Tuesday, October 4, 2016


Clearing The Fog Around Indus Waters Treaty: FAQs

Sanjay Dixit October 03, 2016, 5:14 pm

Clearing The Fog Around Indus
Waters Treaty: FAQs


In spite of the propaganda against it doing so, India can very well abrogate the Indus Waters Treaty.
Besides, withdrawal from the Indus Waters Treaty is necessary to press India’s claim on the whole of Jammu and Kashmir.
While the debate over the abrogation of the Indus Waters Treaty (IWT) rages on, with its various nuances, there is so much fogginess over the various facets of the Treaty that a full article is needed to disabuse people about the narratives being propagated – many by Pakistan, but even more by the motivated and/or ignorant Indian commentariat.
This piece is being written with the assumption that the reader has some basic idea of the IWT.

1. IWT cannot be abrogated. False

The word abrogation is used for international treaties with a context. There are treaties with an abrogation clause. IWT is not one of them. However, nothing prevents India from withdrawing from the Treaty. Articles 57 to 62 of the Vienna Convention on the Law of Treaties deal with the termination, withdrawal and suspension of treaties.
Article 62 of the Vienna Convention reads thus: FUNDAMENTAL CHANGE OF CIRCUMSTANCES 1. A fundamental change of circumstances which has occurred with regard to those existing at the time of the conclusion of a treaty, and which was not foreseen by the parties, may not be invoked as a ground for terminating or withdrawing from the treaty unless: (a) The existence of those circumstances constituted an essential basis of the consent of the parties to be bound by the treaty; and (b) The effect of the change is radically to transform the extent of obligations still to be performed under the treaty. 2. A fundamental change of circumstances may not be invoked as a ground for terminating or withdrawing from a treaty: (a) If the treaty establishes a boundary; or (b) If the fundamental change is the result of a breach by the party invoking it either of an obligation under the treaty or of any other international obligation owed to any other party to the treaty. 3. If, under the foregoing paragraphs, a party may invoke a fundamental change of circumstances as a ground for terminating or withdrawing from a treaty it may also invoke the change as a ground for suspending the operation of the treaty.
However, India has neither signed nor ratified the Vienna Convention, so even the moderately worded provisions do not apply. India can withdraw at will.

2. World Bank is the third party to IWT. False

International Bank for Reconstruction and Development (IBRD) is included in the definitions section of the IWT, and had a role as a guarantor of the financial arrangements of the IWT. (India had to pay Pound Sterling 62,060,000 to the Indus Development Fund to be maintained by it. Other than that, IBRD had certain powers under Article 10 of IWT (emergency provisions) till 31 March, 1965. So, the World Bank has no role in the Treaty any longer.

3. China will retaliate on behalf of Pakistan and stop the flow of Brahmaputra and Indus. Irrelevant

China has already built three run-of-the-river dams on Brahmaputra (with work planned on two more) and another one on the Indus near Ngari. The Zangmu dam has an installed capacity of 510 MW at an elevation of 3,100 m - about 200 km upstream of Nyingchi. Incidentally, there is no agriculture possible at that elevation for more than two months in a year.
China has built another small run-of-the-river project on the Indus near Ngari for 14 MW power generation that will be expanded to 28 MW in future. This dam is at a 3,900 m elevation, which cannot support any agriculture at all at any time of the year.
China has done all this over the last 20 years without any talk of IWT being in the air, so it is just an irrelevant bogey. China has done in the past, and will continue to do whatever it thinks to be in its national interest.
The recent news of another dam on a minor tributary of Brahmaputra, Tsiabu Chu (Xiabuxu) must be seen in this light. It carries just 0.15 per cent of the total Brahmaputra flows as said in this article.
As far as the famous bend in the Brahmaputra is concerned, the gorge is 4,000 to 5,000 m deep at places with two 7,000 m plus peaks on each side of the gorge. Even if China wants it, nothing more than a hydel project of 38,000 MW can be built there, which would provide an assured flow of 50,000 to 100,000 cusecs downstream depending upon the hydraulic head. I would prefer this assured downstream flow to anything else China can offer me by way of a treaty. There is no way China can divert this water for agriculture due to the geography.
Thus China has been doing what it wants to do with dams and hydro-power projects on all rivers originating from Tibet – on Upper Mekong and Upper Salwein as well. So IWT issues have no impact on what China is doing and will do. It is totally irrelevant.

4. India cannot use the waters of the Western Rivers due to geography. False

India already has a cultivable command of 60,000 hectares in Jammu from Ranbir Canal and Pratap Canal on the left and right banks of Chenab respectively. A parallel canal to Ranbir Canal with a couple of aqueducts and a lift near Kathua to make a Chenab-Ravi link is entirely feasible. Another option is that Baglihar dam to Tawi river requires just a 30-km tunnel. (A 24-km tunnel in the Kishanganga Hydel project and a 38-km tunnel cum channel from the Pandoh dam on the Beas-Sutlej link are a demonstration of capability).
Building a barrage on Tawi and taking the water to Madhopur barrage is child’s play for irrigation technologists today. A 20,000 to 30,000 cusecs channel to augment the Ravi-Beas link is not only feasible, but totally desirable. Another option is to have a 40-km tunnel directly from Ratle dam to RanjitSagar. This option can be exercised if India ever decides to withdraw from the IWT. On Jhelum, dams on Jhelum, Liddar and Sind can considerably increase the present 150,000-hectare agricultural potential of the valley. There is also the possibility of many run of the river hydel projects on Shyok, Zanskar, Suru, Shingo, Drass and the Indus.

5. Pakistan can go to International Court of Justice (ICJ). False

In 1974, India withdrew from ICJ for all bilateral matters. India accepts ICJ jurisdiction only in multilateral issues. India has also not signed or ratified the Vienna Convention document on the Law of Treaties in spite of being fully involved in its drafting. This gives India a clear exit route from any bilateral treaty. In spite of Pakistan and our commentariat purveying the falsehood that World Bank is a party to IWT, what matters in the IWT is only the two signatories. That makes it strictly bilateral, and India is at full liberty to withdraw from this bilateral arrangement without giving Pakistan any recourse to ICJ, or to any other world institution including the UN.

