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News ::
Negationism in India (english)
31 Dec 2002
Modified: 01 Jan 2003
Negationism in India a analysis






New Page 1




NEGATIONISM
IN INDIA
The negationism regarding the Nazi crimes has been the object of much public
discussion. Turkish negationism about the Armenian genocide has received some
attention. Less well-known is that India has its own brand of negationism.
Since about 1920 an effort has been going on in India to rewrite history and
to deny the millennium-long attack of Islam on Hinduism. Today, most politicians
and English- writing intellectuals in India will go out of their way to condemn
any public reference to this long and painful conflict in the strongest terms.
They will go to any length to create the illusion of a history of communal amity
between Hindus and Muslims.
 

1 HINDU VS. MUSLIM
Making people believe in a history of Hindu-Muslim amity is not an easy task:
the number of victims of the persecutions of Hindus by Muslims is easily of the
same order of magnitude as that of the Nazi extermination policy, though no one
has yet made the effort of tabulating the reported massacres and proposing a
reasonable estimate of how many millions exactly must have died in the course of
the Islamic campaign against Hinduism (such research is taboo). On top of these
there is a similar number of abductions and deportations to harems and
slave-markets, as well as centuries of political oppression and cultural
destruction.
The American historian Will Durant summed it up like this:"The Islamic
conquest of India is probably the bloodiest story in history. It is a
discouraging tale, for its evident moral is that civilization is a precious
good, whose delicate complex of order and freedom, culture and peace, can at any
moment be overthrown by barbarians invading from without or multiplying
within."
Only off and on did this persecution have the intensity of a genocide, but it
was sustained much longer and spread out much wider geographically than the Nazi
massacre. Whereas the Germans including most members of the Nazi party, were
horrified at the Nazi crimes against humanity within a few years, the Muslims,
for whom Gott mit uns (God with us) was not a slogan but a religious certainty,
managed to keep a good conscience for centuries. We will encounter similarities
as well as differences between Nazi and Islamic crimes against humanity, but the
most striking difference is definitely the persistence with which Islamic
persecutions have continued for 14 centuries. This is because it had more spine,
a more powerful psychological grip on its adherents than Nazism.
The ideological foundation of the Islamic campaign was similar to the Nazi
ideology. The Muslium invaders (as we can read in numerous documents which they
left us, from the Quran and the Hadith onwards) distinguished between three
kinds of people: first of all the Muslims, the Herrenvolk (master nation) to
which Allah had promised the world; secondly the Jews and Christians, who could
live on under Muslim rule but only as third-class citizens, just like the Slavic
Untermenschen (inferior people) in Hitler's planned new order, thirdly the
species to be eliminated, the real Pagans who had to disappear from the face of
the earth.
Different from Hitler's victims, the non-combatants among the unbelievers
often got a chance to opt for conversion rather than death. What Mohammed
(imitated by his successors) wanted, was his recognition as God's final prophet,
so he preferred people to live and give him this recognition (by pronouncing the
Islamic creed, i.e. converting), and only those who refused him this recognition
were to be killed. Still, conversion often came too late to save defeated Pagans
from slavery. At this point, Mohammed deserves comparison with Stalin: unlike
Hitler, he killed people not for their race but for their opinions. But one can
hardly say that the one totalitarianism is better than the other.
The Blitzkrieg of the Muslim armies in the first decades after the birth of
their religion had such enduring results precisely because the Pagan populations
in West- and Central-Asia had no choice (except death) but to convert. Whatever
the converts' own resentment, their children grew up as Muslims and gradually
identified with this religion. Within a few generations the initial resistance
against these forcible converions was forgotten, and these areas became
heidenfrei (free from Pagans, cfr. judenfrei). In India it didn't go like that,
because the Muslims needed five centuries of attempts at invasion before they
could catch hold of large parts of India, and even then they encountered endless
resistance, so that they often had to settle for a compromise.
The Muslim conquests, down to the 16th century, were for the Hindus a pure
struggle of life and death. Entire cities were burnt down and the populations
massacred, with hundreds of thousands killed in every campaign, and similar
numbers deported as slaves. Every new invader made (often literally) his hills
of Hindus skulls. Thus, the conquest of Afghanistan in the year 1000 was
followed by the annihilation of the Hindu population; the region is still called
the Hindu Kush, i.e. Hindu slaughter. The Bahmani sultans (1347-1480) in central
India made it a rule to kill 100,000 captives in a single day, and many more on
other occasions. The conquest of the Vijayanagar empire in 1564 left the capital
plus large areas of Karnataka depopulated. And so on.
As a contribution to research on the quantity of the Islamic crimes against
humanity, we may mention Prof. K.S.Lal's estimates about the population figures
in medieval India (Growth of Muslim Population in India). According to his
calculations, the Indian (subcontinent) population decreased by 80 million
between 1000 (conquest of Afghanistan) and 1525 (end of Delhi Sultanate). More
research is needed before we can settle for a quantitatively accurate evaluation
of Muslim rule in India, but at least we know for sure that the term crime
against humanity is not exaggerated.
But the Indian Pagans were far too numerous and never fully surrendered. What
some call the Muslim period in Indian history, was in reality a continuous war
of occupiers against resisters, in which the Muslim rulers were finally defeated
in the 18th century. Against these rebellious Pagans the Muslim rulers preferred
to avoid total confrontation, and to accept the compromise which the (in India
dominant) Hanifite school of Islamic law made possible. Alone among the four
Islamic law schools, the school of Hanifa gave Muslim rulers the right not to
offer the Pagans the sole choice between death and conversion, but to allow them
toleration as zimmis (protected ones) living under 20 humiliating conditions,
and to collect the jizya (toleration tax) from them. Normally the zimmi status
was only open to Jews and Christians (and even that concession was condemned by
jurists of the Hanbalite school like lbn Taymiya), which explains why these
communities have survived in Muslim countries while most other religions have
not. On these conditions some of the higher Hindu castes could be found willing
to collaborate, so that a more or less stable polity could be set up. Even then,
the collaboration of the Rajputs with the Moghul rulers, or of the Kayasthas
with the Nawab dynasty, one became a smooth arrangement when enlightened rulers
like Akbar (whom orthodox Muslims consider an apostate) cancelled these
humiliating conditions and the jizya tax.
It is because of Hanifite law that many Muslim rulers in India considered
themselves exempted from the duty to continue the genocide on the Hindus
(self-exemption for which they were persistently reprimanded by their mullahs).
Moreover, the Turkish and Afghan invaders also fought each other, so they often
had to ally themselves with accursed unbelievers against fellow Muslims. After
the conquests, Islamic occupation gradually lost its character of a total
campaign to destroy the Pagans. Many Muslim rulers preferred to enjoy the
revenue from stable and prosperous kingdoms, and were content to extract the
jizya tax, and to limit their conversion effort to material incentives and
support to the missionary campaigns of sufis and mullahs (in fact, for less
zealous rulers, the jizya was an incentive to discourage conversions, as these
would mean a loss of revenue). The Moghul dynasty (from 1526 onwards) in effect
limited its ambition to enjoying the zimma system, similar to the treatment of
Jews and Christians in the Ottoman empire. Muslim violence would thenceforth be
limited to some slave-taking, crushing the numerous rebellions, destruction of
temples and killing or humiliation of Brahmins, and occasional acts of terror by
small bands of raiders. A left-over from this period is the North-Indian custom
of celebrating weddings at midnight: this was a safety measure against the
Islamic sport of bride-catching.
The last jihad against the Hindus before the full establishment of British
rule was waged by Tipu Sultan at the end of the 18th century. In the rebellion
of 1857, the near-defunct Muslim dynasties (Moghuls, Nawabs) tried to curry
favour with their Hindu subjects and neighbours, in order to launch a joint
effort to re-establish their rule. For instance, the Nawab promised to give the
Hindus the Ram Janmabhoomi/Babri Masjid site back, in an effort to quench their
anti-Muslim animosity and redirect their attention towards the new common enemy
from Britain. This is the only instance in modern history when Muslims offered
concessions to the Hindus; after that, all the concessions made for the sake of
communal harmony were a one-way traffic from Hindu to Muslim.
After the British had crushed the rebellion of 1857, the Indian Muslims fell
into a state of depression, increasing backwardness due to their refusal of
British education, and nostalgia for the past. While the Hindu elites took to
Western notions like secular nationalism, the Muslims remained locked up in
their communal separateness. As soon as the British drew them into the political
process (founding of Muslim League in 1906) in order to use them as a
counter-weight against the Indian National Congress, they immediately made heavy
and hurtful demands on the Hindus, such as the unlimited right to slaughter
cows, and they started working for political separation. First they obtained
separate electorates where Muslim candidates would only have to please Muslim
voters, and later they would succeed in separating a Muslim state from India.
By the twenties, they took to the unscrupled use of muscle power in a big
way, creating street riots and outright pogroms. If Hindus retaliated in kind,
it was a welcome help in instilling the separate communal identity into the
ordinary Muslim, who would have preferred to coexist with his Hindu neighbours
in peace. By creating riots and provoking relatiatory violence, the Muslim
League managed to swing the vast majority of the Muslim electorate towards
supporting its demand for the partition of India. The roughly 600,000 victims of
the violence accompanying the Partition were the price which the Muslim League
was willing to pay for its Islamic state of Pakistan. While every Hindu and
Muslim who took part in the violence is responsible for his own excesses, the
over-all responsibility for this mass- slaughter lies squarely with the Muslim
leadership.
After independence, the Islamic persecution of Hindus has continued in
different degrees of intensity, in Pakistan, Bangla Desh and Kashmir (as well as
heavy discrimination in Malaysia). This is not the place for detailing these
facts, which the international media have been ignoring completely. What may cut
short all denials of this continued pestering of Hindus in Muslim states, are
the resulting migration figures: in 1948, Hindus formed 23% of the population of
Bangla Desh (then East Pakistan), in 1971 the figure was down to 15%, and today
it stands at about 8%. No journalist or human rights body goes in to ask the
minority Hindus for their opinion about the treatment they get from the Muslim
authorities and populations; but they vote with their feet.
In the first months of 1990, the entire Hindu population (about 2 lakhs) was
forcibly driven from the Kashmir Valley, which used to be advertised as a
showpiece of communal harmony. Muslim newspapers and mosque loudspeakers had
warned the Hindus to leave the valley or face bullets. After the Islamic
conquest of Kabul in April 1992, 50,000 Hindus had to flee Afghanistan (with the
Indian government unwilling to extend help, and Inder Kumar Gujral denying that
the expulsion of Indians had a communal motive). The pogroms in Pakistan and
Bangladesh after the demolition of the Babri Masjid left 50,000 Hindus homeless
in Bangladesh and triggered another wave of refugees from both countries towards
India. In Pakistan, 245 Hindu temples were demolished, in Bangladesh a similar
number was attacked, and even in England some temples were set on fire by Muslim
mobs. And then we haven't even mentioned the recurrent attacks on Hindu
processions and on police stations.
It will now be evident that the Hindu psyche has very little sympathy for
Islam. Doing something about this was the chief motive for negationism.
 

