All India Muslim League, 1906-2006

On December 30, 1906, a group of Muslim leaders gathered in Dhaka and proposed a political association for the Muslims of India, with three aims: to protect Muslim interests, to counter Congress influences, and to support the British administration. The first meeting of this proposed entity, named the All India Muslim League happened in Karachi on December 20th, 1907. The next decades of Muslim League in Indian nationalist politics can only be described as tumultuous – as it tried to work with, against, the All India National Congress and the British. It trained, groomed and gave a platform to generations of Muslim leaders on local, national and international arenas. But, even as the party and its ideologies gained significance in the Indian nationalist scene, it had to go through various evolutions in its struggle to unite dueling agendas and hopes for the millions of Muslims in India.

To truly understand its impact, one would have to examine the intellectual history of the Muslim League from Syed Ahmed Khan to the two partitions Рthe creation of Pakistan and Bangladesh. This history of the Muslim League is of particular relevance in today’s world. The oft-heard refrain about the lack of democracy and democratic practices in the Muslim world deserves a sustained critique through this 100 year history of charted and documented practice of Muslim democracy in India

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Friedman, You Are a Racist Idiot

I don’t read Friedman, or any other NYT columnist, thanks [wholeheartedly] to TimeSelect. However, his column from 12/20 is so beyond the pale. The Arabist has the full column but short Friedman: Arabs are a tribe of lying, conniving, cheating, haters who are genetically unable to stop their lying, fighting, cheating and hating – esp. when it comes to Palestine. So, being a Great Power we shouldn’t have gotten involved with Small Tribes.

Oh, the burden of imperialism. Go ahead and substitute “Jew” for “Arab” in that column [hey, they both Semitic people!] and let me know how that goes. That such racist pablum is published in our paper of record is indicative of how this country feels about Muslims and Arabs. Virgil Goode, have a Merry Christmas.

Barack Obama II: Audacity of Hope

I don’t usually read anything written by politicians during their run-up to declaring candidacy or elections. Hence, I have missed out on this or this or that, etc. etc. (you get the point and I am tired of searching on Amazon for Richard Nixon’s campaign books). And yet, a few days ago, I walked into a bookstore and plunked down cold hard plastic for Barack Obama’s The Audacity of Hope. Apparently unmollified by such a brash act, I proceeded to read the whole thing over the next few days and I even got a little teary-eyed.

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