Towards another division of India? An insight at Hindu-Muslim Exclusivism

Published: Tuesday, Mar 20,2012, 00:10 IST
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division of India, India Prognosis, Battleground India Prognosis of Hindu-Muslim Exclusivism

Both Hindus and the Muslims have sufficient ammunitions -some real, some imaginary-to hurl at each other. The problem that stares us in the face is: are we doomed to live side by side separately? Would zjihadi ambience prevailing in several parts of the Muslim world and in India’s neighbourhood jeopardize the country’s territorial integrity and would the demographically increasing Muslim population demand creation of another homeland?

It should not be forgotten that iHindu-iMuslim warfare, specific to the subcontinent, has added to the ambiance of hostility. Globally, iMuslim in the cyberspace has become a tool for spreading messages of Islam, Quran, Sharia, Hadith etc. Specifically, the ijihad websites spread messages of the need for jihad against the kuffar in targeted countries.

“Muslims have creatively applied the Internet in the interest of furthering and understanding of the religion for other believers, especially those affiliated to a specific world view and in some cases, a wider non-Muslim readership.” Systematic studies of digital Islam has been made by Gilles Kepel, Bruce Lawrence, Castells, and Peter Mandeville and several other authors. The US and UK security agencies and certain universities carry out systematic studies on this subject. Some of the important iMuslim sites are MuslimSpace.com, IslamicTube.com, al-Islam.com, Islamway.com, Al-Sistani.com, Al-Qaradawi.com, Alminbar.com, jihad-algeria.com, Dirty Kuffar.com (Video), Tawhid wal Jihad, Abualbukhary.org, Qudsway.com, IslamicTorrents, Islamicvideo.net, Al-Quradawi.net, Al-needa, Badral-Riyyadh. Especially al Qaeda related cyber sites are Alsakifa.com, Quqaz.com, al-ansar.net, al-alali.net, saraya.com, sahwal.com etc. Jihad sympathizer’s cyber nets are maktabal-jihad, jihadunspun.com, shareeah.com, kavakaz.tv, ummahnews.com, kavakazcenter.net, kavakazcenter.info, Cihad.net, Clearguidance.com etc.

In Pakistan and Bangladesh, blog spots, the websites of Markaz-ud Dawa, Lashkar-e-Taiba, Harkat-ul-Jihad al Islami and Muslimvoice.net actively preach jihad. Net savvy religious leaders, and even some ulema run net-sites to propagate their brands of Islam, supposed supremacy of Islam in the subcontinent and the need for protection of minority rights. One common feature with some of these websites is that they appear for certain period of time and then disappear, to avoid detection and action. The al Qaeda and the Taliban sites behave in the same manner. As far as blog spots are concerned, there are too many web spots to monitor the regular bloggers on Islamic and jihad related issues.

On the other hand, there are several iHindu websites which broadcast Hindutva, danger to Hindu existence from Islam and Christianity and emphasize the need for Hindu solidarity. So far, no Hindu jihad websites have come to notice. But these sites often spread communal messages and hatred in almost equal proportion as the iMuslim websites do. Important Hindu cyberspace sites are: Hindu-religion@googlegroup.com, rishichintan.org, Awgp.org, FHRS_USA@Yahoogroup.com, Hinduview.com, mantra.com, Hindu.org, Hindunet.org, Bengal underattack.com, Hindurise.com, Hindurashtra.org, Begalgenocide.com etc.

A lot has been written by Indian scholars about spread of the saffron cult. Some important readings are Khaki Shorts, Saffron Flags by T Basu (Orient Longman), The Brotherhood in Saffron by Anderson W and S D Damle (Vistaar Publications), Anatomy of a Confrontation by S. Gopal (McMillan), Hindus and Others-G Pandey (Viking), Syndicated Moksha- RomilaThapar (Seminar 313, 1985). However, very little critical analysis of Muslim communalism has been attempted by the established scholars and historians. In fact, Indian researchers have so far not paid attention to the iMuslim and iHindu websites and their contents. To understand the depth of the conflict situation, it is necessary to regularly monitor these cyberspaces and tailor the knowledge to scholarly treasures as well as for national security needs. A mere study of Hindu communalism is not enough to analyze the conflict situation and creeping growth of jihad-sentiments amongst the Indian Muslims and Hindu reactionary responses. Some auto-cyber monitoring software is now available in western markets. These can be used by scholars and security agencies to monitor the cyber warfare. Without that kind of study, the sub-continental and global context to the meaning of religious, cultural divergences and growth of militancy may not be properly understood.

