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The mystery of wailing Muslim, ailing Hindu - Organiser

Ram Gopal ()
16 February 1997

Title : The mystery of wailing Muslim, ailing Hindu
Author : Ram Gopal
Publication : Organiser
Date : February 16, 1997

Sometime in the first week of August 1996, Shri Atal Behari
Vajpayee, former prime .minister and a prominent leader of the BJP,
said at a meeting of the BJP's Minorities Morcha in New Delhi, that
the real issue before the Indian Muslim was "not Baburi, meaning,
the Baburi. mosque, but barabari (equality)". A few days later,
Shri H.D. Deve Gowda, the present prime minister, said in an
interview given to a Hindi daily: "The socio-economic conditions of
Muslims in some parts of the country are worse than that of the
dalits". The two leaders belong to extremely opposite camps but
said essentially the same thing in their different styles. Both
meant that the socio-economic condition of the Muslims needs a lot
of improvement.

Surely, the lamentable condition of the Muslims did exist even at
the beginning Of the present century. Describing the Muslim psyche
at about 1900 AD. noted historian Dr Tara Chand states in his
History of Freedom Movement in India. Vol. III, that the strangest
and most incomprehensible feature of the Muslim attitude towards
the Hindu majority was, on the one hand, the belief in Muslim
superiority in matters religious, martial virtues, social
solidarity, and their glorious history of conquests, but on the
other hand the Muslims lamented over their inferiority to the
Hindus in education, intellectual pursuits, wealth, business,
industry and trade, and so on. In September 1944, M.A. Jinnah, the
sole spokesman of the Muslims said in support of his demand for
Pakistan, after an eighteen-day long discussion with Mahatma

"We maintain and hold that the Muslims and the Hindus are two
different nations by any definition or test of a nation. We are a
nation with our own distinctive culture and civilisation, language
and literature, art and architecture,

names and nomenclature, sense of value and proportion, legal laws
and moral codes, customs and calendar, history and traditions,
aptitudes and ambitions-in short, we have our own distinctive
outlook on life and of life. By all cannons of international law
we are a nation."

Earlier, Sir Mohd. Iqbal, the famous Urdu poet who had initiated
Jinnah into the said separatist Muslim thought. had stated:, "It is
absolutely necessary to tell the world both inside and outside
India that the economic problem is not the only problem in the
country, From the Muslim point of view the cultural Problem is of
much greater consequence to most Indian Muslims." He also stated:
"The atheistic Socialism of Jawaharlal is not likely to receive
much response from the Muslims."

Jinnah's thesis on the Muslims being a separate nation was rightly
dismissed by Gandhiji with the words: "I find no parallel in
history for a body. of converts and their descendants claiming to
be a nation apart from the parent stock." But, the Muslim dagger
forced Gandhi and his Congress to submit to the same Muslim
separatist thought.

The people of India must ponder: (a) Why did Gandhi's attempts to
forge the Hindu-Muslim unity fail; (b) Why, did Jinnah's separatist
theme, though absurd. succeed and Pakistan became a reality; (c)
Why do elements of Muslim separatism persist in India even after
the creation of Pakistan; (d) How can we ensure that the Muslims of
Hindu India (numbering more than the Muslims in Pakistan) will not
seek another partition on the same grounds, in times to come; and
(c) Can we do something to re-unite India, Pakistan and Bangladesh?

It must be clear from the above background that the Hindu-Muslim
conflict is not like the other inter-community or the
intra-communal conflicts, for example, Brahmins v. non-Brahmins or
upper-caste v. lower-caste. It is not one of have and have-nots.
It is not ethnic because there is no racial difference between the
two communities. It is not even religious because in that case
there would have been Hindu Christian. Hindu-Parsi conflicts also.
Noted journalist B.G. Verghese was much nearer the truth when in
September last he said while speaking on social concerns of the
minorities today: "The politicisation of religion is the root cause
of communal havoc in the country and this is only compounded by the
failure if the common man to distinguish between religion and

Notably, before and a long time after the Partition, those Muslim
leaders who are descendants of the erstwhile ruling Muslim nobility
and the upper-caste Hindu (Brahmin and Rajput) converts to Islam,
had no concern for the educational, social, and economic
backwardness of the Muslim masses. These worthies assiduously fed
the Muslim masses with heavy doses of Muslim superiority as the
rulers of "Hindustan" for seven hundred years. The British masters
supported this false contention so as to keep the Hindus and the
miles apart. They declared Muslims as a martial race and gave them
all preference in the military and police services. At the rum of
the century, the Muslim share in the British Indian army was
already over forty per cent as against their fourteen per cent
population. In UP where the demand for Pakistan was the strongest,
their representation in the municipal boards was over 27 per cent
against nine per cent population in the province. The Muslim share
in the services and other fields went on increasing upto 1947 since
all through that period the British treated Muslims as their allies
and Hindus as their enemies.

