Unsolicited Piece of Advice to India’s Muslims and Hindus


It’s incumbent on both the communities to first redeem and strengthen the society and the polity that we have inherited.

While the present state of affairs in India calls for introspection by both Hindus and Muslims, the onus for the course correction lies on the majority

Abdul Qadir | Clarion India

AT a time when there are few takers for ‘sanity’ in India even at a heavy discount, it is all the more necessary to take a hard look at the factors that not only threaten the national fabric but also put a serious question mark on our claim to a seat in the community of the civilised peoples. While both the major communities in the country, viz Hindus and Muslims, need deep introspection, the onus for the course correction lies on the latter.

It’s incumbent on both the communities to first redeem and strengthen the society and the polity that we have inherited, and as such it becomes obligatory to offer pieces of valuable, albeit unsolicited, advice to both the communities though they are fully aware of the fact that an advice is something that is offered in buckets and received in droplets. But mind it every drop makes an ocean, as they say.

First Muslims…

The tendency to wear religion on one’s sleeves and roll the sleeves at the drop of a hat in an obnoxious manner is counterproductive. Everybody has the right to practice the faith of his/her choice or to put it more bluntly, the faith acquired through the accident of birth. The plain truth is that most of the Muslims are Muslim because they are born to Muslim parents. Otherwise, many of us too would have joined the ranks of ‘kar sevaks’, cow vigilantes, and what not.

But taking pride in one’s faith and believing it to be the best does not give anyone the right to denigrate, ridicule or run down any other belief system. Denigrating others only means your own belief in the religion you profess is shallow, not skin deep. It also does not conform to the accepted norms of civilised conduct.

The one reason why the likes of Zakir Naik don’t jell with me is the fact that such self-styled preachers adopt a marketing strategy to suit their own business interests. But the social cost of such a business model is too high for the society to bear.

My another grouse with the community to which I belong is that most of us are in complaint mode 24×7 without doing anything significant to alter the status quo. It may be good for hungry babies to cry for milk, but a community can do no good to itself if it keeps on crying without making serious effort to improve its lot in the field of education, business, jobs and services etc.

Privatisation though may not be very good policy, it has benefitted many aspiring Muslim youth by widening the scope for their growth. Nevertheless, I still find quite a few of them in a denial mode.

It is true minorities will have to make an extra effort to survive. But it is also true that the market-driven economy goes well with the young men and women. They have accepted it as a challenge, and hence are doing fine.

Failed communities blame others for their own miseries and some of the miseries are self acquired as well. Minorities everywhere in the world face some disadvantages and the Muslims are required to acknowledge this universal fact and accordingly evolve strategies to convert challenges into opportunities and stop waiting for divine intervention in their favour.

One major flaw of Muslim leadership in the post-independence India has been its obsession with strictly sectarian and in many cases, pursuing less important issues like triple talaq, personal law, grave fencing and perceived blasphemy etc. while shying away from real issues like education, unemployment and quality of life etc.

The protagonists of the Hindutva politics want Muslims to be engrossed in trivial emotive issues and refrain from joining the mainstream in a more positive way. As right priorities have been missing the larger issues of day-to-day existence are left unaddressed.

Moreover, whereas the Muslim leadership wants Dalits, OBCs, non partisan citizenry and other minorities to support it on issues that it, in many cases, mistakenly believes to be very important, it does not join other oppressed sections in their fight against discrimination and injustice.

To be fair, the seculars, Dalit and OBC leaders have been far more supportive of the genuine issues concerning the Muslims without adequate reciprocity. This one way traffic cannot give the right direction to the fight for justice. It’s time Indian Muslim leadership, more importantly its clergy came out of its shell and joined the fight of disadvantaged sections on issues of common interest.

A community that prefers to live in the past has no future and many Muslims love leading a dream life refusing to come out of the perceived glory of the past and accept present realities. It is a mistake to consider Mughal rulers as your very own. They were hungry power seekers having little regard to humanitarian issues, and as such they can never be the role model of present generation Indian Muslims.

It is also wrong to believe that everybody who is not with you is against you. Be smart enough to engage in inclusiveness and consider all those who are not against you to be with you. Practice genuine secularism. The problem with many Muslims is that they want their compatriots to imbibe secularism and allow them (Muslims) to retain and practice sectarian traits. That is simply not possible. Prophet Muhammad (PUBH) stopped eating jaggery in order to set an example. You have to be genuinely non communal and positively secular before expecting others to behave as such.

You have also to realise that in electoral politics in India you can only play an incremental, and not a decisive role and no party is going to antagonise 80 pc of the population to please a somewhat erratic 20 pc.

For Hindus…

It is really disheartening to note that a religion enjoying wide respect and acceptance on account of its accommodative nature and umbrella character is being reduced to a saffron version of the repulsive and retrograde Talibani variety. For the sake of Ram practice genuine Hinduism and do not engage in hate mongering that has all along been anathema to the core values of Hinduism. If there is any real threat to Hinduism, it is from its Talibani clones hell-bent on destroying the country and values held dear by Indians for thousand and thousand years.

Hinduism is perhaps the only belief system of the world that celebrates diversity and this unique trait has been the hallmark of true Hinduism. Those trying to infuse militancy in an essentially peace-loving community are doing a great disservice to both Hinduism and India.

Any attempt at destroying the mosaic character of this beautiful land can in no way bring glory to the religion. It can only malign the religion itself. Moreover, violence begets violence and you cannot enforce peace through violent means. Well said ‘violence anywhere is a threat to peace everywhere’.

Development of a truly scientific culture has been an important objective of our constitutional scheme of things. A community that shuns science to embrace absurdity is the most cursed community. We need the foot soldiers of pure science and not storytellers and dream merchants. Looking backward offers a roadblock to your forward journey. Moreover, two wrongs do not make one right. Doing wrong to undo some real or perceived wrong can never be the right thing to do.

Hinduism is known to acknowledge, respect and adopt people who live and think differently and this remarkable trait of real Hinduism has to be preserved and nourished in order to make the country a role model for others. The greatest damage to India and Indianness has been caused to sleazy babas who have come to occupy our mind space in a really reprehensible manner. There is no substitute to real hard work and miracles simply do not happen. Superstition can only apply the back gear.


The views expressed here are author’s personal.

Clarion India - News, Views and Insights about Indian Muslims, Dalits, Minorities, Women and Other Marginalised and Dispossessed Communities.

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