by Zawahir Siddique (Special Reports, Crescent International Vol. 38, No. 7, Ramadan, 1430)
The Muslims’ situation in India requires thorough examination. This is perhaps the most demanding task lying ahead of the Islamic movement in India. The recent Muslim-cleansing pogrom in Gujrat has now been whitewashed from the media. While the Muslims in Gujrat continue to suffer the ongoing brutality of the Brahminist-inspired anti-Muslim regime, the world’s attention has been deliberately diverted to the ‘threat’ of nuclear war. More than 1,300 military troops were also diverted from relief operations in Gujrat to service in the Indian-occupied Kashmir.
After demoralising the Muslims in Gujrat, the Brahminist forces immediately pounced on the Muslims of Kashmir, making many arrests under the draconian Prevention of Terrorism ordinance (POTO). On June 21 information and broadcasting minister Sushma Swaraj "assured" a delegation of the Delhi union of journalists that action would be taken against the Tihar jail authorities for their ill-treatment of Iftikhar Geelani, chief of bureau of the Kashmir Times, and other journalists while in custody. The Gujrat government on June 17 ordered the closure of eight relief-camps in Ahmedabad, although their inmates have still not received any compensation to help them to repair or reconstruct their lives.
On June 9, four years after the Pokhran nuclear tests, prime minister A. B. Vajpayee called on Dr Abdul Kalam and announced the appointment of "India’s missile man" as the twelfth president of India. Critics saw this move as a ploy to pursue its aggressive ‘nationalism’ by appointing the father of the Indian missile-programme as the supreme commander of the armed forces and at the same time to whitewash the genocide in Gujrat by elevating a man from the ‘minority’ community to the presidency. An RSS journal praised the presidential candidate as a "model Muslim". Kalam was not impressed, saying that it does not matter whether he is a Hindu or a Muslim as long as he remains a "good human being".
In spite of being the nation’s top scientist, his lifestyle remains unaffected, says K Rama Rao, former associate director at the Defence Research and Development Laboratories and Kalam’s classmate at theMadras Institute of Technology: "I have known him for more than three decades, but find him the same from the simple and unassuming fellow who shared a room with me in 1954 to the one who became my boss in the ‘80s. He would never show any signs of being a Muslim. I have not seen him offering prayers...nor fasting during Ramzan and we used to call him Kalam Iyer because he moved around with Brahmins and only had vegetarian food." These are the qualities of a "great Muslim scientist" for whom the Muslim ‘leaders’ are preparing a celebration on being ‘honoured’ as the Muslim president of ‘secular’ India.
L.K. Advani, the home minister of India, proclaimed a year ago: "There is only one India and its entire population should accept Ram as their hero." He was clearly trying to force the Muslims to adopt cultural assimilation to the Indian’ ethos, and trying to make them abandon their claims to the 474-year-old Babri Mosque, which had been built by a ‘foreign’ (Muslim) invader. No Muslim ‘leader’ opposed this statement by Advani, who was the mastermind behind the destruction of the Babri Mosque in 1992; the Muslims who could have challenged him are all already in Indian jails.
Maulana Wahiduddin Khan, a ‘renowned Muslim scholar’, has proposed a three-point formula to ‘resolve’ the Babri Mosque ‘dispute’. He suggested that the three groups — the Muslim leadership, the Hindu leadership and the government — sign a pact. The Muslims should give up their claims to the mosque and allow a Ram Temple to be built on the site, thus promoting ‘communal harmony’; the Hindus should assure the Muslims that they will not destroy any other mosque and will be content with the Ram Temple, thus living in ‘peace’ with Muslims. And the role of the government would be to implement this pact. This is just one example of how the Muslim ‘leaders’ in India guide their people.
Akbar S Ahmed, a Muslim sociologist from Pakistan, said recently: "The Muslim intellectual confronting the world today is wandering between two worlds, one dead and the other powerless to be born." Ahmed’s statement may not apply to most of the intellectuals and leaders of the Muslim world today, but it definitely suits the Muslim ‘leaders’ in India. There is hardly any Muslim intellectual or leader, living outside jail and inside India, who would not declare that Kashmir is an ‘integral’ part of India and that Pakistan should stop its ‘cross-border terrorism’. The Muslim leaders are unanimous when it comes to declaring that Partition in 1947 was a grave mistake in Muslim history.