In its zeal to win over the Muslims, the Congress kept quiet on
this discriminatory policy of the British. It did nit react even
when on October 1, 1906 at Shimla, Lord Minto. the then Viceroy of
India, met a 35-member delegation led by Sir Agha Khan being hailed
as the descendants of a conquering and ruling race. Minto said:

"I am as firmly convinced as I believe you to be that any electoral
representation in India would be doomed to mischievous failure
which aimed at granting a personal enfranchisement regardless of
the beliefs and traditions of the communities composing the
Population of the continent."

Gradually, the myth of Muslim superiority got firmly entrenched in
Indian politics. All the Muslim rulers of India were either Arabs,
Turks, Afghans, or Mughals. If the Agha Khan delegation was
consisted of their descendants, how could they correctly represent
the Muslim masses of whom ninety-five per cent were descendants of
the low caste Hindu converts to Islam who had suffered almost the
same ill fate as their non-Muslim neighbours had and whose
socio-economic condition continues to be pathetic even now? It is
because, even after embracing Islam the low caste stigma continued
to follow such converts. The Muslims were granted separate
electorate in 1909. It was followed by a parity between Hindu and
Muslim representation in the legislature in the 1935 Act and
subsequently in the formation of the interim government at the
Centre in 1946. Lastly India was partitioned in 1947. The fate of
the Muslim masses remained practically unaltered. Only about 10
per cent of the Muslim moved out to Pakistan. The sole
beneficiaries of the Partition were the Government officials and
the Muslim nobility.

In India freed from the British rule, the interests of the ruling
Congress party and its policies were the same as those of the
British Raj. It gave a constitutional validity to the vantage
position to the Muslims (under the deceptive name of minority
rights) under Articles 29, 30, 370 and a plethora of government
orders. But while all these have enhanced the political importance
of the Muslim community, only the gangsters, the chosen few from
the upper strata of the community, and the ulemas have been
benefited both politically and financially. It is only now that
the Muslim leaders and the political parties whose fortunes largely
depend on the Muslim votes have started talking about improving the
socio-economic condition of the Muslim masses. The need has arisen
since the dozes of religious fundamentalism have reached almost a
saturating point. But, the fact is that no politician is really
interested in the education and social uplift of - the Muslim
masses or even the non-Muslim dalits, for illiteracy and social
backwardness of the people makes the job of the politicians much

A question arises why religion plays such an important pact among
the Muslims. The answer is that the Islamic fundamentalism has
been the constant source of political power among them, even at the
neglect of economic, social and educational well-being of the
masses. In its original form, Islam is more of a political thought
than a religion as a way to spiritual perfection. If one were to
ask, "What is Islam?". The ulema would say: "Unflinching faith in
God, prophethood of Hazrat Mohammed. and Quran as the book of
revelation." Good enough! But, when asked, "What is the message of
Mohammed and the Quran?", his answer would be, "Muslims of the
world unite and convert the whole world to the Islamic faith, by
persuasion generally, and by coercion where needed. The best
service to Islam is neither zakat nor namaz, nor haj, but to die
for the cause of Islam." In fact, the founder of Islam. Hazrat
Mohammed, had in mind the Arabia of his time. not the modern world
where people of different faiths have not only to live together,
but work in harmony for the world peace and for elevating the human
suffering in any form. But. all attempts to secularise and
democratise Islam have met with only partial success throughout the

Thus, we see that what we call a Hindu-Muslim question is really a
conflict between liberalism and obscurantism, between coexistence
and confrontation, and between openness and seclusion. Added to
all these in the false notion among the Indian Muslims that they
are the descendants of the former rulers of India and, therefore, a
superior ethnic lot. It is something than the system of
untouchability prevalent in the Hindu society which has been banned
in the Indian Constitution.

