Dei'ah veDibur - Information & Insight

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28 Shevat 5761 - Febuary 21, 2001 | Mordecai Plaut, director Published Weekly








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Indian Reaction to Earthquake: Destroy Televisions
by Yated Ne'eman Staff

"It is the only way to recover from such a tragedy. We accept it as G-d's will. We believe that it had to happen and the only way to get out of this shock is to seek G- d's help." This quote is not from a mussar shmuess in a yeshiva. It is from Nurmohmad Yousuf, a Muslim priest in Bhuj and the tragedy he is referring to is the earthquake that took place a few weeks ago in India.

Scared and shaken, the traumatized people of the earthquake- hit areas are taking refuge in religion for solace according to Newindpress. Temples and mosques have more visitors than ever before. This movement has had further ramifications: Following the advice of their religious leaders, they are destroying their TV sets "which are spreading obscenity and immorality in the society and thus attracting G- d's wrath." They want to be sure to prevent a recurrence of earthquakes.

Altaf Mohammed Hussein Mansoori, a cloth merchant from Dalgadwad, said that the muftis asked the people to "immediately destroy these toys of 'Shaitan' (devil)." Mansoori had taken out his brand-new television set to the road and destroyed it immediately after he returned from the mosque. "Everybody is scared after the devastation of January 26. The Almighty showed a glimpse of his wrath. We saw tall buildings and concrete buildings crumble like a house of cards," he said. "Who wants it to recur? It is better to have no television and live."

In Surat too, scores of Muslim families destroyed television sets one Saturday night. "This [the earthquake] clearly indicates Allah's anger on humankind. Television is the epicenter of all evil," one leader said.

Soon, people in other areas began to destroy television sets. Some threw them out on the street. Some smashed them with rods at street corners. Some set them on fire. Gaffar Noormohammed Chandiwala, a resident of Saudagarhwad, had purchased a TV set only a few days ago. "I went home and broke my TV set. My children used to watch Hindi movies and serials, and I think this was creating an evil impression in their minds. It was necessary to destroy the TV," he said.

The Islamic cleric said that he did not provoke people into doing what they did. "They have not acted on my instruction; they have only acted according to what Islam teaches. And this will happen across the country, and abroad," he said.

In the temporary shelters and tents pitched for the victims of the quake across Gujarat, the chanting of special prayers has become a regular feature. And in the Muslim areas, people keep on reading verses from the Quran loudly.

Our thanks to a reader in England who called our attention to this story.


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