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Hindu Masjids

24. Are Some Eminent Indians Anti-Hindu?

The toxin afflicting some Hindus that makes them anti-Hindu can be seen at various levels of the intelligentsia. Let us look at what our Nobel laureate Amartya Sen has felt and expressed.The author realises that he is a champion of what he considers to be secularism. The author is not sure which definition of the word he might choose if he was pressed. Whether the Indian idea of equality among faiths or the Marxist conception of abolishing worship? Or, would he believe in the medieval European definition of the concept of secularism? It represents the separation of the church from the state. Or, in simple terms, the opposite of theocracy? What ever be Sen's choice, the fact is that since being awarded the Nobel prize, the author has read again and again in the press Sen's criticism of what he has termed as Hindu fundamentalists. In his inaugural address at the Indian History Congress held in Calcutta University in January 2001, he said:

This is especially so if the writing of history is manoeuvred to suit a slanted agenda in contemporary politics. There are organised attempts in our country, at this time, to do just that, with arbitrary augmentation of a narrowly sectarian view of India's past, along with undermining its magnificently multireligious and heterodox history. Among other distortions, there is also a systematic confounding here of mythology withhistory. An extraordinary example of this has been the interpretation of the Ramayana, not as a great epic, but as documentary history, which can be invoked to establish property rights over places and sites possessed and owned by others. The Ramayana, which Rabindranath Tagore had seen as a wonderful legend (the story of the Ramayana is to be interpreted, as Tagore put it, not as a
matter of historical fact but in the plane of ideas) and in fact as a marvellous parable of "reconciliation, " is now made into a legally authentic account that gives some members of one community an alleged entitlement to particular sites and land, amounting to a license to tear down the religious places of other communities. Thomas de Quincey has an interesting essay called "Murder Considered as One of the Fine Arts. "Rewriting of history for bellicose use can also, presumably, be a very fine art.

The Nobel laureate has evidently, strayed into unknown territory. He has condemned the Hindu claim to the site where stood the Babri edifice. Does he know how many mandirs were summarily converted into masjids and dargahs especially between the time Muhammad Ghauri installed Qutbuddin Aibak on the throne of Delhi at the end of the12th century and the advent of the Lodis during the middle of the 15th century? Thereafter a large number were completely destroyed and on some of the sites, masjids were designed afresh but built with the rubble of the desecrated mandirs.

These contentions are not the author's but their desecrations have been recorded at great length by archaeologists and architectural surveyors of the stature of Cuningham and Fergusson. The former has left behind 23 volunmes of his survey reports. Why is it that none of this material nor any of the evidence contained therein finds a place in our history books? Is the author to understand that according to Sen it was legitimate for anti-Hindus to distort history, but for Hindus to rewrite history and include what was left out amounting to scholastic distortion?

The Nobel laureate is a philosopher and an economist, but his scholarship in history is not widely known. His foray into the unknown is therefore not difficult to forgive. Dr Sarvapalli Gopal, on the other hand, has for long years been considered a prima donna among historians in India. He has made several interesting points. For example, he has described the controversy over the Babri edifice as contrived in recent times having no historical basis. Hegoes on: The identification of present day Ayodhya with Ramjanmabhumi is a matter of faith and not of evidence. There is again no conclusive proof that the mosque  built at the time of Babur was on a temple site or that a temple had been destroyed to buid it.

What appears to be intellectually strange is that Gopal rejects the evidence of visitors to Ayodhya. Even a German visitor called Tieffenthaler's opinion is rejected as based on a rather garbled version of a local story. He then proceeds to run down the opinion of British individuals. To quote: British officials and writers began to give wide circulation and lend authority to the story that on Babur's orders a temple had been destroyed and a mosque built on the site. This fitted in with thee British understanding of India. Later in the paragraph, Gopal offers a corny defence of the foreign iconoclast in the words: Muslim rulers in India often acted on non-religious grounds and, like all rulers everywhere, were primarily interested in the maintenance of their political power.

