Black Tuesday, 11th September, 2001, ironically, lent credence to the
claim that the 21st century would be India's. This is not to make light of the calamity in
New York and Washington, but merely to suggest that vicariously a new dawn has broken on
the destiny of Hindustan.
It is difficult to imagine the fate of Hindu civilization if twice
before in modem history fortune not come to its rescue. Not many readers would find it
palatable to know that the Battle of Plassey fought in Bengal in 1757 proved to be a boon
for Hindu civilization. This is not to say that Robert Clive was an altruist, or that the
East India Company had come for the welfare of Indians. It is only to suggest that Bitish
rule altered the Hindu Muslim equation, which had been oppressively loaded against the
fommer, since the establishment of the sultanate in Delhi at the close of the 12th
century. Since then, Hindus progressively became subjects of Muslims There was oppression,
and for centuries, Hindus were not even treated as legitimate citizens, unless they paid jizyah
or poll tax. Conversion to Islam was the Other alternative.
With the advent of the British, and especially after the rebellion of
1857, the oppressors were reduced to being subjects at the same level as the Hindus. The
British rulers, although economically exploitative, were politically fair, as well as
liberal, compared to the Muslim conduct of government. Little wonder that several leaders
of the stature of Raja Rammohan Roy emerged, and Hindu Renaissance began by the middle of
the 19th century. From being half dead for centuries, Hindu civilisation began to breathe
active life again. The replacement of Persian by English as the court language, and of the
Shariat by an Indian Penal Code helped the Hindus to reach equal status.
In a different way, 15th August, 1947 was also a day when destiny saved Hindu
civilization from again getting overshadowed by a dominant minority Muslim population. The
Hindus were dead against bifurcation. It was the Muslin League which demanded partition
with vehemence and violence like the great Calcutta killings which began on 16th August,
1946. Bifurcation fulfilled the Muslim desire to have an Islamic state or a Dar-ul-Islam.
There is no doubt that partition was nationally as painful as metaphorically a double
amputation, one in the northwest and the other in the east, the two wings of Pakistan. The
division of India was cruel and tragic for individuals and families who suffered. On the
other hand, had partition not taken place, the Muslim population of undivided India today
would be approximately 38 percent. Such a large minority, if it were to vote in unison,
could easily elect a Muslim ministry or a sultanate in New Delhi, considering the
influence that approximately 12 percent Muslims of India have at present on the country.
For example, Shahi Imam Ahmed Bokhari is able to openly support the Taliban, despite the
widespread conviction that it is the mainspring of Islamic terorism today.
The Imam is only one symptom of the belligerence which goes contrary to
India's national interest. Students Islamic Movement of India or SIMI which functioned as
a limb of Al-Qaeda is another example. Chennai, Mumbai, and Coimbatore bomb blasts are
other examples. The 54 year old Kashmir syndrome confirms. How much has it cost in terms
of blood, money and, above all, holding back the progress of India? The price of
minorityism has been a stupendous one. This all adds up to the fact that the Hindus are
unable to cope with Muslims. Since Hindus are essentially an accommodative civilization.
The genesis of this quality is in the belief that is rooted in sanatan dharma, that
all living beings including birds, animals and reptiles are members of the Hindu universe.
It is in sharp contrast with the Judaic proposition that the world is divided into two
types of people: Jews and gentiles, Christians and heathens, or momins and kafirs. Thus
the Hindu ethos and its Judaic or Semitic counterpart are sharply different, that one may
be compared to a horse and the other to a leopard. With all the will in the world, the
horse has neither the temperament nor the equipment to cope with the aggressiveness of the
leopard. If the Hindu ethos stands for accommodation, the Judaic world ismotivated by a
desire to dominate.
The resulting undercurrent for nonviolence has not helped Hindus to
deal with Muslims who, when they came to India, did so in very small numbers. Yet, almost
invariably, the Hindus were on the defensive, if not also retreating. This is what leads
one to believe that in contrast to medieval times, British rule helped Hindus to develop a
somewhat equal equation with the Muslims. It gave relief to the trauma that the Hindu
psyche had suffered by the impact of Islam in India.
On Black Tuesday, Islamic terrorists antagonised the whole world. Since
society religion and politics are closely interwoven in Islam, it is difficult for the
average Muslim to be antipathic towards brother fundamentalists. Even if terrorism is
abhorred, a Muslim is unable, with a clear conscience, to support a non-Muslim or a
kafir against any section of their own brotherhood. In the process, the anti
terrorist war led and launched by the US has, willy nilly, become a war against Islam.
Even if this were not to happen, the war would lead to a split in the world's ummah.
Such a split itself is bound to weaken the community which, in tum, would releive the
pressure which Hindu civilization has been suffering since the advent of Muhammad Ghauri
at the end of the 12th century.
In a manner of speaking, Hindus have not been able to stand straight
for centuries. Now however, a new era has begun which should enable them to stand up to
the ulema generated pressure. Pakistan had to do an about turn under American
threats; from being a cradle of terrorism, overnight this Dar-ul-Islam of the
suncontinental Muslim joined the US led coalition which is at war against terrorism. From
being a protege, the Taliban became an enemy of Islamabad (capital of Pakistan). The
Pakistani ulema has so far had to tolerate this metamorphosis whether through
persuasion, or at the point of a gun. In either case, it loses its pre-eminence.
If the about turn succeeds, Pakistan should become a society
reminiscent of modern Turkey which in turn would discount the ulema further. On the
other hand, if there were to be a counter revolution and the policy gets reversed, by
inexorable logic. Pakistan would move towards Talibanisation. It would then become the
responsibility of the US led coalition to do in Pakistan what it did in Afghanistan. This
means, that in any case, there would be a depreciation of the ulema's influence in
the sub-continent, beginning with Pakistan and then sympathetically in India.