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British rulers sowed seeds of communalism in India: Justice Markanday Katju

Wednesday April 20, 2011 10:56:24 PM, Pervez Bari, ummid.com

Justice Markanday Katju, a senior judge in the Supreme Court of India, delivering the valedictory address of the three-day international inaugural conference of IOS in New Delhi.

New Delhi: The British rulers in India through re-writing of history painted the eight hundred Muslim reign in the country with misrule wherein showcasing their Kings and Nawabs being intolerant, prejudiced and bigoted towards their Hindu subjects to create mistrust and deep rooted hatred between Hindus and Muslims against each other. This was done to strengthen the reins of power in the backdrop of 1857 uprising.

Thus, the British rulers adopted divide and rule policy to sow the seeds of communalism in India by getting the history distorted and suppressed the facts of glorious communal harmony traditions practiced by many Muslim rulers. The facts that the Muslim rulers in honour of their Hindu subjects facilitated celebrations of their festivals at the government's expenses and gave annual grants and "Jagirs" (landed property) to temples were obliterated. While the acts of a few greedy Muslim rulers who indulged in demolishing some temples to loot gold were highlighted and this was included in school textbooks to influence adversely the impressionable minds and create tension between Hindus and Muslims post 1857 uprising.

The British taking over after the end of Muslim rule in India crushed the 1857 uprising with an iron hand which had been spearheaded jointly by the Hindus and Muslims to overthrow the yoke of foreign rule. The history of communal riots in the country started thereafter which culminated into the 1947 holocaust following the Partition of India and Pakistan.

The above observations were made by Justice Markanday Katju, a senior judge in the Supreme Court of India, while delivering the valedictory address of the three-day international inaugural conference on “Towards Knowledge, Development and Peace -- Outlining Roadmaps for the Future” to mark the year-long silver jubilee celebrations of think tank Institute of Objective studies, (IOS), held here at the India Islamic Cultural Centre which concluded on Sunday.

Justice Katju said diversity is our asset and our guarantee for staying secular. India has been a nation of diversities as 92 per cent of the populace is the descendants of the immigrants who migrated dating back to 10,000 years from the North West to the country for greener pastures here. Since the India's economy was agriculture based with the land being very fertile the immigrants found it to be a paradise. "We all are Bahar Ki Aulad (the descendants of the migrants) irrespective of being Hindus or Muslims”, he remarked. With people of all hues kept coming to India and a common culture between Hindus and Muslims was developed which he termed as "Sanskrit-Urdu" culture.

He gave full credit to former Prime Minister late Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru for maintaining the secular credentials of India which has been the land of various types of diversities. Pandit Nehru was the real architect of secular India as despite being under immense pressure to declare India a Hindu state after Independence in 1947, after Pakistan had announced the establishment of an Islamic state, stood his ground and did not succumb to the rabid elements then. India has kept together through federalism which is catering to the diversity in the country. The diversity, reflected in the wide range of religions, castes, languages and physical attributes found among the descendants, led the founding fathers to draft a Constitution with strong federal features, he emphasized.

He said the British Government in England in order to tighten their grip over the their rule in India conspired and planned ways and means to create an atmosphere of hate, mistrust and suspicion between the Hindus and Muslims. Before 1857 uprising there had been no Hindu-Muslim conflict in India. However, thereafter, the British rulers engineered riots as there game-plan to govern the country, he pointed out.

Justice Katju based his contentions on former Rajya Sabha member & Governor of Orissa late Prof. B. N. Pande's book “History in the Service of Imperialism” which clearly states that a glimpse into official British records will show how this policy of Divide-et-Imp era was taking shape. The Secretary of State Wood in a letter to Lord Elgin [Governor General Canada (1847-54) and India (1862-63)] had said: “We have maintained our power in India by playing off one part against the other and we must continue to do so. Do all you can, therefore to prevent all having a common feeling”.

Meanwhile, George Francis Hamilton, Secretary of State of India, wrote to Curzon:“I think the real danger to our rule in India not now, but say 50 years hence is the gradual adoption and extension of Western ideas of agitation organisation and if we could break educated Indians into two sections holding widely different views, we should, by such a division, strengthen our position against the subtle and continuous attack which the spread of education must make upon our system of government. We should so plan educational text-books that the differences between community and community are further strengthened (Hamilton to Curzon, 26th March 1886).

