A Study of Hindu-Muslim relations since the foundation of the Indian National Congress in 1885 tells us the Muslims have been making demands – ideological, political, territorial – and Hindu conceding them all along. Yet Muslim problem remains with us in as acute a from as ever. With the advent of petro-dollars and the emergence of V.P. Singh, Laloo Prasad, Mulayam Singh and Kanshi Ram on the political scene, Muslims have become as aggressive and intransigent as in the pre-Partition period.
It has become a habit with Hindu leaders to take Hindus for granted and bargain with Muslims on the latter's terms. Leaders of the Indian National Congress have taken Hindus for granted from 1885 till today. Now leaders of the Sangh Parivar look like following the same path. Hindus have to decide as to how long they are going to be taken for granted.
"Contrary to certain impressions created in the media," observes Koenraad Elst, "the BJS-BJP and RSS leaders have a heartfelt desire to woo the Muslims. The present official position of the RSS (and a fortiori of the BJP) is, more than ever, that Islam itself is quite alright, only fundamentalism is wrong. Even the well-known secularist theory that the Hindu-Muslim conflict was merely a concoction of the wily British colonizers is often repeated in RSS publications, sometimes with the addition that Congress and other secularist parties have now assumed the divisive role which the British once played. In every case, the role of the intrinsic hostility which Islam itself preaches and practises against 'idolatry' is down-played or kept out of the picture.
"It is hard to conceive of a situation," he continues, "where a society is vexed and tortured by a persistent enemy, then generate a millions-strong organization pledged to the defence of this society, and yet this organization, this boastful 'vanguard', fails to produce even the most sketchy analysis of the motives and methods of this enemy. Only Hindus could fare this badly. Fifty years after the Partition, twenty-six years after the East Bengal genocide, there are still Hindus singing mendacious refrains like Ram Rahim Ek HAi and 'equal truth or all religions', because their supposed leaders have never bothered to inform them. A large part of the radon is to be found in specific choices made by the Sangh leadership, most of all the choice to seek secular respectability by means of appeasement policies including flattery of Mohammed and Islam" (Bharatiya Janata Party vis-a-vis Hindu Resurgence).
This compilation shows that in its flurry for forming a government at the Centre, the Sangh leadership has fallen back on policies pursued by the Indian National congress under the leadership of Mahtma Congress under the leadership of Mahatma Gandhi who harboured a lifelong illusion that he could move the Muslim Indians into the national mainstream by flattering Islam. The
Mahatma ended by becoming the Father of Pakistan, and a shahis in the service of his mindless slogan – sarva-dharma-samabhava. We wonder where the Sangh leadership will land whatever has survived of Hindu society and culture in a shrunken and shrinking
Hindu homeland. Hindu intelligentsia has to come forward and stop i t from taking the Hindu masses for another ride.
The credit for the present compilation goes wholly to Dr. Shreerang Godbole. It was his letters written to us in August- September 1996 which prompted us to circulate in October 1996 an 8-page brochure - Time For Stock Taking: A Swayamsevak Speaks - which we reproduce below:
Dr. Shreerang Godbole is a young medical practitioner at Pune in Maharashtra. He has been a swayamsevak of the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) for seventeen years. We have received from him the two documents which we are reproducing in the pages that follow. He has given us permission to circulate them widely among the Hindu intelligentsia with a view to elicit Hindu response.
1. The first document carries his comments on eight formulations which have been popularized by the Sangh Parivar in recent years. These were presented by him to a Seminar held at Pune on 27-28 July 1996 under the aegis of Prajna Bharati in order to review the political scene in India after the 1996 Lok Sabha Elections and the fall of the first BJP government at the Centre. Participants in the Seminar included Sarvashri K.S. Sudarshan, Murli Manohar Joshi, Dattopant Thengdi, K.R. Malkani, S. Gurumurthy, Devendra Swamp, Muzaffar Hussain, P. Parameswaran, and M.G. Vaidya, among others.
2. The second document is a letter which he wrote on August, 1996 to Shri K.S. Sudarshan, Joint Secretary of the RSS, regarding Sarva Panth Samadar Manch (a platform for extending equal honour to all ways of worship) floated some time ago by the Bharatiya Mazdoor Sangh (BMS) which works in the labour field under RSS inspiration. The moving spirit of the Manch is Shri Dattopant Thengdi, though it is presided over by a Parsi gentleman from Nagpur.
