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Tuesday 21 February 2012

MUSLIM VISION OF SECULAR INDIA: Destination and Roadmap - 9

MUSLIM VISION OF SECULAR INDIA: Destination and Roadmap - 9
An Approach Paper aimed at
  1. Presenting a Muslim Perspective of India’s national goals; and
  2. Developing a Comprehensive National Plan for Socioeconomic Empowerment of Muslim Indians so that they can play a meaningful role in the national and global affairs
Dr. Javed Jamil
2. Steps required for countering commercialisation of human weaknesses: Dirty Economics
Freedom and Choice: Let them not become Destroyers!
‘Freedom’ is the catchword for the champions of modern “civilisation”, led by corporates. This augurs well for them because it opens a great number of avenues for their business. Free man tends to do whatever he feels like doing at a particular moment of time, irrespective of its consequences on his own life or on the lives of others. The rationale behind this, according to liberalists, is that man is himself responsible for the consequences of his acts, and others have no business to interfere in his personal matters and to teach him morals. If one wants to drink, it is one’s right even if it causes severe mental anguish and financial burden to one’s dependants and well wishers, and makes one vulnerable to several life-threatening health problems. If one wants to lie with a person of one’s choice, one must have full liberty to do so even if it destroys one’s family, and leads to several other unforeseen problems including fatal or incapacitating illnesses. If one wants to roam in minimal or no clothes it is one’s prerogative to dress as one likes even if it blazes the passions of onlookers and drives them to raping unwilling women. One must be free to commit suicide even if one’s self-destruction brings intolerable pain and suffering to one’s relatives and friends. What sort of freedom is this that kills people, maddens men, women and children, leads to sexual assaults, destroys families, makes parents and children alien to one another, turns the old into destitute and kids into orphans and gives people sleepless nights? Today’s men and women are not humans but another species of animals, the Homo sapiens whose animal instincts are always positioned in the driver's seat. They are in fact even worse than beasts, as beasts do not manufacture weapons, drinks and eatables for their own destruction, and their actions are simply the result of impulses and reflexes that ensure their survival. Whatever animals do is without the foreknowledge of the consequences of their actions. Man is mostly prescient of the possible adverse consequences of his actions on himself and on society. Still, his knowledge does not stop him from indulging in evil acts. The king of the jungle rules only due to his sheer physical force and commits “excesses” on fellow-animals only to fill his empty stomach, having no other option to satiate his hunger. Neither do lions neither exploit the other inhabitants in their territories nor prevent them from availing themselves the products of nature. The rulers of the world of Homo sapiens commit excesses, oppress and cheat their species-fellows for their own nefarious designs. They are worse than carnivores and saprophytes. It is not the compelling necessities but their covetousness that makes them ruthless dictators. They kill people not to fill their hungry intestines but to perpetuate their rapacious hold on the economic or political power; their intention
. None -- individual, society, corporate sector or government, can be allowed to offer the choice of death to the people; freedom of choice must be limited to choice among the good. A choice between life and death cannot be given to the people. A child cannot be left on a highway hoping that it will take all the necessary precautions to save it from being crushed by fast moving vehicles. People are like children who more often than not are guided by baser instincts that suck them into all forms of life-threatening and peace-threatening habits. Addiction has hardly any regard or fondness for knowledge and sanity. Who knows better, about the effects of alcohol, smoking and sexual perversions, than do doctors? Still they often succumb to the temptations. A smoker, a drinker, a drug addict and a promiscuous person understand that they face huge risks on account of their habits; but such is the effect of these on baser instincts that they find it hard to be governed by their knowledge.
It is well known how organised businesses of prohibited trades, riots related to racial or communal hatred and wars and civil wars have killed hundreds of millions of people in the twentieth century. Scientific advancement without deterrent laws, especially laws against crimes and dangerous practices bring greater threats than comforts for mankind. Inflaming hatred on any ground is unacceptable; those involved in it have to be severely punished. Similarly, those that use their “rights of expression” to malign or slander great personalities held dear by any community must be given exemplary punishments, for their callousness or designed mischief for motivated interests may hurt sentiments and inflame passions, which often lead to riots causing loss of innocent lives. If an author or artist really regards him a revolutionary and feels he has justifiable reasons to target any ideology or its sacred personalities and books, he must be ready to face punishment at the hands of the law or aggrieved masses. If he inflames passions and then hurries for shelter, it would clearly mean his intentions were not genuine. A “revolutionary” must be ready to sacrifice his own life rather than risking lives of others.
The commercialisation of human weaknesses has a massive devastating effect on the lives of individuals, families and society. The Big Business with the help of media and other institutions, all of which are dependant in one way or the other on their money, produces every possible argument to keep the Dirty Businesses going on. Alcohol, gambling, smoking and sex are all some of the biggest trades of the world and they are the biggest destroyers of human lives and peace. Despite their having no place in Islam, in absence pf a system that effectively prohibits them, Muslims too especially living in non-Muslim countries succumb to them. In India, the lesser educated Muslims are more vulnerable to gambling, drugs, smoking and prostitution.
Social Evils in India:
We will be giving here some statistics related to Social Evils in India.
Alcohol Consumption in India
These are some of the important findings related to alcohol consumption in India according to T T Ranganathan Clinical Research Foundation, Chennai:
* Alcohol consumption has been steadily increasing in developing countries like India and decreasing in developed countries since the 1980s..
* 62.5 million alcohol users estimated in India
* Per capita consumption of alcohol increased by 106.7% over the 15-year period from 1970 to 1996. (It has surely increased much more in last decade but I could not find the data)
* Due to its large population, India has been identified as the potentially third largest market for alcoholic beverages in the world which has attracted the attention of multi national liquor companies.
* Sale of alcohol has been growing steadily at 6% and is estimated to grow at the rate of 8% per year.
* About 80% of alcohol consumption is in the form of hard liquor or distilled spirits showing that the majority drink beverages with a high concentration of alcohol.
* Branded liquor accounts for about 40% of alcohol consumption while the rest is in the form of country liquor.
* People drink at an earlier age than previously. The mean age of initiation of alcohol use has decreased from 23.36 years in 1950 to 1960 to 19.45 years in 1980 to 1990.
* India has a large proportion of lifetime abstainers (89.6%). The female population is largely abstinent with 98.4% as lifetime abstainers. This makes India an attractive business proposition for the liquor industry.
* Changing social norms, urbanization, increased availability, high intensity mass marketing and relaxation of overseas trade rules along with poor level of awareness related to alcohol has contributed to increased alcohol use.
* Taxes generated from alcohol production and sale is the major source of revenue in most states (Rs.25,000 crores) and has been cited as a reason for permitting alcohol sale. * Four states - Gujarat, Mizoram, Manipur and Nagaland - have enforced prohibition.
* Profile of clients in addiction treatment centers in 23 states (including states with prohibition) showed that alcohol was the first or second major drug of abuse in all except one state.
* Large amount of revenue is generated from sale of alcohol. Yet, the hidden, cumulative costs of health care, absenteeism and reduced income levels related to heavy alcohol use are higher. These costs were estimated to be 60% more than the revenue generated in a study from Karnataka.

