Hindu-Islamic relations

From Wikiquote
Jump to navigation Jump to search
In the democracy which I have envisaged, a democracy established by non-violence, there will be equal freedom for all. Everybody will be his own master. It is to join a struggle for such democracy that I invite you today. Once you realize this you will forget the differences between the Hindus and Muslims, and think of yourselves as Indians only, engaged in the common struggle for independence. ~ Mahatma Gandhi
O Hindus and Muslims! Do you belong to a country other than India? Don’t you live on the soil and are you not buried under it or cremated on its ghats? If you live and die on this land, then bear in mind that ‘Hindu’ and ‘Muslim’ is but a religious word: all the Hindus, Muslims and Christians who live in this country are one nation. ~ Syed Ahmed Khan

Hinduism and Islam share some ritual practices such as fasting and pilgrimage, but differ in their views on apostasy, blasphemy, circumcision, consanguineous marriages, idol making, henotheism, social stratification, vegetarianism, and Ahimsa as a virtue. Their historical interaction since the 7th century has witnessed periods of cooperation and syncretism, as well as periods of religious violence.

Quotes (19th century and earlier)[edit]

  • Mahmud utterly ruined the prosperity of the country, and performed there wonderful exploits, by which the Hindus became like atoms of dust scattered in all directions, and like a tale of old in the mouth of the people. Their scattered remains cherish, of course, the most inveterate aversion towards all Muslims.
  • They (the Hindus) differ from us in religion… There is very little disputing about theological topics among themselves; at the most they fight with words, but they will never stake their soul or body or their property on religious controversy. ... in all manners and usages they differ from us to such a degree as to frighten their children with us… and as to declare us to be devil’s breed and our doings as the very opposite of all that is good and proper, ....they call all foreigners as mleccha, i.e. impure, and forbid having any connection with them, be it by intermarriage or any other kind of relationship, or by sitting, eating, and drinking with them, because thereby they think, they would be polluted… They are not allowed to receive anybody who does not belong to them, even if he wished it, or was inclined to their religion.
    • Alberuni, I, pp.19-20. quoted from K.S. Lal, Indian Muslims who are they, 1990
  • “But at the moment in India… the Muslims are so few that they are like salt (in a large dish)… However, after a few years when in the capital and the regions and all the small towns, when the Muslims are well established and the troops are larger… it would be possible to give Hindus, the choice of death or Islam.”
    • Ziyauddin Barani, Sana-i-Muhammadi, trs. in Medieval India Quarterly, (Aligarh), I, Part III, 100-105. quoted from Lal, K. S. (1994). Muslim slave system in medieval India. New Delhi: Aditya Prakashan. Chapter 5
  • As early as in the time of Sultan Iltutmish (1210-1236), soon after the establishment of the Delhi Sultanate in 1206, some Ulama suggested to him to confront the Hindus with a choice between Islam and death. The Wazir Nizamul Mulk Junaidi replied: “But at the moment in India… the Muslims are so few that they are like salt (in a large dish). If such orders are to be enforced… the Hindus might combine… and the Muslims would be too few in number to suppress(them). However, after a few years when in the capital and in the regions and small towns, the Muslims are well established and the troops are larger, it will be possible to give Hindus, the choice of ‘death’ or ‘Islam’.”68
    • Ziyauddin Barani, Sana-i-Muhammadi in Medieval India Quarterly, Aligarh, I, Part III, pp. 100-105. quoted in K.S. Lal, Legacy of Muslim rule in India, 1992.
  • Barani mourned: “Should the king consider the payment of a few tankas by way of jiziya as sufficient justification for their allowing all possible freedom to the infidels to observe and demonstrate all orders and detail of infidelity, to read the misleading literature of their faith, and to propagate their teachings, how could the true religion get the upper hand over other religions, and how could the emblems of Islam be held high? How will the true faith prevail if rulers allow the infidels to keep their temples, adorn their idols, and to make merry during their festivals with beating of drums and dhols, singing and dancing?”
    • Barani, Quoted from Goel, Sita Ram (2001). The story of Islamic imperialism in India. ISBN 9788185990231
  • Shykh Nuruddin Mubarak Ghaznavi was the most important disciple of Shykh Shihabuddin Suhrawardi, founder of the second most important sufi silsila after the Chishtiyya, who died in Baghdad in 1235 AD. Ghaznavi had come and settled down in India where he passed away in 1234-35 AD. He served as Shykh-ul-Islam in the reign of Shamsuddin Iltutmish (AD 1210-1236), and propounded the doctrine of Din Panahi. Barani quotes the first principle of this doctrine as follows in his Tarikh-i-Firuzshahi. “The kings should protect the religion of Islam with sincere faith… And kings will not be able to perform the duty of protecting the Faith unless, for the sake of God and the Prophet’s creed, they overthrow and uproot kufr and kafiri (infidelity), shirk (setting partners to God) and the worship of idols. But if the total uprooting of idolatry is not possible owing to the firm roots of kufr and the large number of kafirs and mushriks (infidels and idolaters), the kings should at least strive to insult, disgrace, dishonour and defame the mushrik and idol-worshipping Hindus, who are the worst enemies of God and the Prophet. The symptom of the kings being the protectors of religion is this:- When they see a Hindu, their eyes grow red and they wish to bury him alive; they also desire to completely uproot the Brahmans, who are the leaders of kufr and shirk and owning to whom kufr and shirk are spread and the commandments of kufr are enforced… Owing to the fear and terror of the kings of Islam, not a single enemy of God and the Prophet can drink water that is sweet or stretch his legs on his bed and go to sleep in peace.”
