Sultan Shahin, not Owaisi, represents India’s Muslims

Sultan Shahin, not Owaisi, represents India’s Muslims

By M.D. Nalapat | 21 November, 2015
If portions of Islamic texts talk of war and violence, so do those of other religions.
When the Supreme Court gave its verdict establishing the rights following the divorce of an elderly Muslim woman, Shah Bano, against her ex-husband, most members of her gender within the community rejoiced. After all, as Arif Mohammad Khan pointed out, most males are not merely husbands but fathers of daughters, brothers of sisters and friends and relatives of women, each of whom was deserving of those protections of the law guaranteed by the Constitution of India. A few dissented, seeking to ensure that for the Muslim community, India followed the trajectory of Saudi Arabia, where a woman cannot drive a car on the road or travel freely alone. It was in 1985 a matter of a few lakh rupees to engineer riots and demonstrations on any issue, a situation that has changed only in that these days, the money involved in organising such “manifestations of the public will” adds up not to lakhs but to crores. Unfortunately, the predictable fringe protests which followed the Supreme Court judgement persuaded Rajiv Gandhi to pass a law, which denied Muslim women the post-divorce rights enjoyed by women from other communities. Earlier, in 1971, Indira Gandhi had similarly backtracked on freeing Muslim women from Saudi-style restrictions by ensuring that they were given the same status as their counterparts in Turkey. Still earlier, in 1955, during the drafting of the Hindu Code Bill, Jawaharlal Nehru rejected the advice of B.R. Ambedkar to extend a similar modernising touch to Muslims and Christians, whose personal laws were consequently left untouched.
The consequence of this triple failure by a single family to enact a code sensitive to the changes in society since the medieval era is that Muslim women in India have a much lower level of protection under the laws than even their sisters in post-Zia, indeed, post-Taliban, Pakistan. Muslims belong to a faith that has over a billion followers across the globe, and number 160 million within India, a number hardly of a size which would be in danger of vulnerability. However, in the 1930s, despite having a larger share within the total population within the subcontinent than is the case in 2015, several tens of millions of Muslims belonging to all regions and classes believed M.A. Jinnah’s canard that the community was in danger of their subordination to the British getting exchanged post-Independence to a similar fate under the Hindus. Jinnah’s scare tactics continue in different forms to this day. The Congress party, during 1931-47 failed to counter Muslim League accusations intended to create a siege mentality within the Muslim community. Jinnah’s campaign to vivisect India was given a boost by Mahatma Gandhi expelling from his midst a son who had converted to Islam. Since then, despite democracy and secular values, there have been multiple instances of murder of an individual of Community X by miscreants from Community Y and vice versa, but to conflate this into “proof” that Muslims, who in India form a strong, vibrant and overwhelmingly moderate community, are in imminent danger of death at the hands of frenzied Hindu goons is not simply ridiculous, but irresponsible in the context of the history of the past. 
In reality, the most potent threat to the Muslim community and the primary reason for its relative lack of success in so many areas of endeavour is the fact that many of its young study in schools where the subjects taught exclude those needed to equip them for success in the 21st century. There is indeed room for madrasas, Veda pathsalas and Bible schools, not as replacements for conventional school education, but as add-ons for those seeking an enhanced understanding of the issues taught in such institutions. Wherever Muslims choose (or can afford) high-quality modern education, rather than study whole time in religious schools, they are more frequently than not in the lead in business and the professions. 
If portions of Islamic texts talk of war and violence, so do texts in Hinduism, Judaism and Christianity. However, in the latter three faiths, such portions do not in the public mind supercede the other sections the way they have in discussions on Islam, especially in Europe and in North America. The consequence of such selectivity has been that non-Muslim elements in societies everywhere believe that it is individuals of the persuasion of Asaduddin Owaisi rather than Sultan Shahin, of Imam Bukhari rather than the Diwan Saheb of Ajmer Dargah, who most accurately represents the Muslim community. That only the wearer of a burkhas or a man who sports a long beard are taken as “genuine” followers of what in its overall teachings is among the most democratic faiths in the world, with each believer given the right to absorb the Quran’s teachings without the pervasive and sometimes misleading intermediation of the ulema that remains commonplace even in the present. Errors in typecasting of the faith and its followers by the rest of society have led to a gross inflation of the perceived importance of the fringe of that society, whereas among Hindus or Sikhs, similar elements are correctly categorised as fringe rather than mainstream. If Muslim society is undergoing the trauma of some within it getting seduced by Wahhabism, part of the fault rests in the manner in which non-Muslims have dealt with the fringe in the Muslim community as being the only genuine representatives of a community that is as moderate and as modern as are Christians, Hindus, Jains, Buddhists and Sikhs in India. The next time there is a debate on national television or a delegation gets invited for a dialogue with a policymaker, hopefully it will be the Sultan Shahins and the Diwan Sahebs who are given priority over fringe co-religionists, the way it is with all other communities in India.

There are 12 Comments

Among the Hindus - Dogmatism is a Social Taboo. Inflicting the Hatred Arising out of Dogma is a Greater Social Taboo. That shows that Hindus Live as a Society and not as a Religion. The Day Muslims realise the importance of having a Society rather than a Religion - all Dogma will melt and a New World Order can Emerge.