Thus, under a definite policy the Indian history text-books were so falsified and distorted as to give an impression that the medieval period of Indian history was full of atrocities committed by Muslim rulers on their Hindu subject and the Hindus had to suffer terrible indignities under Islamic rule. There were no common factors in social, political or economic life, Prof. Pande had concluded.

It may be pointed out here that Prof. Pande in his speech in the Indian Upper House of Parliament, the Rajya Sabha, made on 29 July 1977 had moved a resolution which said: “'This House is of the opinion that the main factor retarding cultural and emotional integration of the Indian people is the communal interpretation of the medieval Indian history and its distortion by the British historians, while India was under British rule, portraying the Hindus and the Muslims as being divided into two warring camps with little in common between them, and that this distortion paved the way for the emergence of the two-nation theory, and therefore recommends that the government should take immediate steps for the re-orientation of the study of Medieval Indian History ...”

Prof. Pande had said the task is not easy, because unfortunately the histories of India which have been taught in our schools and colleges for generations past were originally compiled by European writers. And Indians have not yet succeeded in shaking off the biases inculcated by their European teachers. These so called histories have presented Muslims as destroyers of Hindu culture and traditions; despoilers of Hindu temples and palaces; and brutal idol-breakers who have offered to their Hindu victims the terrible alternative of conversion or the sword.

It is hardly surprising that educated men in India drugged with such poisonous stuff from the most impressionable period of their lives grow up to suspect and distrust each other. The Hindu has been brought up to believe that the Muslim period of Indian history which extends over eight hundred years and more is a nightmare”, Prof. Pande had contended.

Justice Katju The Indian medieval history was distorted by British historians under the direction of British Government wherein the good deeds of the majority of Muslim rulers towards their Hindu subjects was suppressed. While in a selective manner Muslim rulers were targetted like Mahmud Ghaznawi who plundered the abundantly gold-laden Somnath temple a number of times for its wealth. It was highlighted to instill hatred for Muslims in the heart of Hindus. However, the fact that Tipu Sultan gave an annual grants to 156 Hindu temples has never been revealed to soothe the minds of Hindus. Not only this that he enjoyed cordial relations with the Shankaracharya of Sringeri Math to whom he had addressed at least 30 letters has never been spoken of.

On the contrary in a history textbook authored by Dr. Har Prashad Shastri, the then head of the Sanskrit Department in Calcutta University it was stated that during Tipu's rule 3,000 Brahmins had committed suicide to escape conversion to Islam. The only authentication Dr. Shastri could provide was that the reference was contained in the Mysore Gazetteer. But the Gazetteer contained no such reference. Dr. Shastri's book, which was in use at the time in high schools across India, was later de-prescribed. But the unsubstantiated allegation continued to masquerade as a fact in history books written later.

Similarly, the fact about Aurangzeb, a man who is supposed to have been a destroyer of temples, having issued “Firmans” (order) granting “Jagirs” to temples has never been highlighted to change the perception of the common man about the emperor. He issued “Firmans” for “Jagirs” to Someshwar Nath Mahadev Mandir, Mahakaleswar temple in Ujjain, Balaji Temple in Chitrakoot, Amparand Temple in Gauhati, Shatranjay Jain Temple and various Gurdwaras. These “Firmans” were issued between the year 1656 and 1686.

Dr. Mohammad Manzoor Alam, chairman of IOS who presided over by the valedictory function, in his presidential remarks while praising Justice Katju for his open-minded rational views said his words should be written in golden words and his message spread to bridge the ever growing gulf between Hindus and Muslims.

Dr. Manzoor said IOS does not belong to him but the nation in general and Muslim Ummah in particular. He said that it is the endeavour of the IOS to establish a humane society otherwise there would be no beneficial knowledge and peace in the world.

Speaking on the occasion, Syed Shahabuddin, a former Member of Parliament, lauded the efforts of the IOS for creating a platform for the social scientists, intellectuals and those from politics to come together and plan a roadmap for change. Lauding the theme IOS has chosen for the International Conference, he hoped the world is rid of illiteracy and hunger while justice and rule of law prevails all over.

