Friday, September 1, 2017

Sectarian Birds of a Feather

"It was in 1989, soon after the collapse of the Soviet Union, that the Government of India turned in its membership in the Non-Aligned Movement and signed up for membership in the Completely Aligned, often referring to itself as the 'natural ally' of Israel and the United States.* (They have at least this one thing in common, all three are engaged in overt, neocolonial military occupations: India in Kashmir, Israel in Palestine, the United States in Iraq and Afghanistan.) (Listening to Grasshoppers: Field Notes on Democracy, Arundhati Roy, 2009, p 146)

1989, it seems, also saw the birth of India's 'Temple Mount' movement:

"Claims that the [17th century Muslim mausoleum known as the] Taj Mahal is a Hindu temple  have surfaced periodically, either from lone Hindu mavericks, revisionists, or extremist Hindu groups ever since PN Oak, an Indian writer, published his 1989 book Taj Mahal: the True Story, in which he claimed it was built before Muslim invaders came to India. Proponents of this theory resent that its glory belongs to India's Muslim heritage and argue that since some of the Mughal invaders destroyed Hindu temples or converted them into mosques, it follows that the Taj Mahal must have originally been a Hindu structure." (Taj Mahal is Muslim tomb not Hindu temple, Indian court told, Amrit Dhillon,, 30/8/17)

In fact, a group of Hindu lawyers, who claim that the Taj Mahal "had originally been a temple called Tejo Mahalaya dedicated to the Hindu deity Shiva," are currently petitioning the Agra court for the right to perform Hindu prayers at the Taj Mahal.

Sound depressingly familiar?

[*Israel is currently India's chief weapons supplier.]

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