OPINION

Remembering Babri Masjid

December 06, 2007
Sam Siddiqui

Who had even heard of it? A nondescript little used mosque somewhere in the city of Ayodhya in central India. On 6 Dec 1992, Babri Masjid became the mosque that no one in India would ever forget, a national wound that 15 years later, still throbs, still pierces the hearts of those who lost forever the security of being at home.

Yet, this should have been the last mosque to stand as a symbol of our inner khalish. According to the District Gazetteer Faizabad 1905: “up to this time (1855), both the Hindus and the Muslims used to worship in the same building. But since the Mutiny (1857), an outer enclosure has been put up in front of the Masjid and the Hindus forbidden access to the inner yard, make the offerings on a platform, which they have raised in the outer one."

Claims of a Ram temple under the mosque had persisted through history, many people believing that Babur had built the mosque after demolishing the temple. No specific mention was made of this in the Babur Nama though, and some historians believe Babur merely repaired the edifice, not built it. Regardless, on that fateful day, 75,000 - 200,000 saffron-clad militants, mostly from the Vishwa Hindu Parishad, climbed over the edifice to bring it down, to rescue the Janmabhoomi of the Gods.

My memories of the day are scattered. At the time, it seemed like some far away, alien happening on another planet. Did things like this happen in India? We heard about it and saw it on television, but it was still all very unbelievable. Who were all these people and what did they want? An old mosque? We had seen the rath yatra passing before our house some days back, an exercise in sensationalism that had all looked very filmi to me.

It was a stark piece of reality to many others. In Ayodhya, Muslims were afraid and changed their nameplates to avoid recognition.  The air resonated with the sentiments one would associate with pages of ancient history.

"Every civil building connected with Mahommedan tradition should be levelled to the ground without regard to antiquarian veneration or artistic predilection.” British Prime Minister Palmerston’s Letter No. 9 dated 9 October 1857, to Lord Canning, Viceroy of India, Canning Papers.

People locked themselves in their home and uneasily peered outside. The kar sevaks were going through the streets of Ayodhya, mocking the fabric of Indian communal harmony, tearing it as they went. There was pain and disbelief on the faces I saw, shock at the demolition and the feeling of being abandoned and being betrayed by their countrymen. Houses were razed, people killed and maimed each other. Bombay was under curfew (!!Bombay!!). There were bomb blasts in the city, something that was not a common everyday occurrence at the time. I heard of a bearded man who had been burned alive, only later did they find out that he was Parsi, not Muslim.

Very very surreal to me. All this over a building?

My good friend at the time called and apologized to me for it. Why? Because she was Hindu. I was flabbergasted. What did I have to do with a decrepit mosque I had never seen? Why did she need to apologize for unknown strangers doing things un-Indian? I remember she gave me three hand-embroidered handkerchiefs and a card about national Unity.

I was bemused and realised in her own way, she was showing her solidarity to our friendship and was upset over my perceived alienation by the incident. Cemented with chai breaks and crying over each others shoulders through five years of college, did we really need a card to tell us we're okay? I hugged her and said, "It was just an old building I had never seen." It had nothing to do with me. Truly, it was how I felt.

The Babri Masjid demolition was a pivotal moment in our history. It established firmly that fundamentalism had come home to stay, that religion, from that moment on, would be a defining factor in Indian politics and society, that rather than Indian, we were Hindus and Muslims. It ushered in the era of Hindutva and Islamic fundamentalism in India. The BJP and Shiv Sena became household names in all Bombay as well as the rest of the country. In Bombay, we lost our complacency that communalism was not for us. We became Mumbai and blended in, lost our spark, a recognition that whatever had happened to us those two months changed us forever. No longer could we boast of our cosmopolitan and secular nature. It wasn't just us either, there was arson, looting, rape and destruction of temples in nearby Bangladesh.

Today, the site of the demolition is under the protection of the Supreme Court. Our interminably slow justice system ponders and ponders over what should be done. The Liberhan Commission set up in 1992 to investigate the circumstances of the demolition has become the longest running Commission in the history of the country. Bureaucracy and Politics plod on.

I hear many opinions on what should be done. The government should rebuild the mosque, say guilt-stricken Hindus, with a temple nearby. A monument to Unity is needed here, say others. Muslims are curiously reluctant to offer their opinions, the ones who care also feel they have lost the right to have a say, they have been evicted from their home. The ones who don't care can't see what the fuss is about. Build a school and educate the people, they say, offhandedly.

