We too are Indians!

Even after seven decades of Independence the country’s largest minority community faces parochialism and prejudice. In a democratic country there is no place for such oddities. Indian  history can never ignore the contributions and achievements made by Muslims in the  struggle for the nation’s freedom.

In one of his articles, Dr. Zafarul Islam Khan writes: “Among the 200,000 people who laid their lives during the 1857 revolt, there were 51,000 ulama. In Delhi alone, according to British sources, 500 Ulama were hanged to death after the failure of the revolt.”

It should be kept in mind that those Muslims who remained here even after partition of the country have love and regard for their motherland. Here their dwellings show their patriotism and true passion for Independence. Despite this fact Muslims are confronted with a variety of issues and problems. Innocent Muslims are being falsely implicated in terrorism cases. It is nothing but a travesty of justice, freedom and democracy.

Here we may recall the thought-provoking words of Maulana Mohammad Ali Jauhar. He said, “Where God commands I am a Muslim first, and Muslim second, and a Muslim last, and nothing but a Muslim…. but where India is concerned ….    I am an Indian first, and Indian second, and an Indian last, nothing but an Indian” (Khilafat to Partition, p. 76).

The observations of Maulana S.M. Rabey Hasani Nadwi made in National Convention on Allegations of Terrorism and Muslims in National Perspective held on February 2, 2008 in Lucknow are quite relevant. He said:: “It is painful that whenever any terrorist activity takes place in the country, security forces, without making proper investigation, target Muslim youths on false charges, a number of them are held on assumed and concocted charges.” In his opinion it is a grave injustice to link terrorism to any particular community.

Government should take stern action against the real masterminds behind these terror strikes. Mere branding of members of a particular community as terrorists and holding them responsible for every act of terrorism cannot thwart such perils. We all are Indians. Our Constitution grants freedom of religion. We must learn to live and let live. Besides, it is up to us to strengthen our composite culture and civilisation to combat disruptive forces which raise their ugly heads to destroy the country’s unity.   

Obaidur Rahman Nadwi

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

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