Christianity too has had a history of religious wars and the pale tolerance Christians demonstrate nowadays is of recent origin. But the Christians do also have the support and the benefit of Jesus asking his disciples to love the enemy as a greater duty, than easily loving one 's brother, relative or friend. The Mahabharata and its many stories tell of the eighteen day battle, but throughout the text, the refrain alternates with "Truth is the ultimate Dharma" and "Ahimsa is the ultimate Dharma". Mahatma Gandhi took these two pronouncements as the pillars of his political philosophy to oppose the rule of the British. In the Quran and the Hadiths there are no equivalents of the ethical principles enunciated by Jesus and by the Mahabharata. Madhav Nalapat may be well intentioned, but he blocks genuine discussion on the conflicts generated in India, conflicts which perpetuate a situation introduced by Islam on Indian soil. Peace in Islam is not Peace in the Jaina scriptures. Tolerance in a Muslim 's talk cannot be compared with the tolerance of Hinduism, Buddhism, Jainism co-existing and written in the stones of Ajanta for the whole world to see. M. Nalapat needs to survey the ruins which litter the soil of India, to look at the pictures of the now empty excavated hills of Bamiyan before establishing a certain homogeneity of tolerance in the indigenous religions and in the revealed religions with their spiritual centres of gravity lying beyond the borders of India. To begin with, there is a difference between the Indian Christians and the Indian Muslims. The Indian Christians were the original Christians, they are proud not to be converts. The British, the French, the Germans became Christians four to five centuries after the first Indian Christians. Most, in fact, nearly all, Indian Muslims are converts, just as the Sikhs are. It is the converted man and woman who hate the previous community and culture which they have left. This is a phenomenon witnessed the world over. In the early 20th century the worst antisemites in France were converted Jews and the sons and daughters of converted Jews. Torquemada, the most ferocious Inquisitor in medieval Spain, belonged to a family of converted Jews. In Mauritius the worst anti-Hindus were the converted Hindus who changed their religion, their eating and dress habits, their name, and preferred to call themselves Creoles. The fact of Indian Muslims hating the Hindus has not been internalized by Hindus, regretfully. Aurangzeb, Jinnah, the Kashmiri separatists had and have Hindu blood in their veins. THAT IS THE REASON FOR THEIR HATRED OF HINDUS. It is because, not in spite, of conversion that there is so much hatred and contempt in Indian society. Most, if not all, Pakistani terrorists have Indian blood coursing in their veins. The servility and obsequious kowtowing to the Muslim vote bank as practised by the Congress as a NATURAL behaviour, as broad-mindedness, as generosity, as tolerance, has been actually the introduction, for the first time in Indian history, a form of reasoning which has distorted the cultural fabric of the Indian society. Despite their zeal, not even the RSS has produced a form of language to correct this discrepancy, which in reality introduced for the first time a discontinuity in the on-going history of the Hindfu-Buddhist-Jaina civilisation. Fortunately the Modi wave which, for the first time places a Hindu majority in charge of the management of the indigenous culture, has shown that the historical breakdown can be undone. If it be able to resist the onslaughts of the grave diggers of the glorious Hindu-Buddhist-Jaina way of life.

The present wave of extremism generated by the geopolitics in Afghanistan, Pakistan and the Middle-East should not blind us to the fact that historically, Islam has been the more tolerant and egalitarian among all the religions. Islam is fundamentally and literally a religion of peace with the following as eternal principles from the time of Adam till eternity: 1. A Muslim must agree to disagree with those who have rejected Islam and live in peace with them as long as they remain peaceful. "O ye that reject Faith (of Islam) ..........To you be your Way, and to me mine!" (Surah 109 verse 1 and 6. 2. There is absolutely no compulsion in religion. (2:256) 3. The highest virtue that provides evidence of being a Muslim (witness submission to Allah) is standing firm for secular justice. Such a person will be among the ranks of the shuhada (3:18). 4. The most obvious characteristic of a contumacious rejecter of the “truth” (kafir) is the opposite of standing for justice or the oppression of people in any form. (2:191 to 193) 5. Islam was the religion of all the Prophets and their followers are all Muslims. Irrespective of what name they give to their religion, the more righteous and just they are, the more Muslim (Closer in their submission to God) they are and those who oppress are kafir (contumacious rejecters of all that is good, just and fair) even though they call themselves Muslim. (17:110, 2:112, 177, 5:48, 49:13)

"If portions of Islamic texts talk of war and violence, so do texts in Hinduism, Judaism and Christianity. " Sorry author is making a facetious politically correct statement which does not correspond to truth. Quran's peace and love is for believers and death and subjugation for non believers. Face this truth if we ever want to get better of this menace.

Thanks, this site is very valuable NFL 17

Thanks extremely handy. Will share website with my buddies nba 2k17 vc

Wow... this is a advantageous websites nba 2k17

Passion the site-- really individual friendly and lots to see! madden 17

What's happening, great internet site you have here nba 2k17 vc

I love the information on your website. Thank you so much!. nba 2k17

Your data is very appealing madden nfl 17 mobile coins

Basically needed to stress Now i am ecstatic I stumbled in your web page!. BETTY

Add new comment

This question is for testing whether or not you are a human visitor and to prevent automated spam submissions.
Enter the characters shown in the image.