Ahadith (Arabic plural of hadith meaning traditions that risen by word of mouth) is handed down by Arab historians that speak about Muslims enjoined by faith to wage holy war for the conquest of Hind – India.
Ayman al Zawahari, the lieutenant of Osama bin Laden, has broadcast the scripturally ordained Indian mission of his organization al-Qaeda. He professed to move beyond India--- into Bangladesh, Myanmar, Nepal and Kashmir in South Asian region. In the days of Prophet Muhammad all these countries were part of the region known to Arabs as al-Hind and those living in these regions were called Hindi in Arabic lexicon.
Zawahari, hiding somewhere in Pakistan, issued a statement that al-Qaeda would hoist Islamic flag over Hind. This provides a lie to the Pakistan claim that it would not allow terrorists to use its soil against India. Incidentally, at one time, they had also denied presence of Osama in Pakistan.
Various campaigns of Muslim warlords from the region of Kherson and Turkistan in medieval times do not pass for ghazavatu’l-Hind because they were for loot, killing and rapine, at the best building a monarchical empire and not for Islamizing the conquered territories, which is the precise objective of ghazatu’l-Hind. They carried home riches like the famous diamond Koh-i-Noor and diamond studded throne Takht-i-Tawoos of the Mughal Emperor Shah Jahan. Al Zawahari’s call has a different meaning however.
The conflict between the radicals and liberals within the Islamic fold is at least millennia old, starting with the rise of Ismaili movement towards the beginning of the 10th century A.D. But with the rise of ISSI in 2014, the radical Islamists have split vertically into ultra radicals (Wahhabis and Salafis) and ultra-X radicals (Osamites and Baghdadis).
Nevertheless, they have many things in common: (a) destination > Islamic Caliphate, (b) methodology > al jihad, (c) orientation > martyrdom (shahadat). But there are areas of difference also like: (a) fighting tactics > Osamites for hit and run but Baghdadiites for open frontal attack, (b) recruitment > Osamites by ethno-linguistic paradigm and Baghdadiites by absolute religious fervour (c) targets > pro-American elements for Osamites but for Baghdadiites first Shia and then other religious denominations.
While in essence the two groups converge on the same ultimate destination, yet they are locked in grim battle for individual achievement and assertion of Islamic supremacy. Ayman al Zawahari has openly castigated the ISSI for its localized agenda.
Now that Zawahari is preparing his Indian ghazava (campaign), the first expected reaction is anticipated from Indian Muslim leadership because India is the second largest home to the Muslim community in the world. It has to clarify its position vis-a-vis Zawahari plan of Islamic Caliphate. He pontificates that after the withdrawal of the British, India should be restored to the Muslims from who the Indian Empire was wrested.
If this is the logic, what about the Muslims who wrested power from indigenous Hindu rulers in India including Kashmir? What about Iran where Arab conquerors wrested power from the Sassanian monarchs of Zoroastrian faith in mid 7th century A.D?
The question which Indian Muslims will be asked to answer is this: Are you with Zawahari’s ghazavatu’l-Hind mission or not? It means that Indian Muslims will have to evaluate the Indian political arrangement of secular democracy with Muslim homeland created under the ideology of a two-nation theory. As far as the rest of Indians are concerned they will fight the ghazavites tooth and nail.
The question is why would al-Qaeda target India? What Zawahari has said in his televised interview is drawn from the brief he has from Pakistani intelligence agency, ISI. In this charged scenario, the US has reservations in providing crutches to the crumbling state of Pakistan as she has been doing in the past. Pakistan’s issues are deepening: an upswing in Islamic radicalism; terrorist outfits sustained by petro-dollar booty from Gulf States, catastrophic sectarian clashes, army’s lust for authoritarian power, and democratic urges receiving rough treatment.
Zawahari’s tantrum is bringing more pressures on the government in Islamabad. ISI smells the US reviving its India-Pacific policy. The induction of the Modi government in New Delhi is an indication of phenomenal change in the thinking of Indian nation about country’s security and defense concerns. Attempts of destabilizing India’s democratic and secular structure is actually meant to deal a hard blow to the visionaries of democracy in Pakistan
If massive public protest fails to oust the elected Prime Minister of Pakistan then accelerating anti-India tirade by inciting religious frenzy among Indian Muslims will contain Nawaz Sharif in his Indo-Pak bonhomie.
Zawahari’s threats that he will create an al-Qaeda network among Indian Muslims are nothing new. ISI has been at this work for years at end. Bhatkal brothers are basking under the patronage of Al-Qaeda-ISI combine at some unrevealed hideout in Pakistan.
We believe that, by and large, Indian Muslims are cognizant of the advantages that have accrued to them from liberal democratic and secular policy of the Indian government. We also know that occasional statements with communal tinge coming from sections of Muslim leadership in India are essentially meant to fortify their pre-eminent community relating to social status against rising ultra nationalist tendency among youth leadership in the community rather than provoking any serious anti-national propensity. To that extent this irritant has to be accommodated.
Indian Muslims need to come out of the fear psychosis spread by externally sponsored radicalism. They have to understand that time has come when they must stand up to what has made them prisoners of backwardness. This has to be their independent thinking and they do not need the crutches of any political party.
A word of caution has to be said, although reluctantly. Indian Muslims have done a great disservice to their community by succumbing to the fear psychosis created in them deliberately by political structure of post-independence India. There is no dearth of their pseudo-sympathizers within the country. There are still people in this country that would drink with secessionists and dine with separatists only to demonstrate that they are more loyal than the king.
Those who approached their top ecclesiastical epicentre to appeal to the people of the community to vote for a particular political party, but lost the contest at the end of the day, will not hold back their unsolicited largesse even if they are made to rub their noses in the dust. The threat from al-Qaeda leadership is a challenge to the Indian Muslims to decide their role. Their rejoinder to Zawahari is expected to be clear and unambiguous. It has already come albeit feebly; it needs to be articulated robustly.