Monday, 4 December 2017

Chip in the Madrasa: A Novel that unravels how Wahhabis maintain vice-like grip on Muslim Minds

"Chip in the Madrasa" is the story of a learned and progressive Maulvi Saheb who wants to teach mathematics, science and computers at his madrasa in an Indian village.

Maulvi Saheb, the protagonist of Chip in the Madrasa, is a devout Muslim and Islam for him is a religion and not a tool to fulfil political ambitions. But Maulvi Saheb's progressive move rattles the Wahhabis who are hell-bent upon using Islam as a political tool. The Wahhabi Clerics and Sheikhs sitting pretty in Saudi Arabia want to use local politicians and their proxies in India to establish Wahhabism as the only version of Islam. These local politicians and a major political party that receive huge funds from Wahhabis unleash a vicious game to break the spirit of Maulvi Saheb and other rational Muslims. They even foster a womanizer and crook as a knowledgeable Islamic cleric who issues Fatwas by the day but indulges in wine and women at night. A game is unleashed to establish the narrative around Wahhabi version of Islam and decimate Muslim rationalists led by Maulvi Saheb.
So, will Maulvi Saheb be able to withstand pressure of the powerful men who are backed by petrodollars and have the muscle power?
"Chip in the Madrasa" is an insightful tale that unravels how the Wahhabis play their vicious games and continue to maintain their vice-like grip on Muslim minds across the globe.
This Novel is now available for purchase across all Amazon online stores in India, UK, US, Europe and Asia-Pacific.
Vivek Sinha, the author of Chip in the Madrasa, is a Journalist and a Film Maker. He has been writing news commentaries for over a decade and over the last several years he has written news reports for leading newspapers of India such as The Times of India and Hindustan Times. He now writes opinion columns. Apart from writing, Vivek is also passionate about films and has made several short films and documentaries.
Please read the selected excerpts from the Novel published in 

