Monday, September 30, 2013

( 11 ) " Islam and India. "

By Sodium

Before I touch what Graham Fuller has embodied in his fascinating and provocative book , entitled, " A World Without Islam, " it may be in order to provide the novice and interested readers with a brief background about the current political geography of India, as how it was and how it had become:

In 1947, India was one integrated country colonized by Great Britain. In other words, it was considered a mere British colony. After 1947, it was fragmented into three separate and sovereign countries, namely:  India, Pakistan and Bangladesh. In the process of shifting population, by the British, from one locality to other localities, within the geographical boundaries of India, the British gave the state of Kashmir to Hindu India to govern and rule, in spite of the fact that the vast majority of the population of Kashmir was ( and still is ) Muslim. Such an action has not been accepted by Muslim Pakistan ever since. Hence, India and Pakistan had waged three wars against one another in the last 50 years. And yet, the conflict/dispute over Kashmir has not been settled. To allow this conflict to remain unsolved can be too dangerous, since both India and Pakistan have nuclear arsenals; and thus a nuclear exchange has become in the realm of possibilities, if not in the realm of probabilities, in future wars. All it takes a fanatical leader on ether side to start the horror.

Although the conflict " APPEARS " to be based on differences in religious beliefs, all historical and even cultural facts have indicated that religion has little to do with the conflict as much as greed for territories or/lands grab and geopolitical hegemony, as planned by the British colonial rule to serve British interest.

Back to the review of the chapter of the book, " A World Without Islam," for this topic ( 11 ) Islam and India:

What has initially attracted my attention in the review for this particular topic are the following historical facts:

Fact One:
 India is fundamentally Hindu and has been known so since time immemorial.

Fact Two:
 Islam had reached SOUTHERN India, in peaceful ways ,through Arab merchants in the 7th century A.D..

Fact Three:
Islam entered NORTHERN India in none-peaceful-ways, through Afghani, Persian and Arab warriors.

Question: what is the point for listing the three historical facts above?
Answer: for simply re-emphasizing the well known adage ": violence breeds violence,"  because what the world sees, at present time, occasional horrible violence in India occurs in the NORTHERN part of India and not in SOUTHERN India, where the Muslim population has been totally assimilated within the traditions, customs, norms, mores and culture of Indian..

The following quotations from the book, " A World Without Islam " may provide the novice and interested readers with basic essentials in order to accumulate adequate knowledge about Islam and India:

Quotation One:
" In our alternative scenario of a world without Islam, the lines in India are less clear. In one sense, things would be quite different without Islam: the world would have been deprived of the brilliance of the Hindu-Muslim fusion civilization of the Mughals. At the same time, it might have been spared some of the ugly religious struggles between Hindus, Muslims, and Sikhs that have characterized recent history. So, in this context, the more interesting question might be, Was the religious strife between Hindus and Muslims inevitable?  Did this have to be a bloody border?  Why are we where we are today?  And how much is really about religion?  Or can the roots of the problem also be traced to the self-serving policies of British colonial rule in India? "

 Note: Based on quotation one as quoted above, it is obvious that the questions embodied in in  it needed solid answers, or, at least, reasonable or acceptable answers. Perhaps, the quotations listed below,( namely quotations two, three, four, and five, plus final words ),  may provide some answers, if the content of one quotation is connected to the others, in order to establish an integrated whole from all of the quotations were being quoted. Of course, it is up to the interested readers to make such connections.

Quotation Two:
" For Hindu nationalists, the Hindu religion is as deeply rooted in Indian soil as anything can be; any other religion intruding on that soil is either absorbed into its embrace or seen as an unwelcome foreign intruder. Thus, both Islam and Christianity are seen in this latter light-more on political and cultural grounds than on theological grounds. Both Islam and Christianity sought to roll back Hinduism in their own favor. The fact that the most widespread international symbol of India today should be quintessentially Muslim architecture of the Taj Mahal rankles Hindu nationalists deeply. Yet an India without its Mughal fusion civilization would have been a culturally far less rich place.

   More liberal-minded accounts of the same history take pride in the rich fruits of Hindu-Islamic civilization. Each culture markedly influenced the other in profound ways, suggesting the creative absorptive power and malleability of both. Yet today, Indian Muslims have become disadvantaged minorities within the great Indian society they once ruled and helped shape. They have come in from outside, been at the top, fallen to the bottom, and are now mulling over their place as a minority in the new conditions of the modern Indian state. Maybe it is this diverse historical trajectory that has given Indian Muslims the most subtle and complex vision of Islam in multicultural society to be found anywhere."

Quotation Three:
" India TOUCHED Muslims in particular ways. First, it is one of the many areas of South and Southeast Asia where Islam did not initially come by the sword. Trading connection between Arab seafaring merchants and the southwest coast of India were well established long before Islam. According to Hindu records, the first actual Muslim settlement on the Indian subcontinent took place in the early seventh century in just one such Arab trader settlement. Reportedly, the first mosque was established in Kodungallur in today's Kerala province in 612 CE, during the Prophet lifetime."

Quotation Four:
" Historians draw major distinctions between the nature of Islam in the north and in the south of India. In the south, Islam came on the scene early via trade and missionary work; in the north Islam entered many hundreds of years later as one of  the many invaders of north India from Central Asia. As a result, tensions between Muslims and Hindus are more pronounced in the north than in the south, where the Muslim population gradually integrated into the local culture, as opposed to the Muslims who invaded the north with their armies of mixed Persian, Arab, Turkic, and Mongol blood."

Quotation Five:
" With the gradual collapse of the Mughal Empire in the face of encroaching British imperialism, the Mughal system began to lose its power, and with it came a gradual decline of Muslim status. The British, too, perceived a greater degree of resistance to their rule from Muslims than from Hindus and hence began to give preference within the system to the Hindus, whom they felt were more "reliable" or "pliable."

Final Words:
It is clear from quotation five quoted above why the British favored Hindus over Muslims and hence because of this favoritism had awarded Muslim Kashmir to India instead of Pakistan in spite of the fact that the British had no right to award any thing under their imperialistic rule to anybody. And as I examine the regions which the British colonized and eventually withdrew from, on their own. or expelled from by other means, I see one pattern repeated over and over again: they created disputes, if not conflicts, in the places they colonized. Examples:

~  Before leaving India, they created the conflict between India and Pakistan over Kashmir.
~  Before leaving Cyprus, they created the conflict between Greeks and Turks over Cyprus
~  Before leaving Palestine, they created the conflict over Palestine between Zionists and Palestinians.

Was it the brutal policy of " divide and rule " or rather " divide and conquer "  ? You bet it was. And at the end, blame the whole results of such a brutal and selfish policy on differences in religions..


Next topic will be topic ( 12 ) Islam and China.


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