Thursday, December 8th, 2022 22:45:50

Tale Of Two ‘Nationalists’

Updated: August 24, 2013 10:45 am



COMPARISONS are odious, Satiricus is told. What he is not told is that they are not, when made by distinguished columnists like MJ Akbar in his recent piece Mahatma versus Modi : Tale of two ‘nationalists’. For this ignoramus, who claims to be a columnist too, Shri Akbar’s enlightening, irrepulsive (as against odious, that is repulsive) comparison revealed that there are nationalists and nationalists, and there are at least two types of nationalists where one type is versus the other. Satiricus never knew this. Maybe it was too fine a distinction for a myopic moron like Satiricus to see. So this simpleton was under the simplistic impression that a nationalist was one who loved his nation and was not ashamed of standing up for it. And what was a nation? According to philosopher Renan, a nation was a spiritual fact, so Satiricus was misled to believe that there was nothing wrong in 85 per cent Indians, who are Hindus, feeling a spiritual bond with India as a Hindu nation. But of course Renan was wrong. It now seems by secular standards, if 85 per cent Hindus living in India make India a Hindu nation, 12 per cent Muslims living in India make India equally a Muslim nation.

Isn’t that simple? Alas, it is not. Rather, it is learnedly complicated. For according to Akbar’s non-‘hateful’ comparison, “Gandhi gave “Muslim nationalism” institutional credibility in the fractured decade after the khilafat movement, “and he was distressed” when Jinnah reduced it to “Muslim nation”. “Well, now, frankly speaking the distinction is too deep for this dunce, but he cannot help wondering….Why did not Shri Akbar equally learnedly explain why the khilafat movement led to a “fractured decade”? Why did a top Congress leader like Lokmanya Tilak dub it “akhil āfat”? When Gandhi declared, “Khilafat is attainment of Swaraj and vice versa”, why did Sir Shankaran Nair, a member of the Viceroy’s executive council at the time, write in Gandhi and Anarchy that it “involves Mohammedan rule and Hindu subjugation”? Or was this Hindu subjugation the same as the “Muslim nationalism” to which Gandhi gave praiseworthy “institutional credibility”? Does all this make sense to Satiricus? But of course if it does not, that must be because Satiricus has no sense. Or is that because, as a wit rather rudely put it, “words are like leaves, and where they most abound, much fruit of sense beneath is rarely found”? In either case what Satiricus has been able to vaguely make out is that according to Akbar, “Gandhi was father of an ideology that knit the groundwork for modern India,” but Jinnah distressingly reduced Gandhi’s “Muslim nationalism” to “Muslim nation”, which “was a visible reduction, philosophically, intellectually and finally geographically”. Translated into English (pardon Satiricus’s poor English), this means Gandhiji’s ideology of India ended up in the creation of Pakistan. This, Akbar assures Satiricus, is the sweet fruit of Gandhi’s sarva dharma sambhava. Now, all this secular intellectualism is beyond what passes for this communal cuss’s intellect; still he cannot help wondering if Akbar really understands Gandhi’s ideology when he cannot even spell it correctly. Of course it is infra dig for a secular intellectual to know Sanskrit, which Will Durant calls a Hindu language, but Satiricus must presume to point out that sambhava is Sanskrit for “possible” while the word for a sense of equality is samabhaava.

Then again, even if sarva dharma samabhava means equality between the religion of Hinduism and the religion of Islam, what about that Supreme Court judgement declaring that Hinduism is not a religion but a way of life? Did that judgement show the Supreme Court’s supreme ignorance of Hinduism? Satiricus does not know despite a Law degree under his belt. All the same, even if Hinduism and Islam are both religions, how can Shri Akbar demean Islam so much as to equate it with Hinduism when, according to an “intellectual” Pakistani historian of Hinduism, Hinduism is the “murderer of humanity” and according to government-approved school textbooks in Pakistan Hindus are “mean murderers”? And here, apropos Akbar’s erudite explanation that Jinnah’s deplorable distortion of Gandhi’s Muslim nationalism into Muslim nation led to the geographical creation of Pakistan, Satiricus would like to suggest that Akbar go to school in Pakistan to learn the history of this geography. There the learned columnist would learn that although Pakistan came into being in name in August 1947, the “first citizen of Pakistan” was Mohammed bin Qasim, who came from Arabia to India in 712 AD, 1300 years ago. He would also learn that in later historical times there was a period when the whole of the Indian sub-continent was fully Pakistan. Does this education not assure us that to this day admirable efforts are afoot to repeat that geographical history? In support of this mission “Shri” Hafiz Saeed’s internationally-acclaimed organization has publicly vowed to develop Baqistan into as many as three Muslim nations. Such a consummation could be an ideal opportunity to write a learned column telling the “Tale of three nationalists”—Gandhi, Jinnah, and the columnist.

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