Guruji: A dhrashta—XIX
Supreme Court, well-meaning Muslims now accept
Rafiq Zakaria told Muslims to join ’national mainstream’; Guruji told them decades ago! Almost half a century ago, Guruji clearly saw the truth, which the Supreme Court perceived only in 2005, that there is no religious “majority or minority” in India. This, he said, “is because of love and respect for all religious beliefs is ingrained” in Hindu India – again a fact noted by the Supreme Court in the Hindutva case – and also because “one cannot be a son of this soil at all who is intolerant of other faiths”.
Guruji had also warned that unless the minority consciousness is contained, the “so-called minorities are bound to become more and more hardened in their separate shells of religion and turn into a dreadful source of disruption of our body-politic”. How profound! This was endorsed by the Supreme Court in 2005, as we shall see later here – but over three decades after Guruji passed away. Guruji was also clear that National “Integration is nothing less than strengthening the spirit of identification with this true national mainstream, its tradition and its aspirations”. Guruji advised the Muslims “to give up their notions of being religious minorities and identify with the national mainstream”. That what Guruji called as “separate shells” of religion decades before is what has now become popularly known, in the case of Muslims, as “muslim ghetto mentality”.
In his article titled “Muslims must give up their ghetto mentality” [Hindustan Times dt 27.1.2011] Firoze Bhakt Ahmed cites the book Indian Muslims: Where Have They Gone Wrong?” written by Rafique Zakaria, an eminent Muslim scholar, in the year 2004. Bhatkt pointedly draws attention to Zakaria’s advice to Muslims that the need of the hour was for “Muslims to become an integral part of the mainstream” and “break the barriers of alienation”. Zakaria notes that Indian Muslims must realise that an increasing number of Hindus have begun hating them because of their obscurantist approach. Guruji told the Muslims to give up their minority shell mentality and Rafiq Zakaria counselled them to break the barriers of alienation; Guruji told them to identify with the national mainstream and Zakaria told them join the national mainstream. But Zakaria endorsed Guruji three decades after Guruji had passed away. Guruji, unlike Zakaria, never used the word “hate” nor did he warn the Muslims. On the contrary he counselled the Hindus, “Any attempt at reorganisation of our society on the basis of hatred of the British or the Muslims would be to court degeneration and disaster. For, that would only pollute our minds by the constant remembering of their heinous crimes.” Till, by wisdom bestowed by turn of events, they saw hatred emerging in the otherwise composed Hindu mind, all well-meaning Muslims kept quiet. Yet, the fact that the isolationalist approach of the Muslims from the mainstream needs to go and that it invites the wrath of the Hindus is now being debated in the Islamic society, is extremely encouraging.
“Well-meaning” Muslims now think like Guruji did on decades ago
NewAgeIslam.com is a website of Muslims whom Guruji would see as ‘well-meaning’ and who are concerned “at the present state of affairs in which the very word Muslim has become synonymous with terrorism, backwardness and ignorance.” Yoginder Sikand, who works for the Centre for the Study of Social Exclusion at the National Law School Bangalore, has written a profound, analytical review of a book on India’s Muslim ghettos, in New Age Islam site [May 16, 2011]. In his review, Sikand tellingly captures the Muslim psyche and behviour. He points out that the reviewed book attributes deprivation of Muslims almost entirely to anti-Muslim discrimination by the state and the Hindu society, and counters that, that is not the sole factor. He says that the roots of anti-Muslim psyche need to be understood – not just dismissed as sheer, unfounded prejudice. He says that simply accusing the Hindus of discrimination only helps to avoid the much-needed task of introspection and internal reform among Muslims. He points out that many progressive – ‘well-meaning’ as Guruji would say – Muslim scholars urge Muslims to undergo such introspection if they are to come out of the morass that they are stuck in. Sikand says that laying the blame on factors external to the Muslim community only helps to sidestep the role of Muslim political and religious leaders who reinforce Muslim backwardness and ‘self-exclusion’ by focussing their energies and their community’s on Islamic religion and Muslim identity, ignoring substantive real-world issues. Sikand laments that the book is completely silent on Muslim trend towards ‘self-exclusion’ – “hardening in separate shells” as Guruji would say and “ghetto mentality” as Feroze Bhakt would – which is central to Muslim marginalisation. Such trends, Sikand avers, are rooted in the notions of Muslims being different, their communal supremacism and their cultural separatism. This self-exclusion, Sikand points out, gains support from certain dominant interpretation of Islam which creates and constantly stresses on distinctions between Muslims and others, thus ruling out healthy inter-community interaction, which in turn inevitably reinforces Muslim backwardness as well as anti-Muslim prejudice. Is that precisely not what Guruji was urging upon the Muslims – not to live in shells and consider themselves as culturally, religiously and communally seperate, but merge into the mainstream?