Speaking to many people on this issue this week, I was struck by something unusual. The lack of blame. Did Muslims blame the Hindus for the demolition. No, said the ones I spoke to, it was a momentary fanaticism. Even Hindus who recalled their support of the issue at the time admitted to a feeling of dismay, shame and disbelief that they could have ever been involved in this. "Just goes to show how easily people are misled," they say, shaking their heads, as if to shake off the memories of their naivete.

To me, its all still surreal. Half a lifetime ago, on a different planet. Not my India.

I'm an explorer in science, philosophy and religion, defining the boundaries where one stops and the other begins. An admirer of reason, compassion, humour and integrity, my travels have been fruitful and rewarding, shaping my outlook and perspective.
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#1
temporal
URL
December 6, 2007
01:25 PM

sam:

this is a digression:

the world is increasingly becoming polarised and intolerant

and for this we have to fault ourselves

by ourselves i mean the so called silent majority that languishes in silence and wakes up when the fury and the storm whips it

it is the default of this silence that encourages the hardliners to grab leadership and assume a vocal and sometimes violent ways

the above should be seen in a universal context

#2
Sam
URL
December 6, 2007
01:38 PM

I agree. In my view, we have two choices, we can part of the problem or we can be part of the solution. There is no longer the luxury of the third choice, ie that of the spectator watching the tamasha.

#3
razorMirage
December 6, 2007
01:44 PM

Sam,
If you have studied Indian History from 15th century...understood the amount of pains Hindus and Buddists suffereed from this barbaric, Muslim Invaders then this in nothing.
You can't say that it is past and pls forget past.

In that case, why do you quote "Crusades" and Isreal.
Formation of Isreal is also history. Just forget the past and continue with the ground realities.
Can u do that?

#4
Sam
URL
December 6, 2007
01:54 PM

razormirage:

"If you have studied Indian History from 15th century...understood the amount of pains Hindus and Buddists suffereed from this barbaric, Muslim Invaders then this in nothing."

May I request you to go back and look at history with fresh eyes? Try to think invader, instead of Muslim invader, and king or emperor, instead of Muslims, and you will find if you look over the Indus that those who demolished temples here in India, were no less brutal to other Muslims across the Hindukush.

Choose anyone you like.

Taimur?
"When Timur conquered Persia, Iraq and Syria, the civilian population was decimated. In the city of Isfahan, he ordered the building of a pyramid of 70,000 human skulls, from those that his army had beheaded,"

the Mughals?
They were descendants of Genghis Khan, like those who destroyed Iranians and Arabs and settled over Arabia.

Much much before them, in the lifetime of Mohammed , Muslims came to India. And settled in peacefully as traders. The first convert to Islam from India, Cheraman Perumal, shipped out himself to meet the Prophet.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Juma_Masjid,_Palayam

The 'Muslim' invaders were doing what all emperors do, marking territory and establishing themselves. Their actions were those of foreigners.

Hindus in India discriminating against Muslims in India is a completely different story. This is active discrimination against your fellow countrymen. Do you see no difference in the actions of an invader against a foreign country and the actions of one countryman against another?

#5
Sainik
December 6, 2007
03:20 PM


The fact that they were brutal to other Muslims doesn't take away the fact that they were Muslims !

Islam = backward & barbaric.

#6
Sam
URL
December 6, 2007
03:23 PM

Are you saying that emperors in India were all peace loving democrats?

What was the Mahabharata about?

#7
Muhtod
December 6, 2007
03:26 PM


Let me call it an internal matter !

#8
Muhtod
December 6, 2007
03:29 PM


Let me say it out aloud what most think

Muslims are an oppressive majority and a very annoying minority.

#9
Sam
URL
December 6, 2007
03:29 PM

Internal to whom? The Indian subcontinent was a mixture of kingdoms, pretty much like the ME was. And there was a whole caste of people who's only job was going to war!

#10
Sam
URL
December 6, 2007
03:31 PM

"Muslims are an oppressive majority and a very annoying minority."

Hence Hinduism survived and prospered under 800 years of Mughal rule, and lived without any inter-religious wars with Muslims for 1200 years; but was divided under the British and crippled both socially and economically? :-)

How many Muslims do you get oppressed by on a daily basis?

#11
Muhtod
December 6, 2007
03:32 PM


Since they are in a minority, I find more of an annoyance

#12
Sam
URL
December 6, 2007
03:37 PM

May I know exactly what you find annoying? I have grown up in Hindu majority communities and have never found them anything but gracious.

