Hindu–Islamic relations

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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
The Hindus say that the British policy of “divide and rule” is the real cause of this failure [of Hindu-Muslim unity]. But time has come to discard the facile explanation so dear to the Hindus (…) What stands between the Hindus and Muslims is not a mere matter of difference, and 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. ~ B.R. Ambedkar

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.... Hindu sciences have retired far away from those parts of the country conquered by us, and have fled to places which our hand cannot yet reach, to Kashmir, Benaras and other places. And there the antagonism between them (the Hindus) and all foreigners receives more and more nourishment both from political and religious sources
    • Alberuni's India, vol. I, p. 22. Also quoted (in part) in Jain, Meenakshi (2011). The India they saw: Foreign accounts.
  • 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.
    • Sir Syed Ahmed Khan (1817–1898), Speech in March 1888, Quoted by Dilip Hiro, "The Longest August: The Unflinching Rivalry Between India and Pakistan" [1]
  • 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.
  • Likewise, gleefully describing the Hindu predicament under the Sultanate, Amir Khusrau puts this statement into the mouth of a subdued Raja; ‘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 [2]
  • 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.'"
    • Qazi Mughisuddin's reply to Sultan Alauddin Khalji. Tarikh-i Firoz Shahi, of Ziauddin Barani in Elliot and Dowson, Vol. III : Elliot and Dowson, History of India as told by its own Historians, 8 Volumes, Allahabad Reprint, 1964. pp. 184, chapter 15 [3]. Quoted in B.R. Ambedkar, Pakistan or The Partition of India (1946).
  • [But ultimately the brunt of all such riots was borne by the Hindus. For instance, this is how Pelsaert describes the situation prevalent in the time of Jahangir (1605-27) during Muharram.] “The outcry (of mourning) lasts till the first quarter of the day; the coffins (Tazias) are brought to the river, and if the two parties meet carrying their biers (it is worse on that day), and one will not give place to the other, then if they are evenly matched, they may kill each other as if they were enemies at open war, for they run with naked swords like madmen. No Hindu can venture into the streets before midday, for even if they should escape with their life, at the least their arms and legs would be broken to pieces…”
    • Pelsaert, Jahangir’s India. Quoted from Lal, K. S. (1992). The legacy of Muslim rule in India. New Delhi: Aditya Prakashan.
  • Islam and infidelity (kufr) contradict one another. To establish the one means eradicating the other, the coming together of these contradictories being impossible. Therefore, Allah has commanded his Prophet to wage war (jihad) against the infidels, and be harsh with them. The glory is Islam consists in the humiliation and degradation of infidels and infidelity. He who honours the infidels, insults Islam. Honouring (the infidels) does not mean that they are accorded dignity, and made to sit in high places. It means allowing them to be in our company, to sit with them, and talk to them. They should be kept away like dogs. If there is some worldly purpose or work which depends upon them, and cannot be served without their help, they may be contacted while keeping in mind all the time that they are not worthy of respect. The best course according to Islam is that they should not be contacted even for worldly purposes. Allah has proclaimed in his Holy Word (Quran) that they are his and his Prophet’s enemies. And mixing with these enemies of Allah and his Prophet or showing affection for them, is one of the greatest crimes…
    …The abolition of jizyah in Hindustan is a result of friendship which (Hindus) have acquired with the rulers of this land… What right have the rulers to stop exacting jizyah? Allah himself has commanded imposition of jizyah for their (infidels’) humiliation and degradation. What is required is their disgrace, and the prestige and power of Muslims. The slaughter of non-Muslims means gain for Islam… To consult them (the kafirs) and then act according to their advice means honouring the enemies (of Islam), which is strictly forbidden…
    The prayer (=goodwill) of these enemies of Islam is false and fruitless. It should never be called for because it can only add to their numbers. If the infidels pray, they will surely seek the intercession of their idols, which is taking things too far… A wise man has said that unless you become a maniac (diwanah) you cannot attain Islam. The state of this mania means going beyond considerations of profit and loss. Whatever one gains in the service of Islam should suffice…
    • Ahmad Sirhindi, Maktubat-i-Imam Rabbani translated into Urdu by Maulana Muhammad Sa’id Ahmad Naqshbandi, Deoband, 1988, Volume I, p.388 ff.This letter was written to Shaikh Farid alias Nawab Murtaza Khan who was opposed to Akbar’s religious policy, and who supported Jahangir’s accession after taking from the latter a promise that Islam will be upheld in the new reign.