The 'two documents speak for themselves. We invite Hindus in general and members of the Sangh Parivar in particular to respond to the issues which Dr. Godbole has raised. Voice of India will welcome all responses, and publish them in due course so that leaders of the Sangh Parivar may know how the Hindu intelligentsia view the latest Sangh slogans and strategies.
II We have only two brief comments to offer:
1. A study of Hindu-Muslim relations since the foundation of the Indian National Congress in 1885 tells us that Muslims have been making demands - ideological, political, territorial - and Hindu conceding them all along. Yet the Muslim problem remains with us in as acute a form as ever. With the advent of petro-dollars and the emergence of V.P. Singh, Laloo Prasad, Mulayam Singh and Kanshi Ram on the political scene, Muslims have become as aggressive and intransigent as in the pre-Partition period.
2. It has become a habit with Hindu leaders to take Hindus for granted a bargain Muslims on the latter's terms. Leaders of the Indian National Congress have taken Hindus for granted from 1885 till today. Now leaders of the Sangh Parivar look like following the same path. Hindus have to decide as to how long they are going to be taken for granted.
Attitude of Hindu Organisations towards Muslim Problem
Comments offered by Dr. Godbole at the Pune Seminar
With the rising Hindu resurgence, the policy of Hindu organizations towards Muslim problem is receiving attention. However, the statements of certain Hindu leaders make one feel that there is fundamental ideological confusion among Hindu leaders vis-a-vis Muslims. These statements, particularly as they come from respected Hindu leaders, create and perpetuate misconceptions among Hindu masses about true nature of Islam. Let us examine a few of these misconceptions.
1. What is the harm in adding Jesus and Muhammad to the 33 crore Hindu gods and goddesses? Semitic religions like Islam and Christianity look upon Muharnmad as the Seal of the Prophets (Last Prophet) and Jesus as God's only Begotten Son respectively. They reject all other gods except Allah and God [of the Bible] respectively. When Muharnmad himself started "rejecting other: pre-Islarnic Arab goddesses like Al-Manat, the preIslamic Arabs (Quraiysh) tried to bring the Prophet to a compromise, offering to accept his religion if he would so modify it as to make room for their gods as intercessors with Allah, offering to make him their King, if he would give up attacking idolatry" (The Holy Quran, English translation by Marmaduke Pickthall, p.6). Prophet Muhammad rejected all pleas of the Quraiysh and destroyed all idols and pictures existing then in the Ka' aba. The real question is whether Islam allows addition of any God other than Allah, not whether Hindus are willing to include Muharnmad or Allah.
2. All religions (including Islam) lead to God. Some Hindus think that it is against Hinduism to criticize other religions. The openness of Hinduism should not be used to sanction the dogmas of other religious groups, though it does not prevent us from respecting the Truth in whatever form we encounter it. "If we are seeking to climb a mountain, several routes are possible but not all are equally valid. Moreover, following a path that leads away from the mountain will never take us to the top, whatever that path may be called. Spiritual practices are like different vehicles. Some are like airplanes, some are like bullock carts. While all may take us somewhere, they are hardly all on the same level, or all equally recommended for travel" (David Frawley alias Vamadeva Shastri, Arise Arjuna, Voice of India, p.6).
3. Islam is good but Muslims are bad.
The fact is quite the reverse. Muslims minus their Islam are as good or bad as any other human beings, The pre- Islamic Arabs and Turks were tolerant people, It was Islam that brutalized them, If Muslims renounce Islam, they will also become tolerant.
4. If Muslims are told of their common ancestry, they will unite with Hindus.
How foolish! As if Muslims are not aware that their forefathers were converted to Islam. However, for Muslims, pre- Islamic period is a period of darkness (jahiliya). Prophet Muhammad is himself reported to have said that his mother and beloved uncle were sent to Hell because they were non-Muslims.
5. Congress used Muslims. Congress treats Muslims as vote banks. We (BlP) will treat Muslims as human beings.
The fact is again quite the reverse. It is not Congress that used Muslims but Muslims that used the Congress to achieve their political purposes. As long as Congress was powerful, Muslims voted for it. Now that it has become weak, Muslims have dropped it and opted for Third Front. Also, Muslims view themselves as a 'vote bank. In recent elections they did tactical voting to keep BJP out of power. It is not important how BJP views Muslims but how Muslims view BJP. For Muslims, BJP leaders are Kafirs and will be cut up if Muslims seize power.