    • Barani, Quoted from Goel, Sita Ram (2001). The story of Islamic imperialism in India. ISBN 9788185990231
  • “What is our defence of the faith,” cried Sultan Jalaluddin Khalji, “that we suffer these Hindus, who are the greatest enemies of God and of the religion of Mustafa, to live in comfort and do not flow streams of their blood.”
    • Tarikh-i-Firuz Shahi by Barani.
  • The Muslim Mashaikh were as keen on conversions as the Ulama, and contrary to general belief, in place of being kind to the Hindus as saints would, they too wished the Hindus to be accorded a second class citizenship if they were not converted. Only one instance, that of Shaikh Abdul Quddus Gangoh, need be cited because he belonged to the Chishtia Silsila considered to be the most tolerant of all Sufi groups. He wrote letters to Sultan Sikandar Lodi, Babur and Humayun to re-invigorate the Shariat and reduce the Hindus to payers of land tax and Jiziyah. To Babur he wrote,
    “Extend utmost patronage and protection to theologians and mystics… that they should be maintained and subsidized by the state… No non-Muslim should be given any office or employment in the Diwan of Islam. Posts of Amirs and Amils should be barred to them. Furthermore, in confirmity with the principles of the Shariat they should be subjected to all types of indignities and humiliations. The non-Muslims should be made to pay Jiziyah, and Zakat on goods be levied as prescribed by the law. They should be disallowed from donning the dress of the Muslims and should be forced to keep their Kufr concealed and not to perform the ceremonies of their Kufr openly and freely… They should not be allowed to consider themselves equal to the Muslims.”
    • Abdul Quddus Gangohi Quoted from Lal, K. S. (1992). The legacy of Muslim rule in India. New Delhi: Aditya Prakashan. Chapter 6
  • Now, suppose that the English community and the army were to leave India, taking with them all their cannons and their splendid weapons and all else, who then would be the rulers of India? Is it possible that under these circumstances two nations—the Mohammedans and the Hindus—could sit on the same throne and remain equal in power? Most certainly not. It is necessary that one of them should conquer the other. To hope that both could remain equal is to desire the impossible and the inconceivable. But until one nation has conquered the other and made it obedient, peace cannot reign in the land. [...] It is, therefore, necessary that for the peace of India and for the progress of everything in India the English Government should remain for many years—in fact for ever!
  • O Hindus and Muslims! Do you belong to a country other than India? Don’t you live on the soil and are you not buried under it or cremated on its ghats? If you live and die on this land, then bear in mind that ‘Hindu’ and ‘Muslim’ is but a religious word: all the Hindus, Muslims and Christians who live in this country are one nation.
    • Variant: "Oh Hindus and Mussalmans, do you inhabit any country other than India? Do you not both live here on the same land and are you not buried in this land or cremated on the ghats of this land? You live here and die here. Therefore remember that Hindu and Mussalman are words of religious significance otherwise Hindus, Mussalmans and Christians who live in this country constitute one nation." Writings and Speeches of Sir Syed Ahmad Khan, p. 266.
    • Syed Ahmed Khan, quoted in Shirali, Aresh (10 August 2017). "The Enigma of Aligarh". Open Magazine.
  • The Mussulmans of Calcutta though adopting various Hindu practices, have never amalgamated with the Hindus. They seem to retain towards them the views of Timur who said, - 'The Hindu has nothing of humanity but the figure.' Ambitions characterized the Moslem here last century as much as avarice did the Gentoo, but the days are gone for ever when a Mussulamn like the Foujdar of Hooghly had Rs. 6000 monthly salary and when the kora or the whip was hung up in every Mofussil Court for the Mussulman officials to flagellate the Hindus.
    • The Muslims of Calcutta, Rev. James Long. cited in Nair, P. Thankappan ed., British Social Life in Ancient Calcutta 1750 to 1850, Sanskrit Pustak Bhandar, 1983. p. 105. Also quoted in The India They Saw, ed. Jain Meenakshi, p. 404.
  • Thanks to the perennial, well established convention of the world, the Hindu has all along been a game of the Turks. The relationship between the Turk and the Hindu cannot be described better than that the Turk is like a tiger and the Hindu, a deer. It has been a long established rule of the whirling sky that the Hindus exist for the sake of the Turk. Being triumphant over them, whenever the Turk chooses to make an inroad upon them, he catches them, buys them, and sells them at will. Since the Hindu happens to be a (wretched) slave in all respects, none need exercise force on his slave. It does not become one to scowl at a goat which is being reared for one’s meals. Why should one wield a sharp sword for one who will die by (just) a fierce look?
    • Amir Khusrow, quoted from Harsh Narain, Myths of Composite Culture and Equality of Religions (1990) p. 17 [1]
  • 'Alpau-d dín was a king who had no acquaintace with learning, and never associated with the learned. When he became king, he came to the conclusion that polity and government are one thing, and the rules and decrees of law are another. Royal commands belong to the king, legal decrees rest upon the Judgment of kázis and mufis. In accordance with this opinion, whatever affair of state came before him, he only looked to the public good, without considering whether his mode of dealing with it was lawful or unlawful. He never asked for legal opinons about poitical matters, and very few learned men visited him. Kázi Mughpisu-d dín, of Bayánah, used to go to court and sit down in private audience with the amirs. Once day, when the efforts were being made for the increase of the tribute and of the fines and imposts, the Sultán told the Kazi that he had several questions to ask him, and desired him to speak the plain truth. The Kazi replied, "The angel of my destiny seems to be close at hand, since your Majesty wishes to question me on matters of religion; if I sepak the truth you will be angry and kill me." The Sulpan said he would not kill him and commanded him to answer his questions truly and candidly. The Kazi then promised to answer in accordance with what he had read in books.