2NEGATIONISM AND THE INDIAN NATIONAL CONGRESS
The political context of the frist attempts at negationism was chiefly the
attempt of the independence movement, led by the Indian National Congress, to
eliminate all factors of disunity between Hindus and Muslims. It was the time of
the Khilafat movement (1919-23), the agitation of Indian Muslims against the
British take-over of the Islamic sacred places from the deceased Ottoman empire.
The khilafatists demanded the restoration of the Ottoman caliph's authority over
the sacred places. Congress saw in this the occasion to enlist the Muslims in
the national freedom struggle against the same British imperialists.
This was a miscalculation: the khilafat movement intensified the Islamic
sense of communal identity (therefore the rejection of Indian nationalism), and
added considerably to Muslim separatism and the Pakistan ideology. But before
1923, when the Turks themselves abolished the caliphate so that the movement
lost its raison d'etre (and got transmuted into pogroms against the Hindus),
there was great expectation in Congress circles. Therefore, Congress people were
willing to go to any length to iron out the differences between Hindus and
Muslims, including the invention of centuries of communal amity.
At that time, the Congress leders were not yet actively involved in the
rewriting of history. They were satisfied to quietly ignore the true history of
Hindu-Muslim relations. After the communal riots of Kanpur in 1931, a Congress
report advised the elimination of the mutual enemy- image by changing the
contents of the history-books.
The next generation of political leaders, especially the left-wing that was
to gain control of Congress in the thirties, and complete control in the
fifties, would profess negationism very explicitly. The radical humanist (i.e.
bourgeois Marxist) M.N. Roy wrote that Islam had fulfilled a historic mission of
equality and abolition of discrimination, and that for this, Islam had been
welcomed into India by the lower castes. If at all any violence had occurred, it
was as a matter of justified class struggle by the progressive forces against
the reactionary forces, meaning the fedual Hindu upper castes.
This is a modern myth springing from an incorrect and much too grim picture
of the caste system, a back-projection of modern ideas of class struggle, and an
uncritical swallowing of contemporary Islamic apologetics, which has
incorporated some voguish socialist values. There is no record anywhere of
low-caste people welcoming the Muslims as liberators. Just like in their
homeland, the Muslim generals had nothing but contempt for the common people,
and all the more so because these were idolaters. They made no distinction
between rich Pagans and poor Pagans: in the Quran, Allah had promised the same
fate to all idolaters.
By contrast, there is plenty of testimony that these common people rose in
revolt, not against their high-caste co-religionists, but against the Muslim
rulers. And not only against heavy new taxes (50% of the land revenue for
Alauddin Khilji, whom the negationists hail as the precursor of socialism) and
land expropriations, but especially against the rape and abduction of women and
children and the destruction of their idols, acts which have been recorded with
so much glee by the Muslim chroniclers, without anywhere mentioning a separate
treatment of Hindu rich and Hindu poor, upper-caste Kafir or low-caste Kafir.
Even when some of the high-caste people started collaborating, the common people
gave the invaders no rest, attacking them from hiding-places in the forests. The
conversion of low-caste people only began when Muslim rulers were safely in
power and in a position to reward and encourage conversion by means of tax
discrimination, legal discrimination (win the dispute with your neighbour if you
convert), handing out posts to converts, and simple coercion. Nevertheless, the
myth which M.N. Roy spread, has gained wide currency.
The best-known propounder of negationism was certainly Jawarharlal Nehru. He
was rather illiterate concerning Indian culture and history, so his admirers may
invoke for him the benefit of doubt. At any rate, his writings contain some
crude cases of glorification of Muslim tyrants and concealment or denial of
their crimes. Witness his assessment of Mahmud Ghaznavi, who, according to his
chronicler Utbi, sang the praise of the temple complex at Mathura and then
immediately proceeded to destroy it. Nehru writes: "Building interested
Mahmud, and he was much impressed by the city of Mathura near Delhi". About
this he wrote: "There are here a thousand edifices as firm as the faith of
the faithful; nor is it likely that this city has attained its present condition
but at the expense of many millions of dinars, nor could such another be
constructed under a period of 200 years." And that is all: Nehru described
the destroyer of Mathura as an admirer of Mathura, apparently without noticing
the gory sarcasm in Ghaznavi's eulogy.
Moreover, Nehru denied that Mahmud had committed his acts of destruction out
of any religious motive: "Mahmud was not a religious man. He was a
Mohammedan, but that was just by the way. He was in the first place a soldier,
and a brilliant soldier." That Mahmud was definitely a religious man, and
that he had religious motives for his campaigns against the Hindus, is quite
clear from Utbi's contemporary chronicle. Every night Mahmud copied from the
Quran for the benefit of his soul. He risked his life several times for the sake
of destroying and desecrating temples in which there was nothing to plunder,
just to terrorize and humiliate the Pagans. In his campaigns, he never neglected
to invoke the appropriate Quran verses. In venerating Mahmud as a pious hero of
Islam, Indian Muslims are quite faithful to history: unlike Nehru, the ordinary
Muslim refuses to practise negationism.
With Nehru, negationmism became the official line of the Indian National
Congress, and after Independence also of the Indian state and government.
 

