Author: Rafiq Zakaria
M J Akbar/
Editor(s): M J Akbar
Publisher: Popular Prakashan
ISBN/UPC (if available): 8179912019
At what point in the last thousand years did Indian Mulsims become a minority? The question is obviously rhetorical. Muslims have never been in a majority on the Indian subcontinent, even before partition they were less than 30% of the population. But did Indian Muslims see themselves as a minority duringf the Mughal empire which was finally buried in the rubble of the uprising of 1857? And even 90 years later, in 1947, did Hyderabad's Muslims see themselves as a minority as long as the Nizam of Hyerabad had sovereignty? No. A minority therefore is not a function of number, but a defination of empowerment.
It is better, when the time is ripe, to introspect and correct the wrongs that had been done; in the case of Indian Muslims, it has become absolutely necessary. Their so-called leadership took so many erroneous steps in the last century and the present generation has been made to suffer their consequences. The worst thing that happened, was the Parition of India; a non-practising Muslim, who accordingf to Maulana Maududi, did not have a ghost of an idea of what Islam stood for, whipped up - in an amazingly clever manner, the religious frensy of theMuslims of the subcontinent. He managed to endlist their overwhelming support for his prenicious 'Two Nation' theory and succeeded in not onlyu dividing India but also the united and vibrant Muslim community.
Before this mad adventure which resulted in the worst human tgrasgedy, there were, no dubt, peripheral differences between Hindus and Muslims, buty under the leadershp of Mahatma Gandhi, the two communtiies were brought together under the banner of the Indian National Congress. The British got, naturally, worried and they did whatever they could to disrupt that unity. They engineered riots, they played politics by giving separate elecorate to the Muslims, they devised various method both political and social - to keep the two communities apart. Ultimately they saw to it that the country was divided, through the distrusty that they had so assiduously built up between the two over the decade. To perpetuate their rule, they followed the Roman policyu of 'Divide and Rule'. But as Maulana Mohammad Ali rightly put it: "We divided and they rules".
Even after Partition, when the Indian Muslims were left high and dry to fend for themselves, they not weake up to the ground realities that the creation of Pakistan had thrust on them; unmindful of the harm they had caused to themslves, they resorted to the same old manner of confrontation with the dominant Hindus. There were many other wrongs, which their so-called leaders committed, whether wittingly or unwittingly. The process has, unfortunately, continued with the result that hatred has intensified and the deivide has widened.
This collection of articles, written over a period of more than half a century, and thoroughly revised by bringing them uop to date is now in many ways, a recollection of what used to happen and how the Indian Muslims were taken on a precarious ride by some of their leaders. A large number of essays have been rewritten. In a sense the collection has become quite original. It includes all the events and movements that surfaced all through this long period. There is a continuity of approach in their analysis about Hindu-Muslim relations.
FROM FOREWORD BY M J AKBAR:
Dr Rafiq Zakaria has been blessed by the Chinese curse: May you live in interesting times. He was born a little after Jinnah left the Congress, and was a young man when he saw his country being riven apart by slogans of hatred. As an Indian and a Muslim he remained loyal to both his nation and his faith. But his life has been lived in the shadow of anguish everything that could go wrong with Indian Muslims did go wrong. He feels for the community with the ardour of an Iqbal, but his diagnosis and his prescription are different.
This might be called the next stage of the evolutionary process of history, but it takes a leader to see a way through a maze as complicated as the one in which Muslims are trapped. There are few corridors of this maze that Dr Zakaria has not traversed. He is passionate, compassionate and dispassionate. The most remarkable quality that he brings is the power of a clear mind. He is not weighed down by hidden guilt; and he seeks nothing but the good of his people. There is no Indian Muslim today, writing in English, who commands the kind of respect that he does from both the community as well as the nation of which the community is an integral part. I have used the image of a prism for Ghalib and a mirror for Akbar Allahabadi. This book is a chandelier, each aspect of the Indian Muslim experience sparkling both individually and collectively. To read it is to walk through endless illumination.
The central question of this book is: Where have Indian Muslims gone wrong? Dr Zakaria does not shy away from the answer: Whenever they have forgotten their Indian roots.
FOREWORD BY M J AKBAR
The Role of Muslims in Freedom Struggle
Shattering of Hindu-Muslim Relations
The Break-up of Pakistan
Indian Muslims after Partition
The Causes of the Communal Discord
In Defence of Indian Muslims
Indian Muslims and Hindutva
Need for Change in Muslim Outlook
Problems of Indian Muslims
How to Face the Future?
Is Islam Secular?
No Tampering with Indian Unity
About the Author