  • They left no stone unturned in de-Hinduizing or denationalizing the Hindus, in effect de-Indianizing the Indians, in various ways. It is preposterous to question their credentials as true Muslims. Their 'Ulama' exhorted them off and on to make the best of their sword to root out the Hindus and convert India into a full-fledged Dar al-lslam. Sayyid Nur ad-Din Mubarak Ghaznawi Suhrawardi, at once a leading Sufi, a leading Muslim divine, and the Shaykh al-lslam of Sultan Iltutmish. led a deputation of Ulama to the Sultan and advised him to give an ultimatum to the Hindus to embrace Islam or face death. The Sultan’s prime minister pleaded powerlessness on his behalf to do so." Then the Shaykh offered an alternative suggestion: ’... the king should at least strive to disgrace, dishonour, and defame the Mushrik and idol- worshipping Hindus.... The sign of the kings being protectors of the faith is this: When they see a Hindu, their faces turn red and they wish to swallow him alive....' A similar suggestion was made to Jalal ad-Din Khalji, who returned ruefully: 'Don’t you see that Hindus, who are the worst enemies of God and of Islam, pass daily below my royal palace to the Jamuna beating drums and playing flutes, and practise before our eyes the worship of the idols with all the rituals? Fie on us unworthy leaders who declare ourselves Muslim kings!... Had I been a Muslim ruler, a real king, or a prince and felt myself strong and powerful enough to protect Islam, any enemy of God and the faith of the Prophet of Islam would not have been allowed to chew betels in a care-free manner and put on a clean garment or live in peace. Qadi Mughis ad- Din’s advice to Sultan Ala' d-Din Khaiji was on similer lines, and the Sultan confessed that he had humiliated and pauperized the Hindus to his utmost even though without caring to know the provisions of the Shari'ah on the subject.
    • Sayyid Nur ad-Din Mubarak Ghaznawi Suhrawardi, in :Harsh Narain, Myths of Composite Culture and Equality of Religions (1990)
  • “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 it as the ruling class. The sovereigns and the chiefs were their co-religionists and so were the great landlords and 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 Hindus did occupy some position but the Hindus were tenants-at-will of the Musalmans. The Hindus stood in awe of them. Enjoyment and influence and all good things of the world were theirs. By a stroke of misfortune, the Musalmans had to abdicate their position and descend to the level of their Hindu fellow-countrymen. The Hindus, from a subservient state, came into land, offices and other worldly advantages of their former masters. The Musalmans would have nothing to do with anything in which they might have to come into contact with the Hindus.”
    • Janab R.M. Sayani Presidential Address of Janab R.M. Sayani delivered in 1896 at the 12th Session of the Indian National Congress in Allahabad. cited in History and Culture of the Indian People, edited by R.C. Majumdar, Volume XI, The Struggle for Freedom, Bombay, 1981, pp. 296-97.
  • Jafar Sharif’s description of the Muharram scene for the eighteenth-nineteenth century is still more detailed. Writes he: “Whenever the Muharram… chances to coincide with Hindu festivals, such as the Ramnavmi or the birth of Rama, the Charakhpuja, or swing festival, or the Dasahra, serious riots have occurred as the processions meet in front of a mosque or Hindu temple, or when an attempt is made to cut the branches of some sacred fig-tree which impedes the passage of the cenotaphs....
