Edit/Op-Ed

On Sedition, Anti-Nationalism, Terrorism, & Sharjeel Imam

By Irfan Ahmad

Arresting Sharjeel Imam (and possibly many others in the future) shows how the regime is busy manufacturing enemies and expelling all that true democracy stands for.

— Charges of sedition, anti-nationalism, Islamism, terrorism against Sharjeel Imam from JNU (my alma mater) are comical. In saying to cut off transport links between Assam and rest of India to save lives, Imam only followed Badshah Khan and Henry Thoreau.

— That Imam is arrested – police have filed cases against him in 5 states – proves Thoreau’s thesis: in an unjust order, the true place for a just man is prison. This is not to say Imam’s views are sans blemish (as are no one else’s too).

— If law & order and justice prevailed truly, most politicians will be in jail.

— Those who condemn Imam by invoking the bogey of Islamism only show their moral cowardice. If Islamism is an undesirable politics informed by Islam, then, we should also ban Christian Democratic parties, Buddhist parties, Hindu parties (‘secular’ ones too), because all are informed by religion.

— The bogey of Islamism is to subvert Shaheen Bagh as an insignia of resistance and to sanctify elected orientalism manifest in depicting Imam as an Islamist.

— An imaginary Islamism is manufactured so that reality of Hindu Rashtra are its violent exclusivity are never questioned.

— Who will fight for Imam? Unlike palatable Kanhaiya Kumar, stripped of all identities –youth, Bihari, JNUite, writer, Indian, historian, poetry-lover –will Imam become, after Agamben, der Muselmann?

(Irfan Ahmad is a Professor at  Max Planck Institute for the Study of Religious and Ethnic Diversity, Göttingen. This article is reproduced from his Facebook post.)

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