6. Pakistani public, which is sympathetic to India, will become hostile to India. False

This is the greatest canard that has ever been spread. One of the saddest part of independent India has been that we completely forgot the lessons of Partition. Partly the information was deliberately suppressed in the interest of harmony, but not quite so in Pakistan. The very ideology, which led to Partition, has been used to inculcate a permanent hate in the heart of the average Pakistani, particularly the Punjabi.
Partition was based on the theory that Hindus and Muslims were two separate and equal nations. This theory itself has its provenance in the exclusivist Islamic worldview.
While Jinnah was able to achieve a separate nation with not a little help from the British, the doctrine of parity came into stark focus after the Partition. In the end, Pakistan got 17 per cent of India’s territory, 18 per cent of its resources and 30 per cent of its military. Public has been bred on the parity concept resulting in deep insecurities. This has been further accentuated by four defeats which Pakistan denies in their history text books. Add to that the concepts of Shari’a which even the educated middle class of Pakistan believes in (unbelievable). So the Pew Research finds that only 16 per cent Pakistanis think rationally, as 84 per cent believe in the irrational Shari’a Law.
The military creates the bogey of India in order to perpetuate its hold on Pakistan’s resources. It feeds into the Islamic concept of ghazwa-e-hind or the eternal war against the infidel Hindus. Even if India were to concede Kashmir, Pakistan would continue to seek parity and dominance, however irrational it may sound to the bystander. Therefore, it is delusional on the part of any Indian to think that Pakistan’s majority public can ever be friendly. It has been hostile and shall remain hostile till the idea of Pakistan lives. That is why the only way to reconcile is to dismember Pakistan and thus end Pakistan military’s and Punjabi mullahs’ hold on the state(s). It is also idle thinking that there is a deep schism between the civilian government and the military in Pakistan. It is only a skin deep difference of approach of the two entities.
Every self respecting Pakistani hates to hear Indians talk about shared history and culture as it reminds them of their actual roots. When combined with the talk of infidels having no rights except as zimmis as spelt out in the Islamic scriptures, it becomes a deadly cocktail which breeds not only irrational thinking but also a permanent sense of hostility. Even the migrants who went from India to the Land of Pure now know it, so much so that Altaf Hussain openly called for rebellion against Pakistan, and the Sindhis, the Baloch, and the Pashtuns are doing it daily.
It stands to reason, therefore, that there is no love lost for India in the minds of ordinary Pakistanis. So who are the peaceniks appeasing?

7. War will become imminent. True and False

Pakistan has been in a mental state of war with India ever since Partition. This is in consonance with its idea of Dar-ul-Islam in the subcontinent with Pakistan as its executant. One of the stories the Muslim League told India’s Muslims used to centre around Muslim’s entitlement to the whole of India, and Pakistan being only the temporary transit point. Jinnah used the threat of civil war to push Partition towards Congress, which believed in a modern progressive country. Many other reasons are the same as explained in the foregoing paragraphs. The war has, therefore, always continued as far as Pakistan is concerned.
As the attack on the RR base at Baramulla shows, and as many experts including American and Pakistanis have said, Kashmir is not the central issue for Pakistan, the very existence of India is their central issue, exactly in the same manner as the very existence of Israel is for the Arabs.
IWT was accepted by Jawaharlal Nehru in the fond belief that it would remove an important element of discord and would promote peace. Fundamentally, it was wrong on the part of Nehru to have accepted the IWT in this form as it practically legitimised the Cease Fire Line as it then existed. Mangla Dam was allowed to be constructed in Pakistan occupied Kashmir (PoK) with India’s concurrence to the IWT. After the 1994 parliamentary resolution that the whole of PoK belongs to India, IWT cannot remain on the statute as it falls foul of that resolution.
Withdrawal from IWT is necessary to press India’s claim on the whole of erstwhile princely state of Jammu and Kashmir . This step would additionally starve the Pakistani military of the resources to carry on the low intensity proxy war it has prosecuted since 1979.
In my opinion, therefore, there is no downside to withdrawal from the Indus Waters Treaty.

