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Association of Retired Senior IPS Officers (ARSIPSO)

This is with reference to my letter No. ARSIPSO/GS-BSD-4/2023 dated. 10/08/2023 on the 4th B.S. Das Memorial Lecture, which had to be rescheduled for unavoidable reasons.

The 4th B.S.Das Memorial Lecture to be delivered by Shri Anil Kumar Sinha, IAS (Retd.), on the subject Disaster Management: Creating Safer Communities, has now been rescheduled for October 14, 2023 as per the following:

Conference Room No. 2, India International Centre, Max Mueller Marg, New Delhi, October 14, 2023 (Saturday)



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LONG MARCH OF ISLAM : THE FUTURE IMPERFECT : Book Summary by author - Shri R.K. Ohri

 
 


Long March of Islam: The Future Imperfect is an attempt at analysing the causative factors behind the growing threat of radical Islam which was described a few years ago by Stella Remington, the former head of MI 5 (British Intelligence), as the "geopolitical menace of the future". It provides a deep insight into the growing threat of Islamic militancy and its impact on the future of mankind with special reference to India. In terms of its long reach, sheer ferocity and global spread, the challenge posed by the militant Islam is far greater and powerful than that posed by the erstwhile Nazi ideology which had plunged the 20th century into World War II. The Foreword of the book has been written by K.P.S. Gill, an authority on terrorism.

2. Long March of Islam is a painstaking research carried over more than 16 months. It is regarded as a welcome addition to the growing literature on Islamist terror and was discussed on October 19, 2004, in a distinguished gathering at the India International Centre, New Delhi. The discussion was chaired by the veteran journalist, Inder Malhotra. Recently on April 15, 2005, it was discussed in a well-attended session of the Book Club of the Delhi Gymkhana Club, New Delhi. The interactive session was chaired by Lt General (Retd) Shankar Prasad, who commended the book, Long March, as a 'must read' to all those wanting to know the implications of the ongoing campaigns of terror.

3. A critical analysis of the causes of the growing threat of Islamist terrororism has revealed that apart from the propagation of Jihadist ideology by Pakistan and Al Qaeda, a sharp growth in Muslim population all over the world during the 20th century has been the most important single factor responsible for increased Islamic militancy across the globe - a significant development largely ignored by strategic analysts.

4. Pan-Islamism received a shot in the arm with the creation of Pakistan in 1947 consequent upon India's partition. Allama Iqbal, the idealogue of Pakistan, was largely instrumental in propagating pan-Islamism. His magnum opus, Shikwa, and a jingoistic poem Tarana ( singing of which is compulsory in government schools of Pakistan and which is a favourite of jihadi terrorists) gave a clarion call to the faithful across the globe for restoring the long lost grandeur of Islam. Later on Pakistan played a pivotal role in
promoting Islamist terror by training hundreds of thousands jihadis belonging to dozens of countries who have spawned multiple jihads worldwide. With the blessings of the C.I.A. and the Saudis these Jihadis led by Osama bin Laden, at the behest of the I.S.I., were extensively used in the Afghan jihad to throw out the Russian army. And they have not looked back since then. Jihadi campaigners have been marching across the globe, now for many years. Surprisingly post 9/11, in a quick role-reversing somersault, Musharraf made Pakistan an important ally of the U.S.A. in the war against terrorism.

5. Today radical Islam has become a global threat to all democratic societies. It may be recalled that in the beginning of the twentieth century Muslims constituted only 12 percent of the world population which percentage rose to 19 by the year 2000. That big jump in Muslim population was one of the most important events of 20th century. Unfortunately it remained unnoticed by strategic thinkers and analysts. As pointed pointed out by Huntington in his book, The Clash of Civilizations, the proportion of Muslims is likely to increase to 30 percent of the world population by the year 2025 - barely 21 years away from now (Samuel P. Huntington, The Clash of Civilizations And the Remaking of World Order, p. 117: Source: Spangler, Decline of the West I, pp.93-93). If the momentum of this galloping growth in Muslim numbers continues beyond the middle of the present century, it has the potential of changing the course of mankind's history. The huge increase in population of Muslims has led to their large scale movement from one country to another and even from one continent to another in search of pastures greener. Their growing presence is highly visible in France, the U.K., Spain, Italy, Germany, the U.S.A. and even in India which is facing a massive silent invasion of Bangladeshis for decades. The reasons for the fast growth of Muslim numbers are non-acceptance of small family norm, non empowerment and backward-ness of women and the scriptural sanction for multiple wives, though not more than four at a time. These factors have contributed to vastly higher fertility rates of Islamic societies. This rapid growth in Muslim population, both in Islamic and non-Islamic countries, coupled with the doctrine of 'Jihad', has led to frequent religion-based faultline conflicts in West Asia, the Balkans, parts of Europe, the Indian sub-continent and the soft underbelly of Russia, a country badly trapped in a depopulation crisis, dubbed as "do-it-yourself genocide". The concept of 'ummah' has coalesced the Islamic fraternity into a virtual transnational corporation of 1.2 billion shareholders, flush with petro dollars. The growing incidence of jihadist campaigns is clear from the fact that in 1993, when Huntington gave the first warning about the threat, only 6 or 7 faultline conflicts (read jihads) were in progress. The tally is now more than 25, with Thailand, Turkey, Greece and Saudi Arabia registering as new additions.

