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|by V. Sundaram|
It is a well known fact of history that although personally Mahatma Gandhi was a devout Hindu, yet he turned more and more anti-Hindu after 1920 as his public life progressed. The driving passion of his political life was to throw the British out of India. In order to achieve this objective, he was obsessed in his conviction that Hindu - Muslim unity was absolutely necessary and indispensable. There can be two views or more on whether he was right or justified in holding these convictions. However, the irrefutable fact is that again and again he demonstrated his combat readiness to sacrifice or sell out vital Hindu interests, Hindu honor and Hindu blood all the time in deference to the feelings of minorities in general and Muslims in particular. To quote the appropriate words of Prafull Goradia in this context: 'For Mahatma Gandhi, no price was too great for appeasing Muslims, so that they did not oppose Hindus. That he did not understand the Muslims was proved by the conduct of the Muslim League and by the vivisection of the country.'
After the Mutiny of 1857, the incidence of Hindu-Muslim riots in India had come down sharply. By lending support to the Khilafat Movement of Ali Brothers in 1920, Mahatma Gandhi inaugurated a new era of a fresh wave of Hindu-Muslim riots. Mahatma Gandhi was a confused man. How could his Satyagraha which was to be effective for attaining our Swaraj could be equally effective for saving the Caliph on his Turkish throne. Gandhi did not understand that restoration of the Caliph would only result in making him again a shining symbol of Pan-Islamism or the Supra-nationalism of Islam as a world religion with its people forming the Ummah. This inherent impending danger was clearly foreseen by Sir Sankaran Nair, a Member of the Viceroy's Executive Council in 1922.
In his book prophetically titled as 'Gandhi and Anarchy' published by Tagore and Company, Madras in 1922 he wrote: 'It is impossible to believe that Gandhi and his adherents are not aware that this claim of the Mohammedans to be judged only by the Law of the Koran, is a claim which is the fons et origo of all Khilafat claims of whatever kind. It is well to be clear about this, for not only does the acceptance of the claim mean the death knell of the British Empire or Indo-British Commonwealth, whatever name we may care to give to the great fraternity of nations to which we belong, but specifically as regards India it means a real denial of Swaraj. for it involves Mohammedan rule and Hindu subjection."
Thus Sir Sankaran Nair clearly saw the danger signal when Mahatma Gandhi was leading the Muslims of India to convert the Hindus into permanent Serfs. Dr Manmohan Singh's recent declaration on Muslim hegemony is only a logical culmination of the process initiated by Mahatma Gandhi and clearly foreseen by Sir Sankaran Nair in 1922.
During the Moplah rebellion in Kerala in 1921, thousands of Hindu men, women and children were killed by the Muslims. Hundreds of women were raped. And yet Gandhi supported the Moplahs and not the Hindu victims of Moplah violence and oppression. In fact Gandhi had no sympathy for the Hindus. Mahatma Gandhi wrote in his 'Young India', 'it is wrong to say that Islam has employed force. No religion in this world has spread through the use of force. No Musalman, to my knowledge, has ever approved of compulsion.' Does this not show that Gandhi practiced political deception?
According to Gandhi, the Moplah Muslims were guilty of no crime. But the politically spurious and culturally disastrous view of Mahatma Gandhi on the Moplah rebellion was not shared by Lord Reading, the then Viceroy of India and Sir Sankaran Nair, a member of his Council. Sir Sankaran Nair wrote: 'For sheer brutality on women, I do not remember anything in history to match the Malabar rebellion. It broke out on 20 August, 1921. Even by the 6 September, the results were dreadful. There was complete breakdown of Civil Government resulting in widespread disorder, in political chaos, in anarchy and in ruin.'
Let us contrast this with Mahatma Gandhi's conclusion: 'The Moplahs are among the bravest in the land. They are god-fearing.'
