As one gets interested in the life and politics of the Muslims in contemporary India one becomes aware of two rather vociferous camps of opinion. In order not to assign unnecessary values I shall refer to them as camps A and B. Those whom I put in Camp A feel that the Muslims are hampering social and political progress in India by refusing to be truly modern and, in the opinion of a few, truly Indian./1/ Thus they believe that India has a "Muslim problem." They desire that the Muslims should (a) reject their obscurantist and separatist leaders, (b) work to obtain a common civil code for a all the citizens of India, (c) stop functioning as a bloc in national as well as , (d) subject their religion to a thorough socio-historical critique, (e) stop believing in the supremacy of their religion and give equal validity and relevance in their thinking to other religions, (f) embrace the faith of territorial nationalism, and (g) stop looking toward Pakistan for inspiration and leadership.
/1/ For the sake of convenience, and not because I feel that they are identical in all their views, I have put in Camp A Balraj Madhok, Hamid Dalwai, A. B. Shah, contributors to the forum on the "Muslim Problem in India" in Quest #67, (October-December 1970) and a sizable number of other writers inOrganizer and Mother India. My apologies to those who for some reason may not like their present company.
/2/ To Camp B belong the leaders of such organisations as the Mulsim Majlis and the Jama'at-e-Islami, much of the Urdu press, and the contributors toRadiance.
/3/ W. C. Smith, Islam in Modern History, New York: The New American Library, 1959.
/4/ M. Mujeeb, The Indian Muslims, London, 1967; Abid Husain, The Destiny of Indian Muslims, Bombay, 1965. Though Abid Husain's book and Aziz Ahmad's Islamic Modernism in India and Pakistan: 1857-1964 are also available in Urdu, Professor Mujeeb's book has not been translated into Urdu. Similarly unavailable in Urdu are the writings of Moin Shakir and Rafiq Zakaria.
/5/ Narahar Kurundkar, "The Mslim Problem in Indian Politics," in Quest #67, October-December 1970.
/6/ I take it that Kurundkar has in mind only the Muslim elite, for the overwhelming majority of the Muslims never had special privileges. They were and are a part of the huge mass of poverty-ridden and exploited humanity living in Indian towns and villages.
/7/ For example, the religious ideas of Sir Sayyid never found a place even in the college that he started, not to mention theological seminaries. Maulana Azad's tafsir is now easily available in both English and Urdu, but it is Maulana Maudoodi's tafsir that appears in the pages of Radiance, though for some reason the publishers do not mention his full name.
/8/ Democracy in Pakistan was doomed from the moment M. A. Jinnah chose to be the Governor General rather than the Prime Minister of the new state. His decision allowed the bureaucracy and the army as well as the man in the presidential palace to gain control of enormous powers. It is heartening to note that Sheikh Mujibur Rahman has acted differently in Bangladesh, and power is finally in the hands of the elected representatives of the people.
/9/ Talking with many Pakistanis one gets the feeling that they need the misery of Indian Muslims to justify their own existence. Many of them simply refuse to believe that the vast majority of Indian Muslims have suffered no more difficulty than their non-Muslim compatriots.
/10/ The restriction on books and magazines was perhaps put primarily to stop Indian Bengali publications, but as justice would have it, it also affected the trade in Urdu books, which happens to be mostly in the hands of the Muslims in India.
/11/ The riots at Aligarh were politically motivated and perhaps would have occurred even if Mr. Saleem was not contesting. Radiance described them as anti-Muslim, while Organizer labeled them anti-Hindu. One may add that there were riots also at Burhanpur, where the Muslims supported a Hindu candidate of Congress (R) even against a Muslim opponent, who lost his security.
/12/ Girilal Jain, "Nation-Building in India," in Quest, #67, October-December 1970.
/13/ Balraj Madhok, Indianisation?, Delhi, 1970.
/14/ Quoted in Abid Husain, The Destiny of Indian Muslims, p. 202.
/15/ What struck me most in Mr. Madhok's list was the absence of such days as the Independence and Republic Days.
/16/ For an excellent discussion of these issues, see Thapar, Mukhia and Chandra, Communalism and the Writing of Indian History, Delhi, 1969; and the exchange in the Economic and Political Weekly, 9 May 1970
/17/ Azeez Basha vs. the Union of India, A.I.R.1968, S.C., p. 662. Also see Radiance, 4 October 1970.
/18/ Osmania University was the first in the country to teach all university courses through the medium of an Indian language, i.e. Urdu. It is a shame that for somewhat parochial reasons that situation was changed. But even before that happened, Osmania was never a truly pan-Indian institution in the sense the AMU was and is. Nor was the example of Osmania emulated elsewhere, not even at Aligarh. Much of the blame for the decline of Urdu falls on the lovers of Urdu themselves. See my article "Aa'inah dur Aa'inah' in Shabkhoon, Allahabad, #59.
/19/ Reported in The Hindustan Times, 12 December 1969.
/20/ The remarks on the riots are based on the reports published in The Hindustan Times, Indian Express, Mainstream, Radiance (reprinted from other sources), publications of the Sampradayikta Virodhi Samiti and the Muslim Majlis, and other similar sources. No statement has been made here without sufficient documentary support.
/21/ Robert Melson and Howard Wolpe, "Modernization and the Politics of Communalism: A Theoretical Perspective," in the American Political Science Review, vol.64, # 4, December 1970.