#13
VivekBharat
December 6, 2007
10:39 PM

Sam Siddiqi calls the structure, 'A nondescript little used mosque somewhere in the city of Ayodhya in central India' and I wholeheartedly agree with that. But who could have imagined the extent of rancor that the destruction of this little used structure would elicit.
In my book Lies, Lies and More Lies. (ISBN 0595435491) I was tempted to fill page after page with arguments and counter-arguments about the Babri-Masjid-Mandir controversy. However in lieu of an entire chapter or chapters I decide to pose this question against the backdrop of a blank page:
In return for the thousands of Hindu temples destroyed, all that I am asking for is an unused, disputed, decrepit religious structure that happens to be at a site that I believe is the birthplace of my most revered God. Is that asking for too much?
I leave it upto all right-thinking Indians,both Hindu and Muslim to draw their own inferences and come to their own conclusions.

#14
Sam
URL
December 6, 2007
11:00 PM

Vijay,

I believe this kavita by Kaifi Azmi, called Doosra Banwas, is appropriate here (with my 'poor' translation for non Hindi speakers).

Ram banvaas se jab laut ke ghar meN aaye
yaad jangal bahut aayaa jo nagar meN aaye
raks-e-diivaangii aaNgan meN jo dekhaa hogaa
6 December ko Shri Ram ne sochaa hogaa
itne diivane kahaaN se mere ghar meN aaye
jagmagaate the jahaaN Ram ke qadmon ke nishaaN
pyaar kii kahkashaaN letii thii angRaa'ii jahaaN
moR nafrat ke usii rahguzar meN aaye

dharm kyaa unkaa hai, kyaa zaat hai ye jaantaa kaun
ghar na jaltaa to unheN raat meN pehchaantaa kaun
ghar jalaane ko meraa log jo ghar meN aaye

shaakahaari hai mere dost tumhaare Khanjar
tumne Babar kii taraf pheNke the saare pathhar
hai mere sar kii Khataa zaKhm jo sar meN aaye

paaNv Sarju meN abhai Ram ne dhoye bhii na the
kii nazar aaye vahaaN Khuun ne gahre dhabbe
paaNv dhoye binaa Sarju ke kinaare se uThe
Ram ye kehte hu'e apne dvaare se uThe
rajdhaanii kii fazaa aayii nahiiN raas mujhe
6 December ko milaa doosra banvas mujhe


Translation

When Ram returned home from exile,
He found he missed the jungle dreadfully on coming to the city,
When he saw the fanaticism in his courtyard
On 6 Dec, Shri Ram must have thought
"Where did so many crazed men come into my house from?

Where the footprints of Ram had sparkled
where a universe of love had reigned (poetic licence here for meaning!)
Twists of hate have now come into those paths

What is their faith, what their creed, who knows?
If the house was not burning, would they even be visible in the dark?
Those who have entered my home to burn it down

My friends your daggers are vegetarian
When you threw all the stones at Babar
My injured head is at fault for being in the way"

Ram had not yet washed his feet in the Sarju
When he saw the deep stains of blood there
Without washing his feet he rose from the banks, saying
the atmosphere of the capital (Ayodhya) disagrees with me
On 6 Dec I have been exiled a second time.

#15
Sam
URL
December 6, 2007
11:01 PM

oops Vivek, not Vijay.

I should not watch too many Amitabh movies :D

#16
razorMirage
December 6, 2007
11:44 PM

Vivek,
Who are you? I never heard of you, even thought I see you a wrote a great book.
A great qoute in your book excerpt is

"Let it be said right away: the massacres perpetrated by Muslims in India are unparalleled in history, bigger than the holocaust of the Jews by the Nazis; or the massacre of the Armenians by the Turks; more extensive even than the slaughter of the South American native populations by the invading Spanish and Portuguese."

No media will bring this up. No Govt will bring this up. It will die down...as some unnoticed fact of history.

#17
Sam
URL
December 7, 2007
12:02 AM

Ah yes, all part of a grand conspiracy of silence, first by the Hindu kings, then by the Mughals who successfully converted the whole country to Islam and then by the British.

I smell Lal bhaji.

#18
razorMirage
December 7, 2007
12:41 AM

Sam,
Don't you feel lonely here even though it is ironically your own article?
I appreciate your ability to defend your folks, stick to a point. But you can't deny FACTS.
You accept or not, facts remain FACTS.

I dont appreciate Bush attacking M E.He and his Xianist hidden agenda...no one truly understood until now.
Similar way you also accept the reality and history.

#19
Aaman
URL
December 7, 2007
12:49 AM

Sam, great poem, it's hard to do justice to it in translation. I have something similar you might appreciate - I'll have to hunt it down and post it in the evening.

