Guruji: A drishta-X
Guruji believed all Indians part of Mother Hindu Society: History and Judiciary validate him.
Guruji’s philosophy of integration of this ancient nation is not only the most original, but equally it is the most truthful account of the nature and history of the social and cultural relations that bound all people in this country into one large society and great nation. When national leaders were perplexed about the Hindu and Muslim psychological divide, Guruji emphatically and courageously declared that like all people living in this country, Muslims included, are descendents of the same forefathers. (Bunch of Thoughts, p 209-10). And, therefore, difference of faiths notwithstanding their history, traditions, culture, way of life and mother society constituted their common heritage and defined their nationhood. (Ibid, p175).
Guruji urged that Rashtra Dharma (duty to the nation), Samaj Dharma (duty to the society) and Kula Dharma (duty to ancestors) bound all people of the country together as one people and therefore, as one nation. He asserted that their personal faiths (Vyakti Dharma) differed but did not detract from this commonalty. Guruji said that the concept applied as much to Muslims as to all others. (Ibid, p173). Fundamentally, the ideology of nationalism philosophised by Guruji included all people born in this country despite some of them professing alien faiths. (Ibid, p208) Guruji considered religious minority in Hindu society as contradiction in terms because, in Hindu view, all faiths are as equally respected, which ruled out religious discrimination in Hindu Nation (Ibid, p51/208/211)
History Endorses Guruji
The ‘so-called minorities’, Guruji declared, are therefore part of the mother Hindu society. There was and is no racial or ethno-religious issue in India. Guruji said that the all-comprehensive Hindu had the potentiality to assimilate and did assimilate even the racially and ethnically aliens from outside. (Ibid p226). History, mostly written later, proved Guruji right. Aliens like Greeks, Parthians, Sakas, Kushanas, Hunas and Gurjaras were gradually assimilated into the Hindu society. (Ancient India, author: RC Majumdar, Publisher: Motilal Banarsidass Publications, 1994). The Hindu caste system had the capacity to absorb socially and assimilate culturally all alien groups. (Society in India. Vol 2, Change and Continuity by David G Mandelbaum (1970) University of California Press, California, p629). Later, alien entrants, Parsis and Jews, too were assimilated into the main society. Jews were treated as a separate jati in the society. (The Jews of China, Volume 1, by Jonathan Goldstein p108, Publisher: ME Sharpe, p108). The way the Hindu society had accommodated them, would characterise Parsis as a jati. (State and Society in India, by AR Desai, p560, Publisher: Popular Prakashan, p564). Unlike the aliens, Muslims, descendents of the same forefathers as of the Hindus, were umbilically tied to Hindus. As late as in early 20th century, all Muslims – yes all Muslims – in undivided India had acknowledged what Guruji had said later, namely that Muslims were of the same blood as Hindus, sharing with them common ancestry; and they were not foreigners. In the census of India in 1901, out of some 6.6 crore Muslims living in undivided India, only 3.5 lakh had claimed to be descendents of Mughals (Hindu Culture During and after Muslim Rule: Survival and Subsequent Challenges, Ram Gopal, MD Publications Pvt. Ltd., 1994). That is, just one in two hundred Muslims had claimed foreign origin and the rest had voluntarily identified themselves with local – read Hindu – culture. It is Islamic politics that gradually forced the Muslims to disclaim their Hindu past and the national leadership failed to recognise and check it. (Bunch of Thoughts. Introduction p.xxxv)
Judicial Findings Affirm Guruji
Even as Islmic separatism of the 20th century was a psychological line between the Muslims and the mother Hindu society, ironically, Courts all over undivided India were simultaneously establishing the truth that the Indian Muslims were rooted in mother Hindu society’s culture. In the year 1917, the Privy Council found, in what is popularly known as the Kutchi Memon’s case, that the (only) holy book of Cutchi Memon Muslims was not Koran, but their own holy text titled Dasavatara, in which nine avatars, including Sri Krishna, were common between them and Hindus! For Memon Muslims, the tenth avatar was Ali, and for Hindus, Kalki! (Ayodhya and the Future of India, Centre for Policy Studies, p172). The Court therefore found that only the Hindu law, not the Islamic Shariat, applied to succession and inheritance of Cutchi Memon Muslims. Islamic clergy attempted to obliterate this socio-cultural truth by pressurising the British government to pass a law enable Cutchi Memon Muslims to opt out of Hindu law and into the Shariat, by filing an affidavit. And, 50 years later, in 1972, the Supreme Court found that, in mass conversions like that of Khojas and Cutchi Memons, the converts retained a part of their original personal law according to their habits, traditions and the surroundings. The Court also cited that, in that case, the Cutchi Memon petitioner had not filed any affidavit opting out of Hindu law. (1972 AIR SC 2229). The Cutchi Memon ruling was no exception. During the pre-Independence period, courts repeatedly found that Muslims in undivided India were following, not the Shariat law, but the Hindu law in matters of succession and inheritance – a clear evidence of their Hindu cultural past.
