By Shariq Mumtaz Hashmi
The audacious goading by the Hindutva ecosystem for the genocide of the Muslim Indian community is worth ruminating. Its perturbing to imagine that we are so vulnerable that a bunch of people waving swords will swarm onto us and annihilate us? Seems preposterous! After all, we are living in a modern civilisation in the world’s largest democracy. But a peek into recent past reveals that it happened last decade in Myanmar, a democratic country, that too, when it was being led by a Nobel peace prize recipient leader, a stark contrast to ours. It also happened in Rwanda a couple of decades earlier while the westerners, the so-called torch-bearers of democracy and human rights, remained mute spectators until the damage was done irrevocably.
And it happened with us an Ummah, that too, when we were at pinnacle of our political and intellectual phase, the golden age of Islam during the Abbasid caliphate. The comparison might seem exaggerated to some of us, but that’s the very similarity between us and our past brethren. An analogical analysis of the denial of the caliph and his courtiers to admit the gravity of the situation relates with the us and our leaders contemporary approach of. The ensuing pogrom was so brutal that let alone the common people, the Caliph himself was trampled beneath the horse shoves of Mongols. Such was the dread among the common people that a Mongol woman in a market place would order a Muslim man to stop and stay there as she didn’t have her sword and the person would stand there until she came back with her sword and beheaded him! The House of wisdom along with other thirty-six libraries, were destroyed in such a way that the water of river Tigris got discoloured by the blood of the scientists and philosophers killed and ink of the destructed of books. Overall, two lakh people were slaughtered and the Mongol commander sat atop the skull mountain and drank wine. That was the scale of our downfall, Individually as well as a society. A thorough syllogism is required to decode such an extraordinary fear and when I delved deeper to research on this subject, I disambiguated a very simple yet devastating weapon that the Mongols used to deliver this comeuppance to the Ummah.
Now for a while, let’s get back to our present situation. What’s exactly happening with us? Vilifying rhetoric right from the highest echelons of power and below is penetrated into our consciousness. From being called political irrelevant to intruders to termites to filth to corona spreaders to being humiliated on media and photos of our women auctioned online with impunity, we are subjected to unprecedented ignominy as a community. Then a series of sporadic violence is unleashed, compelling the victim to chant un-Islamic slogans, abusing them and their whole community and finally after trivialising their self-worth, lynching them mercilessly, viral videos of which, as a show of strength, is fed to a boasting majority and an aghast minority. Having tested the receptivity of both the community for such hate, now the rhetoric is unabashedly being shaped as an informal policy, declared for implementation through the cacophony of the seers and the silence of their political masters. Are those political statements and discriminating policies like NRC made just for electoral gains? Do these hateful videos get viral on its own and those involved intentionally expose themselves by sharing it? Does the administration, by taking some lethargic action against them, instils hope in us? The reaction that we are giving right now, do we really believe that these unorganised protest, either on roads or on social media, will solve the root cause of this problem? And headmost, do we think that us, the Muslims, are the only target of this plot? I hope that we and our leaders are not that myopic to answer these affirmatively!
Let’s get back to our history and connect the dots. What was the Mongol weapon which degenerated the whole ummah to such a nadir? The answer is Demoralization. Yes, it sounds simple but Demoralization is, in a context of psychological warfare, a process with the objective to erode morale among the opponents to compel them to retreat, surrender, or defect rather than defeating them in combat. With the use of political rhetoric, violence and economic deprivation, instil so much fear in the target group that let alone their rights, they don’t even struggle to defend their existence. Sounds familiar? The same tactic that the Jews in Nazi Germany were subjected to, long before the holocaust, and we are being targeted with, by these fascist forces. Our reputation and self-confidence as a community is being eroded every day and by every means. But we need to understand that we are not the only target and we are being singled out because we are the largest minority and if we are brought under control, the rest will subdue automatically. We need to identify and overcome this. We must organise ourselves and collaborate with other minorities, backward communities and likeminded people rather than being divided in political parties and Maslaks.
Even after being annihilated by the Mongols, we regained global supremacy within a short span. As Iqbal says, Nishan Yahi Hai Zamaney Mein Zinda Qaumon Ka, K Subh o Sham Badalti Hai Unki Taqdeerein. History testifies the reversion of those very Mongols to Islam and leading the renaissance of Islamic civilisation for centuries to come. Have you ever wondered how this miracle happened? Detailed research on this subject done by westerners and Islamic scholars concludes two major reasons for this turnaround. The first is that the overwhelming majority of that Muslim population was literate, not only in Islamic studies but science and other faculties of knowledge. This literate population, skilled craftsmen, merchants and experts in medical science, jury, astrology etc. provided a plethora of skills for governance that the Mongols lacked, who were compelled to use them for their advantage. Affinity with these learned men of morals and values affected their psyche and led them to reversion. The second reason were Muslim women. As Mongol became victorious in Muslim lands, they came in contact with Muslim women either by marrying or enslaving them and these women up-brought with Islamic morals played a key role in their reversion and that of their future generations. As a matter of fact, we lack both these qualities as a community presently. Obviously, we get offended by being called illiterate and puncturewala and we brood about the growing trend of our community girls eloping with the deceivers, albeit they are preyed upon by a deep conspiracy, but should we not introspect for the causes. We have the highest school dropout rate nationally and we are equally shallow in Islamic education. Our great Prophet was the pioneer of the constitutional democracy, whose modified form governs our country India, and those who are enjoying power today because of this system threaten us of stripping the citizenship and taking the voting rights, because we are oblivious to both, our history and our country’s constitution. Even the Haryana chief minister indirectly reckons the power of congregated prayer by saying that Friday prayers should be not used as a show of strength but we don’t understand its logic and importance and we don’t seem to hear that we are being called for, until unless someone demands a ban of loudspeakers for Adhan. The ideological divide among us that either we shun the religious morals and embrace the modernity or we shun the modern world and totally embrace the religious education must end. Miraculously, the centre point of the holy Quran is the word, Walyatalattaf, that means to be Cautiously Balanced. We must understand that our religion gives us the lesson of balancing our Deen and Duniya and understand our origin and destination and that is the need of the hour. As the great poet said, Qaum Mazhab Se Hai, Mazhab Jo Nhi Tum Bhi Nhi, Jazb e Baham Jo Nhi, Mehfil e Anjum Bhi Nhi!