In the following paragraph, he tries to divert attention by quoting an economic historian, Amiya Bagchi, whose essay in the book stated that the phenomenon of communalism had an economic basis. How this discovery of Bagchi helps Gopal to sure himself that the Babri edifice was built on lend that was rightfully of Muslim, ownership is beyond understanding. He continues to swing in a non-relevant by making statements such as: considering that the main attack on secular objectives in free India has come from the ranks of Hindu bigotry, it is worth mentioning that the teachings of Hinduism, at their best are in full accordance with such secular practices ....It is a religion without circumference.

Not satisfied with the effect of his argument, Gopal finally resorts to quoting historian Romila Thapar whose anti-Hindu views are legend. She felt: Our media today is replete with myth wearing the mask of history and myth carefully chosen to project particular obscurantist versions that help to glorify aggressive fundamentalism. The television versions of Ramayana and the Mahabharata and, in sharp contrast, the failure to present a serious and nonpartisan discussion of the Ramjanmabhumi issue, have all contributed to the heightened excitement which has led to the recent increase in communal rioting, with over a thousand Muslims killed in the last few months.

The author would have hesitated to call the lady anti-Hindu, had it not been for the bankruptcy of her reasoning and the profligacy of her prejudice. How can a thousand Muslims be killed merely because the great epics of Ramayana and Mahabharata were serialised on television? There were no Muslims or, in fact, no non-Hindus in India at the time when the epics were written. In any case the author has watched many episodes and found nothing provocative in any of them. Thapar needs to be reminded that these epics were written centuries before the emergence of either Islam or even Christianity.

Quoting Thapar did not gratify Gopal. He therefore went on to make a sweeping statement on the nature of communalism. To quote: The test of success was not what the Hindus thought but how the Muslims and other communities felt, just as, while minorities might turn communal out of a sense of grievances, communalism of the majority community was dangerous and, masquerading as nationalism, was in fact a form of Fascism. There could sometimes be justification for the minorities to be communal, there was none for the majority. He has implied elsewhere that it was Hindu majoritarianism that led to the partition of India. It is for the followers of the majority to assuage the feelings of the Muslim minority.

As far as is known in the years preceding partition, it was the Congress led by Mahatma Gandhi that led Hindu opinion and, above all, Jawaharlal Nehru and his February 1946 statement in Bombay which is alleged to have put the last nail int the coffin of India's oneness. Surely, even his worst detractors have never described Nehru as either a majoritarian or a communalist. Incidentally, has Gopal ever defined fascism or even come across an explanation of that ideology? Had he done so, he would have known that fascism represents class collaboration, as distinct from communism which symbolises class conflict and capitalism which is accused of causing class exploitation. Surely, a scholar of the stature of Gopal would not like to sit on the same bench as a lumpen leftist, who accuses almost anyone he hates as a fascist.

Here is another example of an ahti-Hindu Hindu. His name was Susobhan Sarkar who was a professor of history and taught for long years at the Presidency College in Calcutta. He wrote:

I shall end the discussion by drawing attention to two particular conclusions of Mr Majumdar. The first conclusion is that Muslim rule was a foreign rule in India because theHindus were perpetually oppressed and were fully conscious of the fact. Even if the two 'proofs' are admitted, the conclusion does not follow. Is there no room for oppression under native, as distinct from foreign, rule? In the 16th century, the German Anabaptists or Spanish Protestants were almost rooted out, the English Catholics for ages had "no rights at all in religious or social matters." Were those countries under foreign rule at the time? was the exploitation of the people impossible under native Hindu rule? Is interference with religion the one undeniable evidence of oppression and servitude?

Muslim rule, we believe, was no alien government like the British. This means merely that the Indian Mussalmans had no other country of their own; they did not send their plunder abroad; the policy of Muslim rulers was not governed by the interests of any foreign country; a large part of the inhabitants of the land were the coreligionists of the kings. Though of foreign origin, the Muslim leaders very soon had no other country of their own. True, Islam arose outside India and had universal pretensions - but then no one would hold that under medieval Christianity with similar characteristics the peoples of Europe lived under foreign rule. The equation-Hindu culture = Indian culture - is nothing more than the expression of a particular judgement and point of view.