During the Kargil war almost every juma gathering in Indian mosques raised funds for the ‘martyrs’ of the Indian army. Brahminist fanatics justified the burning of mushafs of the Qur’an in various parts of India last year in protest against the destruction of the Buddhist statues in Bamiyan (Afghanistan). Instead of confronting the Brahminists on these issues, the Muslim leaders joined their enemies to condemn theTaliban and called the Qur’an-burning ‘episode’ an inevitable consequence of developments in Afghanistan. The lack of vision and the ignorance of Muslim leaders in India are amazing.
The extermination of Muslims from India was planned (though it can never be achieved) by the Brahminists as long ago as the 1930s. As V. T. Rajashekar, the editor of Dalit Voice, analysed: "Islam’s ejection from Spain (Andalus) was a subject for keen study by the Hindu extremists in the thirties and the Muslims in India are totally ignorant of the history of Islamic decline in Spain and the events surrounding it."
Muslims ruled Spain from 712 to 1492. The last bastion of Muslim power there fell in 1492, and the last traces of Islam left Spain in 1612. Organised Christian groups had massacred Muslims in Spain, and Ferdinand’s government had adopted aggressive anti-Muslim policies: Muslims were denied employment; schools attached to mosques were barred from teaching subjects such as science, history and philosophy; Arabic as a major language was eliminated from the administration, and history was distorted to portray the Muslim rulers as barbaric.
Muslims in India are attacked with similar precision. Urdu as a mainstream language is facing extinction. Muslims have been largely eliminated from the defence, paramilitary and police forces. Systematic pogroms, like the recent one in Gujrat, are planned and executed to destroy Muslim wealth and morale. Rewriting Indian history has gone to the ridiculous extend of ascribing Muslim monuments like the Taj Mahal to Hindu origin. The high court in Calcutta tried to ban the Qur’an for "promoting ill feeling and hatred", and the Supreme Court amended Muslim Personal Law according to its own interpretations of the Qur’an. Madrassa syllabuses are revised and the madrassas themselves are condemned as ‘terrorist camps’. Any Muslim who succumbs to cultural assimilation, like the presidential candidate Abdul Kalam, is hailed as a ‘nationalist Muslim’.
The Hindus are hoping to repeat the history of Andalus (Muslim Spain) in India. They have adopted two methods to expand their hegemony: assimilation and annihilation. Reformist movements, such asBuddhism and Jainism, that opposed the caste system, the soul of ‘Hinduism’, have themselves been rooted out. Muslims have survived the onslaught so far, avoiding both assimilation and annihilation for the time being. However, it remains a fact that no Muslim scholar, apart from Alberuni and Allama Iqbal, has studied the Brahminist-imposed caste-system in India in order to expose it for what it really is. Muslims have been content to ignore this social evil as an "internal matter" of ‘Hinduism’.
More than 200 million Muslims in India, spread across a vast landscape, are yet to organise themselves for the task of upholding the message of Truth and justice that Islam advocates. The current spineless Muslim ‘leadership’ has actually hindered this cause. As Shaheed Ismail Raji al-Faruqi once said, "what is needed at this time in history is the spark to ignite the will of the Ummah into motion. This can come only from the leaders’ preparedness to engage in the dangerous business of interfering in history as its subject, not as its patient and object."
This is perhaps the first lesson for the Muslim leadership of India, which is a victim of cowardice, hypocrisy and impotence. These leaders are preoccupied with the task of ‘Islamising’ Hinduism, but inevitably end up in Hinduising Islam. The lust for power, money, status and ‘security’ haunts and distracts them. The elite class representatives, as they really are, are no longer concerned with the problems of the oppressed and underprivileged, nor do they interact with the leaders of the lower strata of society. They have failed utterly to address the burning issues facing the Muslims and other oppressed groups in India. In the mean time their enemies are moving forward to demoralise Muslims and marginalise the Islamic movement even more. If these trends continue, as seems likely, it is going to be impossible to control the people, especially the young, who are bound sooner or later to turn to the power and eloquence of shahadah, insha’Allah.