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The Rift Within
by BS Murthy Bookmark and Share

Continued from “Ways of the Bigots”

Based on the finding of its opinion poll, The India Today (August 26, 2002) had averred that –

“In the past six months communalism and Pakistan-sponsored terrorism have grabbed the national headlines. On these issues there is a definite Hindu-Muslim rift. Take the on-again-off-again Ayodhya dispute. On this issue, there seems to be a hardening of stand in favor of building a Ram temple immediately - 43 per cent were in favor six months ago, today it is 47 per cent. Even among Congress voters, 43 per cent want the temple now. Predictably, this is not a solution favored by Muslims. Equally, support for the temple isn’t as enthusiastic in the South and East as in the North and West.

Likewise, while 70 per cent of Hindus regard Pakistan as an enemy - a rare expression of national unity - only 37 per cent of Muslims do so. Indeed, 49 per cent of Muslims have a rather charitable view of Pakistan as an estranged brother, a friend and a future ally. What complicates matters is that among Muslims who are aware, Mohammed Ali Jinnah is regarded as a hero, along with Mahmud of Ghazni and Aurangzeb. The weight of Hindu opinion treats these historical figures as villains.

These are worrying signs and pointers to the emotional gulf between the majority community and the most significant minority. Nor is this rift a persisting relic. The poll indicates that it is the youth (18 to 24-year-olds) that is more aware and belligerent than their elders. This raw, untapped energy is yet to find focus. A positive outlet may take India to new heights; in the wrong hands, it could plunge the country in civil strife. A divided India can swing either way.”

Why, this schism is the legacy of the Muslim religious expansionism the ‘all Knowing’ and ‘the Wise’ Allah wished to avert as ordained by Him in the Quran thus:

“And we never sent a messenger save with the language of his folk, that he might make (the message) clear for them. The Allah sendeth whom He will astray, and guideth whom He will. He is the Mighty, the Wise.” (4.9)

But the will of Allah was ignored by His faithful and forced His message in Arabic on the peoples of other tongues creating the conflict of interest that ‘the God’ had foreseen. So, the glorification of the Indian Musalmans of the historical figures, who had been inimical to the Hindus or had undermined the Hindustan, as heroes of Islam, was not the will of Allah but the making of His disregarding believers of yore. Whatever, during the ‘unauthorized’ Mohammedan expansion down the Quranic journey, the Islamic straight, but narrow, path began to lead the umma onto the narrower by lanes of bigotry, or so it seems. Hence, it’s for the Indian Musalmans of the day to ponder over this ayat that made their ‘alien God’s’ intent clear, and try to search for the ‘right path’ in the Indian setting albeit with the Islamic ethos.

Whatever, when the U.S tasted the madness that is the Islamic fundamentalism on 9/11, one Western social scientist wondered what it might take the Jews and the Hindus to live in the Muslim surroundings! Why it is for the Indian Musalmans to think whether that image is okay with them; they might as well ask themselves the valid question - instead of leading a harmonious life in the Indian society, how come they provoke the disinterested, if not docile, Hindu majority into a retaliatory mode? Well, the Musalmans, obsessed as they are with growing beards and wearing burkas, so as to keep their Islamic identity intact, don’t seem to care two hoots for what others think about their separatist attitudes. But the Musalmans might realize that their emotional attachment to everything Mohammedan makes them fish in the Islamic waters that wouldn’t survive on the lands of reality. Why, their inability to vibe with the cultures in which they live as minorities makes them blind to the beatitude of life ‘here’ right there, and if only they could see beyond their Quranic noses, they would realize that Islam is the only religion where the agenda of the founder and the aspirations of his followers were mutually exclusive. Understandable though the Muslim pride in Muhammad, what they fail to see is that he was not the only blessed soul on earth.

What about the phenomenon of Sathya Sai Baba, whom millions of his devotees, the world over, revere as an avatar of God, and experience his ‘presence’ wherever they are; a la affair Musalmans! Lo, that too without a scripture of his own or the swords of his faithful to spread his creed, the Baba attracts peoples of all faiths in today’s world, with the expectable exception of the Musalmans! Moreover, without any promise of an exclusive Paradise to his devotees, he inspires them for a voluntary service ‘here’ to the humanity at large. Of course, like Muhammad, he too was reviled and faced calumnies in spite of it all and thus, it’s for the Musalmans to review their Prophet’s achievements in the light of Baba’s contributions.

