L.K. Advani�s suggestion to jointly celebrate the uprising of 1857 by India, Pakistan and Bangladesh is utterly ill-advised. It betrays, apart from our misplaced understanding of history, an obsequious mentality towards Muslims. In independent India, we preserved the myth sedulously cultivated by Gandhi, that everything that was anti-British was patriotic. Adolf Hitler, by that logic, should be our greatest hero because he dealt the biggest blow to the British Empire. We adore a demonic Tipu Sultan, who claimed to have converted hundred thousand Hindus to Islam in a day, simply because he fought against the British.
Advani should admit that, by extension of the same logic, RSS is an unpatriotic organization because it took no part in freedom movement. In reality, the RSS founder Dr. Keshav Baliram Hedgewar, who had brush with revolution and experience of Non-Cooperation Movement, was a sagacious man. He understood that the need of the hour was to strengthen and reorganize the Hindu society under British rule. Under Mughals, such organizations could not have been raised except under the shade of the sword like Khalsa by Guru Govind Singh.
1857, although it was more than army mutiny, was not the �First War of Independence�. This term was coined by a young Vinayak Damodar Savarkar who celebrated its 50th anniversary in London. 1857, in reality, was the last war of Islamic resistance. It was an attempt to overthrow the British East India Company and reestablish the Muslim rule. It is for this reason that Bengal, whose Hindus have been benefited by liberal British education, shunned the uprising completely. Sikhs, persecuted by Mughals throughout their history, had little sympathy towards Bahadur Shah Zafar.
Some Hindus have created a myth that 1857 was a golden period of Hindu-Muslim amity. R.C. Mazumdar writes-�There was communal tension even in Delhi, the centre of the great movement. But it was not confined to that city. We learn from an official report on the night of the Mutiny (June, 4) at Varanasi that news was received by some Mussalmans had determined to raise the Green Flag in the temple of Bisshessur�. The communal hatred led ugly communal riots in many parts of U.P. Green Flag was hoisted and bloody wars were fought between Hindus and Muslims in Bareilly, Bijnor, Mordabad and others places where Muslims the Muslims shouted for the revival of the Muslim kingdom. The communal discord was supplemented by racial animosity of long standing produced by historical causes. The Muslims in Hyderabad were excited by events of North India and developed strong anti-British feeling, but they were more hostile to the Marathas and would have gladly fought under the British under Holkar and Sindhia� (British Paramountcy and Indian Renaissance-I p.618-History and Culture of the Indian People Vol. IX)
Gandhi tried to rope in Muslims in Non Co-operation movement for Swaraj on quid pro quid basis with Khilafat movement. To ordinary Muslims, Swaraj became co-terminus with reestablishment of Muslim rule in India. Its most eminent example is the Mopla riots (1920) in Malabar. Not a single British life was lost in anti-British uprising by Moplas. But it led to death, rape, mutilation of thousands of Hindus in addition to plunder and desecration of temples. We saw, in recent past, how anti-Bush and anti-cartoon rallies by Muslims had turned into attacks upon Hindus. Today to remind Muslims of their �glorious� role in anti-British struggle is to encourage more suicide bombers to emerge against the Londoners. 0
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Posted 20 June 2006 - 10:17 PM
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