How did Gandhi overlook the brutal fact that Moplah Muslims were men-slaughtering, children-strangling and women-raping? I am asking this question in the light of the speech of Lord Reading, viceroy of India, on 20th of August 1921: 'A few Europeans and many Hindus have been murdered, communications have been obstructed. Hindu temples sacked, houses of Europeans and Hindus burnt. According to reports Hindus were forcibly converted to Islam... The result has been the temporary collapse of the Civil Government and offices and courts have ceased to function and ordinary business has been brought to a standstill. European and Hindu refugees of all classes are concentrated at Calicut and it is satisfactory to note that they are safe there. One trembles to think of the consequences if the forces of order had not prevailed for the protection of Calicut. Those who are responsible for causing this grave outbreak of violence and crime must be brought to justice and made to suffer the punishment of the guilty.'
Annie Besant wrote a series of articles in her journal 'New India' on 29 November and 6 December 1921 under the caption Malabar's Agony. She challenged the stand taken by Mahatma Gandhi on the peaceful and humanitarian overtures of the Moplah Muslims towards non-Muslims in Malabar. The shock of the Moplah riots was so widespread that a Committee of Distinguished Citizens was appointed to tour the affected areas. The Committee consisted of K P Keshava Menon, Secretary Kerala Provincial Committee, T V Mohammed, Secretary, Ernad Khilafat Committee, K Madhavan Nair, Secretary, Calicut District Congress Committee and K V Gopal Menon. In their fact-finding report they concluded: 'Truth is infinitely of more paramount importance than Hindu Muslim unity or Swaraj and therefore we tell the Maulana Sahib and his co-religionists and India's revered leader Mahatma Gandhi – if he too is unaware of the events here – that atrocities committed by the Moplahs on the Hindus are unfortunately too true and that there is nothing in the deeds of Moplah rebels which a true non-violent, non-co-operator can congratulate them for.. Their wanton and unprovoked attack on the Hindus, the all but wholesale looting of their houses.. Brutal murder of inoffensive Hindus, men, women and children in cold blood without the slightest reason except that they are Kafirs... Their wholesale conversion through threat of death.'
Mahatma Gandhi treated the report of the above Committee with Islamic contempt. Mahatma Gandhi and the Working Committee of the Congress shamelessly whitewashed the criminal atrocities committed by the Moplah Muslims against the Hindus of Malabar by passing the following resolution:
This was political rascality of the meanest kind. Gandhi's callousness rose to Himalayan heights when he wrote the following in 'Young India' on 29 September : 'We have forgotten the divine out of dying for our faiths without retaliation... Be the Moplahs be ever so bad, they deserve to be treated as human beings.'
Dr Ambedkar was not talking through his hat about the anti-Hindu and pro-Muslim attitude of Mahatma Gandhi. When thousands of women were raped and many of them killed by the Moplah Muslims during the Moplah rebellion in 1921, the brutalized women of Malabar led by the senior Rani of Nilambur gave a heart-rending petition to Lady Reading, the wife of the then Viceroy of India. I am quoting only the first two paragraphs from this historic petition:
The atrocities committed by the Moplah rebels were widely reported in the English and vernacular newspapers of the day throughout India and the British Empire. Mahatma Gandhi was fully aware of every development in Malabar during this time. But his overweening egoism blinded his eyes to such an extent that he was unable to see the realities on the ground. A Peoples' Conference presided over by the Zamorin, Maharaja of Malabar, was held in 1921. The following resolution was passed at this Conference:
Annie Besant was a fearless and impartial woman quite unlike Mahatma Gandhi. Mahatma Gandhi was a double-talking, multiple-tongued Moulana -layer upon layer of orchestrated fraud, dissemblance and deceit. Annie Besant had been elected President of the Indian National Congress in 1913 - two years before the final return of Mahatma Gandhi to India from South Africa. She was one of the tallest leaders of India at that time and loved by the masses of India. She created a new public awakening about the intentions of the Moplah marauders. Annie Besant visited the affected areas of Malabar soon after the Moplah rebellion in 1921 and wrote a series of powerful articles about the carnage let loose by the Moplah Muslims which opened the eyes of the government of India and that of Britain. I am quoting below a few words from Annie Besant's article titled Malabar's Agony in New India of 29 November, 1921:
Annie Besant exposed the atrocities committed by the Moplah rebels in Malabar as a fearless journalist. Let us hear her describe an act and scene of rape in Malabar:
Mahatma Gandhi at that time gave a great finding to the effect that every Muslim is a bully and every Hindu a coward. On the one hand he called every Hindu a coward and on the other hand he exhorted all the Hindus to remain calm and non-violent even when they went all out to defend themselves against the attacking Moplah Muslims. The truth is Mahatma Gandhi displayed all his courage only to suppress the Hindus. In so far as the Muslims were concerned, he was a typical Hindu coward. He was mortally scared of them. So was Jawaharlal Nehru. Therefore Gandhi had no moral sanction to talk about the cowardice of the Hindus. And here is the callous, sadistic and barbarous message he gave to the Hindu victims of Moplah rebellion in Young India of 29 September, 1921: 'The ending of the Moplah revolt is a matter not only of urgency, but of simple humanity. The Hindus must have the courage and the faith to feel that they can protect their religion in spite of such fanatical eruptions. ... Be the Moplahs be ever so bad, they deserve to be treated as human beings.' By saying all this, Mahatma Gandhi broke the track record of Babar, Nadir Shah and Aurangzeb in the never ending vistas of Islamic compassion and Hindu fundamentalism.