Wednesday, September 21, 2016


“SAHIH BUKHARI, 8,78,618: When a deception advances Islam, it is not a sin.”
“SUN TZU 1,18: All warfare is based upon deception.”
Deception is commanded to the Chinese in war, and to an Islamist in everyday life. (An Islamist is one who seeks to establish the domination of Islam and should be distinguished from a regular Muslim). China is Zhongguo in Mandarin, meaning the Middle Kingdom, or the Central Empire. This centrality is a part of the tradition of China, a civilisational imperative. To understand China, one has to understand its civilisational narrative. Every young officer of the Indian Foreign Service on an assignment to China must do their basic schooling in Confucius and Sun Tzu, yet the lessons of its civilisation are mostly lost on the Indians. It has the following broad characteristics:
1. Unity of the Empire
2. Centrality of China in the scheme of the Universe
3. Emperor as the representative of Heaven on Earth
4. A merit-based bureaucracy (the Mandarins) as the steel frame of the Empire
5. China as the repository of the best in everything, including human endeavour
6. All the best territories are contained within the boundaries of China, the Emperor rules over Tian Xia, or “All Under Heaven”
7. Always keep testing the limits of your power without provoking war ( A Sun Tzu variant)
China, thus, appears through the antiquity as a smug self-sufficient power, which had astonishing geographical diversity under it – from the cold deserts of Siberia and Mongolia to the tropics of the Pearl River Delta, from the ocean in its east to the western trading town of Kashgar and from the below-sea-level Turpan to the forbidding mountains of Tibet, or Xijang. Some of these territories broke away from time to time, but for the larger part of the last two millennia and a quarter remained under the Central Chinese authority. Under Mao, the regime was Communist, but the underpinning of even Mao’s ideology was always the Middle Kingdom superiority.
After Mao, this complex has become all the more dominant, so much so that Communism today only helps the Chinese central authority to function verily as the ancient Emperor did. There is little Communism left in China, except its utilitarian value in providing an authoritarian party organisation for the important purpose of controlling the grassroots. It’s only China’s billion-plus largely middle-to-below-middle-income population which tempers this into realistic strategy.
In his seminal book On China, Henry Kissinger writes:
“The splendid isolation of China nurtured a particular Chinese self-perception. Chinese elites grew accustomed to the notion that China was unique – not just ‘a great civilization among others’ – but as the civilization itself”.
Accordingly, he quotes Lucian Pye, “China remains a civilization pretending to be a nation-state”. Thus, Kissinger writes,
“China was considered the centre of the world, the ‘Middle Kingdom’, and other societies were considered gradations from it. As the Chinese saw it, a host of lesser states that imbibed the Chinese culture and paid tribute to it was considered the natural order of the universe”.
Kissinger also writes that the traditional cosmology endured despite catastrophes and centuries-long periods of political decay. Even when China was weak or divided, its centrality remained the touchstone of regional legitimacy; aspirants, both Chinese and foreign, vied to unify or conquer it, then ruled from the Chinese capital without challenging the basic premise that it was the centre of the universe.
Our immediate neighbour Pakistan is just the reverse. It came into being in 1947 on the back of an Islamic theological principle of entire Islam being one nation, distinct from what the Islamic theology disdainfully refers to as Dar-ul-Harb (House of War, i.e., a non-Shari’a country, towards which all Muslims must adopt a mental attitude of perpetual war). But this nation carved out on a theological principle chose to become a non-Shari’a country. To compound the confusion, the holy books of its religion have taught the supremacy of Islam for centuries, so it became very difficult for it to admit that it came into existence only in 1947.
In its first Constitution in 1974, Pakistan chose for itself another contradiction – an Islamic Republic. ‘Islam’ and ‘Republic’ have an uneasy relationship, as Islam is not based on a principle of equality among all citizens. Women are lesser beings in Islam, and minorities can buy only rights of survival. Under some extreme interpretations, even that is not available as the Yazidis in Iraq found to their horror. This contradiction is exploited by the mullah-military combine to put democratically elected governments on the backfoot. Demands for Shari’a law in every walk of life becomes the shrillest whenever elected governments want to take decisions which are in the overall economic interest of the country.
Pakistan is, therefore, the victim of its own birth. Its democracy is still foundationally nascent and sandwiched between the mullah and the military (Refer ‘Pakistan Between Mosque And Military’ by the former Pakistan ambassador to the United States, Hussain Haqqani). Its defining characteristics can be summarised as under:
1. Denial of its civilisational roots and a perpetual war with India. Even if India conceded Kashmir to Pakistan, its hostility would not diminish one bit.
2. Attempts to trace its ancestry to Arabia
3. Army as the protector of ideology (sic) of Pakistan, jocularly referred to as al-Bakistan
4. A narrative rooted in medieval Islamic empires of Arabia (This piece of satire is an excellent portrayal of the Pakistani mindset.)
5. A democracy which has not yet taken roots. Pakistan could get its first Constitution only in 1974 (after majority East Pakistan had broken away). Democracy, however, acts as a barrier against full-fledged Shari’a law. This contradiction is exploited by the establishment which runs with hare and hunts with the hound.
6. A media which feeds off Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) and other intelligence agencies
7. Foisting Urdu as the language of the millat (community) over 95 percent of the population, which doesn’t speak the language of the Ganga-Yamuna plains
8. Festering mutinies against the monochromatic narrative forced upon Pakistani population by the establishment
9. Putting ideology above economy, stifling the innate abilities of an otherwise enterprising people
This just illustrates the case that unlike the eternal China, which is well rooted and civilisational, Pakistan suffers from a deep identity crisis. Most of its decisions, which frequently appear completely irrational, take root in this schizophrenia. However, its identity crisis makes it an ideal tributary state for the civilisational China. While its Islamic identity dictates that it should treat India as its enemy mainly for being a Hindu-majority country, and should also challenge the very existence of Israel for being Jewish, it doesn’t yet grant the same status to China (which is not in keeping with the Islamic theology). The United States may have given Pakistan military and economic assistance for over 60 years, but it is hated in Pakistan for being a Christian superpower, and Saudi Arabia (which by all accounts treats Pakistanis verily like the dirt) must be treated as a friend.
China, therefore, finds a weak and confused state like Pakistan an ideal client State. Pakistan establishment (In Pakistan, establishment means the military-judiciary-bureaucracy combine, led by the military) finds it expedient to bow to China in order to be able to ideologically challenge its perceived enemies. Pakistan finds it easy to slide into the civilisational China’s scheme of a vassal paying tribute. China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) is the best example of its vassal status. Both are ideological States, China being more pragmatic. China’s civilisational ideology is far more wholesome than the sectarian ideology of Pakistan, but China finds the idea of another civilisation competing with its Middle Kingdom abhorrent. This is the essence of its dislike of India and its liking for a civilisation-less Pakistan. China’s strategic goals, however, are more in tune with its post-Mao pragmatism. The civilisational narrative feeds more into tactical manoeuvring than strategy.
The diplomacy conducted by these two countries also fits into these matrices. China’s sabre-rattling by its propaganda machinery advances its “testing the limits” and “pushing the boundaries” tactics, even as its diplomats tell the world behind closed doors that China has no interest in adopting violent methods, and has economic advancement as its major strategic goal. The phenomenon is euphemistically termed by China as “Peaceful Rise”. Even though Xi Jinping appears to be a more trenchant Head of State, China is also practical enough to not jeopardise the public goods it needs from the world, i.e., investment, technology and market access. Further, it needs to be kept in mind that in spite of being labelled as expansionist, China has rarely tried to wage war with its neighbours in the last two millennia except to the extent of reclaiming its ancient boundaries. It has suffered greatly at the hands of Japan in the twentieth century and the Western powers in the nineteenth. In spite of that, it has not claimed Mongolia, Russian Manchuria and Taiwan by force. It invaded India, won a short war and then vacated North-East Frontier Agency (NEFA) while retaining its claim lines in Ladakh.
However, a claim to being the greatest civilisation fits nicely into its civilisational narrative of being the “Middle Kingdom” and provides nationalistic comfort to its billion-plus population. A new word, influentionist – seeking to expand its orbit of influence to nations it grades lower in the civilisational scheme – may be more appropriate.
Pakistan has no civilisational pretensions, unlike India, and therefore, has no issues in feeding into China’s narrative. That’s why a completely one-sided agreement like the CPEC can pass muster in Pakistan. Can one imagine India signing a significant economic agreement with another country without even disclosing whether the $ 46 billion was a loan, debt or investment, or a combination, and the terms thereof?
Indians, thus, need not worry much about the China-Pakistan tango. As long as it perceives India as having the willpower to stand up to it, China would only indulge in verbal callisthenics. Pakistan can be foolish, but China has too much to lose even in the case of a limited conflict. China is greatly peeved over the Baloch, Sindhi and Pashtun opposition to CPEC. Whenever the Islamist Jihadis get to control the levers of power directly in Pakistan, the narrative of Islamic Khilafah will take over. Already, Islamic groups in Pakistan are training the Uighyr terrorists of East Turkestan movement in Xinjiang to China’s great chagrin. Just to remind the reader that Shari’a Law considers itself to be the ultimate Truth, so there is no question of a Khilafah tolerating the superior civilisation narrative of China in the long term. We will then watch the fun of two supremacist narratives clashing on the altar of ideology. Till then, we should tailor our policies with a deep understanding of the impulses that draw these two countries together and concentrate on reducing the economic lag with China.
That being the case, India’s strategy of outreach to the US, Japan and Australia without joining the war of words with China is a perfect counterpoint to China’s tactics dressed up as a strategy.