    • Jafar Sharif, Islam in India or the Qanun-i-Islam, quoted from Lal, K. S. (1992). The legacy of Muslim rule in India. New Delhi: Aditya Prakashan. Chapter 8
  • "The Emperor said to Shaikh Nizam that his prayers were not having any effect. What could be the reason for this ? The Shaikh said, 'The reason is that a large number of Hindus are serving as ahlikhidmat (officials and officers) and as musahibs (courtiers) and they are ever (seen) in the Royal presence, and, as a result, the prayers do not have any effect'. The Emperor ordered that it is necessary that the Musalmans be appointed to serve in place of the Hindus."
    • Aurangzeb. Siyaha Waqai Darbar, Julus (R.Yr.) 10, Muharram 18 / 1st July 1667.

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

  • 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.
    • B.R. Ambedkar, Pakistan or The Partition of India (1946)
  • [In words of utter despair the editor said:… To talk about Hindu-Muslim unity from a thousand platforms or to give it blazoning headlines is to perpetrate an illusion whose cloudily structure dissolves itself at the exchange of brickbats and desecration of tombs and temples….]
    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.
    • Dr. B.R Ambedkar: Pakistan or The Partition of India (1946), p. 186-7
  • 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. ... These acts of barbarism against women, committed without remorse, without shame and without condemnation by their fellow brethren show the depth of the antagonism which divided the two communities. 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.
    • Dr. B.R Ambedkar: Pakistan or The Partition of India (1946)
  • The Hindus say that the British policy of “divide and rule” is the real cause of this failure [of Hindu-Muslim unity]. But time has come to discard the facile explanation so dear to the Hindus (…) What stands between the Hindus and Muslims is not a mere matter of difference, and 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.
    • Ambedkar, B.R., Pakistan, 1940, Vol. 8 of his Writings and Speeches, Education Dpt., Gvt. of Maharashtra, 1990. Quoted from Elst, Koenraad (2018). Why I killed the Mahatma: Uncovering Godse's defence. New Delhi : Rupa, 2018.
  • 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.
    • Sri Aurobindo, June 19, 1909, quoted from Sri Aurobindo, ., Nahar, S., Aurobindo, ., & Institut de recherches évolutives (Paris). India's rebirth: A selection from Sri Aurobindo's writing, talks and speeches. Paris: Institut de Recherches Evolutives. 3rd Edition (2000).
  • You can live amicably with a religion whose principle is toleration. But how is it possible to live peacefully with a religion whose principle is 'I will not tolerate you? How are you going to have unity with these people? Certainly, Hindu-Muslim unity cannot be arrived at on the basis that the Muslims will go on converting Hindus while the Hindus shall not convert any Mahomedan. You can't build unity on such a basis. Perhaps the only way of making the Mahomedans harmless is to make them lose their fanatic faith in their religion....
    • Sri Aurobindo, Ghose, A., Nahar, S., & Institut de recherches évolutives. (2000). India's rebirth: A selection from Sri Aurobindo's writing, talks and speeches. Paris: Institut de recherches évolutives.
  • I am sorry they are making a fetish of this Hindu-Muslim unity. It is no use ignoring facts; some day the Hindus may have to fight the Muslims and they must prepare for it. Hindu-Muslim unity should not mean the subjection of the Hindus. Every time the mildness of the Hindu has given way. The best solution would be to allow the Hindus to organize themselves and the Hindu-Muslim unity would take care of itself, it would automatically solve the problem. Otherwise, we are lulled into a false sense of satisfaction that we have solved a difficult problem, when in fact we have only shelved it.
    • Sri Aurobindo, Ghose, A., Nahar, S., & Institut de recherches évolutives. (2000). India's rebirth: A selection from Sri Aurobindo's writing, talks and speeches. Paris: Institut de recherches évolutives.
