1. Do Muslims have a future under a BJP government ? – Rediff.com
‘O Hindus, isn’t it time we declared India a Hindu State and have lesser mortals like me pay the jiziya so the correction of history can begin?’
‘Is this what was envisaged by our Founding Fathers?’
Banning beef (and not cow) slaughter, not renewing the education quota for Muslims. What next from the Fadnavis government in Maharashtra, a ban on the aazan, asks An Indian.
O Hindus, President Pranab Mukherjee gave his assent to the Maharashtra Animal Preservation Bill banning the consumption of beef in Maharashtra.
O Hindus, this law will sentence anyone eating or found to be in possession of beef to jail for five years and levy a maximum penalty of Rs 10,000.
O Hindus, do you know that under this new law a policemen can falsely accuse me of eating beef even if I am eating mutton and have me sent to jail for five years?
O Hindus, did you read Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis’s tweet, ‘Thanks a lot Hon President Sir for the assent on Maharashtra Animal Preservation Bill. Our dream of ban on cow slaughter becomes a reality now.’
That is not true! The cow was never slaughtered in Maharashtra; bulls, bullocks and buffaloes were slaughtered in the state.
O Hindus, the slaughter of cows was banned in Maharashtra in 1976 under the Maharashtra Animal Preservation Act, but the Fadnavis government glibly stated that ‘cow’ slaughter has now been banned, whereas the fact is cow slaughter was banned long ago.
O Hindus, the Bharatiya Janata Party-Shiv Sena government gave a communal colour to this entire issue by tagging the word ‘cow’ which is holy to you so that they could get the President’s nod to the Maharashtra Animal Preservation Bill.
O Hindus, now you will say, why don’t we settle for goat meat? Do you know, goat meat costs Rs 400 per kilo whereas beef costs just Rs 180 per kg?
For poor people — and the majority of the Muslim community is poor — beef is the more affordable meat.
O Hindus, we know there are many among you who are upset and who feel that this law is unjustified as the government has no right to decide on what the people must eat.
O Hindus, at the same time, we know many of you are also happy this law has been passed as you believe in a ban on the slaughter of all animals.
O Hindus, to those who swear by this law, I want to ask only one question. Have you ever thought of what the butchers will do when they have no jobs?
What will happen to the leather industry, on which thousands of jobs are dependent?
Where will these workers go, what will they do for a living?
O Hindus, Prime Minister Narendra Modi says he believes in ‘Sab Ka Saath, Sab Ka Vikas.’ This is a lie as proved time and again by his ministers and state governments who announce or do something exactly opposite to what Modi says.
O Hindus, do you know what was the first thing the Fadnavis government did after coming to power? It overturned the five percent reservations granted to Muslims in government jobs and education.
O Hindus, we know that many of you feel that Muslims are backward and they lack education. Don’t we deserve even five percent reservation even after 67 years of Independence considering our backward status in our country?
O Hindus, luckily the Bombay high court intervened and restored the five percent reservation for Muslims in the educational sector, but not in government service, delivering a rebuke to the government. The Fadnavis government has challenged this order in the Supreme Court, and in the meantime also let an ordinance granting Muslims a five percent quota in education lapse.
O Hindus, do you know that after 67 years of Independence, Muslims don’t get homes in your areas — and this happens in cosmopolitan, progressive cities like Mumbai?
O Hindus, do you know that they don’t get homes only because they are Muslim and for no other reason?
O Hindus, not a single Muslim organisation from the Indian mainland has supported the Kashmiri Muslim separatist struggle, but still the State doubts the integrity and loyalty of the Muslim to his country.
O Hindus, ever since the Modi government has come to power, not a single week goes by without some controversial mention of ‘ghar-wapsi’, or re-conversion.
O Hindus, with this even the Christian community, which was the least affected in the years since Independence, has started feeling threatened.
O Hindus, Prime Minister Modi assured everyone in his address to the Christian community that his government was for everyone, but the very next day, the RSS boss declares that Mother Teresa’s ultimate agenda was not service to mankind, but she had a hidden agenda, to convert people to Christianity.
O Hindus, there was a time when Bollywood made films like Amar Akbar Anthony espousing communal harmony; now we make films like Baby whose sole agenda is to scare people about all Muslims.
O Hindus, a VHP sadhvi calls for the boycott of Bollywood’s reigning Khan trio, and no one says anything.
What next, shall we also ban music by legends like Bismillah Khan only for their name?
O Hindus, what is our country turning into? Is this what was envisaged by our Founding Fathers?
O Hindus, my community numbers not more than 15 percent of India’s population and the votes of my community does not decide who wins elections. In short, we don’t matter, our votes don’t matter in this country.
O Hindus, so please tell us, given this, what does the future hold for Muslims under a BJP government?
O Hindus, today they have banned beef in Maharashtra. Next will it be the aazan (the call to prayer) from mosques on the ground of noise pollution?
