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  • The Talented Mr Azad Ali

    by Sid (Faisal)
    13th March, 2009 at 12:00 am    

    Andrew Gilligan picks up the story of Azad Ali, the suspended Treasury civil servant, in today’s Evening Standard.

    Azad Ali is closely associated with the Islamic Forum Europe (IFE)  and the East London Mosque (ELM) both of which are dominated by the Jamaat-e-Islam. Ali is also the founding chairman and current treasurer(!) of the Muslim Safety Forum (MSF) which is based in the ELM building. Gilligan reports that the MSF received at least £30,000 from City Hall under Boris Johnson’s watch.

    And there’s more:

    Mr Ali was suspended from his job as a civil servant in January after some of his views came to the attention of his employers.

    However, City Hall payment lists seen by the Standard show that in the same month, his organisation received the latest of its £10,000 quarterly payments from the GLA.

    It also received £10,000 in July and October last year, as well as at least £70,000 under the previous Mayor, Ken Livingstone. Its annual general meeting, in July, was addressed by Mr Johnson’s deputy mayor, Richard Barnes.

    When Muslim groups receive government funding, Islamists like Ali will never miss an opportunity to denounce them as “sell-outs” but will always switch to non-disclosure mode when it transpires they are recieving the filthy lucre themselves.

    After all, Britain is of the Dar al Harb (‘Land of War’) which is why here, anything goes. This might explain how it is permissible for Azad Ali to predicate the killing of British soldiers as a justifiable form of “balanced” jihad on a quote by uber-Islamist Huthaifa Azzam and, at the same time, accept government funding. If you detect any hypocricy in this arrangement it is because you have been conditioned by kufr, of course.

    Gilligan also quotes from this exchange I had with Ali on his blog:

    On 1 December, after the Mumbai attacks, Mr Ali engaged in repeated exchanges on his blog with a moderate Muslim calling himself “Sid”. Sid said the attacks were “an act of Islamist terrorism, pure and simple”. Mr Ali replied: “We disagree quite clearly,” describing the attacks as “crimes”.

    Things have been quiet on the ‘Between the Lines’ blog since Ali was suspended. But fans of his work will be pleased to know that he can still be found disseminating his wisdom on his radio show. Get your podcasts here.

                  Post to

    Filed in: Islamists

    54 Comments below   |  

    Reactions: Twitter, blogs
    1. pickles

      New blog post: The Talented Mr Azad Ali

    2. Pickled Politics » Islam Channel: Islamist TV Evangelism

      [...] of its presenters. Amongst these have been the Wahhabi cleric and anti-semite Yasir Qadhi, and Azad Ali of the Islamic Forum Europe (IFE), who was suspended from his position as acivil servant earlier [...]

    3. Islam Channel: Islamist TV Evangelism « Full Fat Mocha

      [...] of its presenters. Amongst these have been the Wahhabi cleric and anti-semite Yasir Qadhi, and Azad Ali of the Islamic Forum Europe (IFE), who was suspended from his position of civil servant earlier [...]

    4. Islam Channel: Islamist TV Evangelism | Free Political Forum

      [...] of its presenters. Amongst these have been the Wahhabi cleric and anti-semite Yasir Qadhi, and Azad Ali of the Islamic Forum Europe (IFE), who was suspended from his position of civil servant earlier [...]

    1. Sunny — on 13th March, 2009 at 1:27 am  

      I nearly fell off my chair when I saw that, lol. You’re becoming famous sid!

      Gilligan is still a rubbish journalist though.

    2. Roger — on 13th March, 2009 at 3:08 am  

      Er, what was Mr. Ali doing working as a senior civil servant in the “Land of War”? He had to say he would behave in ways that would contradict his pure principles to get the job. On the other hand, what was the “Land of War” doing giving Mr Ali a job as a senior civil servant; presumably, as an honest man, he had explained his principles and intentions when he applied for the job.

