Muslim rulers ruled India for around eight centuries before British arrived. Post independence, the members of the Muslim community served at some of the most coveted positions in India, be it the President, the Vice-President, the Chief Justice, the Chief Election Commissioner, the Education Minister, you name it and you will find it. Not just once, but frequently; three out of the twelve presidents in India have been Muslims; five education ministers that constitute a total of twenty one years in just first three decades post independence were Muslims; the only person in India that holds the honor of serving the three offices i.e. the President of India, the Vice-President of India and the Chief Justice of India was a Muslim. It is not only limited to politics, the entertainment industry has an overwhelming presence of the Muslim community in India. Some of the most popular celebrities, be it actors, directors, musicians or sports personalities are Muslims. Last but not the least, the Wakf board that exists solely on donations and charities made by the community, was already the third largest land holder in the country after Indian Defence and Indian Railways, can generate a minimum return of 10 per cent that’s about Rs. 12,000 crores per annum and an average return of 20 per cent per annum.
And yet, the community is socially and economically backward, stands besides or even behind the most backward communities in India.
Why? How is this paradox even possible?
If I were to ask you a question, who has done the most damage to the Muslim community as a whole in India, what would your answer be?
You might very well be tempted to name of a few politicians, parties or organizations. With the way the political discourse in India is, I won’t be surprised if a section of society thinks this way. This isn’t a hypothetical question, especially when India is pretty soon going to be the country with the largest Muslim population across the world. India, with its 201 million (2018 estimates) is already the second largest Muslim population after Indonesia, Pakistan being third with 197 million and Bangladesh fourth with 164 million. So, it is pivotal that this large section of India knows exactly who is responsible for their woes.
Let me ask you another question, which might help find the answer to the first question. How did Uniform Civil Code turn political and become an issue that is perceived as anti-Muslim? Why does it not affect other religions in India?
Before the year 1829, all the religions in India had their own sets of laws, rules and regulations but by 1956, the entire Hindu religion was codified but not Islam. Why?
As a matter of fact, a majority of civil laws in the Hindu society came even before the independence i.e. during the British Raj. Why? How? One might ask why did the British try to reform Hindu Society but did not interfere with Islamic Laws?
Simply because they were here to rule and not reform. They would not do anything that would hamper their ability to rule. If people from a particular society pushed for something, they did not oppose it till it threatened them. The educated, learned class within the Hindu community came forward and pushed for social reforms. It was Raja Ram Mohan Roy who came forward and pushed for the law banning Sati Pratha and Female infanticide in the year 1829. It was the first ever civil law interfering with the religious system. Lord William Bantec from the British administration supported him. Similarly, it was Ishwar Chandra Vidya Sagar, who brought Cast Disability Abolition Act in 1850 and Hindu Widow Remarriage Act in 1856. This time it was Lord Dalhaousi from the British administration who supported him. There are many more where people from within the Hindu society pushed for the social reforms for example hindu women property rights act or 1874, age of consent act of 1891 so on and so forth.
But no one ever came forward from the Muslim Community for the similar social reforms. To the misfortune of the Muslim community in India, once the Chacha of vote bank politics and the Bapu or appeasement politics returned to India in 1912 and 1915 respectively, the only thing that was not supposed to happen, happened – some people from the Muslim community who formed Muslim League were able to get Muslim Personal Law (Shariat Act) of 1937 legalized. Although, today there are a few intellectuals who want to give all the credit to selected few, but the history tells a different story.
August 15, 1947 the day we know as independence day was actually a day of power transfer. The power transferred from the British Crown to Indian National Congress. INC followed the footsteps of the British. If the party was interested in the progress of the country, it would have pushed for uniform civil code rigorously and not just sideline it by putting a one liner in the constitution of India “The State shall endeavor to secure for citizens a uniform civil code throughout the territory of India” – Article 44 of Indian Constitution. If it was genuinely interested in the progress of the country, it would have discontinued caste based census right away. The British did it to divide and rule, why did INC keep it? Wearing skull caps and throwing Iftar parties don’t fix Muslim issues. Exactly like wearing a Janaeu, reciting Hanuman Chalisa or visiting a temples don’t fix any Hindu issues. If they did, we would not have been staring at these issues today. Would we?
Coming back to the original question and not digressing from it. It does not matter who the ruler is, if the educated, privileged class from any caste, community or religions speaks up for the betterment of the society, only then the society progresses otherwise it stagnates and eventually dies.
It has been, it is and it will always be the elite, educated and privileged class within the Muslim community that has done and will do the most damage to the community as a whole, by not speaking up for the truth and justice.
Moreover, you don’t have to go that far in the history to confirm this hypothesis. Just recently, I saw a tweet and later saw a video drawing parallels between Hagia Sophia and Babri Masjid. You must have also seen something like the ones below.
In one line, the gist is that the Mosque remains a mosque always, it can not be demolished or made into something else and Hagia Sophia is a living example of this.
Is it true?
No! Not at all!
I was a little surprised when they started quoting the example of Hagia Sophia. In fact the reality is that Hagia Sophia is the biggest living example that Mosques are not an integral part of Islam and can very well be demolished or used for other purposes even for making money.
Hagia Sophia remained a church for eleven centuries, a mosque for five centuries and a museum for eight decades. It was not a non-Muslim who converted it to a museum, it was the first Turkish President and founder of the Republic of Turkey, Mustafa Kemal Atatürk, who transformed the mosque into a museum. I write less as compared to other bloggers, but I write truth and after extensive research. Two years ago, way before the supreme court judgement, I wrote an article “Ayodhya Dispute: An unresolved symbolical confrontation” to prove the very same point. The excerpt from the article:
“The city of Istanbul, which was once the Ottoman Empire, the land of the Caliph, the Caliphate; converted a Mosque Hagia Sophia into a Museum for monetary gains (hoping the touristic value of Istanbul to double). The then minister said, “Those who perform their prayers in Hagia Sophia can easily perform their religious duties in many other big or small mosques nearby.” During those times, Hagia Sophia was not the only mosque that was closed to prayers. Hundreds of mosques were closed or used for other purposes, demolished, or their lands were sold. Moreover, to my surprise RamJanm Bhumi in Ayodhya has more in common with Hagia Sofia. It turns out that Hagia Sofia was a grand Church before the Ottoman Empire. As per the Islamic law, all places of worship taken by war are the property of the ruler. Additionally, the Ottomans converted the biggest place of worship in the city into a mosque, when they conquer a city, as it was a religious duty to perform Friday worship.”
Is the Islam practiced in India different then the Islam practiced in the rest of the world and especially the one followed in the land of the Caliph, the Caliphate? I don’t think so. If not then why are the rules different?
If I know about this fact, the educated and privileged in the muslim community also knows about it. Historians like Romila Thapar and Irfan Habib, who openly discarded the existence of Ram Mandir knew about the history. If only they had spoken the truth, it would have been resolved decades ago, without even becoming a court case. But they didn’t. Quite ironically, Aamir Khan who calls himself a social activist, who is sitting in the heart of the former Ottoman empire as I write this article, does not dare to tweet that some people for their vested interests are misleading the people of his community. And why single him out, there is an army of social activists who have an eternity to debate on “the idea of India” but no time or courage to call out an incorrect, misleading tweet. It is not a choice for the privileged, the educated and the elite to speak up in favor of the truth and justice, it is their duty. If they don’t no one else can, the underprivileged neither has the means nor the strength.
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