No Vande Mataram, but why Pakistan?
Shiv Sena executive president Uddhav Thackeray’s attack on the Jamiat-Ulema-e-Hind for opposing the singing of Vande Mataram, saying that those who oppose the National Song should go to Pakistan, misses the wood for the trees.
The point is not whether Muslims should sing this song, but whether they are legitimately entitled to Pakistan (and Bangladesh) as ‘homeland’ for the Muslims of the Indian sub-continent when Islam neither recognises nationalism, nor national boundaries, nor any concept of nationhood as understood by the modern world, nor any forms of government, barring the extinct Caliphate.
The logic of the Muslim plea that they cannot bow to any form of divinity other than Allah is well-taken; if their religion prohibits it, so be it.
If devout believers wish to adhere by the tenets of their faith as best as they can in a land in which they constitute a minority (Allah be praised for this significant mercy), and if this involves keeping a sharp distance from the national ethos and majority community, it follows that Muslims must disengage from participation in the Indian polity.
Far from contesting elections by canvassing votes from the non-believing (Kafir) majority, much less demanding reserved seats in the Parliament and State Assemblies, Muslims must live only religious lives if they consent to be guided by an ulema that insists that Religion Alone defines their identity.
If Muslims cannot have multiple identities as believers and as secular citizens, professionals, and so on, this purely religious identity cannot be allowed to intrude upon the national sensitivities of other citizens. More specifically, it cannot be allowed to be projected publicly in a manner deemed offensive and insulting to Hindus who comprise the country’s majority and autochthonous religious and cultural group, its civilisational tradition, and foundational ethos.
More pertinently, Muslims thus defined by religion must cease and desist from making secular demands upon the secular State. Far from being entitled to the first claim on national resources, Muslims with such a pick-and-choose attitude to symbols of nationhood have no right to demand state support for their clergy-producing factories, segregated education for girls, reserved employment in public services, and so on. Defined and circumscribed by their own ulema, kept aloof from vibrant participation in national life, they should learn to fend for themselves as well.
Indians, particularly Hindus, do themselves no honour by decrying the Jamiat Ulama-i-Hind as regressive for endorsing the Deoband Darul Uloom’s 2006 fatwa prohibiting Muslims from singing Vande Mataram even in its truncated form or ‘official’ version. The 30th general session of the Jamiat Ulama-i-Hind at Deoband aimed at de-linking Indian Muslims from an Indian national identity as a prelude to something grimmer, which will doubtless be unveiled in coming days.
What Jamiat achieved – and we must see it that way – was to release the rest of us from the burden of further accommodating Muslim separatism. We cannot tell Muslims how to live, and in any case, it would be far more rewarding for Hindus to resolve their own social problems like dowry and female foeticide before pontificating on the value or demerit of the Muslim veil. But we can refuse to permit the extension of mullah fiat in the national domain.
As a first step, Hindus must demand that Vande Mataram be restored to its full glory; the truncated official version must henceforth be equated with iconoclasm. The song is an ode to the Mother Goddess Durga and Bharat Mata, motherland of the Hindu people, and the Goddess and Land are one and indivisible. This subtle and profound multi-dimensional perception of divinity, a unique attribute of the Hindu people, must now be allowed to bloom in its full glory in its native land.
As a necessary corollary, the mollycoddling of minority separatism must stop forthwith. The forthcoming winter session of Parliament, where the Sonia Gandhi-led UPA is likely to bring in legislation to provide public sector job reservation for Muslims, will be crucial in the battle to defeat Muslim Separatism, Part II.
Hopefully, the UPA’s Muslim Appeasement Agenda may be in some difficulty due to the presence of Union Home Minister P Chidambaram at Deoband, though it is true that he was not physically present when controversial Jamiat Ulama-e-Hind resolution was adopted. Neither Chidambaram nor the UPA have distanced themselves from the Jamiat decision, nor have they demanded due respect for Vande Mataram. This is equally true of every Congress or Communist state government and party apparatchik, and Hindus nationwide will have to take a call on how long they will accept to be led by political knaves who cannot even defend the National Song.
At Deoband on November 3, Chidambaram vacuously averred that it was the duty of the majority community to protect the minorities. He did not say what the offence-giving and aggressive minorities had to be protected from. Could it be Hindu assertion? Intoxicated by his own profundity, he said: “We must always remember that pluralism is our inheritance and strength… We cannot view Islam as an alien faith because this is the land of your forefathers; this is the land of your birth. It is a matter of our pride that Islam exists in India along with other major religions.”
It is impossible to fathom what he meant. Islam is alien – it was born in the sandy deserts of Arabia, as an expression of Arab nationalism. As the Arabs were a Bedouin people, it upheld the principle of expansion through acquisition of territory by conquest and conversion. Like Judaism and Christianity, Islam too has little affection for geographical boundaries – because its quest for expansion is infinite. The Prophet declared the unity and brotherhood of the believers, ummah, rather than the Arab tribes, and this has been a source of endless instability historically.
To call the existence of Islam in India a matter of pride in an era of unending jihadi homicides is cynical and irresponsible. Chidambaram must tell us why he went to Deoband in the first place – it was obviously to cut a deal of shameless realpolitik.
As for the Jamiat brothers who wish to live by the true tenets of the true faith, do tell how the brotherhood of Islam that does not believe in the concept of nation-state, could stomach the indignity of the lands of the Prophet and the Revelation, the ancient, wise and humanist Arabia of legend, where men understood the language of the birds, to be rechristened ‘Saudi’ Arabia after a tribal upstart propped up by the British Empire to contain the Ottoman Turks? Is this proxy kingship in conformity with the tenets of Islam?
As for Hindus, it is time to insist that Pakistan (and Bangladesh) was an illegitimate creation of the British Empire, now being propped up by America. Pakistan has been a failed state from its very inception because Islam is definitionally incapable of welding Muslims into a nation.
We need to think up bold strategies of bringing these unhappy people back to the faith and culture of their ancestors, rather than let them wreak further ruin upon themselves. We must also immediately scrap the divisive Article 370 and stop pandering to the Muslim majority of Kashmir. Here again, it would be pertinent to note that if Christian missionaries can convert 10 percent of the Srinagar Valley to Christianity, this suggests that a huge population is waiting to abandon Islam. The task surely is to bring them back to the Hindu fold.
Finally, Hindus must insist that henceforth there will be no conversion in mixed marriages except to the majority faith, and no more ‘love jihad.’ In this context, BJP president Rajnath Singh recently called for a ban on conversions. This must be accompanied by monitoring funds received by minorities from abroad, and a strict vigil on the anti-national proclivities of myriad NGOs.