Responding to Mehdi Hasan – How Hindus Should Engage Their Opponents
Mehdi Hasan is an Islamic bigot. He has dehumanized non-Muslims by equating them with animals. He has infamously threatened newspapers with sanctions for portraying Islam in ways he thinks are negative. He is a Muslim reactionary with a history of making homophobic remarks and continues to vehemently deny the right of gays and lesbians to marry in a mosque.
More importantly, he is the viciously Hindu-hating editor of Al Jazeera English.
Hasan recently interviewed a Hindu activist and leader on Al Jazeera. Vamsee Juluri has aptly pointed out that the Hindu leader was framed in that interview which was actually a hostile interrogation. Hasan was complemented by a hostile panel, the sole exception on that panel being IndiaFacts columnist Gautam Sen. The interviewer and the panel abandoned all journalistic ethics and hurled fabricated charges to put the Hindu activist on the defensive. The audience was predominantly Islamist. Although the Hindu activist gave some good responses, overall, it left a lot to be desired.
I am not criticizing the Hindu activist in this article. Most Hindus, barring Subramanian Swamy, Gautam Sen, or Koenraad Elst, would’ve put on a similar performance because Hindus do not know how to engage their enemies who are fiercely determined and well-equipped. Hardly any of the charges that Hasan hurled at the Hindu activist or the dirty tricks he employed is new but the interview also exposed the weakness of the Hindu ideological position of appeasement, for want of a better word.
This article is an attempt to outline and to educate Hindus on effectively engaging hostile enemies in the future.
The fundamental and most important point to remember all times is this: our enemies are not interested in a dialogue. They want to demonize Hindutva, Hinduism, and the Hindus. They want to portray Muslims and Christians as victims. A Hindu participant should either refuse to participate in such hostile programs or be prepared to confront them. I advocate the latter choice.
Here are six lessons that a Hindu participant must internalize:
Lesson 1: These encounters are not about answering questions. They are about putting on a pugilist-like showmanship. The enemy comes prepared with a script. But you do not play by it. Instead, you go with your own script and simply enact it on the stage no matter what the question is.
Lesson 2: Never pull punches. You win the encounter only by going on the offensive from the word go. Never mute your response hoping to score brownie points with the enemy. You wouldn’t score any but you will lose both the encounter and your support base.
Lesson 3: You shine the spotlight on the enemy and not on yourself. If the question is framed in such a way as to elicit a response that would make Hinduism or Hindutva look bad, you respond by pointing out how horrible Christianity or Islam are.
Lesson 4: Mockery directed at the enemy is the most effective weaponry in your arsenal. You are not there to win Mr. Ms. Congeniality Prize.
Lesson 5: Unleash a barrage of facts and analogies which would unsettle the interviewer and derail his script.
Lesson 6: When an aggressive interviewer interjects, just ignore him and keep talking. Do not yield ground even if it ends up in total cacophony. He has to yield. It is your show.
I will now take the questions that Hindu activist was confronted with and give my answers. Make no mistake. Some other Hindu would be asked the very same or similarly-framed questions in another hostile forum. If you internalize what follows, you will emerge the winner.
Q & A
- Is Modi’s India flirting with fascism?
That was the title of the Al Jazeera program. It is possible that the Hindu activist wasn’t aware of this biased and insinuating title beforehand. However, he got a few seconds of advance notice at the venue. Therefore, regardless of what the opening question was, the reply should’ve been this.
Answer: I am going to give you a lesson most fifth graders in India wouldn’t require. The title of this program tells me that Al Jazeera should hire someone functionally literate as the anchorperson.
Fascism is totalitarianism. A good example is Mussolini’s Italy. In a fascist state, you cannot challenge the government. Modi’s India, where the government is kept in check by the judiciary, media, and the opposition is the very opposite of fascism.
Mehdi Hasan, I know you’re an Islamic bigot. You have equated non-Muslims with animals. You think that as a kafir, Modi is an animal. You’re upset that a kafir you equate with animals is ruling the largest democracy in the world. I understand that your hatred for Modi comes from your regressive Islamic worldview. But when you call his government fascist, you not only advertise your bigotry but also your ignorance.
