Can Modi succeed where Gandhi failed?
Gandhiji tried his best to prevent a partition of the country, but failed. For Muslims, Gandhiji was a Hindu, thus a kafir, and couldn't be trusted. Can Modi succeed where Gandhiji failed?
Concerted efforts have been made to build a myth that Hind-Muslims relations were honky dory in India till Narendra Modi was voted to power in 2014. The myth continues further: Muslims are being persecuted at the instance of the state and now they are a "terrified" minority in a country dominated by Hindutava ogre.
This fallacy is echoed in a WhatsApp message to me from one of the readers who identifies himself as a Imalq Ahmed from Saudi Arabia. It reads in part, "Since 2014 the intensity of attacks on Muslims has increased 100 times more. Hindutva RSS and its supporter are doing everything against all 'Ethos' of Lord Ram and sacrifices he made in his life."
Mr Ahmed is not the first to repeat this lie. There have been many more earlier, including celebrities, such as actor Amir Khan who said in November 2015 that - he, his wife were feeling 'insecure', and had even suggested - that they probably leave the country. Several left-wing writers and poets too had returned the Sahitya Academy Awards "to protest the incidents of communal violence in India". It was, in fact a crude ploy, to destabilise a democratically elected government by those whose love for their archaic ideology overrides their commitment to democracy.
The allegation about Muslims feeling insecure in India is bogus. There hasn't been any recorded case of a Muslim leaving India on this account till date. Not even Amir Khan. His politically motivated rants were merely scaremongering. He didn't leave the country, but has since left his wife Kiran Rao of 15 years.
According to Pakistan Government official website, the foundation of an Islamic nation in the sub continent was laid way back in 712 when Muhammad bin Qasim subjugated Sind. Qasim was the first one to introduce 'jajya' in India - a poll tax forced on non-Muslims, in an Islamic state. What does it mean? The Pakistan establishment - representing a large section of sub-continent Muslims - identifies itself with the invader, and his atrocities, and not the victims.
The Islamic rulers committed numerous barbarities on Hindus, Sikhs and Buddhists in the name of faith - including forced conversions, genocide of kafirs, demolition of temples. Shockingly, all such inhuman and sordid actions are listed as their proud achievements- earning them religious merit - by their court historians and official chroniclers. However, no sensible person can hold the present generation of Muslims responsible for wanton acts of violence, destruction of indigenous culture by preceding generations of Islamic zealots.
But what's the position of Indian Muslims? Why do they proudly own and identify themselves with monuments that are symbolic of the humiliation of the vanquished locals at the hands of medieval Islamic rulers. Numerous temples were razed to ground, and mosques were raised on their ruins. To pray? Or to shame Hindus?
Over the last 1000 odd years of interaction, there were individuals who had excellent relations, independent of the faith they believed in. Many a Hindu-Muslim friendships became legends. However, relations between the two communities, usually ranged between utter animosity, occasional opportunistic understandings, mutual indifference and sporadic phases of uneasy peace. Why interaction between the two communities been so difficult and strained, given the fact over 99 per cent of Hindus and Muslims come from a common racial stock and shared ancestors?
The tension between Muslims and non-Muslims, in India and else-where in the world, has its origins in the Islamic concepts of Kafir' and kufur'. According to Islamic theology, Allah is the only true God, and the rest, false. Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) is His final messenger - believing in anything else is shirk - an unforgivable sin. The faithfuls are enjoined by their faith to wage Jehad against infidels - convince them to follow Islam or face consequences, which aren't pleasant most of the time.
The non-believers in an Islamic state have two options - to convert to Islam or be second class citizens, sans any right to life and dignity. The usual choice for non-believers, ranges between: submitting willingly to a subservient status, conversion to Islam or death.
This is doctrinal position, seldom put in practice in totality. Muslim rulers followed the Islamic theological code in varying degrees, while dealing with their non-Islamic subjects in India - depending on respective temperament, military strength and their individual commitment to Islamic injunctions.
These factors define the characteristics of various Islamic states even in the present world. On one extreme is Afghanistan, which has no place whatsoever for non-Muslims, or even liberal Muslims. Then there are countries like Dubai, Indonesia and Malaysia, though Islamic, grant a degree of religious freedom to their non-Muslims citizens.