  • The Sultan then asked, "How are Hindus designated in the law, as payers of tributes or givers of tribute? The Kazi replied, "They are called payers of tribute, and when the revenue officer demands silver from them, they should tender gold. If the officer throws dirt into their mouths, they must without reluctance open their mouths to receive it. By doing so they show their respect for the officer. The due subordination of the zimmi is exhibited in this humble payment and by this throwing of dirt in their mouths. The glorification of Islam is a duty, and contempt of the Religion is vain. God holds them in contempt, for he says, "keep them under in subjection". To keep the Hindus in abasement is especially a religious duty, because they are the most inveterate enemies of the Prophet, and because the Prophet has commanded us to slay them, plunder them, and make them captive, saying, 'Convert them to Islam or kill them, enslave them and spoil their wealth and property.' No doctor but the great doctor (Hanifa), to whose school we belong, has assented to the imposition of the jizya (poll tax) on Hindus. Doctors of other schools allow no other alternative but 'Death or Islam.'" The Sultán smiled at this answer of the Kazi's, and said, "I do not understand any of the statements thou hast made; but this I have discovered, that the khuts and mukaddims ride upon fine horses, wear fine clothes, shoot with Persian bows, make war upon each other, and go out hunting; but of the kharaj (tribute), jizya (poll tax), kari (house tax), and chari (pasture tax), they do not pay one jital. They levy separately the Khut's (landowner's) share from the villages, give parties and drink wine, and many of them pay no revenue at all, either upon demand or without demand. Neither do they show any respect for my officers.
  • Before the advent of the British in India, the Musalmans were the rulers of the country. The Musalmans had, therefore, all the advantages appertaining to the ruling class. The sovereign and the chiefs were their co-religionists, and so were the great landlords and the great officials. The court language was their own. Every place of trust and responsibility, or carrying influence and high emoluments was by birthright theirs. The Hind did occupy some position, but the Hindu holders of position were but the tenants-at-will of the Musalmans. The Musalmans had complete access to the sovereigns and to the chiefs. They could, and did, often eat at the same table with them. They could also, and often did, intermarry. The Hindus stood in awe in them. Enjoyment and influence and all the good things of the world were theirs. Into the best-regulated kingdoms, however, as into the best-regulated societies and families, misfortunes would intrude and misfortunes did intrude into this happy Musalman Rule.

Quotes (20th and 21st century)[edit]

  • Such is the record of Hindu-Muslim relationship from 1920 to 1940. Placed side by side with the frantic efforts made by Mr. Gandhi to bring about Hindu-Muslim unity, the record makes most painful and heart-rending reading. It would not be much exaggeration to say that it is a record of twenty years of civil war between the Hindus and the Muslims in India, interrupted by brief intervals of armed peace. [...] The tempers on each side were the tempers of two warring nations. There was carnage, pillage, sacrilege and outrage of every species, perpetrated by Hindus against Musalmans and by Musalmans against Hindus—more perhaps by Musalmans against Hindus than by Hindus against Musalmans. Cases of arson have occurred in which Musalmans have set fire to the houses of Hindus, in which whole families of Hindus, men, women and children were roasted alive and consumed in the fire, to the great satisfaction of the Muslim spectators. What is astonishing is that these cold and deliberate acts of rank cruelty were not regarded as atrocities to be condemned but were treated as legitimate acts of warfare for which no apology was necessary. [...] Nothing I could say can so well show the futility of Hindu-Muslim unity. Hindu-Muslim unity up to now was at least in sight although it was like a mirage. Today it is out of sight and also out of mind.
  • Unless there is unification of the Muslims who wish to separate from the Hindus and unless there is liberation of eachfrom the fear of domination by the other, there can be no doubt that this malaise of social stagnation will not be setright. Even a superficial observer cannot fail to notice that a spirit of aggression underlies the Hindu attitude towards the Muslim and the Muslim attitude towards the Hindu. The Hindu's spirit of aggression is a new phase which he has just begun to cultivate. The Muslim's spirit of aggression is his native endowment, and is ancient as compared with that of the Hindu. It is not that the Hindu, if given time, will not pick up and overtake the Muslim. But as matters stand to-day, the Muslim in this exhibition of the spirit of aggression leaves the Hindu far behind.
  • While it is necessary to admit that the efforts at Hindu-Muslim unity have failed and that the Muslim ideology has undergone a complete revolution, it is equally necessary to know the precise causes which have produced these effects. The Hindus say that the British policy of divide and rule is the real cause of this failure and of this ideological revolution. There is nothing surprising in this. The Hindus having cultivated the Irish mentality, to have no other politics except that of being always against the Government, are ready to blame the Government for everything including bad weather. But [the] time has come to discard the facile explanation so dear to the Hindus. For it fails to take into account two very important circumstances. In the first place, it overlooks the fact that the policy of divide and rule, allowing that the British do resort to it, cannot succeed unless there are elements which make division possible, and further if the policy succeeds for such a long time, it means that the elements which divide are more or less permanent and irreconcilable and are not transitory or superficial.