No majority-minority in India, said Guruji half a century ago; the Supreme Court says so, now!
Decades earlier Guruji decried the minority consciousness, asserted that there was no majority or minority, and asked the Muslims and Christians to give up all their notions of being religious minorities and join the national mainstream. Now, in the year 2005, the Supreme Court said exactly what Guruji had said about the dangers of religious minority consciousness and on the need to do away with the majority-minority divide altogether. In that case, the Court was considering the recommendation of the National Commision of Minorities [NCM] to expand the list of minorities to include the Jain sect as minority. The Court felt constrained to advise the Minority Commission that its job was not to expand, but to do away with, the list of minorities. It is worth quoting the Court in extenso, as Court endorses what Guruji had said, namely that there is and should be no minority-majority in India. The court said:
“Ideal of a democratic society, which has adopted right to equality as its fundamental creed, should be elimination of majority and minority and so called forward and backward classes. ……… We have to develop such enlightened citizenship where each citizen of whatever religion or language is more concerned about his duties and responsibilities to protect rights of the other group than asserting his own rights……The constitutional ideal, which can be gathered from…… Fundamental Rights and Fundamental Duties, is to create social conditions where there remains no necessity to shield or protect rights of minority or majority. …..Commissions set-up for minorities have to direct their activities to maintain integrity and unity of India by gradually eliminating the minority and majority classes….. A claim by one group of citizens would lead to a similar claim by another group of citizens and conflict and strife would ensue……All are minorities amongst Hindus. Many of them claim such status because of their small number and expect protection from the State on the ground that they are backward. If each minority group feels afraid of the other group, an atmosphere of mutual fear and distrust would be created posing serious threat to the integrity of our Nation. That would sow seeds of multi-nationalism in India. It is, therefore, necessary that Minority Commission should act in a manner so as to prevent generating feelings of multinationalism in various sections of people of Bharat. The Commission….should suggest ways and means to help create social conditions where the list of notified minorities is gradually reduced and done away with altogether. ………Encouragement to such fissiparous tendencies [of claims of religious minority] would be a serious jolt to the secular structure of constitutional democracy. We should guard against making our country akin to a theocratic state based on multi-nationalism. Our concept of secularism, to put it in a nutshell, is that ‘state’ will have no religion. The states will treat all religions and religious groups equally and with equal respect without in any manner interfering with their individual rights of religion, faith and worship. Let the Commission gear its activities to keep them in right direction with the above constitutional perspective, principles and ideals in its view.
Decades ago, Guruji said that there was no minority-majority in Hindu India, that is, there should be no minority or majority distinction. Now, declaring that the majority-minority divide should go, the highest court directs the Minority Commission to bestow its energies to ensure that the majority-minority distinction is done away with. Is it not echoing what Guruji said? Again, Guruji had warned decades back that the so-called ‘minorities are bound to become more and more hardened in their separate shells of religion’ they would ‘turn into a dreadful source of disruption of our body-politic’. Zakaria has now confirmed as fact that the Muslims have ghetto mentality. And the Supreme Court now warns that encouragement of minority status based on religion would seriously affect the secular structure of constitutional democracy and turn our country into a multi-national country. Is it not a total endorsement of Guruji? And to reformulate their views, the enlightended Muslims and the Supreme Court had had the benefit of the nation’s demonstrable experience to realise how the ghetto or shell minority – read Muslim – consciousness had become divisive and how the special minority rights have been perverted. But Guruji had foreseen both happening, decades earlier.
 Sri Guruji and Indian Muslims by Rakesh Sinha p21 available at www.rss.org
 Bunch of Thoughts p208
 Ibid p218
 Ibid p208
 Bunch of Thoughts p393
 Bal Patil & Anr vs Union of India & Ors http://indianka-noon.org/doc/502741/