  • Shri Sarat Chandra Chatterji, the noted Bengali novelist and a Congressman of long standing, had commented on the overt behaviour of Muslims ever since Islam arrived in India. Pained by the humiliations which Muslim hooligans had heaped on Hindus in the countryside of East Bengal, he had written as follows in October, 1926: “If we go by the lessons of history we have to accept that the goal of Hindu-Muslim unity is a mirage. When Muslims first entered India, they looted the country, destroyed the temples, broke the idols, raped the women and heaped innumberable indignities on the people of this country. Today it appears that such noxious behaviour has entered the bone-marrow of Muslims. Unity can be achieved among equals. In view of the big gap between the cultural level of Hindus and Muslims which can hardly be bridged, I am of the view that Hindu-Muslim unity which could not be achieved during the last thousand years will not materialise during the ensuing thousand years. If we are to drive away the English people depending upon this elusive capital of Hindu-Muslim unity, I would rather advise its postponement.”
    • Sarat Chandra Chattopadhyay, ‘Bortoman Hindu-Musalman Somosya', in Krishnanagar Session of Bengal Congress in 1926, 'Bartaman Hindu-Muslim Samasya’ edited by Dipankar Chattopadhyaya, published by Panchajanya Prakashani, Calcutta. [4] and quoted from Goel, S.R. Muslim Separatism - Causes and Consequences
  • I say that the Muslims do not have the slightest right to complain about the desecration of one mosque. From 1000 A.D., every Hindu temple from Kathiawar to Bihar from the Himalayas to the Vindhyas, has been sacked and ruined. Not one temple was left standing all over northern India… Temples escaped destruction only where Muslim power did not gain access to them for reasons such as dense forests. Otherwise it was a continuous spell of vandalism. No nation, with any self-respect, will forgive this. They took over our women. And they imposed the Jaziya, the tax. Why should we forget and forgive all that? What happened in Ayodhya would not have happened, had the Muslims acknowledged this historical argument even once. Then we could have said : All right, let the past remain in the past and let us see how best we can solve this problem…
    • Nirad Chandra Chaudhuri , Sunday Times of India, August 8, 1993; in an interview to its Editor Dileep Padgaonkar [5]
  • 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.
  • There is no doubt in my mind that in the majority of quarrels the Hindus come out second best. But my own experience 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…But I, as a Hindu, am more ashamed of Hindu cowardice than I am angry at the Mussalman bullying…
    • Mahatma Gandhi, The source quoted is "Hindu-Muslim Tension: Its Cause and Cure", Young India, 29/5/1924; reproduced in M.K. Gandhi: The Hindu-Muslim Unity, p.35-36.
  • My error? Why, I may be charged with having committed a breach of faith with the Hindus. I asked them to lay their lives and their property at the disposal of the Mussalmans for the protection of their Holy Places. Even to-day 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 came to me with complaints? As I was saying to Hakimji [Ajmal Khan] yesterday, Hindu women are in mortal fear of Mussalman goondas. I had a letter from… How can I bear the way in which his little children were molested? How can I now ask Hindus to put up with everything patiently? I gave the assurance that the friendship with Mussalmans was bound to bear fruit. I asked them to befriend them, regardless of results. It is not in my power to make good that assurance. And yet I must ask the Hindus even to-day to die rather than kill. I can only do so by laying down my own life. I can teach them the way to die by my own example.
    • Mahatma Gandhi. September 1924. Mahadev Desai, Day to Day with Gandhi, Volume 4, p. 165.
  • 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.
    • Sita Ram Goel, Muslim Separatism – Causes and Consequences (1987)
  • In one respect alone Jahangir deviated from the policy of his father: he did not permit people to embrace Hinduism even of their own free will. He severely punished Kaukab, Sharif and Abdul Latif who, under the influence of a Sanyasi, showed inclination for Hinduism. This policy would have stopped any erosion of Muslim numbers. Besides, while on a visit to Kashmir, when he learnt that the Hindus and Muslims intermarried freely, “and both give and take girls (he ordered that) taking them is good but giving them, God Forbid”. And any violation of this order was to be visited with capital punishment. This indeed was in accordance with the Islamic law. As per the Shariat law a Muslim may marry a Jewess, or a Christian, or a Sabean, but “a marriage between a Musalman and... a Hindu is invalid”. Similarly, it “a female Muslim cannot under any circumstances marry a non-Muslim”. May be it was because of this that Akbar discouraged all kinds of intercommunal marriages. ...