Extracts from the Novel: Chip in the Madrasa

A couple of days back Jamil had entrusted Afroz with an important task. This task was to somehow overtake the day-to-day workings of Basera’s madrasa and then the adjoining mosque. It was precisely for this reason that Afroz had called for an emergency meeting of the madrasa management committee.
Earlier in the morning that day Afroz had tried to push his agenda at the madrasa management committee meeting. He was under the impression that since his father had taken the initiative to build the Basera madrasa other committee members will not go against him. But his efforts to corner Maulvi Saheb had failed as all committee members sided with Maulvi Saheb. He was rather worried that his inability to execute a simple task entrusted by Jamil will, in effect, put his nascent political career in doldrums.
He was in a pensive mood after the light lunch and was staring at the courtyard through the living room window. Rashid and his family were cleaning up the mess that had been left behind after yesterday night’s get-together at his bungalow. Afroz sniffed an opportunity when he saw Rashid create a ruckus at the news of Rukhsana clearing the exams for admission at Delhi. He carefully observed Rashid’s behaviour and broke into a wide grin when Rashid took out his slippers to hit Abdul, Maulvi Saheb’s son. All was not lost for him and there still was a ray of hope. Rashid was this hope.
‘I’d been trying to light up fire in a pile of wet logs when dry wood is readily available in my own courtyard,’ Afroz said to himself as he sneered at Rashid who was admonishing his wife and daughter. ‘Just a little spark and this man will turn into a rolling inferno,’ Afroz scoffed as he looked towards Rashid. He had then promptly asked for Rashid.
On their part, Jamil and Afroz had increased their influence. They had been pumping money into Basera and adjoining villages. So, Chacha’s tea shop now had a fridge and the makeshift shanty had been replaced with a well laid out concrete structure. Chacha now sold branded food packets, had four boys as helpers and had bought moulded plastic chairs for the customers.
Rashid had replaced his rusty old bicycle with a motorbike. He had also bought a new buffalo at his home, but his wife and daughters continued to do petty work in neighbouring houses for daily sustenance. Jamil had resumed his iftar parties at his bungalow and Afroz threw some crumbs for labourers brought in by Chacha and Rashid in the name of their Muslim brethren. Despite this, not a single soul in Basera could claim that their lives had transformed due to Jamil or Afroz’s initiatives. In fact, it was never meant to be that way.
This was a well thought over strategy. Keep the Muslims ignorant and keep them deprived. When there’s a dire need, give some scrap here and a speck there to make Jamil look like the saviour, and constantly harp on the victimisation of Muslims in the country.
Initially there were no takers for Rashid and Chacha’s brand of Islam but gradually through the lure of money they built a loyal fan base among the people who were at the lowest rung of social strata. They would often pay for the cuppa or buy a bottle of cheap rum for the daily wage labourers, occasionally they also paid for their food at road side eatery joints. Bit by bit and step by step these acts had helped them win friends over their side.
The educated and rational Muslims like Maulvi Saheb, Aftab Saheb, Maqbool and Naseem Bhai were strategically side-lined in this narrative so there was hardly anyone left to question this vicious but well thought-out propaganda.
Middle class is the conscience keeper of any society and Basera was no exception. It’s the educated and rational mind of middle class members in a society that has the potential to analyse the finer nuances of the rich and powerful elite. Basera’s middle class, led by Maulvi Saheb that had successfully staved off devious designs of the likes of Jamil had now withdrawn itself into a shell.
The lower strata, which is too engrossed in earning and fending for themselves and their family, are mentally ill-equipped to see through these deceitful stratagems. These are the most vulnerable groups to fall for the glib talks of politicians. Jamil, rather his handlers in Saudi Arabia, were smart enough to exploit this.
Gradually, the daily wage earners, masons, carpenters, blacksmith and butchers started to buy the argument put forth by Jamil and Afroz that they had to toil hard only because the entire system was anti-Muslim. They had begun to accept that all miseries of their life was a result of the systematic atrocities being committed on them due to their religious beliefs as a Muslim. The Muslim identity was gradually evolving. An increasing number of villagers were identifying themselves with the ‘Muslim as the victim’ notion and buying into the arguments put forth by Jamil & Co.
Rashid was an over-enthusiastic foot soldier of this game. His mandate was to bring these vulnerable Muslims within the network and thereafter the likes of Chacha, Bilal, Anwar and others took the indoctrination process forward. Almost always the discussions focussed about atrocities on Muslims in the name of Islam. Oftentimes they obliged this ‘vulnerable Muslim’ with some money or helped him bag some petty work, which the beneficiary looked upon as a help from his Muslim brethren whereas Jamil looked upon this as an investment that would offer rewards at the time of elections.
In return, they were expected to take active part in spreading the word about brutality on Muslims and how only a true Muslim like Jamil Bhai helped them.
Over the next phase these new recruits were instilled about the need and importance of following Sharia law, and how their ills were present only because the villagers did not follow Islamic rule of law. In proverbial terms, while the left hand created artificial scarcity of food the right hand threw some morsels and the mouth sang paeans about the right hand, hailing it as the benefactor.
“Aakash Bhai is this Maulvi, his madrasa and these computers this big a threat for us and our plans?” Afroz asked with a childlike expression. He looked towards Aakash and Jamil for answers. Jamil looked towards Aakash as if endorsing Afroz’s question.
Aakash was still engrossed in his thoughts. His discussions with Maulvi Saheb played like a record player in his mind as he grappled for a solution. Maulvi Saheb’s words still echoed in his mind when Afroz shot his question. Aakash sighed and leaned forward. He waved towards Anwar and Bilal standing near the door to come near and listen to him.
“All of you need to understand certain things very clearly. You win an election only when you are able to occupy the mind space of individuals. The Muslim minorities vote only for those whom they consider as their saviours and who they think would offer some benefits. So, in order to win an election we first create a fear psychosis among the minds of Muslims, and then project ourselves as the saviour of Islam and of Muslims. The Muslims then come and vote en masse ensuring victory for us in every elections. Anybody or anything that has the potential to free Muslims from this fear psychosis is a threat for us…” Aakash explained. He then turned towards Afroz.
“…the answer specifically to your question is a big yes. So, yes this Maulvi is indeed a big threat for us because he is working to occupy the mind space of Muslims in this village and other villages. His plans to introduce computers is the most dangerous as this will make information available to all. We will no longer be able to control the flow of information. An informed person thinks and his thoughts are guided according to the available sources of information… and since we will not control the information-flow, his thoughts will be beyond our control. All our plans to create a fear psychosis amongst the Muslims of this village and other adjoining villages will go haywire and with it our chances to win elections…”
“…this Maulvi and his plans to introduce computers at the madrasa is a deadly spark, and this spark has the potential to graduate into an inferno. It is better and easier to douse a spark than to smother an inferno. Just don’t underestimate this Maulvi and his plans,” Aakash said in a firm voice as everyone in the room listened to him with earnest attention.
A series of articles written by Maulvi Saheb and Aftab Saheb had denounced Wahhabism and its school of thought. Maulvi Saheb had even put a question mark on Wahhabism’s authenticity and had termed it as un-Islamic. He had explained the origins of Wahhabism as a tool into the hands of power hungry monarchs of Saudi Arabia during the eighteenth century and how this has been continuing till this day. He had warned the Muslims to stay away from the Wahhabi influencers. Written in chaste Urdu it was being widely shared on social media networks. Several of such articles were translated into Arabic and re-posted on social media networks that had reached the Wahhabi clerics in Saudi Arabia. Late last evening the burly Wahhabi cleric from Saudi Arabia had called Nadeem.
“Why do you think we pump in billions of dollars every year in the name of Islam? Why do you think we suckle and feed businessmen like you?” the Wahhabi cleric had asked Nadeem. Without waiting for Nadeem’s response the cleric had himself answered, “…it’s only to cement our ideology in the Muslim minds. The billions of dollars continue to pour in only to erase all other competing versions and interpretations of Islam for Muslims, and for the rest of the world. These funds are put into the laps of shady businessmen like you so that you expunge all other interpretations and establish that Wahhabism is the only version of Islam. And yet you have allowed a petty village Maulvi and his madrasa to continue to rant against Wahhabism? And this has been happening right under your nose? Please remember Nadeem Khan that we are under no obligation to continue to fund your businesses…if need be we can replace you with somebody more efficient,” the Wahhabi cleric had said firmly. He did not shout, neither did he raise his voice but his cold and calculated words sent shivers down the spine of Nadeem. He felt weak in his knees and had meekly asked for a few days’ time to be able to set things right.
These are the excerpts from the Novel: Chip in the Madrasa. It was first published in
The Novel is available across all online stores of Amazon in India, US, UK, Europe, Asia-Pacific and on Flipkart.

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