Bismarck

Owaisi on Hindutva! Look who’s talking

Osaduddin Owaisi, a Muslim hardliner known for his legal wordplay, was brought to his knees by the combine of Times Now’s Rahul Shivshankar and BJP spokesperson Dr. Sudhanshu Trivedi on Ayodhya issue on Tuesday night debate.

Owaisi’s spacious argument was that Kapil Sibal was representing Sunni Waqf Board in the Supreme Court in the capacity of a lawyer and not from Congress; similarly as Ravi Shankar Prasad and Arun Jaitley have represented their respective clients in the past even though they are the members of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP).

(The same argument was stressed by Congress spokesperson Randeep Surjewala, chewing his words more than in his usual irritating style and flashing documents as Moses might have recounted the 10 Commandments in Exodus 20).

“But then why make a political argument that the Ayodhya hearing be postponed till after the ’19 General Elections? Doesn’t it show him (Sibal) as a political front of Congress? Why not stick to legal recourse? Doesn’t it show a lack of faith in India’s top judiciary?” Owaisi was questioned. Losing his cool by the minute, Owaisi said he didn’t fear as much Hindutva revivalism as Hindutva and the effect a majoritarian rule could have as it happened in (Nazi) Germany.

While Dr. Trivedi made a pertinent point on Hindu philosophy (“We have instances of one brother following another in the Forest; a heir-apparent abandoning his right on kingdom bowing to wishes of his father—unlike other faiths where son kills father and brother kills brother”), Owaisi’s sly reference to Germany needs a rebuttal. This is the last recourse Hindu-baiters employ to paint them as “Hindu fascist/Nazi forces.”

Since very few of us have the time or energy to verify these allegations, they acquire kind of a life of its own. Such a narrative would become more and more dominant till the next General Elections in 2019. It must be confronted with hard facts time and again.

Owaisi, who was dubbed by author Taslima Nasreen as a Muslim Extremist, is not alone in this fake tirade.

Communist leader Sitaram Yechury  renamed RSS as Saffron Shirts (even though the RSS uniform has no saffron) or SS in a sly reference to Hitler’s dreaded paramilitary group. [i] Sonia Gandhi and other Congress leaders have done so in the past. [ii]

In Adolf Hitler’s Mein Kampf, the word Hindu or any term for any specifically Hindu concept, does not figure anywhere. “India” figures only twice.

As for the adoption of Swastika (or hooked cross) as party symbol, it was Hitler’s attempt to counter Communist “hammer and sickle” as a logo of his own party. It bore no resemblance to Hindu’s quest for inner control from one of his of outward physical dominance. [iii]

Further, there is no Hindutva theory on race purification, no biological divergence of the Hindu-Muslim conflict and no Hindu programme on eugenics.

Still, the Hindu-haters attempts have persisted all along. At the time of Ayodhya history debate in 1990-91, VHP-mandated scholars had mentioned a 19th century Germany archaelogist Dr. A. Fuhrer to further their claims. Quickly enough, the vicious propaganda turned it into an evidence of VHP’s admiration for the Fuhrer!

Owaisi need be told that if anything, the Muslim League before Independence was viewed to have a similar outlook on Hitler and Nazi Germany by none other than Jawaharlal Nehru, as mentioned by BR Nanda in his book, Gandhi and his Critics :

“When Nehru returned after a brief visit to Europe in 1938, he was struck by the similarity between the propaganda methods of the Muslim League in India and the Nazis in Germany.”

Nanda wrote further that “the league leaders had begun to echo the Fascist tirade against democracy…Nazis were wedded to a negative policy. So also was the League. The League was anti-Hindu, anti-Congress, anti-national…the Nazis raised the cry of hatred against the Jews; the League had raised its cry against the Hindus.” [iv]

Though this piece is not about Hindu-Muslim viewpoints, it must be said in passing that the RSS and Hindutva forces, against whom Owaisi mouths his venom, have never commented on the intrinsic value of Islam as a religion even though by popular admission, Islam is narrower, more regimented and less freer than Hinduism.

For example, Muslim countries are less repentant about having treated non-Muslims under their rule as a lower class of human beings. Such has been the case against the Hindus in Pakistan and Bangladesh.

