Religious violence in India includes targeted violence against Muslims. There have been several instances of religious violence against Muslims since Partition of India in 1947, frequently in the form of violent attacks on Muslims by Hindu mobs that form a pattern of sporadic sectarian violence between the majority Hindu and minority Muslim communities. Over 10,000 people have been killed in Hindu-Muslim communal violence since 1950 in 6,933 incidents of communal violence between 1954 and 1982. The causes of this violence against Muslims are varied. The roots are seen in India’s history – resentment towards the Islamic domination of India during the Middle Ages , policies established by the country’s British colonizers, and the violent partition of India culminating in the formation of a Muslim-majority Pakistan and a secular India with a Muslim minority. Many scholars believe that incidents of anti-Muslim violence are politically motivated and a part of the electoral strategy of mainstream political parties who are associated with Hindu nationalism like the Bharatiya Janata Party . This is clear that many of these acts of violence are institutionally supported, particularly by political parties and organizations connected to the Hindu nationalist volunteer organisation, Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS). In particular, scholars blame the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and the Shiv Sena for complicity in these incidents of violence and of using violence against Muslims as a part of a larger electoral strategy.
In the past three years of the BJP government led by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, the policy of discrediting anything that is related to Muslims and even targeting them in the name of beef etc., has become evident. Cow vigilantes take on anyone. Though Modi once denounced these actions, on the ground not much has changed. The wedge that is being created between Hindus and the largest minority, Muslims, seems to be gaining strength with official sanction that comes from rulers like Yogi Adityanath the incumbent Chief Minister of Utter Pradesh. Showing India as a Hindu Rashtra is a project with a map in which Muslims are put in the category of the “Other”. This is something that has been vigorously pursued in the last three years. The BJP’s policy vis-a-vis Muslims is clear. In a way, the BJP has made it clear that Muslims have nearly no place in its rank and file save a few “showpieces” or token figures in the party. Today there are only two faces in the BJP’s national executive. Despite 15 percent of India being Muslims, there was not a single Muslim candidate for the BJP in the elections in most populous state -Uttar Pradesh. A little-known face was inducted as minister.
Murderers and Robbers are freely walking and honest people who never divulged any one are being targeted.
So, hitting out at the Taj in a way does not come as a surprise since an atmosphere of hate has already been built up. However, the silver lining is that the reaction from many people was hard-hitting. Going by social media, Sangeet Som’s assertions were compared with demolishing Buddha’s statues in Bamiyan and likening him with the Taliban. What is currently hitting the otherwise secular and diverse identity of India is this mental set-up. The BJP and its cohorts may have succeeded in making the majority of Indians believe that they have recovered a “Hindu India” from secularists who were appeasing Muslims but it has come at a cost. India’s image in the outside world is now of an intolerant nation and not of one that was accommodating of all religions and views, thus making it a compact of diversity.
Of late, Mughal emperors have been the target of this frenzy and the narrative built around them is of persecutors of Hindus. However, in contrast it comes out that they have played an important role in building temples.
Besides adding grandeur to Indian culture by building monuments like the Taj they have donated land and money for Hindu religious places. Interestingly, the Gorakhnath in Ayodhaya of which Yogi Adityanath is a Mahant was given by Nawab Asif-ud-Daula. “In Yogi Adityanath’s case, the Gorakhnath land of which he is the Mahant, was donated by Nawab Asif-ud-Daula who visited Gorakhpur around 1790. Since Asif-ud-Daula was a Shia, he wanted to meet Roshan Ali, the pir of an Imambara in the region. Roshan Ali asked Asif-ud-Daula to donate land to Gorakhnath. In the 19th century, it was said that half of Gorakhpur belonged to Roshan Ali’s Imambara and the other half to the Gorakhnath,” wrote the Indian Express on October 17.
Similarly, the “most condemned” Mughal ruler is Aurangzeb whose name was erased by the BJP government from a road in Lutyens Delhi and replaced with the “more acceptable” APJ Abdul Kalam, a former president of India. However, Audrey Truschke, a historian at Rutgers University in the US in her latest book, “Aurangzeb: The Man and the Myth” dispelled the notion about the ruler. She did intense research and argued that Aurangzeb was a tolerant emperor who argued for religious freedom, and to an extent even advocated secular policy in matters of governance. Certainly, he did a few extreme things during his long rule. In her own words, Aurangzeb was man of his time. To single him out as a despot and label him a bigot is a gross misrepresentation. We can only do justice to his life if things are viewed in context. Her book was critically reviewed but the underlying acceptance was that he was not a despotic ruler.
Dr Zakir Naik is not responsible for what has happened in Dhaka. Nowhere he gave the orders to anyone to commit acts of violence instead he urges Muslims to be on the path of non violence which has been mentioned in Quran and hadiths. This ban is nothing but the real Fascist Anti Muslim act of this government. This Government happens to have MP’s and MLA’s who frequently spew their anti Muslim venom in their Hateful speeches and when that Happens our PM is silent just as he was Silent over Dadri. This is a Pro Bhagwat Government they needed a lie to ban and Malign Zakir Naik when they give tickets to Adityanath and Sakshi Maharaj, so spare us from your ridiculous reasons for this ban. World knows this is a pro Hindutva front which is doing its best to suppress the voice of minorities.It must be Shame on India for the way the premier Indian Investigating Agency declared Zakir Nayak proclaimed offender for an unsubstantiated fake news report which was retracted by the News Paper itself. He is a respected Islamic Scholar who has to be countered through speeches and proper counter arguments. The world is laughing at you Mr prime Minister for the treatment your Government meted out to a Islamic preacher who is a Muslim. I am ashamed of what is happening in India where minorities are treated in such a way that another country has respectfully given citizenship to him. Politicans Who kill thousands of people become Ministers, MLAs, MPs and become respectable Indian Leaders. Murderers and Robbers are freely walking and honest people who never divulged any one are being targeted.
(Muft Nasir-Ul-Islam is chairman Jammu & Kashmir Muslim Personal Law Board. His views are personal)