6. Sufis are tolerant Muslims.
In fact, Sufis were the most fanatic of Muslims. Shah Waliullah who raised the cry of Pan-Islamism in recent times was a Sufi. Eaton' s Sufis of Bijapur has been banned by our Government because it exposes the fanaticism of Sufis.
7. Muslim leaders are responsible for the ghetto mentality of Muslims.
It is not Muslim leaders but Islamic theology that is responsible for the ghetto mentality of Muslims. Page after page of Quran and Hadis tell Muslims how they are superior to the Kafirs, how Kafirs are impure, and how one should not make friends with them. The Hadis even tells Muslims to build houses only in those places from where even smoke coming from the house of a Kafir will not be seen! Is it then any wonder that Muslims live in ghettos?
8. Namaa; offered on a disputed site (like Ayodhya) is not acceptable to Allah.
This is plain nonsense. Nowhere is any such thing said in Quran and Hadis. In fact, both books repeatedly exhort Muslims to destroy idols of other religions. Let us read Quran, Hadis, Sunnah (Life of Prophet). Then we will realize that to assimilate Muslims into BJPIRSS is like assimilating Marxists into BJP/RSS. Islam, Christianity, Judaism, Marxism, Nazism all believe in One God, One Prophet, One Book, One History, They are exc1usivist ideologies and reject all accommodation and assimilation. It is only when Muslims are cured of Islam that they can be assimilated. Muslims should in fact be viewed as victims of Islam. Every effort should be made to expose Islam. Like Marxism, Islam is also bound to crumble one day.
Letter written by Dr. Godbole to Shri K. S. Sudarshan
You might recall that I had recently put forth before you, my views on 'Hindu organisations and the Muslim problem' at the national meet of Prajna Bharati at Pune. Due to lack of time, I could not touch upon a very disturbing development viz. the formation of 'Sarva Panth Samadar Manch' by the Sangh. I am placing my views on the same for your kind consideration.
As I had outlined, the Muslim problem is essentially a problem of Islam and its theology - the Quran, Hadis, Sunnah all cultivate an exclusivist, separatist, imperialist political mind-set of its adherents, In this respect, Judaism, Christianity, Islam, Marxism, Nazism, Fascism are all similar, It is only when followers of these ideologies outgrow/renounce these ideas that lasting peace is possible.
There are encouraging signs that the foundations of Islam are showing cracks - many Muslims have begun to question the basic premises of Islam. Like Marxism, Islam as an ideology is bound to become a museum-piece. It is a pity that instead of encouraging the downfall of exclusivist ideologies, Hindu organisations, wittingly or otherwise, are giving props to them e.g. Sarva Panth Samadar Manch. The following issues arise in this context:
1. Does 'Sarva Panth' include only 'panths' arising from Bharatiya darshan and non-Biblical non-Bharatiya spiritual practices? If so, I welcome such a Manch. Unfortunately, that does not seem to be the case.
2. If it includes Islam and Christianity (which seems to be the case), why should it not include Marxism, Nazism and Fascism?
3. If the Manch is aimed at Musims and their assimilation, I find the whole exercise naive and futile. 'Sarva Panth Samadar' goes against the very tenets of Islam. Instead of repeating parrot-like that all religions are alike, why don't Hindu leaders bother to open Quran and read it for themselves? It is disservice o Muslims also to be told that Islam is an ideology worthy of equal respect. That a large section of humanity is in the thrall of such dangerous ideologies should be a matter of concern to us. Paradoxically. Muslims Should Be Viewed Not As Oppressors But As The Greatest Victims of Islam. The Should Be Weaned From Islamic Ideology.
4. If the Manch is aimed at Hindus, then Hindus anyway don't need your preaching of 'Sarva Panth Samadar' – in fact they already have had too much of it. What Hindus Need Today Is Not Sarva Panth Samadar But Sarva Panth Chikitsa. It is only then that they will see through and beware of political ideologies masquerading as religions. Outfits like the Manch are by definition useless in this respect because they start with the assumption that all religions are worthy of equal respect.
5. The Concept of 'Sarva Panth Samadar' is even more dangerous than the concept of 'Sarva Dharma Samabhav' mouthed by secularists. With the latter you are at least allowed equidistance from all religions. With the former, you actually ask me to show equal respect to Sanatana Dharma and Islam. This is not acceptable to me. Instead of indulging in verbal jugglery (Gandhian socialism, Pseudo v/s true secularism, sarva panth samadar etc.).
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