Wednesday, May 23, 2018
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Towards a United India

By Amit Kushari

When we became independent in 1947, we had decided to give ourselves a democratic and secular state where people speaking different languages and professing different religions and belonging to different castes would stay together happily without any discrimination. Nehru and Ambedkar were leading us those days and so our constitution has clearly visible evidence of the liberal egalitarian mind set of these two great leaders of India. A large number of Muslims had left India for their newly created cherished homeland of Pakistan which was perceived as their peaceful centre of faith (Markaz e yaqeen) where they could live with dignity without having to fear the dominance of Hindus who were around 67 percent of the total population of undivided India. Bloody riots were witnessed in both Pakistan and India and there were traumatic arrivals of Hindus from Pakistan after facing terrible persecution. India was left with about 12 percent Muslim population because many Muslims did not want to go to Pakistan as mohajirs leaving behind all their land and property. They believed in the assurances given by Nehru that India would remain a secular country where Muslims will have absolutely equal rights vis a vis Hindus. Hindus in Pakistan were clearly made second grade citizens without equal voting rights….but the Indian leadership showed great maturity and liberalism by making Muslims equal partners in India. Despite the huge loss of territory, the Hindus displayed great magnanimity towards Muslims.

Many people say that the magnanimity of the Hindus was a kind of compulsion or ‘majboori’ because they were a hopelessly divided lot. The Hindus were divided and sub divided into different castes and sects, Dalit and non-Dalit, backward and forward with no bridges of matrimony and other social ties. The socially divided Hindus posed no serious threat to the Muslims who showed no inclination to deepen the social ties with them. Like all monotheistic religions Islam also exuded over confidence bordering on arrogance and intolerance. They hated idolatry and hagiolatry very openly knowing fully well that their compatriot Hindus cherished both these kinds of worship. They showed scant regard for the Hindu Gods and Goddesses and often mocked them.

They didn’t acknowledge the prophet hood of Lord Ram and Lord Krishna. They said arrogantly, ” Our prophet is the last prophet of God on earth (Khatm ul Nabi) “…. thereby derecognising our prophets like, Guru Nanak, Guru Govind Singh, Ramakrishna Paramhansa, Sirdi Sai Baba, Mahaprabhu Chaitanya and more. Some relatively tolerant Muslims would say condescendingly that 124000 prophets came before prophet Muhammad (peace be on him) and Ram and Krishna could be among those 124000, but regarding the Sikh gurus and other Hindu gurus, they would say that they were religious reformers only and not prophets. They would also say with arrogance that Quran is the epitome and finality of all knowledge and their could be no knowledge outside it ( Quran sab ilmon ka uloom hai). The Hindus always perceived such statements as outrageously arrogant and intolerant. The Hindus perceived Ayodhya as the birth place of their prophet Lord Ram. Muslim Emperors had built a mosque forcibly on that site 500 years ago. 800 Hindus had laid down their lives trying to prevent the construction of this disputed mosque. After independence, Hindus demanded restoration of the land so that they could rebuild the Ram temple on it. The Muslims did not show even this much of magnanimity. They went on fighting a legal case right up to the Supreme court forgetting the basic fact that Hindus could have declared India a Hindu state if they had wanted to and in that case Muslims would have had no voting rights or access to the Supreme court. This continuous 70 year long uncompromising attitude of the Muslims has caused a terrible polarisation in the minds of the Hindus. Today they are fast becoming as communal as the Muslims in their outlook. Today’s Hindu is far more united politically than they were a few decades ago. Recently we saw how Yadav Hindus and Dalit Hindus in UP and Uttarakhand joined hands with the communally oriented Hindus, to defeat the secular political parties. This was bound to happen.

Allergic reactions are a natural response towards prolonged display of arrogance and intolerance.

(Amit Kushari is (IAS Retd) former Financial Commissioner, J&K. Feedback at [email protected] or contact at 09748635185)

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