Of pride and prejudice

    Of pride and prejudice

    Garv se kaho hum Hindu hain (be proud to call yourself Hindus). Yes, but I ask the Hindus.

    • Are you proud of the fact that Hindu society has for long treated a substantial portion of its own people as untouchables?
    • Are you proud that Hindu society has placed a large number of tribals beyond the pale and confined them to the hills and forests?
    • Are you proud that Hindu society has treated women unequally and degraded their condition while calling them devatas?
    • Are you proud that the Hindus often forced women to burn themselves on the funeral pyres of their husbands?
    • Are you proud of the evil custom of child marriage which is still prevalent in several parts of the country, under which babes-in-arms are married, and of the surreptitious practice of polygamy?
    • Are you proud of Harshadev of Kashmir who plundered the shrines of his co-religionists?
    • Are you proud of Hindu society whose leaders, after reconverting the Muslims to Hinduism, refused to give to them their daughters in marriage and to accept their daughters as brides for their sons, thereby forcing them to return to Islam?
    • Are you proud of Nathuram Godse who assassinated Mahatma Gandhi in defence of Hinduism?
    • Are you proud of Shivaji who protected mosques and dargahs, honoured the Koran and punished those molesting Muslim women, or are you proud of the forcible demolition of Babri Masjid by the sangh parivar members after solemn assurances by its leaders to the contrary?
    • Are you proud of the humiliation and brutality perpetrated on Muslim women in Surat?
    • Are you proud of the customs officers and police personnel, almost to a man, who took Rs 7 lakh and Rs 60,000 per consignment and allowed RDX consignments to land on the west coast in Raigad district and to be transported to Bombay and elsewhere?

    Are you proud of the Hindu peshwas who looted Hindu maths and prohibited the Jains from erecting a temple in Pune?

    Fakhr se kaho hum Muslim hain. Yes, but I ask the Indian Muslims:

    • Are you proud of the fact that although Islam is supposed to be a religion of peace, its entire history is marred by acts of violence?
    • Are you proud of the fact that both the grandsons of Prophet Mohammed were killed by men calling themselves believers?
    • Are you proud of the fact that Mohammed Ghori and the Delhi sultans unleashed a rule of intolerance and religious oppression against the Hindus?
    • Are you proud of the fact that the Indian armies led by the Delhi sultan, Mahmud Shah, were unable to resist Timur and are you proud that the tyrant broke the previous records in massacres and looted Delhi and its environs, and also slaughtered 50,000 of his co-religionists in Isfahan, supposedly in the name of Islam?
    • Are you proud of the humiliation, forcible conversion and the slavery imposed on captured Hindu women and children in medieval times?
    • Are you proud of the persecution of Shias by Sunni rulers because of which the former were compelled to take recourse to ‘taqiyya’ or dissimulation for self-preservation? And the persecution of the Ahmediyas by Pakistan or the Bahaiis by Iran?
    • Are you proud of the fact that many Islamic countries, instead of practising brotherhood, are riven by ethnic conflicts?
    • Are you still proud of the Indian Muslim League leaders championing the Pakistan movement which artificially cut up Indian into three parts?
    • Are you proud of the Dawood Ibrahims and the Memons who tried to bomb buildings in the heart of Bombay and kill hundreds of innocent people?
    • Are you proud of the militants in Jammu and Kashmir who have reduced the common craftsmen, shikara owners and others dependent on tourism to penury?
    • Are you proud of the practice of talaq-talaq-talaq? Are you proud of the moulvi’s refusal to take the initiative to reform Muslim personal law and ban polygamy? Or the religious leaders who deny payment of alimony minus the mehr amount to divorced or abandoned Muslim women?
    • Are you proud of your leaders who instead of working for the educational and economic advancement of Muslims have been pleased to see them mired in ignorance, poverty and unemployment?

    Are you proud of the fact that three of the first four Khalifas were assassinated by Muslims when praying or going to mosque?

    The article had been reproduced in Communalism Combat in November 1993.