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The Saffron Book

Supranstsonalism is a citizens supreme loyalty to a factor beyond the borders of his country. It therefore detracts From nationalism.

12. Pan-Islamism

Ear Malcolm
I compliment you for seeing so much of India in so short a time. Most of the impressions you have gone back with are quite sound. One point, however, I would like to clarify and it relates to the Muslims of my country. True, no Indian Christian has considered himself to be belonging to a separate nation. There is no Christian political party. Nor are Christian voters known to exercise their franchise as a community. They do not go out of their way to live separately from the other citizens. There are consequently no ghettoes.

All this however does not mean that the Indian Muslims are nor as Indian as many other citizens. True, we have had our problems culminating in the partition of the country in 1947. I do not say that it was all the doing of the British but the proverbial policy of divide and rule did do its damage. The root of the problem, however, lies elsewhere. That is why I have used the word Supranationalism. For a European like you, it would be easier to understand what this concept represents if I cite the Jewish example. No matter where a Jewish family may live and for how many centuries, its members still believe that they belong to a supra nation. The state of Israel was founded only some five decades ago but the idea had inspired the loyalty of the world Jewry since time immemorial.

It is necessary to try and understand as to what factors have moulded the mind of the Indian Muslim. Many of us in India have not been able to make this endeavour. For you to have done so in the few weeks you were here, could not normally be expected. There is at times Hindu Muslim tension due to a lack of communication rather than a substantive cause. In order to communicate, you would agree that knowing a listner's frame of reference is more important than speaking his language. We speak the same language but do not necessarily understand one another.

I have made this attempt because I happened to have tried to learn conversational Urdu over several years. Both my teachers were university graduates but had remained Muslim at heart. I have several personal Muslim friends. But it is different when one, as it were, lives with someone. One of my teachers, Agha Iqbal Mirza, became a member of our household. And, for a number of years my family had the advantage of a butler named Aqeel Khan. He was not an ordinary servant. He and I often had long chats even on subjects that happened to be sensitive.

Prophet Mohammed lived and preached in times long before the advent of the nation state, long before territory became the focus of man's loyalty. Yes, the farmer loved his land. But territory is different. It did not become significant until after the Christian Reformation in Europe. At the root of it, was not religion; there is hardly any distance in doctrine between the most austere Protestant and the most orthodox Catholic. In Germany, the Reformation began due to the resentment people felt over the transfer of money from the local churches to TheVatican in the form of tributes. It was a protest against, what was perceived to be, an implicit imperialism. In Britain, of course, King Henry VIII reacted against the Pope's refusal to nullify his marriage with Catherine of Aragon.

Prophet Mohammed's vision was clear. In Islam, the society, the state, the religion as well as the individual's life were more or less a consistent whole. One was woven into the other like a beautiful design conceived, created and consummated as a oneness, divine and indivisible. This beauty attracted two priorities in the Muslim. One was that a Muslim was first a Muslim and always supremely loyal to his faith.Territory therefore did not enjoy an overriding importance. The nation state was not a great motivator.

Secession was therefore no great calamity. There was no exceptional sorrow expressed by Pakistanis over the breaking away of Bangladesh in 1971. In fact, a number of leaders, including the late Zulfikar Ali Bhutto, reportedly worked towards the separation.To them it was like an incompatible family of a brother going and living away from the joint household. But for the fear of becoming even smaller, especially vis-a-vis India, the Punjab might not mind Sindh or Baluchistan going their separate ways.

The other beauty of Islam is a compelling desire for a Darul Islam, of an Islamic state without which the Muslim cannot feel that he had living space enough to develop to his full potential. In contrast, a Darul Harb or merely a disputed territory has all the limitations of having to coexist with a non-Muslim majority. The resulting deficiency in self-fulfilment could make the supra nation an attractive escapism.

This supra nation or the Pan Islamic vision was headed by the khalifa or Caliph or the representative of the prophet. He was at once the spiritual and the temporal head of all Sunni (not Shia) Islam or the world ummah. In recent centuries, the Sultan of Turkey was the khalifa. He lost his throne and the Caliphate as recently as 1924. With the disappearance of the khalifa, the Sunni Muslim world lost a Pope and an emperor.

The Saffron Book
Prafull Goradia
1. Awake and Unite!
2. Why The Saffron Book?

10. Small States
3. Vision
4. Economic Face
5. Abolish Casteism
6. Bride Burning, Divorce
7. Rape, Prostitution
8. Revolutionising Education
9. The Constitution

11. Nationalism
12. Pan-Islamism
13. Communism
14. Subnationalism
15. Casteism

16. Hindutva is Dialectical
17. Origin of Hinduism
18. Medieval Phase
19. Modern Resurgence
20. Not Fundamentalism
21. Not Fascism
22. Tolerance
23. Strengths
24. Weaknesses
25. Opportunities
26. Threats
27. Individual Brilliance

Hindu Paradoxes
42. Idolatry
43. Fatalism
44. Double Standards
45. Masochistic Fringe
46. Fifth Column
47. No Soul before Birth

48. Proselytising Unwelcome
49. Myth of Divide and Rule

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