Wednesday, July 20, 2016


This is the season of outrage. In keeping with the Indian tradition of maximum noise, minimum action a whole lot of sound and fury has been spent on dissecting Zakir Naik, the self professed televangelist. Naik has been around for at least a decade, and many have even tended to dismiss him as a stand up comic. His ghastly sartorial sense, a theatrical style of Q&A before made up audiences, and an unwillingness to debate except in front of his own chosen audience has generally left him with little credibility with the discerning. He has this style of quoting from various scriptures of other religions, and quoting from Qur'an and other Shari'a Books to establish what he dubs as Truth of Islam.
On the other hand, you have the gladiatorial Maulanas and followers of Qasim Razvi and Abu Ala Mawdudi (founder of Jamiat-e-Islami). Razvi was famous for proclaiming that "Muslims have the right to enslave Hindus". After the liberation of Hyderabad, he was tried under the Indian laws and was released under the condition that he would leave India for Pakistan. He was also the President of MIM at the time of India's independence and openly advocated accession of Hyderabad with Pakistan on the principles of Shari'a. Abu Ala Mawdudi was instrumental in getting Ahmadiyyas declared as non-Muslims in Pakistan, the same demand which was made by the Mirwaiz of Kashmir recently. The same Jamiat-e-Islami has today hijacked the Islamic narrative of Kashmir Valley, but you do not hear a squeak from Indian Islamic clerics against them. These political Islamists and many of the Maulanas who appear on TV debates unapologetically extol Mahmud Ghaznavi, Mohammad Ghori and Aurangzeb as their heroes. The reason is not far to seek. These rulers fashioned themselves as the soldiers of Jihad, the Mujahideen,  and Maulanas have to believe in the philosophy of armed Jihad because that is what the Books teach. They don't let a contrary viewpoint be even spoken, let alone be discussed. Yet, they are all invited to debates day in and day out. I contend here that there is no difference between them and Zakir Naik, except that they cloak their utterances in the silk robes of sophistry, whereas Zakir Naik is direct and crass.
Thus, while we have this great spectacle of Zakir Naik being slammed from every corner by the Maulanas after it transpired that two of the Bangladeshi terror merchants involved in the Holey Artisan Bakery killings were inspired by him, let us consider the pronouncements made by Akbaruddin Owaisi which are exactly on the same lines as Zakir Naik, probably in a much more insulting tone. People would remember Akbaruddin Owaisi's statements on Hindu gods and goddesses. Zakir Naik's statement on Ganesha is benign by comparison, but did we hear anything of the nature of outrage that Zakir Naik is being subjected to. 
So who are the Maulanas trying to fool?
Actually the issue of ISIS and Zakir Naik is being interpreted in India in theological terms, whereas it should be done in terms of Rule of Law. Art. 25 gives no blanket right of propagation of religion on public platforms. Art. 25 is a secondary Fundamental Right. It is made subject not only to public order, morality and health, but also to the other Fundamental Rights. So nobody can go and insult another person in public places. As far as Islam is concerned, one may like to ponder over its fundamental statement "There is no God but Allah and Mohammad is his Messenger" as a supremely holy command to the followers but could equally be construed as deeply offensive to followers of other religions. However, nobody finds it a problem if it is practised within the confines of prayer halls and homes. The Constitution is violated every day when "Allah is the Greatest" is imposed upon crores of Hindus, Christians, Sikhs, and followers of other smaller religions through loud speakers. The suspicion grows every day that ultimately the Maulanas have a political agenda. So what Zakir Naik is doing is only carrying this attitude forward. 
When Zakir Naik says that it is legal to kill Kaafirs, he is only interpreting verses of Qur'an, such as 5:32-33, 8:12 and 8:39 together with a host of others in the 9th Surah, At-Tawba. (5:32 is often cited as an example of deep compassion, but all compassion in Shari'a Law is reserved for believers. Unbelievers are by default guilty). There are tens of other verses which prescribe punishments against shirk (idolatry), and against Jews and Christians. Qur'an is contextualised by the Hadis (Hadith is Arabic transliteration) which are the collection of traditions and sayings of the Prophet, and Sira (Sirat-e-Rasool or Sirat-e-Nabwi) which is the biography of the Prophet. Together, these three Books form the Shari'a Law (or Shariat). Shari'a is considered immutable by the Muslim clerics. To add to that, except the Hanbali/Salafi/Ahl-e-Hadis school, all other Islamic Law schools (Hanafi, Maliki, Shafi'i, Shia Jaffri) follow the principle of Taqlid which means that people have to follow the interpretation given by the official clerics. 
So most of the criticism of Zakir Naik coming from the Deobandi and Barelvi Muslims is not on account of him spewing hate in a secular country run on the basis of a Constitution, but because he is Ghair-Muqallid (Not following Taqlid) as he is not an officially trained cleric. Barelvis and their Sufi persuasions as also Shi'a and their Sufi persuasions criticise him mainly on sectarian considerations. They accuse him of misinterpretation, but not one gets up to acknowledge that he is only bringing into open what is written in the Shari'a Books. 
It is not as if narrow compass of teachings have not existed in other persuasions, but every other religion or Indian Dharmic traditions have been open to discussing reform. Christians and Hindus have reformed themselves greatly and except for some fringe elements, are open to debating their weaknesses. India has always had an eclectic culture of debate and arguments. Hinduism, Buddhism and Jainism have many variations which are equally accepted. Unfortunately, in Islam, Ijtehad or reform of the scriptures received a mortal blow in the second half of the 9th-10th century after the decline of the Mutazili movement under the early Abbasid Caliphs. This rationalist movement had institutionalised inquiry and questioning of interpretations of Qur'an by clerics. Considering the fact that all the Hadis were compiled in the period between 700-900 AD, these internal dissensions and the attitudes of the Caliphs would surely have dictated their course. The Mutazili movement collapsed in the late eleventh century when Islamic fundamentalism gained ground as the Crusades hit the Abbasids and Jeruslaem fell in 1099 AD. This coincided with the rise of Al Ghazali (died 1111) who co-operated with the Abbasid Caliphs to end Ijtehad. After  the Abbasid empire was run over by the Mongols in 1258 AD, Ibn Taymaiyyah (1263-1358) sounded its death knell by bringing into prominence Hanbali thought. Today's Salafis are all beholden to this man for ending all debate in Arabia. So much so, that any questioning of the Qur'an or Shari'a became punishable by death. Abdul Wahhab in Nejd and Shah Waliullah in India continued the Ibn Taymaiyyah tradition. These attitudes only solidified fundamentalist interpretation of Islam even as the rise of the Western World began with Renaissance and separation of Church from the State. Anyone trying reform has been brutalised ever since. They find some difficulties in India as Salafis/Wahhabis follow the Hanbali school of Fiqh (Islamic Law) whereas 99% of Indian Islam follows the Hanafi school. In the Hanbali tradition, also called Salafi, Wahhabi or Ahl-e-Hadis, Taqlid or clerical interpretation is not important. It is this sectarian consideration which makes Indian clerics oppose Zakir Naik, not any genuine impulse for Ijtehad or reform.
Indian influences greatly shaped the Barelvis, but even they do not attempt a new context to the Shari'a. Jihad is equllay important to them. Their founder Ahmad Raza Barelvi led Jihad against Maharaja Ranjit Singh in the name of Islam. Allama Iqbal did advocate Ijtehad in the 20th century. He was deeply perturbed by the decline of the Ummah as a force and thought religious fanaticism of Muslims to be the cause. His dalliance was short lived as he went on to create the doctrine of Pakistan. He again brought to fore the Shari'a principle that Muslims would be safe only in Dar-ul-Islam (House of Islam), sometimes called Dar-as-Salam (House of Peace), as opposed to Dar-ul-Harb (House of War) where Muslims are in a minority. Shari'a provides that it is the duty of every Muslim to be in a State of Dar-ul-Harb when he is in minority, and practise the principle of Duraira (necessity) till he is able to convert it into Dar-ul-Islam so that he can then live under Shari'a Law. This is what Zakir Naik is doing openly. Owaisi's party was founded on the same principle in 1936, but he now proclaims himself beholden to Constitution of India. Many Indians would think that his actions do not appear to be in consonance with his statements.
Thus the labours of people like Zakir Naik are supplemented by people like Akbaruddin Owaisi and sundry Islamic clerics who fasten their scriptures to a timeless context. Anyone who talks of reform through Ijtehad is promptly shouted down or even issued death threats. I don't see anyone except Kalbe Sadiq talking of Ijtehad but he being a Shi'a is easily termed as a Kaafir by the majority Sunnis. Wahhabis and Ahl-e-Hadis clerics in any case dub Barelvis, Sufis, Shi'a, Ahmadi, Ismaili (constituting 90% Muslim population in the Indian sub-continent) as Kaafirs (unbelievers), and even Murtad (apostate). 
Yet there are some faint voices calling for Ijtehad. People like Tarek Fatah, Tufail Ahmad and Sultan Shahin are but a few one can mention. I don't see much of an impact though. In fact, the majority opinion among Muslim clerics is that they are best defenestrated. One even heard its echo in the Parliament from most unexpected quarters. The State, however, has to make sure that this poison faces full force of Rule of Law. There should not be this feeling in the majority community that political correctness is making the State softer towards transgressions, as this can turn the scenario really tricky. There is a Salafi/Ahl-e-Hadis penetration in Kashmir valley and pockets of Kerala. They are preaching exactly what Zakir Naik is preaching. Whether we accept it or not, there is a feeling of alarm in the rest of the country. Public opinion is veering round to the view that what is happening in the Valley is part of the global Islamic Jihad. That, of course, only part of the story as there were no Salafis around in 1989-90 when Kashmiri Pandits were driven out of the Valley. The memories of Direct Action Day and partition riots may not be fresh, but have remained etched in the memories of Indians, as also the fact that it was the mainland India Muslims who bred and nurtured the Two Nation Theory. There were no Salafis at that time either. It would be vain to contend that these ideas are coming out of thin air. Zakir Naik of the Salafi colour is relying on the same sources as Akbaruddin Owaisi. Yet Maulanas condemn ISIS but not Akbar Owaisi. 
Rule of Law can be an effective antidote to fissiparous tendencies, but one finds it used only as per convenience of the ruling dispensations in the States. The anodyne, nearly indifferent, attitude among the political elite is not a good sign. West Bengal's drift into anti-national activities is but a symptom of this disease of political correctness.
Zakir Naiks and majority Maulanas are part of the global Islamist renaissance. This is the obverse which has its violent converse in Jihadism. So unless the clerics are willing to do Ijtehad, they are only speaking the same philosophy as Zakir Naik, but cloaked in democracy and legalese. I would consider this as more dangerous than the open hate being preached by Zakir Naik.