#20
Sam
URL
December 7, 2007
12:56 AM

"Don't you feel lonely here even though it is ironically your own article?
I appreciate your ability to defend your folks, stick to a point. But you can't deny FACTS.
You accept or not, facts remain FACTS."

"My folks" are all Mumbaikars and of no relevance here. :rolleyes:

#21
Jawahara
URL
December 7, 2007
03:43 AM

"My folks" are all Mumbaikars and of no relevance here. :rolleyes:

Brilliant! :-) Interesting article, Sam, as always.

#22
VivekBharat
December 7, 2007
06:42 AM

1) Sam : I do not understand the relevance of the poem to what I wrote. Let me say it clearly.The aftermath of the Babri-Masjid-Mandir destruction could have been prevented had the Muslim community shown a little understanding. Instead of labelling people as fundamentalists, one needs to analyse the reasons for the rise of Hindu Nationalism.Did a community with a long tradition of religious acceptance suddenly go berserk and loose its moorings or is Hindu Nationalism the culmination of the atrocities heaped on Hindus? That is what I have tried to explain in my book.Do please read it.Hindu nationalism is not the ogre that you have made it to be.Many times we fail to see the demon in ourselves.
2) razorMirage: Thanks for the compliment. The quote as indicated in the book is from Francois Gautier, the Indian correspondent for a French publication. Now settled in India he has done more than many Hindus to highlight the crimes perpetrated against Hindus.His present mission involves an exhibition about the ethnic cleansing of Hindus from Kashmir

#23
kerty
December 7, 2007
10:04 AM

I view ayodhya issue as an opportunity missed for hindu-moslem reconcilliation at religious level. India has made great stride in reconciling both communities at cultural level and they mingle at one-to-one individual levels all the time, but reconcilliation at religious level has elluded both communities and has remained main source of distrust and hostility. Moslems have thousands of mosques and there is no special religious importance to ones at Ayodhya, Kashi or Mathura except that they were built as part of iconoclasm and humiliation of Hindus at their most scared sites. There are thousands of hindu structures( by some estimate, over 3000) that remain as moslem monuments - mogual legacy of iconoclasm, but hindus asked for just 3 of them that are special importance to them because they are at what hindus worship as birth-site of Lord Rama and Krishna. Of that, one at ayodhya was not even used as place of worship by moslems for over 100 years. Its only importance to moslem remained that it was built by Babar, the great mogul iconoclast. In hindu mind, moslem insistance of not giving up claims to that structure remains the continuation of iconoclasm of Babarian era, that proclaimed that moslems in partitioned India are still wedded to jehad against religion of Hindus, that they are not interested in living in peace with religion of hindus even after dividing India on religious lines. India's secular state didn't help the matter when it caved in on Shahbano issue, and strengthened the perception that neither secularists nor islamists are interested in offering reconcilliation or peace for co-existance between hindus and moslems. What was an opportunity for gesture of goodwill and reconcilliation became a media and political circus for bashing hindu beliefs and forcing communal confrontation between both communities. Hindu anger exploded and pulled that symbol of shame and humiliation down with bare hands. That anger still remains boiling as post-ayodhya events unfolded i.e bomby-blasts, godhara massacre, 2002 Gujarat riots, Taslima issue. Both communities have pulled back in their respective shells seething with anger and distrust, waiting to explode at any hair trigger event. Indian secularists are back in the saddles with their old games, as if raison d'etre for their existence, survival and power is creating and managing communal disharmony and they are worried sick that hindutva and BJP can profit from the same.

#24
Sam
URL
December 7, 2007
11:03 AM

Until 1855, neither Hindus nor Muslims had any problems using the place together as a place of worship.

Re: the poem, what would Shri Ram say about the demolition of the Babri Masjid?

#25
Sam
URL
December 7, 2007
11:22 AM

Re: Francois Gautier, he is VHP supporter, so its no surprise that his statements reflect their fundamantalist ideology.


Some of his quotes:

"Dalits often have five to six kids, but they are confident of placing them easily and well." Huh? Where does he live?

Another choice one:

"50 per cent of Patel Nagar's rickshaw pullers are Brahmins who like their brethren have moved to the city looking for jobs for lack of employment opportunities and poor education in their villages."

Umm so? Entitlement, anybody?

Obviously a racist supremacist.

#26
kerty
December 7, 2007
12:37 PM

Sam

And what is 'fundamentalist' about that ideology that VHP has? And how was Ayodhya issue Fundamentalist? Lots of Hindus supported stand taken by VHP on Ayodhya issue because the issue had justification, not because they subscribe to some ideology or some organization. To discount it as VHP, Fundamentalism or ideology means you do not like to or can not deal with issues involved in Ayodhya episode.

