S GOLWALKAR was once asked: “Given the acute degree of social disintegration present in today’s India, how to promote unity and integration?”
MHe replied: “Appeasing minorities by conferring upon them special rights and privileges in order to promote social peace or harmony is really paying the price for disintegration. Our politicians have engaged in this unwelcome practice for long. The pashmina variety of expensive shawl, for instance, is not produced by stitching fifty different pieces together. It has to be carefully woven from one fabric with much care. India’s integration is only possible when it has been attained organically and when Indians do not betray a feeling of separate identity.” (Golwalkar MS, 2005, Shri Guruji Samagra Darshan, New Delhi, Suruchi Prakashan, Vol. 9: 173)
Sachar and Ranganath Misra have done a signal disservice to the integrity and unity of the nation by promoting a sectarian view, which will not achieve an integrally developed Bharat with equal opportunities for everyone to realise his or her full potential.
While the Constitution of India enacted for Independent India was a continuation of the 1935 Government of India Act, recognising scheduled castes and tribes as sections of the samajam requiring special attention for social advancement, the founding fathers were clear that the nation should not be founded on religious lines. The use of the term, ‘minority’ in Sachar and Ranganath Misra reports, is thus an aberration and an attempt to divide the nation by religious denominations.
Thus, the most dangerous foundations of the Sachar and Ranaganath Misra reports are founded on treating the state as composed of religious groupings.
Recommendations such as the ones to provide for 15 per cent reservation in educational institutions and public/private sector jobs to Muslims will cut into the quotas prescribed for SC’s and ST’s and OBC’s and will lead to unimaginable social upheaval, social disintegration, pitting as they do, the Muslims against the SC’s, ST’s and OBC’s for the available educational and job opportunities. This is hardly the way to provide for the nation’s abhyudayam.
Economic criteria provide for an alternative, equitable basis for making special provisions for the deprived sections of the samajam.
Muslims have to realise that they are citizens of the nation of Hindusthan and should have absolute allegiance to the nation and get involved in her abhyudayam. Shedding their have aloofness, they have to join the mainstream of the samajam as equal partners in the development enterprise. This calls for the spirit of camaraderie, comradeship evidenced by Sitaram Sharma: “Sitaram Sharma, a primary organiser of the local RSS, joins his family at the side of a (Sufi) saint’s tomb near Singhpur…There they place a garland or orange flowers atop embroidered sheets draped on the concrete-surfaced barrow of the tomb…One of the elder family members explains that … his family does this puja once a year in honour of this man who once helped them.” (Gottschalk, Peter, 2000, Beyond Hindu and Muslim, London, Oxford University Press, p. 49)
Will the Muslim community reciprocate the spontaneous gesture of citizens like Sitaram Sharma? This is the test for the Hindu Muslims to reiterate their patriotism to the nation. Their religious beliefs should not be a bar to this reiteration of patriotism in defence of the motherland, this punyabhumi Bharatam.
Lessons of history are profound. The nation has to internalise the lessons of history; in particular, the unique Islamic institution of jihadi war, dhimmitude and destruction of Hindu temples, Buddhist educational institutions as in Nalanda and Takshashila by some barbaric rulers of the medieval times. The examples of Islamic states in many parts of the world do not provide the confidence that non-Muslims in such states are not treated as a depressed class, but are given equal rights and treated humanely and with dignity. Hindu Muslims have an extra burden to atone for these excesses of the medieval barbarians. The acts of a Muslim majority state, Jammu & Kashmir following the tenets of falsely interpreted Islamic doctrines of governance do not give the confidence that Hindu Muslims whose ancestors were Hindu have realised that their first allegiance should be to the nation of Hindusthan and not allow religious fanatics to dictate patterns of behaviour to the ordinary Hindu Muslims.
A nation has to be woven into a fabric woof by warp and everyone has a role to play in this nation-building. It is a travesty of justice that Justices Sachar and Ranganath Misra have failed to recognise the fundamental requirement of adherence to the Constitution. Their recommendations violate the basic features of the Constitution of Hindusthan and should be rejected outrightly.
Sheikh al-Qaradawi, head of the European Fatwa Council, in an inflammatory sermon on February 3, 2006 in the wake of Danish cartoons said: “Allah has also made the prophet Muhammad into an epitome for religious warriors (Mujahideen) since he ordered Muhammed to fight for religion.” Why should there be a fight for religion? In the context of Hindusthan, if there is a justification for fight for religion, it is for the Hindus to demand the restoration of every temple destroyed by the Muslim invaders. Why should the Islamic ulema indulge in such inflammatory rhetoric poisoning the minds of peace-loving Muslims the world over? Hindu Muslims should introspect and decide on the role to be played by the ulema in dictating political behaviour of ordinary citizens. In his last sermon to his people at Mount Arafat on 632CE (10 AH), Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) stated: “All mankind is from Adam and Eve, an Arab has no superiority over a non-Arab nor a non-Arab has any superiority over an Arab; also a white has no superiority over a black nor a black has any superiority over white except by piety and good action.”
The terms such as ‘minority’, or ‘religious minority’ have no place within the framework of the Constitution of Hindusthan founded on dharma. Dharma is that which leads to abhyudayam (development) and nihshreyas (self-liberation). This is beyond religion, the very foundation for a just and equitable society in which people of all faiths can live in harmony and participate in the yajna, the great yajna for achieving developed Hindusthan.
Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee, Chief Minister of West Bengal, observed that the Sachar Committee report ignores the Muslim peasantry who benefited from the state’s land reforms programme. Both Sachar and Ranganath Misra have ignored the basic fact of life in Hindusthan that the artisan and merchant guilds represent the organised private sector of the nation and there is no need to single out Hindu Muslims as a particular guild deserving of special attention, be they the zari workers of Varanasi, braziers of Moradabad, the leather-workers of Vellore, the glass workers of Ferozabad, or the weavers of Bhiwandi. Poverty is not religious-denomination specific. Poverty is endemic result many factors not excluding the social devastation caused by the colonial regime which excelled in implementing the divide-and-rule policy. Anecdotes do not make a policy. Can it be said that Hindu Muslims form an elite group citing Bollywood as the home of many wealthy actors whose religious affiliation is Hindu Muslim? This is an example of a misleading statistic. Hindu Muslims occupy a pride of place in the nation and it is their responsibility, their dharma to proclaim their allegiance to Hindusthan, first and foremost and they are certainly entitled to equal treatment under the law and equality of opportunity enshrined in the Constitution.
Sachar Committee’s response to their first term of reference is unconstitutional and is cited below:
Term of Reference No. 1 (original)
Criteria for identifying socially and economically backward classes among the religious and linguistic minorities 16.15. We recommend that in the matter criteria for identifying backward classes there should be absolutely no discrimination whatsoever between the majority community and the minorities; and, therefore, the criteria now applied for this purpose to the majority community – whatever that criteria may be – must be unreservedly applied also to all the minorities.
This in effect is a recommendation to create two sets of citizenships in the nation and virtually declares Hindus Muslims to be scheduled castes which violates the very framework of the Constitution which has clear and unambiguous definitions of the terms: SC and ST.
If perverted reports like those of Justices like Sachar and Ranganath Misra indulge in travesty of justice, who will save the law of the motherland? Ours is a nation governed by the will of the people. These justices may come and go, the nation is inexorably an essential unity, adhering to only one global ethic-dharma. The people of Hindusthan, Hindu Muslims in particular, should reject both Sachar and Ranganath Misra reports.
It is the dharma of Hindu Muslims to preserve and foster the integrity and unity of the nation of Hindusthan.
(The writer is director of Saraswati Shodh Sansthan.)