The oft quoted. Baburi mosque located on a site known for
centuries as the Ramjanmabhoomi (birthplace of Shri Rama) does not
find a place among thousands of important Muslim shrines in India
nor is it one of the thousands of important historical monuments
and buildings to be looked after by the Archaeological Survey of
India. Its interior contained a number of Hindu religions icons.
Even so, it has now become important, not really as a Muslim shrine
but as a symbol of the Muslim conquest over the 'infidel' Hindus.
it looks very strange that the Muslims of today say, on the one
hand, that they have nothing to do with the un-Islamic barbarious
acts of temple demolitions by the invading Turks, Arabs, Afghans,
or Mughals, and on the other, insist on retailing all these
ill-gotten temple sites as war trophies of their forefathers.
Similar is the case with the question of cow-slaughter. All Muslim
Hajis, Ulemas, and educated Muslims know well that cow sacrifice on
Id-ul-Zuha is not an essential part of Islam, that Hazrat Mohammed
never sacrified a cow. And yet, almost all of them oppose any move
to ban cow slaughter in view of the strong Hindu sentiments, and
insist on slaughtering cows as their birth right. The idea behind
it is simply to register the Islamic hegemony over the Hindus. It
may be alright for a few well-to-do Anglicised Hindus, atheists,
and Marxists, but is loathsome to over eight hundred million
Hindus, mostly living in small towns and villages.

It is on record that the demand for a separate homeland for the
Muslims arose as the Muslim leaders felt that when the British left
India, they would cease to be the most favoured people. They argued
that the democratic system to be adopted by an independent India
would not suit them as it would recognise the numbers unrelated to
'merit' which they thought only the Muslims possessed. In private,
the Muslim leaders also said that having got independence and a
dominating position by virtue of their overwhelming majority,
Hindus would return to the Muslims all atrocities committed on them
by the medieval Muslim rulers. Their fear was unfounded because
religious persecution is alien and abhorrent to Hinduism and Hindu
culture. But this very imaginary fear proved fear elective in
getting them a special set of rights in the Constitution in the
name of protecting minorities.

In a way Hindutva today is a guarded wail for equality the
minorities especially the Muslims who, during the past 50 Years
have politically come to be regarded as the most chosen people.
Towards this very end the propounders of Hindutva cry for a common
civil code and- removal of the discriminatory provisions of
Articles 29, 30 and 370, restoration of the birth sites of Shri Ram
in Ayodhya, Shri Krishna in Mathura, and the sacred seal of Lord
Shiva in Varanasi, because on all these sacred sites the Islamic
marauders had demolished the original Hindu temples and erected
mosques forcibly. These sites and the cow-slaughter have been the
major irritants to the Hindus for centuries. Throughout their,
freedom struggle, Hindus, including Mahatma Gandhi, talked of
getting freedom from one thousand years of slavery, meaning.
freedom not only from the British Raj but also from the traces of
the earlier oppressive Islamic rule since the day of Mahmud of

It is thus essential that the Muslims share the Hindu sense of
physical, political, and mental sufferings and atone for the
injuries inflicted on Hindus under the Islamic rule. There is Yet
another great irritant which is often overlooked. It is tire hue
and cry. Raised by the Muslim leaders, mullahs, and qazis, whenever
a Muslim girl wants to marry a Hindu boy, although the same lot of
the people rejoices and provides all encouragement to a Hindu girl
going with a Muslim boy. There is no denying the fact that about
ninety-five per cent of the Present day Muslims are the descendants
of the Hindu converts. Even the existing descendants of the ruling
dynasties of foreign origin have since lost all their foreign
identities. It should not, therefore, be difficult for all of them
to dissociate themselves from the misdeeds of the erstwhile Arab,
Turk, Afghan or Mughal rulers, especially of destroying Hindu
temples and Perpetuation of cow slaughter, and as a good gesture,
restore the above said three wellknown sacred spots of the Hindus
(out of the thousands of Hindu shrines defiled during the medieval
period). The Muslim leaders and the ulemas should also allow a
smooth two way traffic of matrimonial relationship between Hindus
and Muslims. In return, Hindus too would be willing, rather duty
bound in the national interest, for extending all material help to
their Muslim brethren in ridding them of their economic, social,
and educational backwardness. The Hindus shed all their suspicion
and complaints against the Muslims and the Muslims will also have
no grudge against the Hindus. Then only there would be the kind of
equality, barabari, parity, between the two communities which is a
prerequisite of the much needed Hindu-Muslim unity.

But perhaps, today's power holders, like the Britishers, do not
really want the Hindu-Muslim unity. Their secular sops to Hindus
and doses of religious fanaticism to the Muslims may satisfy the
well-placed Anglicised Hindus and the Muslim leaders thriving on
the poverty and ignorance of the Muslim masses and the caste
conscious Hindus, but would neither mollify the Hindu masses nor
would bring any solace to the Muslim suffering from illiteracy and
poverty. The gulf between the two communities is increasing. It is
time that the masses themselves chose their leaders from among
themselves and keep a watch on them.

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