Understanding the Muslim mind through Dr Ambedkar

The  Pakistan envoy to India, Abdul Basit, stunned India by unilaterally  announcing the suspension of the peace process and saying the dispute  over Jammu and Kashmir is the root cause of mutual distrust between  the two nations.

Have  we not heard this before? The only constant is India’s inability to  understand the Pakistani mind!

This  article analyses extracts from Dr BR Ambedkar’s 1941 masterpiece  ‘Thoughts  on Pakistan’  on the occasion of his 125th birth anniversary followed by comments  in italics. The author’s purpose is to share insights and not to provoke anybody.

1. Loss  of political power
“The  condition of Muslims was best stated by a liberal, R M Sayani  in his Presidential address at the 12th session of the Congress held  in 1896. … Before the advent of the British in India, the Muslims  were the rulers of the country. The court language was their own  (Persian was the official language till 1842). Every place of trust  and responsibility, or carrying influence and high emoluments, was  theirs by birthright. The Hindus did occupy the same position but  were tenants-at-will of the Muslims.

“Meanwhile,  British introduced English education into the country. The Hindus  were used to this, as under Muslim rule, they had practically to  master a foreign tongue, and so easily took to new education. But the  Muslim had not yet become accustomed to this sort of thing. Muslims  resented competing with the Hindus, whom they had till recently  regarded as their inferiors.” [History  and Culture of the Indian People,  Bharatiya Vidya Bhawan, Vol. X, p. 295]

Whether  it be 1896 or today, Muslims tend of hold the government responsible  for everything, rather than pull up their socks and face the  contemporary world. It is easy to criticize others but difficult to  change oneself. The intrinsic nature of Sanatana Dharma helps Hindus  to keep changing with time.

Please note that the statement, ‘Before the advent of the British in India, the Muslims were the rulers of the country’ is incorrect. It was the Marathas who dominated and ruled large parts of India in the 18th and up to early years of the 19th century. Thus the British took over from the Marathas not the Muslims.

2. Cohabiting  in independent India
Sir  Syed Ahmed Khan, the founder of Aligarh Muslim University, said on 16  March 1888, “Now suppose all the Brits were to leave India, then  who would be the rulers of India? Is it possible that Hindus &  Muslims could sit on the same throne and remain equal in power? Most  certainly not.”

Sir  Syed and the Muslim leaders who fought for Pakistan clearly realized  that one man one vote is at the heart of democracy. As Hindus  outnumbered Muslims, the latter could not expect a disproportionate  share of power. After partition and independence, they increased  their population (from 3.77 crore in 1951 to 17.22 crore in 2011).

3. Communal  composition of Indian Army   
“The  Indian Army today is pre-dominantly Muslim in its composition. The  Muslims who predominate are from Punjab and North West Frontier  Province (see table below). It means that such Muslims are made the  sole defenders of India from foreign invasion. The Hindus will have  to pay for the Army but will not be able to use them because the  realist must note that of all the Muslims, those of the North-West is  the most disaffected Muslim, in his relation with the Hindus”.  [Thoughts  on Pakistan,  p. 89]

Changes in the Communal Composition of the Indian Army @

No Area & Communities % in 1914 % in 1930
1. Punjab, NW.F.P & Kashmir 47 58.5
2. Nepal, Kumaon, Garwhal 15 22
3. Upper India 22 11
4. South India (includes Marathas) 16 5.5
5. Burma 0 3
Total 100 100

@pg 75 2 . Post  1930 no data was available.

“Out  of the total revenue of Rs 59.04 crs the Pakistan area contributed Rs  7.13 crs. Of this Rs 52 crs is spent on the army, the bulk of which  is on the Muslim army drawn from the Pakistan area.” [ibid].

That  India is secure today because of its Army is incontestible. That is  very likely the reason why the Army is sought to be weakened by tying  it down in counter-insurgency operations and maligning it.

One  wonders if the large percentage of Punjabis in the Pakistan Army is  the reason for the latter dominating Pakistan’s political landscape  since independence, at the cost of the civil liberties of the  population. 

4. How  does the creation of PAK remove the communal question from Hindustan?
“It  does not free Hindustan from the communal question with Muslims  scattered all over India. The only way to make Hindustan a composite  state is to arrange for exchange of population. Unless that is done  the creation of Pakistan does not solve the majority vs. minority  problem, which will continue to produce disharmony in the body  politic of Hindustan”. (Ibid,  p 111)

The  Hindu Muslim strife continues to this day. To overcome resentment  against the success of the Indian polity and justify its existence,  Pakistan unilaterally posits itself as the defender of Muslims in  India. India on its part has failed to criticize Pakistan for its  treatment of Ahmediyas, Shias and Hindus, thereby strengthening  Islamabad’s diplomatic adventurism.

5. Holding  Muslims responsible for violence
“Gandhi  never called the Muslims to account even when they have been guilty  of gross crimes against Hindus. Prominent Hindu leaders who had  offended religious susceptibilities of the Muslims by their writings  or by their part in the Shudhi movement were murdered or stabbed by  some fanatic Muslim. Swami Shradhanand, a leader of the Shudhi  movement was shot dead by Abdul Rashid on 23/12/1926.” (Ibid,  p 152)

“The  following instances of the silence of Gandhi over cases of Muslim  intransigence are recorded by Swami Shradhanand for e.g. even such an  unbiased leader as Yakub Hassan, openly enjoined upon Muslims the  duty of converting all untouchables in India to Islam.” (Ibid,  p. 155)

The  failure to question Muslims has since become the norm. In any riot it  is always assumed that Hindus are at fault, though they were clearly  the first victims of events like Direct Action Day (1946) or at  Godhra where 59 were burnt alive in a train.

