Firoz Bakht Ahmed
Bhagwatji said that for the first time in the ninety-five-year history of the RSS, it so happened that he was releasing a book written on bridging the gaping holes between the Sangh Parivar and the Indian Muslims.
Something that has eluded the Hindu-Muslim amelioration mostly in the post-1947 phase was, in fact, historically created in the form of the release of, The Meeting of Minds–A Bridging Initiative by the RSS super brain and Sarsanghchalak, Dr Mohan Rao Bhagwat. Authored by Dr. Khwaja Iftikhar Ahmed, one of the few nationalist pulse readers of the Muslim community, the treatise has been an unflinching votary for building bridges between the RSS and Muslims. At a time when animosity between the Muslims of India and the ruling BJP and its conceptual guardian, the RSS seems to have been boiling in a cauldron in the aftermath of the decisions of the triple talaq, Ram temple and 370, the book is aimed at dousing those emotions — gradually but assuredly.
Speaking on occasion, Bhagwatji said that for the first time in the ninety-five-year history of the RSS, it so happened that he was releasing a book written on bridging the gaping holes between the Sangh Parivar and the Indian Muslims. He made it very clear that this release was neither an attempt of image building nor an attempt to seek electoral gain among the Muslim community in future elections — nevertheless, an honest attempt to reach out to Muslims, whose contribution to the nation is immense.
Without mincing his words, Bhagwat stated that the DNA of both Hindus and Muslims is the same, and therefore there’s no question of Hindus and Muslims being different. They are the two sides of the same Indian coin, and there is no room for Hindu or Muslim domination. His resolve to call all the Indians as Hindus was firm cultural parameters. Besides, regarding lynching, Bhagwat made it clear that it was unacceptable. Whosoever came to India became part and parcel of the nation, irrespective of any caste or creed binding.
“India, by all means, is a Hindu Rashtra. All Indians are Hindus, and we stand by this ideology. There is no question of any repentance on that! Sangh does not care for reactions or fallouts! What it does, accomplishes for the good of humanity,” Bhagwat made this fact crystal clear.
The book, focusing on the nation’s history between 1920 to 2020 with the mention of Bahadur shah Zafar, who glued the Hindu-Muslim diaspora with a unique togetherness against the English, mentions that bad blood began with the establishment of the Khilafat Movement by Muslims, providing an adequate floor to the Hindu radicalism. The emergence of Hindu Mahasabha and RSS are its offshoots to fight for Hindu Asmita (identity).
Chapter-4, Secularism — not alien to India, extensively covers the efforts of the Indian National Movement under Mahatma Gandhi and the simultaneous evolution of the ideology of Hindutva running parallel with the All India Muslim League’s demand for a separate Muslim state, strengthening the rise of the RSS-BJP and Sangh Parivar. What is rued is the erosion of the Hindu-Muslim amity gelling so well during Bahadur shah Zafar tenure, ultimately ending in the vivisection of the Indian subcontinent despite Maulana Azad—shouting that the water cannot be cut in twain!
The infamous Partition leaves behind wounds, including the baggage of the responsibility of the division victimising Muslims and Urdu language — still awaiting a healing touch and kiss of life! The so-called six-decade-long secular polity gave way owing to its glaring loopholes of treating Muslims as fodder for their vote bank paradigm, resulting in the begging bowl of Sachar Committee, reservations and many commissions; which were no more than omissions or artificial moustaches!
The disillusion of Muslims with the Congress and lack of faith in the RSS-BJP combine and the so-called other secular outfits have left the brilliant Muslim community at crossroads. It has been detailed in the chapter; Congress fails to read the writing on the wall. It aims at minimizing the widened wedge between the millions of followers of the Parivar and the 250 million Muslims of India. Unfortunately, the soft Hindutva shift by the secular politicians and the politicians and their distancing from Muslims on public platforms makes a man in the street feel abandoned by those he had trusted and blindly supported for decades. The community feels that it has been left to fend for itself. The increasing gulf and distrust among the two has created a nationwide atmosphere of hostility, something neither good for the nation nor the two.
The author also attempts to achieve the goal of mutual harmony by picking up all the issues dividing the loyalties towards each other and causing bitterness among the two sister communities on issues like every Indian being a Hindu, Religion first or the State, CCA, Vande Matram, Ghar Vapsi, love Jihad, conversion, controversial Quranic verses, cow slaughter and vigilantism, counterclaims on thousands of places of worship, Muslims and their relationship with Muslim countries, mob lynching, Ayodhya and many more. He views Ayodhya mandir-masjid imbroglio that instead of the apex court settlement, a mutual effort of resolving would have increased the faith and trust and milk of concord between the two major Indian communities.
When asked about the 26 verses in the news, Khwaja Iftikhar stated that right from Abul Kalam to Abdul Kalam, Quran runs in the veins of fifty thousand, Ulema (clerics) sacrificing their lives in the 1857 War of Independence, sixty-one thousand names of Muslim freedom fighters are engraved on India Gate. The stories of bravery and sacrifice written by Brigadier Usman, Ashfaqullah Khan, Hawaldar Hamid and Captain Javed vouch for the patriotic zeal of Indian Muslims. The valour with which Muslim soldiers and generals in the Indian Army, Navy and Air Force are giving their awake round the clock so that we are able to sleep soundly is a testament to Muslims’ never say die commitment. “Quran teaches us, hubb-ul-watni/ Nisf-ul-imaan, meaning absolute loyalty to the State.
(The writer is the grandnephew of Maulana Azad and the chancellor of MANUU)