SOME time ago, The Hindustan Times asked me to review a book by Asghar Ali Engineer, generally considered to be a Muslim liberal, on Muslims in
India. In the book Engineer was somewhat defensive about Aurangzeb's levying of the jaziya on Hindus and issues like building new temples (Aurangzeb forbade it). I was critical of Engineer--on valid grounds--and wondered what the reaction would be from the newspaper's Muslim readers. Either nobody wrote in or what came in the mail was too hot to handle in the Letters to the Editor column. Then, out of the blue, I received a copy of the
News From India, a weekly published from New Delhi. I was shocked to read it. An article by the journal's assistant editor, Shahid Amir, gave away the magazine's political complexion. It spoke of "communal-fascist Hindus", the "communal Hindu propaganda of
The Times of India", "bigoted Hindu Krishna bhakts" and how "the lifeless clay icon of the Krishna (sie) proved to be the stinking rot of the gutter before the might of Allah and Islam". In a long article reeking of...