3 THE ALIGARH SCHOOL
A second factor in the genesis of negationism was the penetration of Western
ideas among a part of the Muslim elite, and especially the (in Europe newly
emerged) positive valuation of tolerance. The Islamic elite was concentrated
around two educational institutes, spearheads of the traditional and of the
(superficially) westernizing trends among Indian Muslims. One was the
theological academy at Deoband, the other the British-oriented Aligarh Muslim
university.
The Deoband school was (and is) orthodox-Islamic, and rejected modern values
like nationalism and democracy. It simply observed that India had once been a
Dar-ul-Islam (house of Islam), and that therefore it had to be brought back
under Muslim control. The fact that the majority of the population consisted of
non-Muslims was not important: in the medieval Muslim empires the Muslims had
not been in a majority either, and moreover, demography and conversion could yet
transform the Muslim minority into a majority.
Among the scions of the Deoband school we find Maulana Maudoodi, the chief
ideologue of modern fundamentalism. He opposed the Pakistan scheme and demanded
the Islamization of all of British India. After independence, he settled in
Pakistan and agitated for the full Islamization of the (still too British)
polity. Shortly before his death in 1979, his demands were largely met when
general Zia launched his Islamization policy.
Outsiders will be surprised to find that the same school of which Maudoodi
was a faithful spokesman, also brought forth Maulana Abul Kalam Azad, who was
Congress president for several terms and who was to become minister of Education
in free India. Understandably but unjustifiably, Azad has often been described
as as moderate and nationalist Muslim: he rejected the Partition of India and
the foundation of Pakistan, not because he rejected the idea of a Muslim state,
but because he wanted all of India to become a Muslim state in time.
When in the forties the Partition seemed unavoidable, Azad patronized
proposals to preserve India's unity, stipulating that half of all members of
parliament and of the government had to be Muslims (then 24% of the population),
with the other half to be divided between Hindus, Ambedkarites, Christians, and
the rest. Short, a state in which Muslims would rule and non-Muslims would be
second-class citizens electorally and politically. The Cabinet Mission Plan,
proposed by the British as the ultimate sop for the Muslim League, equally
promised an effective parity between Muslims and non-Muslims at the Central
Government level and a veto right for the Muslim minority. Without Gandhiji's
and other Congress leaders' knowing, Congress president Azad assured the British
negotiators that he would get the plan accepted by the Congress. When he was
caught in the act of lying to the Mahatma about the plan and his assurance, he
lost some credit even among the naive Hindus who considered him a moderate. But
he retained his position of trust in Nehru's cabinet, and continued his work for
the ultimate transformation of India into a Muslim State.
Maulana Azad's pleas for Hindu-Muslim co-operation had an esoteric meaning,
clear enough for Muslims but invisible for wilfully gullible non-Muslims like
his colleagues in the Congress leadership. Azad declared that Hindu-Muslim co-
operation was in complete conformity with the Prophet's vision, for
"Mohammed had also made a treaty with the Jews of Madina". He
certainly had, but the practical impact of this treaty was that within a few
years, two of the three Jewish clans in Medina had ben chased away, and the
third clan had been massacred to the last man (the second clan had only been
saved by the intervention of other Medinese leaders, for Mohammed had wanted to
kill them too). Maulana Azad could mention Mohammed's treaty with the Jews as a
model for Hindu-Muslim co-operation only because he was confident that few
Hindus were aware of the end of the story, and that better-informed Hindus
honoured a kind of taboo on criticism of Islam and its Prophet.
This parenthesis about Maulana Azad may help clear up some illusions which
Hindus and Westerners fondly entertain about the possibility of Islamic moderacy.
The Deoband school was as fundamentalist in its Azad face as it was in its
Maudoodi heart, and its spokesmen had no problems with the horrors of Islamic
history, nor did they make attempts to rewrite it. That Muslims had persecuted
and massacred Hindus, counted as the fulfilment of Allah's salvation plan to
transform the whole world into a Dar-ul-Islam. As Mohammed Iqbal wrote:
"All land belongs to the Muslims, because it belongs to their God." (Iqbal
would, however, end up in the Aligarh camp, cfr. infra) Maulana Azad shared this
view of history. He condemned Moghul emperor Akbar's tolerant rule as the
near-suicide of Indian Islam, and praised fanatics like the theologian Ahmad
Sirhindi, who through his opposition to Akbar's tolerance had brought the Moghul
dynasty back on the right track of Hind-persecution.
Unlike the Deoband school, the Aligarh school tried to reconcile Islam with
modern culture. It understood the principles of democracy and majority rule, and
recognized that a modern democracy would be incompatible with the transformation
of India into an Islamic state as long as Muslims only formed a minority. The
tactical opposition against the disadvantageous system of democracy was
underpinned ideologically by Mohammed Iqbal, who criticized it as a system in
which heads are counted but not weighed. But Iqbal understood that democracy was
the wave of the near future, and, together with more modern and sincerely
democracy-minded people in the Muslim intelligentsia, he faced the logical
consequence that the Muslims had to give up the ambition of gaining control over
all of India immediately. Instead they should create a separate state out of the
Muslim-majority areas of India: Pakistan. The ideal of Pakistan was launched by
Iqbal in 1930, and in 1940 it became the official political goal of the Muslim
League. Aligarh Muslim University has often been described as the cradle of
Pakistan.
From their better knowledge of and appreciation for modern culture, the
Aligarh thinkers accepted the modern value of religious tolerance. Not to the
extent that they would be willing to co-exist with the Hindus in a single
post-colonial state, but at least to this extent that they wanted to do
something about the imge of intolerance which Islam had come to carry. Around
1920 Aligarh historian Mohammed Habib launched a grand project to rewrite the
history of the Indian religious conflict. The main points of his version of
history are the following.
Firstly, it was not all that serious. One cannot fail to notice that the
Islamic chroniclers (including some rulers who wrote their own chronicles, like
Teimur and Babar) have described the slaughter of Hindus, the abduction of their
women and children, and the destruction of their places of worship most
gleefully. But, according to Habib, these were merely exaggerations by court
poets out to please their patrons. One wonders what it says about Islamic rulers
that they felt flattered by the bloody details which the Muslims chroniclers of
Hindu persecutions have left us. At any rate, Habib has never managed to
underpin this convenient hypothesis with a single fact.
Secondly, that percentage of atrocities on Hindus which Habib was prepared to
admit as historical, is not to be attributed to the impact of Islam, but to
other factors. Sometimes Islam was used as a justification post factum, but this
was deceptive. In reality economic motives were at work. The Hindus amassed all
their wealth in temples and therefore Muslim armies plundered these temples.
Thirdly, according to Habib there was also a racial factor: these Muslims
were mostly Turks, savage riders from the steppes who would need several
centuries before getting civilized by the wholesome influence of Islam. Their
inborn barbarity cannot be attributed to the doctrines of Islam.
Finally, the violence of the Islamic warriors was of minor importance in the
establishment of Islam in India. What happened was not so much a conquest, but a
shift in public opinion: when the urban working-class heard of Islam and
realized it now had a choice between Hindu law (smrti) and Muslim law (shariat),
it chose the latter.
Mohammed Habib's excise in history-rewriting cannot stand the test of
historical criticism on any score. We can demonstrate this with the example of
Sultan Mahmud Ghaznavi (997-1030), already mentioned, who carried out a number
of devastating raids in Sindh, Gujrat and Punjab. This Ghaznavi was a Turk,
certainly, but in many respects he was not a barbarian: he patronized arts and
literature (including the great Persian poet Firdausi, who would end up in
trouble because his patron suspected him of apostasy, and the Persian but
Arabic-writing historian Albiruni) and was a fine calligraphist himself. The
undeniable barbarity of his anti-Hindu campaigns cannot be attributed to his
ethnic stock. His massacres and acts of destruction were merely a replay of what
the Arab Mohammed bin Qasim had wrought in Sindh in 712-15. He didn't care for
material gain: he left rich mosques untouched, but poor Hindu temples met the
same fate at his hands as the richer temples. He turned down a Hindu offer to
give back a famous idol in exchange for a huge ransom: "I prefer to appear
on Judgement Day as an idol-breaker rather than an idol-seller." The one
explanation that covers all the relevant facts, is that he was driven to his
barbarous acts by his ideological allegiance to Islam.
There is no record of his being welcomed by urban artisans as a liberator
from the oppressive Hindu social system. On the contrary, his companion Albiruni
testifies how all the Hindus had an inveterate aversion for all Muslims.
Another ruler, Firuz Shah Tughlaq (1351-88), personally confirms that the
descruction of Pagan temples was done out of piety, not out of greed: "The
Hindus had accepted the zimmi status and the concomitant jizya tax in exchange
for safety. But now they built idol temples in the city, in defiance of the
Prophet's law which forbids such temples. Under divine leadership I destroyed
these buildings, and killed the leaders of idolatry, and the common followers
received physical chastisement, until this abomination had been banned
completely." When Firuz heard that a Pagan festival was going on, he
reacted forcefully: "My religious feelings exhorted me to finish off this
scandal, this insult to Islam. On the day of the festival I went there myself, I
ordered the execution of the leaders and practitioners of this abomination... I
destroyed their idol temples and built mosques in their places."
The contention that Hindus stored their riches in temples is completely
plucked out of thin air (though some of the richer temples contained golden
statues, which were temple property): it is one among many ad hoc hypotheses
which make Habib's theory a methodologically indefensible construction. In fact,
Habib is proclaining a grand conspiracy theory: all the hundreds of Islamic
authors who declared unanimously that what they reported was a war of Islam
against Infidelity, would all have co-ordinated one single fake scenario to
deceive us.
This is not to say that the entire report which the Muslim chroniclers have
left us, should be accepted at face value. For instance, writers like Ghaznavi's
contemporary Utbi give the impression that the raids on, and ultimate conquest
of Hindustan were a walk-over. Closer study of all the source material shows
that the Muslim armies had a very tough time in India. From Muslim chronicles
one only gets a faint glimpse of the intensity with which the Hindus kept on
offering resistance, and of the precariousness of the Muslim grip on Hindistan
through the Muslim period. The Muslim chroniclers have not been caught in the
act of lying very often, but some of them distort the proportions of victory and
defeat a bit. This is quite common among partisan historians everywhere, and a
modern historian knows how to take such minor distortions into account. The
unanimous and entirely coherent testimony that the wars in Hindustan were
religious wars of Muslims against Kafirs is a different matter altogether:
denying this testimony is not a matter of small adjustments, but of replacing
the well-attested historical facts with their diametrical opposite.
Habib tried to absolve the ideology (Islam) of the undeniable facts of
persecution and massacre of the Pagans by blaming individuals (the Muslims). The
sources however point to the opposite state of affairs: Muslim fanatics were
merely faithful executors of Quranic injunctions. Not the Muslims are guilty,
but Islam.
 

