Perhaps it was for the first time that a person, who does have a say in the affairs of Jammu & Kashmir, by virtue of his position in the ruling party had spoken of ‘Akhand Bharat’ – a dream for many that was projected as a nightmare – again for many.
It was the fear psychosis that was impregnated and nurtured in the minds of Muslims by the erstwhile British rulers that had split one of the ancient countries into – two parts.
Just before India was split or technically partitioned, Germany was divided because of the holocaust by the Nazis, who believed Aryans were better than the Jews. It took more than three million lives that were lost in a nearly three decade rule by Nazis to get the country defeated and split – yes, the winners split the spoils.
However, in case of India, lives were lost after partition was declared – more than a million. Nobody was responsible for the loss of these lives, especially the British, who never valued the life of an Indian – be it a Hindu or Muslim or Sikh.
Fighting an enemy you admire was the most difficult thing that could happen to anyone. And this was what happened exactly, to the second generation leaders of freedom movement. The first generation leaders were mostly elders by the time Gandhi had started guiding the movement. Gandhi, for all his sufferings in South Africa, had become a larger than life figure – who could meet the queen simply clad in a dhoti. He was far too occupied with his hatred of white and their thoughts of self supremacy, he was flattered for the recognition he received at the same white men, as the leader of Indian masses. Somehow, he started playing God and the more he preached unity among Hindus and Muslims, the more they were divided. And finally the day came, when one the greatest poets this nation had seen in the nineteenth century, who commanded a place along with Tagore, Muhammad Iqbal, the author of ‘Sare Jahan se Achha – Hindustan Hamara’ conceived the idea of a separate nation for Muslims, which finally culminated by creating Pakistan, opposing India, from the east and the west. May be leaders of national movement, whom we so proudly remember and celebrate were not – in practical terms, so tolerant at all.
The idea of partition was always opposed by Hindu nationalists – I wonder why nobody coined the term Muslim nationalists, though we shall call all Muslims remained in India as Muslim nationalists. The idea of united India, or ‘Akhanda Bharat’ sounded absurd, even after the collapse of Berlin wall, for the perception in general that defined India and Pakistan – not as one people split into two, but two kinds of people, who live to oppose the other. Even those people who wanted people to people engagement did so, only for simple monetary or personal gains thus undermining the genuine need and reason. Lost in between was the rationale that was supposed to be the baseline for any decision, or argument.
First – the prime argument for partition was that Muslims would be subjected to the atrocities of majority Hindus in united India. Till the start of twentieth century, as such, this argument was unheard of – and one may remember, sepoy mutiny was a common fight for both Hindus and Muslims. It was the elite Muslims, who felt the rise of nationalist movement, with a leadership that was predominantly Hindus had sow seeds of insecurity in the otherwise indifferent Muslim masses. Funnily, Jinnah, the father of Pakistan was all but what Islam defines. A regular drinker, smoker, whose God was beyond beliefs and customs. Yes, he was far too secular when compared with the neo-Congress leaders. The fact that Jinnah proclaimed Pakistan as a secular state and the constitution was redrafted post his death is evidence to this.
If Jinnah was a secular leader and Iqbal was dead long before partition, why the separate state? Answer to this question lies in how and why states were bifurcated post independence. If they are bifurcated for administrative reasons, it is not a point of debate. But, most of new states created post independence were based on some classification that was used to differentiate people from one another with language being the major variance. More states, more positions! More Chief Ministers and Goivernors. Small fiefdoms which can be controlled easily. Though it is administratively good to have smaller states, the heterogeneous character of all states was thrown to the wind. So, considering his genius, in all probability, sensing that rule of Congress is as inevitable as independence is, he chose wisely to create another nation. One shot – Two birds. He became father of nation and the first Governor General of Pakistan surpassing both Mahatma Gandhi and Jawaharlal Nehru, who had to share the honours between them. There was a statement of Lord Mountbattten, had he known the status of health of Jinnah, he would have deferred independence and probably the partition. But, given the efficiency of intelligence of the British in those days, his words cannot be believed and he may simply shifting the blame entirely onto the shoulders of Jinnah.
Who got the advantage of the partition?
This is the question, if answered correctly, may help in finding ways to reconcile.
No common Hindu and Muslim had got any benefit out of the partition, except they suffered a lot. The ruffians who satisfied their blood thirst were the only ones who got any satisfaction, at all. Had the country be united, the percentage of Muslims in free India would have been roughly one-third. Considering the type of politics that Indian Government had practised in the last six decades, it is nobody’s guess how powerful the community could be. A bigger vote bank! Far bigger one!! Even today, the main reason for backwardness of Muslims is mainly due to the apathy of their own leaders, who used and abused the commoners.
Losses due to Partition:
First – the economic loss. Both nations maintain and spend heavily on army in protecting the borders, from one another. At least half of current total military expenditure could have been saved and this money could be well spent.
Second – the cultural loss. India still claims the Indus valley civilisation, whose relics were scattered across Pakistan. Yes, we read the ancient history of Pakistan in the name of ancient history of India, forgetting the fact that AT PRESENT, it is not in India. And, nobody bothers about the history of say, South India, East India, North East India. All we read is Asoka and then Akbar, before Robert Clive takes charge. Probably no self respecting nation has such a ludicrous syllabus for history that it is so proud of.
Meanwhile, Pakistan was trying hard to get out of the image of idol worshippers – yes, that was what the Mohenjodaro people were. Pakistanis were disowning the culture of their forefathers and try to ape Arabs, only to get treated shabbily by the Oil rich nations, who considered all non-Arab Muslims as second grade. It is really funny that people living in rice growing Punjab adapt practices used in deserts, but that what the truth is.
This sacred land had indeed committed a great sin to bear two such great nations that contradict their own existence. So, when Ram Madhav spoke about Akhanda Bharat, I would have loved him to explain it in detail – rather than touching it, which may probably leave an impression that RSS was imposing on minorities.
What Hindus should do?
Realise, first Hinduism is not a religion, but a way of living. If at all one wants to declare a religion for himself, he can opt for Shaivism, Vaishnavism etc. Not even ‘Sanatan Dharma’ was a religion. Sanatana simply means ancient and Dharma – in original context never stood for religion. Dharma was ‘Correctness’. Correctness as a person defines – for his own good. Hindu is a foreign word and as long as this was used to represent the majority of the population, the country would be slave – albeit psychologically.
Second, casteism is a bigger threat to the native people of this country, than any other religion – including Islam. People fighting amongst themselves could never fight outsiders – and Indian history is full of such incidents.
What Muslims should do?
Recognise that religion is a private affair and has nothing to do with one’s country. And one cannot kill the DNA in their genes, by shifting loyalties to different gods.
And learn from the mistakes that Hindus made. Stop sectarian discrimination and violence
What Hindus & Muslims need to do: Realise, despite we pray to different gods, we speak same language and follow same practice. Have faith in your own customs evolved over millennia. Restrict religion to home. This land has a way of living that was practised by people living here – irrespective of their religion. And that is ‘Bharathiyata’ – that covers all languages and gods and people living in snow capped mountains, river flowing plains, sun burnt deserts, forests unseen by sun, arid plateaus, backwater shores and beaches.
PS: The photo was taken in Pondicherry, where people like Aurobindo Ghosh and Sumbramania Bharathi lived. Seems someone there still dreams about Akhanda Bharat.