Mohammed Ali later gave a written assurance of good conduct confirming that he was no opponent of the British government and thereafter he was released. It is on public record that, again in 1921, when the Khilafat agitation was at its peak, Mohammed Ali sent a wire to Amanulla, Amir of Afghanistan urging him not to enter into any kind of peaceful agreement with Britain. At one of the Congress meetings when Swami Shradhananda criticized Mohammed Ali for his act of sending a telegram to the Amir of Afghanistan, Mohammed Ali took him aside and gave him the handwritten draft of a wire. Swami Shradhananda recorded in his book: 'What was my astonishment when I saw the draft of the self-same telegram in the peculiar handwriting of the Father of the Non-violent, Non-cooperation Movement.' To this charge, however, Gandhi replied that he did not remember to have done so.
In May 1921, there were again public rumors that the Ali Brothers would be arrested by the British government for conspiring with the Amir of Afghanistan to invade India. Mahatma Gandhi's conscience was quickened by this public rumor and he poured out his compassionate Muslim-loving heart to the even more compassionate Hindu-loving Ali Brothers. At a public meeting in Allahabad on 10 May, 1921, with tears in his eyes, Mahatma Gandhi said: 'I cannot understand why the Ali Brothers are going to be arrested as the rumor goes, and why I am to remain free. They had done nothing which I would not do. '
Writing in Young India in May 1921, Mahatma Gandhi declared with Jehadic piety: 'I would, in a sense certainly assist the Amir of Afghanistan if he waged a war against the British government.'
Mohammed Ali was known for his decency and decorum and fidelity. He showed his noble qualities in 1924 when he declared at Aligarh and Ajmer: 'However pure Mr. Gandhi's character may be, he must appear to me from the point of view of my religion inferior to any Mussalman, even though he be without character... Yes, according to my religion and creed, I do hold an adulterous and a fallen Mussalman to be better than Mahatma Gandhi.'
Mahatma Gandhi's public posture and attitude towards the treasonable acts of Ali Brothers were severely criticized by prominent public personalities of the day like V S Srinivasa Sastri, C Y Chintamani, the Editor of Leader, Allahabad and C F Andrews, Gandhi's confidant. All of them including Annie Besant told him in categorical terms that his speeches and writings were unmistakably such as to justify the treasonable act of Mohammed Ali's invitation to the Amir of Afghanistan to launch an invasion against India.