    3. billericaydicky — on 13th March, 2009 at 8:10 am  


      All Gilligan was reporting has been common knowledge around East London for a long time. As with the Jasper affair everyone who was involved politically in London knew of the dozens of front groups which were getting money and this goes back eight years.

      This is I think the first shot in a war that will be similar to the one that deposed Livingstone and Jasper and heads are going to role. I can only guess at what else Gilligan has but I do know that there is a lot out there.

      I keep asking what exactly has Gilligan ever said about Livingstone, Jasper or any of the groups he named in that saga that was wrong? You can’t have it both ways. Something is either true or it isn’t. There are far too many people out there who believed that Livingstone was running some sort of socialist republic which shielded them from the iniquities of capitalism.

      Expect to see heads role in Tower Hamlets over this one.

    4. Tom — on 13th March, 2009 at 9:06 am  

      “I can only guess at what else Gilligan has”

      Guesses, mainly, from past evidence. He’s been wrong about a large number of other things*, displayed amateurish standards of journalism, been caught out apparently puffing himself anonymously online and misquoted me directly and provably, hence I don’t trust him as far as I can throw him. He also has some deeply unpleasant people feeding him stuff to massage his vindictive ego.

      Sid, if I said you were a lovely chap, you’d be guaranteed a future free of being quoted approvingly by Gilligan. Interested?

      This story is a manifestation of the disappointment of the Spectator/Policy Exchange/Mad Mel/Decent Left element that the Boris Regime is turning into Westminster Council writ large, all grey men concentrating on trimming bits off budgets in order to cement Conservative control over the boroughs, rather than indulging in expansive clash-of-civilisations lunacy and Radical Nostalgia that’s got nothing to do with municipal administration (not least because the people it championed turned out to be manifestly unsuitable). In other words, they’re disappointed that electing a Conservative has resulted in Conservative policies being enacted. Well, get over it.

      * Bendy bus costs, for a start. Gilligan claimed they cost more than double deckers, the figures when they came out proved they cost a lot less. That’s supposed to be his area of expertise, of course.

    5. billericaydicky — on 13th March, 2009 at 9:35 am  


      Can we have that again this time in English. I’m only a bricklayer so you’ll have to make it a bit simpler for me. On the other hand can anyone out there translate for me?

      And what exactly did he get wrong about Livingstone and Jasper?

    6. Sid — on 13th March, 2009 at 11:41 am  

      These extremists are nutters - and not helpful for community relations or actual Muslims in the UK, you know, the ones who might want to wear hijabs or pray at their workplaces. But your bizarre and OTT condemnation of them only fans the flames of racism against all brown people.

      Let me get this right, these Islamist nutters are making life miserable for Muslim people by espousing and popularising a form of extremist rhetoric in the public domain. They then get funding from government agencies to continue these activities and co-opt the “representation” of British Muslims to their extremist agenda.

      But the real culprits, for you, in all this are not the Islamists but the Muslims who criticise these Islamists?

      Don’t tell me there are strange white people watching you from a parked car outside your house, right?

    7. Anon — on 13th March, 2009 at 11:43 am  

      Islamophobia Watch responds here.

    8. Sid — on 13th March, 2009 at 11:52 am  

      Looks like I am being maligned by both the Islamist extremists *AND* the nutters from the Far left.

      Surely this is a mark of honour. What a great Friday this is turning into.

      But Bob, it’s a shame your site doesn’t accept comments. Because I could have referred to my long exchanges with Azad Ali and his IFE cohorts on their blog here and here, which happened long before his suspension. There you will see that they made some rather nasty admissions.

      But I am sure this means nothing to you because you are far more interested in mis-representing all British Muslims as racist, intolerant extremists.

    9. Dan — on 13th March, 2009 at 1:10 pm  

      I’ve read all those email exchanges (realised that its usually all it takes to see through the fog) and as I expected, there’s a whole lot of deception being employed here, knowingly or unknowingly, both by Gilligan and sadly Sid himself. This is not a mark of honour, that’s merely wishful thinking. Rather, it shows the lack of honesty that exists in the world of the pen today.