Here is a catalogue of the numerous judicial rulings and laws which proved that the Indian Muslims were rooted in their Hindu socio-cultural past. (i) The local Hindu Law of “Marumakathayam”, not the Islamic Shaiat, prevailed among the Moplah Muslims of Malabar (Kerala). (ii) In Punjab and the North-West Frontier Provinces (in Pakistan) too local (Hindu) customs of Muslims prevailed over Shariat. (iii) In Punjab, the Hindu law on property applied to Muslims’ widows, not the Shariat. (iv) In Avadh province (Uttar Pradesh) too like in Punjab, the Hindu law, not Shariat, applied to Muslim widows. (v) The Oudh (Avadh) Estates Act expressly excluded the Muslims from the application of the Shariat law. (vi) In case of Sunni Bohras and Molisalam Giriasias in Gujarat too the Hindu law prevailed over the Shariat. (vii) Halai Memons, like the Cutchi Memons, too were governed by Hindu law, not by Shariat. (viii) The customary law (read Hindu law) of the East and West Punjab (India and Pakistan) prevailed over the Shariat on Iddat (alimony payment to Muslim divorcee). (ix) Courts in Madras (most of South India) refused to apply the Shariat law principle which mandated that Muslims should sell their property only to Muslims first. (x) In the East and West Punjab (India and Pakistan) the prevailing (Hindu) custom of adoption among the Muslims, not approved by the Shariat, was recognised. (xi) The (Hindu) custom of writing Wills, not approved by that Shariat, was prevalent among the Muslims in the East and West Punjab (India and Pakistan). (xii) In Calcutta, Madras and Bombay, local customs (read Hindu customs) prevailed over the Shariat. (Bengal, Maharashtra, Gujarat, and South India). (xiii) In the moffusil areas of Madras local customs (read Hindu customs) prevailed over the Shariat. (xiv) In the East Punjab too, local customs (read Hindu customs) prevailed over the Shariat. (xv) Legislated law in Ajmer-Mewar (Rajasthan) and Oudh (UP) recognised local customs (read Hindu customs) that prevailed over the Shariat, as in the East Punjab. (xvi) In Madhya Pradesh also local customs (read Hindu customs) conflicting with the Shariat prevailed. (xvii) The Shariat Act of 1937 even today does not apply to agricultural land, and therefore, Shariat Law does not apply to Muslim agriculturists anywhere in India. (xviii) The Kambojis of Malerkotla, being predominantly agriculturists, are governed by local (read Hindu) customs, not Shariat in matters of inheritance. (xix) Despite the enactment of the Shariat Act in 1937, the Cooch Bihar Muslims were governed only by the Hindu law of inheritance till as recently as – believe it! – July 1, 1980, when West Bengal notified the Shariat Law for Cooch Bihar. Muslims living in UP, East or West Punjab, East or West Bengal, North-West Frontier, Rajasthan, South India, Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, Karnataka, or Kerala and Muslim agriculturists as a class – representing almost the entire Muslim population of undivided India – were covered by these judicial findings which traced the ancestry to Hindu forefathers.
Muslims Undeniably Part of the Mother Hindu Society
How true Guruji had been? The judicial finding that, in succession and inheritance, the Hindu law, not immutable Shariat law, was practised by Muslims in undivided India confirmed Guruji’s view that the Muslims were the descendents of Hindu forefathers. Additionally, it proved that they also retained Hindu living traits. But, Islamic politics first prevented the Muslims from acknowledging this truth in public. Later, to erase the irrefutable truth of their Hindu past and to snap the Muslim cultural link with the mother Hindu society the Jinnah-led Muslim League demanded and got the British to pass the All India Shariat Act of 1937 to impose the Shariat law on all Muslims. This later became the foundation for separate Muslim nation. (Ayodhya and the Future of India, Centre for Policy Studies, p172-174) Ironically Jinnah himself was a Kutchi Memon Muslim whose only holy book was Dasavatara! But, looked at closely, the Shariat Act is implicitly an admission of the historical truth that the Muslims being converts, followed their original Hindu law of succession and therefore a statutory Shariat law had to be passed to force them out of Hindu law. But despite the Shariat and the creation of Pakistan, a large number of Muslims still cannot but acknowledge their Hindu past. It is evident from the Sachar Committee Report on Minorities (2005) which found that more than 40 per cent of the Muslims identified themselves, as belonging to Hindu backward caste. (Social, Economic and Educational Status of the Muslim Community of India – A Report, Prime Minister’s High Level Committee Cabinet Secretariat, Government of India November, 2006; p224) So, Guruji’s view that Muslims are converts and their forefathers were Hindus stands admitted by Muslims themselves and proved by judicial rulings and laws passed by the British government.
Guruji’s inclusive philosophy to integrate the Muslims into the mainstream Hindu society through the ancestral and cultural relations has been endorsed by courts and testified to by history.