4 NEGATIONISM RAMPANT: THE MARXISTS
The Aligarh school has been emulated on a large scale. Soon its torch was taken
over by Marxist historians, who were building a reputation for unscrupled
history-rewriting in accordance with the party-line.
In this context, one should know that there is a strange alliance between the
Indian Communist parties and the Muslim fanatics. In the forties the Communists
gave intellectual muscle and political support to the Muslim League's plan to
partition India and create an Islamic state. After independence, they
successfully combined (with the tacit support of Prime minister Nehru) to
sabotage the implementation of the constitutional provision that Hindi be
adopted as national language, and to force India into the Soviet-Arab front
against Israel. Ever since, this collaboration has continued to their mutual
advantage as exemplified by their common front to defend the Babri Masjid, that
symbol of Islamic fanaticism. Under Nehru's rule these Marxists acquired control
of most of the educational and research institutes and policies.
Moreover, they had an enormous mental impact on the Congress apparatus: even
those who formally rejected the Soviet system, thought completely in Marxist
categories. They accepted, for instance, that religious conflicts can be reduced
to economic and class contradictions. They also adopted Marxist terminology, so
that they always refer to conscious Hindus as the communal forces or elements
(Marxism dehumanizes people to impersonal pawns, or forces, in the hands of god
History). The Marxist historians had the field all to themselves, and they set
to work to decommunalize Indian history-writing, i.e. to erase the importance of
Islam as a factor of conflict.
In Communalism and the Writing of indian History, Romila Thapar, Harbans
Mukhia and Bipan Chandra, professors at Jawaharlal Nehry University (JNU, the
Mecca of secularism and negationism) in Delhi, write that the interpretation of
medieval wars as religious conflicts is in fact a back- projection of
contemporary religious conflict artificially created for political purposes. In
Bipan Chandra's famous formula, communalism is not a dinosaur, it is a strictly
modern phenomenon. They explicitly deny that before the modern period there
existed such a thing as Hindu identity or Muslim identity. Conflicts could not
have been between Hindus and Muslims, only between rulers or classes who
incidentally also belonged to one religious community or the other. They point
to the conflicts within the communities and to alliances across community
boundaries.
It is of course a fact that some Hindus collaborated with the Muslim rulers,
but that also counted for the British colonial rulers, who are for that no less
considered as foreign oppressors. For that matter, in the Jewish ghetto in
Warsaw the Nazis employed Jewish guards, in their search for absconding Jews
they employed Jewish informers, and in their policy of deportation they even
sought the co-operation of the Zionist movement: none of this can disprove Nazi-
Jewish enmity. It is also a fact that the Muslim rulers sometimes made war among
each other, but that was equally true for Portuguese, French and British
colonizers, who fought some wars on Indian territory: they were just as much
part of a single colonial movement with a common colonial ideology, and all the
brands of colonialism were equally the enemies of the indian freedom movement.
Even in the history of the Crusades, that paradigm of religious war, we hear a
lot of battles between one Christian-Muslim coalition and another: these do not
falsify the over-all characterization of the Crusades as a war between
Christians and Muslims (triggered by the destruction of Christian churches by
Muslims).
After postulating that conflicts between Hindus and Muslims as such were
non-existent before the modern period, the negationists are faced with the need
to explain how this type of conflict was born after centuries of a misunderstood
non-existence. The Marxist explanation is a conspiracy theory: the separate
communal identity of Hindus and Muslims is an invention of the sly British
colonialists. They carried on a divide and rule policy, and therefore they
incited the communal separateness. As the example par excellence, prof. R.S.
Sharma mentions the 19th -century 8-volume work by Elliott and Dowson, The
History of India as Told by its own Historians. This work does indeed paint a
very grim picture of Muslim hordes who attack the Pagans with merciless cruelty.
But this picture was not a concoction by the British historians: as the title of
their work says, they had it all from indigenous historiographers, most of them
Muslims.
Yet, the negationist belief that the British newly created the Hindu-Muslim
divide has become an article of faith with everyone in India who calls himself a
secularist. It became a central part of the negationist argument in the debate
over the Ram Janmabhoomi/Babri Masjid issue. Time and again, the negationist
historians (including Bipan Chandra, K.N. Panikkar, S. Gopal, Romila Thapar,
Harbans Mukhia, Irfan Habib, R.S. Sharma, Gyanendra Pandey, Sushil Srivastava,
Asghar Ali Engineer, as well as the Islamic politician Syed Shahabuddin) have
asserted that the tradition according to which the Babri mosque forcibly
replaced a Hindu temple, is nothing but a myth purposely created in the 19th
century. To explain the popularity of the myth even among local Muslim writers
in the 19th century, most of them say it was a deliberate British concoction,
spread in the interest of the divide and rule- policy. They affirm this
conspiracy scenario without anyhow citing, from the copious archives which the
British administration in India has left behind, any kind of positive indication
for their convenient hypothesis - let alone the rigorous proof on which a
serious historian would base his assertions, especially in such controversial
questions.
They have kept on taking this stand even after five documents by local
Muslims outside the British sphere in the 19th century, two documents by Muslim
officials from the early 18th century, and two documents by European travellers
from the 18th and 17th century, as well as the extant revenue records, all
confirming the temple destruction scenario, were brought to the public's notice
in 1990. In their pamphlets and books, the negationists simply kept on ignoring
most or all of this evidence, defiantly disregarding historical fact as well as
academic deontology.
Concerning the Ayodhya debate, it is worth recalling that the negationists
have also resorted to another tactic so familiar to our European negationists,
and to all defenders of untenable positions: personal attacks on their
opponents, in order to pull the public's attention away from the available
evidence. In December 1990, the leading JNU historians and several allied
scholars, followed by the herd of secularist penpushers in the Indian press,
have tried to raise suspicions against the professinal honesty of Prof. B.B. Lal
and Dr. S.P. Gupta, the archaeologists who have unearthed evidence for the
existence of a Hindu temple at the Babri Masjid site. Rebuttals by these two and
a number of other archaelogists hae received coverage in the secularist press.
In February 1991, Irfan Habib give his infamous speech to the Aligarh Muslim
University historians, in which he made personal attacks on the scholars who
took part in the government-sponsored debate on Ayodhya in defence of the Hindu
claim, and on Prof. B.B. Lal. In this case, the weekly Sunday did publish a
lengthy reply by the deputy superintending archaeologist of the Archaeological
Survey of India, A.K. Sinha. The contents of this reply are very relevant, but
it is a bit technical (i.e. not adapted to the medium of a weekly for the
general public) and written in clumsy English, which gives a poor over-all
impression.
Actually, I speculate that the Sunday-editor may well have selected it for
publication precisely because of these flaws. The practice is well-known in the
treatment of letters to the editor: those defending the wrong viewpoint only get
published if they are somewhat funny or otherwise harmless. I cannot be sure
about this particular case, but it is a general fact that from their power
positions, the negationists use every means at their disposal to create a
negative image for the Hindu opponents of Islamic imperialism, including the
selective highlighting of the most clumsy and least convincing formulations of
the Hindu viewpoint.
In his Babri Masjid Ram Janmabhoomi Controversy, the Islamic apologist Ali
Asghar Engineer has also selected a few incomplete and less convincing
statements of the Hindu position, in order to create a semblance of willingness
to hear the Hindu viewpoint while at the same time denying the Hindu side any
publicity for its strongest arguments. He has kept the most decisive pieces of
evidence entirely out of the readers' view, but has covered this deliberate
distortion of the picture behind a semblance of even- handedness. In Anatomy of
a Confrontation, the JNU historians do not even mention the powerful
argumentation by Prof. A.R. Khan, while Prof. Harsh Narain and Mr. A.K.
Chatterjee's presentation authentic testimonies (in Indian Express, republished
by Voice of India in Hindu Temples, What happened to Them and in History vs.
Casuistry) are only mentioned but not detailed and discussed, let alone refuted;
but clumsy RSS pamphlets and improvised statements by BJP orators are quoted and
analyzed at length.
The concluding paragraph of A.K.Sinha's rebuttal to Irfan Habib's speech
points out the contradiction between the earlier work of even Marxist historians
about ancient India (in which they treat the epics as sources of history, not
mere fable) and their recent Babri-politicized stand: "Today, even taking
the name of Mahabharata and Ramayana is considered as anti-national and communal
by the communist leaders, Babri Masjid Action Committee historians and the
pseudo-secularists. What do they propose to do with all that has been published
so far in [this] context by the Marxists themselves, notably D.D. Kosambi, R.S.
Sharma, Romila Thapar, K.M. Shrimali, D.N. Jha and others? I have been thinking
about the behavious of our Marxist friends and historians, their unprovoked
slander campaign against many colleagues, hurling abuses and convicting anyone
and everyone even before the charges could be framed and proved. Their latest
target is [so] sobre and highly respected a person as prof. B.B. Lal, who has