      Any who pop onto to Azad’s blog will see the games (sadly) Sid is playing, and that its not ‘extremist’ at all in the general defintion (only in the defintion of some people with an agenda). they will also see that Sid does have an alternative agenda going back to some Bangladeshi political history and continuosly tries to revive this ancient issue (from the 70′s? pointing fingers at commentors and all his opponenets under the same brush as ‘rapists’? Very disturbing agenda indeed).

      Basically, go and have a look at Azad’s blog yoruself.

    10. Shamit — on 13th March, 2009 at 1:44 pm  


      I have read Azad Ali’s blogs and found things very disturbing there. And as a civil servant his blogs are unacceptable — which I have argued many times on this site.

      And as someone who interacts with Sid on a regular basis on this blog — his agenda to me is very clear like most regulars on this site.

      He does not want a small minority of extremists and their idiotic supporters to tarnish the image of Islam. He talks about equity and tolerance and wants Muslims to be part of the mainstream highlighting the virtues of Islam. And that Islam is no enemy to the West or the concepts of democracy and Islam is not what the Taliban or the mullahs say it is — rather than leave a bunch of lunatics in the fringes to distort it with their typical intolerant behaviour.

      But I agree with Sunny — Gilligan is still a rubbish journo.

    11. Shamit — on 13th March, 2009 at 1:53 pm  

      Interesting how someone choosing the handle Mary goes on about attacking Sid.

      Didn’t you try to call us names when we first discussed Azad Ali — and when Sid, Ravi and I articulated our thoughts and challenged you lot — you ran away.

      Bloody cowards - - In my opinion, you lot who continue to attack Sid for his tolerant and fair mentalilty are small fractions of human beings compared to him. Thats the reality — you may snipe as much as you want but thats not going to change the reality at all.

      There was a saying about dogs barking but the caravan still goes on or something like that. The civil society would continue to forge ahead united in its quest to have an equal society irrespective of what you lot say.

      Your actions or support of idiotic actions lead to more marginalisation of Muslims as well as other British Asians but you lot are too thick to see that.

    12. The Common Humanist — on 13th March, 2009 at 1:54 pm  


      “He does not want a small minority of extremists and their idiotic supporters to tarnish the image of Islam. He talks about equity and tolerance and wants Muslims to be part of the mainstream highlighting the virtues of Islam. And that Islam is no enemy to the West or the concepts of democracy and Islam is not what the Taliban or the mullahs say it is — rather than leave a bunch of lunatics in the fringes to distort it with their typical intolerant behaviour”.

      Very well put.

      The question is - why are you equating being a muslim with being a reactionary extremist?

    13. Shamit — on 13th March, 2009 at 2:05 pm  

      Thanks Humanist

    14. Sunny — on 13th March, 2009 at 3:35 pm  

      I’ve deleted some of the dumb Islamist supporting nuts above.

    15. Sofia — on 13th March, 2009 at 3:39 pm  

      i really wish we could find another term instead of ‘islamist’…it bastardises a word that has a completely different meaning and just makes me feel like it’s been hijacked by all sides

    16. Sid — on 13th March, 2009 at 3:56 pm  

      Thank you TCH and Shamit, I appreciate it.

    17. The Common Humanist — on 13th March, 2009 at 4:07 pm  

      Sid, No worries.

      Sofia, it is supposed to differentiate between extremist and normal. However, it is clearly imperfect. What would you prefer we used to describe such people?

    18. Rumbold — on 13th March, 2009 at 8:48 pm  

      A number of Muslim jurists accepted the idea of a third realm, the Dar al-Sulh. In dar al-Sulh, a non-Muslim state would be subservient to a neighbouring Muslim state, in the sense that they would pay kharadj (tribute), but not the jizya. The concept of dar al-Sulh in some vague form was probably also the basis on which treaty relations with Christian states were accepted as possible; the presents sent by some states would then be regarded as kharadj.