  • Secondly, it forgets that Mr. Jinnah, who represents this ideological transformation, can never be suspected of being a tool in the hands of the British even by the worst of his enemies. He may be too self-opinionated, an egotist without the mask, and has perhaps a degree of arrogance which is not compensated by any extraordinary intellect or equipment. It may be on that account he is unable to reconcile himself to a second place and work with others in that capacity for a public cause. He may not be overflowing with ideas although he is not, as his critics make him out to be, an empty-headed dandy living upon the ideas of others. It may be that his fame is built up more upon art and less on substance. At the same time, it is doubtful if there is a politician in India to whom the adjective incorruptible can be more fittingly applied. Anyone who knows what his relations with the British Government have been, will admit that he has always been their critic, if indeed he has not been their adversary. No one can buy him. For it must be said to his credit that he has never been a soldier of fortune. The customary Hindu explanation fails to account for the ideological transformation of Mr. Jinnah. What is then the real explanation of these tragic phenomena, this failure of the efforts for unity, this transformation in the Muslim ideology?
  • The real explanation of this failure of Hindu-Muslim unity lies in the failure to realize that what stands between the Hindus and Muslims is not a mere matter of difference, and that this antagonism is not to be attributed to material causes. It is formed by causes which take their origin in historical, religious, cultural and social antipathy, of which political antipathy is only a reflection. These form one deep river of discontent which, being regularly fed by these sources, keeps on mounting to a head and overflowing its ordinary channels. Any current of water flowing from another source, however pure, when it joins it, instead of altering the colour or diluting its strength becomes lost in the main stream. The silt of this antagonism which this current has deposited, has become permanent and deep. So long as this silt keeps on accumulating and so long as this antagonism lasts, it is unnatural to expect this antipathy between Hindus and Muslims to give place to unity.
  • We don not shun, we desire the awakening of Islam in India even if its first crude efforts are misdirected against ourselves; for all strength, all energy, all action is grist to the mill of the nation builder. In that faith we are ready, when the time comes for us to meet in the political field, to exchange with the Musulman, just as he chooses, the firm clasp of the brother or the resolute grip of the wrestler. That time has not yet come. There is absolutely no reason why the electoral question should create bad blood between the two communities, for if we leave aside the limited number who still hunger after loaves and fishes or nurse dead delusions, the reforms have no living interest for the Hindu. His field of energy lies elsewhere than in the enlarged pretences of British Liberalism. His business is to find out his own strength and prepare it for a great future, and the less he meddles with unreal politics and nerveless activities, the better for the nation. The Mahomedan has not progressed so far. He has to taste the sweets of political privilege and find them turn to ashes in his mouth. He has to formulate demands, rejoice at promises, fume at betrayals, until he thoroughly discovers the falsity and impossibility of his hopes. His progress is likely to be much swifter than ours has been in the past, for he gets the advantage if not of our experience, at least of the ideas now in the air and of the more bracing and stimulating atmosphere. He is more likely to demand than to crave, and his disillusionment must necessarily be the speedier. And it is then that he too will seek the strength in himself and touch the true springs of self-development. Our best policy is to leave the Mahomedan representatives on the councils to work out their destiny face to face with the bureaucracy, with no weightier Hindu counterpoise than the effete politicians, the time-servers and the self-seekers.
  • Of one thing we may be certain, that Hindu-Mahomedan unity cannot be effected by political adjustments or Congress flatteries. It must be sought deeper down, in the heart and in the mind, for where the causes of disunion are, there the remedies must be sought. We shall do well in trying to solve the problem to remember that misunderstanding is the most fruitful cause of our differences, that love compels love and that strength conciliates the strong. We must strive to remove the causes of misunderstanding by a better mutual knowledge and sympathy; we must extend the unfaltering love of the patriot to our Musulman brother, remembering always that in him too Narayana dwells and to him too our Mother has given a permanent place in her bosom; but we must cease to approach him falsely or flatter out of a selfish weakness and cowardice. We believe this to be the only practical way of dealing with the difficulty. As a political question the Hindu-Mahomedan problem does not interest us at all, as a national problem it is of supreme importance. We shall make it a main part of our work to place Mahomed and Islam in a new light before our readers, to spread juster views of Mahomedan history and civilisation, to appreciate the Musulman's place in our national development and the means of harmonising his communal life with our own, not ignoring the difficulties that stand in our way but making the most of the possibilities of brotherhood and mutual understanding. Intellectual sympathy can only draw together, the sympathy of the heart can alone unite. But the one is a good preparation for the other.
  • A sturdy old Muslim villager of Multan cam in, rushing and jostling his way through the impeding volunteers, shook hand with Gandhiji and sat down. He was in the highest spirits, but then Maulana Mohammad Ali told him, "Do you know he is on a roza (fast) of 21 days-because Muslims and Hindus do not stop fighting?" THe old man grew pale and began to grumble, "Somebody incites badmashes of both the communities and so all these brawls. But none of us there is quarrelling" and with these words he too began to urge, "Take but a quarter pound of milk daily. Eat very sparingly, say, even on alternate days, but please do some such thing; for, in the case of a person like you, every act is a prayer to God whether you sit or stand, eat or drink." Highly pleased Gandhiji said, "And can this also not be a prayer? This abstinence from eating-this roza?" The question puzzled the simple old man, "But do listen to the earnest entreaty of such a nobody like myself; and eat." And then as he left, he said, "I will come again after ten or twenty days." "Do come," said Bapu, "after twenty days."
