It was evening and the sun was low on the sky, its last rays desperately trying to ward of the ensuing darkness. Finally overpowered, the sun set, plunging the streets in darkness and along with it, a handful of youngsters sitting in the streets, having a heated discussion after a hectic match of cricket. The topic this time was the recent bomb blast in Agartala which killed 2 and injured over a hundred.
"Hey Ram...!!" Perhaps the last words of Gandhi, is now being recited by almost every Indian, hoping to be saved by God against bombs, bloodshed and religious violence. Little do we know that we ourselves are the reason for all this chaos!!!
This one was amongst the many discussions which today's youngsters have which has a lot of meaning and patriotism in it, but unfortunately no effect on the society or on the nation due to their inability to inspire people on a large scale.
Perhaps one of the boys did realize this, for he said "What effect is this argument going to have? Its not like this nation is going to listen us speak and turn on a new leaf." The others looked at the boy with a mixture of approval and resentment. Approval at the fact that what the boy said was right, resentment that their country was going no where, thanks to the religious fundamentalists, foolish citizens who could be manipulated as easily as a bunch of 6 year olds and most of all, irresponsible politicians who hold the position of power but do nothing to change the fate of the nation.
Finally, as an end note, one of the boys cursed loudly and said"Had it not been for those Britishers, our country wouldn't be in this plight!! Damn them!!"
Most of them, no, not most of them, almost everyone puts the blame for Hindu-Muslim enmity in India on the Britishers and their accursed East India Company. However, Britishers and their Divide and Rule Policy are far from the main reason for the ongoing crisis.
So how did it all begin?
While all the history books use Divide and Rule policy by the Brits as a scapegoat for Hindu-Muslim enmity, that alone is not the reason. While the Brits did employ it to weaken us and thereby rule us efficiently for almost 3 centuries, the very foundation for our disunity was laid long before the Brits had arrived on Indian waters.
The reason for the enmity, quite ironically is we ourselves and our superstitious beliefs. How so?
It all begins with the concept of untouchability in Hinduism and the venture of the Mughals into India.
According to Hinduism, Lord Brahma created Brahmins from his head, Kshatriyas from his biceps, Vaishyas from his stomach and Shudras from his feet. While the Brahmins, Kshatriyas and Vaishyas enjoyed a decent civil life, the Shudras were doomed for a life of slavery and misery just because they were of a lower caste. While this injustice was going on for almost eons, the entry of Mughals into India changed the scenario to a great extent.
Along with the Mughals came Islam into India. While many embraced Islam wholeheartedly, there were others who converted to save themselves of the tax levied on non-Muslims by the Mughals. Apart from these two, , there was another category of people who converted to save themselves of the injustice that came along for being a low caste Hindu. I am, obviously speaking about the so called Shudras. Islam with its philosophy of equality and justice for all caught the eyes of many Shudras. The Mughal period in India saw the conversion of a lot of Shudras and many others even of the upper caste to Islam.
While the Shudras saw the Mughal as their saviors, the Hindus saw them as thieves for STEALING people from their religion, sowing perhaps one of the first seeds of disunity.
The Mughals did help a lot to save the cause of the Shudras. They were the saviors of the Shudras.
Or, were they ?
The Mughals desire to convert the Shudras did not stem from their sense of justice or pity. It was just their zeal for Islam, to convert more and more non-Muslims. While their hidden agenda can be forgiven by taking into account the fact that they did help a lot of Shudras, they were however very biased against the non-Muslims. This is evident from their unforgivable act of destroying and demolishing a lot of Hindu temples only to push forward their own religion. They levied a series of arduous taxes on non-Muslims, indirectly forcing many to convert to Islam, and worsening the lives of those who refused to. Quite ironically these policies of theirs are against the principles of Islam. Their zeal for religion however did well to blind them.
All these incidents and many others slowly started poisoning the relationship between Hindus and Muslims.
They say that the best way for a Muslim to anger a Hindu is to force a cow past his house to a slaughter house. And the best way for a Hindu to anger a Muslim is by chanting bajans during the Muslims call for prayer.
These seeds of disunity were growing in the hearts of Muslims and Hindus alike for centuries. All the Brits had to do was SEE these seeds, and provoke them to unprecedented growth. They just had to tickle a mountain filled with lava to explosion.
The sad part of this is that we somehow dug our own graves centuries ago to doom without even realizing we did by letting all these feelings of disunity and anger linger within us.
We still fail to see who the real perpetrators are. Even if we do, we won't acknowledge our part in all this and the saddest part is that, until and unless we do, things will not turn around.
The worst part is, all this was and is being done for the sake of a God none of us has seen, or even knows exists; all this for the sake of a God we claim is all powerful and almighty.
How so stupid of us?! And how so ironical ?
How so stupid of us?! And how so ironical ?