#27
razorMirage
December 7, 2007
12:48 PM

Kerty,
Well said (as you always do).
It is important to see why some thing happened, why people behaved like that, instead of just seeing one action in isolation.
Good point.

#28
Sam
URL
December 7, 2007
01:59 PM

"And what is 'fundamentalist' about that ideology that VHP has?"

how do you define fundamentalism?


"Lots of Hindus supported stand taken by VHP on Ayodhya issue because the issue had justification"

Yeah yeah I hear the same thing from "oppressed" Muslims who riot over cartoons.

#29
kerty
December 7, 2007
06:12 PM

Sam..

Please my comment #46 where I have explained fundamentalism and fanaticsm..
http://desicritics.org/2007/11/26/115007.php

Just because non-fundamentalist religionists assert their issues by fanatic means or to fanatic length do not make them fundamentalist. VHP is loosely held organization of many religious branches, schools of thoughts, sects, religious leaders, Sadhus and laymen from all walks of life. In matters of faith, there is rarely any agreement among them but on matters regarding how to defend their faith and how to deal with perceived threats, they tend to arrive on a common platform of VHP. One can say, on many issues, its tactics are heavy-handed and fanatic. Perhaps because hindus are so divided, diverse and seldom agree with each other, it feels it has to create high-pitch emotional appeal to grab their attention.

If the justification are frivolous, than one should easily be able to have dialogue with them and expose them. There is no need to evade them or resort to demonizations. I don't think frivolous justifications can ever build intense or emotive issues especially for Hindus who like to live in their own personal universe. Hindus do not respond to fatwas or marching orders, they are not monolithic. If the issue touches their heart or hurt, nobody can stop them, not even VHP. What may be true of Moslems is not necessarily true of Hindus.

Lots of stories from scriptures have been made into cartoon books and cartoon movies and Hindus are first to buy them up. Hindus might protest locally when their deities are misrepresented or shown in obscene manner, but protests won't be violent. You won't see hindus in India out on streets rampaging over something anti-hindu that happened outside India.



#30
Sam
URL
December 7, 2007
07:39 PM

kerty:

fanaticism is fundamentalism with violence. VHP (unfortunately) fits the bill.

And the relevance to the cartoon protestors is not the cartoons, its the fundamentalism justifying the violence.

#31
kerty
December 8, 2007
02:48 AM

Fanaticism is not exclusive province of fundamentalism. Champions of freedoms too use fanatic tactics to promote them. So do guardians of democracy, state, nationalism, ideologies, cultures, civilizations etc. When Gandhians go to extreme length to have their way(that everybody should treat Gandhi as father of nation, nobody should criticize or offend Gandhi etc), they too can be called fanatics. Fataticism doesnot automatically equal fundamentalism.

#32
Abbas
December 8, 2007
11:08 PM

I want to reclaim the land in Maharashtra that belonged to the Vijaynagar kingdom and was taken away by Shivaji, it rightfully belongs to karnataka.. Anyone willing to join me on a rath yatra? or or wait wait..how about avenging the crimes of the Cholas (now tamil nadu), who were barbaric in their treatment of enemy captives, most of them other south indian kingdoms in kerala and karataka?
Or better still, how about the people of Orissa rise against the genocide committed on them during the Kalinga war?

Stupidity isn't it.. hmmm or is it? Surely razorImage and kerty are with me on this?

#33
kerty
December 13, 2007
09:41 PM

Abbas..

All the instances you cite are no longer emotive issues for the parties concerned for number of reasons.

1) when reconcilliation takes place between communities, historical wrongs fade from public memory.

2) When historical conflicts were purely political in nature and not religious, they no longer remain relevant beyond such political era - now if these people were independent nations sitting on historical claims on each other's land, you would have people seeking redress for historical wrong.

3) Hindu history is replete with instances of monarchies warring with each other - but nobody in modern times consider themselves heir-apparent of these monarchies to nurse old wrongs. Thus they lose relevance and emotive appeal to people. If some group were to hold on to that legacy and continue the hostility of that era even up to modern times, sure, people will take Rath Yatras to make sure they are stopped - They would rally around the land claims.

4) The instances you cite were among hindus, therefore had no religious significance for Hindus. If they were with moslems or xians, even political conflicts would have acquired religious dimension. No goodwill or peaceful mechanism exists to have redress or reconcilliation with these religions. Thus historical wrongs remain relevant and emotive. Modern generations carry on same legacy of historical wrongs and identify with them.

