By Manju Gupta
Anti-Hindus by Prafull Goradia and K.R. Phanda, Contemporary Targett, 203 pp, Rs 495.00
A number of wild allegations are made against the Hindus, one of them is that they have got so used to living under alien rulers that they have developed a slave mentality. What is really forgotten is the history of the country they lived in. For centuries, in many parts of India under Muslim rule, the Hindus were treated as protected citizens or zimmis. All of them were liable to pay the legendary jizya or poll tax as the price for this protection. The zimmi status was not only humiliating but also gave rise to a number of complexes in a large number of Hindus. On having purchased protection, the zimmi, by and large, gave up thinking of protecting himself or of taking up arms. To accept oppression became the normal behaviour for him. The fear of being punished killed initiative and moreover, devoid of power, there was not much he could do.
Apart from criticising Mohammed bin Qasim, 712 AD, who levied the zimmi after his conquest of Sindh, the authors of the book under review say that the ?most misleading Hindu however was the 20th century anti-Hindu Hindu?. Here they name Mahatma Gandhi as the prime anti-Hindu who placated the Muslims of India to win them over to his side in his battle against the British Empire. The authors say, ?The great man must have, no doubt, realised that his action was against Indian nationalism, for the simple reason, that the Caliph represented pan-Islamism that was essentially a supra-nationalist institution.? Not that they spare the Communist Party of India either from attack??Communism considered the nation as an instrument of exploitation of the poor by the rich. In effect, it was also an anti-nationalist movement, which made it a compatible bedfellow of the supra-nationalists or pan-Islamists.?
Both the writers consider Gandhi and Karl Marx ?parents of anti-Hinduism? as they ?dominated in their different ways, the political scene of those times?. They comment: ?Thereafter, the Gandhians and the Marxists were joined by other intellectuals like Nehru, Krishna Menon, et. al who believed themselves to be liberal but were, in actual fact, also afraid of Muslims. They were too vain to admit that their fears convinced them that it was the Muslim who was more sinned against than sinning, and they consistently pleaded for and pampered them.? The most recent ?breed of anti-Hindus are those who have gone to the extent of expressing sympathy for Muslim victims in Gujarat.?
They agree that Nehru ?was the first one who could be accused of being anti-Hindu. It is possible that he was the product of anti-Hinduism rather than its originator.? They absolve him of all blame but say that anti-Hinduism is a much older and wider phenomenon that can be attributed to a few individuals, be they academicians, journalists or politicians. They say that until the Great Rebellion or the Mutiny of 1857, the ruling Mughal was seen as the Emperor as there were more nawabs than rajas and the Muslims were treated as the ruling class. It was after the imprisonment and subsequent exit to Burma of Bahadur Shah Zafar, the last Mughal Emperor, that the Muslim image fell from that of the ruler to the ruled. The seeds were sown for the feeling of insecurity among the Muslims due to a much larger Hindu population, who were also better educated. The authors say, ?India ceased to be a Dar-ul-Islam that it was until 1857, when the writ of the shariat ran far and wide. India overnight became a Dar-ul-Harb or the land of dispute.?
The authors specify there was no anti-Hinduism till 1887 when Sir Sayyid Ahmad Khan of AMU fame came to stress that Hindus and Muslims constituted two different nations in India. They say that it was Gandhi'ssupport to the Ali brothers, the Moplah, the Kohat riots in the North-West Frontier Province in 1924, the violence against Sindhis of Sukkur district in the Sind province, the brutal assassination of Swami Shraddha-nanda by Abdul Rashid. Nobel laureate Amartya Sen'scriticism of what he calls Hindu fundamentalists, M.N. Roy'santi-nationalism or anti-Hinduism, and lastly but lately, M.F. Husain, who insulted Hindu sentiments by painting Durga and Saraswati in the nude, as well as masochists like Dr S. Gopal who showed contempt towards Hindu ethos and who derived gratification by flagellating their own people that resulted in subjugation of the Hindus. They suggest that the Muslim should be told that the Hindu ?demands a tooth for tooth and an eye for eye, instead of offering the other cheek?.
(Contemporary Targett, 203-A Prakash House, 4379/4B Ansari Road, New Delhi-110 002.)