This is the misfortune of our country that many Hindus count the Muslims as foreigners and many Muslims behave like foreigners. Such people from both the communities forget their duty towards the nation. If the Muslims here are considered foreigners, then even the Aryans would have to be labeled foreigners. The Aryans came to India from Central Asia. The original natives of India are the Dravidians. Let us check out a few facts.
The reputed archaeologist S. R. Rao has stated decisively that the culture of the Indus River is the actual Vedic culture. The remains of the Indus civilization in Mohenjo Daro and Harappa, are now in Pakistan. The Takshila university where Vishnugupt Chanakya and Vaiyakarni studied is also in Pakistan. If we think about our Vedic culture then India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Afghanistan, Nepal, Bhutan, Sri Lanka and Burma almost become one form and merge into ancient India. All the castes disappear into Aryan or Dravidian.
The ‘pshyco-civilisational’ chain that joins Hindus, Muslims, Buddhists, Jains and Christians is unbreakable.
The Muslims may follow they own religion, but no people can afford to ignore their own culture. The Vedas, Upanishad, Ramayan and Mahabharat are not only the treasure of the Hindus; they are the property of the entire Indian subcontinent. By neglecting this rich inheritance, we display a haste to get bankrupt. The Sanskrit language is the key to this vast inheritance. Islamic culture has come to our country via Iran through the Persian language, the Persian poets and the Sufis. Girilal Jain (Times of India, dated 17-12-1991) rightly says that the Vedas are the only basis of our unified culture.
Many fanatic Hindus have assumed that the Muslims are the only ones who betray the nation. These mad men sometimes would like to believe that patriotism lies in fighting the Muslims. No one calls the Hindu who never does his job without taking a bribe, a traitor. A Hindu who steals public money, who brews illicit liquor or who deals in drugs to make money is not be considered a traitor. A Hindu teacher who does not teach his students after being paid his full salary or the one who sells the exam papers or takes a bribe to pass a student is never considered a traitor. A corrupt businessman who propagates fanatical Hinduism and fights with Muslims will definitely be considered a patriot. Even if such a businessman fleeces Hindus he will remain a good Hindu. Even a terrible, vice-laden, violent Hindu goon is considered more patriotic than a decent Muslim citizen – such is the atmosphere being created in the name of Hindutva.
No one could be sadder than a decent Muslim in this country. The men of his community are not willing to listen to him. Fanatic Hindus are satisfied only after terming him a Pakistani supporter. If you find such a Hindu specimen then you must be careful. I often meet Hindu friends who complain strongly against Muslims, but who would not sacrifice even one milligram for the country. All their devotion to the country lies in putting down the Muslims. To call such a Hindu patriotic is tantamount to insulting patriotism. Patriotism asks for selfless service or creative production. No country can stand on criticism and accusations.
The Muslims are taking too much time to understand one thing. If religion cannot be the parameter of joining us, fine. But at least we can be united in solving the hundred problems before us. Unemployment, illiteracy, rise in population, exploitation of women poverty and filth are not the problems of only the Hindus. These are our joint problems. Even though our religions are different, our difficulties are the same. Even if mutual love cannot be the symbol of our unity, we can be one in our pain and save our nation. That would be wise. The Muslims will have to shout out loudly and say that this country is ours and we too are the children of this earth. So our problems cannot be different. It is also very important for our national unity that our problems do not remain the problems of any particular community and take on the face of national problems. If our common culture and our common problems cannot unite us, there is no possibility that our religions or religious leaders can save our country.
The religious leaders have long since defeated Parmeshwar and Allah. Now if we defeat these religious leaders, then only can we live in peace.
We must salute the quiet gentleness in both the religions. When God created and sent man on earth, he did not make any such arrangement that only decent people from one religion and only bad people from another would be born. A Hindu or Muslim who cannot understand such a simple thing should not be mistaken as religious.
From ‘Ishwar Allah Tere Naam’ by Dr. Gunvant B Shah, © January 1993
Translated by Farida Noorani, Batul Mukhtiar, © January 2009