The Hindu reaction to alleged Muslim expansionism has been quite pronounced. In chapter 16, a reference was made to the lingering effect of the Bangistan concept of Ch Rahmat Ali. Over the last two decades, another dimension has been added to this idea, i.e. the pro and opposing propaganda about Mughlistan or Mughalistan. The idea was floated by some Pakistan, Bangladesh and the US, UK-based websites, demanding linking of Bangladesh with Pakistan by merging the areas of the Indian Punjab, parts of Bihar and West Bengal and Assam.

Young Muslim minds, affected by such propaganda, and the countervailing effect on communally-singed Hindu minds have created an ambience of electronic warfare, poisoning minds and accelerating expectations and apprehensions. At least eight such website propaganda by separatist Muslims and four websites operated by Hindu protagonists have virtually added to the tensions in areas where Muslims are gaining strident majority status in Assam, West Bengal and Bihar. According to the Creeping Sharia, “Mughalistan, the comprehensive plan for a second partition of India was first developed by the Mughalstan Research Institute (MRI) of Jahangir Nagar University (Bangladesh) under the patronage of the two intelligence agencies, Pakistan’s Inter Services Intelligence (ISI) and Bangladesh’s Director General of Forces Intelligence, DGFI. The Mughalistan Research Institute of Bangladesh has released a map where a Muslim corridor named ‘Mughalistan’ connects Pakistan and Bangladesh via India.

“This Greater Mughalistan is of strategic significance as it will provide a contiguous, strategic corridor linking the Ummah to a pan-Islamic Caliphate. This pan-Islamic Caliphate has been nick named as Islamistan (meaning Land of Islam), a synonym for ‘Islamic World’ or ‘Dar-ul-Islam’. This geographical Islamic crescent will link the Islamic Middle-East to Islamic South-East Asia, with the new Islamic World stretching all the way from Morocco and Bosnia in the West to Malaysia and Indonesia in the East.”

Though individual or institutional scholars have not yet commented on the concept in India, there is ample expansion of the idea by those who seek greater ‘Lebensraum’ for the subcontinental Muslims. Such paranoid propaganda, both by Muslim fanatics and Hindu reactionists, have created a virtual warfare which simmer below the apparent peaceful surface.

Both Hindu reactionists and Muslim fanatics use the same data from Census 2001. Two illustrations used by them apparently fortify their points of view. While illustration 1 below tries to depict areas of burgeoning Muslim populations in Assam, W. Bengal and eastern Bihar, illustration II emphasizes the alleged alarming growth of the Muslim population in the bordering districts of West Bengal. Both illustrations courtesy Bengal Genocide.com; accessed on 15.05.09

With such paranoid propaganda and assumptions that the inevitable march of history would lead to another vivisection of India, Hindu arguments have been fortified by reports by former Director IB,TV Rajeswar, Lt. General SK Sinha (former Governor Assam), Arun Shourie, and the Centre for Policy Studies (Religious Demography of India). This stream of study and propaganda by the Hindu stalwarts and championing of the reverse thesis by the All lndia Milli Council, All Assam Minority Student’s Association, SIMI, Muslim Liberation Tigers of Assam, remnants of the All India Muslim League in West Bengal, Bengal Muslim Student Majlis etc organisations.

It would be fallacious to assume that such propaganda is confined to eastern India. Ground studies indicate that the perception of possible Muslim demand for Mughlistan, or a homogenous homeland in the eastern parts of India is rocking almost all the corners of India. As said in earlier chapters, certain positive actions taken by the government in the aftermath of the Sachar Committee Report have added fuel to the speculative fires. The perception of virtual war has started assuming real shape.

The ambience of mutual doubt and suspicion has been aggravated by the spectrum of the listed ‘failed state’- Pakistan, which continues to be instable. Besides playing surrogate to the US in Afghan mujahedeen wars, the state of Pakistan and its intelligence agencies created a number of jihadi tanzeems in collaboration with fanatic Islamist organizations, for carrying out Pakistan’s proxy war in Kashmir and against India in general. The details of the psy-warfare carried out by websites, printed materials to preach messages of jihad and hatred against Hindu India have been incorporated in earlier chapters. Pakistan- sponsored acts of dastardly terrorism reverberated in the ghastly sea-borne attack on Mumbai on 26/11 2008. Between 1990 and 2008, nearly 50 such terrorist attacks on Indian soil have been attributed to Pakistani, and Bangladeshi terrorists, and their Indian Muslim collaborators, creating deep suspicion in Hindu minds – that the Muslims of South Asia want another vivisection of India.

