Friday, December 25, 2009

Bharatiya Janata Party - The Party with a Difference - Muslims should...

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    • like always and unlike the secularists, Zakaria doesn't pass on the charge of communalism solely on Hindus and condone Muslims. He has advice for both. According to Zakaria, "Communalism both in its Hindu and Muslim garb is really a product of the British rule; the new rulers, with their colonial outlook, sowed the seed slowly and gradually. The two communities drifted apart; this, in turn, proved beneficial to the rulers…" He further says: "As for the leaders of the Muslims, they raised non-issues, fomenting religious controversies which had little to do with the welfare of their co-religionists, these unfortunately brought them into conflict with the Hindus..."

      What Zakaria misses here is that in their ill-conceived pursuit, the "leaders of Muslims" were always inspired and helped by the "secularists." To get an objective view of the Hindu-Muslim problem, one has to take a peep into history. Islam's arrival through navigational trade on the shores of South India was a non-event. Only when it came as an invading force in the medieval ages through the northern borders, it clashed with a non-conflicting Hinduism. The murky history of the medieval ages marked by destruction/conversion of temples, butchery, rape/abduction of Hindu women as recorded by Muslims chroniclers is well publicised.
    • The last of the Mughal emperors were perfectly at home with the Indian ethos. A distinct brand of Indian Islam, which could harmonise with other faiths, was evolving fast. Wajid Ali Shah of Awadh was culturally light years away from Aurangzeb. Over 95 per cent of Muslims in India were converts. I believe, if this interplay had not been disrupted by the British, the Muslims would have been subsumed in the culture of the land of their forefathers while being true to their faith.
    • The last Mughal Emperor, Bahadur Shah Zafar, was a pensioner of the Marathas. In the second Anglo-Maratha War (1803-05), the Maratha forces lost to British General Lake in the Battle of Patparganj. A small stone memorial to mark the war still stands at the Noida Golf Course, close to Delhi.

      The British had taken much of India not from the Muslims, but the Hindus. In 1857, the first shot was fired by a Brahmin, Mangal Pandey. Most rulers who joined this first war of independence were Hindus. But their purpose was to restore Bahadur Shah "Zafar" II on throne as the emperor of India. The very first order, Bahadur Shah "Zafar" issued, on regaining the throne of Delhi for a short time was to ban cow slaughter and make it a capital punishment.
    • The situation, however, changed when the British in order to safeguard their imperial interests, decided on a policy of "divide and rule" and to reverse the process of interplay of two streams. Ironically, Gandhiji (who died for the cause of Hindu-Muslim unity) ended up extending this policy in his efforts to get Muslims to his side in his struggle against the British. Gandhi's non cooperation movement had its origin in the Khilafat movement and not in the Congress movement for swaraj.
    • Whatever might be the religious injunction what matters is how it is implied. I can dig out most unsavoury passages from the Old and New Testaments prescribing most inclement behaviour towards pagans. But why is that Hindus have nothing to fear physically from Jews or Christians? And why is it that from the learned late Ayatollah Khomeini of Iran to the illiterate Ghanci Muslims of Godhra, from the Yemeni scion Osama bin Laden to the poor Afghans, are all misinterpreting Islam, with disastrous results for the world? If a certain religion is liable to be more misinterpreted than interpreted even in the 21st century there is something to be wary about it.
    • Zakaria mentions the terms Dar-ul-Islam and Dar-ul-Harab only once in the book (p. 117) and dismisses them as erroneous concepts. Is it not a fact that our Islamic neighbour Pakistan has made its territory "physically Hindu-free" and Bangladesh is aiming to do so by 2020? Demographic balance is being altered in border districts of Assam making it an extension of Bangladesh. And it is a truism that "secularists" loathe to admit that wherever Muslim population increases Hindus or other minorities are squeezed out.

      Making Muslim-dominated lands Hindu free, expelling Hindus out of Muslim-majority area and increasing their sphere of influence - if this is not a modern version of Dar-ul-Islam then what is it?

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