|Indian Muslims and the haunting Pakistan factor in their lives.|
The other day I read an oft repeated accusation by misinformed, self styled patriots of India. This reader wrote to me, "Pakistan was carved out of Indian Hindu territory and all those Muslims who remain in India and complain of perpetual discrimination, do rightfully belong in Pakistan, as this was what they had asked for - post Indian Independence in 1947 AD. If you have so many grudges with the style of BJP governance, you can follow the Muhajirs footsteps to Pakistan too."
Once again my fellow compatriots think that because I dare to question my government's actions I should emigrate. But why? I have lived in my country longer than most of our globe trotting politicians and my grandfather was there before the likes of Advani had set their foot. I therefore have as much right as him to express any reservations or objections to my government's actions. There are many people in India whose eyes are open to our government's hypocrisy: Its eagerness to malign Gandhi and everything he preached, while embracing Thackery, the confessed follower of Hitler. SIMI gets banned after being 'charged' for protesting against the alleged burning of Koran in Delhi in March this year. It also stands convicted, for it encouraged or aided persons to undertake unlawful postures and their 'proven' links with Hizbul, Hamas and other militant organizations. Who's counter investigating? Who's there to disprove these allegations?
Shiv Sena, Bajrang Dal, VHP etc., roams scotfree after murdering a thousand and making thousands a more homeless in riots after riots across the country and being convicted of doing so by Indian judicial enquiries and commissions.
I had always believed that life in a well-established democracy like India would be a vast improvement to life in a dictatorship. I had also naïvely assumed it is only in fascist states that patriotism is defined as repeating parrot-fashion after an Il Duce or a Führer and treason was defined as having your own opinion. There is a disgraceful double standards issue here and if my critics can't see it they must either be blind or do not care one iota about who is on the receiving end of this outrageous duplicity – as long as it is not them. After living in UAE for the last couple of years, my opinion about dictatorship and monarchy has drastically changed. A good monarchy is any day better.
I grew up in an environment where religion is held to be something entirely personal. From this point of view, the existence of Pakistan on pure religious grounds, appears to be incomprehensible. Still, the fact is, it exists and apparently was and is still desired by a large number of people in Pakistan. So it is evident, that there must be (other) points of view from where its existence is more desirable. Since Pakistan is largely considered as Muslims brainchild, I'll restrict myself to possible Muslim positions. The first of these is where you see Hindus and Muslims as forming two "nations". Where you ignore all other factors of class, culture, and regional interests and focus on the narrow issue of religion. Adopting this view, and then taking my only responsibility to be of the Muslim community, I could not justify Pakistan. For in the Muslim majority areas, democracy would have given the Muslims power anyway, and the loss of these areas on Partition definitely weakened the bargaining power of the Muslim minorities in the rest of India. In the United India, the Muslim majority areas could have exerted some muscle on behalf of the Muslims elsewhere but after Partition this was not possible. Equally abhorrent and impossible was the idea that all the 100 Million Muslims of those times, spread over the land of 3 million sq.km will ever be able to give up or loose all their properties and lives and perform mass migration towards the north into the carved out land of Pakistan, comprising of only 780,000 sq.km, that too, in a set time frame.
Maulana Abdul Kalam Azad and Dr. Zakir Hussian, the two Muslim leaders of Indian National Congress and considered as moderates amongst the Muslim leadership during the days of Independence, seems to have been the only ones to envisage this and thus vehemently opposed the idea of partition and asked the Muslims to denounce the creation and migration to Pakistan, resulting in almost over a hundred million Muslims (more than that in Pakistan), still living in India. But these leaders too failed in their efforts in front of politics of religion, as do the present day saner elements.
Also, to say that "Pakistan was carved out of Indian Hindu territory', is debatable. In this world, no one can claim inheritance to a part of land on earth. Those were the days when man wandered from one place to another. It's only a matter of willfully, putting a stop at some point of history and neglecting or discarding the one preceding that. If Britishers tend to put a stop on Indian history beyond 1750 AD, then it would seem that India was always ruled by them. Thanks to a few honest historians of today and yester-years and their records, the history lies bare in front of all of us and more easily accessible than ever before. Below I reproduce three different maps of India pertaining to three different ages. Source: Encyclopedia Britannica.