Thousands of Christians were killed in Indonesia, in East Timor and in Sudan; substantial Copts were killed by Muslims in Egypt; Algerian Islamicists targeted Catholic priests in 1990s. Christian natives too have committed since against Hindus in Fiji but neither any Muslim or Christian country is ever termed as Fascist/Nazis. (Thanks to Dr. Koenraad Elst for these facts).

Communists have killed far more people in numbers than Hitler ever did. Did British colonial powers kill less number of Indians than Hitler ever did in his Holocaust?

Yet, the tag of being Fascist/Nazis has never been applied against an Islamic or Christian country after World War II. Hinduism, in contrast, is tolerant and accommodating, never looking for outward expansion, and thus an easy target for this tirade.

Those who call Hindutva as Fascists or Nazis, ironically are clearly in alliance with ideologies whose record against Humanity leaves much to be desired: Communism and Islamism.

I conclude this piece with a delicious chuckle: all these secularist champions—who fear-monger about supposed Hindu fascism—need be told that Hitler himself was a secularist!

The European history of the last half-millennium has shown that modernity (Renaissance, Enlightenment, French and American Revolution, French Third Republic etc) has gone hand-in-hand with secularization. Hitler too had continued with the secular policies of Bismarck’s Kulturkampf. All along, Hitler had kept religions in its place.

i] Pseudo-Hinduism Exposed, CPI (M), Delhi, 1993, Page 1

[ii] The Saffron Swastika, Dr. Koenraad Elst, Page 28

[iii]  The Swastika, Malcolm Quinn, Page 129

[iv] Gandhi and his Critics by BR Nanda, Page 88

 

Why Muslims owe a lot to Sardar Patel

This is the centenary of the year when Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel first met Mahatma Gandhi and India got its unifier as we know the nation today. His birth anniversary, which falls this week, was all but erased from public memory under the Congress continuance and the media/academia which controlled the public narrative. It’s only now that the man is being pulled out of history’s dusty racks.

History bears testimony how the birth centenary of Sardar Patel on October 31, 1975 was blocked from public consciousness by the dispensation of Indira Gandhi and the media/academia cabal. Contrast this with Pt. Jawaharlal Nehru’s who was festooned all over India in 1989 during his birth centenary.

You have Marxist historian Romila Thapar pointing out Sardar Patel’s role in reconstruction of legendary Somnath Temple after Independence, an act of communal and not secular ideals of India by inference, though how Nehru pushed the passage of the Haj Committee Act in 1959 is better not questioned.

Congress loses no time in terming Sardar Patel as its own, and couldn’t care less about your protest that the “Iron Man” got Bharat Ratna only 44 years after India’s independence. Try telling them that no less than three Nehru-Gandhi icons were decorated with India’s highest civilian award in between (two of them, Nehru and Indira, while they were still alive). A few awardees in between, while Patel was kept in the storeroom, could be suitably embarrassed.

All this while Patel’s has been nuanced into an anti-Muslim persona. Be it agenda-driven websites which have mushroomed lately; the known Left’s stable such as The Hindu/Frontline or NDTV, and mainstream media, Patel’s legacy has suffered in their hands. The man deserves truth even if respect eludes him from the indifferent amongst us. Sardar was no less than Bismarck—but India hasn’t been a match to Germany in gratitude.

The anti-Muslim narrative must seize our immediate attention. BJP has been tireless in pointing out Sardar’s role in India’s unification. It’s been easy for the Indian ecosystem to club the two and project it against Muslims of the country. One, it establishes their “secular” credentials and two, it kind of helps in explaining their willful neglect of the towering Sardar.

Was Patel Anti-Muslim?

The one unethical method the intelligentsia adopts is to take a quote out of its context and use it to buttress its agenda. We have Rajmohan Gandhi writing in “Patel A Life” (P. 426) that “He (Patel) was unquestionably roused more by a report of 50 Hindu or Sikh deaths than by another 50 Muslim deaths.”

Another by Rajmohan Gandhi: “…Patel could not get over his anger against Muslims whom he held responsible for the Partition; they had brought this tragedy not only upon themselves but also on others.”

