Religion, Communalism or Liberalism: What suits India?

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During last few decades, unfortunately Congress has had no Gandhis or Azads, not even their downsized versions. There is hardly any Congress leader, Hindu or Muslim, who is known for his religious knowledge and piety. But there are hard-line versions of both Patel and Nehru opines Dr Javed Jamil.

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The Indian polity seems to have the domination of two kinds of leaders. On the one hand there are people who have manifest communal leanings, some being soft and others hardliners. Casteism is also in the same mode, but is normally not as rabid in India as communalism. The communal elements are there in almost all political parties though certain parties are considered outright communal in nature. The parties like Shiv Sena and BJP are well-known political compensations with clear tilt towards Hindu communalism. There are certain Muslim parties also like Muslim League and Majlis Ittehad Muslimeen, which practice reactive communalism. Then there are liberalists which again are there in almost all political parties. Congress and Communist parties have had the dominance of liberal elements.

It will be worthwhile to discuss here in particular the nature of Congress. Congress has had, throughout the history, a mixture of religious, communal and liberal elements. Gandhi and Maulana Azaad represented the religious class without any communal bias. For them religion was of paramount importance but it was more a matter of principles rather than identity. Gandhi was a devout Hindfu and Aazd a devout Muslim. Both had deep knowledge of their religions, and still they cared for the humanity at large. Both were ready to understand the problems of all the religious communities in India and were ready to give them what they needed. They would take care not to antagonise other communities through their words and actions. Then there was Sardar Patel who had shades of soft Hindu communalism. He had a certain affinity for his community but still took care not to unduly antagonise Muslims. With Gandhi, Nehru and Aazd around, he preferred to keep his preferences in check. It can be argued that perhaps he had no other option if he wanted to be a part of the ruling polity. Jawahar Lal Nehru was a soft liberalist, not fond of religion, but was again able to keep his anti-religion or non-religious views up to himself. He advocated total separation of religion and politics but did not let it become an open refutation of religion.

During last few decades, unfortunately Congress has had no Gandhis or Azads, not even their downsized versions. There is hardly any Congress leader, Hindu or Muslim, who is known for his religious knowledge and piety. But there are hard-line versions of both Patel and Nehru. Narsimha Rao was certainly more a BJP-man than a congressman. His role in the demolition of the Babri Mosque is now too well known to describe. I had an occasion to meet Shiv Raj Patil, former Home Minister in Narsimnha Rao’s government, and I found him a man with blatantly biased views against Islam and Muslims. Gandhi-Nehru family has largely remained soft liberal on the footsteps of Jawahar. But there have been many in the Congress (Hindus as well as Muslims) who became liberal hardliners giving no importance to religion at all. They believe that religion has nothing to do with public life including politics, and often fail to differentiate between religious identity and religious values.

The country today – in fact the whole world—neither needs communalists nor liberalists. The country needs the followers of Gandhis and Azaads. Soft liners like Nehru can be tolerated but not the hard-line liberalists who have no respect for religion as a social force nor the communalists who spread hatred against other communities. Liberalists argue that they are believers in scientific spirit, and in a world of science there can be no room for religion except as purely a private affair. The truth is that liberalism is a product of economic fundamentalism and has little to do with scientific spirit. Liberalists believe in absolute freedom of choice, which is the master plan of the forces of economics aimed at commercialisation of human susceptibilities. Science, particularly medical sciences clearly prove that the freedom of choice is a dangerous concept which leads to huge loss of lives throughout the world. Both mortality and morbidity related to the freedom in eating, drinking and sexual behaviour are huge, with more than 70 million people dying as a result of the problems created by these practices. Religion on the other hand is almost on the same plane as medical sciences with most religions effectively banning or restricting these dangerous practices. Medical sciences, as I have argued in my latest book, “Dynamic Paradigm of Health” are unequivocal in telling the mankind that the safest option for the survival of human species in a safe and healthy environment with equal benefit to men, women and children, is through a well-established marriage system between males and females. Liberalists of course have other ideas. In the name of distorted and unhealthy notions of freedom and equality, they are not only condoning the death of millions of humans and humans-in-making but are also endangering the very survival of human species. Their argument in favour of theories of creation is also fallacious because theories of creation are less scientific and more economic theories promoted by the economic fundamentalists that do not tolerate God in sciences. Eager to prove that everything was created on its own without any guidance or planning from anywhere, they blame religion for being against the theory of evolution without realising that religions are not against evolution but against the concept that the evolution was not being planned and pushed by God. The universe did not come into existence in a single moment, and all the living beings did not originate within minutes. Of course, the evolution took place, but it is history; and history cannot be shown live. The theories of evolution are not final and will continue to change.