Hasan, do you know that Abraham Lincoln gave an advice tailor-made for you? He said, “It is better to be silent and be thought a fool, than to speak and remove all doubt.” I do not know if I can make you less of an ignoramus by the end of this program but I am going to try. But I am worried about Al Jazeera’s brand equity. Do Al Jazeera’s executives really think that they can up the ratings by hiring an ignoramus and bigot as their anchorperson?
Note: At this stage, if Hasan protests or retorts, bluntly cut him off and mock him: When you protest like this, you look dumber than you already are. I know you have a script you want to enact. Go ahead and ask your next question. Let us see if you can redeem yourself.
- Explain why some 40 intellectuals have returned their awards citing rising intolerance since Modi became the PM.
Answer: They are not just intellectuals Hasan. They call themselves eminent intellectuals. Some of them specialize in navel gazing. They gaze at their own navels. They are eminent navel-gazers. In fact, you would look like Einstein in their company. Let us talk a little bit about these eminences.
These eminences didn’t return their awards when 700,000 minority Hindus were ethnically cleansed by the Muslim majority in Kashmir. These eminences didn’t return their awards when the Christian majority in the North East ethnically cleansed the minority Reang tribal people. These eminences didn’t return their awards when the majority Christians of Nagaland demolished the last Hindu temple in 2003. Mind you – that was the last Hindu temple because the church had demolished every other temple by then.
These eminences didn’t return their awards when more than 3,000 Sikhs were massacred by the Congress in 1984. But why would they? After all, they were the handmaidens of the Congress party and would happily turn a blind eye to the real acts of intolerance when their masters rule.
These eminences are like a sleeper cell. Whenever their masters activate them, they will beat their chests and cry hoarse that intolerance is on the rise. Most of them are mediocre writers who won their awards because of political allegiance to the Congress. Now they realize it is payback time. We owe no explanation to political opportunists and unscrupulous henchmen.
Note: No matter what the follow up question is, keep the focus on the fact that these eminences didn’t protest when 700,000 Kashmiri Hindus were ethnically cleansed.
At this juncture, Hasan would initiate his next question. Cut him off right away and say:
I have not finished yet. That was only the foreplay. Get ready for the real act now. Some of the prominent protesters alleging growing intolerance were actually trying to protect vested interests.
Remember, Putin cracked down on NGOs because they were acting as extensions of western powers to destabilize Russia? They were doing the same in India too. The Modi government shut down or is investigating numerous NGOs which are involved in anti-social and anti-national activities. Many of these NGOs are funded by the Ford Foundation, which is under investigation too. Now, who is a prominent protester who is also on the board of trustees of the Ford Foundation? It is N. R. Narayanamurthy. Is it surprising that these characters doth protest too much? It is the oldest trick in the trade to play the victim when you’ve been caught with your pants down.
None of those enacting the award wapasi drama produced an iota of evidence that intolerance is on the rise since Modi took over. If figments of imagination could become facts then Iraq had WMD. At that time too, irresponsible, bigoted, and lazy media persons like you disseminated the canard. What was the consequence? Over a million Iraqi civilians killed in genocide.
You simply do not know the meaning of responsible journalism Hasan. I am going to instruct you to do something (say this in an authoritative voice by wagging your forefinger). Call every award wapasi actor and ask him to produce statistical evidence that intolerance is on the rise since Modi took over. Create a bar chart and put it up on display. Then report back to me.
- Over 100 minority religious groups are protesting the attack on religious minorities?
Answer: Two years ago, the Christian church ran a well-orchestrated campaign of fraud to convert the gullible. They claimed that a Jesus statue in Mumbai shed tears. They collected those tears and distributed it to the poor, including children and pregnant women, as holy tears.
Everything seemed to go well for the church until the rationalist Sanal Edamaruku crashed the party. He demonstrated that sewage water from the nearby gutter had risen by capillary force and was dripping through a hole in the eye of the statue. There were no holy tears. The church had been feeding pregnant woman sewage water.
Now, if someone did that in the West, there would be a class action lawsuit. So, if these 100 religious organizations really care for the welfare of minorities, they would’ve protested against the church that risked the lives of pregnant women and fetuses. But when they kept silent then and raise the bogey of attack now, one naturally suspects that they are paid mercenaries.
Let me tell you what happened to Edamaruku. The church threatened him and forced him to flee India. He is hiding in Finland today. He was the one who really cared for the welfare of the poor among the minorities and fearlessly took on the church. Did these 100 organizations you talk of come to his support? No. Mercenaries don’t stand up for public good. We don’t give a rat’s ass to mercenaries.
- Data indicates that crimes against minorities have risen under Modi…
If we talk objectively, we should talk about the actual number of incidents of communal violence and per capita crime rate because that is the true indicator of whether crimes are rising or declining. Here is objective data on per capita crime rate for the period before and after Modi became PM in 2014 from the National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB) and Indian Parliament.
In 2013, when Manmohan Singh was the alleged PM of India and Sonia Gandhi of Congress his puppeteer, there were 823 incidents of violence. In 2014, after Modi became PM, this significantly decreased to 561 incidents. In other words, incidents of communal violence decreased by 32% since Modi became PM.
In 2013, the number of injured in rioting was 2,269. In 2014, after Modi became PM, this number dropped to 1,688. In other words, the number of injured in riots reduced by 26% after Modi became PM.
In 2013, 133 people were killed in communal riots. In 2014, after Modi became PM, this number decreased to 90. In other words, the number of dead in riots reduced by 32% after Modi became PM.
Mind you that sleeper cells and their handlers are working overtime to initiate violence so they can blame Modi for it later. In spite of that, under Modi’s efficient rule, communal violence has significantly dropped in a single year. We will not stop until there is zero crime, communal-related or otherwise.
Hasan, a lower value on the numerator means crime has gone down. Even a second grader in an Indian primary school knows this. I knew you weren’t smarter than a second grader but I never thought you were this dumb. You should go back to primary school and re-learn basic arithmetic. Please avoid a madrasa this time and attend a proper school.
Note 1: Mehdi would be flustered and try to interject. Cut him off and add: I was giving you the benefit of doubt when I said you have issues with basic arithmetic. If you were lying through the teeth, that is unacceptable. Does Al Jazeera prefer a liar to a functional illiterate?
Note 2: It is important to carry relevant statistic as a ready-reckoner to the program.
Note 3: Very rarely, you may be caught unawares by a statistic a hostile interviewer flashes at you. Do not trust his word and get defensive. Ask him for the primary source, e.g., NCRB – not some Islamist’s or leftist’s interpretation. Hand your smart phone to him. Tell him to go on the NCRB site and show where his data comes from. The interviewer would become desperate to get out of the tight spot. Show no mercy.
- The killing of three persons for eating beef shows rising intolerance…why didn’t Modi condemn the killings?
Answer: Do you want examples of real intolerance? The Islamic terrorist organization ISIS is enslaving and raping the Yazidi as we speak. But Al Jazeera is not complaining of rising intolerance in Muslim countries. Have you heard of a Rinkle Kumari in Pakistan? She was merely an 18 year old Hindu who was kidnapped, forcibly married to a Muslim, and repeatedly raped.
The entire system of umma, mullahs, judiciary, and politicians supported her subjugation. Did Al Jazeera talk about her and thousands of Pakistani Hindu women like her? A Tamil woman was held hostage and brutalized for months in Saudi Arabia. Where were you all when those terrible crimes happened?
Take the Muslim state of Bangladesh. Today, more than 90% of the Bangla people are Muslims. But in 1941, 28% of the population was Hindu. This decreased year after year due to genocides, forced conversions, ethnic cleansing, and rape.
By 1974, the Hindu population in Bangladesh had dwindled to 13.4%. In 2001, it further dropped to 9.2%. In 2011, it had dropped to 8.5%. You need to look at the analysis to understand what a terrible genocide is going on as we speak.
In 2001, there were 16.83 million Hindus in Bangladesh. Had their population growth followed the normal trajectory, their numbers should’ve increased to 18.2 million in 2011. However, it decreased to 12.3 million. The proportion of Christians and Buddhists did not see any decline. Six million Hindus have gone missing due to ethnic cleansing, genocide, forced conversions, and rape. Where is the media outrage at the demise of six million Hindus in the last decade alone? And you expect the PM of India to condemn the death of three people? Where is a sense of proportion? Where is empathy? Where are journalistic ethics, Mr. Hasan?
The story is the same in every Muslim country. Let me tell you an incident that happened in Pakistan in 2010. A Dalit Hindu boy drank water from a tap near a mosque. All hell broke loose. Muslim mobs violently attacked the Hindus. All the 60 Hindu families were forcibly evicted. They took refuge in a cattle pen. Their men were attacked and injured. Where was the media outrage then? Did you demand that Pakistan’s PM apologize for such attacks or the rape of Rinkle Kumari and thousands of Hindu women like her who are unfortunate to live amidst Muslims?
Does suffering count only if it is useful to denigrate the Hindus? What about media coverage sans hypocrisy?
India under Modi will not tolerate anyone taking law into their own hands. But India owes no explanation to hypocrites like you who never uttered a word when minorities suffered at the hands of Muslim majority and only selectively use isolated incidents to denigrate India. You want to talk about rising intolerance? Let us talk about Pakistan and Saudi Arabia. After all, Al Jazeera is an Arab-funded channel.
- Giriraj Kishore said Muslims are a growing threat…Subramanian Swamy said that a mosque can be demolished…does the BJP condemn them?
Answer: India under the BJP is a free country. The BJP need not condemn anyone to please you. Mr. Swamy can speak for himself. Why don’t you invite him on Al Jazeera for an interview? Let me say this, he would make it quite lively though and make you squirm!
You want the BJP to condemn someone for merely making a statement. Whom would you condemn for the ethnic cleansing of 700,000 minority Hindus in Kashmir? Would you condemn the entire Kashmiri Muslim population as aggressors? Would you condemn the teachings of Islam that made them turn on their own Hindu neighbors? Would you condemn the Wahhabi network for fomenting this kind of hatred?
Note 2: Be prepared for a rhetorical response in the affirmative. Hasan may say that he would condemn all Muslims of Kashmir for the ethnic-cleansing of Hindus just to unsettle you. Muslim apologists are well trained in taqiyya. Immediately retort: What good is a mere verbal condemnation? Would it restore the lives of raped Hindu women? Would that undo two decades of suffering of Kashmiri Hindus? This kind of taqiyya is worse than hypocrisy. If you are sincere, first explain why the media didn’t even report Hindu suffering for decades. Atone for it. Report it now. Inquire whether Islam is the root cause of intolerance. I will believe you then.
Note 3: He will go to the next question. Interrupt him and take him back to the previous question: You were offended by Giriraj Kishore’s remark that Muslims are a growing threat. I think he was making an understatement. Looking at the plight of Kashmiri, Pakistani, and Bangladeshi Hindus, who are all minorities amidst Muslims, he should have said that Muslims are a fully grown threat. Where is a collective expression of outrage from the Muslims in defense of these suffering Hindus?
Note 4: Anticipate Hasan’s next reaction. He would rhetorically ask, “If Muslims are a full grown threat, should we exterminate them all?” Promptly retort: You an Islamist Hasan. So, you presume that the victims of Islam would also behave like their Muslim aggressors and commit genocide. Sorry to disappoint you.
Hindus have a long history of giving refuge to everyone – Jews, Christians, Muslims, Parsis, and Buddhists. We have no intention of turning away from that tradition and behaving like a true Muslim. Kashmiri, Pakistani, and Bangladeshi Muslims wouldn’t have committed those horrific crimes but for Islam. Biologically, Muslims are the same as their Hindu neighbors. Ancestors of today’s Muslims were Hindus. Unfortunately, they are infected by Islam. You cure it and bring them back to their ancestral religion through ghar wapasi and genocides and strife would be over.
Continued in the next part