The Muslims of Indian subcontinent are usually progenies of those Hindus who had converted to Islam for various reasons over the centuries. They are victims of a dilemma of their own making. Their roots are in the Hindu- Buddhist culture of the subcontinent. But they have been trying to sever their natural roots, and making unsuccessful efforts to replant themselves in the middle-eastern cultural ethos. To Muslims, Hindus, Sikhs and Buddhists are the most visible signs of their pre-Islamic past, which they are desperate to disown. Hence the inherent tension between the two communities.
The forced exit of Pandits from Kashmir valley, near extinction of Hindus and Sikhs in Pakistan and a sharp decline (from 30 in 1947 to eight percent now) in Hindu and Buddhist population in Bangladesh - are some of the recent examples of success of this abrasive mindset - that corrodes social harmony, exterminates non-Muslims and sours inter community relations beyond repair.
Muslims of undivided India strived for a separate country and backed their demand with repeated blood baths. Gandhiji tried his best to prevent a partition of the country, but failed. Muslims hate against Kufur and mistrust of Kafirs overshadowed Gandhiji's love for Muslims. For them Gandhiji was a Hindu, thus a kafir, and couldn't be trusted. Can Modi succeed where Gandhiji failed? A misplaced pride in the past, uncertainty of future and prospects of living and competing with Hindus as equals in a free India, made them work for the vivisection of the country.
After the creation of Pakistan, how are Muslims placed in residual India? Their share in the country's population has doubled from about seven per cent to over 14 per cent now. Number of Madrasas and Mosques too has multiplied many times over.
Thanks to Article 29 and 30 of the Indian Constitution, Muslims have more rights than Hindus. Right from the office of President of the Republic, Muslims have occupied all important offices - such as vice-president, governors, central ministers, chief ministers, judges including chief justice of India (CJI) in the country.
Are Muslims a scared community in India? Just follow the newspapers of the last one month. Columns are full of stories of aggressive Muslims attacking Hindus. The banned People Front of India, with deep connectivity in the Kerala Police Force, has plans to start a civil war and make India Gajwa- e- Hind, another Islamic nation by 2047.
On Sunday (October 2), Telangana police arrested three suspected Lashkar-e-Taiba operative from Hyderabad who had allegedly planned to bomb Dassehra processions in the city. Four grenades, Rs. 4 lakh in cash and incriminating documents were seized. A day earlier Manish, a 19-year-old boy was killed in Delhi in full public view, after being chased and stabbed over 20 times. The accused have been identified as Aalam, Bilar and Faizan.
In Indore , a Dalit woman was raped on October 1. 'Will attain Jannat by having sex with Hindu woman, everything is fair in Islam', reportedly said Arbaaz, Afzal, 2 others while raping the victim. Here is another report of rape of two minor Dalit girls from Lakhimpur, Uttar Pradesh. Five Muslim men were arrested for their rape and murder. Three men, took the girls to a secluded spot. After raping and killing the girls, they called two accomplices, to help hang the bodies of the girls from a tree.
September, 4 and 5 - Ranchi, Jharkhand- Firdous Ansari, Suhail Ansari, Muzammil Ansari, Taufik Ansari, and Jameel Ansari barged into a government school in a Ranchi suburb, brandishing weapons and threatened the Tribal Hindu girls (class 9) to either befriend them or be ready to be abducted by them.
This isn't an exhaustive list , but just an indicative one. It's not to suggest that criminals are found only among Muslims. Criminals come from all communities, including Hindus. But can those belonging to a "terrified" community commit such daring crimes and wear their identity on their sleeves? Whether Muslims are scared, or aggressive - I leave the judgment to the wisdom of readers.
(Mr. Balbir Punj is a Former Member of Parliament and a Columnist. He can be reached at: email@example.com)
Disclaimer: The opinions expressed in this article are the personal opinions of the author. The facts and opinions appearing in the article do not reflect the views of OneIndia and OneIndia does not assume any responsibility or liability for the same.