calculating in the next few years Bangladesh will experience a new kind of socio-cultural understanding of their world. I know Bangladeshis had until now abandoned the human (and divinely provided) need for discovering the world around them with a broad voewpoit of the world outside Bangladesh.
The good news is when we begin to search for the truth, regardless of where we look for it, the truth will also start to look for us.
Does it not bother you when you see the Ummah in its present condition? Wherever you turn you will read a page from the same book. Whether its Egypt, or Syria, or Iraq or Pakistan or Bangladesh, its the same situation. On the other hand, we also see muslims at masjids and musallas in increasing numbers, Alhamdulillah. Muslims celebrate Eid, attend Jumah, and other religious functions with lots of energy and beauty. Alhamdulillah.
But is’nt it a contradictory image of the Ummah?
If an alien came to visit us, it would probably point out the Ummah as a large community of worshippers living under a hypnotic spell, unable to break free from the chains of domination like an elephant tied to a small pole. A large army of soldiers sleeping in the middle of a battle. A boat without a sail. Like beggars fighting each other for imaginary kingdoms. A magnet whose two poles are both North or both South.
Where is the Nasrun-Min-Allahi and where is the promised Fathun-Qarib?
WHY DOES GOD NOT HELP US?
And those who strive (jahadoo) in Our (Cause) We will certainly guide them to Our Paths: for verily Allah is with those who do right.
(Surah 29, Al-Ankabut, Ayah 69.)
This condition of the Ummah is due to its ignorance about the concept of striving – jahadoo. We have forgotten to strive with our wealth and our own-selves. We close our eyes when we see oppression. We are deaf to the cries of our mothers and sisters. We are speechless in front of ‘wealthy’ paymasters. We are embarrassed to honor our martyrs. We are afraid to tell our kids the history of struggles and movements of our Islamic champions. This is not the signature of the Ummah of Rahmat Al-Alamin Sallillahu alihi wa alihi wa sallam.