    • Lal, K. S. (2012). Indian Muslims: Who are they.
  • “Ye Musalmans, arise, awake! Do not read in the same schools with the Hindus. Do not touch any article manufactured by the Hindus. Do not give any employment to the Hindus. Do not accept any degrading office under a Hindu. You are ignorant, but if you acquire knowledge you can send all Hindus to Jahannum (Hell). You form the majority of the population in this province. The Hindu has no wealth of his own and has made himself rich only by despoiling you of your wealth. If you become sufficiently enlightened, the Hindus will starve and soon become Mohammedans.”
    • Lal Ishtahãr (Red Pamphlet) [of Samiullah, the Nawab of Dacca] which was circulated all over Bengal in the wake of the first Muslim League meeting at Dacca in December 1906. Cited in R.C. Majumdar (ed.), History and Culture of the Indian People, Volume XI, Bombay, 1978, p.54.
  • To sum up this subject of synthesis, assimilation, and composite culture, I would better quote Dr. R.C. Majumdar, one of the best and certainly the most versatile historian which modern India has known. He writes: “There was no reapprochement in respect of popular or national traditions, and those social and religious ideas and beliefs and practices and institutions which touch the deeper chord of life, and give it a distinctive form, tone and vigour. In short, the reciprocal influences were too superficial in character to affect materially the fundamental differences between the two communities in respect of almost everything that is deep-seated in human nature and makes life worth living. So the two great communities, although they lived side by side, moved each in its own orbit and there was yet no sign that the twain shall ever meet.” Again: “Nor did the Muslims ever moderate their zeal to destroy ruthlessly the Hindu temples and images of gods, and their attitude in this respect remained unchanged from the day when Muhammad bin Qasim set foot on the soil of India till the 18th century A.D. when they lost all political power.”
    By all that I have written on the subject of composite culture, I do not intend to say that I am opposed to an understanding and reconciliation between the two communities. All I want to say is that no significant synthesis or assimilation took place in the past, and history should not be distorted and falsified to serve the political purposes of a Hindu-baiting herd. If there is any lesson which we can profitably learn from medieval Indian history, it is that no understanding between Hindus and Muslims is possible unless the very first premises of Islam are radically revised in keeping with reason, universality, and humanism.
    • R. C. Majumdar, quoted in Goel, S. R. (2001). The story of Islamic imperialism in India.
  • “Political necessities of the Indians during the last phase of British rule,” he wrote in 1960, “underlined the importance of alliance between the two communities, and this was sought to be smoothly brought about by glossing over the differences and creating an imaginary history of the past in order to depict the relations between the two in a much more favourable light than it actually was. ....But history is no respecter of persons or communities, and must always strive to tell the truth, so far as it can be deduced from reliable evidence. This great academic principle has a bearing upon actual life, for ignorance seldom proves to be a real bliss either to an individual or to a nation. In the particular case under consideration, ignorance of the actual relation between the Hindus and the Muslims throughout the course of history - an ignorance deliberately encouraged by some - may ultimately be found to have been the most important single factor which led to the partition of India. The real and effective means of solving a problem is to know and understand the facts that gave rise to it, and not to ignore them by hiding the head, ostrich-like, into sands of fiction.”
