The reaction of Congress leader Shakeel Ahmed and other Muslim leaders to the Jaipur terror attack and the involvement of educated Muslim youth in jehad point to a peculiar mindset. The Congress spokesman instead of condemning the jehadis compared the senior BJP leaders L.K. Advani and Rajasthan Chief Minister Vasundhara Raje as terrorist. This is shocking.
The legacy of the All India Muslim League founded a full century back, as reflected in its dogma of pan-Islamism and ?Muslim first, Indian afterward? stance, is not forgotten. It is alive and still persists. It has not vanished and is vividly reflected in the mindset of even the present generation of some Indian Muslims though 60 years have passed since the country was Partitioned on religious grounds. There has been no change in the mindset of these Muslims. The evidence in the recent terrorist plot suggests that some Indian Muslims are closely linked to the network of global terror. As far as terrorism in India is concerned, it would be absurd and ridiculous even to think that any terrorist act could happen anywhere in this country without active participation and assistance of internal subversive elements. The writer discusses the above theme historically as well as in contemporary setting as it appears today.
The essence of teachings and preachings of all religions is to promote brotherhood of mankind and help their followers to live in harmony and peace not only with fellow human beings, irrespective of their race and religion, but also with nature, the animal kingdom and its flora and fauna, created by God. All religions are paths leading to the salvation of mankind and show their believers the art of living in this mundane world, in peace and harmony with the non-believers to make this world happy and worth living. No true religion would ever ordain or command its followers to breed contempt or hatred for those who do not believe in its dogmas and tenets and compel them to adopt it by using force or other evil designs or to claim its superiority over the religions of the non-believers and impose their hegemony and will over the believers of other faiths.
Again, every citizen, irrespective of his caste, creed or race, must feel proud of both one'scountry and religion in which one is born. Whereas one'sreligion is a matter of one'spersonal belief and faith, loyalty to the country, i.e. one'smother land, is concern of collective and national faith. It must be ensured by every citizen that no clash between one'spersonal and religious interests and the national interests of the society as whole is allowed to occur or be created by any section of the society and the national interest are not subordinated to one'spersonal interests or vested interests of particular community on the basis of caste, creed, race or religion. In contemporary world, no country, not even an Islamic or Christian one, can tolerate divided or dual loyalty on the part of its citizens on the basis of their'sreligion, race or belief and it has to be ensured by every section of the society and the community that the national interest of the country, they are born in, are not subordinated to their personal interests on the basis of religion or creed and thus subverted by their belief in some rigid religious dogmas. Gone are the medieval days when one religious group could subdue other religious groups and force them into submission and impose on the hapless and the helpless their own beliefs by using swords or gunpowder.
The wanton and irreligious acts of terrorism and extreme violence enacted by blood-thirsty fundamentalist militant groups like Talibans, Lashkar-e-Toiba (LET), Al-Qaida, Jaish-e-Mohammed, SIMI etc. against humanity at large including Muslim countries like Malaysia, Indonesia and other in the name of religion and bloody fractional wars between brethren, Sunnis, Shias and Kurds belonging to the same religion in the Muslim world causing killings and slaughtering of thousands of innocent people, believers and non-believers and destruction of their properties and homes and hearths do not in any way bring good name to their religion or its adherents who remain silent and in their minds sympathies with their misdeeds as these acts of terrorism are counter-productive and have a recoiling effect.
Remaining silent at these barbarous acts and not condemning them is tantamount to condoning them. Therefore, it is not without reason that even innocent Muslims all over the non-Muslims and secular world are looked down upon with suspicion. If Islam stands for peace, love, non-violence and brotherhood of mankind and does not advocate use of sword or bloodshed of innocent people for its propagation and promotion, then there is no reason at all that its followers should indulge in terrorism and wanton destruction of properties of innocent people or followers of other faiths to fulfill their misconceived and irreligious pursuits. And in this context, Muslims are in no way less to blame for seeing the tenets of Islam and Quran being misinterpreted and falsely implemented by a minuscule of the Islamist fundamentalist orthodox mullahs and clergy and for subjecting the entire Muslim world to disrepute and for bringing bad name to Islam with impunity. It is time for liberal, wise and educated sections amongst the Muslims to stand up to these savage and barbarous elements who are committing crimes not only against the humanity but against the tenets of Islam and Quran. In this context, Indian Muslims, particularly belonging to the present generation, need to read a leaf from the pre-Partition and post-Partition history of the country to learn a few lessons and avoid pitfalls which make the Muslims suspect in conditions as they obtain today.