all his life (now he is nearing 70) never involved himself in petty politics or
in the groupism [which is] so favourite a sport among the so- called Marxist
intellectuals of this country. But then [slander] is a well-practised art among
the Marxists."
Another trick which a student of Holocaust negationism will readily recognize
in the pro-Babri campaign of the Indian negationists, is that truly daring form
of amnipulation: selectively quoting an authority to make him say the opposite
of his own considered opinion. When the JNU historians started slandering Prof.
B.B. Lal as a turncoat hired by the VHP, this was a panic reaction after their
earlier tactic had been exposed (though only in Indian Express, but the
negationist front will not tolerate even one hole in the cordon of information
control). Until then, they had been using B.B. Lal's fame to suport their own
position that the Babri Masjid had not replaced a temple.
In their pamphlet The Political Abuse of History, the JNU historians had
quoted from a brief summary, published by the Archaeological Survey of India in
1980, of Prof. B.B. Lal's report on his excavations in Ayodhya and other
Ramayana sites. They knew this report perfectly well, for they had gleefully
quoted its finding that the excavations just near the Babri Masjid had not
yielded any remains pre- dating the 9th century BC. But then they had gone on to
state that there was no archeological indication for a pre- Masjid temple on
that controversial site at all, even when the same report had cursorily
mentioned the remains of a building dated to the 11th century AD. Later on, they
have quoted the same summary as saying that the later period was devoid of any
interest, suggesting that nothing of any importance dating from the medieval
period had been found.
In fact, this remark only proves that the ASI summarizer saw no reason to
give (or saw reasons not to give) details about the uninteresting but
nonetheless existing medieval findings. But in autumn 1990, some of these
details have been made public and they turned out to be of decisive importance
in the Ram Janmabhoomi debate. Prof.K.N. Panikkar (in Anatomy of a
Confrontation) suggests that, if these relevant details were not recently
thought up to suit the theories of the RSS, they must have been deliberately
concealed at that time (late seventies) by the ASI summarizer. The latter
possibility means that negationists are active in the ASI publishing section,
editing archaeological reports to suit the negationist campaign. The implied
allegation is so serious that K.N. Panikkar expects the reader to assume the
other alternative, viz. an RSS concoction. But he may well have hit the nail on
its head with his suggestion that negationists in the ASI are doing exactly the
same thing that they are doing in all Indian institutions and media: misusing
their positions to distort information.
At any rate, the details of the full report were given in articles by Dr. S.P.
Gupta and by Prof. B.B. Lal himself (and independently by other archaeologists
in talks and letters to Indian Express) in late 1990. The pillar-bases of an
11th century building, aligned to the Babri Masjid walls, were presented by
Prof. B.B. Lal and Dr. S.P.Gupta in separate filmed interviews with the BBC.
There could be no doubt about it anymore: Prof. B.B. Lal had arrived at a
conclusion opposite to the one ascribed to him by a number of Marxist historians
(not only from JNU).
That is why is early December 1990 several of the most vocal Marxist
historians suddenly took to slander and accused Prof. B.B. Lal of having changed
his opinion in order to suit the VHP's political needs. Now that they could no
longer use Prof. Lal's reputation for their own ends, they decided to try and
destroy it. In the case of Dr. S.P. Gupta, they have not taken back their
ridiculous allegation that he had falsely claimed participation in the Ramayana
sites excavations. But with a big name like B.B. Lal, an impeccable academic of
world fame, they had to be careful, because slander against him might somehow
backfire. That is why they have nor pressed the point, and why a number of
Marxist historians and other participants in the Ayodhya debate have quitely
reverted to the earlier tactic of selectively quoting from the ASI summary of
Prof. B.B. Lal's report, and acting as if the great archaeologist has supported
and even proven their own position. As the press had given minimum coverage to
B.B. Lal and S.P. Gupta's revelations, many people would not suspect the truth.
Another trick from the negationists' book that has been very much in evidence
during the Ayodhya debate, consists in focusing all attention on the pieces of
evidence given by those who upheld the historical truth,, and trying to find
fault with them as valid evidence. Thus, at the press conference (19 Dec. 1992)
where Dr. S.P. Gupta and other historians presented photographs of an
inscription found during the demolition of the Babri Masjid, which proved once
more that a temple had stood on the site, and that it was specifically a
birthplace temple for "Vishnu Hari who defeated Bali and the ten-headed
king [Ravana]", some journalists heckled the speakers with remarks that
"because of the demolition, the inscription was not in situ and therefore
not valid as evidence", and similar feats of petty fault-finding.
A few days later, a group of 70 archaeologists and historians, mostly names
who had not taken a prominent role in this debate so far, brought shame on
themselves by pronouncing judgement on this piece of evidence without even
seeing, let alone studying it. They demanded not that the government look into
this new evidence, as would be proper for representatives of the scientific
spirit, but that it trace down from which museum the planted evidence had been
stolen and brought to Ayodhya. In doing history falsification, it is best to
remain on the attack, and to put the bonafide historians on the defensive by
accusing them first.
After dozens of pieces of evidence for the forcible replacement of temple
with mosque scenario had been given, the Babri negationists had never come up
with a single piece of counter- evidence (i.e. positive evidence for an
alternative scenario); they could not do better than keep silent over the most
striking evidence, and otherwise scream at the top of their voice that evidence
A did not count, evidence B was not valid, evidence C was flawed, evidence D was
fabricated. In 1992 alone, in the clearing operations near the Janmabhoomi site
in June, during several visits of experts, and during the demolition on 6
December, more than 200 pieces of archaeological evidence for the pre-existent
Vaishnava temple had been found, but these 70 scholars preferred to disregard
all them. This time, the suggestion was that in the middle of the kar seva, the
inscription had been planted there. You could just as well join the Holocaust
negationists and say that the gas chambers found in 1945 had been a Hollywood
mise-en-scene. Picking at a single testimony as if the whole case depends on it
has been a favourite technique of the negationists to distract attention from
the larger picture, to make people forget that even if this one piece of
evidence were flawed, this would not invalidate the general conclusions built on
a whole corpus of evidence.
A final point of similarity between the Marxist involvement in the Babri
Masjid case and the techniques of Holocaust negationism is the fact that there
was a Babri Masjid debate in the first place. Indeed, postulating doubt and the
need for a debate is the first step of denial. The tradition that the Babri
Masjid had forcibly replaced a temple was firmly established ad supported by
sources otherwise accepted as authoritative; when it was challenged, this was
not on the basis of newfound material which justified a re-examination of the
historical position. The correct procedure would have been that the deniers of
the established view come up with some positive evidence for their innovative
position: until then, there was simply no reason for a debate. Instead, they
started demanding that the other side give proof of what had been known all
along, and forced a debate on something that was really a matter of consensus.
Subsequently, instead of entering the ring, attacking or countering their
opponents' case with positive evidence of their own, the challengers set
themselves up as judges of the other side's argumentation. This is indeed
reminiscent of the negationist Institute for Historical Review announcing a
prize for whomever could prove that the Holocaust had taken place.
There is yet another trick from the negationist arsenal which has been tried
in India: find a witness from the victims' camp to testify to the aggressor's
innocence. Of course there are not witnesses around who lived through
Aurangzeb's terror, but there are many who lived through the horrors of
Partition. It is nobody's case that the killings wich Jinnah considered a fair
price for his Muslim state, never took place. But the negationists have spent a
lot of effort on proving the next best thing: that the guilt was spread evently
among Hindus and Muslims.
The Communist novelist Bhishma Sahni has used the novel Tamas to point the
Hindus as the villains in the Partition violence. The interesting thing is that
Bhishma Sahni's own family was among the Hindu refugees hounded out or Pakistan.
His anti-Hindu bias, coming from a man who would have more reason for an
anti-Muslim animus, is a gift from heaven for the Hindu-baiters. Marxist
Professor Bipan Chandra parades a similar character in his paper: Communalism -
the Way Out (published together with two lectures by KJhushwant Singh as: Many
Faces of Communalism). One of his students had survived the terror of Partition
in Rawalpindi, losing 7 family members. Bud he did not have any animus against
the Muslims, for he said: "Very early I realized that my parents had not
been killed by the Muslims, they had been kiled by communalism." Coming
from a victim of Muslim violence, this is excellent material for those who want
to apportion equal blame to Hindus nd Muslims.
Of course, Bipan Chandra's student was right. The cause of Partition and of
its accompanying violence was not the Muslims, but communalism, i.e. the belief
that people with a common religion form a separate social and political entity.
This belief is not fostered by Hinduism, but it is central to Islam ever since
Mohammed founded his first Islamic state in Medina. It is true that some Hindu