According to another study, India: Alcohol and public health by Dr Vivek Benegal):

* The prevalence of current use of alcohol ranged from a low of 7% in the western state of Gujarat (officially under Prohibition) to 75% in the Northeastern state of Arunachal Pradesh
* Repeated observations have documented that more than 50% of all drinkers, satisfy criteria for hazardous drinking. The signature pattern is one of heavy drinking, typically more than 5 standard drinks on typical occasions.
* Alcohol related problems account for over a fifth of hospital admissions but are under recognized by primary care physicians. Alcohol misuse has been implicated in over 20% of traumatic brain injuries and 60% of all injuries reporting to emergency rooms. It has a disproportionately high association with deliberate self-harm, high-risk sexual behaviour, HIV infection, tuberculosis, oesophageal cancer, liver disease and duodenal ulcer.
* A study from the state of Karnataka in South India estimated that monetizable direct and indirect costs attributable to people with alcohol dependence alone, was more than 3 times the profits from alcohol taxation and several times more than the annual health budget of that state.
* The local alcohol industry, quick to seize upon this emerging market, has introduced new products such as flavoured and mild alcoholic products, aimed to recruit nondrinkers, targeted primarily at women and young men.
I tried but could not find any data on the Muslims in India. But if such a study is conducted, following facts are obvious to emerge:
1. The general rate of consumption among Muslims will be found lower than other communities. It will be found even lower in Muslim women compared to other communities.
2. It will be found that young Muslims too especially studying or working in areas where majority are non-Muslims are more likely to start drinking
3. Uneducated Muslims of labourers are perhaps bigger consumers than the educated Muslim class in general, which is showing greater awareness for Islam’
4. Muslims are more likely to give up alcohol, and dugs than others if properly counseled.
5. There is an urgent need that Muslim organizations must come up with a plan to keep Muslims away from alcohol and drugs;
6.A Muslim initiative against social evils can help in integration of communities in India with decreased level of communalism.
The problems related to alcohol and other social evils are likely to multiply fast in coming decades.
We will discuss later how radical constitutional changes will be required to counter the menace of the commercialisation of human susceptibilities, which will include introduction of “Fundamental Prohibitions” and “Right to Health”.
Dear Dr. Jamil
Your article shows the real face of capitalism.
I come from engineering background and I dint know much about the financial system, your article is very informative and very scary. I support your recommendation and suggest your recommendations include Islamic banking principles and micro finance.
Haseebuddin Syed
Dear Dr Jamil,
Where is the rest of it.
Will appreciate if you could send the whole text to me.
Dr. S. Akhtar Ehtisham(607) 776-3336
P.O. Box 469
Bath NY 14810
* Dr Javed Jamil is Executive Chairman, International Centre for Applied Islamics, Chief Editor, “Islam, Muslims & the World” and Director PEACE. He is also author of more than a dozen books including “Islam means Peace”, “The Essence of the Divine Verses”, “The Killer Sex”, “Rediscovering the Universe”, “The Devil of Economic Fundamentalism” and “Islamic Model for Control of AIDS”. Also has more than 200 articles and papers to his credit. His soon-to-be-published works include “Scientific & Social Principles based on Qur’an” and “Westernism: the Ideology of Hegemony”. He can be reached at Phones: 91- 8130340339

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