Dr Majumdar's second conclusion is that:

,..the Hindu-Muslim antagonism in India "was perpetual" that Jinnah's "two nations theory" is nearer historical truth than any amity "between the two communities." There is no point in denying Hindu-Mus/im differences. But are the two terms, difference and antagonism, coterminous? It is obviously true that because of the differences conflicts often did break out. But how can one hold that conflict was here the only truth? In certain reigns, or particular regions, conflicts did flare up; but at other times, or elsewhere, conflict would die down. Is this not the more correct picture of things? Even in those days it was also quite possible and natural that, in spite of the differences, antagonism would be submerged in many matters under the pressure of common economic interests. If we come across such instances in medieval times, surely it would not be improper today to lay some emphasis on such trends. The totality of historical events everywhere does reveal a quantum of mutual strife and the quest after petty interests. Surely this does not prevent us from holding up to view the brighter aspect of old societies. In other words, here also we cannot avoid the evaluation of events and the influence of associated points of view. To deny the Hindu Muslim differencesis tantamount to a denial of facts; but to stress the instances of mutual cooperation rather than conflicts is a question of historical evaluation. Of course, the historian must not invent events, for ignoring primary "facts " can only produce imaginative history.

The anathema about infidels pronounced by Muslim theoreticians cannot of course be the final word. We have also to consider how far it was possible forMuslim rulers to enforce such theories. The outpourings of scholars must, like.~ courtiers' eulogies, be taken with a grain of salt. Who would take the denunciatory verses of Manusamhita, directed against Sudras and women, as literal expressions of state policy ?

That is why one does demur to the protest against the festival commemorating Amir Khasru. The celebration must have been in honour of his literary talent; it must be meaningless only if such talent was non-existent. But surely we cannot ignore talent on the ground of militant religious zeal of the person concemed. Do we dismiss today the spokesmen of medieval European culture on the ground of their religious narrowness? Amir Khasru might have been an anti-Hindu bigot, but he also did write about royal treasures drenched in the tears of the subjects.

Jawaharlal Nehru went far ahead of even Susobhan Sarkar. While speaking on the future of Goa at Panjim, now Panji, he said: The conflicts with Islam in north India specially were not religious conflicts, but political conflicts of kings wanting tto conquer ludia. Religious conflicts were hardly any and Islam also settled down as a religion of India.

If there was no religious conflict, why was it that thousands of temples were desecrated and many of them were either converted or recycled into mosques? Did Nehru know that there is hardly any significant mandir in north India which is older than 1939,when the Birla temple was inaugurated in New Delhi by Gandhiji Every significant temple built before the Islamic invasion was destroyed. That there were many large temples which were built in ancient times can be seen by looking at the Quwwatul Islam mosque near Qutb Minar, Adhai Din Ka Jhopra at Ajmer, by visiting the Atala Devi masjid at Jaunpur,   Bhojshala and the Lat masjids at Dhar, Bijamandal mosque at Vidisha in Madhya Pradesh, and so on.

After having himself led the Indian side for signing partition in 1947, how could Nehru, in1963, make such an assertion; that religious conflicts were hardly any and Islam also settled down as a religion of India? Would anyone deny that the desire for partition was to have a Dar-ul-lslam? Nehru was reluctant to concede that religion was the basis of politics after having repeatedly ridiculed the idea of Muslims being a separate nation in his own writings especially in his autobiography.

Be it Amartya Sen, be he Sarvapalli Gopal, be he Sushobhan Sarkar, none of these gentlemen was ever in politics. In fact, each of them was or is an academician. To that extent, they can all be possibly excused for not being realistic. On the other hand, Rajmohan Gandhi has thedistinction of the blood of the Mahatma as well as Chakravarti Rajagopalachari flowing in his veins. Neither of these great men could ever be accused of being out of touch with ground realities. Yet, he contends that the average Hindu accepted the invader Muslim as his natural king because Bhishma Pitamah had in the Mahabharata said that the king is appointed by (God)Vishnu himself and he partakes of his divinity and is, therefore, to be obeyed. Such an extraordinary justification for accepting an invader as a legitimate monarch has never been articulated before.

