The Subcontinental Barrier

PROF G R MALIK

The psychological barrier that stands between Islam and non-Muslims of the subcontinent has a long and complex history. Islam reached the subcontinent through its selfless votaries, like the Muslim traders who came to the Malabar Coast for commercial purposes and through saint-scholars like Khawja Muin-ud-Din Chisti (RA), Syed Ali Hujwiri (RA), Syed Ali Hamadani (RA) and many others. Simultaneously, however, Muslim conquerors also invaded India one after the other. The common man failed to reconcile what he thought to be the two faces of the same religion. Indeed the conquerors were more-or-less like other imperialist adventurers and not the true representative of the religion of mercy and peace. Most of them, however, chose India as their permanent home. Even as India was syncretically imbibing and assimilating the elements which embraced India as their motherland and made valuable contribution in enriching its culture and civilisation, it was enslaved by British imperialism which suppressed its soul for many long years.
The British imperialist guile saw that the easiest way to keep India in subjugation is to create dissensions among the followers of its different religions, particularly Hindus and Muslims. ‘Alienate the two major communities from each other and have a smooth sway’, became the main plank of the British policy in India. Accordingly all means of propagation were used to create a gulf between the two communities. Books were produced under a well-thought-out plan which embittered inter-communal relations. History was particularly distorted by exaggerations, suppression of truth and fabrication of half truths and myths – a burden which still bends the back of our historiography. The result of all the machinations was that the two communities were torn apart and when freedom from the British imperialism came, it came in the form of Partition which dealt the severest blow to Islam by creating permanent hurdles in the minds of non-Muslims about Islam. Had the Partition ended on a note of peace things might have been different but the blood-drenched path of Partition and the legacy of unresolved problems between the two dominions made the hurdles still more insurmountable. In this atmosphere if individuals like M N Roy, Gandhi, Annie Besant and K L Gauba could look on Islam with impartiality, it is no less than a miracle. Sincere lovers of Islam have to learn to come to terms with this situation. The only way out is to set before them as model the Makkan phase of the life of the Prophet (SAW); to call people to Islam as the path of salvation with love, affection and sympathy; to have no political ambitions; to shun violent ways and steadfastly follow peaceful and democratic ways, and then leave the rest to God.               

Lastupdate on : Thu, 7 Feb 2013 21:30:00 Makkah time
Lastupdate on : Thu, 7 Feb 2013 18:30:00 GMT
Lastupdate on : Fri, 8 Feb 2013 00:00:00 IST




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