Apart from the genuinely noble tribute paid by Mohammed Ali with Islamic conviction to Mahatma Gandhi referred to above, what was the reaction of the other Muslim leaders of the time to the generosity of spirit, largeness of heart and greatness of mind shown by Mahatma Gandhi towards his ever peace loving and supremely humane Muslim brothers? A Muslim leader who was considered as a 24-Carat Nationalist by all the Congressites in general and Mahatma Gandhi in particular soared to unimaginable heights when he presided over the Khilafat Conference at Ahmedabad in December 1922. That was Hakim Ajmal Khan. With Mahatma Gandhi and all the other great national leaders – unbelieving Hindu Kafirs – like C R Das, Lala Lajpat Rai, and many others sitting by his side on the dais, Hakim Ajmal Khan declared in a historic speech: 'I envisage a glorious future awaiting our Pan-Islamic Empire. India on the one side and Asia Minor on the other are but two extreme links in a chain of future Islamic Federation, which are gradually but surely joining together all intermediate States in one great system.' When he concluded his speech, Mahatma Gandhi went and embraced him which gladdened the Pan-Islamic hearts of Congressites present on that occasion.
The frenzy of Jehad generated by the inspiring Khilafat leadership of Mahatma Gandhi, ably guided by the Ali Brothers, soon spread like wild fire in different parts of India. Beginning with the Moplah rebellion in Malabar district in 1921, it spread to a few places in Punjab and Bengal in 1922 and by 1923 it enveloped many other provinces. The main centers of Hindu-Muslim riots were Amritsar, Lahore, Panipat, Multan in the Punjab; Moradabad, Meerut, Allahabad, Saharanpur in UP; at Bhagalpur in Bihar, at Gulbarga at Hyderabad State and at Delhi itself. At most of these places, it was the Muslims joining the Moharrum procession who had sparked off the communal outbreak and given the green signal for widespread uprising against the Hindus.
Rajendra Prasad, who cannot be dismissed by the Congress vermin of UPA government today as a fervent and doughty champion of communal Hindutva, minced no words in pinpointing the Muslim complicity in these riots: 'Towards the later part of 1922 there occurred serious riots in Multan in which Hindu places of worship were desecrated, many Hindus were killed and many Hindu houses were looted and burnt. This was the first of a large number of communal riots which continued for several years and which occurred in almost all parts of the country.'
In all these riots sparked of by the Khilafat agitation led by Mahatma Gandhi, numberless Hindus fell victims to the specter of Muslim barbarism. Countless Hindu women were raped and kidnapped. Practically every Hindu festival – Ram Lila, Durga Puja, Holi, Ganapathi Puja – was a signal for a fierce Muslim assault as an integral aspect of Khilafat agitation. Mahatma Gandhi gave his infantile reactions through Young India in 1924. He wrote: 'The Hindus have written to me complaining that I was responsible for unifying and awakening the Mussalmans and giving prestige to the Moulvis which they never had before. Now that the Khilafat question is over the awakened Mussalmans have proclaimed a kind of Jehad against the Hindus... The tales that are reported from Bengal of outrages upon Hindu women are the most disquieting if they are even half-true. My own experience but confirms the opinion that the Mussalman as a rule is a bully, and the Hindu as a rule is a coward. Need the Hindu blame the Mussalman for his cowardice? Where there are cowards, there will always be bullies... But as a Hindu, I am more ashamed of Hindu cowardice than I am angry at the Mussalman bullying.'
The tone of this hypocritical, if not patently mad, writing of Mahatma Gandhi makes it clear that he had total contempt for his perceived cowardice of the Hindus and profound respect and regard, bordering on unstated veneration, for the blackmailing tactics of the Mussalmans.
Dr. Annie Besant, one of the top leaders of the Congress, fully realized the folly of the perverse Khilafat policy of Mahatma Gandhi: 'Since the Khilafat agitation, things have changed and it has been one of the many injuries inflicted on India by the encouragement of the Khilafat crusade, that the inner Muslim feeling of hatred against unbelievers has sprung up, naked and unashamed, as in years gone by... If India were independent, the Muslim part of the population – for the ignorant masses would follow those who appeal to them in the name of their Prophet – would become an immediate peril to India's freedom. Allying themselves with Afghanistan, Baluchistan, Persia, Iraq, Arabia, Turkey and Egypt and with such of the tribes of Central Asia who are Mussalmans, they would rise to place India under the rule of Islam – Those in 'British India' being helped by the Muslims in Indian States and would establish Mussalman rule.'
