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Wednesday, December 8, 2021

Owaisi’s AIMIM Forces Party MLA Waris Pathan to Apologize for Chanting ‘Ganpati Bappa Morya’

In yet another episode demonstrating the one-way flow of the apocryphal Ganga-Jamuni-tehzeeb or ‘composite culture’ in the country, Muslim hardliner MLA Waris Pathan was forced to apologize for merely chanting ‘Ganpati Bappa Morya’ during the recent Ganpati festival celebrations held in his Byculla, Mumbai constituency.

What was Pathan’s ‘crime’? Like any other Mumbai politician, he was just making himself seen during the biggest festival of the city. The video which has so upset Islamists does not show Pathan worshipping Sri Ganesh, doing aarti, sporting a tilak…all he did was wish that Sri Ganesh bring peace and prosperity for his Hindu voters, and he chanted the routine slogan used during the festival – ‘Ganpati Bappa Mourya’ which expresses the inseparable relationship between Sri Ganesh, Father (Bappa) and his famous 14th century devotee Morya Gosavi.  

The equivalent of this would be a Hindu politician attending an Eid celebration or visiting a Sufi dargah, which happens all the time. In fact, many Hindu politicians even go to the extent of adopting full Islamic dress, including a topi/cloth to cover their head, and offering prayers in mosques/dargahs. Sometimes, these Hindu politicans face criticism by discerning Hindus who know that the respect they accord to Islamic practises is not reciprocated. But NOT ONE Hindu politician has ever received the kind of abuse and threats that Waris Pathan has received.

Hindu politicians of all hues respecting Islamic traditions and practises. But where is the mutual respect and reciprocity?

So much for ‘Hindu fundamentalism’!

In the abject apology video, Pathan starts by calling for peace and blessings upon Islam’s Prophet Mohammed. He then says, “Recently, I uttered some words fo which I have asked Allah to forgive me. I made a mistake, but Inshallah, I will not repeat this mistake. As a human being, everyone commits mistakes. So I had. But, I know Allah will forgive me and so will you all. I request you all to pray for me that my Iman (faith) be strengthened, and that Allah enlightens me to walk on the path of righteousness.”

AIMIM party supremo Asaduddin Owaisi has not come forward to defend his senior MLA (Pathan is one of two MLAs that AIMIM has in the Maharashtra assembly). His silence is being seen as an endorsement of the hardline view that Waris Pathan has committed a ‘grave sin.’

And it is not that Waris Pathan is a moderate by any stretch of imagination. In 2016, he was suspended from the Maharashtra assembly for refusing to say ‘Bharat mata ki jai”. Again in 2017, Pathan was in the news for refusing to say ‘Vande Mataram’. Pathan is also a High Court advocate who became the first lawyer to get an accused (Abdul Hamid Birya) in a TADA case out on interim bail on medical grounds.

Lutyens’ insiders like Ramachandra Guha and Shekhar Gupta are quick to pounce on any Hindu politician who is proud of his Hindu identity and refuses to endorse Islamic practises. Will they hound AIMIM chief Asaduddin Owaisi in the same way for not coming to Waris Pathan’s defence?

Mumbai liberals & uber-secularists like Javed Akhtar, Shabana Azmi and Teesta Setalvad have now seen two eminent Mumbaikars – Shah Rukh Khan and Waris Pathan –  abused and trolled for being tolerant towards Ganesh Chaturthi. Will they speak up or maintain a convenient silence, only to be broken when ‘Hindu intolerance’ can be raked up?

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