    19. Simmons — on 13th March, 2009 at 11:52 pm  

      I’d like to thank Dan for reminding us to check out Mr Ali’s posts before buying into any accusations (while many might disagree with his views as with any blogger, the main thing is that his views certainly are not of they type he’s being accused of). This isn’t the first time this person has been attacked, there’s been a consistent campaign by Sid and others on HP on him, and as Dan below puts it rightfully, it can only be described as a ‘smear-campaign’.

      Below are a couple of comments on Sid’s previous blog post on Mr Ali - thought I’d re-post them (as they were ignored) rather than repeat some of the good points they make:

      1) “Sid, I’ve had alook through those links you put down where Azad Ali refuses to condemn the mumbai terrorists.

      Unfortunately, having read through the whole discussion - and having studied Islam at university (in order to make sense of it all!), I was truly disappointed to see you deliberately misread and twisted the discussion to come to the conclusion you say.

      The discussion was never revolving around ‘condemning or condoning’, but about the wroding used by Melanie Philips to connect the terrorists to ‘Islamists’ (a term - from my study - that is highly controversial if not completely biased). Your argument was “whats wrong with that connection”, his argument was that it was inaccurate!

      What’s going on Sid? when you see someone like yourself go on what can only be a ’smear-campaign’ (because even though you claim to be different to ‘islamists’, you still have your own personal differences I’m sure - just had a look at your comments on that link about some issue from the 70s! Hardly good grounds for a fair account of Ali!), how can we trust your posts?

      If you had an agenda, it would have been far more polite (to the readers) to say so before you expect non-muslims (which you appear to assume are ‘uneducated’ about Islam and Muslims) to fall for your smear campaigning.

      You have a clear political and religious opinion - and thats your right - but the problem is you are trying to pass your version off as the ‘moderate and acceptable one and actively attacking the others, and all the while - because it falls within our government’s ‘political’ aims - the government is scooping up your type into its arms.” (Dan)

      2) “OK, I have just had a long hard look at the articles (azad ali) and blogs, and it seems to me that certain people like “Sid” are trying desperately to overtake him as an “opinion leader”. Azad Ali hasnt actually approved the killings of British soldiers has he?, and many of his article speak well of social cohesion and fostering good relations amongst communities, which is more than I can say for those now calling for his head.

      This may have something to do with his views on Israel which is a difficult pill to swallow for its powerfull freinds.” (Alz1986)

    20. Amrit — on 14th March, 2009 at 12:39 am  

      Wow, there seem to be a lot of faux-non-extremist trolls on Sid’s case today… I particularly like the use of ‘conspicuously non-Muslim’ names such as Mary and Dan. Are they aping you, Sid, or are they trying to compete with you and hiding their real identities to try and self-legitimise?

      Either way, o spell-check averse ones, as Jay-Z once rapped, ‘you are LAAAAAME!’

      Congrats, Sid, you’re going to overshadow Sunny at this rate. :-D

    21. Star — on 14th March, 2009 at 1:43 pm  

      @ Simmons. Thank you for reposting the quotes. It’s brilliant how anything in support of Azad Ali is completely ignored, whereas the ‘tarnishing’ posts are always at the forefront. Sid, I believe there are many questions posed to you on the IFE blog that you haven’t answered. Care to tell us why? Is it because you just don’t have the capacity in you to answer them? Maybe you have realised that your nonsensical ideas, views and onions aren’t washing with them?

