9. Ashoke Dasgupta

I am in receipt of the booklet detailing two documents of Dr. Shreerang Godbole. I am grateful for the same. My response on these two documents is as under:

It is evident that ‘Sarva Panth Samãdar Manch’ is launched because a new avenue is being sought in order to frame a policy in respect of the Muslim question in the Indian polity.

It is rather an approach - an approach to be in touch of the Muslim community so that the political untouchability towards BJP propagated by the Secularists can be overcome.

The question is: how far this approach is correct and how much effective it will be. Dr. Shreerang Godbole has raised some basic questions about this approach. His points come from the study of Islam. This is why if his points are not given due weightage, the teaching of history will get disregarded. The real question for the last one thousand years in India in respect of the Hindu-Muslim question is not Hindu vs. Muslim; it is Muslim vs. Islam and thereafter Hindu vs. Islam.

All peoples from Morocco to Afghanistan-Pakistan became Muslim; Islam swept away all their national cultures, diversities, peculiarities and moulded all of them into a single pattern, a single creed. Islam washes away national culture, and inheritance. The agony of Bangladesh under the heels of Pakistan was primarily due to Islam. The movement in Bangladesh along the line of culture and language had no appreciation in Islam. Islam recognizes no nationalism. This becomes vivid in the Taliban possession of Afghanistan. Had there been a strong bondage of national spirit, the Afghan people would not be subjected to the unending horrors of the last decade.

It is Islam, again, which is responsible for the creation of Pakistan for the Indian Muslims.  Both the Hindus and Muslims had gone through blood and fire for the sake Islam. The struggles of the Muslims never record struggles for national causes, but refer to struggles for personal or group ambition, or inter-religion combat, or sect acrimony such as Shia or Sunni or other sects of Islam. The contemporary illustration is the Iraq-Iran War for several years. These insane and futile killings for years are also due to Islam because it is sect vs. sect of Islam. History is a witness that the Middle East was the stage of many ancient civilisations - Egyptian to Persian - but such great varieties ceased since Islam ascended in the area. Like the last Rasul of Islam, Islam itself is the last to come. Hence, it has had no Renaissance. So, the unsolved problem in India for a thousand years is not Hindu vs. Muslim. The Sangh Parivar may be leaning towards such a concept that can be visualised in the coinage of ‘Sarva Panth Samãdar’.

The real problem is Muslim vs. Islam. Ninety-five percent of Indian Muslims are converted Hindus i.e. Islam had them from Hindus but since their conversion they were alienated from the Hindus i.e. their own culture and tradition. They had to shift their cultural tradition and sense of values, in a word, the basic tenets of civilization. It is a horrible subjugation of Muslims by Islam. And, in the process of history, this alienation drove them to claim a separate nationhood, again inspired by Islam, to cause partition of India. Indian Muslims became Pakistanis and went more into the grip of Islam, lost their self-identity more grievously, making no nation actually. Pakistan has not evolved as a nation; it is peoples and groups held under the yoke of Islam and labouring hard to project Islam as a culture. Thus one has to reach the conclusion that Islam has caused more pains, outrages and sufferings to the Muslims in India than to the Hindus because they lost their culture and heritage which the Hindus did not. Islam has deprived them of nationhood.

The thousand year old question seen apparently as Hindu vs. Muslim cannot be answered unless the basic Muslim vs. Islam aspect of the problem is grasped. This is the basic problem and it requires a basic approach.

The basic approach cannot be envisaged unless the fear of losing Muslim vote is given a farewell, till Muslims understand how the dreadful weight of the Sunnah deprives them from becoming democratic with national identity. Muslims need really to accomplish the task of coming out of the stranglehold of the fundamentalist arrogance of the Sunnah that causes slavery to creed and dogma. The organisations that fear to lose Muslim votes cannot do real service to Muslims because Muslims are victims of Islam. Indian Muslims, being liberated from quarters of Islam, shall regain their Nationhood and then the loathsome speeches of the priests of fake secularism shall be heard no more.

The slogan of ‘Sarva Panth Samãdar’ is nothing new and it shall fetch no better dividends than ‘Sarva Dharma Samabhãva’ preached by a section of pseudo-secularists almost for last seventy-five years. Such slogans have done no good either for Hindus or for Muslims; they have prevented Hindus to speak fearlessly for the good of Muslims and, on the other hand, kept Muslims in increasing alienation as if they are in exile from their mother culture, tradition and heritage, leading them to cultural orphanage. Forbearance from having Muslim vote for a period shall be a bliss for cultural rejuvenation of Indian Muslims to their mother culture.

The question is: which way, then, the Sangh Parivar should go? Shall it toil for Muslim votes like others by subscribing to the onslaught of Islam on Muslims or shall it take up the cause of undoing the stranglehold of Islam on the Muslim mind? The stranglehold of Quran and Sunnah on Muslim mind has to be shaken by a democratic process. Unless it is done, the problem of Muslim vs. Islam that has remained unsolved for a thousand years and bled the country for centuries, will continue.

And, in this light, the eight points raised by Dr. Shreerang Godbole acquire relevance. BJP shall suffer in terms of popular support if it accepts the old Congress line manifested by such forums as Sarva Panth Samãdar Manch, because people want to see the BJP as a national and not as an ideological replica of the Congress.


The writer is from Jalpaiguri in West Bengal.

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