Analysis

What do Swamy and Shourie know of their Hindu past?

I often wonder when pseudo-intellectuals like Subramanian Swamy and Arun Shourie say that the Subcontinental Muslims must acknowledge their Hindu past as their ancestors were Hindus. This very demand reeks of a kind of inferiority complex that’s deep down in the psyche of Hindus and these ‘scholars’ are no exceptions. Can they ever deny the fact that the ‘great’ Hindus of the Subcontinent remained the subjects of the Muslim rulers who came from outside India? For centuries, Hindus were slaves to Muslim rulers. Muhammad Bin Qasim invaded Sindh in 712 AD and from that time till 1857, Hindus were ruled by Muslims. Those ‘invaders’ were not converted from Hinduism. They were pristine Muslims who came from Arabia, Central Asia, Turkey and Transoxiana. It was because of Muslims, the Hindus of the Subcontinent learnt the nuances of life. Chirstopher Mavet of ‘The London Times’ wrote in his seminal essay in 1978 that, ‘Because of the Muslims, the spineless Hindus learnt how to fight for their rights. Before the arrival of Muslims, they didn’t even understand the concept of unity and uniformity. Muslims taught them how to live life gracefully.’ Why was this essay proscribed by Mrs Gandhi (a Kashmiri Brahmin)? Can you suppress the truth? Swamy talks of Hinduism. What does he know of it? And what does Shourie know of Islam or his own Hinduism? These people neither know their religious tongue Sanskrit, nor do they know even a smattering of Persian, Arabic or even Urdu. Didn’t Allama Iqbal honestly accept the fact that his ancestors were Kashmiri Hindus, Brahmins at that? Didn’t Shibli Nomani accept that his ancestors were Rajput Hindus? What is all the more ridiculous is the fact that Hindu historians aren’t actually aware of their own past. Hinduism is not a religion. It’s a conglomeration. Before Islam came to the Subcontinent, it was a big mosaic of assorted races and communities. Subcontinental society was a rudderless community. The very word ‘Hindu’ is not of Indian origin. Persians used to call the people of the Subcontinent ‘Hindoo’ because of their complexion. The word ‘Hindoo’ in Persian connotes ‘black’. If you read Zahiruddin Babar’s autobiography “Tuzuk-e-Babri”, written in Turkish and translated into Persian as “Babarnama” by Abdul Rahim Khanekhanan, you’ll come across the word “Hindoo” 17 times and nowhere did he use the term to denote the religion or faith of the people. The classical Turkish word “hidoo” without “noon”  meant ‘black’ and was used by the modern Turkish poet Najim Hikmat. Babar was least bothered about the faith of the people of the Subcontinent at that time. His ‘hindoo’ or ‘hidoo’ was for the rather darkish Indians. Didn’t Hafiz Shirazi say, ‘Agar aan Turk-e-Shirazi badastayad dil-e-maara/ Bakhaal-e-hindu’ash bakhsham Samarkand-o-Bukhara?’ (I can give away cities like Samarkand and Bukhara in preference to the black mole on the  face of that young lad from Shiraz in Turkistan;’ Khaal  means ‘mole’ and Hinduash  connotes ‘black’). It’s time, Hindus looked back and studied their past to find their roots rather than cast aspersions on Muslims and others. Only those who’ve nothing to brag about, resort to mud-slinging. 

This article appeared in The Milli Gazette print issue of 16-31 May 2012 on page no. 11

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