29. Virendra V. Parekh
29. Virendra V. Parekh
Dr. Shreerang Godbole has issued a timely warning against cosy soporific slogans currently mouthed by leaders of some prominent Hindu organisations. His documents display a clarity of mind and courage of conviction that is rare among Hindu intellectuals.
While one agrees entirely with the tone and tenor of the documents, some of Dr. Godbole’s formulations need improvement. It is sufficient to say that the openness of Hinduism should not be misused to sanction those dogmas of other religious groups which breed exclusiveness, intolerance and aggressiveness. The quotation from David Frawley is not apt in this context. If the Muslims want to search for spirituality in Islam, the Hindus have no reason to object, however futile the search may seem to them. The Hindus should concentrate on fighting the politics of Islam and resist all ideological, political and territorial demands made in its name.
Dr. Godbole regards it as foolish to remind the Muslims of their Hindu ancestry. But it is a truthful and powerful means to wean them away from Islam. The enemy of the Hindu society is not the Muslim, but Islam. Just as Islam and its alien followers conquered our land, destroyed our temples and monuments, and killed and enslaved our people, so also they converted some of us to their own creed. In that sense, Muslims are the worst victims of Islam. They are descendants of Hindus who lost not only their political freedom, but also their ancestral faith and ways of life. This has happened not just in India, but everywhere. Even the Arabs did not accept Islam willingly. Early history of Islam testifies to this. To overcome their sense of shame and guilt, the converts were told that the pre-Islamic period was a period of darkness. Generations of Muslims were fed the same myth as an article of faith. Now they no longer feel the need to question it. The proper response to such a mindset is to show them that their pre-Islamic history was great and glorious, that their ancestors courted Islam either under duress or temptation, that they represent not the victors but the vanquished. For example, in the debate over Ayodhya, Muslims should be reminded that they are children of the Hindus whom Babar sought to humiliate and insult by putting up a mosque at their sacred place.
Probably, what Dr. Godbole wants to say is that Hindus should not make any political concessions to Islam in the name of common ancestry. This warning is well-deserved. Such a misplaced generosity has cost us dearly. A clever negotiator could ask the Muslims to behave as ex-Hindus. It is another matter that so far the Hindu leaders have been doing the opposite. It is heartening to know that there are Hindus who are neither cowed down by the Secularist onslaught, nor carried away by phoney and perilous liberalism of their leaders. Dr. Godbole deserves compliments for his hard-headed realism. May his tribe grow.
The writer is a talented journalist from Bombay. He writes mainly in Gujarati language. At present he holds a position in the Chitralekha Group of publications.