  • Bapu asked me:
    'Do you see the meaning of my fast on account of the Bombay and Chauri Chaura incidents?'
    'Yes', said I.
    'Then why can you not see the meaning of this fast?'
    'There you fasted by way of penance for what you thought was a crime committed by you. There is no such thing here. There is not the semblance of an offence that may be attributed to you.'
    'What a misconception! In Chauri Chaura the culprits were those who had never seen me, never know me. Today the culprits are those who know me and even profess to love me!'
    'Shaukat Ali and Mohammad Ali', I said, 'are trying their best to quench the conflagration. But it is beyond them. Some men may be beyond their reach, even your reach. What can they do? What can you do? The situation will take time to improve.'
    'That is another story', he answered, 'Shaukat Ali and Mohammad Ali are pure gold. They are trying their best, I know. But the situation is out of our hands today. It was in our hands six months ago. I know my fast will upset them. Indirectly it might have an effect on their minds, but it was not meant to prude an effect on any one's mind.'
    'That's all right I replied. 'But you have yet to tell me where your error lay for which you are doing penacne.'
  • 'My error! Why, I may be charged with having committed a breach of faith with the Hindus. I asked them to befriend Muslims. I asked them to lay their lives and their property at the disposal of the Mussulmans for the protection of their Holy Places. Even today I am asking them to practise Ahimsa, to settle quarrels by dying, but not by killing. And what do I find to be the result? How many temples have been desecrated? How many sisters come to me with complaints? As I was saying to Hakimji yesterday, Hindu women are in mortal fear of Mussulman goondas. In many places they fear to go out alone. I had a letter from... ...How can I bear the way in which his little children were molested? How can I ask Hindus to put up with everything patiently? I gave the assurance that the friendship of Mussulmans was bound to bear good fruit. I asked them to befriend them, regardless of the result. It is not in my power today to make good that assurance, neither it is in the power of Mohammad Ali or Shaukat Ali. Who listents to me? And yet I must ask the Hindus even today to die and not to kill. I can only do so by laying down my own life. I can teach them the way to die my own example. There is no other way... ...I launched non-co-operation. Today I find that the people are non-co-operating against one another, without any regard for non-violence. What is the reason? Only this, that I am not completely non-violent. If I were practising non-violence to perfection, I should not have seen the violence I see around me today. My fast is therefore a penance. I blame no one. I blame only myself. I have lost the power wherewith to appeal to people. Defeated and helpless I must submit my petition in His Court. Only He will listen, no one else.'
  • It was a torrent that I could hardly catch, much less reproduce. I asked at the end: 'But, Bapu, Should the penance take only this shape, and no other? Is fasting prescribed by our religion?' ' Certainly,' said he, 'What did the Rishis of old do? It is unthinkable that they ate anything during their penances-insome cases, gone through in caves, and for hundreds of years. Parvati who did penance to win Shiva would not touch even the leaves of trees, much less fruit or food. Hinduism is full of penance and prayer. I have decided on this fast with deeper deliberation than I gave to any of my previous fast. I had such a fast in mind even when I conceived and launched non-co-operation. At that time, I said to myself, 'I am placing this terrible weapon in the hands of the people. If it is abused, I must pay the price by laying down my life.' That moment seems to have arrived today. The object of the previous fast was limited. The object of this is unlimited and there is boundless love at the back of it. I am today bathing in that ocean of love.'
  • Unless this elementary condition is recognised, we have no atmosphere for considering the ways and means of removing misunderstanding and arriving at an honourable, lasting settlement. But, assuming that the acceptance of the elementary condition will be common cause between the two communities, let us consider the constant disturbing factors. There is no doubt in my mind that in the majority of quarrels the Hindus come out second best. But my own expirence confirms the opinion that the Mussalman as a rule is a bully, and the Hindu as a rule is a coward. I have noticed this in railway trains, on public roads, and in the quarrels which I had the privilege of settling. Need the Hindu blame the Mussalman for his cowardice? Where there are cowards, there will always be bullies. They say that in Saharanpur the Mussalmans looted houses, broke open safes and in one case a Hindu woman's modesty was outraged. Whose fault was this? Mussalmans can offer no defence for the execrable conduct, it is true. But I as a Hindu am more ashamed of Hindu cowardice than I angry at the Mussalman bullying. Why did not the owners of the houses looted die in the attempt to defend their possessions? Where were the relatives of the outraged sister at the time of the outrage? Have they no account to render of themselves? My non-violence does not admit of running away from danger and leaving dear ones unprotected. Between violence and cowardly flight, I can only prefer violence to cowardice. I can no more preach non-violence to a coward than I can tempt a blind man to enjoy healthy scenes.
  • Non-violence is the summit of bravery. And in my own experience, I have had no difficulty in demonstrating to men trained in the school of violence the superiority of non-violence. As a coward, which I was for years, I harboured violence. I began to prize non-violence only when I began to shed cowardice. Those Hindus who ran away from the post of duty when it was attended with danger did so not because they were non-violent, or because they were afraid to strike, but because they were unwilling to die or even suffer any injury. A rabbit that runs away from the bull terrier is no particularly non-violent. The poor thing trembles at the sight of the terrier and runs for very life. Those Hindus who ran away to save their lives would have been truly non-violent and would have covered themselves with glory and added lustre to their faith and won the friendship of their Mussalman assailants, if they had stood bare breast with smiles on their lips, and died at their post. They would have done less well though still well, if they had stood at their post and returned blow. If the Hindus wish to convert the Mussalman bully into a respecting friend, they have to learn to die in the face of the heaviest odds.
