Islamophilia in Bharat – The Obverse of Hinduphobia

Islamophilia in Bharat – The Obverse of Hinduphobia
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In India, people appear to have succumbed en masse to a strange psychic cultural disorder. When it comes to the subject of Islam, they seem star-struck with adoration and driven with a desire to appease and ignore every blemish, fault, and weakness both within the ideology and religion of Islam and in the actions and expressions of Muslims. It seems as if the credo of the Secular State of Bharat is that Hinduism can be, must be criticized, scrutinized, and even rejected – part or whole – and that Hindus can be interfered with, denied equal rights, harassed, and discriminated against.

In recent years we have heard a great deal about “Islamophobia,” but what are the markers of it? What makes a thing Islamophobic? The word/label is applied to anything that could be deemed offensive to any Muslim, anytime, anyplace, and anywhere. This term, “Islamophobia,” is farcical, for a lot of reasons. A phobia is an irrational fear, and there is nothing “irrational” about fearing parts – though certainly not all – of Islam.

Ayaan Hirsi Ali, in one of her talks, said “Islam is not a religion of peace, it’s a political theory of conquest that seeks dominance by any means it can.” Ali has argued with those who claim that Islam is all about peace. There is nothing irrational in fearing Islam or the violent proponents and adherents of the religion. Would it not be rational to be “phobic” of the 9/11 or 26/11 terrorists? It is rational to be “phobic” about Islam if you are an audacious Indian-born British-American novelist like Rushdie, who not only was forced to live in fear for a decade in the 1980s and 1990s but was attacked by a knife-wielding Muslim just last year, nearly four decades after “The Satanic Verses” was published, or if you work at the French satirical weekly magazine Charlie Hebdo, or if you are a brave girl who rejects a Muslim’s proposal in secular India. The Muslim perpetrators may have their beliefs and convictions, but being “phobic” of them and their credo is a perfectly rational instinct, a survival instinct.

This essay is not about the much-used term, Islamophobia. It is about something else, it is about a word that you hardly hear, which is a far more useful term and an infinitely more widespread phenomenon – “Islamophobia”. And it has gripped India and its political system, even as the abuse of Hindus and Hinduism has increased, or maybe because the obverse of Islamophilia is Hinduphobia.

Islamophilia refers to the expression of a disproportionate adoration of Islam. It seems strange that so many people today, while critical of Hindus and Hinduism, and maybe even critical of religion itself, and who claim to be “secular,” not only give Islam a pass but seem to embrace Islam as any Muslim cultist would do. Why do they do so? They do it because they either think they ought to, or because they feel they have to. There are also those who wish to be called liberal, fair, or otherwise cosmopolitan and modern who will mention a good encounter with a Muslim, or who have a Muslim colleague or neighbor, and who think that Muslims are a “minority” in India who have to be “protected”. And the most commonly found kind, are the people who are Islamophiles because they don’t want to be tagged as Islamophobes. They can be found across every spectrum of society. Strangely, prominent among the Islamophiles are Indian politicians, supposedly smart and well-informed college professors, the “intelligentsia” and “opinion-makers,” and of course the media and Bollywood.

In case anyone is under the impression that Islamophilia is a fringe activity, it is worth noting that some of the most powerful people on earth suffer debilitatingly from the condition. Let us take the example of the person who not only affected and influenced generations of Indians but who changed the Indian and Hindu psyche as a whole –Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi – and what his love of Muslims and Islam did to India.

MK Gandhi not just supported the Khilafat Movement, he went on to state this: “I would gladly ask for the postponement of Swaraj if thereby we could advance the interests of Khilafat”. Handing out an infuriating prescription of nonviolence to Hindus and asking them to die “bravely,” Gandhi said — “…I see nothing impossible in asking the Hindus to develop courage and strength to die before accepting forced conversion. I was delighted to be told that there were Hindus who preferred the Moplah hatchet to forced conversion. If these have died without anger or malice, they have died as truest Hindus because they were truest among Indians and men…. Even so is it more necessary for a Hindu to love the Moplah and the Mussalman more when the latter is likely to injure him or has already injured him… Hindu help is at the disposal of the Mussalmans, because it is the duty of the Hindus, as neighbours, to give it….”