Sunday, June 12, 2016


Having served in the Merchant Navy before joining the IAS, I can claim to have visited almost all the ports in the Persian Gulf, specially the oil terminals. At the height of Iran-Iraq conflict we were picking up crude from Kharg, an Iranian island in the upper reaches of the Gulf which is its major oil export point, just as Ras Tanura is for Saudi Arabia. So I claim an expertise in the area of analysing ports, specially from the point of view of logistics and through my present calling, I can also now lay claim to understanding a bit of strategic compass.
With that caveat, let us have a closer look at the frenzy which has gripped Pakistan. CPEC to them is the panacea for all their economic ills and Gwadar is the best port in the world. 
The frenzy is such that a even a reasonably sober twitter handle @karachipost came up with this:
Similarly, I read a piece today in @Diplomat_APAC by @daimfazil giving five ridiculous reasons on a supposed superiority of Gwadar over Chabahar. 
Let's find a framework for this. What are the qualities a port needs to become a great one. Per the Gwadar Port website, it has 3 berths at present with a plan to add 3 more (a multipurpose, a grain, and an oil berth). It's projected draught is 12.5 metres with which it claims to be able to handle 50,000 DWT (Dead Weight Tonnes, which denotes carrying capacity) vessels. Chabahar has 10 already, and is expanding to include a deep water berth which would be able to handle VLCCs (Very Large Crude Carriers) of 22 m draught or more. 
Let's look at some of the other ports. Mumbai port has 26 cargo/container berths and 6 POL/Chemical berths; Karachi has 12; Nhava Sheva has more than 10, and Dubai (Jebel Ali and Port Rashid) which Gwadar is supposed to be threatening commercially has barely 102 berths, with VLCC POL supply terminals as well.
So we can quite clearly see that logistically, Gwadar is just a puny little dot. 
Let's now see the hinterland that the two ports would serve. Gwadar can have cargo headed for either Xinjiang, or for Pakistan's internal consumption. The back of the beyond location of this port means that for a private business to switch from Karachi to Gwadar, comparable stevedoring and clearing agencies would be required along with a reliable rail link. That's not happening any time soon. Even if the infrastructure is complete, the soft support system in a hostile terrain would remain hobbled for a long tie to come.
Comparison with Chabahar is not even warranted, as Chabahar is coming up as a transit port for all of Central Asia and Afghanistan. Muhammad Daim Fazil posits it as a port for India to access Afghanistan and Central Asia through Afghanistan. Only if he had looked at maps. Route to Central Asia from Chabahar doesn't have to go through Afghanistan at all. Moreover, It gives India an alternative route to Russia and its Eastern Republics, as well as the 5 ex-Soviet nations. After Ukraine became independent, Odessa has come to be used less and less. Crossing the Suez has its own costs, so the Iranian North-South corridor would be very useful for India and most SE Asian countries. As a post on quora said (Joseph Boyle): 
"Gwadar is simply unlikely to ever be profitable. It means going an unnecessarily long, long way over the world's highest mountains and through rebels to get to nothing - after all that you're still separated by water. 
If you look at a globe and great circle routes instead of the deceptive Mercator projection, you see a direct, low, feasible route between China and the Middle East is going directly through Central Asia to Iran. Turkmenistan already has pipelines selling large volumes of gas to China, and is right next to Iran."

