Title: Being The Other: The Muslim in India; Author: Saeed qvi
This was intended to be a memoir but ended up being a ‘procession of images’ with a bearing on Muslims in India, more specifically on the rapid ‘Othering’ of the community after independence in 1947. Veteran jourlist Saeed qvi’s “Being The Other” is a truly remarkable account of all that has gone wrong with Hindu-Muslim relations in the world’s largest Hindu-majority country. Unlike many others, the scholarly qvi blames both the Congress and the BJP for the worsening Hindu-Muslim ties although its greatest beneficiaries were hardcore Hindu fundamentalists. qvi came from a family steeped in politics. And they were never convinced by Congress claims that Mohammed Ali Jinh, Pakistan’s founding father, was solely to blame for the gory partition of India. “Partition, in a way, was the gift the Congress gave to the Hindu right, which in the fullness of time, is today’s Hindutva,” qvi says. From then on, it has been a story of slow and steady decline for Indian Muslims. Today’s 180 million Muslims cope almost daily with a biased State. How could Jawaharlal Nehru, the one Congress leader Muslims trusted almost blindly, not have foreseen this state of affairs? qvi takes us into the sorry saga of Hindu-Muslim killings in the country, starting from 1947. It has become commonplace to blame Muslims for all sectarian conflicts although they are invariably its worst sufferers. But commulization in India, qvi warns, did not take place unthinkingly. It was a deliberate step towards saffronized tion building.
What really shattered the Indian Muslim’s confidence in the Indian political class was the Babri Mosque’s 1992 razing in Ayodhya. It dealt crippling blows to centuries of syncretism. The mosque’s destruction triggered one of the worst outbreaks of commul conflagration. And as qvi points out, sadly, every commul incident leaves unswered questions that are never probed, the truth somehow always kept hidden and the allegations of guilt hurled at the victims themselves. As for the perpetrators, they almost always get away. Islam’s experience with the Hindu civilization was wholesome and led to the greatest multi-cultural edifice the world had known. The pity is that this is being chipped away by electoral politics. Today, the Hindu-Muslim separation of the mind is deeper than anything preceding it. qvi warns that Muslims and non-Muslims have been parcelled into hostile camps.(IANS)