      @ Shamit 10

      Now is that surprising? Is it surprising that Sid’s agenda is very clear to you? The witch hunt for Azad Ali – if I am not mistaken – is very much supported by yourself as well. So its not wonder that Sid’s articles make sense to you. One fool always makes sense to another!!!
      But the most hilarious point u make has got to be ‘He does not want a small minority of extremists and their idiotic supporters to tarnish the image of Islam. He talks about equity and tolerance and wants Muslims to be part of the mainstream highlighting the virtues of Islam’.
      WHAT??? So has ‘oh – so peaceful’ Sid done anything for the Muslim community? Has he done anything to promote peace and cohesion between the Muslim and non Muslim community. Or he is to busy maligning those people who are working tirelessly to create respectable relationships and social cohesion between the two communities? Maybe Sid fails to understand that tolerance comes when people are accepted for who they are and what they believe in (obviously provided its within the correct boundaries), and not when the Muslims forget or even abandon their principle beliefs to suit their non Muslim peers. That is not tolerance Sid, that is ‘selling out’!!

      I am flabbergasted to hear people praise Sid for being a moderate Muslim. Moderate? Someone who compromises their fundamental Islamic beliefs, their Islamic roots and their Muslim identity are not called moderate Muslims. Its laughable how such people like himself, Ed Hussain and other similar minded people are called moderate. Sell outs – yes I agree might be a better word, but defiantly not moderate. Its no wonder that certain bloggers on this place think almost every tom dick and harry that says something which they disagree with is an extremist or an Islamist. I mean come on, compared to ‘moderate’ (ahem ahem) Muslim like Sid, I think nearly everyone is an Islamist! (according to certain bloggers here).

    22. billericaydicky — on 15th March, 2009 at 9:42 am  

      Good article by Nick Cohen in today’s Observer on this theme. Interestingly he has been down in Tower Hamlets interviewing people on the ground.

      There is definately something in the air down there with two heavyweights doing articles within a few days of each other. I know Ansar Ullah of the Shadinata Trust and he is a really good person still campaigning for the prosecution of the war criminals of 1971. It is people like him that the government should be engaging with.

    23. zoo — on 17th March, 2009 at 10:02 am  

      Funny how you oppressors just love to knock a person that stands for justice. Just because he does not toe your line. Boris Johnson lust’s after people he can manipulate and if he can’t, he wants to get rid of them as he did with the last police chief (Sorry I can work with you as we don’t agree, more like ‘you won’t do what I say so I am going to get rid of you’)as he probably is not corruptible. You reporters say how much money he has received, But it’s not like he’s living the hi life, or driving around in a flash car (yes I know). Funding is their to help pay for the organisation that people work in and run, (even the BNP get funding and grants in roundabout ways if not directly and so does so many other groups And how many of them are running this witch-hunt?) He is being witch-hunted by what whatever wing press you want to call it. He is one of the few intellectual web posters that knows what he is talking about.
      Posted by a guy that failed in grammar so excuse the mistakes

    24. billericaydicky — on 17th March, 2009 at 10:33 am  

      I don’t think it’s just grammar you failed in, stick in logic and the ability to construct an argument.

    25. Aaron — on 17th March, 2009 at 11:31 am  

      And you should stick to a name without the ‘dicky’ in it - unless it says something about you of course.

    26. fug — on 17th March, 2009 at 11:46 am  

      Star, nobody significant is praising sid, whose self respect is so low that he is proud for a blog interaction of his to be referenced in the white, public undressing of human being who commmited no crime in 1971, who i think does a pretty good job with the MSF and has redeeming features.

      Muslims organisations should avoid funding from government in general, especially on the violent extremism flex. What marks ed hussain and sid as sellouts (if indeed they have anything to sell other than titilation) is their attention-seeking posturing as wannabe native informants eager to exploit alliances with pretty evil forces, who happen to be white. reformer types tend to put in the hard work and the hours. they are just bitches.

      Sure they may make a killing in the industry, but they are strong anti-examples for humankind, especially Muslims.

    27. Sid — on 17th March, 2009 at 12:00 pm  


      fug is universally reviled on quality blogs on which he tries to poison the discourse by posting cowardly personal attacks, including this one.

      He is a textbook British-born Southasian Islamist who fills up the cavity of his low personal self-esteem with the bully-boy bravado of Islamist fundamentalists like Sayed Qutb and Maulana Maududi.