    • R.C. Majumdar, quoted from Sita Ram Goel, The Calcutta Quran Petition (1986)
  • Something no doubt depended upon individual rulers; some of them adopted a more liberal, others a more cruel and intolerant attitude. But on the whole the framework remained intact, for it was based on the fundamental principle of Islamic theocracy. It recognized only one faith, one people, and one supreme authority, acting as the head of a religious trust. The Hindus, being infidels or non-believers, could not claim the full rights of citizens. At the very best, they could be tolerated as dhimmis, an insulting title which connoted political inferiority…. The Islamic State regarded all non-Muslims as enemies, to curb whose growth in power was conceived to be its main interest. The ideal preached by even high officials was to exterminate them totally, but in actual practice they seem to have followed an alternative laid down in the Koran [i.e., Q9:29] which calls upon Muslims to fight the unbelievers till they pay the jizya with due humility. This was the tax the Hindus had to pay for permission to live in their ancestral homes under a Muslim ruler.
    • R.C. Majumdar, quoted from Bostom, A. G. (2015). Sharia versus freedom: The legacy of Islamic totalitarianism.
  • Poets like Jayasi, Rahim, and Raskhan are rare phenomena. So are saints like Kabir, Nanak and Gharib Das. They attempted a synthesis of the two cultural streams in the field of literature in their own way. But their endeavours were severly limited and short-lived. They failed to be popular amongst and influence the Muslims.
    • Harsh Narain, Myths of Composite Culture and Equality of Religions, 1990, p.27
  • I can see how what I said then could be misinterpreted. I was talking about history, I was talking about a historical process that had to come. I think India has lived with one major extended event, that began about 1000 AD, the Muslim invasion. It meant the cracking open and partial wrecking of what was a complete cultural, religious world until that invasion. I don't think the people of India have been able to come to terms with that wrecking. I don't think they understand what really happened. It's too painful. And I think this BJP movement and that masjid business is part of a new sense of history, a new idea of what happened. It might be misguided, it might be wrong to misuse it politically, but I think it is part of a historical process. And to simply abuse it as Fascist is to fail to understand why it finds an answer in so many hearts in India. .... It could become that. And that has to be dealt with. But it can only be dealt with if both sides understand very clearly the history of the country. I don't think Hindus understand what Islam means and I don't think the people of Islam have tried to understand Hinduism. The two enormous groups have lived together in the sub-continent without understanding one another's faiths.
    • V.S. Naipaul 'Hindus, Muslims have lived together without understanding each other's faiths', interview by Rahul Singh, The Times of India, Jan 23, 1998. [6]
  • “Priestly Mullahs went through the country preaching the revival of Islam and proclaiming to the villagers that the British Government was on the Mohammedan side, that the Law Courts had been specially suspended for three months and no penalty would be exacted for violence done to the Hindus, or for the loot of Hindu shops or the abduction of Hindu widows. A Red Pamphlet was everywhere circulated maintaining the same wild doctrine… In Comilla, Jamalpur and a few other places, rather serious riots occurred. A few lives were lost, temples desecrated, images broken, shops plundered, and many widows carried off. Some of the towns were deserted, the Hindu population took refuge in any pukka houses, women spent nights hidden in tanks, the crime known as ‘group-rape’ increased and throughout the country districts, there reigned a general terror, which still prevailed at the time of my visit.”
    • (East Bengal, 1907) Reported by H.W. Nevison, The New Spirit in India, London, 1908, p. 192 and 193.
  • The Indian Muslims are first Muslims, then Indians. According to the Muslim leaders like Syeed Amir Ali, if the foreign Islamic countries invade India, the duties of the Indian Muslims will be to help those Muslim invaders against India, because ‘Muslim identity’ is more important to them.
    • Bipin Chandra Pal, ‘Rashtraniti’, by Bipin Chandra Pal in ‘Bijaya’, 1319 Bangabda [7]
  • Dr. Ishwari Prasad, the eminent historian, says: "The religions of the two (Muslims and Hindus) are so fundamentally different that coalescence is only possible when some parts of their orthodox religions are forgotten and their place is taken by liberal tolerance."
