Dr B R Ambedkar was known for his profound understanding of Islam that he extensively used in his writings. His monumental work, ‘Pakistan or Partition of India’ stands witness to his deep knowledge in the subject.
‘Pakistan or Partition of India’ was first published as Thoughts on Pakistan in 1940, when India was teetering on the edge of Partition.
Dhananjay Keer’s famous biography titled ‘Dr. Babasaheb Ambedkar: Life and Mission’, the one and only authentic biography read and approved by Dr. Ambedkar, offers a glimpse into the churning process he underwent while writing the book.
“This historic book castigates the anti-reformist tendency of the Muslims. It observes that the dominating influence with the Muslims is not democracy. The predominant interest of Muslims is religion, their politics being essentially clerical. The Muslims are opposed to social reform, and are an unprogressive people all over the world.
To the Muslims, the book states, Islam is a world religion, suitable for all peoples for all times and for all conditions. The brotherhood of Islam is not the universal brotherhood of man. It is the brotherhood of Muslims for Muslims only. For non-Muslims, there is nothing but contempt and enmity. The Muslim has allegiance to a nation which is ruled by a Muslim; a land not ruled by a Muslim is his enemy land. The book, therefore, concludes that Islam can never allow a true Muslim to adopt India as his Motherland and regard a Hindu as his kith and kin. The spirit of aggression is a Muslim’s natural endowment. He takes advantage of the weakness of the Hindus and follows gangsterism,” Keer provided a summary of the book.
Dr Ambedkar minced no words in stating his opinions about the teachings of Mohammad, the founder of Islam, and the regressive and undemocratic nature of Islam. In the book, he has openly criticised Muslim fanaticism and exposed Islam’s crimes against India and the persecution of Hindus under Islamic rule.
For instance, Dr Ambedkar has quoted Kazi’s reply to Sultan Alauddin to describe the plight of the Hindus under barbaric Islamic rule: ‘They (Hindus) are the most inveterate enemies of the Prophet, and because the Prophet has commanded us to slay them, plunder them, and make them captive, saying, ‘Convert them to Islam or kill them, and make them slaves, and spoil their wealth and property’!
“These ideas were well expressed by the Kazi in reply to a question put by Sultan Ala-ud-Din wanting to know the legal position of the Hindus under Muslim law. The Kazi said :— “They are called payers of tribute, and when the revenue officer demands silver from them they should without question, and with all humility and respect, tender gold. If the officer throws dirt in their mouths, they must without reluctance open their mouths wide to receive it…..The due subordination of the Dhimmi is exhibited in this humble payment, and by this throwing of dirt into their mouths. The glorification of Islam is a duty, and contempt for religion is vain. God holds them in contempt, for he says, ‘Keep them in subjection’. To keep the Hindus in abasement is especially a religious duty, because they are the most inveterate enemies of the Prophet, and because the Prophet has commanded us to slay them, plunder them, and make them captive, saying, ‘ Convert them to Islam or kill them, and make them slaves, and spoil their wealth and property’. No doctor but the great doctor (Hanifah), to whose school we belong, has assented to the imposition of jizya on Hindus; doctors of other schools allow no other alternative but ‘Death or Islam’.” *
Such is the story of this period of 762 years which elapsed between the advent of Muhammad of Ghazni and the return of Ahmadshah Abdalli,” quoted Ambedkar in his book.
Further, Dhananjay Keer revealed that some ‘penetrating and caustic paragraphs’ were deleted from the book at the request of Ambedkar’s close admirers. This means, the presently available volume of ‘Pakistan or Partition of India’ was subject to censorship which was imposed out of pressure from his well-wishers! According to Keer, if the book was not censored, Ambedkar would have experienced what H. G. Wells experienced at the hands of Muslims in London!
“Some penetrating and caustic paragraphs describing the regressive bent of the Muslim mind, however, were deleted, it is said, at the instance of Ambedkar’s close admirers. Otherwise the author of Thoughts on Pakistan would have experienced what H. G. Wells experienced at the hands of Muslims in London,” writes the biographer.
What H G Wells experienced at the hands of Muslims in London?
South Asian working class Muslims took to the streets of London to protest against a book written by H G Wells, that allegedly contained ‘insulting remarks’ about Muhammed, the founder of Islam! The incident took place in August, 1938.
According to the Guardian of 13 August 1938, they ‘ceremoniously committed to the flames’ a copy of H. G. Wells’s A Short History of the World because of references to the Prophet Muhammad which they considered offensive. This was followed by a protest march by members of the organisation to India House, Aldwych, which accommodated the Indian High Commission in London’s West End. Contrary to the public perception that Britain’s Muslim minority began to find a voice of dissent only as recently as the 1980s, here we have evidence of a group of working-class East End Muslims marching west into the heart of London to assert their rights as Muslims and plead their cause with government officials.
In ‘A Short History of the World’, first published in 1922, a chapter entitled ‘Muhammad and Islam’, offers a glimpse into the life and teachings of Muhammad. Wells introduced Muhammad as a man of ‘very considerable vanity, greed, cunning, self-deception and quite sincere religious passion’. For wells, Quran was ‘unworthy of its alleged Divine authorship’.
Interestingly, it was Indian Muslims who cried foul over alleged blasphemy in the book, baying for the blood of H G Wells. A report says, ‘The London-based demonstrations were triggered by protests in Calcutta, which themselves had been sparked by articles in the Indian press about the offensive passages in Wells’s book, recently translated into Hindustani. Later, they spread further afield, to east Africa and Sindh province in what is now Pakistan.’