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Winds of Change
|by BS Murthy|
The Mohammedan downturn in the 18th Century that enabled the dawn of the British Raj in India turned out to be a Godsend to the Hindu upswing. Historically, the political ethos of the Rajas of the land always was devoid of a sense of belonging to the motherland, which continues to plague the political system of the Union of India that is Bharat.
The next victim of the Mohammedan misrule rule in India, of course, was the intellectuality, the prize factor of the Hindu civilization, nursed from the time of the Aryan migration. With the advent of the Sultans and the eclipse of the Rajas, short of royal patronage, the Brahman intellectual pursuits took a back seat. Besides, the overall downtrend of the Indian economy, brought about by the profligacy of the Musalman rulers, dried up the wells of charity affecting the Brahman well-being. Moreover, their self-imposed taboo for undertaking any economic activity contributed to the Brahman financial gloom, which eventually led to their intellectual decay as well. And their collective sense of despair could have led to the feeling of dissipation that inexorably put them onto the path of laziness and prejudice. What with the kshatriya power too on the wane, the traditional Aryan leadership was dispirited and disjointed under the Mohammedan rule in India, and the Hindus, as though to seek a mass escape from life’s hardships had turned to spirituality, which distanced them even farther from the social realities.
Be that as it may, the Great Britain had wide opened the Indian windows to the developed world, closed for centuries by the Brahman social prejudice and the Islamic religious paranoia, which enabled its populace, the Hindus in particular, to breathe a whiff of fresh air of contemporary Western ideas. Above all, the British bestowed upon India their English that gave class to its middle class, and all this led to the advent of the cosmopolitan India. But, on the flip side, the vested interests of the ‘nation of the shopkeepers’, so as to bolster up their commercial interests had ensured that whatever left of the Indian enterprise was truly undermined.
Whatever, after their initial skepticism about the liberal ways of the British, the Hindus, led by the Brahmans, stepped out of their sanatana cocoons to expose themselves to the Western outlook, which eventually resulted in their kids embracing the English secular education in numbers. But on the other hand, the Mohammedan elite allowed themselves to be drawn into the closets of self-recrimination, and fearing religious dilution, shied away from the secular ideas and ideals and kept their children away from the convent education.
That’s how, as the Hindu masses ventured out of their caste closets, even the Musalman elite staid put in their mental ghettos and held on to the fundamentalist tenets of Islam all the more. And in this dual response to the Western cultural infusion lay the revival of the Hindu intellectuality and the beginning of the Muslim despondency.
But, to the chagrin of the Musalmans, the British banished Persian, the language of the Mughal Court, and introduced English to administer India, which turned out to be a boon to the Hindus for it facilitated a secular education that herald the community into the new age. Even though the evangelists failed to take the Hindu souls en masse on the Christian path of salvation, yet the British had introduced modern medical practices into the India’s hitherto neglected healthcare system for the public good. But it was the Western educationists, who had injected contemporariness into the thought process of the Hindus that inexorably energized their latent intellectualism exemplified by the Ramans, the Boses and the Ramanujans. Besides, the secular education that McCauley introduced produced a body of Hindu reformers, mostly the Brahmans, and predominantly Bengali at that, which laid the seeds of equality in the Indian soil at long last.
Nonetheless, India’s struggle for freedom had had its righteous streaks of aggression as well as the pacifist stances of Islam for even as Subhas Chnadra Bose and others opted for an armed struggle, the Indian Musalmans stuck to the Gandhian course of nonviolence with the majority of the Hindus. That is, till Muhammad Ali Jinnah fired the Muslim imagination with the call for the creation of Pakistan, the separate homeland for the Musalmans of Hindustan. Thus, as the Hindu hopes for freedom rose, so did the Muslim fears about the domination of their religious rivals in free India increased, and it seemed as if the wheel was about to turn the full circle for the Hindus and the Musalmans as well.
While for the Hindus, the end of the British Raj would seemingly herald a Rama Rajya, i.e. after a thousand year interregnum, for the Musalmans, whose domain of eight centuries the British had ended; it portended the worst – the Hindu domination of them.
That was after the baneful land reforms of the British, which had already proved to be the last nail in the coffin of their parasitic life of leisure and luxury. Besides, given the propensity of the Musalmans to live by their glorious past, the prospect of a Rama Rajya would have seemed a setback for Islam in Hindustan. Since the religious loss of face is something that the Musalmans dread the most, so, what would have salvaged the Islamic prestige than a separate nation for the Musalmans? Besides, a ‘here’ they can call their own would enable the Indian Musalmans to take home their fond memories of the past glories that the two-hundred-year Mughal rule symbolized. Besides, as the notion of a Muslim nation would restore the loss of power and pelf under the British Raj, the craving of those Musalmans for Pakistan cannot be faulted.
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03/11/2013 12:22 PM
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