These fears of Annie Besant are getting confirmed in letter and spirit through the day to day policy pronouncements of the UPA government whose ghastly if not gory deeds will land all the peace loving Hindus of India in irretrievable gloom for ages to come.
The same fear as that of Annie Besant was expressed by Lala Lajpat Rai in a letter to C R Das in 1924: 'I am not afraid of seven crores of Muslims of Hindustan. But I think the seven crores of Hindustan plus the armed hosts of Afghanistan, Central Asia, Arabia, Mesopotamia and Turkey will be irresistible... I am willing to trust the Muslim leaders, but what about the injunctions of the Koran and Hadis – The Muslim leaders cannot override them. Are we then doomed? I hope not.'
Mahatma Gandhi sowed the wind of Khilafat in 1921 and we reaped the whirlwind of Pakistan in 1947. In 2006, we are preparing to create a federation of neo-secular Pakistans within our country by our consciously chosen divisive policies based on religion, caste, color, creed and community running counter to the known letter and spirit of our Constitution.
H V Seshadri in his seminal book called: 'The Tragic Story of Partition', published in 1982 rightly summed up the Congress Party's disastrous philosophy and policy of Muslim appeasement in these words: 'Congress had been, from its very inception, caught in an ideological trap laid by the British: that the Congress could lay claim to be a national body only if all the religious communities in this land would come together on its platform; then alone would the British Government consider it as representative of all Indians and look into its demands.'
However, nowhere in the world was this strange interpretation of the concept of 'nation' and 'national' accepted or practiced. 'Nationalism' was not something to be equated with arithmetical calculations or juxtapositions of certain groups inhabiting the country. It was, essentially, a sentiment, an attitude of thinking and feeling in terms of 'nation' as an organic hole. It is a spirit of total commitment to national interests and national values – a commitment overriding all other personal or parochial interests. In the Indian context, it implied the sub-ordination of one's loyalties to one's caste, sect, religious faith, language, etc to the supreme call of the country. It also implied an uncompromising will which would brook no compromise or 'Horse trading' with any group which would strike at this basic loyalty.
After the tremendous national awakening following the partition of Bengal in 1905, a national movement in which thousands of Muslims also participated along with their Hindu brothers, really shook up the British Government of Lord Minto, the then Viceroy of India. He wanted to wean away the Muslims from the national mainstream. Thus he plotted with some communal Muslim leaders of East Bengal and managed to arrange a pre-meditated Muslim deputation under the leadership of His Highness the Aga Khan to wait on Viceroy Lord Minto at Simla on 1 October, 1906. Lord Minto advised them to create a separate and exclusive political organization for the Muslims of India and thus was born the All-India Muslim League under the leadership of Nawab Salimullah Khan on 30 December, 1906 with H H Aga Khan as its permanent President.
From that moment Muslims of India started voting communally, thinking communally, listening only to communal election speeches, judging the delegates communally, looking for constitutional and other reforms only in terms of more relative communal power in order to express their grievances communally. This attitude gave a big impetuous to a political movement among Muslims inspired by a separate religious consciousness. It threw up a class of communal Muslim leaders who would vie with one another in inciting and catering to the fanatic religious feelings of their co-religionists. This in other words, was a device for building up a fiercely anti-Hindu and anti-national leadership to counterblast the nationalist Congress leadership. This established trend led to the emergence of Jinnah and his demand for Pakistan. Aga Khan wrote in his memoirs: 'Lord Minto's acceptance of our demands was the foundation of all future constitutional proposals made for India by successive British Governments and the final, inevitable consequence was the partition of India and the emergence of Pakistan.'
The original foundation of Congress policy of Muslim appeasement of which Mahatma Gandhi was the Maulana and Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru the Mulaazim, was in fact born in1888 itself at the 4th Congress session in Allahabad under the Presidentship of Badruddin Hussain Tyabji when an official resolution was passed to the following effect: 'The Congress shall not discuss any fresh subject or pass any fresh resolution which the Hindu or Mohammedan delegates as a body oppose unanimously or nearly unanimously.'