6. Islamic societies have very few moderate scholars and intellectuals. And they have practically no say in the affairs of their religion. Most of them have remained a non-entity, while hawkish radical groups have always ruled the roost. The resolve of terrorists to plunge the world into anarchy is reflected in the preamble of Al Qaeda.

7. The two chapters of Long March of Islam on global demographic portents and the dynamics of India's demography highlight the serious dimensions of the problem likely to confront many countries, including India, in the coming decades. Of great interest is an analysis of the conclusions reached in two research studies on future demographic developments, commissioned by the Pentagon and the U.S. Army (Long Range Planning Branch) in 1988 and 1991 respectively, which emphasized that sound population planning for defence purposes was as important as "invention of new weapon systems". The book gives an insight into the impending threat to the future of India's civilizational heritage. The sharp population growth makes the Islamist feel that the future belongs to them, because sheer force of numbers could make them almost invincible. For that reason alone Akbar S. Ahmed has prophesied in his book, Islam Under Siege, that the 21st century will belong to Islam. And that could as well be true, because ultimately every democratic country is governed by the numbers game called elections in which the composition of religious groups plays a decisive role. In his book, The Crisis of Islam, Holy War and Unholy Terror, Bernard Lewis has underlined the importance of the electoral aspect in all democratic societies. He has drawn attention to the fact that once the Islamists capture power through democratic means on the basis of elections, they will abrogate the electoral process and establish a 'caliphate' to rule in accordance with the Islamic scriptures.

8. At least four vulnerable regions which could face violent religion-based fault line conflicts in the decades to come have been identified in the said book. The Indian sub-continent is likely to be one of them, while Europe is destined to be another. Two other regions already embroiled in volatile religion-based fault line conflicts are West Asia and the soft underbelly of Russia, namely Chechenya, Dagestan, Uzbekistan, and some more former C.I.S. countries.

9. During the twentieth century as many as three countries or territories were overwhelmed and over-run by the sheer force of growing Muslim population. For instance, in 1932 the Christians formed 56 percent of Lebanon's population, while Muslims were barely 44 per cent. But by 1970 the Muslims became the dominant majority group, constituting more than 60 percent of population and soon thereafter a raging civil war broke out in Lebanon. Within 2 years, i.e. 1975 and 1976 nearly 400,000 to 500,000 embattled Lebanese Christians migrated out to Europe and America in search of safety. Similarly in Bosnia and Kosovo within a few decades the galloping Muslim numbers outpaced the Christian count. That is how these 3 Christian majority territories of Lebanon, Bosnia and Kosovo were overwhelmed by rising Muslim numbers and soon became Islamic majority nations. Macedonia, the famed land of Alexander the Great, too, is on the way to become a Muslim majority country, say in another 2 to 4 decades.

10. In India a 110 years old trend of decline in the percentage of Hindus and allied faiths (that is Hindus, Sikhs and Buddhists, all counted together), has already been established, as reflected in the census data. According to the 1981-91 census, in percentage terms the Muslim population increased at a rate almost one-and-a half times that of the Hindus during the decade and census 2001 showed another spurt in the percentage growth of Muslims. As revealed by the census data from 1951 to 2001 in terms of percentage, Muslims are the only community registering increase in percentage terms year after year and decade after decade. The percentage of Hindus, Sikhs, Buddhists and Jains has been declining in every decadal census headcount, while that of Christians has hovered around 2.5 percent during the last 50 years. The disturbing trend of growing asymmetry in the population is likely to increase the communal divide and could even cause a spurt in religion-based fault line conflicts in the light of India' past history, especially the partition. The unabated influx of Bangladeshis (more than 2.5 crores by now) is likely to compound the problem further. During the last 30 years Bangladesh has outmigrated nearly 15 to 20 percent of its population to India. And along with those huge numbers Bangladesh has transferred an equal percentage of its poverty and illiteracy to our country because most immigrants are poorest of the poor illiterates, or semi-literates. That massive influx has increased the economic burden on our country tremendously. It is also responsible for the growing unemployment among the poor sections of West Bengal, Assam and the adjoining States because of usurpation of the limited jobs by Bangladeshis. But for their intrusive attack on our economy, the living conditions of the people of West Bengal and North Eastern States should have been vastly better.