Gandhi, the “mahatma,” wrote in his newspaper, Young India, “…it is wrong to say that Islam has employed force. No religion in this world has spread through the use of force. No Musalman, to my knowledge, has ever approved of compulsion”. Whether this is political deception, Islamophilia, or pure fantasy is for us not just to figure out but to bear the burden.

For Gandhi, no price was too great in appeasing Muslims. And the price for Gandhi’s Hindu-Muslim unity was always to be paid by Hindus. Gandhi was the one who let loose a monster that assumed a deadly force in Indian polity – “Muslim appeasement”.

In his book prophetically titled, “Gandhi and Anarchy,” published in 1922, Sankaran Nair wrote: “It is impossible to believe that Gandhi and his adherents are not aware that this claim of the Mohammedans to be judged only by the Law of the Koran, is a claim which is the fons et origo* of all Khilafat claims of whatever kind. It is well to be clear about this, for not only does the acceptance of the claim mean the death knell of the British Empire or Indo-British Commonwealth, whatever name we may care to give to the great fraternity of nations to which we belong, but specifically as regards India it means a real denial of Swaraj, for it involves Mohammedan rule and Hindu subjection.”

We all know about the Shah Bano Case. The Congress Party, which had tacitly encouraged Muslim fundamentalists in order to garner their support during the elections, now played the appeasement card in this affair. The party could not let the judiciary wrest Muslim support from its control. Votes were evidently more important than women’s rights.

In 1988, under Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi, India became the first country to ban The Satanic Verses as a pre-emptive measure. The ban was put in place even before Ayatollah Khomeini of Iran issued a fatwa for the beheading of Rushdie.

HV Seshadri, in his seminal book, “The Tragic Story of Partition,” rightly summed up the Congress Party’s disastrous philosophy and policy of Muslim appeasement in these words: “Congress had been, from its very inception, caught in an ideological trap laid by the British: that the Congress could lay claim to be a national body only if all the religious communities in this land would come together on its platform; then alone would the British Government consider it as representative of all Indians and look into its demands”.

After we gained independence in 1947, Jawaharlal Nehru considered it his bounden duty to treat the Hindus of India as sacrificial goats through his pernicious policy of secularism and Muslim appeasement duly enshrined in Articles 29 and 30 of the Indian Constitution.

As HV Seshadri rightly says, “This was how the Congress – in place of educating the Muslims in lessons of the true content of emotional integration, i.e., making them realize the dangers of separatism and persuading them to share the common national aspirations and joys and sorrows of the rest of their countrymen – began pampering their divisive tendencies”.

Coming to the present, participating in the prayers on the occasion of Id-Ul Fitr, West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee urged the Muslim community to unite and vote in the 2024 Lok Sabha polls.

According to a RTI report the Delhi government, led by Arvind Kejriwal, granted over Rs 101 crore of public funds to the Wakf board in the last seven years and Rs 62.57 crore alone in 2021.

Amanatullah Khan, an elected Muslim member of the Legislative Assembly, openly called for the beheading of a Hindu. And we pretended everything is hunky-dory, because he is a “Muslim”.

No leading Muslim figures, Indian politicians in power, or the opposition condemned Khan’s call for the beheading of a Hindu. Is this so because this is what Islam demands for anyone who dares to hurt “Muslim sentiments”?

If everybody in a country agrees on something, from the Prime Minister on to important figures and film stars, it must be right, no? Well, no. They are wrong.

As a result of historical blunders, the Hindus of Bharat at present, are facing three types of problems, and challenges: One directly from the Muslims, the second from the pro-Muslim Hindus, communists, the so-called secularists, the short-sighted selfish Hindu leaders, and the third from those Hindu leaders and dharmacharyas who are neglecting the political aspects of Hindu Dharma in their discourses and dreaming of the eternity of Sanatana Dharma. Probably they are underestimating the long-term consequences of the jihadi policies and activities of Muslims and of their “secularist” enablers.

An impartial historical analysis may reveal that Hindus did not lose as much in the thousand years while fighting the barbarous Muslim invaders as they have been made to suffer in the past hundred or so years from Muslim appeasement in the garb of secularism. And let us keep this in mind – the more the Islamophilia, the more the Hinduphobia.

*Source and origin

Deeksha Tyagi

Deeksha Tyagi is a student at Miranda House, University of Delhi, pursuing a BA (Hons.) in History.