Thinking about Matters of Faith: Eternal and Temporal

Preface from Patrick B. McGuigan for and The City Sentinel: In the course of human events, of time and fate – and I believe from the grace of a benovolent Creator – Dr. Nyla Ali Khan came to live in our midst. In this commentary, adapted from recent posts, she continues to cry for justice on behalf of all who live in the nation of India. It is my privilege to work with Dr. Nyla as an editor — although, to be clear, she writes beautifully, with great heart and compassion. She has made many contributions to civility, comity and decency in our community and state already. She is educating good-hearted Americans and Oklahomans across the spectrum about realities “on the ground” in her beloved native land, Kashmir. I value highly the gift of her friendship. Hereabouts, we cherish the good heart, honest scholarship and intuitive wisdom of Nyla Ali Khan. I know she will continue to thrive among her new friends and admirers here in Oklahoma. 

South Asians of all religious communities paid the enormous costs of nation-building for India in 1947 and 1971 — gutted homes, ravaged lands, and meaningless loss of lives.
Millions of Indian Muslims changed the course of storms, and by going through various trials and tribulations, brought the caravan of freedom to a hopeful juncture. They proved that they could offer sacrifices for a noble cause, and none could bend their will and courage.

Their sustained enthusiasm lent fresh vitality to the hard struggle for Independence from colonial oppression. History will always cherish the courage they displayed along with their Hindu and Sikh compatriots. However, they are now being called upon for a harder struggle, greater sacrifices, and renewed resolve for accomplishing a secure future in the country they believed in. (#Delhi2020)

Despite the rise in majoritarianism and cultural supremacist politics in India, several people, of every community, are upholding the freedom of religion and right to life and liberty by their acts of compassion.

The courage of the Hindus of Ashok Nagar, who defied the Hindutva mob and came out to protect their Muslim neighbors, is much more powerful than the vitriol spewed by those who think they call the shots.
In the meantime, the conflation of religion and politics by the ruling party of a “democratic” and “secular” India gnaws at those of us who are invested in pluralism — Muslims, Hindus, Sikhs, and Christians.

Those of us in the diaspora, who are safely ensconced in the United States, remain physically unaffected by the wreckage caused by riots and disastrous economic policies. But that should not lead us to become uncritically loyal to the romanticized notion of the “glorious past.”

This is not the first time that the nostalgia of a “glorious past” has bolstered a centralized and authoritarian state and led to the subjection of relilgious minorities — including Dalits – in India.

The transformations associated with the phenomena of fundamentalist politics that we are witnessing with the riots in Delhi was exemplified by the earlier revocation of the autonomous status of Jammu and Kashmir as well as the curbing of civil liberties and rights in the the Kashmir Valley.
The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and its votaries seek to negate the rulings of the Supreme Court of India on several counts.

The spectacles of the demolition from the Delhi riots and revocation of Kashmir autonomous status have been staged as instances of mass hysteria. In both instances, henchmen of the ruling part are trying to spur followers on by an overwhelming sense of celebratory hysteria.
At the end of the day, common people with strong cultural anchors will retrieve the nation from the clutches of polarizing elements.

Note: Dr. Nyla Ali Khan recently became a citizen of the United States. She is a regular contributor to publications around the world, appears regularly on the CapitolBeatOK website, and in The City Sentinel newspaper in Oklahoma City.