groups (most conspicuously the Sikhs) have recently adopted some Islamic
elements, including the communalist belief that a religious group forms a
separate nation entitled to a separate state. But the source of this communalist
poison in India is and remains Islam. Therefore, Bipan Chandra's student has in
fact said: "My family was not killed by the Muslims, but by Islam."
It is a different matter that Muslims are the most likely carriers of the
Islamic disease called communalism, and that they had massively voted for the
commnalist project of creating a separate Muslim state. The culprit was Islam,
and concerning the positions of the Muslims in the light of the fanatical nature
of Islam, I would quote Bipan Chandra's own simile for understanding the
difference between communalism and its adherents: when a patient suffers from a
terrible disease, you don't kill him, but cure him. The victims of Islamic
indoctrination should not be the target of Hindu revenge, as they were in large
numbers in 1947. Don't kill the patient, kill the disease. Remove Islam from the
Muslims' minds through education and India's communal problem will be as good as
solved.
At this point we may take a second look at the Marxist position, mentioned
above, that the Hindu community is a recent invention. The observations which I
just made concerning the Islamic provenance of communalism might seem to confirm
that there was no Hindu communal identity. However, the authentic sources from
the medieval period are unanimous about the sharp realization of a separate
communal identity as Muslims and as Hindus, overwhelmingly on the Muslim side,
but also on the Hindu side. We know for instance that Shivaji, who turned the
tide of the Muslim offensive in the late 17th centure, was a conscious partisan
of an all-Hindu liberation war against Muslim rule (Hindu Pad Padashahi). The
same counts for Rana Pratap and many other Hindu leaders, and there cannot be
any doubt that the Vijayanagar empire was conscious of its role as the last
fortress of Hindu civilization.
It is true that some Hindu kings attacked neighbouring Hindu states in the
back when these were attacked by the Muslim invaders. They were at first not
aware that these Islamic newcomers were a common enemy, motivated by hatred
against all non-Muslims; but their lack of insight into the character of Islam
in no way disproves their awareness of a common Hindu identity. The fact that
they were acutely aware of their internal political rivalries, does not exclude
that they were aware of a more fundamental common identity, which was not at
stake in these internecine feuds, but which they defended together once they
realized that it was the target of this new kind of ideologically motivated
aggressor, Islam. Brothers are aware that they have a lot in common, and this is
not disproven by the fact that, when left to themselves, they also quarrel with
each other.
If at all some Hindus had at first only been conscious of their own caste or
sect rather than of the Hindu commonwealth, the Muslim persecutions of all
Hindus without distinction certainly made them aware of their common identity
and interest. So, if the Marxists perforce want to deny the common culture and
value system underlying the diversity of the Hindu commonwealth, then let them
apply some of their own dialectics instead. "It is in their common struggle
aginst the Islamic aggressors, that the disparate sections of the native Indian
society have forged their common identity as Hindus": I do not agree with
this statement which posits a negative and reactive basis for a common Hindu
identity, but it must be accepted if one labours under the assumption that there
never had been a positive common identity before. It is unreasonable to expect
the Indian Pagans to be lumped together as Hindus for centuries on end, to be
uniformly made the target of one neverending aggression by Islam, to be
subjected to the same humiliations and the same jizya tax, and yet not become
conscious of a common interest. This common interest would then give rise to
unifying cultural superstructure. That is how the sustained and uniform Islamic
attack on all India Pagans would inevitably have given rise to at least a
measure of common Hindu identity if this had not previously existed.
In his Communal History and Rama's Ayodhya (1990), the Marxist Professor R.S.
Sharma argues that the medieval Hindus did not see the Muslims as a distinct
religious entity, but as an ethnic group, the Turks. His proof: the Gahadvala
dynasty levied a tax called Turushkadanda, tax financing the war effort against
the Turks. But this does not prove what Sharma thinks it proves.
The Muslims called the Pagans of India sometimes Kafirs, unbelievers, i.e. a
religious designation; but often they called them Hindus inhabitants of
Hindustan, i.e. an ethnic-geographical designation (from Hind, the Persian
equivalent of Sindh). And they gave religious contents to this geographical
term, which it has kept till today: so it is correct that the Hindus never
defined themselves as Hindus, as this was the Persian and later the Muslim term
for the Indian Pagans adhering to Sanatana Dharma. But that was only a
terminological matter, the fundamental religious unity of the Sanatana Dharmis
was just as much a fact. Similarly, the Hindus called these newcomers Turks, but
this does not exclude recognition of their religious specificity. On the
contrary, even Teimur the Terrible, who made it absolutely clear in his memoirs
that he came to India to wage a religious war against the Pagans, and who freed
the Muslim captives from a conquered city before putting the Hindu remainder to
the sword, referred to his own forces as the Turks. Conversely, the Hindus
describe as the typical Turkish behavious pattern that which is enjoined by
Islam.
While it is true that the Hindus have been much too slow (till today) in
studying the religious foundation of the barbaric behavious which they
experienced at the hands of the Turushkas, at least they soon found out that for
these invaders religion was the professed motive of their inhuman behavious.
Prof. Sharma's piece of evidence, the institution of a Turushkandana, does
however prove very clearly that the Islamic threat was extraordinary: the normal
armed forces and war credits were not sufficient to deal with this threat which
was in a class by itself.
The original source material leaves us in no doubt that conflicts often
erupted on purely religious grounds, even against the political and economical
interests of the contending parties. The negationists' tactic therefore consists
in keeping this original testimony out of view. A good example is Prof.
Gyanendra Pandey's recent book, The Construction of Communalism in Colonial
North India. As the title clearly says, Pandey asserts that communalism (the
Hindu-Muslim conflict) had been constructed by the British for colonial purposes
anmd out of colonial prejuidices, was later interiorized by Indians looking for
new, politically profitable forms of organization in modern colonial society.
This is like saying that anti-Judaism is a construction of modern capitalists to
divide the working class (the standard Marxist explanation for all kinds of
racism), while concealing the copious medieval testimony of anti-Judaism on
undeniably non-capitalist grounds. Prof. Pandey effectively denies a
millenniumful of testimonies to Islamic persecution of the Indian (Hindu) Kafirs.
Another example is prof. K.N. Panikkar's work on the Moplah rebellion,,, a
pofgrom against the Hindus by the Malabar (Kerala) Muslims in the margin of the
khilafat movement in 1921 (official death toll 2,339). Panikkar takes the
orthodox Marxist position that this was not a communal but a class conflict, not
between Hindus and Muslims but between workers who happened to be Muslims and
landlords who happened to be Hindus. In reality the communal character of the
massacre was so evident that even Mahatma Gandhi recognized it as terrible blow
for his ideal of Hindu-Muslim unity. It is quite possible that the occasion was
used to settle scores with landlords and money- lenders (that stereotype of
anti-Hindu as well as of anti- Jewish sloganeering), but the mullahs exhorted
their flock to attack all Hindus, and added in so many words that not only the
landlords but all the Hindus were their enemies. The poison of Islamic
fanaticism is such that it turns any kind of conflict into an attack on the
non-Muslims.
More Marxist wisdom we encounter in Romila Thapar's theory (in her
contribution to S. Gopal's book on the Ayodhya affair, Anatomy of a
Confrontation) that the current Hindu movement wants to unite all Hindus, not
because the Hindus feel besieged by hostile forces, not because they have a
memory of centuries of jihad, but because "a monolithic religion is more
compatible with capitalism" (to borrow the formulation of a reviewer). She
thinks that the political Hindu movement is merely a concoction by Hindu
capitalists, or in her own words "part of the attempt to redefine Hinduism
as an ideology for modernization by the middle class", in which
"modernization is seen as linked to the growth of capitalism". She
reads the mind behind the capitalist conspiracy to reform Hinduism thus:
"Capitalism is often believed to thrive among Semitic religions such as
Christianity and Islam. The argument would then run that if capitalism is to
succeed in India, then Hinduism would also have to be moulded in a Semitic
form".
It is always interesting to see how Communists presuppose the superiority of
Hinduism by denouncing Hindu militancy as the semiticization or islamization of
Hinduism. But the point is that the political mobilization of Hindu society
under the increasing pressure of hostile forces is explained away as merely a
camouflage of economic forces. One smiles about such simplistic subjection of
unwilling facts of Marxist dogma. Especially because such analyses were still
being made in 1991, and are still being made today: in India it has not yet
dawned on the dominant intelligentsia that Marxism has failed not only as a
political and economical system, but also as a socialogical model of
explanation. On the contrary, Indian Marxists even manage to make foreign
correspondents for non- Marxist media swallow their analysis, e.g. after the
Babri Masjid demolition, even the conservative Frankfurter Allgemeine Seitung
explained Hindu fundamentalism in the same socio-economical terms, complete with
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Great post!! (english)
01 Jan 2003
Great Post!