Singapore PSA found Gwadar unviable in the long run and left. China stepped in not because it found Gwadar viable, but because it looked at Pakistan as a client State and it was sure it would make Pakistan dance to its tune. China does not even have much of an use for operating this kind of port because it is already operating a ten times larger terminal in Fujairah, UAE, just across the Gulf of Oman. China will use it only to exercise its hegemony over its willing client State.

I do not foresee a gas or oil pipeline from Gwadar to Xinjiang as a part of CPEC, at least not yet. China is concentrating on pipelines from Kazakhastan. It's principal silk route runs via Urumqi-Kashgar-Almaty-Tashkent-Ashkabad-Tehran. From Ashkabad, Chabahar is directly connected. So Chabahar connects everybody to everybody. That's the reason Iran offered a connectivity to Pakistan as well, which I am sure Pakistan would find offensive. Gwadar by comparison is just a provincial port for Pakistan over high mountains which even China would not find viable.
Another oft-repeated argument in favour of CPEC is that it is a good strategy by China to bye-pass the Malacca choke. This makes no sense either, as China's consumption areas lie nearly 6000 kms to the East from Kashgar, the northern point of CPEC. In the event of a war, both China and Pakistan would do well to remember that Malacca straits at its narrowest choke point below Car Nicobar is 200 km wide, but the CPEC is just 75 kms away from North Kashmir - well within the range of BVR missiles, Prithvis and Brahmos. Gwadar lies directly in the line of Indian Navy, and would be the second one to be blockaded - After Karachi that is. China would definitely factor that in its strategic calculations. That CPEC infra is passing through a territory which legally belongs to India, and that it would be child's play for India to blockade Gwadar.
Now let's discuss CPEC's economic calculations. China plans to put in $46 billion over 10 years. $34 billion would build up a power capacity of around 17000 MW (though I have also heard figures of 7 and 10K MWs). The agreements are not on the table (so much for transparency). We don't know whether there is any element of a grant involved. From whatever sketchy information is available, it looks like a combination of loans for road and rail infra, and power plants to be built by the Chinese for which Pakistan has given a sovereign guarantee to buy all the power produced at a fantastic rate of PKR 18 per unit (INR equivalent 11.53). Even the power plants which are going to be all thermal variety are going to be put up at a minimum of $2 billion per GW (1 GW=1000 MW). India routinely builds its thermal power plants at less than $ 1 billion per GW. The average rate per unit on the India power trading exchange has been INR 2.50 for over a year. Bangladesh is buying 1100 MW from India at INR 6 per unit. This is a classical colony making exercise by China, which Pakistan establishment and the Army is quite excited with.
So it looks to me as if CPEC is a purely marketing exercise by China to rip off some good money from Pakistan for its thermal power companies which have to dismantle their old plants in the mainland to meet the emission norms agreed to by China at the Paris meet. It gives an excuse to the Army to rip off more money from the exchequer in the name of providing security and strengthening its occupation of Balochistan. It has got a 11% raise in its budget in a year in which GDP grew by 4.7%.
India need not even discuss this. CPEC route passes through a treacherous terrain prone to landslides. One stretch near Attabad was blocked by a landslide created a lake for over 5 years. All India needs to do is to target its missiles on N35 of Pakistan, otherwise better known as the Karakoram Highway.
So my advice to my Pakistani friends is - please don't parade CPEC and Gwadar to the world. It's not your salvation, it's your cross.

Wednesday, November 4, 2015

What perpetuates the idea of ISIS. Reviewing the dialogue between Sam Harris and Maajid Nawaz

Over the previous four parts of this series on Islam and Islamism, we have charted a course over the writings over the problems of increasing radicalisation among the Muslims. We had reviewed the works of five authors - Tarek Fatah (Chasing a Mirage - The Tragic Illusion of an Islamic State), Maualna Wahiduddin Khan, Ayaan Hirsi Ali, and  Wafa Sultan, and looked at "The Radical" by Maajid Nawaz, a reformed Jihadi. 
Just as I was planning to write the concluding part by reviewing the fine dialogue between Sam Harris and Maajid Nawaz now published as a book - "Islam and the Future of Tolerance", some interesting events have taken place in India. Prof Irfan Habib has compared the thought process of RSS with ISIS, the left-libbers have let loose a volley of intolerant rants and actions like "Award Wapasi" against a mythical intolerance of the Right, and the irrepressible Tufail Ahmed has taken on the Islamists by stating that "Muslims have no right to shout intolerance unless they condemn burqa, triple talaq, Barelvi fundamentalism and Deobandi Jihadism". So just the right time for this piece to be penned.
Tarek Fatah's take is that Sharia is an accretion to Islam, and Qur'an by itself does not preach a hate doctrine. Get rid of the influence of the clerics and you would have a much more benign and benevolent religion. Maulana Wahiduddin on the other hand feels that Da'wa and Jihad are peaceful calls, and essentially non-violent, but he is not very convincing as the two concepts remain a tool for proselytisation for him.
Ayan Hirsi Ali, on the other hand, says that the problem is in Islam itself. She lists out five problems - Life of Mohammed himself, Belief in afterlife and the resultant death cult, Sharia as the obscurantist code of Islamic life, Social control and its enforcement by all and sundry, and Jihad as the call for terror.
Wafa Sultan is even more forthright. She regards Islam as only a religious cloak for a hateful, pre-medieval war like misogynistic Arab culture, and sees no room for democratic and scientific values which have become the norm so far.
Set against this backdrop, the Sam Harris-Maajid Nawaz dialogue is an excellent microcosm of all the thoughts that have been discussed in the five books previously reviewed (including "Radical" of Maajid Nawaz himself).
Sam Harris is quite forthright in questioning the fundamentals of Islam. He recalls how he had confronted Maajid on an earlier occasion. He had broadly said that Maajid was trying to portray Islam as a religion of peace whereas it wasn't one. That Islam was being practised by the Jihadist in the way that a most honest reading of the faith's actual doctrine. So the dialogue begins by Maajid clarifying what he thinks of Islam. He states clearly that it is wrong to regard Islam as a religion of peace or war, but rather regard it as just a religion. His entire narrative is based on this line.
Maajid goes on to say that no scriptures speak for themselves. They have to be interpreted. How they are interpreted defines the three broad categories present among the adherents of Islam - moderates, Islamists and Jihadists. He included himself among the moderates. Those who would impose their view of Islam on others are Islamists, and those who are ready to impose their interpretation of Islam on others through violence are the Jihadists.
At another plane, Maajid divides Muslims into three categories. Conservatives, Liberals and Islamists. Conservatives sub-divide into fundamentalists and reformists. Liberals are those who hold that no idea is above scrutiny and no people are beneath dignity. Islamists sub-divide into revolutionary and Jihadists.
Harris questions Maajid  over the attitudes of Muslims in western countries as brought out in various polls. He finds it extremely troubling that 78% of British Muslims wanted the cartoonists who drew Prophet's cartoons punished, and a significant number from among them actually wanted them killed, extremely troubling. Maajid agrees with him.
What Maajid laments is the attitude of western liberals. They would rather trust an Islamist on the interpretation of Islam than a liberal like Maajid. On the other hand, the western conservatives vilify them. Attitude of the western liberals is what Maajid calls the Voldemort effect, drawing an analogy from the Harry Potter series.
It may be drawn in the following manner:

