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Sunday, June 4, 2023

Interview with a Veteran Journalist & Urdu Scholar, on Demographic Changes Around Delhi & Urdu Press

Shri Manmohan Sharma is a veteran journalist who studied Urdu at Aligarh Muslim University and lives in Delhi. He is a a senior fellow at India Policy Foundation, and leads the editorial team of “Fortnightly Review of Urdu Press” over there.

HinduPost spoke with him about the demographic changes he has observed in and around Delhi over the last few decades, the nature of news coverage in Urdu press, and his views on the future of Hindu society.

Key highlights of the interview –

  • After partition, there were only two Muslim-majority regions in Delhi – Jama Masjid area and Bara Hindu Rao. But now there has been a tremendous increase in Muslim population, specifically in the colonies in Delhi’s border areas.
  • Many Muslim outsiders are settling here, paying exorbitant rates to buy property. In those areas, they have established dominance in certain trades like air-conditioning, readymade cloth, mobile and computer repair etc. Meat shops and illegal slaughterhouses in residential areas make it even more difficult for vegetarian Hindus to live.
  • In Lakshmi Nagar area of East Delhi (near Akshardham temple), a Hindu who wanted to stop land acquisition of his plot for construction of a DDA nullah (drain) got a mosque built on his land. Since then, Muslim population has grown there.
  • There is a new road from Wazirabad to Ghaziabad, on both sides of which you find mostly Muslim majority colonies – many Muslims there are illegal immigrants. Area around the Yamuna river is gradually turning Muslim majority. A lot of foreign money is helping build numerous mosques and madrassas.
  • In Urdu newspapers, there is more focus on covering news from Muslim countries, rather than Bharat. The issues which dominate the Urdu press are – Palestine, Rohingyas, growing division in Muslim world such as Saudi (Sunni) and Iran (Shia). In Delhi alone, there are 34 newspapers which have negligible circulation and no advertisements, yet they manage to get foreign funds for publishing.
  • Worryingly, our intelligence agencies have very little staff which is knowledgable in Urdu, Persian or Arabic languages.
  • Even in the heart of Delhi, in sensitive areas which house CBI and other offices, there is a tussle going on between Muslim settlements and the administration. There is a Neeli Masjid in the heart of Hauz Khas, which was just a ASI-managed historical monument till few years back. Hauz Khas is a Hindu majority area, but suddenly in last few years, squatters have moved in and now ~ 5000 people can be seen offering jummah namaz at Neeli Masjid. Where did these people come from?
  • I don’t see much difference between the Muslim appeasement policies of UPA and the present Government. Muslim fundamentalists are trying to cobble an alliance with Dalits to push the nation towards civil war. Hindus are largely clueless.

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