      His powers of textual criticism are pitiful.

      He benefits from life a liberal democracy like the UK but champions terrorists in Southasia and the Middle East with no intention of ever emigrating there. critices his enemies, whom he calls “sell-outs” but benfits from student loans and government benefits more than they do.

      He also suffers from constipation.

    28. fug — on 17th March, 2009 at 12:29 pm  

      aww, sid.

      terrorist championer?
      benefit skanker?
      follower of Syed Qutb and Maududi?

      You must grow a creative faculty! Seriously, your textbooks are socially malconstructed. Sure improvements are always sought, but your biases, political alignments with Jionijom and Zionism and general brain pattern wrong.

      To misquote some white misery rock at you “The blogs dont work, they just make you worse.”

    29. Sid — on 17th March, 2009 at 1:06 pm  


      Here’s a passage by Abdal-Hakim Murad (a white Muslim) you would do well by reading:

      Islam has always spread primarily through social interactions connected with work. The early Muslims who conquered half the world did not set up soapboxes in the town squares of Alexandria, Cordoba or Fez, in the hope that Christians would flock to them and hear their preaching. They did business with the Christians; and their nobility and integrity of conduct won the Christians over. That is the model followed by Muslims, particularly the Sufis, down the ages; and it is the one that we must retain today, by interacting honourably and respectfully with non-Muslims in our places of work, as much as we can.

      Remember that the next time your try and pretend that your brand of racist, ethnocentric tribalism is in any way Islamic. It most definitely isn’t.

    30. The Common Humanist — on 17th March, 2009 at 1:47 pm  

      Fugstar, Sid,

      Sid is right. The period of Islamic expansion post the death of Mo’ occured at a time when the Eastern Roman Empire (i.e The Byzantine Empire, although that term wasn’t used till the Renaissance) had fought a long and debilitating war with the successors to The Parthian Empire in Mesopotamia (I have forgotten their name and no am not going to Wikki it….I will remember…eventually!) which had left both powers frankly knackered. Plagues had also weakened the traditional Eastern Roman recruiting grounds of Anatolia, S. Balkans and the Causcausus.

      As an example, Alexandria, Imperial rolls show, had a population level in 700 of 50% that during Justinians reign (in the 6th Century).

      The Pax Arabica period of triumph would have been a great deal more blunted had it faced the E. Romans and Parthian Successors of a two decades earlier. Islam would likely be a minority religion in the ME and the long religious wars that included its expansionist phase, The Crusades, The reconquista, the Iranian v Saljuk and Ottoman/Iranian wars would not have happned. Obviously wars would have but they would have been of a different character.

      Luck has an awful lot to do with how history unfolds.

    31. Rumbold — on 17th March, 2009 at 1:50 pm  

      TCH- It begins with S.

    32. The Common Humanist — on 17th March, 2009 at 2:09 pm  


      Ah when memory fails……..

      Further to what I was saying - the early Muslim Arab Armies certainly did do business with the very much weakened E Roman Provinces - they offered generous terms unless you resisted then it was curtains. It is important to recognise the, for the time, improvement over E Roman rule that the Arabs offered. The E Roman Govt was hideously corrupt and short of money and manpower. Islam brought a more egalitarean law that appealed to a Roman Citizenry and Subjects tired of war, high taxes, a corrupt bureacracy and that could not fight yet again on the scale necessary to defeat the invaders from Arabia (although there was extensive fighting intially).

    33. Rumbold — on 17th March, 2009 at 2:16 pm  


      Excellent points. Don’t forget the religious element either; much of North Africa hated the Byzantine central government because it was attempting to impose its own brand of Christianity onto them.

    34. The Common Humanist — on 17th March, 2009 at 2:24 pm  

      Ahhh, of course. Weren’t the Visigoths Arian Christians and the E Romans Orthodox?

    35. Sid — on 17th March, 2009 at 2:30 pm  

      nice history lesson guys.