O Hindus, let me quote what Altaf Hussain Hali wrote way back in the 19th century on the plight of Muslims in India:
‘O Hindus, you have turned lions into lowly beings; O Hind, those who were Afghan hunters came here to become the hunted ones. You’ve made our condition frightening. We were fire, O Hind, you’ve turned us into ash.‘
O Hindus, when a tyrant like Aurangzeb ruled India, he was clear that his vision was for an Islamic State in which Hindus were second class citizens.
The BJP, in the garb of secularism, is promoting Hindutva and, O Hindus, you tell us to believe in Indian secularism by giving us slogans like ‘Sab Ka Saath, Sab Ka Vikas.’
O Hindus, isn’t it time we declared India a Hindu State and have lesser mortals like me pay the jiziya so the correction of history can begin?
O Hindus, I am afraid to attach my name to this column as that will give trolls the chance to call me a Pakistani agent. This is what our country has come to, O Hindus.
In closing, a verse from Mirza Ghalib to mull over:
Humko faryad karni aati hai
Aap suntey nahi toh kya kijiye.
We can only plead
If you don’t listen, what can we do?
Image: A Muslim offers prayers. Photograph: Amit Dave/Reuters
- When Hindus ate beef, India was NEVER conquered – Rediff.com » News »
‘There is a remarkable link between the eating of beef (or at the very least, tolerating the eating of beef) and India being a superpower.’
‘In India, whenever an empire was strong, religion took a back seat.’
‘Alternatively, whenever religion asserted itself, the main empire of India crumbled…’
‘By seeking to ban beef in every state that it rules, the BJP may well be taking India on the route to becoming a weakling,’ warns Amberish K Diwanji.
The Bharatiya Janata Party-led government in Maharashtra has chosen to ban beef derived from oxen.
Many are up in arms against the move, saying it is aimed at harassing the Muslims and Christians, in particular, and against all non-vegetarians in general (including Hindus) since the cost of other meat will go up with the non-availability of beef in the market. Similar steps have been taken by BJP governments in other states.
For the BJP, banning the slaughter of bulls and oxen (the killing of cows was banned decades ago by the Congress) is part of its aim to assert the nation’s Hindu identity.
The Mauryan Empire at its zenith
But the BJP also styles itself as a nationalist government committed to turning India into a superpower. It often recalls a glorious Hindu past, harking back to the likes of Chandragupta Maurya, Ashoka, Chandragupta and Samudragupta, and Harshvardhan. This was in the millennium before Muslims hordes entered India (though Arabs had captured Sind in the 8th century).
The problem is that there is a remarkable link between the eating of beef (or at the very least, tolerating the eating of beef) and India being a superpower. Put another way: In India, whenever an empire was strong, religion took a back seat.
Alternatively, whenever religion asserted itself, the main empire of India crumbled and was soon destroyed by another power, either from within India or from outside India.
Today, by seeking to ban beef in every state that it rules and across India, the BJP may well be taking India on the route to becoming a weakling.
In ancient India, killing and consuming animals was part and parcel of life of all. Hindus then were overwhelmingly non-vegetarian. There are historians who have pointed out that back then Hindus ate beef. And back then, India was never conquered. Never !
Even the mighty Alexander (hailed as ‘the Great’ by Western historians) merely conquered the Punjab; his troops, fearful of facing the might of Magadha, preferred to return home. It was a Russian historian or military officer (regretfully I can’t recall his name) who pointed out that rather than mutiny, as claimed by Western historians, Alexander’s troops might have simply refused to fight Magadha after the bruising victory over Porus. The homesickness myth was merely created to explain away this embarrassing retreat across the Indus.
The Magadha Empire was followed by the Gupta Empire, and later that of Harshvardhan, all before or during the first millennium of the Common Era (CE), a time when, historians tell us, Hindus ate not just meat but also beef. Meat eating then was common practice (and caste was based on profession, not birth).
The very fact that Buddhism, which was born and blossomed in north India circa 200-300 BCE (Before CE), places absolutely no restriction on eating beef shows that back then, there was no restriction on eating beef among the Hindus, which practice Buddhism followed.
By contrast, Sikhism, born more than 1,500 years later in northwest India, accepted the then prevailing practice of not consuming beef (even as Sikhs devour other meat).
In contrast, Jainism, born around the same time as Buddhism, banned the killing of all animals, thus forever restricting itself to a narrow fringe of followers such as traders.
The Chola Empire at its zenith
But do note, when consuming meat and beef was common practice, it was Hindu emperors who ruled over this huge subcontinent. Similarly, at the cusp of the first and second millennia CE, the Chola Empire, with meat-eating kings and soldiers, achieved unmatched glory in creating a maritime empire as far as Indonesia.
A later legatee of this empire, a Hindu based in Southeast Asia, would create the world’s largest temple in faraway Angkor Wat of Kampuchea (Cambodia).
Towards the end of the first millennium CE, some changes took place in India. Buddhism waned and Hinduism, with a system of caste based on birth, reasserted itself. The revival was led by Adi Sankaracharya. Somewhere around this time, some castes chose to distinguish themselves from the Hindu masses by resorting to vegetarianism.