Thanks to both the enemies and friends of religion, religion has not remained what it should have been. Instead of religious values, godliness, piety and social values, religious people have become more concerned about the identity and are often more interested in showing other religions in worst colours rather than showing their religion in the best. There is absolutely no harm in anyone thinking his religion or ideology as the best. If he does not believe this, why will he stay in that religion? The problem comes when he shows more interest in spreading myths and hatred against other religions and their followers. This has to be stopped at all costs if the religion has to play the role it must play. Communalism has nothing to do with religion; it is the product of politics rather than religion. Politics tries to misuse every possible sentiment for their ends, and in a cou7ntry where religious sentiments are strong, politicians would not miss any opportunity to misuse religion.

India needs religion – in its pristine form. India cannot afford a polity without religion. Religion resides in every sphere of India’s existence. The overwhelming majority of Indians believe in religion. They may have different methods of worship but they all believe in God. They all are firm believers in the family system and the devotion and loyalty that goes along with family. Unfortunately, religion has ceased top play the social role it must play. The polity is controlled by the forces for whom nothing matters but money and power. In order to further their interests, they are promoting a kind of liberalism, which hardly few Indians relish. Yet, anyone countering the liberalists is dismissed with contempt by the media controlled by the forces of economics.

But religion will not resurrect itself unless all the communities resurrect their faith in the social dimension of religion. They will have to abandon communalism. The devouts of Hinduism, Islam, Christianity, Budhism, Sikihism, Jainism, and any other religion that exists here, will have to learn to live together, to abandon mistrust in one another, to care for the genuine demands of all and to give rights to all to live their lives in accordance with their culture. Above all, they have to learn that religion calls for service to the whole mankind, and not merely one’s own community. The parties like BJP, Muslim League and Akali Dal can still function. They can continue to fight for the genuine demands of specific communities but they will have to abandon forever hatred for other communities.

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* Dr Javed Jamil is India based thinker and writer with over a dozen books including his latest, “Quranic Paradigms of Sciences & Society” (First Vol: Health), “Muslims Most Civilised, Yet Not Enough” and “Muslim Vision of Secular India: Destination & Road-map”. Other works include “The Devil of Economic Fundamentalism”, “The Essence of the Divine Verses”, “The Killer Sex”, “Islam means Peace” and “Rediscovering the Universe”. He can be contacted atdoctorforu123@yahoo.com or 91-8130340339. For his shayri visit http://urduyouthforum.org/shayari/poet-Dr-Javed-Jamil.html

 

9 COMMENTS

  1. Sir,
    I feel whatever you have written is an ideal condition for the world. You respect your religion and you are an islamic scholar, hence you see Islam from a different eye, I am a liberal Hindu and hence i see hinduism and our God Ram from a different perspective. But what about extremists? Unfortunately majority of people, whether they are hindu or muslim, are extremist and don’t understand the meaning of religion and god. I believe more the importance of religion in the community more are the chances of religious extremism. Whatever is happening in Pakistan is the consequence? Whatever happens during a religious riot anywhere in the world is the consequence. You can’t expect that everyone has the same scholar mind as you have got. Everyone’s temperamental, emotional, religious, and intelligence quotient is different and i believe they will perceive religion based on these quotient and not on what is written in quran and for what reason. At least that’s how i feel. No offense

  2. Mr Javed Jamil,

    You are aspiring for a situation where things are more ideal rather than realistic. If one follows religion in its true spirit it will end up in what you are mentioning as Liberalism.
    How are you going to pursue the scientific advancements and researches where even a slight deviation from set norms amounts to heresy and apostasy. Who will determine the boundaries of the acts of an individual, naturally you will say that the people who know religion. Doesn’t this mean that there is an existing bias for a person who is more into religion. And how would you judge the person who is interpreting the religious scriptures for you, that his interpretation is the only correct one. For Eg. a small verse of Quran “LA IKRAHA FIDDEEN” is debated by five ulemas in five ways, whom do you consider to be correct, the one who has more following. See the views of Maulana ISRAR on Role of Non Muslims in an Islamic Society and Women Purdah and also see the views of Javed Ahmed Ghamidi which stands in stark contrast to the popular belief of the Deobandi muslims. If you truly mean to preach what you are writing then the first demand of yours should be the closure of Darul Uloom Deoband seminary. There entire teaching starts with whatever they are teaching is the correct and ONLY THIS IS CORRECT.The whole idea of liberalism is considered to be an idea of Free Sex for a big chunk of masses. Today the entire muslim community seems to be panicky about the rising face of Hindu far right, solely for the reason that muslims now know that it’s not going to work in their favor and they will be at the receiving end. How many articles and writings were published in the muslim world when Gen Ziaul Haque decided to be a tool in the hands of his ally America and fight the proxy Cold War by promoting the communalists or the so called jihadists. Even to this day he is not denounced by the Islamic rightists.
    Your argument stands correct for a society where everyone is highly educated with a sound knowledge of all the religions and no one has any economic interest and everyone has learnt the art of agreeing to Disagree perfectly, but unfortunately this type of society never existed and will never exist.