The problem is People here will ignore you becuse most indy media readers have decided that there is only one evil in the world and that is Western Imperialism. They belive that all problems in the world are casued by th US and her policy. The great irony is that the Islamic world is doing exacly what the "Left" falsely acuses America of doing. All you have to do is look at the bloody moving borders of Islam to see Islamic imperialism on the move. While the area controled by the west has decreased considerably the area under Islmic contol has grown enourmasly and continues to expand. For example look at Africa Islam has already taken over Northed Sudan and Northern Nigeria and is atmepting to conquer their southern halves. On all borders with non Islamic countries there is war. the amazing thing is that the Islamic imperialist have managed to wage this colonial war while playing the victim. Just look at this site people here think that Islamic rebels are fightng for human rights and freedom while anyone with any brains can see they are fighting to expand the borders of "Dar el Islam".
SECULAR VERSUS COMMUNAL (INDIA) (english)
01 Jan 2003

SECULAR VERSUS COMMUNAL this pair of labels has attained the widest currency of all political words. We face a peculiar problem here. The meanings which these words have acquired in India's political parlance are not even remotely related to the meanings which the dictionaries assign to them. It would not be an exaggeration to say that although these two words belong to the English language, their meanings in India have become exclusively Indian.
The word secular is defined in the dictionaries as "the belief that the state, morals, education, etc. should be independent of religion." But in India it means only one thing -- eschewing everything Hindu and espousing everything Islamic.

