The impression created by the so-called secularists that the RSS was out to malign Islam and Muslim-baiting is its main occupation, was given the lie by Sarsanghchalak K.S. Sudarshan in his speech at the Sarvapanth Samadar Manch in Ajmer (Organiser, April 16, 2006).
Shri Sudarshan said that Prophet Mohammed should be recognised as a social reformer of that time. ?He played various roles in his life and gave a direction to the Arabic society.?
Is this the language of a Muslim-baiter?
Shri Sudarshan also said ?like Allah delivered the Quran, Lord Krishna also delivered the message of the Gita. Therefore Krishna may be regarded as one of the prophets?if not as God?by Muslims, as Prophet Mohammed himself had said that prophets were sent to every place.?
Can there be a better way of expressing that all religions and their prophets/deities are to be respected.
What has happened to the Muslim world over the centuries? Mohammed recognised the prophets of Jews and Christians from Moses to Jesus Christ. However, Muslims have been fighting the followers of prophets other than Mohammed for hundreds of years. There were protracted wars against Jews and Christians in a bid to subjugate them in the name of the holy purpose of spreading Islam. The Muslim rulers and Christian kings fought what the former called Jihad and the latter crusade for many years. The war between Muslims and Jews continues between Palestine and Israel. What is more, the different Muslim sects fought with one another and killed more Muslims than they have killed the believers of other faiths altogether. And it is an irony that their faith is known as Islam (Path of peace)!
Shri Sudarshan, in his speech at Ajmer, had said ?Nowhere in the world except in India all the 73 sub-communities of the Muslims live peacefully. Therefore, the Muslims of India can give the message to their brethren residing in other parts of the world that if they can live peacefully in India, why Muslims in Iraq, Iran Kuwait are fighting.?
Another important matter to which Shri Sudarshan drew attention is the need for modification of certain things (of religious practices) as per changing times. ?They might have been useful at the time they were formulated. But now they may not be of much use. We need to study the ways of worship of each other to understand properly.?
Indeed these are sober words, devoid of invectives and accusations contrary to what we see in acrimonious wordy duels of inter-religious feuds.
And Muslims need not take Shri Sudarshan'swords on their face value, because he heads the much-maligned RSS. Let us listen what one of the topmost Indian journalist M.J.Akbar had to say of Indian Muslims in his brilliant book ?The Shade of Swords? (Page 238-40):-
?Democracy has given Indian Muslims the means to punish governments and political parties who are either antagonistic to their sentiments or have betrayed their interests. After the alienation of 1947 they have lifted themselves up and are becoming effective partners in the evolution of the nation state. The charge of tokenism can be easily made about Muslims who have become head of state in India; real power lies with the Prime Minister. But even a Prime minister'sjob is not completely outside the reach of a minority in today'sIndia. That is, interestingly, what Jinnah wanted for Pakistan; Muslims would cease to be Muslims and Hindus cease to be Hindus. That is happening in India instead; not because Indians are superior to Pakistanis, but because they have a superior political system. Pakistan'sMuslims have had only a fleeting feel of free will.?
Yet Muslim leaders in India complain that the community is not getting due share in government'spower structure. But they should look around and see the Muslim world. It is only in secular India they are guaranteed equality of opportunity. It is only in Hindustan a Muslim can become the President; no Muslim country allows one belonging to another religion to become the head of state. It is only in India a Muslim girl blooms into a world class sportswoman wearing the dress appropriate for the game. Again, it is only in India a Hindu music composer could embrace Islam and prosper in his profession; in an Islamic country he would have been beheaded.
And see, how India and Indian Muslim especially, gained by Bharatiya religious tolerance!
Dr. Abdul Kalam, father of Indian missile technology besides being a doyen of Hindu culture, is our President. World-class tennis star Sania Mirza is looked upon by Muslim womanhood as a symbol of liberation from burqa bondage. A convert to Islam, A.R. Rehman'smusic compositions of Janaganamana and Vande Mataram electrify the young to patriotic fervor with his soul-stirring tunes.
Shri Sudarshan'swords about ?modification of certain things as per changing times? are thought provoking. The need is to understand things in their true historical perspective. It is unwise to insist what is not allowed by your Book is prohibited. A society that doesn'tchange becomes stagnant. What is more, vested interests make use of scriptures as a license to their wrong doings on the excuse the words of God is immutable. They may even say that power is derived from God, hence democracy, in which ultimate power rests on the people, is against Islam.
(The writer is a veteran journalist and could be contacted via Email: [email protected])