  • Though the majority of the Mussalmans of India and the Hindus belong to the same 'stock', the religious environment has made them different. I believe and I have noticed too that thought transforms man’s features as well as character. The Sikhs are the most recent illustration of the fact. The Mussalman being generally in a minority has as a class developed into a bully. Moreover being heir to fresh traditions he exhibits the virility of a comparatively new system of life. Though in my opinion non-violence has a predominant place in the Koran, the thirteen hundred years of imperialistic expansion has made the Mussalmans fighters as a body. They are therefore, aggressive. Bullying is the natural excrescence of an aggressive spirit. The Hindu has an age old civilisation. He is essentially non-violent. His civilisation has passed through the experiences that the two recent ones are still passing through. If Hinduism was ever imperialistic in the modern sense of the term, it has outlived its imperialism and has either deliberately or as a matter of course given it up. Predominance of the non-violent spirit has restricted the use of arms to a small minority, which must always be subordinate to a civil power highly spiritual, learned and selfless.
  • The Hindus as a body are therefore not equipped for fighting. But not having retained their spiritual training, they have forgotten the use of an effective substitute for arms and not knowing their use nor having an aptitude for them, they have become docile to the point of timidity or cowardice. This vice is therefore a natural excrescence of gentleness. Holding this view, I do not think that the Hindu exclusiveness, bad as it undoubtedly is, has much to do with the Hindu timidity. Hence also my disbelief in Akhadas as a means of self-defence. I prize them for physical culture but, for self-defence I would restore the spiritual culture. The best and most lasting self-defence is self-purification. I refuse to be lifted off my feet because of the scares that haunt us today. If Hindus would but believe in themselves and work in accordance with their traditions, they will have no reason to fear bullying. The moment they recommence the real spiritual training the Mussalman will respond. He cannot help it. If I can get together a band of young Hindus with faith in themselves and therefore faith in the Mussalmans, the band will become a shield for the vneaker ones. They (the young Hindus) will teach how to die without killing. I know no other way. When our ancestors saw affliction surrounding them, they went in for tapasya purification. They realised the helplessness of the flesh and in their helplessnes they prayed till they compelled the Maker to obey their call. 'Oh yes,' says my Hindu friend,‘but then God sent some one to wield arms. I am not concerned with denying the truth of the retort. All I say to the friend is that as a Hindu he may not ignore the cause and secure the result. It will be time to fight, when we have done enough lapasya. Are we purified enough I ask? Have we even done willing penance for the sin of untouchability, let alone the personal purity of individuals? Are our religious preceptors all that they should be? We are beating the air whilst we simply concentrate our attention upon picking holes in the Mussalmam conduct. As with the English-man, so with the Mussalman. If our professions are true, we should find it infinitely less difficult to conquer the Mussalman than the English. But Hindus whisper to me that they have hope of the Englishman hut none of the Mussalman. I say to them,'if you have no hope of the Mussalman, your hope of the Englishman is foredoomed to failure.'
  • The Goondas came on the scene because the leaders wanted them. The leaders distrusted one another. Distrust never comes from well-defined causes. A variety of causes, more felt than realised, breeds distrust. We have not yet visualised the fact that our interests are identical. Each party seems vaguely to believe that it can displace the other by some kind of manoeuvermg. But I freely confess as suggested by Babu Bhagwandas that our not knowing the kind of Swaraj we want has also a great deal to do with the distrust. I used not to think so, but he had almost converted me before I became Sir George Lloyd's guest at the Yeravada Central Prison. I am a confirmed convert. The 'points of contact' referred to by me is a phrase intended to cover all social, religious and political relations alike as between individuals and masses. Thus, for instance instead of accentuating the differences in religion, I should set about discovering the good points common to both. I would bridge the social distance wherever I can do so consistently with my religious belief, I would go out of my way to seek common ground on the political field. As for the referee, I have named Hakim Saheb’s name undoubtedly for the universal respect that it carries with it. But I would not hesitate to put the pen even in the hands of a Mussalman who maybe known for his prejudices and fanaticism. For as a Hindu, I should know that I have nothing to lose even if the referee gave the Mussalmans a majority of seats in every province. There is no principle at stake in giving or having seats in elective bodies. Moreover experience has taught me to know that undivided responsibility immediately puts a man on his mettle and his pride or God-fearingness sobers him.
  • In the democracy which I have envisaged, a democracy established by non-violence, there will be equal freedom for all. Everybody will be his own master. It is to join a struggle for such democracy that I invite you today. Once you realize this you will forget the differences between the Hindus and Muslims, and think of yourselves as Indians only, engaged in the common struggle for independence.
