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Controversy
Editor Replies
Dec 2010
EDITOR REPLIES  In reply to your letter of 2nd November 2010

In reply to your letter of 2nd November 2010, we clarify that we have used whatever authentic sources were available to us so long as they were printed in the English language. You do know that British writers were not present in India during the medieval period of Indian history. This period extended to more than six centuries and the Hindus could not or did not leave behind much by way of commentary. Substantively, the written records of the time were confined to Muslim chroniclers who were mostly sympathetic, if not also partial, to their own rulers. The other sources of historical information were the monuments and other structures. All that the British writers did, was to translate after learning Persian and Arabic languages. An outstanding example of what British scholars did were the works of Elliot & Dowson. The surveys carried out by British historians were archaeological especially after the Archaeological Survey was established under the directorship of Maj.General Sir Alexander Cunningham. The writings by him comprised 23 volumes which were published by the Archaeological Survey. If you can suggest any other source available in the English language we would be grateful for and happy to alter our interpretation which you allege to be not quite impartial.

If you insist that 1857 was a War of Independence, the question arises as to whose independence? All the sources we have referred to show that the 1857/58 uprising was confined to West Bengal, Bihar and what is now the state of Uttar Pradesh. All these areas were dominated by Muslim rulers like the Nawab of Bengal or the Nawab of Awadh. The grievance of Nana Sahib was with regard to the pension to his successors and that of Rani of Jhansi was against the Doctrine of Lapse propounded by Lord Dalhousie which disqualified her son from the throne of Jhansi. No sooner had the mutineers reached Delhi from Meerut early in May 1857, they persuaded Bahadur Shah Zafar to be the overall leader of their revolt. Thereafter, the entire fight against the East India Company was waged in the name of Bahadur Shah, the Moghul emperor. Incidentally, by then it was believed that the emperor 's writ did not run beyond the Red Fort which indicates that the revolt was limited and was by no means a war of India's independence.

An English historian Charles Allen in his book God�s Terrorists (Little, Brown, London, 2006) has written : �Thirty seven ulema of the city in July 1857 put their seals to a declaration calling for jihad�. Furthermore, on 19 May 1857, 8 days after the arrival of the mutineers from Meerut, a group of mullahs erected a green banner on the roof of the city's greatest mosque, the Jama Masjid, and published a fatwa proclaiming jihad, continued Allen. All these facts show that it was largely a Muslim revolt, evidently for the restoration of their six century rule especially over north India.

Coming to Divide and Rule, we feel that India stood politically divided with the advent of Muslim invasions and the divisions persisted because of the inherent Islamic belief that humanity was divided into momins and kafirs. The fact that they were rulers in many parts of India, only they could oppress the Hindus; surely subjects could not oppress their rulers. Furthermore, for many decades Hindu populace felt relieved. Not that they ceased to be subjects, but that the new rulers shifted Muslims from their lofty thrones to the same level that the others had sat upon for centuries.

There could be very little anti-Muslim propaganda since strong Hindu organizations were far and few between. The Congress was the primary organization in the decades when effective propaganda was possible. As you know, the Congress has generally been inclined to favour Muslims, if for nothing else, for their support and since Independence for their vote.

Mahatma Gandhi dominated Indian public life for the first half of the 20th century. He believed that Ram and Rahim was the name of the same God. He sang this bhajan almost every evening and even when the mophlas butchered Hindus by the thousand in Malabar, 1921, he believed Muslims to be brave and doing their divine duty. When riots took place at Kohat in Baluchistan, he said that brave Hindus should be proud to be butchered by their Muslim bretheren. Those who were not brave should leave from Kohat. As you know well, that his pro-Islamic leaning extended from the Muslim community generally to even Pakistan for whose 55 crore of rupees he went on fast unto death.

The great unchallenged Muslim leader of the time, Qaid-e-Azam Jinnah ordered Direct Action in August 1946 when he asked the League to direct Muslims to butcher Hindus. The exact words to the Calcutta League workers: All sections of Muslim League should carry minimum equipment of weapons, at least pocket knife at all times to destroy Hindus and drive all Hindus out of India. All transport should be used for battle against Hindus. Hindu women and girls should be raped, kidnapped and converted into Muslims from October 18, 1946. Hindu culture should be destroyed. (Taken from the book by Justice G.D. Khosla �Stern Warning�) 

The genocide spread all the way to the Punjab which made Muslims there shift their loyalties from the Unionist Party of Sir Sikander Hayat Khan to Jinnah's Muslim League. Otherwise, the Partition might not have taken place and our ancient country would not have been cut into two and in 1971 into three. The unanimous vote by the Muslims in the 1945/1946 general election and the birth of Pakistan were the fruits of that genocide.

Uncannily, a scholar of your stature still believes that if there is a direct choice between identity and development you prefer identity. Where then is the question of there being a united India moving towards development?

Editor

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