Gandhi proceeds to enumerate the causes of partition. One of them was the insecurity experienced by the Muslims by living amongst majority Hindus. To quote: Fuelled by the insecurities of Muslims living amidst Hindu majorities, the drive for   Pakistan had been led by men like Jinnah and Liaqat and by others in the Muslim league who now were Muhajirs in Pakistan. If he was correct, how is it that most of the Muslims stayed behind in India, and evidently still prefer to be here rather than go across Pakistan? When one proceeds further and comes across what Matma Gandhi thought and said on the Hindu Muslim question, one is ready to excuse his grand child for being naive. Read what he told his secretary, Mahadev Desai  in 1918. Though we do say that Hindus and Muslims are brothers, I cannot conceive of their being brothers today... Something within tells me that Hindus and Muslims are going to unite as brothers one day, that there is no other course open to them and they have but to be brothers. if we go on remembering old scores, would feel that unity is impossible but at any cost we ought to forget the past. This is quoted by grandson Rajmohan.

As the president of the Khilafat movement, Gandhiji's closest associate was Maulana Muhammad Ali. Yet to the surprise of many, he repeated to the audience at Aligarh as well as Ajmer that however pure Mr. Gandhi's character may be, he must appear to me from the point of view of Religion inferior to any Mussalman, even though he be without character. When asked to clarify by members of another audience at Aminabagh park in Lucknow, the Maulana asserted that yes, according to my religion and creed, I do hold an adulterous and a fallen Mussalman to be better than Mr Gandhi, as reported by Dr. B. R.Ambedkar. Dissatisfied with the progress at trying to retain the decrepit Khalifa, who was also the Sultan of Turkey, on the throne, in the aftermath of his defeat in World War I, the Moplahs of Malabar area of, whatis now Kerala, resorted to butchering Hindus in 1921. In the words of Ambedkar the blood curdling atrocities committed by the Moplas in Malabar against the Hindus were indescribable. To rub salt on the Hindu wounds, several Khilafat leaders were so misguided as to pass resolutions of congratulations to the Moplas on the brave fight conducted for the sake of religion. Instead of condemning the Moplas, Gandhi complimented them as the brave God fearing Moplas who were fighting for, what they considered as, religion and in a manner which they considered as religious. This speaks volumes as to how far the great Mahatma went in sounding anti-Hindu for the sake of forgiving criminals.

Hindu Masjids
Prafull Goradia
The Challenge
1. The Conflict

Shuddhi in Stone
10. Christian Tears
11. Ataladevi Masjid
12. Four Vandals, One Temple
13. Bhojshala Masjid
14. Seven Temples Kept Buried
15. Adina Masjid
16. Jungle Pirbaba
17. Mandir and Dargah in One Building
18. Shuddhi by Govemment
19. Iconoclasm Continues in pakistan, Bangladesh and in Kashmir
2. Shuddhi by British
20. American Professor on Temple Desecration
3. Incomplete Shuddhi
4. Spontaneous Shuddhi
5. Waterloo of Aryavarta
6. Reclaimed Temple at Mahaban
7. Qutbuddin And 27 Mandirs
8. Instant Vandalism
9. Ghazni to Alamgir

Anti-Hindu Hindus
21. Ghazni and Nehru
22. Is A Communist Always Anti-Hindu?
23. Are Some Intellectuals Perverse?
24. Are Some Eminent Indians Anti-Hindu?
25. Ambedkar, a True Hindu
26. Swaraj Meant Saving the Khalifa
27. Archaeological Surveys
28. Hindu Future after Black Tuesday

1. Annexure I
2. Annexure II
3. Annexure III
4. Annexure IV

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