Sunday, February 8, 2009


I read with interest the article "Muslim ulema miss the point" by Mr. Kuldip Nayar in the 22-28 December 1991 issue of Radiance. He is a noted and reputed writer and author. He has also known the Muslim community from close quarters. He can easily understand the wishes and aspirations of the Indian Muslims in the proper perspective. His article under reference actually surprised me and I was in wonder if all non-Muslims think of Muslims in the same manner. In this write-up I try to explain something and remind him that Muslim ulema did not miss the point.

Muslim ulema have always been patriotic citizens of this country. They have played a vital role in the freedom struggle of our country. The history is replete with sacrifices and sufferings. It was not Maulana Abul Kalam Azad who wanted partition. The creation of Pakistan was the result of hypocritic, unprincipled and dictatorial attitudes of some leaders in the Congress and RSS who were not for accepting the reasonable demands of the Muslims.

Indian Muslims want to safeguard their identity in the same manner as every religious and linguistic community wants to do here. Our country's beauty lies in its different identities and cultural heritages. It is like a garden of different flowers. A Muslim or a Christian is in no way less Indian or less patriotic than a Hindu. We can all be together proud of our rich and unique composite cultural and religious heritage which is our country's thrilling and glittering beauty and speciality.

A uniform civil code for all is opposed because not only it will give a feeling of slavery to the minorities here but will also alienate them from the national mainstream. People of every religion have a feeling rightly that their religion is respected to the extent of giving importance in the laws of our country. In case a uniform civil code is brought in this feeling will be missing and I feel that this situation will be dangerous to our country's integration. We want protection of the Muslim personal law in India for national strength and togetherness of the people. We must continue to approve and cherish the formula and slogan of unity in diversity. The Russian case is also before us. Today it stands shattered.

People of India are by and large peace loving. It is a segment of politicians who create ill will and tension among them. It is also these people who do not give importance to the Constitution of the country in the matter of the Rights and Guarantees to the minorities. A Muslim does not agree that the Muslim Personal Law comes in the way of nationalism or homogeneity. A Hindu does not lose his respectability in his society if he has a woman as his wife without a marriage apart from his actual wife. In some states like Tamil Nadu many leading political leaders and other dignitaries of the majority community have lived or live with more than one wife, with or without marriages. How is it possible for these Hindus to do so? Why unnecessarily blame the Muslim community in which polygamy is less prevalent.

Maulana Abul Hasan Ali Nadvi has rightly said that the Muslims remained united in opposing the Supreme Court judgement in the Shah Bano case. It is not so much for granting maintenance to a Muslim divorcee, but more for ridiculing Islam and giving unwanted sermon to the government for a uniform civil code.

Mr. Nayar has quoted the example of some Muslim countries for their laws on marriages. He should know that the anti-Muslim and anti-Islam attitude of the so called national press and others have virtually weakened the hands of those people who are for changes in the Muslim Personal Law in accordance with Islamic laws.

The resolution of the Board that the Babri Masjid cannot be sold, purchased or exchanged nor can it be handed over to any individual, association or government by agreement or so called conciliation is not only reasonable, but also in the interest of the country. If a mosque is not safe in the hands of the government, then the Muslims will feel that the are not safe and the laws of the land have no meaning and validity. The place of Babri Masjid is vital. Its removal from its present place will mean rewriting the Indian history and defeat of the minority Muslims by Hindu fundamental forces. The Hindu wrote editorially a couple of months ago that " No formula that envisages the destruction of the Babri Masjid should be seriously entertained even if the Muslim community leaders decide." It further said that " to say that the surrender of the claim to the Babri Masjid is the sole right of the Muslim community is to surrender India's pride-a rich and composite cultural heritage."

It should also be kept in mind that no court of law will give a verdict against the Babri Masjid and its property as their case in crystal clear. The Board has not questioned the validity of any court in taking a decision in this matter, but it has only expressed its opinion about it.

If "many among the Hindus have come out in the open to oppose what is sought to be done to demolish the secular policy of the country", I don't think, they are doing any favour to the minorities here. We do not know what is secularism and what is Hindu Rashtra. Muslims are perhaps the worst sufferers of the term "Secularism". it is high time that it is redefined not orally as done hitherto but constitutionally so that no particular religious community is considered its whole beneficiary.

The Muslim Personal Law Board has expressed its opinion honestly in clear terms without any ambiguity so that justice is done to the minorities here and our country does not face another serious problem on national level, creating an impression in the world that there is no safety for the Muslim minority and others in India. Its resolution reflects the opinion of all right thinking people.

(VMK in Radiance, Delhi dated 12-18 January 1992)

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