The three maps above show, what we call as the Land of 'India'. In the medieval era or after, it was never meant to depict the boundaries in the way we have them today. During the reign of 'Ashoka the Great', we see some resemblance to this map of present day 'Indian subcontinent'. Keeping in mind, that 'Ashoka' took to Buddhism, and also that India is the homeland of Buddha, how will it feel, if countries like 'China' and 'Japan' start to think of India as their home and a part to be 'assimilated', in themselves?
The second map shows the same 'Land Area' with a dozen odd kingdoms and sultanates and their capital cities, just around the time of the advent of Mughal rulers in 1200 AD. Mamluks and Bundelas in the North, Parmers and Sisodiyas in the West and Cheras and Cholas in the South. In short, no single authority and no central administration, which are a prerogative of a land area to be called as one unified country, as such.
The third Map depicts, the expansion and consolidation of a country called as 'India' and resembling the map of that country as we have it today. Never before in the history of India, not even during the reign of Ashoka, did India became synonymous to the area between the rivers of Indus in the North and 'Kaveri' in the South. It was the giving of Mughals, that what we have today, is what came to be recognized as the 'Land of India' and what went out of it during the partition, was also that what belonged to Mughals and was later acquired by the 'Colonial powers'. Indrani Sen highlights this point in one her articles. She wrote: "In the region that is now India, many empires -- Aryan, Hindu and Buddhist -- rose and fell. But it was not until 1192, when Muslims arrived from the Middle East, that the area began to take shape as a country. The Muslim Mughal emperors conquered most of the region during the next 600 years".
Absurd logic to prove that it's a giving of Mughals, what we perceive as India today? But this is a historical fact and though it may sound illogical to some, I challenge any historian to prove otherwise. The only thing that's 'ILLOGICAL' in the whole scenerio, is the assumption that how will it feel, if countries like China or Sri Lanka start to think of India as their home? Far more absurd and insane, is the accusation for which I am writing this reply.
Also, a fact that remains is that, inspite of all the hyped up 'Appeasement' charges of Minority by erstwhile governments, levied by the BJP and the RSS, 53% of the Indian Muslim community lives below the poverty line as against 33 percent for India as a whole. Illiteracy among Muslims is 51 percent compared to 31 percent for India as a whole. Less than 4 percent of employees in either government or corporations are Muslims. I never understood, what did Muslims gain and Hindus lost when issues like Shah Bano or Muslim personal law went in favor of Muslims. Salman Rushdie got unparalleled coverage when he uttered blasphemy. He was equally abusive to Hindu god Rama and Britain's Ex-PM Thatcher, as he was to Islamic prophet, but very few people ever highlighted that point. In addition to the economic, social and educational backwardness far in excess of the national average, as a community, India's Muslim citizens are marginalized, stereotyped, and often considered suspects in their patriotism towards their motherland. Ignoring the fact that the 130 million Indian Muslims are as indigenous and their ethos as much home-grown as the majority Hindus, branding them as having foreign moorings became fashionable in the 1990s among the upper and middle-class Hindus in India. A large number of today's Indian Hindus are not willing to consider their fellow Muslim citizens as descendants of countless patriotic Indians of the past, such as Mogul emperor Akbar, King Tipu Sultan, and sufi saints like Moinuddin Chishti of Ajmer or Nizamuddin Aulia of Delhi, or eminent leaders in India's long freedom struggle like Maulana Azad or Khan Ghaffar Khan, or Dr. APJ Abdul Kalam - the creator of modern India's nuclear weapons and ballistic missiles. Instead, they prefer to link the entire 130 million strong Muslim community to a counted few isolated instances of suppression of Hindus in the medieval period by a handful of Muslim rulers.
