(This is a reprint from NewsBred).
Millions of Indians mourn such tragedies. But those vocal, be it on print, web or TV, view it from religious prisms: The divide is between Muslims-unsafe vs. Hindus- wronged. Politicians and media profit, not the nation.
The question today is: Can India afford to be divided along the communal lines? If it comes to pass, who should be held responsible? Could India as a nation then survive?
We have a prototype answer to all these questions. India was divided along the communal lines in 1947; Those who created divisions, in this case British, were responsible; India lost its’ eastern and western limbs in its quest for survival.
Do we want a repeat of it in the near future? If not, how this slide need be stopped? Should another round of Partition, at the cost of millions killed, raped and displaced, must happen again?
It all begins from those who set the narrative. British did it in decades leading to the independence: Assembly elections were held along the communal lines: Muslim candidate for Muslim constituency. Then began the chorus: what would happen to minority Muslims once we leave the Indian shores. Muslim League and Mohammad Ali Jinnah were thus armed to severe India of its limbs. The resultant tragedy of Partition has few parallels in human history.
India has survived another Partition thus far. But the same narrative is reappearing: Muslims are insecure; their culture, language and religion is in danger; majority Hindus would be the oppressors.
If it were the British who fed this narrative in pre-independence era, its media and break-India forces which is fanning the fire in our times. As oppressor Hindus was the theme before the Partition, so is the theme in our times.
Occasionally, the likes of Sadhvi Pragya and Giriraj Singh play into the hands of such forces. At times, “saffron terror” is cooked up like it nearly did in the tragic 26/11 in Mumbai. Lynchings become part of leitmotif to stoke fears of oppressive Hindu majority.
Celebrities and cinestars jump in to serve their eternal desire of being in news. Writers and scientists sign petitions in orchestrated campaigns. Data, like Lokniti-CSDN, survey how many Muslims and Christians have voted for BJP; Castes are divided into sub-castes and further sub-castes as Mayawatis, Akhilesh Yadavs and Lallu Prasads feed themselves fat on its harvests. Important magnets, like Western media and prized economists, all are part of the ecosystem which want India to go up in flames.
Hindus and Muslims do have different language and culture. But both are Indians. And a majority do see themselves as Indians. The minority are Asaduddin Owaisi who incites with the call of Karbala or Niranjan Jyoti who divides with “ramzada” vs “haramzada” quip. Hang them out to dry. As you do with the despicable dozen English journalists and at least two English national dailies who are at the beck and call of divisive forces (read casteist, Left and dynastic parties); and foreign-funded NGOs
Let this be a checklist for Muslims:
- We have always been made to feel insecure even as more people greet us on Eid than those who abuse us; (b) That there is no word as “minority” in Indian constitution, all are Indians; (c) That if “secularism” means denying a Muslim destitute woman (Shah Bano) her rights and reversing the judgment of Supreme Court, then such secularism must be exposed; (d) That if Hindu consolidation has happened around emotive Ram Temple issue, it was stoked by Congress and not BJP/RSS; (e) That for every Akhlaq, Pehlu and Junaid, there are tens and dozens of Hindu victims at the hands of Muslims which go unreported; (f) That if BJP doesn’t opt for a Muslim candidate, it doesn’t matter as long as the elected representative is fair to everyone in his constituency: be it roads, electricity, toilets, gas, health, education, all is available to Muslims as it is to Hindus; (g) That if Muslims are economically backward, it’s not because of Hindus but perhaps the reason lies in lack of scientific temper in Madarsa education; and less than fair freedom to women.
Let this be a checklist for Hindus:
- Indian constitution doesn’t favour Muslims; it allows them to run their institutions THEMSELVES not by the government; (b) If Muslims are subsidized for Haj, so are Hindu pilgrims provided for in magical Kumbh melas; (c) True, Indian history is distorted and neither Congress nor Left intellectuals have been fair to Hindus but it’s no excuse to substitute that anger against a common Muslim; (d) True, a dozen English journalists and at least two English national dailies only report crimes against Muslims, often hoax, but they have been left thoroughly exposed in the last five years; their credibility in tatters thanks to a vigorous social media; (e) Congress and Left, two parties who stoked fears in Muslims and Dalits, are today the outcasts of Indian political system; (f) That Hindu consolidation must not happen at the cost of Muslim alienation: that we don’t want new nations in Bengal or Kerala or Tamil Nadu and its’ attendant costs; (g) That for every Zakir Naik and Burhan Wani, there is also a Muslim boatman who gives up his life but saves tourists from drowning in Jhelum in Srinagar.
We have a choice to make if want to be Hindus or Muslims or Indians. We ought to ask ourselves if we don’t mind another Partition and its horrific cost. We ought to boycott a Naseeruddin Shah or a Kamal Haasan; A Javed Akhtar or a Shabana Azmi; A Swara Bhaskar or a Prakash Raj who are selective in their outrage. The same ought to happen to a Niranjan Jyoti or Asaduddin Owaisi. We ought to outcast a Shekhar Gupta or a Rajdeep Sardesai; a Sagarika Ghose or a Barkha Dutt if the only crime they see is against Muslims; We need to stop an Indian Express or The Hindu from entering into our drawing rooms if all they can see is crime against a Dalit or a Muslim.