  • The leaders of the Indian National Congress could think only in terms of a parliamentary constitution patterned on the British model. They could, therefore, see no alternative to winning the trust of the minority community. That was the starting point of an endless exercise for finding a constitutional formula which could satisfy the Muslims. They could not see that they were thus getting into a blind alley from which there was no way out. The reservations and weight ages which the minority community demanded in all spheres of national life, at every conference table, went on multiplying in direct proportion to the concessions made by the majority community. And the British were always there to compete with the Nationalists in making greater and greater concessions to the Muslims. The constitutional set dement, however, was not the only set dement which the minority community was seeking. It was also objecting to every manifestation of National Culture in the public life of the country. If the Hindus sang Vande Mãtaram in a public meeting, it was a conspiracy to convert Muslims into kãfirs. If the Hindus blew a conch, or broke a coconut, or garlanded the portrait of a revered patriot, it was an attempt to 'force' Muslims into 'idolatry'. If the Hindus spoke in any of their native languages, it was an 'affront' to the culture of Islam. If the Hindus took pride in their pre-Islamic heroes, it was a 'devaluation' of Islamic history. And so on, there were many more objections, major and minor, to every national self-expression. In short, it was a demand that Hindus should cease to be Hindus and become instead a faceless conglomeration of rootless individuals. On the other hand, the 'minority community' was not prepared to make the slightest concession in what they regarded as their religious and cultural rights. If the Hindus requested that cow-killing should stop, it was a demand for renouncing an 'established Islamic practice'. If the Hindus objected to an open sale of beef in the bazars, it was an 'encroachment' on the 'civil rights' of the Muslims. If the Hindus demanded that cows meant for ritual slaughter should not be decorated and marched through Hindu localities, it was 'trampling upon time-honoured Islamic traditions'. If the Hindus appealed that Hindu religious processions passing through a public thoroughfare should not be obstructed, it was an attempt to 'disturb the peace of Muslim prayers'. If the Hindus wanted their native languages to attain an equal status with Urdu in the courts and the administration, it was an 'assault on Muslim culture'. If the Hindus taught to their children the true history of Muslim tyrants, it was a 'hate campaign against Islamic heroes'. And the 'minority community' was always ready to 'defend' its 'religion and culture' by taking recourse to street riots.
  • The peaceful Indian Mussalman, descended beyond doubt from Hindu ancestors, was dressed up in the garb of a foreign barbarian, as a breaker of temples and as an eater of beef and declared to be a military colonist in the land he had lived for about thirty of forty centuries... The result of it is seen in the communalistic atmosphere of India today.
  • The Hindu feels it his duty to dislike those whom he has been taught to consider the enemy of his religion and his ancestors; the Mussalman, lured into the false belief that he was once a member of a ruling race, feels insufferably wronged by being relegated to the status of a minority community. Fools both! Even if the Muslims eight centuries ago were as bad as they were painted, would there be any sense in holding the present generation responsible for their deeds. It is but an imaginative tie that joins the modern Hindu with Harshavardhana or Asoka, or the modern Mussalman with Shihabuddin or Mahmud.
    • Mohammad Habib in Politics and society during the early medieval period: collected works of Professor Mohammad Habib, Volume 1 (1974); p. 12. Quoted in Identity and Religion: Foundations of Anti-Islamism in India by Amalendu Misra; published by SAGE Publications, p. 210
  • This is when false equivalence fails to recognise not only the unbridled state-backed violent majoritarianism but also its farcical nature. To counter false equivalence and to assert what happened in Delhi was an anti-Muslim pogrom, we do not have to take the morally dubious position of denying that there has been the loss of innocent lives among Hindus as well (after all, what can be more heartbreaking than losing a 15-year old boy – the youngest victim of the violence, Nitin Kumar – who was killed while stepping out to buy food), or that the victims are not capable of brutality. But to remain at the level of a statistical apportioning of grief, or false equivalence is to fundamentally misread the nature of the beast which has succeeded in replacing every critical problem in India with the narrative of a Hindu-Muslim war, and which has produced suffering even among the oppressors.
  • Whenever a Muslim called upon the Muslim society, he never faced any resistance-he called in the name of one God ‘Allah-ho-Akbar’. On the other hand, when we (Hindus) call will call, ‘come on, Hindus’, who will respond? We, the Hindus, are divided in numerous small communities, many barriers-provincialism-who will respond overcoming all these obstacles? “We suffered from many dangers, but we could never be united. When Mohammed Ghouri brought the first blow from outside, the Hindus could not be united, even in the those days of imminent danger. When the Muslims started to demolish the temples one after another, and to break the idols of Gods and Goddesses, the Hindus fought and died in small units, but they could not be united. It has been provided that we were killed in different ages due to out discord. Weakness harbors sin. So, if the Muslims beat us and we, the Hindus, tolerate this without resistance-then, we will know that it is made possible only by our weakness. For the sake of ourselves and our neighbour Muslims also, we have to discard our weakness. We can appeal to our neighbour Muslims, `Please don't be cruel to us. No religion can be based on genocide' - but this kind of appeal is nothing, but the weeping of the weak person. When the low pressure is created in the air, storm comes spontaneously; nobody can stop it for sake for religion. Similarly, if weakness is cherished and be allowed to exist, torture comes automatically - nobody can stop it. Possibly, the Hindus and the Muslims can make a fake friendship to each other for a while, but that cannot last forever. As long as you don’t purify the soil, which grows only thorny shrubs you can not expect any fruit.
    • R. Tagore. “Swamy Shraddananda’, written by Rabindranath in Magh, 1333 Bangabda; compiled in the book ‘Kalantar’.
  • It has been said, gentlemen, by some that we Hindus have yielded too much to our Mohammedan brethern. I am sure I represent the sense of the Hindu community all over India when I say that we could not have yielded too much. I would not care if the rights of selfgovernment are granted to the Mohammedan community only.... When we have to fight against a third party — it is a very important thing that we stand on this platform united, united in race, united in religion, united as regards all different shades of political creed.
