Hindu-Muslim Unity Strengthens Nation
A few days back I received an invitation from a Muslim about marriage of his son. It surprised me that it was in Hindi and the functions listed were: Samot, Preeti Bhoj, and vidai etc. It was no different from Hindu cards that I get. The road to peace and strength of nation lies not in hatred or separatism but living with each other with full commitment to the country in which we live. I lived in pre-partition days and witnessed the division of the country. It was a painful and tragic event as we had learnt to live together in spite of occasional skirmishes as Ghalib wrote: Ghar ke hangame pe mauqoof hai ghar ki raunaq/ Noh e gham hi sahi naghm e shadi na sahi. On the din of the noise in the house depends the mirth of the house/let there be some sad tunes if happy tones are not there. It had become a house where in spite of domestic fights we lived together.
A nation cannot live in the nightmares of its history and it must search the excellence of its civilization and culture. Hindu culture, unlike Islam, has been liberal and permitted freedom of living and actions. In ancient times there was no torture committed on dissenters and free speech was encouraged by its rulers and life in general. That was the reason every shade of philosophy prospered in India right from Vedas to Charvaks and even permitted people to preach their different religion. That is how Buddhism and Jainism grew in the times of Hindu kings. It was Harshvardhan, a strong ruler of India who permitted Hsuan Tsang to preach Buddhism although he was personally a devout Hindu. Many stories do exist when some Brahmins did atrocity to lower castes or others but this was not part of Hinduism. Swami Dyanand was poisoned and Gandhi was assassinated by their own religious zealots. No one was converted or forced to follow different religion. There was always debate and discussion so much that some Hindus made fun of their own Gods and it was tolerated.
Muslims who came to India gradually learnt this from Hindus and were tolerant and while perusing their own religion continued to hold others with respect and some time laughed on their own religion also. Take the example of Ghalib who when questioned in court if he was a Muslim, replied ‘Sir only half Muslim as I do not eat pork but I do drink’. Mir another Urdu poet wrote ‘Mir ke din o mahzab ko kya pooch houn ne to /Kashka khencha der main betha kab ka turk islam kiya, Why do you ask for the religion of Mir? For long he has applied vermillion on forehead sitting in temple and given up Islam. No fatwa was issued against him and no one threatened him. They were not Muslims of Qwasi type or Bukhari type.
In my view tolerance is great virtue and every human being must have it to be a good human being, But as Ghalib said it difficult for a man to be really human. Humanism and not secularism was the need while patriotism was essential. Rightly Modi said Indian Muslim will die and live for India. It is this spirit of nationalism and humanism that is needed but more than it is the tolerance for other views and faiths that is sine qua non of a good citizen of a pluralistic nation like India. A dominant culture will influence every shade of faith. This is how Islamic rule too influenced Hinduism in India. We have to learn to live in synthesis and that is strength of India.
By N K Singh