By Dhirendra Sharma
In 18th century, when the English (Christians) arrived in India, the natives were living at “a very low level of ignorance, superstition, extravagance and immorality” where polygamy, child marriage, and burning the widows ( satis) were prevalent among the Hindus.
“Not less than five thousand men (Hindus) held the protest meeting in Calcutta against banning the Satis and legalizing re-marriage of widows. The Brahmins (organised) in a body bewailed their hard fate that the ancient caste of Hinduism was attacked by a foreign (Christian) government at the instigation of outcastes.”
(The Times of India, December 8, 1855.)
For 5000 years, everything on Earth and in Heaven was fixed by Perfect God who also created imperfect Men, in His own Image. Since Men Trusted in God –Perfect, no human- intervention was necessary to interfere with the Divine dispensation. Neo-conservatives of all Faiths, however, believe that modern science was known or at best rooted in the Divine testaments of bygone age. But God –the Perfect made Birds to fly but not humans. Yet, No Divine Messenger or Avatar had ever questioned the Almighty’s imperfect human creation.
If Necessity is the mother of Invention, in the Vedic age when habitation were near the river banks and the distant continents were not yet discovered, the flying transport was not necessary. A best horses and elephants were suffice.
There are neo-conservatives of all Faith - Hindus, Christians and the Muslim (Islamic) Science groups who claim that the Divine Messengers could communicate with the Creator in Heavens. The Prophets of all faiths promised carefree living for their followers, but after death, in un- specify heavenly abode, called Moksha, Nirvana or Paradise. History of the World Religions makes it clear that no God Incarnate or Avatar ever felt it necessary to pray for growing the Wings on the human body. To believe that any ancient Eastern or Western peoples ever invented a flying machine is irrational jingoism.
According to the Concerned Scientists and Philosophers to justify any sectarian violence as “revenge”, or resistance against the modern (Western) cultural onslaught at best is anti-reformation politics. The history books on World Religions have recorded many Religious civil wars and the Crusades among the Arab –Judiac-Christian-Islamic world.
History had recorded many communal – religious wars in Hindus and Muslim on the Indian sub-continents.
But the bio-scientists have found no exclusive Blood group that divides humanity in terms of gender, caste, country, region or religion.
Yet, Non-discriminatory democratic Social order was never the objective of any Religion In ancient India, the caste and gender discrimination were justified on the authority of the Divine Testament (Vedas).
The lower social status of women and the poor/ were ordained by the Law of Karma. “The shudra –dalits were born from the feet of God.”
( padbhyam shudro ajaayat ). (Rigveda,Purush-sukta).
And Lord Krishna says that “women, traders, peasants and Dalits were born in lowly social status due to their sinful karma- papayonis.” ( Gita 9.32).
Those who think the conflict is between East and the West, ignore the historical fact that Equality and Social Justice were progressive paradigm that were not known to the Faith-healers of the earlier times.
Therefore, No Holy Men of any Faith or Religion, no Vedic Rishi, or Divine Messenger, No Pope, No Shakaracharya in the history of human civlisation had questioned the Divine dispensation against women, the outcastes and the slaves.
The Concerned scientists had, therefore, in 21st Century Manifesto, stated that conflicting issues are indicative of ever widening gap between Scientific Knowledge and the cultural belief systems. Neo-conservatives using the advanced technological tools were defending the outdated sectarian belief systems. Gandhiji was prophetic when the Mahatma said that “All Religions are imperfect as they are Men-made.”
The conflict is, therefore, not between East and West, but between Science and Religion. For thousands of years, Dissent was not permitted in any Religion or society. Women, low-caste citizens and the slaves had no civil rights. Caste and tribal- identities were used to enforce sectarian authority by social discrimination. The force (violence) was used against “the others”, the outcasts, the outsiders, and the “Enemy”, the Infidels.
Therefore, according to the Concerned Scientists and Philosophers, today, it is irrational political reasoning to justify the Jihadi violence as “revenge”, or the last resort of resistance against the modern (Western) cultural onslaught. The history of the World Religions has recorded many sectarian civil wars and the Crusades among the Arab –Judiac-Christian-Islamic world. But the bio-scientists have found no exclusive Blood group that divides humanity in terms of gender, caste, country, region or religion.
In fact, all Faiths had disfranchised the women, and practiced discrimination against the outcastes, and the non-believers. There is no Fatwa against raping women, or killing the infidels. And the killing of the non-believer (kafir) was prescribed. There is no Commandment in any Holy book against raping or stoning to death a female, or a slave.