I would be more than willing to join your Rath Yatra when you lead moslems to renounce Jehad against Hinduism and offer redress and reconciliation with Hindus - I am certain hindus will reciprocate the gesture of goodwill.

#34
Man Singh
URL
December 18, 2007
02:44 PM

Sam,
the way your are feeling after Dec 6, 1992 Hindus are feeling the same since 713 AD when there was not a single Muslim in India and Arab invader strated the most henous crime against humanity ie using sword to spread Islam.

Plundering and looting temples killing raping non muslim women and enslaving women and children and slowly converting them exactly the way Mohammed did to pagans of saudi Arabia.

Perhaps you have not seen baburnama's original copy lying in National Arcives of Govt of India in Delhi where `one page' is missing exactly where Ayodhya related stories are likley to be there as clear from one page before and after it?

Situation is like a gang of robbers attacked the village.
Robbers established themselves permanently in the village on looted land of villagers.
Some villagers also associated with these invaders and became gang members.

After sometime a group of youth started demanding their land back from robbers and took some by force aftre their peaceful requests were rejected.

Now robbers and theor associates are saying that `they have lost their security in village'?

Truth is that almost all Muslims of India are converted from Hiduism, Budhsim, jainism out of Greed, terror or ignorance.

These ex-Hindus are the one who suffered most at the hands of invaders oneday. They are progeny of those Hindu women and children enslaved by Muslim invaders and slowly converted after killing their fathers. many of those women were brutally raped and tortured physically or economically.

What I ma saying is simply common sense. But Muslims are suffering from memory loss due to extereme brainwashing by Mullas.

The day on whcih they will visualise the torture their formothers and forfathers gone through before conversion to islam they will hate this killing cult as much as they love it today under intoxicating brainwashing.

I wonder how a person can worship the killer and raping of his own mothers and sisters?

Muslims by associating with babur, Aurangjebm Muhamaed Bin Qassim , gajanavi and Gauri are exactly doing that?

please think. These things are simply common sense , do not need any reference books or chronicles. Of course I can flood this site with referenbce of Muslim Invaders' crime stories gainst India, its peoiple and its culture and religions if u want.

#35
Vij
December 18, 2007
03:06 PM

Why more than 90% terrorists are islamic? There must be something wrong in there..wake up to the truth guys!

#36
sam
URL
December 18, 2007
03:16 PM

I already said this here elsewhere, but I will repeat (some of it) for clarification.

Were the invaders Muslims or were the Muslims invaders? There is a great deal of difference between the two.

e.g. Taimurlang

In the city of Isfahan{Persia]he ordered the building of a pyramid of 70,000 human skulls,from those his army beheaded,and a pyramid of some 20,000 skulls was erected outside of Aleppo[Syria] Timur herded thousands of citizens of Damascus into the cathedral Mosque before setting it aflame,and had 70,000 people beheaded in Tigrit,and another 90,000 in Baghdad.

Was he a religious man, do you think?

And on the issue of Islam coming to India, it was already here in the lifetime of the prophet. The second oldest mosque in the world (after Mecca) is in India.

Cheraman Juma Masjid is a mosque in Kodungallur in the Indian state of Kerala. Believed to be built in 629 AD by Malik Ibn Dinar, it is considered as the oldest mosque in India, and the second oldest mosque in the world to offer Jumu'ah prayers.[1][2] Constructed during the lifetime of Muhammed, the bodies of some of his original followers are said to be buried here.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Juma_Masjid,_Palayam

Much of the misunderstanding between Muslims and Hindus in India today is to the deliberate policy of divide and rule instituted by the British to avoid a repeat of the Sepoy mutiny, when the Hindu soldiers in the British Army went to Bahadur Shah Zafar, then the figurehead emperor to ask for help. For his intervention, BSZ was presented with the heads of his sons on a platter and was permanently exiled from his watan.

For which he wrote these memorable lines:

Lagta Nahin Hai Dil Mera Ujde Dayar Mein
Kiski Bani Hai Aalam-e-Napaidar Mein

Kehdo In Hasraton Se Kahin Aur Ja Basen
Itni Jagah Kahan Hai Dil-e-Daagdaar Mein

Umr-e-Daraz Mang Ke Laye The Chaar Din
Do Aarzoo Mein Kat Gaye Do Intezaar Mein

Itna Hai Badnaseeb "Zafar" Dafn Ke Liye
Do Gaz Zameen Bhi Na Mili Koo-e-Yaar Mein

And Babur?

If you got to the State Library of Bhopal, you can see a letter there, sent by Babur to his son, when he was dying:

Mughal Emperor Babur left the following will to his son Humayun:
"My son, take note of the following: do not harbour religious prejudice in your heart. You should dispense justice while taking note of the people's religious sensitivities, and rites. Avoid slaughtering cows in order that you could gain a place in the heart of natives. This will take you nearer to the people.