11. The book is sharply focussed on the subject of changes in religious demography of nation states which have always played a vital role in shaping their destinies. For that reason the author has strongly advocated a scientific reappraisal of the present population policy of India in the light of experience gained in Russia and several countries of Europe, trapped in a vicious depopulation crisis. The gravity of the problem can be gauged from the fact that in January 2001, at a meeting called by the Russian President, Vladimir Putin, to devise emergency measures to arrest the "self-genocidal" demographic pattern of the last two generations, an ante-diluvian suggestion was made by the right wing ultra-nationalist politician, Vladimir Zhirinovsky, to allow the Russian men (read Christians) to marry up to five wives, apparently a kind of one-upmanship over Muslims who are allowed four wives by their scriptures. Though the ludicrous proposal was summarily rejected, surprisingly the suggestion had the support of a small minority group which thought that it would enable the Russian Christians to match the growing population of Muslim Chechenya and some adjoining countries, mostly former constituents of the Soviet Union. Russia's population has been declining at the rate of approximately one million persons per year for the last few years. It could plummet from the present figure of 145 millions to 102 millions by 2050. Similarly according to a study commissioned by the Deutsche Bank, Germany's population could decline from the present figure of 80 million to around 25 million by the year 2100 A.D., while another estimate, an optimist one, places it around 50 millions by the year 2100 A.D. by taking into account the likely inflow of immigrants. Countries like Spain, France, Italy, the Netherland and the U.K. are also facing acute demographic crisis, and their populations could dwindle by 30 per cent or more. They have suddenly discovered, at enormous cost to their defence preparedness and flagging economies, that it is almost impossible to reverse the depopulation disaster once a strong anti-natal ethos gets entrenched in a society. Despite liberal offers of cash bonuses to young couples for making more babies, most European countries are finding it difficult to shore up their fast dwindling populations. Russia and Germany are facing a near calamitous situation created by the acute shortage of youthful manpower to take care of their farms, factories, transport systems, and more importantly for manning their defence services. These nations have now realised that they have pushed themselves to the brink by pursuing faulty and skewed population policies for the last 30-40 years or more. The situation has been further compounded by an overarching burden of ageing populations and fall in their Gross Domestic Product due to decline in their economically active population (E.A.P.). Europe is thus trapped both in an economic and civilizational crisis. There is a strong possibility of Europe becoming a Muslim majority continent in another 50 years and some enterprising political analysts have suggested that soon it could be rechristened as "Eurabia".

12. As succinctly put across by K.P.S. Gill in his Foreword, the author's "perspectives challenge the deafening silence that has long been established by the tyranny of the politically correct" and will "provoke interest, antagonism, curiosity, agreement and violent disagreement". The book highlights the problems likely to confront the world tomorrow, or the day after, when the tremors caused by the dramatic changes in the religious composition of population will reverbrate across the globe and rudely shake even the Indian turf. The issues raised in the book merit attention of all opinion-makers and wide-awake citizens, especially the political leadership and the younger generations - even if one was inclined to differ with the conclusions arrived at. The subject is being
seriously debated in most European countries which are paranoid by the fear of being overwhelmed in the coming decades by the fast growing Muslim population because of the latter's pronouncedly higher fertility rate and the endless flow of immigrants from North Africa and West Asia. For instance, the Prime Minister of U.K., Tony Blair, has been exhorting the young couples to opt for the 5 children norm - ostensibly to protect their civilizational heritage. Some scholars and intellectuals have started questioning even multiculturalism. Till now in India there is little awareness about the grave civilizational crisis looming large on horizon.

Long March of Islam is packed with facts and figures, each one taken from authentic source and has 23 pages of End Notes containing references.


The views and facts stated above are entirely the responsibility of the author and do not reflect the views of this Association in any manner.

 
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