In order to gain power, not withstanding the grievous impoverishment and marginalization of the Muslim community, and in utter disregard of the staunch loyalty of India's Muslim citizens, the BJP party started a campaign across the length and breadth of India, calling the entire community anti-national, corrupt, morally bankrupt, responsible for most of India's problems and for exploiting India's polity and electoral system. They also indulged in massive grotesque propaganda describing the mostly benign 800 year era when Muslims were rulers in India, as a period when Muslim rulers indulged in massive killings of Hindus, destroyed their temples, etc. They routinely assail the Muslim community with provocative slogans such as: “Go to Pakistan or go to graveyard”, “If you want to live in India, you have to worship Hindu god Rama”. The otherwise enlightened media and the middleclass Hindus, who know the BJP party propaganda as hogwash and lies, provide the major help to BJP by glorifying their campaign of calumny and falsehoods as resurgence of Indian nationalism, whereas, their own sinister designs came into fore when they themselves got caught red-handed over 'tehelka' tapes.
But who cares? Sell the country to whoever you fell like but raze the mosques and burn the missionaries.
Hindutva (for some), is in danger!!!
Still, the glimmer of hope continues. Over fifty years ago the Indian people took a historic decision of rejecting a religious colour for their nation midst the provocation of Partition, the communal massacres, and the martyrdom of Gandhi. Today, it seems that the decision is to be subjected to review by a constitutional commission or under some other colour. If Muslim separatism openly espoused the Two-Nation theory after the Lahore resolution of the Muslim League (1940), Hindu `nationalism’ also implicitly accepted the same theory by virtually excluding Muslims from India’s cultural past and from her political future. The inability of the National Movement to prevent the Partition in 1947 was undoubtedly a severe setback, though it is disputable how far it could have been prevented by making further concessions to British imperialism or the Muslim League — and whether, if so prevented, the resulting political structure could have been viable. The real reverse lay in the failure in the battle for minds, which, as we face similar divisive tendencies today, should be a great lesson for us.
Readers comment: It all boils down to the Darwin's theory of 'the survival of the fittest'. When you were strong and I was weak, you subjugated us and committed genocide of Non Muslims, irrespective. Now it's our turn, so let's get history in-order.
Darwin's theories have suffered a severe blow in recent years and most of them stands as 'null and void'. Please read this very enlightening BOOK. The survival of the fittest and evolution of mankind, both have been proven to be a case of 'fiction' rather than having any scientific credence. To me, it all boils down to 'fear of God', and that we all are answerable to that unseen reality, for the deeds we do.
The point of: '...when I was weak and you were strong', doesn't make very wise argument either, as THOSE who were strong THEN, didn't remain strong forever, even after ruling for almost a 1000 years. What makes you so sure that Time and history are going to STOP for you now? Have you taken a commitment from God in this regard or is this the legacy you want to leave behind? Finally, regarding Muslims committing genocide ( probably you mean to say that Mughals did it on Hindus, etc.) then GENOCIDE is what was committed by Nazis over Jews, and there are now NO JEWS in Germany, genocide was what was committed by Ximenes in Spain and there were no Muslims left. Had Mughals done so (even remotely), forget about being in overwhelming majority, Hindus wouldn't have even remained a minority, keeping in view of the fact that those were the Middle Ages with no UN and no Human Rights, even for the name sake. Just think about it...rationally.
We as Indians must realize a couple of things:
a) India was born on August 15, 1947. Therefore, its past (pre-1947) has to be left behind. If we keep delving into the past and talk about the Muslim invasions then we must also go further back and talk about the Aryan invasions and the fact that they converted the original inhabitants. In the recent years a few spin doctors of RSS camp have tried to do away with this fact of history but all attempts to prove otherwise fall flat on it's face.
b) Let us for a change forget what Pakistan does or doesn’t do. Let us chart our own course based on the realities facing this country. We in 1947 decided to be a secular country and that is important as in a democracy one should be allowed to express ones view but not impose it on others. Or else what is the difference between us and a feudal society?
If I as an individual do not like others imposing their views on me, then I have no right to do the same.
A Must Read
Book on this subject: A
Historic Blunder - By Dr. Rafiq Zakaria
|by GuidedOnes with credits to: Mr. Amber Habib & Mr. Kaleem Kawaja|