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Time to look afresh at our fellow citizens

Time to look afresh at our fellow citizens

Author: M.V. Kamath
Publication: Organiser
Date: January 11, 2009
URL: http://www.organiser.org/dynamic/modules.php?name=Content&pa=showpage&pid=272&page=13

The Taliban and other extremist organisations have "a real chance of winning in Pakistan". What they apparently want is power through bloodshed, not peace through economic progress. If our political parties do not understand that, they understand nothing. Constant appeasement is counter-productive. It betrays weakness.

Isn't it time now to stop breast-beating and fault-finding and get down to the business of finding what is wrong with Muslims-in India and in Pakistan-and seeking a way to mutual understanding? In this context some generalisations become inevitable. It would be argued that not all Muslims feel alike, that there are differences among them as between Shias and Sunnis, north Indian Muslims and Kerala Moplahs and between liberal Muslims and extremists. Why presume that all Muslims are automatically anti-Hindu?

But the larger fact remains that, in the end, it is the extremist element among Muslims who dictate behavioural patterns and so, when one speaks of Muslim antagonism, one refers to that segment of Muslims who hate Hindus, who will not under any circumstances have anything to do with them. They are the Muslims like the Lashkar-e-Taiba and their foster parents in the Pakistan Armed Forces, to whom compromise is unacceptable. These Muslims cannot live in peace with anybody apart from "People of the Book". They may accept being ruled by Christians, if barely, but being ruled by Hindus or living with Hindus in a multi-religious society is plain anathema to them. One has to read the speech of Sir Syed Ahmed, delivered at Meerut on March 14, 1888, a hundred and twenty years ago, Mohammad Iqbal's presidential address to the 25th session of the All India Muslim League, Allahabad on December 29, 1930 and the text of Rahmat Ali's Pakistan Document issued on January 28, 1933 to understand one aspect of the Muslim mind-set. They preceded Mohammad Ali Jinnah.

In his address Sir Syed Ahmed, among other things, said: "Oh my brother Mussalmans, I again remind you that you have ruled nations and have for centuries held different countries in your grasp. For seven hundred years in India, you have had imperial sway. You know what it is to rule…. Is it possible that under these circumstances, two nations-the Mohammadans and the Hindus-could sit on the same throne and remain equal in power? Most certainly not. It is necessary that one of them should conquer the other and thrust it down. To hope that both could remain equal is to desire the impossible and the inconceivable"!

In his address Mohammad Iqbal said: "One lesson I have learnt from the history of Muslims: at critical moments in their history, it is Islam that has saved Muslims and not vice versa. If today you focus your vision on Islam and seek inspiration from the ever-vitalising idea embodied in it, you will be only re-assembling your lost integrity and thereby saving yourself from total destruction". As for Rahmat Ali who first proposed the concept of Pakistan, it was his view that "there can be no peace and tranquillity in the land if we, the Muslims, are duped into a Hindu-dominated Federation where we cannot be masters of our own destiny and captains of our own souls".

No worse mind-set can one imagine of anti-Hindu sentiment. Is that mind-set still prevailing? If so, among which class of Muslim society? And by what percentage? We do not know. And possibly cannot tell. One would have thought that with the formation of Pakistan, all those Muslims in India unwilling to be under alleged Hindu 'dominance' would migrate to Pakistan. And if they wished to stay on in India would happily become part of the larger community without shedding their Muslim identity. That they seem determined not to. They have internalised resentment against their fellow countrymen, sought peace by distancing themselves from Hindus in dress, deportment and mental attitudes. Men must wear skull caps, women must wear burqa, female children should give up higher education and children should attend madrassas for mental conditioning. These are open and visible ways of separatism.

Then there are more sinister ways of planning for domination in India. One is by terrorising India and trying to bleed it with a "thousand cut". The second is to use methods of intimidation to subdue Indians by methods foul and vicious; the third is to slowly, but deliberately 'capture' districts through 'invasion' by Bangladeshi Muslims. Not many realise that the districts of South and North 24 Paraganas, Murshidabad, Nadia, Malda and West Dinapur with a total population of 28,324,034 (last census) has a concentration of Muslims numbering between 16 and 17 million, forming a majority.

As Arun Shourie recently pointed out "there is a distinct danger of another Muslim country, speaking predominantly Bengali, emerging in the eastern part of India in the future". The UPA Government seems sublimely unaware of this dangerous development. The Mumbai terrorist massacre is only one aspect of the Islamic project of undermining India. The setting up along the entire Indo-Nepal border of madrassas needs careful watching. The more subtle and less evaluated danger is from changing the demographic character of eastern India. As recently as in 1996, a former head of the Intelligence Bureau, later to be named Governor of Uttar Pradesh T.V. Rajeshwar had explained in a series of articles in the media how the entire Northeast, much of West Bengal and Bihar were being inundated by Muslims in demographic aggression.

Rajeshwar then warned that the Muslim swamping of strategic locations constituted a grave threat to national security. Worse, it has since been recorded by Intelligence Agencies that Islamic extremists have established a series of modules in western Uttar Pradesh. The facts are all available. Not available are meaningful responses. Eager to capture votes, Muslim communities in the North are being pampered by the Congress and the BSP, ever willing to face realities. The jehadi terrorists who attacked Mumbai belong to a group which, along with some 22 other known and recognised terrorist groups in Pakistan hope to destroy the unity of India. They still live in the 11th century of Mohammad of Ghori, with primitive social agenda that is to take the Pakistan back into the medieval ages of brutal Islamic invasions.

So, when India is embarking on Chandraayana, Pakistan jehadists and their mentors are bent on undertaking terror-aayana. What can possibly be done to change their mind-sets? According to a distinguished Pakistan scholar Pervez Hoodbhoy the Taliban and other extremist organisations have "a real chance of winning in Pakistan". What they apparently want is power through bloodshed, not peace through economic progress. If our political parties do not understand that, they understand nothing. Constant appeasement is counter-productive. It betrays weakness. Sir Syed Ahmed may long be dead, but his successors are still alive as the events of the last one decade and more abundantly show. We don't recognise them at our peril.

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