Democracy is modern scientific mantra that grants Equal Civil Rights to all, irrespective of gender, caste, class, race, region and religion.
Karl Marx (1818-83) was the first messiah who declared that “the Religion is the opium of the masses.” There is a statue of Gandhi outside the British Parliament in London. But no Arab-muslim country has a memorial for Marx or Gandhi. In the Islamic history, we find no Gandhi or Mandela to bring Reconciliation among the Shia-Sunni sectarian divides. The messiah of Social Revolution, Karl Marx and the Humanism Gandhi were not found in the text books of the Islamic schools and universities.
The Gandhi-Mandela Effect:
Humans make history by fighting, but the Gandhi-Mandela Effect offers Reconciliation polity for Peace and Progress in 21st century globalisation. Mandela (died on 15 December 2013), offered a new mantra to close the age-old conflicting fault-lines.
Today, in the globalization world order, we shall live together or perish together. But Pakistan and India are armed with Nuclear Weapons of Mass Destruction,
In the South Asian (Indian) sub-continent, though divided we are, we need to begin with the Chai -boy Modis’s assertion that “the World is One Family”. And that the South Asians share not only geo-graphical space but also a common history and culture.
Mrs. Benazir Bhutto had observed that
“There is a bit of Indian in every Pakistani and there is an element of Pakistan in every Indian.”
History teaches us not to repeat the past mistakes. India is a multi-religious and multi-cultural Secular Democratic Republic with the world’s largest Muslim population. It is imperative, therefore, that the peoples of South Asian community give up fighting for exclusive regional, sub-national, sectarian or religious identities.
Threat to Islam is not from any Hindu or Jewish state. There is not a single Hindu State in the world, and Israel is but a single small democratic country, under attack from the 26 Islamic states.
Historically, the Divine Warriors of Islam are responsible for eliminating the democratic leaders from the Arab-Muslim countries including Afghanistan, Bangladesh and Pakistan.
Dr. Wali Khan, in the Untold Story of India’s Partition, observed that “the Muslim League had not fought for (Indian) freedom,..it did not launch any movement against the British...but for the British, Pakistan would never have come into existence.” (p. 136) The attitude of leaders of “the Muslim League was unpardonable. …It is heart-rending that communal hatred flared up to an extent that people slit the throats of their neighbours and friends…Against the background of this carnage, leaders (of the Muslim League) were seeking power, seats of authority, portfolios, and public offices….The top guns ..and others were taking possession of the abandoned properties of the migrants…”p. 137)
Genocide of the muslims were committed by the muslims. Democratically elected Heads and Prime Ministers - Liyakat Ali Khan, Mr.Zulfikar Ali Bhutto and Mrs. Benazir Bhutto, Bangladesh President Mujibur Rehman and his family, were assassinated by the followers of the Divine Faith of the Dark Ages.
Hindus and Christians can wear any dress, or pray in any language, that makes no difference to the Religion. But in 21st century, to enforce women to burqua, and not allow girls’ education - would not be acceptable by the democratic civilized nations.
We the people of South Asia, have to forget the past caste and communal identities.
Geographically, South Asia is an inseparable entity with multi-religious peoples. The cause of conflict between the two South Asian nuclear weapons states (India and Pakistan), cannot be “self-defense” or revenge against each others. Nonetheless, in a Union, no “nation-state” is deprived of its Sovereign identity. All member states can keep their flags, and Parliament. But within the Union, all member nation-states, work together for common security, and scientific industrial and economic development.
In 20th century, all white European Christian states had fought Two World wars. They have now united as “One Big European Union” family of 27 states. Formation of the South Asian Democratic Union is, therefore, the historic call of the millions– from Kabul to Karachi, from the Bay of Bengal to the Central Asian Hindu Kush to the Arabian Sea and the Indian Ocean.
Campaign for South Asian Democratic Union (SADU) call for turning the conflicting borders of the Indian sub-continent into a Democratic United South Asian borderless Family.
Children of all Faith in South Asia May live in Peace.
That is the Message of SADU campaign.
Ho bhai ka bhai se bhai-chaara. Yehi hai paigaam hamara.
(Author: India’s Nuclear Odyssey, is Director, Science Policy –Research Centre, and Convenor: Campaign for South Asian Democratic Union.)