    • Tilak, quoted in Law in the Scientific Era by M. Hidayatullah
  • We all hear about universal brotherhood, and how societies stand up especially to preach this. I remember and old story. In India, taking wine is considered very bad. THere were two brothers who wished, one night, to drink wine secretly, and their uncle, who was a very orthodox man was sleeping in a room quite close to theirs. So, before they began to drink, they said to each other, "We must be very silent, or uncle will wake up." When they were drinking, they continued as the shouting increased, the uncle woke up, came into the room, and discovered the whole thin. Now, we all shout like these drunken men," Universal brotherhood! We are all equal, therefore let us make a sect." As soon as you make a sect you protest against equality, and equality is no more. Mohammedans talk of universal brotherhood, but what comes out of that in reality? Why, Anybody who is not a Mohammedan will not be admitted into the brotherhood; he will more likely have his throat cut. Christians talk of universal brotherhood; but anyone who is not a Christian must go to that place where he will be eternally barbecued. And so we go in this world in our search after universal brotherhood and equality.
  • It is not just Modi, but the entire Gujarati society has moved on, and is reconstructing a new equation with Muslims. After 2002, we took it upon ourselves to ensure that no Muslim child would be deprived of education simply because his or her family can not afford the fees or buy books. Many Hindus gave us money for it. For example, at the start when we sponsored a Muslim girl’s education in a medical college, one of my Hindu friends said that he will pay for that semester’s fee for the girl. That really boosted my morale and convinced me that humanitarian spirit is alive even in Gujarat. Those who say that there is a lot of Hindu-Muslim hatred in Gujarat are perpetuating a myth. That hostility stayed alive for some time after the riots. Even after 2002, once things settled down and the ice was broken, it is Hindus who extended help to Muslims to rebuild their lives. How much can the Muslims do alone?... Hundreds of Hindu families came for our daughter’s wedding. As the state is experiencing genuine social peace and security, inter-community relations have become far more relaxed. I tell my fellow Muslims, we also must take the initiative to promote social interaction. Muslims cannot continue to live in an alienated, insulated manner. We have not made much effort to familiarise our Hindu brothers about our culture....But today such social interaction has begun to take place all over Gujarat because the ruling party is not acting as a divisive force. It is providing a sense of security by upholding the rule of law. People don’t view each other with as much suspicion as they did when riots were engineered routinely.
    • Zafar Sareshwala, quoted in Kishwar, Madhu (2014). Modi, Muslims and media: Voices from Narendra Modi's Gujarat. p.350-352

Hinduism and Islam[edit]

  • Ram and Kirshan whom Hindus worship are insignificant creatures, and have been begotten by their parents… Ram could not protect his wife whom Ravan took away by force. How can he (Ram) help others?… It is thousands of times shameful that some people should think of Ram and Kirshan as rulers of all the worlds… To think that Ram and Rahman are the same, is extremely foolish. The creator and the creature can never be one… The controller of the Cosmos was never called Ram and Kirshan before the latter were born. What has happened after their birth that they have come to be equated with Allah, and the worship of Ram and Kirshan is described as the worship of Allah? May Allah save us! Our prophets who number one lakh and twenty-four thousand have encouraged the created ones to worship the Creator… The gods of the Hindus (on the other hand) have encouraged the people to worship them (the gods) instead… They are themselves misguided, and are leading others astray… See, how the (two) ways are different!
    • Ahmad Sirhindi,Maktubat-i-Imam Rabbani translated into Urdu by Maulana Muhammad Sa’id Ahmad Naqshbandi, Deoband, 1988, Volume I, 396 Letter was written to Hirday Ram Hindu who had “expressed affinity” with Sirhindi’s school of thought.
  • And yet I find in the majority judgement a fatal innocence... The judgement quotes the proclamations from the Rig, Yajur and Atharva Vedas - about all human beings being one, about their being the children of the same Mother-Earth, about the yearnings that all of use be friends. But it does not note that less than a mile from its building volumes upon volumes of fatwas are being sold and distributed which exhort Muslims never to trust Kafirs, never to allow them into their confidence; which tell them that their first duty and allegiance is to their religion and not to sundry laws... It is not Gandhiji who needs to be convinced that Ishwar and Allah ar one. It is not Guru Gobind Singh who needs to be convinced that mandir and masjid, Puran and Quran are one. The ones who need to be convinced that they are one - say, the ulema, or the Shahi Iman... - have it as an article of faith that they are not one.
    • Arun Shourie in: India., & Dasgupta, S. (1995). The Ayodhya reference: The Supreme Court judgement and commentaries. p. 171-3
  • “It is curious how markedly for evil is the influence which conversion to even the most impure form of Mahomedanism has upon the character of the Panjab villager; how invariably it fills him with false pride and conceit (…) and renders him less well-to-do than his Hindu neighbour (…) When we move through a tract inhibited by Hindus and Musalmans belonging to the same tribe, descended from the same ancestor, and living under the same conditions, we can tell the religion of its owner by the greater idleness, poverty, and pretension, which marked the Musalman, it is difficult to suggest any explanation of the fact.”
    • Census Report 1881, Province of Punjab vol. I (p.103-4), quoted from A History of Sikhs by Hari Ram Gupta, and by Sarvesh Tiwari

External links[edit]

Wikipedia has an article about: