First Person | The Demon Within

Stealthily, the communal virus seems to have crept into the military blood stream

Ghazala WahabGhazala Wahab

Running through my colleague’s emails (with his permission) a few weeks ago, I chanced upon a forwarded email sent to him and several other people with the subject ‘It must be seen and forwarded.’ Since the word Islam was emblazoned across the mail, my curiosity was aroused.

The mail was the life story of a supposed Muslim woman who saw light after migrating to the US and converted to Christianity. But having grown up as a Muslim, she knows a thing or more about life under Islamic shackles. In her experience, Muslim girls/women are no more than sex slaves. Muslim men pay dowry to the parents of the girls to rent out their private parts. Once they are done with them, they return the girls to the parents, who in turn return the dowry to the men. The parents are then free to do whatever they want with the girls. Mostly, the girls are killed as honour killing, but sometimes their privates are rented again and the girls are spared death.

Moreover, girls are married at the age of nine and their husbands have the right to consummate the marriage once the girls turn 11. Surprisingly, despite treating their daughters in this slavish manner, the families don’t make money out of them. Because once the supposed husbands tire of their wives’ privates and they return them to their parents, they take the dowry back! So while the ‘husbands’ have their fun, what do parents get out of this? The girls, of course, are not supposed to get anything out of it!

After lamenting a little more about the fate of Muslim women (who can’t even get divorce, imagine!), she exhorts the world to wake up to the threat of Shariah. According to her, an increasing number of Muslims in the West are demanding implementation of Shariah laws in their countries and if not stopped right away, the peace-loving, God-fearing Christians will have to live under Shariah. In any case, there are so many Muslims in the UK now that in 20 years they will be able to take over the country by electing their own government, as they have already done in a number of US states.

The arguments in the email were supported by documentary evidence in the form of photographs of nine or 10 year old girls dressed in strappy white gowns and silver make-up holding hands with middle-aged men.

Having read the email right till the end out of perverted fascination with this supposed former Muslim and now Christian lady, whose life mysteriously has been uneventful — she managed to escape the renting business — I checked the name of the sender and the list of the recipients.

The sender of the mail was a former major general of the Indian Army, and among the receivers (apart from the FORCE editor) were several lieutenant generals, a few major generals, a brigadier, some colonels and researchers at a defence institute in Delhi. As far as I remember, at least one of the recipients was the signatory to the public interest litigation (PIL) filed against Gen. Bikram Singh in the Supreme Court, insinuating among other things a Sikh conspiracy in his ascension (clearly, he is not threatened by Muslims alone). The Supreme Court had dismissed the PIL as mischievous and communally dangerous.

Even though the mail made me double up with laughter because of its ludicrousness, I don’t think that was the intention. If it was, it would have come to me as well as my email address is part of this veterans’ circuit and I frequently receive forwarded mails from them, primarily on how shabbily the military men are being treated in this country.

Do the people on the mailing list seriously believe this kind of tripe to be truth which has to be broadcasted? And if they do, on which planet have they been living all their lives that they have not come across a single Muslim who could have shown them by his/her lifestyle what practising Muslims are like. This is doubly surprising because, according to the mail, Muslims are procreating so fast that they will soon be the majority in most parts of the world. But seriously, even if they didn’t encounter Muslims in their formative years, they would have certainly come across them during their service tenures in Kashmir.

Therefore, is there a chance that despite knowing the truth, they’d like to believe in this because it fulfils a deeper need to dehumanise what they see as the ‘other’? So that they are easier to ridicule, or hate?

However, this is not the main reason why I am ranting like this. In his maiden interaction with the media, General Bikram Singh spoke about restoring the secular values of the army. Clearly, he knows more than what is generally acknowledged. If these kinds of mails are anything to go by then the rot of communalism runs very deep, given the age and ranks of these officers. How did this happen? How come nobody noticed it all these years? And if some did notice why did they ignore it? Didn’t they think it was eroding the basic values on which the military was instituted?

Don’t they realise that all militaries, especially the Indian military, must remain without prejudice. Nothing can be more catastrophic in India than a partisan military.


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