    36. The Common Humanist — on 17th March, 2009 at 2:58 pm  

      We aim to please/bore/annoy/excite/frustrate (delete as applicable)…..

    37. Jai — on 17th March, 2009 at 4:54 pm  

      I keep expecting Rumbold and TCH to suddenly say…..”And that’s how the Byzantine Empire was usurped. By the way…..You see that hairy, decaying piece of grey chewing gum stuck under the table over there, that was originally eaten by former head prefect Sebastian Bootle-Smythe in 1954, accidentally swallowed, then expelled, eaten again and finally put there by Lower Sixth-Former Cuthbert Orville-Winklebottom during an hour’s detention in 1962 for accidentally rogering the school rabbit…..That’s you, that is.”

    38. fug — on 17th March, 2009 at 5:00 pm  

      Shayk abdal hakim murad is a wise gandalfian figure.

      ‘White’ in the pejorative sense wouldn’t apply to him, like it does to your slavish mental tendancies.

      the common humanist.
      luck, weather and all sorts of things affect how stuff before us has unfolded.

      imagine what could have happened had hardcore ottoman militarism cohered with kung fu?

      if the arabs hadnt been led astray by the brits?

      if the muslim naval navigators hadnt enabled european ‘discovery’?

      if tipu sultan had repulsed the invading britishers and launched a counter attack to liberate the britsh from the clutches of nascent colonial capitalism?

      and more interestingly, had strategic bits of the muslim world not aligned with the US against the USSR?

    39. Rumbold — on 17th March, 2009 at 5:10 pm  


      While the Visigoths had been Arians, they had largely been wiped out by Justinian’s reconquest. Arianism had declined to the point of irrelevence by the time of the Arab conquests. The division by the 7th century was between the Chalcedonians of Constantinople, and the monophysites of North Africa, over the nature of Jesus- were Jesus’ two identities, that of God and the son of God, separate or not? A third group, the Nestorians, had mostly fled to Persia and settled there.

      Hahaha Jai. You are no slouch on the historical front yourself.

    40. Jai — on 17th March, 2009 at 5:15 pm  

      Personally I think that if the Maratha leader Mahadji Scindia hadn’t died prematurely due to (apparently) being poisoned, matters could have turned out very different indeed, since he’s regarded by some historians as someone who was made of “the right stuff” to be a viable successor to the Mughals.

      Or if internal squabbling and betrayals hadn’t lead to the huge chunk of territory ruled by the Sikhs at the time of Maharajah Ranjit Singh’s death being annexed by the Brits.

      Or if the Rajputs had just kept on fighting to the death during initial Mughal expansion, instead of (mostly) eventually joining the imperial administrative machinery.

      Or if all the 600+ semi-autonomous princely states had joined forces to liberate the subcontinent as a whole from colonial rule (which ended up covering about 2/3 of the region).

      Or if Prithviraj Chauhan had killed a certain invader from the northwest instead of freeing him upon the promise that he wouldn’t return, only for him to break the promise the following year and defeat the Rajput Confederacy.

      Ah, speculation is a wonderful thing, ain’t it…..

    41. Sid — on 17th March, 2009 at 5:17 pm  

      Here is more from Abdal-Hakim Murad on the differences between the seeker who adopts Islam as a religion and the “Identity seeking” Islam of second and third generation Muslim immigrants.

      Who is a British Muslim is an easy question: it is anyone who follows Islam and holds a U.K. passport. This is at once the easiest and probably the only workable definition. The more teasing question, which I wish to raise in this article is: what is a British Muslim? The query raises two problems related to belonging. What does it mean to be a British person who belongs to Islam? And, what does it mean to be a Muslim person who belongs to Britain? How do we map the overlap zone in a way that makes sense, and is legitimate, in terms of the co-ordinates of both of these terms?

      Clearly, by virtue of the first definition, the British Muslim population, all 1.5 million of it, divides into three groups. Firstly, and least problematically, there are men and women whose cultural formation was not British, but who have migrated to this country. This essay will not touch centrally on their own particular struggle for self-definition, which is quite different to that addressed by converts.