    • Ishwari Prasad, quoted by P. S. Yog in Time for stock taking, whither Sangh Parivar? Edited by Goel, S. R. (1997) [8]
  • I have devoted most of my time during the last six months to the study of Muslim History and Muslim Law and I am inclined to think that Hindu-Muslim unity is neither possible not practicable… I do honestly and sincerely believe in the necessity and desirability of Hindi-Muslim unity. I am also fully prepared to trust the Muslim leaders, but what about the injunctions of the Koran and Hadis. The leaders cannot override them".
    • Lala Lajpat Rai: Quoted in B.R. Ambedkar, Pakistan, Vol. 8 Writings and Speeches, also in K. Elst Decolonizing the Hindu Mind, Rupa 2001, and also quoted by A. Ghosh in "Making of the Muslim psyche" in Devendra Swarup, Politics of conversion, New Delhi, 1988, p148. [9] [10]
  • Brother, we are willing to eat sevian at your house to celebrate Eid but you do not want to play with colours with us on Holi. We hear your calls to prayer along with our temple bells, but you object to our bells. How can unity ever come about? The Hindu faces this way, the Muslim the other. The Hindus writes from left to right, the Muslim from right to left. The Hindus pray to the rising sun, the Muslim faces the setting sun when praying. ... Whatever the Hindu does, it is the Muslim's religion to do its opposite (...)
    • Sadhiv Ritambhara, quoted in Elst, Koenraad (2001). Decolonizing the Hindu mind: Ideological development of Hindu revivalism. New Delhi: Rupa. p. 84
  • These our well-meaning but unthinking friends take their dreams for realities. That is why they are impatient of communal tangles and attribute them to communal organizations. But the solid fact is that the so-called communal questions are but a legacy handed down to us by centuries of a cultural, religious and national antagonism between the Hindus and the Moslems. When time is ripe you can solve them; but you cannot suppress them by merely refusing recognition of them. It is safer to diagnose and treat deep-seated disease than to ignore it. Let us bravely face unpleasant facts as they are. India cannot be assumed today to be a unitarian and homogeneous nation, but on the contrary there are two nations in the main; the Hindus and the Moslems, in India. And as it has happened in many countries under similar situation in the world the utmost that we can do under the circumstances is to form an Indian State in which none is allowed any special weightage of representation and none is paid an extra-price to buy his loyalty to the State. Mercenaries are paid and bought off, not sons of the Motherland to fight in her defence.
    • V.D. Savarkar: Hindu Rashtra Darshan, quoted in part in Elst, Koenraad (2001). Decolonizing the Hindu mind: Ideological development of Hindu revivalism. New Delhi: Rupa. p.332
  • A very important factor which is making it almost impossible for Hindu-Muslim unity to become an accomplished fact is that the Muslims can not confine their patriotism to any one country. I had frankly asked (the Muslims) whether in the event of any Mohammedan power invading India, they (Muslims) would stand side by side with their Hindu neighbours to defend their common land. I was not satisfied with the reply I got from them… Even such a man as Mr. Mohammad Ali (one of the famous Ali brothers, the leaders of the Khilafat Movement-the compiler) has declared that under no circumstances is it permissible for any Mohammedan, whatever be his country, to stand against any Mohammedan."
    • Rabindranath Tagore, Interview of Rabindranath Tagore in `Times of India', 18-4-1924 in the column, `Through Indian Eyes on the Post Khilafat Hindu Muslim Riots [11] Also in A. Ghosh: "Making of the Muslim Psyche" in Devendra Swamp (ed.), Politics of Conversion, New Delhi, 1986, p. 148. And in S.R. Goel, Muslim Separatism – Causes and Consequences (1987).
  • 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
  • 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.
    • Swami Vivekananda: Complete Works, vo. 2. p. 380. Quoted in Elst, Koenraad (2001). Decolonizing the Hindu mind: Ideological development of Hindu revivalism. New Delhi: Rupa. p.331
  • 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

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