Issues

Bogie of Pakistan

India, a conglomeration of princely states, was consolidated into a big country under Muslim rule, in particular, in the time of Aurangzeb. Shershah Suri, an extraordinary administrator, built a road from Dhaka to Peshawar complete with inns and postal delivery system at regular points on this long road. Incidentally, now this road (Grand Trunk or GT road) spans three countries. There were many who invaded this beautiful land but perhaps with the exception of Nadir Shah all Muslim rulers were charmed by the beauty of this wonderful country having unbelievable variety of flora and fauna, to such an extent that they made it their home. Now, it is ridiculous to claim original nationality by a few though it is evident that the original inhabitants are today’s Adivasis. The word itself means original inhabitants.

It seems strange that while Babri Masjid built by Mir Baqi in the reign of Babur was detested by so-called desh bhakts, other buildings built by Shahjahan, a descendant of Babur, is admired by all and sundry. While Taj Mahal is a national heritage and a wonder of the world, Delhi’s Red Fort (Lal Qila) is used for important Independence Day function. The Prime Minister has no hesitation, whatsoever, in addressing the nation from the ramparts of a Mughal king’s fort. It is also amusing that building of Taj Mahal has been exempted from allegations of demolition/destruction of temples. One may not be wrong to surmise that revenue earning legacies of Muslim rulers are gladly accepted.

The variety in languages, dresses and cuisines would not have been possible in the absence of a fusion of civilisations. The need to communicate among various groups, speaking different languages, resulted in the evolution of a new language Urdu(also called Hindawi, Gujri, Rekhta etc). With such great non-Muslim poets as Raghpati Sahay Firaq, Kunwar Mahindar Singh Bedi,  Anand Narain Mullah, Krishna Bihari, Braj Narain Chakbast, etc, confining this beautiful language to a particular community is an anomaly, to say the least.

When the British gained a foothold on Indian territory due to treachery of some Indians, they followed the convenient policy of divide and rule. Historical facts were distorted in order to sow the seeds of hatred among communities. It was, therefore, necessary to make villains out of valiant Muslim kings like Tipu Sultan, who laid their life fighting for the freedom of their motherland. It was also required to let disputes regarding Masjid-Mandir simmer in order to let inter-community tensions prevail. Though the British built many good things, one of them being rail network, they were in a hurry to leave the country after the World War II. In WWII they fought imperialist/fascist forces as allied forces along with other socialist-democratic countries. Hence, they were morally bound to end their rule in India. The last Viceroy and First Governor General of Independent India was given a task and a deadline and therefore, a line drawn on a map by Radcliffe created havoc in the lives of peacefully living inhabitants of many border villages. Overnight people living as brethren became suspicious of each other. The environment became so vitiated that their sense of security evaporated in thin air and they thought of nothing else but migration, leaving behind all that belonged for generations to them. Indo-Pak border silently witnessed one of the greatest exoduses in history and the ensuing violence shamed humanity.

Among Indian leaders fighting for freedom only Maulana Abul Kalam Azad (a protégé of Allama Shibli Nomani) stood his ground till last and vehemently opposed partition. Maulana Azad had a record tenure as president of Indian National Congress and he appreciated Sir Stafford Cripps formula of federal zones. Unfortunately, it could not be implemented. All important leaders like Jawaharlal Nehru and Ballabhai Patel got swayed by the idea of partition, though mysteriously only Mohammad Ali Jinnah, proponent of two-nation theory, has been singled out as the one favouring partition. Maulana Azad banked on Gandhiji, but to his dismay he also succumbed and accepted the inevitability of partition.

In spite of a choice many Muslims preferred to live and die in the soil nurtured by their forefathers in India. It is a pity that Muslims who have given their lives for the freedom of the country suffered and bore the brunt of partition. Muslims of India were deliberately made guilt - conscious as if they were solely responsible for partition of the country. The very fact that consolidation of small kingdoms into a vast tract of land called India, which happened during Muslim rule, was conveniently forgotten.

Though Muslim families were divided, many clinging to their own soil never appreciated the idea of a separate homeland for Muslims. Even Jinnah opted for a secular constitution for Pakistan. As Maulana Azad had predicted Pakistan got further divided. If we now look at the situation prevailing in all these three countries we can’t distinguish them on the basis of rampant corruption, shoddy governance, economic disparity etc. Only Indian democracy has stood the test of time with its robustness and therefore, stands distinguished.

Recently a bizarre suggestion was made that those eating beef should go to Pakistan on the assumption that only Muslims eat beef, while the fact remains that more non-Muslim are beef eaters than Muslims. Interestingly, export of beef under this government has increased manifold.

Maintaining a tough stand against our neighbour on alleged terror export is understandable, but blowing hot and cold, alternating passing by top leaders as strangers in international meets and hugging and warm handshakes at other times is perplexing.

It seems also a possibility that in near future those who wished others to go to Pakistan may themselves relish the hospitality of that country. We do admire our democratic values, but earnestly request the Election Commission to put forth strict guidelines on public speeches during election campaign. Stringent measures should be taken to dissuade political parties from treading the path of divisive politics.

Salman Sultan

This article appeared in The Milli Gazette print issue of 16-31 January 2016 on page no. 2

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