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Updated: August 30, 2011 15:19 IST

Muslims and Hindus are mature, the Sangh Parivar is not

A. Faizur Rahman
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SETTING AN EXAMPLE: A Hindu sadhu and a Muslim embrace outside a mosque. Photo: V. Sreenivasa Murthy
The Hindu SETTING AN EXAMPLE: A Hindu sadhu and a Muslim embrace outside a mosque. Photo: V. Sreenivasa Murthy

'If the Sangh Parivar is honest it can co-exist with Muslims on the basis of the values that Islam and Hinduism share'

Raji Raouf in his article “We Muslims are mature, we can take criticism” (The Hindu, August 7, 2011) cautioned Muslims against getting ruffled by provocative articles such as the recent one written by Dr. Subramanian Swamy in DNA which, among other things, sought disenfranchisement of Muslims for racist reasons. But then, of late Indian Muslims have shown a remarkable sense of maturity, be it the Mecca Masjid, Ajmer or Malegaon blasts or, for that matter, any other issue wherein they were wrongfully targeted. There have been no calls from Muslim organisations “to take up arms and to let all hell loose” and this controverts the caricature of their immaturity painted by Mr. Raouf in his article.

This, of course, is not to deny the existence of extremist Muslim outfits, but only to point out that the moderates are gradually gaining the upper hand in the struggle against extremism which is also evident from the fact that Muslims have not resorted to any kind of retaliatory mudslinging against Hindus to express their dissent against Dr. Swamy's incendiary article. And if “minority bodies” such as the National Commission for Minorities have issued notices to Dr. Swamy they have acted well within their rights to charge him for violating the Indian law by calling for the denial of rights to Muslims guaranteed under our Constitution. Therefore, Mr. Raouf is not justified in saying that “Muslims are being taken for a ride” by the minority bodies.

If truth be spoken, it is not a question of Muslims or Hindus displaying maturity when ridiculed. Indeed, both communities enjoy a great rapport at the people-to-people level. The big question is whether the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS)-backed Sangh Parivar is willing to let these communities live in harmony. Unfortunately, the saffronites are displaying a kind of majoritarian masculinity that seems to suggest that it is below their dignity to treat Muslims as equal citizens of this country. Demolition of mosques is being justified on the ground that a mosque is less sacred than a temple, and hence it may be bulldozed to make way for a holier place, the temple. The sad part is that persons spreading such disinformation know full well that it has the potential to disturb communal amity.

It must be said that if the Sangh Parivar is honest it can co-exist with Muslims on the basis of the values that Islam and Hinduism share. For instance, in a verse which could be described as the bedrock of inter-faith harmony, the Koran says that if God did not check the mischiefmongers “there would surely have been pulled down monasteries, churches, synagogues and mosques where the name of God is commemorated in abundant measure” (22:40). And it has been declared in the Bhagavad Gita that an absence of enmity for people (nirvairah sarvabhutesu), even though they might have done great harm, is one of the important virtues of the best of the devotees (XI-55).

Having said this, it may be misleading to see the communalism of Hindutva writers as purely a Hindu-Muslim problem. It actually concerns the entire nation, and could seriously affect its development if allowed to continue. It is common knowledge that poverty and backwardness in many African countries are mainly the result of continuous, violent, internal conflict. And nearer home, one of our own neighbours finds itself in deep trouble, financial and otherwise, for failing to contain sectarian violence, and in some cases promoting it as a matter of policy to further its vested interests.

The Sangh Parivar, therefore, must realise that by adhering to the Golwalkarian thought it is sowing the seeds of disharmony between Hindus and non-Hindus. It must understand that it would be unwise to continuously talk in terms of a Hindu Rashtra or a fantasised confrontation between Islam and Hinduism at a time when all our energies are required to be focussed on equitable distribution of the fruits of our nation's economic growth. In other words, it is time Hindutva ideologues gave up their anti-Muslim agenda and went beyond the idea of conflict resolution into the realm of conflict transformation, by which both communities join hands to work towards the larger goal of making India an epitome of peace, stability and progress.

(The author is secretary-general of the Forum for the Promotion of Moderate Thought among Muslims. He may be reached at faizz@rocketmail.com)

More In: Open Page | Opinion

Absolutely right. Being a Hindu, I had to disagree with Mr.Raouf's article.

from:  sp
Posted on: Aug 14, 2011 at 15:37 IST

An excellent article, pseudo-Hindu groups like the RSS were opposed from day one on the creation of a an independent secular India. Sardar Patel himself had written about the hatred that people of India felt when RSS workers had celebrated and distributed sweets when Gandhiji was assassinated and stomped on the Tricolor. As Hindus we should be ever vigilant that our religion does not get tarnished by such people and that they are marginaised. We certainly don't want to make India to become a Hindu version of Pakistan.

from:  Ankit
Posted on: Aug 14, 2011 at 15:34 IST

Anger, hatred, violence are all just FEAR. Fear is the root of all evils... Misunderstanding about true hinduism causes anti-muslim perception... Misunderstanding about true islam causes jihadist terrorist activities..........

from:  Praveen kumar r
Posted on: Aug 14, 2011 at 12:31 IST

The need for Sangh Parivar to change their perspective on the future of India is obvious. Muslims are more than 20 crores as per the last official count, in a population of 120 crores. Unofficial ('non'secular') estimates, which appear more credible, would put this figure between 25 crores to 30 crores. Hence Islam in India is a reality, you like it or not; and 'Hindu Rashtra' is a theoretical debate and unachievable dream. Many of the Hindus are themselves are not clear of what that means, and don't feel moved by it's goal. However, to say that moderates in Islam are gaining ground is not convincing either. Recent changes at Deoband defy this claim. Also, the fundamental reason for some of the Hindus to believe in Sangh's anti- muslim philosophy is the 'fundamentalist secular' brigade led by Indian (Anti) National Congress, which has always played the minority appeasement game; listing the number of instances would be futile and the space will not suffice. They must be reigned in.

from:  shailendram
Posted on: Aug 14, 2011 at 11:02 IST

At a personal level, Hindu-Muslim, and even Indian-Pakistani relations are very cordial. I do not believe there are any Muslim readers of this article who have no Hindu friends, or vice versa. Yet, at the communal level, for some bizzare reasons tensions exist. One only has to read the comments and discussions below all articles relating to Muslims-Hindu relations or Indo-Pak relations to see this. It will take a couple of generations of truly literate moderate people to eliminate this. One hopes that the absurd elements of the current generation do not indoctrinate their children wrongly, delaying the process. Eventually, our other-religion brothers/sisters are just that -- we live off the same land, share the same values, have the same blood. It doesn't make any sense to hate one another any more than it does for siblings to hate one another.

from:  BR
Posted on: Aug 14, 2011 at 08:25 IST

At least a few are concerned about the approach we take towards criticism,only a few are able to take it in a manner where one can extract the self-corrective things while leaving the remaining filler passionate words.A good article to read..............thanks for your views.

from:  Mihiran Pratap Vikram
Posted on: Aug 14, 2011 at 02:03 IST
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