"Do not demolish or damage places of worship of any faith and dispense full justice to all to ensure peace in the country. Islam can better be preached by the sword of love and affection, rather than the sword of tyranny and persecution. Avoid the differences between the Shias and Sunnis. Look at the various characteristics of your people just as characteristics of various seasons."

To say that Muslims are not Indian, is the same kind of thinking that said Jews cannot be European.

#37
Man Singh
URL
December 18, 2007
07:48 PM

Babur advised it to Humayun only after damaging everything like Si chuhe khake billi haz ko chali.

Almost all MUghal rulers imposed zaziya tax on non muslims to force them to convert.

Guru Arjan Dev was brutally murdered by Jehangir only because he refuded to convert

Guru teg bahadur was murdered by Aurngajeb only becasue he refused to convert.

Even minor children of Guru Gobind Singh were murdered in sarhind walls put on fire only because they refused to convert.

Look waht mahmud gajanavi said when Hindus offered him Money to save their temples:

I can quote exact wordings of Mahmood gazanavi that if he spares the statues of Hindus what face he will show to allah after death.

It is clear from his statements that his main motive was never money but islam's expansion.

Of course to save the brutal face of Islam gangs of mao marx macauley and Mullas are busy in telling people the people stories u r producing here.

Yes taimur kileld Muslims also in percia that's how Muslim mentality works.

They kill non muslims wherever available and then start killing among themselves after finishing non Muslims.

pakistan Afganistan, Turky, Iran, Iraq algeria morocco etc are living examples.

There is no wonder that taimur was as brutal for percians as for Hindus with different motive.

#38
Irfan
December 18, 2007
07:54 PM

Man singh : Si chuhe khake billi haz ko chali.

Si nahi sau(100), haz nahi Haj(it is going on)...
perhaps your billi is performing Haj this time.

#39
sam
URL
December 19, 2007
12:11 AM

Man Singh

Of the people you have referenced, except for for Akbar, who has gone down in history as the most amazing mughal king and Jehangir, who was born of a Hindu mother, nonw of the others were born here.

I see from your statement "that's how Muslim mentality works.

They kill non muslims wherever available and then start killing among themselves after finishing non Muslims."

that your mind is already made up here, by your logic, I should be busy killing some non Muslims or Muslims somewhere.

"pakistan Afganistan, Turky, Iran, Iraq algeria morocco etc are living examples."

Have you been to any of these places? Do you know any people from these places? After all, when I meet people from there, they ask me about persecution of Muslims in India, Babri Masjid, Gujarat riots, Bombay riots, Kashmir...

And yet, I do not believe that Muslims are being viciously persecuted in India, do you? I believe these instances show a failure of the state and the imposition of some extremism by selected fanatics.

One must be very careful of applying the broad brush of generalisations.

What do we, the present Muslims in India,have to do with Delhi Sultanate or Afghani or Turkey invaders? What do we have to do with Mongols or Mughals as we call them? What does a religion that has existed in India for 1400 years and created a wholly Indian culture (Urdu, Adab, etc) have to do with the invaders that, among other places, ALSO attacked/invaded India? It was not as if India has ever been unattractive as a target, from the Aryans to the French to the Dutch to the Portuguese to the Greeks to the British.

What do any of these invaders have to do with the PEOPLE of India who, though they may have religion or language or some cultural similarities with some of these, are born in India of Indian parents with roots going as far back in history as yours?

#40
Samad
December 19, 2007
12:25 AM

Muslims gave India its Identity, the name Hindu was given by Muslims, be thankful to them for that. The unruly Rajputs needed that to be tamed.

#41
Preeti
December 19, 2007
12:37 AM

Samad,

Are you out of your mind?

#42
samad
December 19, 2007
12:46 AM

No Preeti I am replying to likes of Chandra, they understands this language only. Right? Sorry for the insensible debate.

#43
Preeti
December 19, 2007
12:57 AM

Samad,

There has not been a single comment by Chandra in this article. Clearly you have [EDITED]

Calm down and medidate and you will see the difference.

I rest my case.

#44
Samad
December 19, 2007
01:00 AM

Sorry to mix it was for Man Singh, and for chandra it's in other articles, have a look at them.