Coming to the theme of this piece, it cannot be denied that right from the establishment of ?All-India Muslim League? on December 30, 1906 at Dacca (now in Bangladesh), the gullible Indian Muslim masses have been victims of politics of divisiveness and segregation and have fallen prey to anti-freedom, anti-national and anti-Hindu slogans and invectives shouted by the All India Muslim League and its leaders under the patronage of British rulers? policy of ?Divide and Rule? before Partition of the country on August 15, 1947 and now actively encouraged by an unholy alliance of the Congress, the hard left, the pseudo-secularist and Islamist fundamentalists, after the Partition. Ironically, whereas Pakistan celebrated the hundredth anniversary of the birth of All India Muslim League or its platinum Jubilee on December 30, 2006, ponder over what Indian Muslims have actually attained by blindly following their religion?based leadership in pre-Partition period and out of the above?mentioned unholy alliance and their exploiters in the name of secularism in the post-Partition era i.e. those who are treating them merely as vote banks and blackmailing them to the hilt and damaging their long term interests.
Look at the results of the General Elections to the Central Legislative Council held in December, 1945 and elections for the Constituent Assembly held in July, 1946. These elections were held on the basis of restricted franchise and separate electorates. In the elections to the Central Legislative Assembly, the Congress won overwhelmingly in the General Constituencies, the Hindus Mahasabha and other opponents preferring to withdraw. The Muslim League won all the Muslim seats, the nationalist Muslims losing their deposits in many instances. The Congress secured 91. 3 per cent of the votes cast in non-Muhammadan Constituencies and the Muslim League, 86.6 per cent of the total votes polled in Muhammadan Constituencies. The final figures were, Congress 57, Muslim League 30, Independents 5, Akali Sikhs 2 and Europeans 8 in a total of 102 elected seats. Pursuant to a proposal of the Cabinet Mission, in election for the Constituent Assembly organised on the basis of a communal electoral college, the Congress won 201 seats out of 210 general seats and the Muslim League won 73 seats out of 78 reserved for the Muslims. This fact is an ample proof of the fact that most of the Indian Muslims from Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Bengal, Assam and Maharashtra etc. stood like a rock behind the All India Muslim League and its demand for a separate country for themselves and betrayed their motherland i.e. the land of their birth and did not regard themselves as ?the sons of the soil?. What is most unfortunate is that the same legacy and mindset has been bequeathed by the community to the present generation and this anti-national and this anti-national and communal mindset still persists on and is evident everywhere and is all pervading including in the political parties which proclaim themselves as secular. Rest is history.
It must be borne in mind by all sections of Indians that India is a Sovereign Socialist Secular Democratic Republic and the country is to be run and governed in accordance with the provisions of its Constitution which came into effect on January 26, 1950. It is not a theocratic state which could be administered or governed by the commandments of the Quran, Bible or Vedic scriptures. Again, its policies, foreign and internal, are to be guided by the national interests and not by the communal interests of one section or the other or by the orthodox and obsolete dogmas like pan-Islamism or pan-Communism.
Our Constitution grants rights to equality, freedom, freedom of religion and other cultural and educational rights equally to all the citizens who comprise this nation. It guarantees to the minorities certain rights which are not available even to the majority under the present Constitution. Therefore minorities should also ensure that they do not injure or hurt the sentiments, sensibilities and sensitivities of the majority. What is least expected of the Indian Muslims is that they should abjure the pre-Partition mindset, exclusively guided by illusory, obsolete and anti-national dogma of pan-Islamism. An off-shoot of this expectation is that they should not harbour and give shelter to their foreign and anti-national co-religionists from Bangladesh (erstwhile East Pakistan) or Pakistan at any cost. Hence, it is the time for Indian Muslims to change their mindset.
The national interest of the country cannot be sacrificed for the sake of appeasement of one community or the other community on the basis of race, religion or creed. No blackmailing, denigration or repudiation of the Constitution of the country by any section of the Indian citizenry can be tolerated or permitted to be pursued.
(The writer can be contacted at 660/10, Krishna Colony, Gurgaon-122 001 (Haryana).)