This is the second and final part of the column Mr. Shafiq R. Mahajir wrote last week. The first part was published on August 24, 2020.
The first part began like this:
Recently a retired judge sent me an article titled “Want to preserve secularism in India? Well, preserve the Hindu ethos first.”
Here is the final part:
The former judge talks of *jizya, calling it a tax payable by dhimmis or non-Muslims.
#Answer: carefully avoiding actually saying so, the gentleman-writer blithely suggests “Dhimmis” are second-class citizens in Islamic dispensations: baseless falsehood.
Arabic not having alphabets P and T, Arabs pronounce petroleum “bedroleum”: Arabic Zimmi is by writers spelled “dhimmi”: zimmi connotes one in another’s responsibility as in another’s zimmedaari: living in an Islamic State, one who is not Muslim is not required to defend host Muslim nation against attacks of non-Muslim groups (situation during Prophet’s time when Meccan invaders etc., were attacking a nascent Islamic State in Medina): establishes that notwithstanding refusal to fight against attackers sharing their ideological (non-Islamic) views they still were entitled to protection of Muslims, i.e., were Muslim Zimmi/responsibility (a positive protective-of-everyone approach that is distorted by those who carry a negative destroy-everything-we-don’t-identify-with mentality); since their homes/businesses were fought for and protected by Muslim army, a tax called “jizya” was collected: at that time armies did not have budgeted parliamentary allocation as armies now and money required to fight wars was generated by such means. To an open mind truth becomes apparent. This truth is what hostile people are afraid of, which is why they stifle dissent and lock up people speaking truth from public platforms.
He says *One must go back to the fundamental clash between Abrahamic and Dharmic thought. Dharmic thought is essentially plural. It embraces multiple truths.
#Answer: go to basic maths: 2 + 2 = 4. Any other answer is necessarily wrong. My belief is there is one Absolute Truth. Every religion requires action that leads from Earth to Heaven. The shortest distance between two points is a straight line. Shariah translates as “the straight path”. There are no plural truths. You are welcome to your belief that there can be many. So amazingly plural are you, so accommodatively do you embrace multiple truths, that my truth you cannot even accept! Wow! Now that is some amazing essential pluralism, some amazing embrace of multiplicity. Or does anyone think it can qualify as duplicity?
Significantly he then declares *Some 33 million deities can be part of the same family. Jesus Christ can be incorporated on façade of Hindu temple …Buddha absorbed as avatar of Vishnu. You can be aastik or naastik; Shaivite or Vaishnavite; vegetarian or carnivore; fire-worshipper, idol-worshipper or nature-worshipper… worship Shiva, Shakti or …both. …see path to enlightenment as yantra, tantra or mantra or none of them… hold Shiv Linga is stone …I may hold a stone is Shiv Linga… We can have 300 versions of… the Ramayana but your version does not negate mine. All religions are seen as different paths to the divine. Unfortunately, Abrahamic ideology attempts to impose a singular truth on a plural world.
#Answer: no there is no imposition whatsoever. If there was at any time in history, in centuries of monarchical rule Muslims would have imposed their religion everywhere, and India itself would not have remained a Muslim minority region. Fact is, you seek to impose your multiplicity on me, and my resistance to that is mysteriously maliciously craftily crookedly categorized as hostile to the country!
He announces *When one couples that absolutism with expansionist and proselytising tendencies, one has all the ingredients for conflict.
He announces *In India, the effects were profound. Whether it was Ghazni, Aibak, Khilji, Timur, Lodhi, Aurangzeb or Tipu, their direct attacks on Hindus and Hinduism were simply too vicious to fade from collective memory.
He winds up with a sanctimonious *I am firmly committed to individual rights, democracy, free markets, freedom of speech, freedom of religion, gender equality, LGBTQ rights, racial equality and indeed secularism itself.…I am also a Hindu and I am proud of it. And I refuse to apologise for that.
Truth and reconciliation is absolutely necessary. But truth must come before reconciliation. Truth begins with acknowledging the past. Unfortunately, we never allowed that to happen in India.
History can be quite easily manipulated by any group to either erase their past sins or glorify their deeds. In India, we whitewashed our history in our effort to maintain the peace. When we do not heal wounds, they fester. Hindu revivalism is a festering wound. And it is much more a symptom of fear than aggression. We need to cauterise that festering wound quickly.