#45
Abhi
December 19, 2007
01:10 AM

Preeti #43 its waste to argue with this [EDITED](#44), Hey Samad [EDITED - VAGUE THREAT]

#46
sam
URL
December 19, 2007
02:29 AM

I always miss the good parts :(

#47
updike98
URL
December 19, 2007
06:33 AM

M.J. Akbar a noted writer said -Jinnah sold the subcontinental muslims for a bowl of soup.The refusal of large sections of muslims to live in a united India left a residue of bitterness.Contrary to what secular apologists claim the PAKISTAN idea was very popular among muslim masses.This does not validate lumpen intolerance of people who follow different religious paths.This topic has many shades of grey.Intolerance has shown its face in both religions.More damage is done by Hindu politicians playing vote bank politics.Attempts to characterise the Godhra incident as self inflicted is sickening.

#48
Mark
URL
December 19, 2007
11:43 AM

This exchange is quite to my liking. Sam's elegant, dispassionate, well-reasoned illuminations contrast beautifully with the ugly tribalism and mindless, amoral fanaticism of Hindutva, displayed in so many of the comments.

#49
sam
URL
December 19, 2007
12:48 PM

I think you do my Hindu brethren an injustice. The appeal of media over information has always been the biggest hindrance to tolerance and peace.

In India we have a saying:

badh accha badnaam bura

(ie it is better to be evil than to be infamous)

the power of suggestion fed by certain elements in society, regardless of religion, is what creates distance between neighbors. No one is exempt from it, as the war in Iraq amply demonstrates.

Instead of pointing fingers at each other, we should attempt to find common ground and build peace.

#50
sam
URL
December 19, 2007
12:48 PM

I think you do my Hindu brethren an injustice. The appeal of media over information has always been the biggest hindrance to tolerance and peace.

In India we have a saying:

badh accha badnaam bura

(ie it is better to be evil than to be infamous)

the power of suggestion fed by certain elements in society, regardless of religion, is what creates distance between neighbors. No one is exempt from it, as the war in Iraq amply demonstrates.

Instead of pointing fingers at each other, we should attempt to find common ground and build peace.

#51
kerty
December 19, 2007
01:14 PM

Mark..

"elegant, dispassionate, well-reasoned illuminations"; "ugly tribalism and mindless, amoral fanaticism"

You can bandy lots of epithets from dictionary and there are plenty found in any dictionary and any kid can do that, but it would remain a word play, not argument. Its a tactic of evading the debate rather than engaging in it.

#52
Mark
URL
December 19, 2007
01:50 PM

Kerty:

It was not my intention to engage in the substance of the debate, merely to comment on nature of the debate.

Bigotry in the media-age can be slick, subtle, and seductive; just look at Ralph Reed and his ilk of the Christian right in America. I confess a fondness for situations when the shallowness of bigotry is on open-display for the ugliness it is. Somehow, I think this is ultimately helpful.

By the way, criticizing a comment for being descriptive is generally a poor strategy, particularly when the descriptions are precise and well-chosen.

Sam:

Communal reconciliation is a damned good idea. I'm all for it.

I don't condemn your "Hindu brethren." My comments aim at the agents of intolerance and pointless hatred, as evidenced in many of the comments above. This is surely a small subset of your "Hindu brethren."

#53
Man Singh
URL
December 19, 2007
04:11 PM

Reconciliation is the best and only option sam/mark.

How to do it when associates of foreign invaders even today are busy in justifying crimes against humanity peprptrated by Muslim invaders in medival times. When such brutal invaders acts of destruction of tempels and forced conversion of Hindus are being justified, when Mohammed's terror tactics to spread religion of sleeping with minor kids are being justified by many quarters how reconciliation will be done.

I feel :

- Associates of foreign invaders have to stop invading `others' now.

- Past invasions has to be condemned without if and buts

- Return the looted property back to victims wherever possible.

Without such basic things on the part of invaders and their associates how `victims' can reconciliate with them?

Muslims can never condemn those cruel invaders only because they feel indebted to then for bringing `light of Islam' to India.

Muslims will never agree to stop agression to other religions as islam can not surviwe without abusing the religion and culture of forefathers of its adherents as these abusues are only guarentee of its followers to remain muslims.

Muslim will never be ready to return the looted property to `victims' as they feel returning back the destroyed temples site will deprive them from entering heaven.

Any further ideas?

#54
commonsense
January 8, 2008
05:58 PM

Irfan wrote:

"Man singh : Si chuhe khake billi haz ko chali.

Si nahi sau(100), haz nahi Haj(it is going on)...
perhaps your billi is performing Haj this time."

Apologies to all those serious folks who frown at acerbic wit. I just cracked up after reading this funny comment. Folks, just lighten up a bit..the world will be just fine for a few minutes without our ponderous seriousness...

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