It has been more than a year since Sharjeel Imam, a Human Rights Activist, thrown behind the bar on the sedition charges.
Last year in January, he was arrested from Bihar for his speech in Aligarh, which was termed “seditious and inflammatory” by the politicians and the police.
We are republishing a part of his so-called seditious speech given in Aligarh on 16th January 2020.
The ones who speak the language of nationalism are our enemies. That is clear. I don’t know how people are not able to understand that.
They force us to worship at the altar of a state that shouldn’t even exist the way it does. This state has been forced upon us and it is our responsibility to break its back. Even if it takes a long time to do so, the starting point is to understand that we are trapped in this state. We aren’t trapped in one five year election cycle; we are trapped by the system itself that was put in place in 1950, no matter who runs it.
I will give you one more example to clarify what I am saying. Let’s take a look at the judiciary, executive and legislature. During the British raj, there were high courts in India while the Supreme Court was in London. Executive was here, the government of India. The legislature was in London. Judiciary and executive were both less partial before independence than after independence. We should know that. Muslims never gained independence. An enemy community was forced upon the Muslims.
This is an important point and if we can’t understand that, we can’t do anything. Both executive and judiciary have been our enemies since 1950. The English were lesser enemies of Muslims. I am talking about the last 50 years of British rule. I am not talking about the British since 1757. From 1757 to 1857, it was the East India Company. Government of India was made after 1858. That’s when it started directly reporting to the Queen and to the British parliament. These are the last 100 years.
Even within that, I am talking about the time period after 1890, when industrialisation had set in completely and India had become a market for them. The last 60–70 years of British rule. After World War 1, their difficulties increased further and they had to give local capitalists some leeway as well to set up factories, etc. Tata was given an iron factory. In western India, several textile mills opened. After World War 1, the English were not powerful enough to use ships to carry people, arms and products.
You can see these breaks in history. The last fifty years, from 1905 to 1947, you can see that the British government is impartial towards Muslims compared to what comes after and what had happened before. What comes after 1950s has been clearly more colonial than the last fifty years of colonial rule. We should say this without any hesitation. We haven’t got independence. We have been put in a new and more severe slavery.
Some people are not affected by it, like some big landowners and big businessman, people who were rich then and are rich now. They can take Canadian citizenship if they so wish. People who have money can take themselves and their families away from this when they need to. But for the common Muslims, across communities, the period after 1950 has been more troublesome from the point of view of communalism. We shouldn’t talk about independence like we do.
If scholars speak clearly about all this, the masses will follow us or they will kill us, both outcomes are preferable to remaining silent.
In my view, the plan moving forward should be to create our own intellectual cell which has no sympathy for Gandhi, nation, etc. We should be clear that these are our enemies. We should know that the biggest fascist leader of the 20th century is Gandhi himself. Who brought this communal government, who brought Ram Rajya, who made the congress into a Hindu party, Gandhi did.
This speech is transcribed and translated by Evita Das. Akshat Jain and Shahrukh Khatib and it was published here at RAIOT