The jihadi ambience in the neighborhood, and both Pakistan’s and Bangladesh’s involvement in the hate-Hindu tirades and violent activities have increased the existing level of suspicion in Hindu minds about Muslim loyalty to India. This suspicion has deepened in several layers of the Hindu society. Coupled with the recent history of pre-partition, high-pitched communal hostility, these developments has widened the gulf between the Hindus and the Muslims. A sizeable section of the Hindu fanatics do not believe in the concept of living together separately; they consider the Muslims as perpetual security risks for the country. Irrespective of the existence of a large chunk of enlightened and secular Muslims in different fields, such hate in the Hindu society equates them with rabid Islamists.

These portents of identity crisis, both among the Muslims and the Hindus, are very visible. Proverbial tolerance of the Hindus, which helped them to survive several Muslim invasions, has started weakening. Most Hindus believe that, irrespective of ideological colours of the Indian Muslims, the community in general believes in the Quranic dictum of jihad against the non-believers.

They prefer to quote Muslim scholars who have denounced jihad by the sword, “Dr Fazlur Rahman, a renowned Islamic scholar, who had to flee Pakistan and take refuge in the United States for his allegedly moderate views on Islam, also agrees with al-Qaradawi. Rahman asserts that ‘jihad (by the sword) becomes an absolute necessity’ for instituting the religio-social world-order underlined in the Quran. He asks: ‘How can such an ideological world order be brought into existence without such means?’ Quite puzzlingly, he then blasts what he calls Christian propaganda for popularizing the slogan that ‘Islam was spread by the sword’ or ‘Islam is a religion of the sword.’ He, however, candidly agrees that the sword came first in creating conducive environment before Islam could be propagated. He writes,’ …what was spread by the sword was not the religion of Islam, but the political domain of Islam so that Islam could work to produce the order on the earth that the Quran seeks…But one can never say that Islam was spread by the sword.”

Gradual implementation of the Sachar Committee recommendations has driven home shafts of suspicion in general Hindu minds, that the Central and State governments are stridently heading towards reservation in services, education and housing etc issues for the Muslim minority. A feeling is firming up in Hindu minds that the Congress and its allies are imposing religion-based reservation in the country, pushing it to pre-partition conditions. The militant Hindu fringe has become vocal. Such fear psychosis often leads to alienation and adoption of extra-constitutional measures. This has the potential of scarring the nation seriously. Perhaps a time has come to review the entire reservation issue on the basis of minoritism. Lack of political wisdom may push apart the communities afar.

These aspects of debate that agitate Hindu mind can be elaborated, but this volume is not dedicated to such contentious polemics. Both Hindus and the Muslims have sufficient ammunitions -some real, some imaginary-to hurl at each other. The problem that stares us in the face is: are we doomed to live side by side separately? Is India destined to revert to pre-partition hostility? Would zjihadi ambience prevailing in several parts of the Muslim world and in India’s neighbourhood jeopardize the country’s territorial integrity and would the demographically increasing Muslim population demand creation of another homeland? The secularism practiced by India is limited to a legal concept and certain peripheral aspects positively impacting sections of the Muslim society. These approaches by the political parties and sporadic and pedantic dissertations by the scholars, some blaming Hindus and some castigating Muslims, cannot address the deep layers of identity crisis or the cultural and religious conflict situations.

Since there are no visible efforts to address the problems of Hindu reactionism and Muslim separatism from any quarter, it appears that India’s destiny hangs in the balance and that somehow the societies have to live uneasily in separate ideological worlds in apparently irreconcilable legacy of two worlds for two peoples. It is difficult to predict what contours the history of India and South Asia would take in another half a century. Only unbiased scholars ready to undertake ground studies can come up with constructive suggestions. I have painted the problems truthfully, but deeper studies are required. India’s problems cannot be solved by Sachar-type reports. A national study on communal divide and harmony is required. Any bias against Hindu majoritism and Muslim minoritism may aggravate the differences pushing the communities tectonically. The history of this future battleground is uncertain and requires attention from political minds, scholars and historians.

Book – Battleground India Prognosis of Hindu-Muslim Exclusivism, Writer – Maloy Krishna DharPage – 496Price – 599/-Publisher – Vitasta Publishing Pvt. Ltd. 2/15, Ansari Road, Daryaganj, New Delhi-110 002

- Maloy Krishna Dhar (BhartiyaPaksha)

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