I would have liked to address this letter to dear Bhatkal but he is not dear to me in any sense. I have friends in Bhatkal and this man has brought disgrace not only to his own family but to all Bhatkalites, both Muslim and Hindu. His record as a terrorist is there for all to see: 210 killed, 805 seriously injured in seven lethal attacks, executed with utter ruthlessness. What have you gained through this, Yasin? What have you gained also by your closeness to Dawood Ibrahim and Jamaat ud Dawa chief Hafeez Saed, not to speak of the ISI? A few million rupees? A reputation as a ruthless murderer?
I see that somewhere you have made some referendum to your dislike of certain institutions thereby meaning you do not approve of certain aspects of administration in India. Won’t you please come out with what has hurt you? At least, then, those who want peace will know what has given you offence and try to make some genuine recompense. The fact seems to be that Muslims and Hindus have yet to come to terms with each other and with history.
Believe me, all Hindus want peace. Why, specifically do you want to bleed India with a thousand cuts? Many Muslims, surely also want peace. Terrorism, such as what you have practiced, in a way has been a flea-bite and yet you have indulged in it with a vengeance? What is it that bothers you? Have things gone your way even after all the violence you have unleashed? Not at all. Then why not state your problem? Muslims are treated well in India, unlike Hindus in Pakistan where they have been reduced to a tinniest minority of 2.8 per cent. In India several districts in north India, especially in Bihar, Muslims form the majority. Don’t blame Hindus, if in the past, Muslims have done poorly. Things aren’t all that bad. In Rajasthan, for instance, there are more Muslims than Hindu landlords. In Gujarat, Muslim businessmen are thriving. The Muslim record in ‘Hindu’ India surpasses even Hindu record under Islamic rule of over 650 years, in India. Barring the disputed structure there hasn’t been any Muslim structure which has been destroyed. May I remind you of Islamic rule in India when several hundred Hindu temples were destroyed, including some in the most sacred Hindu city, Banaras?
The Mughals imposed Persian on the people; conversion was undertaken almost blatantly. Even long after the Mughals had disappeared from the scene, in Hyderabad, the Nizam imposed Urdu on his state, ignoring the people’s language, Telugu. Under the British rule, no one stopped Muslims from learning English, but the Muslim elite wouldn’t accept it. The Hindus did—and prospered. Muslim elite considered it demeaning and your religious leaders scoffed at all attempts by some enterprising Muslims to acquire a modern education.
As Tariq Hasan has noted in his work The Aligarh Movement, the Muslim elite just could not accept the fact that it was no longer ruling the country. Now we learn that the Muslims of all classes do not wish to be ruled by Hindus either. If that is what moves you to anger, you had better realise that the world has changed. For your information there are no ‘Hindu rulers’ in the country which, in clean elections gets candidates elected to posts. Laws passed are ‘secular’. The last sixty odd years of rule in India is a million times better than the 650 years of Islamic rule in India where religion ruled the roost.
Hatred, Bhatkal, destroys those who hate more than those who are hated. Hindus and Muslims can live in peace doing good to each other in the process. Together we can beat the world. Think it over.
The first thing you must remember is that Hinduism cannot be destroyed, not even by a million cuts. Nor can Indian unity. Do you remember Jinnah’s very first speech to the Constituent Assembly of Pakistan on August 11, 1947 when he said: “You may belong to any religion or caste or creed – that has nothing to do with the business of the state….We should keep that in front of us as our ideal and you will find that in course of time, Hindus would cease to be Hindus and Muslims would cease to be Muslims, not in the religious sense because that is the personal faith of each individual, but in the political sense as citizens of the state.”
India is observing that advice. Think over it, Bhatkal. You may still improve and, who knows, begin to heal wounds rather than inflict them upon the innocents.