These are small forces. Pygmies in front of a nation of 1.30 billion. Should these handful be allowed to decide if we stay together or apart? Would you blame them if tens and thousands of us are butchered and raped in Partition 2.0?
Muslims need be confident this is their India too. Before you blame others, you must ask if your education and matter of equality to women etc need a relook. As Maulana Azad once addressed them: You can’t be drowned and defeated by anyone else but yourself. Don’t hide behind the cloak of “minority” and “secularism”. Don’t seek privileges; you are no different than any other Indian. Rely on self. Those who speak for your safety and stoke your fears, couldn’t care less for you.
(This is a reprint from NewsBred).
This was Friday. Hostages, a web-series thriller on Hotstar, is disrupting my home. I keep running to the door whenever the bell is pressed because my wife is glued to the screen, watching one after another of the eight-episode series of five hours. “What if in the end you are told it was only a dream of the protagonist and nothing of the sort happened. What if she wakes up in a sweat and says, sorry guys and gals, it was just a dream,” I blurted to my wife at the end of my patience.
“What if” in entertainment is the password for $100 million business. A viewer is hooked: “What if” the villain succeeds; “What if” the girl chooses her boyfriend over her husband; “What if” the panchayat forces the girl to marry her rapist; “What If” our hero is unable to save his family as tsunami hits his town.
Rarely are we disappointed with outcome. The end never betrays our expectations: Girl does remain with her husband; the villain never succeeds, rapist meets justice and our hero miraculously survives tsunami with his family. Even though movies are predictable, we spend money and hours and watch it again and again.
Politics in a way is also entertainment. More so in the Season of Polls. Politicians and Media are like its’ producers and script-writers. Events are created, star-cast assembled, emotions are heightened and the suckers again are the consumers—in this case readers and TV watchers.
Star-cast choose themselves on their own. With Rafale issue on the edge, and The Hindu turbo-charged by god knows who, country was on the edge. Heroes are villains and villains are heroes. Those for Modi know he is clean. Those not for Modi know he is corrupt. How the end would play out in Supreme Court? On its judgment—“What if”– rests the fate of 2019 General Elections.
Rafale, The Hindu, Supreme Court,
Then comes the sexual assault charge against the Chief Justice of India. Again hero is villain and villain is hero. Those for Gogoi, know it’s fabricated. Those against Gogoi, know he is framed. The country is hooked: “What if” the CJI’s office is deactivated? Won’t it affect Rafale?
For years, the matter of Rahul Gandhi’s citizenship issue is in public domain. “What if” he indeed was a British citizen? The matter acquired political tones when Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) sought an official explanation from the Gandhi scion. He was given a fortnight to reply—months have passed on since then. The nation again had its heroes and villains: but it was a joke.
Or Sadhvi Pragya. She utters words in praise for Nathuram Godse. The secular forces give a lesson in ferocity to Islamic State (IS): To hell with her. Bury her. Prime Minister Narendra Modi is visibly hurt on national television. “I would never be able to forgive her,” says the anguished Prime Minister. The party seeks an explanation from the firebrand leader. Heroes and villains play out again.
Nathuram Godse, Islamic State, Mediation, Ayodhya, Ram Mandir, Sri Sri Ravi Shankar, Balakot,
I am sure you haven’t forgotten the “mediation” team on Ayodhya. Would this team be able to succeed or thwart the attempt on Ram Mandir? Media and secular forces see one of the mediators, Sri Sri Ravi Shankar , as potentially dangerous. Those in favour of Ram Mandir see hope in him. Again, cardboards of heroes and villains are cut.
Think about 100s of scientists and cinestars coming out in support of one or other political ideology; the debate on whether 300 terrorists were killed in Balakot or not; whether Supreme Court would favourably rule on the re-petition on Sabrimala – all had the nation divided in its heroes and villains. Pure entertainment, wasnt it.
Now the elections are over. Why bother if Rafale was corruption or not; if Rahul Gandhi has replied on his British citizenship issue or not; if Sadhvi Pragya has explained satisfactorily to the letter served on her. Ayodhya can wait till 2024. Sabrimala? On the backburner till 2024.
I tell this all to emphasize what the sucker they make us out to be. All this looks so stage-managed. Outrage. Anger. Despair. Democracy in danger. The secular fabric of India torn to shreds. Elections over, everything over. Wait till the next elections. Again, the recorded events are played out.
So relax. Make friends and not enemies for that’s exactly what politicians and media want us to be: at each other’s throat. Have a laugh on the concocted issues. They mean nothing to them so why lose your sleep? Wait till the bugle of Delhi assembly elections start blowing in February next year. A few seasonal new issues would emerge and fade with the same monotony. Democracy you said? I call it entertainment. Okay, black entertainment.