    • You have truly covered the spirit of my thoughts too brother. I too feel that certain things are too complicated to have a simple solution.

      God has not made five fingers identical, how can everyone’s thought process be identical? I guess if everyone understand this truth and accept others the way they are, the problem will be solved 🙂

  3. Mr Irfan

    Liberalism is indeed a dangerous ideology, which allows all dangerous practices in the name of freedom. By stresswing the individual rights, they totally negate the role of society in maintaining peace. They support the right to drink, right to smoke, right to join prostitution, right to engage in homosexuality, right to abort, right to commit suicide — all in the name of freedom, and these “rights” lead to death of millions of people. Who benefits from these rights? Of course, the corporate world. None else. Liberalists go to the extent of arguing that no punishment should be given, and only reforming criminals can help. This is why in both capitalist and communist societies, all these vices are on the rise. In the name of rights people are being fed with death.

    • What about the vices which have genesis in religion. Hundreds of people are killed in Pakistan in broad daylight in the name of Blasphemy, lakhs of women are loosing their right to live freely in the Taliban/wahabi regimes in the name of religion, thousands are killed in communal riots in India in the name of religion. till the period when the church was controlling the state there was almost negligible achievement in science and technology, this grew by leaps and bounds when the church was separated from the state.
      Religion is a thing to be practiced and not to be flaunted. If done on the contrary which is happening at present nothing will be more disastrous than religion. We will nurture a society where we will have people denouncing the west but from their heart will keep admiring it. There cannot be bigger example than Maulana Maududi who kept cursing the US, but sent his son to settle there and finally he also breathed his last in US.

      • I totally agree with you Ansari saab, see what has happened in hindus also in the name of religion, thousands of babas and gurus have attained the power of dictators, who takes the guarantee that these babas will not guide their disciples on the wrong path. At least in a liberal society, jo bura kar rha hai apna bura kar rha hai, kum se kum ek society apne decisions us par nahi thop rahi.

  4. Mr Ansari

    For your kind information, the deaths caused by the rise of non-religious ideologies is so huge that any deaths which are claimed to be related with religion pale into insignificance. The two world wars were fought mainly by proponents of non-religious ideologies. Out of 180 million people killed in wars and civil wars in the last century, more than 75 pc were killed by America, Britain, France, Russia and China — all secular or atheistic giants. Due to the secular ideologies and liberal values they promoted, more than 1 billion human-in-making were aborted in last 20 years. Even now, if riots and terrorists which are considered religion-inspired kills a few thousands, America led wars kill millions. Crimes ands suicides too have risen in secular countries. But with media under their control, they highlight only a few kinds of violence, even if the victims in these do not cross a thousand mark, and do never talk of the deaths caused by their wars, their ideologies, and their incompetent systems.

    Moreover, the deaths that appear to be related to religion too are in most causes masterminded by people with political aims. Religion’s name and not religious values are used for them.

    • Mr Javed Jamil,

      The data you have given here is misleading and the facts are wrong. You mention world war, what was the basis for the killing of JEWS by the Nazis and why only Jews the follower of a particular faith, they could have generalized it by saying anti German. Religion was definitely into play and both the powers were followers of Christianity.
      You write about 1 billion abortions in the west but at the same time fail to mention more than 2 billion abortions and infant mortality in the developing and under developed countries of Asia and Africa owing to the lack of progress in medical sciences.All of these countries are either followers of Christianity or Islam. Religion can flourish in these countries and preachers from all the religion can make their headquarters and preach religion but the same preachers cannot advocate advancements of medical sciences.
      I don’t understand how do you expect a community to invest in R&D in medical sciences and then also uphold a fatwa issued for blood transfusion and organ transplant.
      You are too concerned about abortions in these countries but fail to address issues such as death due to starvation, maternity deaths, honor killings in the name of religion
      You mention that 75% of all killings are by the secular countries, but again fail to present the fact that more than 75% of these wars have been and are funded by Islamic regimes of Saudi Arabia and Arab/GCC countries.
      The most easy task is to criticize a system or ideology, but I would highly admire if you come with an alternative system which is practical and feasible. Otherwise there are a lot of Islamic and Christian organisations and mullahs and popes living in the illusion that banning co education will solve all the problems. Why to hear you and not them.

  5. Dear Javed Bhai

    Thanks for a good write up.

    Wish Rahul Gandhi and Narendra Modi should read your article. They should learn some lessons from this article to make a better India tomorrow.

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