He then tries to deflect focus by claiming there is *“flawed secularism”; there is also the historical evidence that pagan cultures could not survive Abrahamic onslaught.
*…population growth and proselytising could eventually alter the demographics of the only surviving Hindu civilisation of the world.
*Hindus get worried when they witness the rise of Wahhabi tendencies coupled with the inability of ordinary Muslims to question their faith because they are told that it is the absolute word of God.
*When a Hindu looks at South Asia’s demographics, what does he observe? When Pakistan was created in 1947, Hindus were 15 percent of the population but were only 1.6 percent by 1998. In the Bangladesh of 1931, Hindus were 29.4 percent of the population but are less than 9.5 percent today. Contrast that with the Muslim population of India that was 9.9 percent in 1951 and grew to 14.2 percent by 2011. (He should have said unaware or ignorant Hindu.)
He cites a Pew Research project 38,000 interviews of Muslims in 39 Muslim-majority countries and says *79 percent in Afghanistan, Egypt and Jordan believed apostates should be executed, 39 percent across countries surveyed believed honour killings justified, 53 percent believed Sharia, or Islamic law, should be the law in their countries. He then asks his daramatic question : *Can you imagine the fear that such findings trigger in a Hindu who is already carrying historical baggage?
He says *42 percent of French Muslims, 35 percent of British Muslims and 26 percent of younger American Muslims believed suicide bombings… justified.
There were 1.8 billion Muslims in the world as of 2015, which was approximately 24 percent of the global population. Although Islam is the second-largest religion after Christianity, by 2060 its numbers will have grown by 70 percent. By that time, Christianity will have grown by 34 percent and Hinduism by around 27 percent.
Why isn’t it a natural reaction for Hindus to worry that they may eventually be overrun?
*I am not at all proud of the fact that the Babri Masjid was torn down by a Hindu mob in 1992. But I am proud that 1.3 billion Indians were willing to put their faith in the judiciary to arrive at the Ayodhya verdict.
It should never be forgotten that this temple is being built pursuant to a court order and not at the whims of a totalitarian state. And if you believe that the verdict is tainted then you would also have to question thousands of other judgments that went in a direction that fit your sensibilities. You cannot be selective.
Those who believe that India’s secularism is challenged by a Ram temple in Ayodhya should realise that India is secular primarily because of its Hindu ethos.
*…the only way to preserve secularism is by preserving Hindu syncretism.
We are proud of the Ganga-Jamuna tehzeeb of India.
For every Bhimsen Joshi there is a Zakir Hussain; for every Vikram Sarabhai there is an Abdul Kalam; for every Rabindranath Tagore there is a Salman Rushdie. But ask yourself: why did this Ganga-Jamuna syncretism not take root in Pakistan? The answer is the underlying Hindu spirit that simply cannot be ignored. Idiot. Constitutional rights recognized.
In recent times, the Australian government has apologised to the aboriginal people for their crimes against them. The South African government has apologised for apartheid. The Japanese have apologised for their war crimes in Asia. The Germans have apologised to the Jews for the holocaust. Even Boris Yeltsin apologised for the Bolshevik Revolution. But from whom should Hindus seek an apology?
From the Arabs who gave us Muhammad bin Qasim? From the Afghans who gave us Mahmud Ghazni? From the Turks who gave us Qutb al-Din Aibak? From the Turko-Mongols who gave us Aurangzeb? From the Portuguese who gave us Aleixo Diaz Falcao? Or from the English who gave us Reginald Dyer?
Hindus do not expect an apology from anyone. But my generation is equally unwilling to apologise for being Hindu. We are also tired of being the ones who have to regularly prove how secular we are. This agni-pariksha must stop.
Do you really want to preserve secularism in India? Then preserve the Hindu ethos first.
Ashwin Sanghi is the bestselling author of The Rozabal Line, Chanakya’s Chant, The Krishna Key, The Sialkot Saga, Keepers of the Kalachakra and The Vault of Vishnu.
Sir, there is some evidence of stones from temples – including some idols – in the construction of the mosque. Whether these were ruinous or demolished – nobody can say.
The reverted ASI put out the plaque.
Mr. Rahat Indori reminds these blind intellectuals that “Sabhi ka kkhoon shaamil hai yahaan ki mitthi mein” and asks “Kisi ke baap ka Hindustaan thhodi hai?”
Shafeeq R. Mahajir is a Hyderabad-based nationally known lawyer