So the dialogue is a constructive attempt to understand the problems plaguing Islam. Maajid Nawaz as an ex-Jihadist is in the best position to explain it and he does so with aplomb.
Drawing from Maajid's exposition, ISIS is a Jihadist organisation, which seeks to impose its worldview on others through physical violence. How on earth an eminent historian like Irfan Habib draw a parallel between RSS, whose tenets never advocate violence to impose its world view, and ISIS which is on the exact opposite end. It actually reveals a fundamentalist mindset in Irfan Habib, which we have discussed earlier in the context of Aurangzeb. Fundamentalism as described by Maajid Nawaz.
A book worth reading.
We conclude this series with this piece.

Sunday, September 27, 2015

Is Islam a Religion of Peace, or can it be?

Two events concerning Saudi Arabia were highlighted during the past week or so. One was the infamous rape of Nepali maid servants by a Saudi diplomat and the other was a video of servant beating that went viral. Add to that was a previous event concerning a fatwa against AR Rehman, by a Barelvi outfit by the name of Reza Academy. All these events brought into focus the role of Sharia among the Muslims worldwide, and in India. It was argued that neither the Saudi diplomat nor the employer beating his servant were guilty per Sharia, and that AR Rahman had committed apostasy, both of which stand in stark contrast to the law as we understand it in the civilised world. As I was giving finishing touches to this article comes the evidence of callous Saudi neglect in the conduct of Hajj which has led to nearly a thousand deaths in a stampede, but has led to no accountability. We are not even considering the militant groups as their brutality is already well documented.
I have already written 3 articles in this series, two of which took into their sweep the role of Aurangzeb in promoting Islamic religious bigotry in India. We also discussed Wafa Sultan briefly. The other thinkers we have chosen for this series are Tarek Fatah, Maulana Wahiduddin Khan (Islam and Peace), Ayaan Hirsi Ali (The Heretic), and a new name - Maajid Nawaz, who wrote the very impressive "Radical"  and his experience of turning away from militant Islam to an effort to promote a peaceful version of Islam in the world through Quilliam.org.
We were discussing Wafa Sultan in the previous issue of this discussion. I recently saw her debating Anjem Chaudhary and Omar Bakri, who are the bulwark of Jihadi philosophy in the West. Anjem Chaudhary is particularly unabashed as he is more communicative with a greater command over English. So he said something particularly appalling - "Our stand is simple. Non-Muslims are guilty of not having accepted Islam, so killing non-Muslims is legitimate according to Sharia". Omar Bakri is equally forthright when he says that "If we come to your land and invite you to join Islam and you don't do it, then we are at war with you till you submit". 
Wafa Sultan spares no punches in her book "The God Who Hates". As an ex-Muslim who left Islam because of what she thought was a stifling and oppressive religion gives her unique credibility. She blames it on the teachings contained in the Sharia trilogy (the Qur'an, Sira and Hadis), and the emphasis on Arab culture and Arabic language. According to her, most of what is contained in Sharia only legitimises an oppressive, racist Arab culture in the language of the Prophet. All the obnoxious customs of a tribal Bedoo culture have been sanctified in the Sharia. All except the Arab male has been given a secondary status, and the nature of the narrative has been given a divine origin, and made immutable. This has created fundamental problems. Wafa as well as Ayaan think that the empire of Umayyads and Abbasids made their closet cleric write up much of the text of Sharia and closed all the doors to discussion in the 9th and 10th century. Tarek Fatah has given the complete historical perspective to this hardening of stance in his book "Chasing a Mirage: Tragic Illusion of an Islamic State".
The thrust of the argument of the two ladies is on certain aspects of Islam which make Jihad the best form of service to Islam and make any disagreement or dissent punishable as blasphemy, and also make getting out of the religion being dubbed as apostasy and punishable by death. Wafa Sultan calls Islam as "The Sealed Flask", which doesn't let a captive escape. Ayaan further calls the divine nature of the Qur'an and personal life of the Prophet a problem. She asserts that since Islam makes the Prophet as the ideal being, his later years in Medina spent more a military commander and a political preacher make it problematic for many groups - Jews, Christians, other unbelievers, women, dissenters, free speech protagonists, anti-obscurantism activists. They are all at grave risk. Not an ordinary risk, but risk of life itself. When a religion punishes internal and external questioning as blasphemy and ordains all believers to carry out the punishment, it is not a small problem, but a threat to global peace.
There is also the group which tries to project Islam as a religion of peace. Maulan Wahiduddin Mohammed in the period upto 2000, and Maajid Nawaz in more recent times have tried to argue that Islam is a religion of peace. They have pointed out to the tradition of Sufism, and the fact that 90% of Muslims are peaceful. Maulana Wahiduddin has written his own interpretation of the Qur'an and tried to explain the more offensive verses of the Qur'an with his own annotations. Maulana Wahiduddin has a practical aspect to advocating peace in Islam, and it's the practical view of a proselytiser. According to him, Islam has grown only during peace, and not during war. He laments that the partition of India virtually brought the proselytisation activity in India to a halt. Thus even his formula of peace is dictated by the concepts of Da'wa and Jihad, and the fact that these two can flourish better in a peaceful atmosphere. The good aspect with both the Maulana and Maajid is that they try and emphasize the more beneficent aspect of Islam and advocate violence to be eschewed.
The problem arises with the reading of the Islamic scriptures themselves. The violent sects like ISIS, Taliban, Al Shabaab, and Boko Haram read the Qur'an and Sharia in its literal Arab version. This version is full of violence and hatred towards minority groups and women. It's impossible for a youngster reading the Qur'an for the first time with the requisite belief system, to reconcile it with any of the peaceful intentions Maajid and Maulana advocate. It may be educative to watch a debate featuring Ayaan Hirsi Ali and Maajid Nawaz on the subject "Is Islam is a religion of peace". The debate started with 41% saying yes to the motion, 25% against and 34% undecided. At the end, the score was 36-55-9. So the problem is that it is easy to argue that Islam is a religion of peace till you start reading the Sharia trilogy. This is where Wafa and Ayaan argue that problem is not with the Muslims, but with Islam per se.
This is the dilemma the world faces, as also  the moderate Muslims, who would still be about 90%. However, 10% of 1.5 billion is still 150 million humans. That's a very very large absolute number which believe either actively or passively in violent Jihad. When indoctrinated with the kind of literalist exposition of the Qur'an which radical Islamists like Omar Bakri do in the above linked debate, it becomes almost impossible for youth not to be swayed. That's the reason I advocate a head on confrontation with the narrative espoused by the Islamists or the Radicals
In the next and concluding part of the series, I will attempt to highlight the specific difficulties the world faces with this narrative. I will also bring into focus the views of some Western and Indian intellectuals. 