6. Double-standards  of Muslims
“How  perverted politics has become is shown by the attitude of the Muslim  leaders to the political reforms in the Indian states. Muslims &  their leaders carried on a great agitation for the introduction of  representative government in the Hindu state of Kashmir. The same  leaders are deadly opposed to the introduction of representative  governments in other Muslim states. This is somewhat difficult to  understand but the reason for this strange attitude is quite simple.  The determining factor is how that will affect the Muslims. In  Kashmir the ruler is a Hindu and majority of subjects are Muslims. A  representative government would mean transfer of power from Hindu to  Muslims.” (Ibid, p 232)

This  hypocrisy continues to this day. Pakistan refers ad nauseam to  India’s failure to meet the aspirations of the people of J&K  but is hardly questioned for its failure to permit a democratically  elected government in POJK and Gilgit/Baltistan.

Further,  Muslims want the benefits of being a minority (undefined in the  Constitution) across India, but will not cede similar benefits to the  Hindu minority in J&K.

And  has anyone questioned Kashmiris for the manipulation of Census and  Assembly seat numbers?

Read:  Making sense of the J&K Census 2011 Numbers)

7. Hindu  Muslim struggle
“The  Muslims think that the Hindus & Muslims must perpetually  struggle, the Hindus to establish their dominance over the Muslims,  and the Muslims to establish their historical position as the ruling  community – that in this struggle the stronger will win and to  ensure strength they must suppress or put in cold storage everything  which causes dissension in their ranks.” (Op. cit., p 233)

Indians  who desire peace with Pakistan must remember Dr Ambedkar’s words:  Pakistan respects strength!

8.  Never  ending Pakistan demands
“After  taking into account what the Muslims demanded at the Round Table  Conference one would have thought that the limit of Muslim demands  was reached and that 1932 was a final settlement. But it appears that  even with this the Muslims are not satisfied. A further list of new  demands for safeguarding the Muslim position seems to be ready”.  (Ibid,  p 260)

Envoy  Basit said the Kashmir dispute is the root cause of mutual distrust.  Issues waiting to be raised include the Siachen glacier, Sir Creek,  Pakistan running dry because India has (allegedly) violated Indus  Water treaty, and many more.

9. Muslim  law must prevail
“How  the Muslim mind will work and by what factors will it be swayed will  be clear if the fundamental tenets of Islam and views expressed by  prominent Muslims having a bearing on Muslim attitude towards an  Indian govt are taken into consideration. Among the tenets is one  which says that in a country which is not under Muslim rule wherever  there is conflict between Muslim law and the law of the land the  former must prevail over the latter and a Muslim will be justified in  defying the law of the land. (Op. cit., p 291)

Currently  there is unrest as the Supreme Court has taken notice of the issue of  ‘triple talaq’. During azaan,  the Supreme Court’s order of 2005 on use of loudspeakers continues  to be breached.

10. Onus  on Hindus to achieve Hindu Muslim unity 
“In  the first attempt it must be admitted that every possible attempt to  bring about union between Hindus & Muslims has failed. The  history of these attempts begins with 1909. Attempt 1 was Separate  Electorates. Attempt 2 was the Lucknow Pact of 1916 where the Hindus  gave satisfaction to Muslims on every count. Result – failure.  Attempt 3 was the Khilafat Movement of 1921, what followed was the  Moplah Rebellion, massacre of Hindus in Malabar.” (Ibid,  p 305)

Sri  Aurobindo said in 1926, “This attempt to patch up a unity has given  too much importance to the Muslims and it has been the root of all  these troubles”. 

Each  time India stopped talks after terror attacks emanating from  Pakistan, there was/is pressure to forget and resume dialogue.  Similarly, the responsibility for keeping India ‘liberal’ rests  solely on Hindus.

Read:  Is  the entire definition of liberalism to rest only on the majority  faith?

11. Inability  to see
“I  feel that those Hindus who are guiding the destinies of their fellows  have lost what Carlyle calls the ‘the Seeing Eye’ and are walking  in the glamour of certain vain illusions, the consequences of which  must, I fear, be terrible for the Hindus.” (Ibid,  p 349)

Virtually  every Prime Minister from Mrs Gandhi has been unable to accept this  reality; they all chase a mirage called ‘Peace with Pakistan’.

Indian  politicians are unable to call a spade a spade, appease in the hope  of peace, are defensive about Hindus being a majority, swear by  colonial concepts and are congenitally incapable of withstanding  pressure from the US/Middle East. This explains their inability to  deal with Pakistan and to reduce Hindu/Muslim animosity in India.

So what is the way forward on Hindu Muslim unity?

Maharshi Aurobindo said on April 18, 1923: "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 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." See also read link 3 to read more.  

1. History and Culture of Indian People published by the Bhartiya Vidya  Bhawan, Vol. X.
2. Thoughts on Pakistan, Dr B R Ambedkar, 1941.
3. India’s Rebirth, Sri Aurobindo, 1993.

First  published Click here to view

Also  read
1. History of Urdu
2. Thoughts on Pakistan

3. India's Rebirth by Sri Aurobindo 

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