It’s Digvijay Singh’s moment of truth on “saffron terror.” Sadhvi Pragya probably would make him pay for it in Bhopal. There are many though who wouldn’t be called to account. Let’s name them too and hold them up in public eye.
“Modern India” by Bipan Chandra was once the history textbook for Class XII, published by NCERT (1996). The book’s editorial board included S. Gopal, S. Nurul Hasan, Satish Chandra and Romila Thapar. It has a passage on Muslim League in these words:
“The Muslim League propaganda gained by the existence of such communal bodies among the Hindus as the Hindu Mahasabha. The Hindu communalists echoed the Muslim communalists by declaring that the Hindus were a distinct nation and that India was the land of the Hindus. Thus they (Muslim League) too accepted the two-nation theory.” (Page 223)
The passage continues:
“In one respect, Hindu communalism had even less justification…The Hindu communal view of history also relied on the myth that Indian society and culture had reached great, ideal heights in the ancient period from which they fell into permanent and continuous decay during the medieval period because of “Muslim” rule and domination. (Page 223)
“They identified Indian culture and the Indian nation with the Hindu religion and Hindus…For example, Tilak’s propagation of the Shivaji and Ganapati festivals, Aurobindo Ghose’s semi-mystical concept of India as mother and nationalism as religion, the terrorists’ oath before goddess Kali, and the initiation of the anti-Partition agitation which dips in the Ganga could hardly appeal to the Muslims…Nor could Muslims be expected to respond with full enthusiasm when they saw Shivaji or Pratap being hailed… (Page 231)
“The Hiindu tinge also create ideological openings for Hindu communalism and made it difficult for the nationalist movement to eliminate the Hindu communal, political and ideological elements within its own ranks. It also helped the spread of a Muslim tinge among Muslim nationalists. (Page 232)
“Many in the Muslim middle class went to the extent of turning to the history of West Asia for their traditions and moments of pride.” (Page 232)
Got it? The implication is that Muslim League was communal because Hindu communalists kind of forced their hands! Muslim League which toed the British line and used religion to tear up the nation, did all that because Hindu communalists forced their hands. Bravo.
So Indian Muslims turned towards the history of West Asia because Hindu communalists left them with no option. That the tradition demands they turn towards Kaaba for prayers five times a day, treat Mecca and Madina as holy places. But somehow, in case of Indian Muslims, they all did so because Hindu communalists left them with no option but to turn to their West Asia traditions. . It doesn’t matter that hadiths after hadiths, fatwas after fatwas direct believers to subjugate and suppress non-believers. Why bring to attention the uncomfortable fact that the Prophet asks the believers to “love the Arabs for three reasons: because I am an Arab, the Quran is Arabic and the inhabitants of Paradise will speak Arabic.” (Eminent Historians: Arun Shourie, Page 122)
The truth is Islam asks its adherents to be truthful to its West Asia tradition of Arabs and Arabic language alone. Hindu communalists have nothing to do with it. VS Naipaul gives a poignant account of it in his book “Beyond Belief.”
“Islam is in its origins an Arab religion. Everyone not an Arab who is a Muslim is a convert. Islam is not simply a matter of conscience or private belief. It makes imperial demands. A convert’s world view alters. His holy places are in Arab lands; his sacred language is Arabic. His idea of history alters. He rejects his own; he becomes, whether he likes it or not, a part of the Arab story. The convert has to turn away from everything that is his…”
From its very advent in India, Islam looked for converts and domination of its religion. The conversion ceremony was a violent rupture for a convert from his Hindu past. That’s why a convert had to eat beef openly in public view, a violent rupture from his Hindu belief that cow is sacred. (Eminent Historians: Arun Shourie, Page 123)
Muslims didn’t distance themselves from the nationalist narrative because of Hindu communalists. Quran terms idolaters as the “worst of creatures” and “that they shall be in hellfire to dwell forever therein.” That the idolaters block the believers’ path to Allah. (Eminent Historians: Arun Shourie, Page 129)
So Muslim League didn’t need a Tilak and his propagation of Ganapati Mahotsava to stay away from the nationalist movement. It wasn’t Aurobindo or Gandhi which made it shrink from the nationalist cause. Dayanand or Aurobindo didn’t push Muslims into believing that idolaters were conspiring against them.
The chicanery of Bipan Chandra doesn’t stop here. He says: “Communalism has been rightly described as political trade in religion. Religion was used, after 1937, as a mobilizing factor by the communalists.” (Modern India, Page 232-33)
It was Jinnah and Muslim League which used religion after 1937 as a mobilizing force. But Bipan Chandra makes a generic and not specific mention, implying that both Hindus and Muslims used religion to mobilize people after 1937.
So parents you are urged to look at the history books of your kids. Point out such passages which are a distortion of Hindu identity, religion and politics. You are mistaken if you believe it has all begun with Digvijay Singh.