Does India represent Hindus?
By Balbir K. Punj
After celebrity conversion of Yusuf Youhana it was the turn of three young and non-descript Hindu girls in Pakistan to ?embrace? Islam. Three Hindu girls viz. Reena (21), Usha (19) and Rima (17) went missing from their Punjab colony residence in Karachi, Pakistan on October 18 last. Their father Sanno Amra, a chauffer and mother Champa, a cook were understandably people of humble means. After searching frantically they went to police station where the SHO refused to register a case. But fortunately they had a patent hearing from DSP Raza Shah who got the FIR of abduction registered on the fourth day. The needle of suspicion pointed towards three young men, obviously Muslims, in that locality. But now the sole Hindu family in that neighbourhood began to receive threats.
Within a few days the family received a courier containing three identical affidavits apparently dictated by the same person. The girls, in those signed affidavits, said that they had accepted Islam voluntarily. The declaration concluded ?That since my parents are Hindu and after conversion of my conversion of my religion, it is not possible for me to live and pass my life in Hindu system/society and therefore I have decided to live separately??. The girls were finally located in a hostel of madrasa Taleem-ul-Quran and a court directive facilitated their parent to meet those girls. The parents were shocked to find that Afshan, Anam and Nida, as they were called post-conversion were clad in burqa from head to toe leaving only their eyes uncovered. The eye of the youngest daughter was blood red from weeping. The only thing the parents could learn from their daughters was that they should be left where they are.
Cases of abduction of Hindu girls and their forced conversion to Islam is nothing new in Pakistan and Bangladesh. In fact, fugitive Bangladeshi author Salam Azad lamented what kind of ?Renaissance? is possible in Islamic world where madrasas teach that if a Muslim converts a non-Muslim, marries a non-Muslim even kill or rape a non-Muslim he will go to paradise! Such poignant stories of abduction of women by Islamist touch a raw nerve of Hindus. Immediately, they conjure up images of medieval Islamic rule, where slave taking was an established practice. Islam has not changed the wee bit (it will even be a blasphemy to expect it should change) rather going on rampage on its medievalist drive.
Post-conversion Yusuf Youhana had said that if all inhabitants of Pakistan accepted Islam then the country would become ?land of the pure? in the literal sense of the term.
Forget about Indian government doing something about the ?Karachi episode? it is unlikely the government can say something. What can Indian government do in Pakistan and Bangladesh when it failed to save its minority Hindus in Kashmir? Such Islamic abductions and conversion take place in India by thousands, in Muslim majority areas, that people commonly identify as ?Mini-Pakistans?. But the Indian government is bound by its creed even to say something against such acts of persecution. It is because the government of India is secular and not Hindu! So while Hindus might think that India is their only country, the country for which they can lay down their lives, India ?constitutionally? doesn'tthink it has any obligation towards Hindus. Thus Nehru could abandon ten million Hindus of East Pakistan by Nehru-Liaquat and Nehru-Noon Pacts of 1950.
This sad state of affairs is actually an offshoot of the creed of Indian National Congress from the beginning. Congress, by its creed was a secular platform, although most of its members were Hindus. From Sir Sayyid Ahmed Khan to Jinnah Muslims identified Congress a ?Hindu Party?, although Congress was avid to welcome Muslims to its fold. Jinnah said Muslim League stood for Muslims, and Congress for Hindus, and India should be divided on Hindu-Muslim lines with attending exchange of population like the one took place between Christian Greece and Muslim Turkey in 1923.
But Congress persisted it represented everybody (which actually means no body). But did not save the Congress from being wiped out from those parts of India where Pakistan/East Pakistan came up. The biggest refugee from Pakistan in 1947 was not Hindus or Sikhs but the ?concept? called Congress. But Congress did not come out of confusion rather infused that confusion about whom it represents. That confusion has proved contiguous to other parties of India as well.
Forget about Indian government doing something about the ?Karachi episode? it is unlikely the government can say something. What can Indian government do in Pakistan and Bangladesh when it failed to save its minority Hindus in Kashmir?
The feminist organisations of India, to whom secularism is an article of faith, and jumps bandwagon whether it is Bilkis Bano or Ishrat Jahan case are also silent. But they were silent in Imarana episode. Don'tthey think that a lady being clad in burqa by customs whereby she looks like ?a walking ghost? is utterly discomfiture to the very concept of freedom they are trying to promote? This is certainly not modesty, but graveyard of humanity.
Post-conversion Yusuf Youhana had said that if all inhabitants of Pakistan accepted Islam then the country would become ?land of the pure? in the literal sense of the term. He also expressed the hope that Islam would become the dominant religion of the world. The affidavits of these girls, notwithstanding they might have been dictated by a Mufti, says contact with Hindu (read Kafir) parents in not tenable. These utterances should not be dismissed as merely coincidental. In fact, they are rooted in Islamic credo. Prophet Mohammed did not pray at his mother'sgrave because she was not a Muslim. A Muslim will have to distance, dissociate, and disown his non-Islamic past. This is as true for a converted individual as for a converted civilization. In fact, this is the creed of Tablighi Jamat, started as an apolitical movement in India in 1926 by Maulana Mohammed Ilyas. Its mission is to gain new converts to Islam, and purify the non-Islamic vestiges by making them more and more devout. The other is Islam'surge to ?dominate? the world, which is missed by whisker between 7th and 16th century. Maulanas still lament that world had ?almost? become Islamic were it not for a few vital reverses the army of Islam faced at most critical hours.
(The writer, a Rajya Sabha MP and Convenor of BJP'sThink Tank can be contacted at [email protected])