Thus the Congress virtually granted the power of veto to Muslims, however small their number might be in the Congress, to torpedo any policy or programme of the Congress. Having once accepted this slippery, treacherous and quicksand-like position vis-à-vis the Muslims of India, it is no wonder that the Congress started on the downward journey with increased speed as days passed. Mahatma Gandhi went down on bended knees before Ali Brothers in the days of Khilafat movement in 1921, and again went down crawling and creeping at the feet of Jinnah in 1947.
After independence, Nehru considered it his bounden duty to treat the Hindus of India as sacrificial goats in order to quench his thirst for Muslim infatuation through his pernicious policy of secularism and Muslim appeasement duly enshrined in Articles 29 and 30 of the Indian constitution.
Indira Gandhi amended the Indian constitution to confirm the first class secular special status of the Muslims in India and to relegate all the Hindus of India to the 'communal' degradation of a position of politically condemned second class citizens.
As H.V.Seshadri rightly concludes: 'This was how the Congress – in place of educating the Muslims in lessons of the true content of emotional integration, i.e., making them realize the dangers of separatism and persuading them to share the common national aspirations and joys and sorrows of the rest of their countrymen – began pampering their divisive tendencies.'
Five years before the Khilafat surrender of Mahatma Gandhi to the Ali Brothers in 1921, the Congress party in a suicidal bid to snatch the 'initiave' from the British hands embarked upon a new adventure in 1916. It decided to enter into a pact directly with the All-India Muslim League on the basis of a mutually agreed upon formula in lieu of the Morley-Minto reforms of 1909. This was how both Congress and Muslim League came to hold their annual sessions simultaneously in 1916 at Lucknow. And here was born the Lucknow Pact blessed by all the leading stalwarts of the Congress at that time.
What was the upshot of the Lucknow Pact? It not only put its seal of Congress approval on the principle of separate electorates to the Muslims but also granted them weightage i.e., greater representation than what their population warranted. In terms of the actual percentage among the elected Indian representations to the various Provincial Assemblies, the Muslims were granted 50 per cent in Punjab, 30 per cent in UP, 40 per cent in Bengal, 25 per cent in Bihar, 15 per cent in Central Provinces and Berar, 15 per cent in Madras Presidency and 33 per cent in Bombay Presidency. This new Lucknow accord gave Muslims a greater share in the Provincial Assemblies than what was granted in the 1909 Morley-Minto Reforms. To crown it all, in the Imperial Legislative Council, the Muslim representation was enhanced to one-third of the Indian elected members to be elected by separate Muslim electorates in the several provinces. Through the Lucknow Pact, the Congress gave its political sanction to the following major dangerous doctrines:
Among the top leaders of the Congress, Madhan Mohan Malavya was the only man who raised his strong voice of protest against the Lucknow Pact. Lucknow Pact was tragically followed by Mahatma Gandhi's Khilafat movement in 1921 which gave birth to two long-range catastrophic results. Firstly, Muslim fanaticism secured a position of political prestige in Indian politics which it enjoyed under Gandhi and later after independence under Nehru, followed by Indira Gandhi, Rajiv Gandhi and Narasimha Rao. And today it is enjoying the same privilege under Dr Manmohan Singh.
Dr. Manmohan Singh's surrender today to Muslim fanaticism is logical culmination of all this historical development starting from the Lucknow Pact in 1916.
Mahatma Gandhi gave his political and moral approval to the Islamic character of Moplah outrage in Malabar in 1921. When Khilafat Muslim leaders like Ali Brothers and many others sent telegrams to Moplah criminal rebels extolling them as heroes fighting for the glory of their religion, Mahatma Gandhi outdid them by issuing a statement to the effect: 'The Moplah rebels are a brave, God-fearing people who were fighting for what they consider as religion, and in a manner which they considered religious.'
Annie Besant was outraged by the attitude of Mahatma Gandhi towards the Moplah rebels. Her sharp and biting comments on the Islamic character of Moplah carnage are worth outing: 'Malabar has taught us what Islamic rule still means, and we do not want to see another specimen of the Khilafat Raj in India. How sympathy with the Moplahs is felt by the Muslims outside Malabar has been proved by the defence raised by them for their fellow believers and by Mr. Gandhi himself who has stated that the Moplah rebels had acted as they believed that their religion taught them to act. I feel that this is true; but there is no place in a civilized land for people who drive away out of the country those like Hindus who refuse to apostatize for their time honoured and ancestral faiths.'