Yet another Muslim fallacy is that none but them feel the like faith in ‘the God’, and it is for them to know that as an overindulgent sweet tooth could be nauseating, so also their Quranic overdose would be debilitating. And making it a triple jeopardy for the Musalmans is their penchant to gloat over the prowess of the Islamic warriors of yore, who subdued much of the old world, coupled with the delusory await for the advent of their Savior-in-Chief, who would paint the entire world with the Islamic green! No wonder that the desperate Musalmans take the demented Osama bin Ladens for the upholders of Islam and the suicide vests of the deluded fidayeen as the Coats of Muslim Mail.

Maybe a slight brushing up of the world history, not just the Islamic victories of yore, might enable the Musalmans to come out of their cocoons of bitterness in the wilderness of dogma into which they had insensibly pushed themselves into. Better they come to know that the Christians of Abyssinia sheltered the early Mohammedans troubled by the Quraysh and the Hindu’s too didn’t chase away the Musalmans when they came to Malabar for trade. When it comes to their misplaced notions about Hinduism, who were to tell them that the idols Muhammad was hell-bent upon breaking were those that supposedly polluted the Kabah, and not the deities that inspire millions of devout Hindus in Aryavarta? Even after living for a thousand years in Hindustan, if the Indian Musalmans were to believe, as Mahmud Ghazni did, that the Hindus are idolaters, it speaks for their lack of awareness about the culture of their own forbearers albeit their pre-conversion one; oh how they shy away from accepting a Hindu prasadam for the fear of polluting their Islamic body and deviating from the Quranic credo:

“O ye who believe! Take not for intimates others than your folk, who would spare no pains to ruin you: they love to hamper you. Hatred is revealed by (the utterance of) their mouths, but which their breasts hide is greater. We have made plain for you the revelations if ye will understand.”

“Wed not idolatresses till they believe; for lo! a believing bondwoman is better than an idolatress though she please you; and give not your daughters in marriage to idolaters till they believe, for lo! a believing slave is better than an idolater though he please you. These invite unto the Fire, and Allah inviteth unto the Garden and unto forgiveness by His grace, and expoundeth thus His revelations to mankind that haply they may remember.”

The Indian Musalmans might realize that these and many such Quranic injunctions exhorting them not to mix with the Jews, the Christians and the idolaters (poor guys who are denied even a capital I in Islam) are but contextual for they were meant to address Muhammad’s compulsion to keep his meager flock together against their being poached by ‘the others’ in the formative years of Islam! That the faith got more than cemented in the minds of the Musalmans for so long now, would these Quranic exhortations still be valid? It is as well the Indian Musalmans realize that Islam is more than safe in Hindustan, in spite of its Quranic partition, and thus they might as well venture out of their ‘ghettos of faith’ to interact with the Hindus, who have no agenda for reconverting them into Hinduism. Maybe, it’s the problem of the Mayawatis of the Indian politics to herd their legislators into posh retreats, away from their poaching political opponents, and not of the mullahs of the numerous umma to keep the Indian Musalmans in the dark Quranic alleys.

That apart, when his believers were far and few between, it was imperative for Muhammad’s Islamic cause not to give away Muslim women in marriage to ‘the others’. But would it be valid still, when the Musalmans are more than a billion strong, and going strong, and it is not as if the Hindu men are itching to seduce Muslim women into Hindu motherhood. So, when the neutral Cupid fancies an odd Hindu-Muslim nuptial, what for the Musalmans treat it as a case of ‘Islam in danger’, and attack the hapless couple! Well, if the Quran erects Islamic barriers for interfaith love matches, the Hindu prejudice places hurdles to inter-caste marriages, and it is high time that the caste panchaayats that kill the transgressing lovers are wound up once and for all.

The way the Musalmans of the day feel about themselves is the replica of what Alberuni noted of the Hindus of yore gloating about themselves; they feel Islam is the most glorious faith, their conquests are the greatest ever, their culture is the best on earth, their architecture is the marvel of the world, and so on and so forth. Maybe it is time that the Musalmans have a balanced view of their victories and defeats over the centuries, but in their desperation for the advent of a Saladin to subdue the hated infidels, they have reduced themselves into gloating over the Osamas and Nasrallahs as modern-day Islamic saviors. Oh, what a fall! Though their methods are reminiscent of Muhammad’s realpolitik of ‘ends justifying the means’, it pays for the Musalmans to know that he was a pragmatist with a singular mission, while their new heroes are but bigots chasing un-achievable goals. After all, one must be a moron to aim at making the world a dar-ul-Islam, which Omar and Saladin, not to speak of Muhammad, failed to do so!

Continued to "The Way Around" 

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