Where exactly do Muslims feature in BJP's Hindu Rashtra?

None other than the 'Father of the Nation' himself mixed religion with the politics of Indian freedom movement.

 |  4-minute read |   20-10-2015

The growing intolerance against minorities, especially Muslims, has set India on a dangerous path. Eminent writers and academicians have expressed their displeasure against the rise of new Hindutva India.

Hindustan's founding fathers Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru, Abul Kalam Muhiyuddin Ahmed Azad and other like-minded visionaries had set India on a secular path by framing a secular Constitution. The Constitution provided the minorities with some leverages. The same visionaries banned the vicious Jan Sangh in 1952.

However, on the other hand, most among the Indians believe that Mohammad Ali Jinnah was a religious bigot, and the man responsible for the splitting up their motherland. But research on the history of the subcontinent widens the debate on who was actually responsible for the divide and rifts between Hindus and Muslims.

Muslims continue to suffer because of this divide. Every now and then, a Muslim is butchered or lynched by the so-called "rakshaks" of Bharat Mata.

The question of who is the man responsible for dividing Hindus and Muslims can be contested and is debatable. But the recorded correspondence between Indian leaders, the British rulers and maharajas, diwans, nawabs and governors - in both Indian and Pakistani narratives, reveal that till the mid 1920s, Jinnah was strongly opposed to the idea of a Muslim land. All accounts of history indicate that sectarian politics and mixing of religion with politics was introduced in the Indian freedom movement by none other than the "Father of the Nation" himself.

To validate my argument, I am quoting some notable, credible researches in this field.

A recently released book, Midnight's Furies by Nisid Hajari, supports the Indian narrative on Partition, but he writes: "At his evening prayers meetings, the Mahatma would frame his political arguments using parables from Hindu fables; he describes his vision for an independent India as a 'Ram Rajya'- a mythical state of ideal government under Lord Ram. All the chanting and praying that accompanied Gandhi's sermons seemed to Jinnah like theatrics. Jinnah also found Gandhi's appeal to the largely Hindu masses dangerously sectarian. What historians rarely acknowledge is that Jinnah worried less about Hindus than about the danger of inflaming religious passions among Muslims."

The second account about sectarian politics in documented by Alex Von Tunzelmann in her book Indian Summer: The Secret History of the end of an Empire. Tunzelmann writes: "Gandhi believed that 'no man can live without religion' and that 'those who say that religion has nothing to do with politics do not know what religion means'."

Such was Jinnah's opposition to religion being introduced in politics that he was bestowed with the title of the "Ambassador of Hindu-Muslim Unity". Whether this title was bestowed to him by Sarojni Naidu or Gopal Krishna Gokhale is debatable.The question is - why did Jinnah, who ate pork, enjoyed his nightly drink and showed up at mosques only to give speeches and not pray - become so absorbed in his "Two-Nation theory" and the idea of Pakistan, which he loathed till mid 1930s.Perhaps we can believe the legendry historian Stanley Wolpert.

In his book Jinnah of Pakistan, Wolpert writes: "What made Jinnah decide to abandon hope of reconciliation with the Congress? No single incident perhaps, but the cumulative weight of countless petty insults, slights, and disagreements added to the pressures of time and age. Congress insults, stupidity, negligence, venality, genuine and imagined anti-Muslim feeling, fatigue, frustration, fears, doubts, hopes, shattered dreams, passions turned ashes, pride - all contributed to the change in Jinnah."

Personally, I am neither an advocate of Jinnah nor a supporter of his ideas. But if one looks at the situation in present-day India, Jinnah stands high and correct in his vision and ideas. It took only a few hours for the much-hyped incumbent Prime Minister Narendra Modi to wish Navjot Singh Sidhu a speedy recovery. It took him more than two weeks to condemn the killing of a Muslim in Dadri.

And please note: This was a passing comment made at an election rally.

Is Modi representing the people of India or only Hindus? Or does he want an India without Muslims? He must answer this question, the sooner the better.

When Modi did not adequately comment on the Dadri killing, how can Kashmiris expect him to say a word about Zahid Rasool Bhat's murder? The idea of Modi's so-called "development" can never be achieved at this savage cycle: the killing of a Muslim, then silence, then speaking only tangentially about the killing after two weeks, then another Muslim killing, then again silence…

Unfortunately, those who criticise the rise of Hindutva in India are either labelled as Pakistani sympathisers, or are told to leave India and live in Pakistan. This is "secular India" of the 21st century.

Modi's "Digital India" is falling apart. And one fails to understand if are we living in Hindustan or Hindu Rashtra.

Writer

Daanish Bin Nabi Daanish Bin Nabi @daanishnabi

The writer is op-ed Editor at Rising Kashmir.

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