Mahatma Gandhi's blind surrender to the Ali brothers first resulted in the Moplah rebellion in Malabar district of Kerala in 1921. The same aggressive Khilafat spirit was shown by the Muslims of Kohat, a small town near Rawalpindi in the North West Frontier Province (NWFT) in 1924. In 1924, Kohat's population was estimated at about 15,000. Its people were mostly Muslims. On 10 September, 1924, in one day, 800 Hindus were butchered by the Muslims in a rioting which began the previous day. Why did the Muslims in majority in Kohat attack the defenceless Hindus? This can be answered most effectively through the brilliant words of Dr K D Prithipal, Professor of Comparative Religion, University of Alberta in Canada:
'Muslims will only live as an oppressive majority and a turbulent minority'.
Mahatma Gandhi went to Rawalpindi along with Maulana Shaukat Ali on the 4 February, 1925 to meet the Hindu refugees and the Mussalmans of Kohat. The Hindus had already given their written statements to which they had nothing more to add. The Muslim Working Committee of Kohat did not come. They sent a wire to Maulana Shaukat Ali saying: 'A reconciliation has already been effected between Hindus and Muslims. In our opinion, this question should not be reopened. The Muslims should therefore be excused for not sending their representatives to Rawalpindi.'
The Muslim lawlessness in Kohat was again provoked by the release on bail of one Jeevan Das, Secretary of the Sanatan Dharam Sabha of Rawalpindi by the British District Magistrate on 8th March 1925. Jeevan Das's only crime was that he had distributed a booklet or pamphlet containing a poem which happened to offend the sentiments of some Muslims. Any civilized man would ask the question as to how in such an overwhelmingly Muslim Town could any Hindu risk such an annoyance? The Hindus as a whole graciously offered a written apology which was not sufficient for placating the Muslim sentiment.
Amidst his continuous double-talking and amidst his wholehearted involvement in the Khilafat Movement, Mahatma Gandhi seemed to show some understanding at least on one occasion on 10th February, 1925. In a speech at the Satyagraha Ashram, Sabarmathi, Gandhi said: 'The Hindus in Kohat have woken up and the Muslims could not tolerate the awakening; those Muslims looking for a chance to wreak vengeance found it in the form of Jeevan Das's booklet.'
Several contemporary Hindu writers who knew the facts have commented that Jeevan Das's pamphlet itself was the logical culmination of a known and established process of Muslim misbehavior towards the Hindu community in general and Hindu women in particular. The local Muslims were very fond of abducting Hindu women, married as well as unmarried, and converting them to Islam through fear of sword. Jeevan Das's booklet contained strong strictures against such a barbarous practice.
After showing pretended cosmetic understanding of the helpless plight of the Hindus in Kohat in 1924, Gandhi gave this callous advice in his 'Young India': '....Even if Musalmans refuse to make approaches and even if the Hindus of Kohat may have to lose their all, I should still say that they must not think of returning to Kohat till there is complete reconciliation between them and the Musalmans, and until they feel that they are able to live at peace with the latter without the protection of the British bayonet. This is a counsel of perfection. I can tender no other advice. For me, it is the only practical advice I can give. Hindus in Kohat were not nationalists. They want to return not as nationalists but for the purpose of regaining their possessions.'
What does this all mean? According to Gandhi, if hundred Hindu women were to return to Kohat and were raped in a brutal manner by the Muslims, they should all be determined to avoid taking any assistance from what Mahatma Gandhi called 'the British bayonet', which only meant the British Government. Gandhi was of the view that Hindus should cheerfully submit themselves to the carnal acts of the marauders. Only then, he would consider them all as true nationalists! Mahatma Gandhi said that he was giving practical advice to the Hindus when in fact he was giving only a heartless and cruel advice. When a householder finds his wife or children, other near ones and dear ones murdered, with his property set on fire, what an extraordinarily heartless advice to offer!! Is it not downright madness to talk of Swaraj and nationalism to a common helpless citizen when he had faced the total destruction of his everything? To return to one's home for the purpose of regaining one's lawful possessions was viewed by Mahatma Gandhi as a selfish act.
