15 November, 2013


[Aurangzeb, as he was according to Mughal Records]

I am no historian. Indeed, I am not even a good student of history. That is why I make no assertions as to the past whatsoever.

But IF what is contained on this page is TRUE, Muslims of India cannot hope the Hindus of India to forget the tortuous past and come hugging merely because a Gandhi-Nehru league carved out a secular constitution. Don't the Muslims owe to disown their tormentors? Shouldn't we need to stand up like a man and say, this was wrong?

Yes, Aurangzeb is said to have done many good things. I remember R C Majmudar recounting his great contribution to land reforms, for instance. But I am not sure I would so easily forgive if someone destroyed mosques in Mecca or Madina. Am I prepared to forgive those marauders that destroyed mosques, dargahs and qanqahs in Gujarat during 2002? No way. Indeed, I worked with some to plead with the SC to direct Gujarat government to fund their repairs.

While Muslims gave India a rich legacy of arts including music, language, architecture, food, dress et al, and interfaced them with Europe, some did use their faith to subjugate vast sections of the population. Whatever the existing infirmities of the Hindu society, some Muslim rulers' actions were justifiably seen as excesses of a people that came from outside, professing a faith distinctly different. Breaking of the temples was amongst the most heinous of these psychologically and politically, leaving deep schism in the Indian society and scars on the Hindu psyche that refuse to go.

To find workable solutions for tomorrow we will need to recognize the sordid realities of yesterday. Sadly, many educated Muslims are either too hypocritical to acknowledge them or too insensitive to the urgency of this demand.

Blaming VHP without silencing their argument may scarcely work. We will need another metaphor to silence them. Introspection, Recognition, Regret, Assurance.. will all be needed. And this is NOT a mark of weaknesses. If anything it is intellectual courage, and a determination to forge healthy and dignified alliances. 

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