Blaming Muslims for Hindu problems
India is being given a daily dose of poison. The dose given by Maneka Gandhi and Sakshi Maharaj may prove to be the most lethal. Hindutva Brigade seems to have gone amok. It is true that they are in a hurry, considering the fact that BJP is in power, and they feel that it is right time to take their agenda of hatred to its peak. It is also true that they are facing the worst internal crisis of the last century in the form of Sai-Shankarachraya confrontation which threatens the unity of Sanatandharmis. It is also understandable that they are concerned about the decrease in the population of Hindu females on account of ever-increasing femicide. What is, however, deplorable is that they are trying to put the blame of all their problems on Muslims. They are on the warpath against Muslims even despite the fact that Muslims are neutral on all these issues. The truth is that many issues that are troubling Hindus are a cause of even bigger concern for Muslims.
The statement by Menaka Gandhi is specifically dangerous because she, being an important part of the government, is also eying the chair of UP chief minister for her son. Till now, it appeared that the central government is concentrating on developmental issues, and the communal statements from regional BJP leaders may be part of their strategy to corner Modi. But with the continuing silence of the Prime Minister, and now a Union minister making a highly provocative claim, it signals ominous times ahead. Her statement is particularly dangerous, as in one go, she has put a question mark on the very survival of the meat industry and the patriotism of the Muslim community. Linking the meat industry to terrorism is too clever a move to have been masterminded by her alone. Sakshi Maharaj’s comments linking terrorism to madrasas are an additional hint to the strategy of linking terrorism to Muslims, particularly the community of meat businessmen. They forget that terrorism in India is a massive problem, and the major part of Indian terrorism has nothing to do with Muslims. As I have detailed in my previous articles, out of more than 40,000 deaths in terrorist attacks in the last two decades, the alleged killings by “Muslim terrorists” do not number more than 1500. Terrorism in India is primarily a Hindu problem with Naxalites, Maoists, Sikhs, Ulfa and Bodos being among the major culprits. Elsewhere in the subcontinent, (Hindu) Tamil terrorism in Sri Lanka killed more than one hundred thousands.
Linking madrasas to terrorism is another example of blaming and throttling Muslims for what are primarily Hindu problems. Madrasas are certainly giving bigger lessons of peace and amity than any other educational institutions of the country. They also forget that throttling the meat industry would be an enormous blow to India’s economic development, as this involves huge export incomes and a workforce of hundreds of thousands. Even though the beneficiaries of the industry as well as meat consumers belong to both communities, its downfall would cause a big harm even if it would have bee an exclusive one community affair. The country can simply not progress till the purchasing capability of all the countrymen goes up. The argument of preserving “pashudhan” (animal wealth) is simply stupid; as the meat industry would not only ensure but also augment cultivation of this wealth.
Another example of blaming Muslims for the problems of the Hindu society is “Love Jihad”. If the figures being quoted by Hindutva campaigners, which talk of more than four lakh Hindu girls having been married in one year to Muslim boys, it should a matter of much bigger concern to Muslims themselves. If four lakh Muslim boys have married Hindu girls, it means that four lakh Muslim girls have been denied married life. At a time when polygamy among Muslims has become almost nonexistent due to social and economic factors, this would be a big blow to the family system in the community. Every single Muslim boy married to a Hindu woman means denial of marriage to one Muslim girl. The increase of unmarried girls in society is bound to lead to many complications. Further, Hindu girls would obviously marry good Muslim boys; if well-educated Muslim boys marry Hindu girls, who will marry educated Muslim girls? Moreover, Muslims cannot afford to support such marriages because inter-religion marriages even if the Hindu wives pretend to have converted to Islam, would lead to dilution of Islamic faith and traditions in the coming Muslim generations. With such an enormous chain of events and issues, are Muslims so stupid that they will promote or fund such marriages?
Hindutva ideologues and political leaders are busy proving that the number of Muslim boys marrying Hindu girls is much higher than the number of Hindu boys marrying Muslim girls. This may be true. But the reasons are not what they are trying to prove. If Muslim boys are marrying Hindu girls, the reason is simply that Muslim boys come into contact with greater number of Hindu girls than Muslim. In my college, King George’s Medical College of Lucknow, for example, there were nine Muslim boys in my batch out of a total number of 170 students. There were around 40 girls, with only two being Muslims. If none of my Muslim batch mates happened to marry a Hindu girl, it was not because they did not get the opportunity. If they had chosen, at least some of them would have easily married Hindu class fellows. But they preferred to marry within their own community on account of obvious reasons. The Muslim community and an overwhelming majority of Muslim parents dismiss the idea of inter-religion marriages altogether. In India, marriages are not simply between two individuals but between two families.
Not only Hindu girls are more in number, they tend to be more open to love marriages. Muslim families resist love marriages more than Hindus. Muslims also tend to have stronger religious convictions than Hindus. With the popularity of Muslim heroes in films, and Muslim boys being a little better in communication skills, their knowledge of Urdu being one of the reasons, girls find Muslim boys attractive and smart. Moreover, love marriages with Muslim boys more often than not are solemnised without any dowry, and this may be one of the major reasons why Hindu parents tend to accept these marriages.
As far as the issue of converting to Islam is concerned, I know many Hindu men and women who have converted to Islam without a love affair. I know some Hindus who did not convert to Islam, despite the fact that they loved it, only because of the social complications it created. The truth is that if any Hindu is accepting Islam in India, this is not due to any pressure from Muslims but inspite of the pressure by Hindu organisations and families against converting. Further, there have been several drives by Hindu organisations, especially in Rajasthan, to take back Muslims to their fold. If Hindutva lobbyists are really concerned about the changing demography, they would better launch an effective campaign against female foeticide and dowry. Rather than blaming Muslims, they should concentrate on the problems within their own community.
Muslims have already clarified in no uncertain terms that if there are any cases of fraudulent marriages involving Muslims, they do not support them and all these cases must be dealt with in accordance with the law of the land. Fraudulent marriages are increasingly becoming the order of the day in the country, and an overwhelming majority of these marriages has nothing to do with religion or caste.
Continuing with this blame game, strangely, Muslims are now being openly blamed even for the Sai-Shankaracharya confrontation. The spokesmen of Sahankaracharya group are now openly blaming Arab dollars for the rise of Sai cult in India. Their insecurity complex has compelled them to distort the whole issue and give it a communal twist. The whole emphasis by the supporters of Shankaracharya appearing in TV debates is on Sai Baba being a Muslim, a Muslim not being worthy of sainthood and worship, his being the son of a Muslim traitor, and now the funding of Sai temples by Muslims living in Arab countries has been added to dissuade Sai followers from mobilising their supporters. Again, the truth is that Muslims have nothing to do with Sai Baba, his worship or his worshippers. Sai Baba enjoys no support or veneration in the Muslim community. This is purely a Hindu issue. Muslims are hardcore monotheists and can never support a polytheistic activity, morally, socially or financially.
Instead of communalising Indian society, Hindus must work along with Muslims to eradicate vices that are considered dangerous by both communities on account of similarities in their traditions and social attitudes. These include campaigns against alcohol, drugs, smoking, prostitution, pornography, live-in relationships, nudity, gambling, economic disparity, poverty and corruption. These are enough to unite the whole nation and ensure development without destruction of moral and social values. Is Mr Prime Minster listening or he will continue with his silence?
The author is Delhi-based thinker and writer. He may be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.