Mahatma Gandhi was perhaps a schizophrenic if not a totally deranged person.
Let us again turn to the Muslim-loving words of Mahatma Gandhi in 1924:
'Sometimes Muslims kidnap a woman and make her embrace Islam. I do not understand how, in this manner, she can become a Muslim. She does not know the Koran. Alas! She knows very little even of her own religion. I cannot understand how she can become a Muslim. ... Our true wealth is not money, land or gold. They can be pillaged. But our true wealth is religion. When we abandon that we can be said to have pillaged our homes. You Hindus are losing much through love of wealth and life.'
All this will show that to Mahatma Gandhi, the Muslims of Kohat were friends while the Hindus, who comprised a minuscule proportion of Kohat's population, were anti-national cowards!
Mahatma Gandhi's vision seems to be as current today as it was in 1924. Dr. Manmohan and his UPA Government are endeavoring to translate the cosmic dream of Mahatma Gandhi into a concrete reality through the 'New 15 Point Programme for the Welfare of Minorities'. Recently our communalist Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh spoke the rabidly communal words of a mofussil politician fighting in Municipal elections. I am referring to his inaugural speech at Dalit-Minority International Conference organized by Ram Vilas Paswan of Lok Janasakti party in New Delhi on 27 December, 2006. To quote his essentially unfortunate and impolitic words: 'Some minorities in India have done better than others. For example in India, minority communities like the Jains and the Sikhs have fared relatively well from the process of social and economic development. However, other minorities, especially the Muslim community in certain parts of our country, have not had an equal share of the fruits of development.'
I can see that Honorable Dr Manmohan Singh is a Sikh and considers himself a member of a 'Minority Community'.
By his own recent speech, he has shown that he has total contempt for the letter and spirit of our Constitution. If this is not correct, then he is guilty of either voluntary ignorance as a third grade politician or involuntary ignorance as a routine Congress Minister, as the case may be.
To quote the most brilliant and appropriate words of Dr S Kalyanaraman, an International Civil Servant in this context: 'According to the Constitution, persons professing Sikh, Jaina or Buddha Religions are Hindu, that is the majority in Bharatham, and Sikh, Jaina or Buddha adherents do NOT constitute a minority. This is the established law according to many Supreme Court Judgements. How can Prime Minister make a statement in violation of the Constitutional mandate? Dr Manmohan Singh adumbrates 'Minorityism' as a State policy which is against the spirit, letter and basic structure of the Constitution. How can a Government, whose executive head violates the Constitution in a written speech, after taking an oath to uphold the Constitution, introduce new definitions of minorities (unauthorized by the Constitution), be eligible to continue in power?' Dr Manmohan Singh's approach to minorityism cuts at the root of national unity envisaged by the Constitution.
In short, the definition of 'Hindu' is categorical and unambiguous in the Indian Constitution and includes within its fold those professing Sikh, Jain or Buddhist Religions.
In a recent Judgement, Supreme Court has declared: 'Differential treatments to linguistic minorities based on language within the State is understandable but if the same concept for minorities on the basis of religion is encouraged, the whole country, which is already under class and social conflicts due to various divisive forces, will further face divisions on the basis of religious diversities. Such claims to minority status based on religion would increase in the fond hope of various sections of people getting special protections, privileges and treatment as part of Constitutional guarantee. Encouragement to such fissiparous tendencies would be a serious jolt to the secular structure of Constitutional democracy. We should guard against making our country akin to a theocratic State based on multi-nationalism. The State will treat all religions and religious groups equally and with equal respect without in any manner interfering with their individual rights of religion, faith and worship'.
Dr Manmohan Singh's legacy as the disastrous head of an irresponsible Government will be that of pampering and pandering to Minorityism, creating a State based on religions, while the Constitution of India enjoins that the State shall have no religion.
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