Patel has been blamed for introducing the Permit system which didn’t allow Muslims to claim their Indian citizenship even if they had gone to Pakistan for a visit after August 15, 1947. He is also burnt at stake for slapping the Evacuee Property Law which meant the absorption of movable and immovable assets of Muslims who chose to leave for Pakistan. In both the instances, it was in retaliation to similar moves made in West and East Pakistan but such logic is usually lost in wilderness.

Quite a few of Sardar’s utterances are cited to hold him guilty of anti-Muslim bias. There is this speech in Hyderabad, just two months before his passing away in 1950, where he said: “I naturally begin to doubt whether Muslims here feel that their future lies in India.” (That his next sentence condemned some Hindus for celebrating Gandhi’s assassination, is studiously avoided). (Chopra, P.N., The Sardar of India, p.150.)

There are these words of Sardar’s in Calcutta (now Kolkata) in January 1948:  “The Muslims who are still in India, many of them helped in the creation of Pakistan…They (now) say why their loyalty is being questioned.”

When Pakistan invaded Kashmir, the same month, he addressed Muslims in Lucknow, thus: “I want to tell you frankly that mere declaration of loyalty to the Indian Union will not help you in this critical juncture…those who want to go to Pakistan can go there and live in peace.”

Contrast these words with the actions Patel took vis-à-vis the minority communities. He was instrumental, as chairman of the committee on minorities and fundamental rights, in allowing Muslims and Christians the right to (a) propagate their religion (b) the right to preserve their language and culture; and (c) the right to run their own educational institutions.(1)

Men like K.M. Munshi and Purushottam Das Tandon, protested that even in the 1931 Karachi session of the Congress, only the “right to profess and practice one’s religion,” and not propagation, had been allowed. But Patel would have none of it. He went by the reasoning of Christian and Muslim members that propagation of faith was central to their tenets. That’s how you have the word “propagate” in Article 25 of the Constitution. (2)

It was also Patel who gifted Muslims and Christians, and other minorities, with Articles 29 and 30, that allowed them the right to pursue their language and culture as well as control their own educational institutions. These rights are enshrined in India’s Constitution. (3)

The first Chief Commissioner of Delhi that Patel appointed was Khurshid Alam Khan. The Inspector General of the Special Police Force was a Muslim and a close confidant of Sardar Patel. In September 1947, Patel had 10,000 or more Muslims shepherded to safety inside the Red Fort. During communal violence he had free kitchens opened for them.

Many senior civil servants and police officers have left a vivid account of Patel’s sense of justice. He once rushed out in person in the middle of a night to save the Dargah of Nizamuddin Auliya. Choudhary Khaliquzzaman writes in Pathway toPakistan (P 395-396) how Patel ordered Section 144 Cr.P.C to save besieged Muslim lives.

It was in the sacred Constituent Assembly, that Patel had thundered: “…a discontented minority is a burden and a danger and that we must not do anything to injure the feelings of any minority so long as it is not unreasonable.” On another occasions he addressed Hindus thus: “If you think that you can go on constantly troubling loyal Muslims because they happen to be Muslims, then our freedom is not worthwhile.”

In 1949, the idol of Ram was installed inside the non-functioning Babri Masjid. Patel lost no time in writing to UP Chief Minister Pt. Govind Ballabh Pant that the mob must not be allowed to take law into its own hands. That the law-breakers must be met with force.

Rajaji wrote thus in “Swarajya” in 1971: “A myth had grown about Patel that he would be harsh towards Muslims. This was a wrong notion but it was a prevailing prejudice.”

In January 1948, Gandhi wrote: “Many Muslim friends had complained to me of the Sardar’s so-called anti-Muslim attitude. I was able to assure the critics they were wrong…the Sardar had a bluntness of speech which sometimes unintentionally hurt, though his heart was expansive enough to accommodate all.”

Thus here we are looking at a man who is more secular than those who employ it as a tool to push their own despicable agenda. Why would you think a man of such generosity and big-heartedness didn’t get his due from the establishment? In one short word: Nehru, his successors and the ecosystem which they spawned in their wake.