Every one who wants to qualifying as secular should subscribe to the folowing articles of faith :


the Muslims in India after independence have become a poor and persecuted minority;

they are being deprived of their fair share in the fruits of development;

their religion and culture are not getting legitimate expression in public life and media;

they are not being given employment in public and private sectors in proportion to their population; and

the preponderance of Hindus in the security forces puts in grave peril the lives, honour and properties of Muslims.

Every Hindu politician or pen-pusher who aspires to pass the test has to

proclaim that Islam stands for equality and human brotherhood;

celebrate the prophet's birthday with fanfare and throw an iftar dinner at the end of Ramzan;

attend Urs of sufis and Urdu mushairas;

support the claim of Urdu to be the second state language in all states where Muslims are in a minority;

admire whatever passes for Islamic art and architecture;

relish Muslim cooking and appreciate Muslim dress and demeanour;

abuse Israel and applaud Arab countries.
He should also keep quiet or look the other way when Muslims

breed like rats;

refuse to give modern education to their children;

push their women into purdah;

practise polygamy;

start street-riots at the slightest pretext;

rejoice over every Pakistan victory and every Indian defeat in sports; and

invite and protect infiltrators from across the borders. And he should not whisper a word when Arab governments pour petro-dollars and professional preachers of Islam into this country in order to convert the weaker sections of Hindu society.

Even these positive services rendered to Islam are not sufficient for a Hindu politician or pen-pusher out to earn the secular certificate. One is not secular unless one harbours and expresses a pronounced anti-Hindu animus. One should lodge an immediate protest against the least little expressionm of Hindu religion or culture in public media and at government functions. One should frown upon every government dignitary performing a pooja in a Hindu temple or going to Hindu place prilgrimage. One should accuse all educational, cultural and research institutions of hiding Hindu communalists. One should put the blame squarely on the RSS for every communal riot. And so on, the list of one's grievances against Hindu society should be as long as one's love for Islam and Muslims.
The definition of communal is a logical corollary of the above definition of secular. The dictionaries define the word communal as "pertaining to community, owned in common,, shared." But Hindus in India have only to say that they belong to a community and that they share a culture in common. They immediately provoke secularists of all hues to come down upon them. In fact, the word Hindu itself has become a dirty word, almost an obscenity in India' political parlance. Woe betide the Hindu who dares say that India is his ancestral homeland and that his religion and culture also have a case. He will be immediately denounced as a Hindu chauvinist. A Hindu who blunders into reading Indian history with his own eyes who finds that his society has suffered immeasurably at the hands of Islamic imperialism, and who cries out that this aggression should now stop, makes the Leftists mad with fury. They brand him as an enemy of public peace and national integration. They find in him a fiend who is plotting a genocide of the "poor Muslim minority."