      Secondly, there are the children of the first group, and occasionally now their grandchildren. These people are usually seen to be torn between two worlds, but in reality, the British world has shaped their souls far more profoundly then they often recognise. Modern schooling is designed for a culture that puts an increasing share of acculturation and upbringing, as opposed to the simple inculcation of facts, on the shoulders of schoolteachers rather than of parents. Muslims who have moved to this country have done so at precisely the time when British education is also going into the business of parenting; most Muslim parents do not recognise the fact, but Muslim children in this country always have a third parent: the Education Secretary. Even those second-generation Muslims here who claim to have angrily rejected Britishness are in fact doing so in terms of types of radicalism which are deeply influenced by Western styles of dissent. Most noticeably, they locate their radicalism not primarily in a spiritual, but in social and political rejection of the oppressive order around them. Their unsettled and agitated mood is not always congenial to the recent convert, who may, despite the cultural distance, feel more comfortable with the first rather than the second generation of migrants, preferring their God-centred religion to what is often the troubled, identity-seeking Islam of the young.

      From the transcript of a lecture delivered in 1997. But clearly still valid today.

    42. Jai — on 17th March, 2009 at 5:41 pm  


      Hahaha Jai. You are no slouch on the historical front yourself.

      Me ?

      The 23rd Maharajah of Chandigarh ?

      Caught in bed with seven Bollywood starlets on the run from arranged marriages to some of Pickled Politics’ most notorious commenters, an empty tub of Ben & Jerry’s finest, a broken horsewhip, a semi-used feather duster, and a comedy “Anjem Choudary” mask ?

      With my reputation ?


    43. fug — on 17th March, 2009 at 5:53 pm  

      i am of the opinion that more south asians should wear turbans.

    44. persephone — on 17th March, 2009 at 5:58 pm  

      I see. Another example of kicking things under the carpet to avoid tackling them.

    45. Jai — on 17th March, 2009 at 7:21 pm  

      Might be more a case of ‘blog-rage fatigue’, Persephone bahenji. Hence the historical tangents, slightly lairy ‘Mary Whitehouse Experience’ parodies, and so on ;)

    46. persephone — on 17th March, 2009 at 8:37 pm  


      I don’t mind a bit of humour, satire or quirkiness. My comment at 44 was in relation to the comment at 43.

    47. Rumbold — on 17th March, 2009 at 9:21 pm  


      “Caught in bed with seven Bollywood starlets.”

      We demand names. I know four of them: Pinky, Babli, Twinkle and Dimple. But who were the others?

    48. The Common Humanist — on 17th March, 2009 at 10:30 pm  


      That is me! Have you been spying on me? [TCH looks out to night time street. Shadowy figure steps back out of lamp light. A cigarette burns in the dark]

    49. fug — on 18th March, 2009 at 2:23 am  

      not really. i am an advocate of sherwani based officewear.

    50. Jai — on 18th March, 2009 at 12:45 pm  


      We demand names. I know four of them: Pinky, Babli, Twinkle and Dimple. But who were the others?

      Baby, Billo and Lolo.

      *All names have been changed to protect the not-even-remotely-innocent-anymore



      That is me! Have you been spying on me? [TCH looks out to night time street. Shadowy figure steps back out of lamp light. A cigarette burns in the dark]

      Wild guess (he says, hoping he sounds believable). By the way, you might want to delete your internet browsing history. *shakes head disapprovingly*



      i am an advocate of sherwani based officewear.

      Actually sherwanis do look extremely cool. Unfortunately, in this day & age and in this part of the world, and in the absence of any nearby royal courts affiliated to some princely state, if we did try to pull it off workwise we’d either look like a wedding party that accidentally took a wrong turning off the A406 and got lost, or as though we’re about to spontaneously burst into a Bollywood song & dance sequence.

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