Thursday, September 3, 2015


(Please click on each link and go through the contents before proceeding further to get the full import of this article)
I was in the middle of writing a series on the Intellectual churn within Islam, reviewing four books which I had the occasion to read over the past few weeks. It was in the middle of this that the NDMC decided to rename Aurangzeb Road in N Delhi as Abdul Kalam Road. I thought it was something that would be welcomed whole-heartedly by all Indians. However, I found Gopal Krishna Gandhi making a quibbling distinction between Aurangzeb and Aurangzebiyat. I wrote a piece on this momentous decision, challenging the GK Gandhi argument. I was, however, surprised to find a chorus of support for Aurangzeb. Some of it was ignorant but a lot more was motivated, with phoney arguments, as if Aurangzeb was actually secular but was only carrying out his mission of an Emperor. One of the better defence was made by Shoaib Daniyal. He gives five reasons in his defence of Aurangzeb just being the child of his times, and not the evil ruler he is made out to be. 
The first argument by Shoaib is that Aurangzeb actually was so beneficent that he built more temples than he destroyed. The bulwark of this argument of his rests on Richard Eaton. Ranged against Eaton, however, is a mountain of evidence. I wonder if Eaton ever went to the Bikaner archives where a host of evidence is available on his being exactly the kind of zealot that makes him a hated figure for most Indians. Eaton says that he destroyed only those temples which lay in territories opposed to him. This is complete hogwash. I had cited in my last blog a letter by his own son Md. Akbar who explicitly mentioned Aurangzeb's anti-Hindu bias. I reproduce it here along with its Hindi translation.

 I also find that Shoaib has quoted Jadunath Sarkar with approbation in support of his Jizya argument. However, what Jadunath Sarkar had to say about Aurangzeb's zeal for temple destruction and as you can see in this link that his general attitude towards Hindus as an Islamic warrior is totally different. In fact, it is as excoriating an indictment of Aurangzeb as anyone could possibly make. I would not put a Richard Eaton ahead of him, specifically because those schooled in religions of the Book have great problems comprehending the attitudes prevalent in the sub-continent. Shoaib has also ignored the most authentic book compiled by Sita Ram Goel which chronicles the destruction of Hindu temples by Islamic rulers in fair detail.
Shoaib's other four arguments are dealt with even more easily. All one needs to do is to click and visit this exhibition mounted by FACT-India. Of the 45 exhibits on display, each one demolishes the arguments advanced by Shoaib. Each exhibit is like a speaking document. What is at display is that here was an Islamic jihadi warrior bent on establishing an Islamic theocracy in India, giving the majority population the status of zimmi, by indulging in signal destruction of their religious and teaching institutions. The argument about jizya and zakat is equally spurious as evidenced by clicking this comparison. Add to all this his brutalities towards Guru Tegh Bahadur, Shambhaji, Devi Chand and the like and it becomes clear that the inspiration for Aurangzeb was not the exigency of statecraft, but a completely wanton, bigoted urge to spread Islam by sword. 
I now move to rejoin the series I was writing on the intellectual churn within Islam. Though I was intending to take up the peace argument first, I have to revise my order of reviewing the books. I take up Wafa Sultan's book "The God Who Hates" because her arguments seek to bare the mentality with which rulers like Aurangzeb are imbued. While reading her book a second time, I also chanced upon this video in which she debates the issue of Islam with one of the bigger hate merchants in the Arab World, Omar Al-Bakri. You can't miss this video.
While the detailed review would be done in the next part of the series. I would like to summarise what she seeks to contend. You must read her views in the context that she is an Arab who has given up Islam and who now lives in the USA. She has experienced the working of her former religion at its worst because it is in the Arab world that the most intolerant version of Islam is at work. She also contends that Muslims in other parts of the world are still largely peaceful because they do not understand the Arabic language and The Qur'an is not allowed to be translated in any other language. As an Arab, it puts her in a unique position to understand the violence contained within Islamic scriptures.
She holds the extreme view that all Islamic scriptures including The Qur'an preach violence against non-believers and women. The concept of justice is different for zimmies as they do not believe in Allah and cannot therefore claim the status that a Muslim enjoys. This is exactly what Omar Al-Bakri is saying in the above video and the view according to the Wahhabi and now increasingly Deobandi version of Islam. 
So the Aurangzeb Doctrine is actually the doctrine that the strict Arab legacy teaches its followers. One hardly needs to emphasise that it cannot work in India or anywhere else in the World. It doesn't work in most places where Muslims are in majority except some notable exceptions like ISIS, and some Arab countries in the MENA area. Let Shoaib Daniyal reflect on what Wafa Sultan and Jadunath Sarkar have to say even as I examine Wafa Sultan's book in greater detail in juxtaposition to the peace doctrine of Maulana Wahiduddin Ahmed in the next part of the series.

Credits: @drkiranvs for the jizya and zakat comparison, @aham1857 for the link to Jadunath Sarkar