In the beginning Prof. A. R. Momin, former Head of the Department of Sociology, University of Bombay, Mumbai gave a brief report about the deliberations in the three days of the International Conference. The conference has been fruitful and gratifying, he said.

Dr. Fakhruddin Mohammad, Hony. secretary of Muslim Educational, Social & Cultural Organisation, (MESCO), Hyderabad, gave a Power Point presentation of the proposed Objective University Project of the Ta’wwun Trust of IOS at Palwal in Haryana state. He said that the university coming up on 100 acres of land will start this year having courses in Social Sciences, Law, Jurisprudence, Technical and many other streams. The Rs. 425 crore project university when completed will have 5000 students on its roll with 1000 faculty members. The project is a joint venture with local and foreign collaboration, he added.

Justice Katju released a book titled “The Islamic World: Dynamics of Changes and Continuity” authored by Prof. A. R. Momin. He also released a film on IOS which highlighted the 25 years journey of the institute.

Meanwhile, a number of personalities were felicitated with the IOS Appreciation Award for their contributions to society in the two sessions of the day on the occasion. They included Mr. Syed Shahabuddin, Mr. Kishor Lal and Mahant Janamje Sharanji.

Prof. Ishteyaque Danish proposed vote of thanks while Prof. M. Afzal Wani conducted the programme with aplomb.

Meanwhile, earlier the morning a session was devoted to a seminar on “Towards Knowledge, Development and Peace in Islamic Perspective--Outlining Roadmaps for the Future” wherein clerics put forth their views. The session was chaired by Maulana Saeed-ur-Rahman Azmi Nadwi, Chief Editor, Al-Baas Al-Islami, Lucknow. Those who spoke on the occasion were Maulana Syed Jalaluddin Omeri, Ameer Jamaat-e-Islami Hind; Maulana Abdul Wahab Khilji, President Indian Islahi Movement, Maulana Anees Chisti (Pune) and Mr. A. R. Agwan, Chief Editor ofan Indian news portal.

Maulana Saeed-ur-Rahman while summing up the discussion lauded IOS chairman Dr. Manzoor Alam for his versatile efforts in the field of education and social work. He thanked Dr. Manzoor for awakening people like him who are dosing and are unaware of their responsibilities towards society. Such facilities are not available to one and all. He offered Dr. Manzoor with the title to be called “Mohsin-ul-Mulk” for his untiring efforts towards society which he, however, declined to accept.

The Maulana said there is no segregation of knowledge in Islam as “Duniyavi Ilm” and “Deeni Ilm” as all knowledge belongs to Allah. Those who lay the foundation of their career on sound knowledge prosper in this world and Hereafter. “We have to broaden and accelerate our efforts to propagate the “Insani Tahzeeb” (Human Culture) which Allah has given for whole humanity and thereby lead the masses in the right direction”, he remarked.

Maulana Jalaluddin Omeri speaking on the occasion said that when one acquires knowledge in right perspective then it emits light and darkness vanishes which is beneficial to oneself and the people at large. However, despite materialistic progress in leaps and bounds the humanity and its ethos are at the receiving end. This is happening because “Falsafaey Hayaat” (philosophy of life) which has been propounded in today’s world is denigrating to mankind. Man has been reduced to the level of an animal where all its materialistic needs have to be fulfilled by all means without giving any thought to moral values.

Maulana Omeri lamented that nowadays the concept of development and progress is only materialistic in approach with no space for spiritualism in life. Thereby man fulfills his animal instincts only with no regard to high moral values which enables him to become a perfect human being leading a humane life. The purpose of life has become to mint money more and more to lead an affluent life irrespective from where the wealth is earned, be it right or wrong, he moaned.

He quoted the Holy Quran which says that with your wealth do not indulge into extravaganza but help your relatives, neighbours and other needy in society. The whole world system has to be changed to bring about into existence once again an equitable society with emphasis on high moral values based on justice, truth, communal harmony and equal opportunity to one and all, he emphatically stressed.
 

(pervezbari@eth.net)

 



 

 

 

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