I had a long telephonic talk with my friend, the great Urdu poet Munawwar Rana, whose ‘ Mohajirnama ‘ I have read several times.
I told him that he was correct in saying in an interview with a TV channel that it was wrong to insult the Prophet Muhammad or any other religious figure like Rama or Sita, and it was a greater wrong to kill Samuel Paty or others.
However, he went overboard in thereafter saying he would kill people who make such insults. Such a statement, coming from a renowned Muslim, only gives a handle to Hindu extremists to describe all Muslims as fanatics and terrorists, and may increase attacks on innocent Muslims.
I asked Munawwar Rana his age. He said he was 69. I said I am in my 75th year, and so can advise him as his elder brother. He agreed. I then told him he should issue a public statement clarifying his earlier remarks. In this he should say that while he repeats his opinion that no religious figure should be insulted, he realises he made a mistake and should not have gone further by saying that he would kill people making such insults. He said this in a state of emotion, and regrets saying it. Insults to the Prophet or other religious figure like Lord Rama should be criticised, but there should be no call for violence.
He agreed to my suggestion, and will shortly issue such a clarification. I asked him whether I can post our discussion on my fb page, and he said he would very much like me to do so.
(The opinions expressed in this article are those of the author’s own and do not reflect the opinions or views of The Rational Daily.)