Brahmins, who had overcome the challenge of Buddhism, increasingly became vegetarian, along with the Banias (who were strongly influenced by the Jains). Why this happened is not yet very clear.
Simultaneously, there was born the ridiculous myth of vegetarian diet being ‘superior’ to the non-vegetarian diet, if only to help the Brahmin assert his own superiority over the other castes.
Now the coincidence: As vegetarianism spread among the influential sections of the Hindus, they suffered repeated defeats. Through the second millennium CE, Hindus would never rule over the larger part of India (till 1947), and would be subjugated to empires that were created by Turks, Afghans, Mughals, Portuguese, and lastly the British.
All of them meat eaters, all of them beef eaters. The only Hindus who came close to ruling India were the Marathas (who love their mutton!).
A professor of comparative religions, Arvind Sharma, has argued that Hindus turning away from beef actually happened after Hindus lost political power to the Muslims. Not killing the cow became a mark of identity and faith.
The theory is that Hindus stopped eating beef as a cultural assertion and reaction to the presence of Muslims in their midst, similar to Brahmins turning completely vegetarian to stand out among fellow Hindus.
There is merit in this argument: One tends to assert one’s identity when feeling threatened. Just see how Indians abroad behave !
The rise and fall of empires is much more than just diet. When a Rajput defeated a fellow Rajput, they both shared similar diets, as did the different Muslims kings who fought each other (Turks, Afghans, Mughals), and later when the Portuguese and British faced each other.
Many, many factors go into the rise and fall of empires (it is an entire subject by itself). The better known reasons include politics, population, economic power, and military prowess.
There are also other reasons such as the role of religion (usually negative), social factors, and technological advancement (which, in itself, is a reflection of society).
But what is undeniable about the history of India is that those who ruled India for most of the first and second millennia, regardless of religion, ate meat. And beef. Let us ponder that thought as we go about banning various forms of beef.
Yet, eating or not eating beef is not really the issue. It is merely a reflection of the tolerance that the ruling class shows for the people and their faiths. What is undeniable in India is the inverse link between a strong State and secularism (howsoever defined).
In India, whenever religion has asserted itself, the State (empire or kingdom) has crumbled (sooner or later).
Alternatively, whenever a ruler kept religion (and religious practices howsoever important for the followers of that faith) at bay, that kingdom became an empire, and the empire in turn prospered.
Thus, Ashoka’s turn to Buddhism led to his empire ending within years of his demise. Akbar’s secularism saw him create a strong Mughal empire, one of the mightiest in the world then (exactly what we aspire for India today), but with a few decades of his death, Aurangzeb’s religious policies saw the Mughal empire crumble from within.
Less well known is that the Peshwas’s increased religiosity is probably what stopped the Marathas from replacing the Mughals.
For instance, before the Third Battle of Panipat, the Marathas had in tow some 30,000 pilgrims keen to visit the temple towns of north India. Pilgrims accompanying an army! Then, when cholera broke out in the enemy camp and the best strategy would have been to attack (in the December 1760-January 1761 period), religious considerations about an auspicious time meant the Marathas waited till the day of Makar Sankranti.
How can religion decide battle tactics? A far cry from the time when Shivaji decided his battle plans based on intelligence, not religion. The Portuguese failed to build an empire because they were too busy converting people to Christianity, and turning the general public against them.
By contrast, the East India Company kept religion at bay even as its plunder activities turned to empire building.
In that context, the increasing Hinduisation of India, the determination of some politicians to assert the Hindu religion within India, is the recipe for the weakening of India. If that should happen it is just a matter of time before India weakens internally.
THE EXAMPLE OF GUJARAT
Gujaratis are perceived as being overwhelmingly vegetarian. They are not; but the dominant castes, such as the Jains, Banias, Brahmins, and Patidars are vegetarian. When under British rule, as the trading class of Gujaratis (vegetarian) set up trading post across India and the world, they gave the impression of a vegetarian Gujarat.
M K Gandhi, a Modh Bania, and Vallabhbhai Patel, a Patidar, further cemented the notion of Gujaratis as vegetarian. It is true that many Gujaratis are vegetarian. But not all! And no one can deny that Gujaratis are one of India’s most successful communities in the commercial world.
While the Gujaratis’s commercial success is undeniable, their military history is marked with failure. Gujarat (or what is now Gujarat) is one of India’s most conquered states, having come under the Rajputs, Turks, Afghans, Mughals, Marathas, and finally the British. Excluding the British, the others over time became a part of the state.
While Gujarati society makes a virtue of being vegetarian, it has not helped fend off invaders.
There is nothing wrong in being vegetarian. It is every person’s personal choice. There is, however, everything wrong in believing, and propagating, howsoever latently, the notion that vegetarian societies or people are superior. Or that a country is better for it.
The history of India, and Gujarat, shows that those not tolerating beef or meat, sooner or later, come under the rule of invaders. Let those who seek to ban beef realise that behind great powers have been meat consumers.
Proof on beef eating in the Hindu Tradition visit
في امان الله
Your brother in Islam,
A Shabbir Ahmed