Before or after reading this article, I request the visitor to see two Pakistani movies, “Khamosh Pani” & “Khuda Key Liye” and two Indian movies “Tamas” & “Mammo” in YouTube if she/he has not yet seen. It is presumed that she/he has seen Ritwik Ghatak’s “Subarnarekha”.
I have written this article as a response to the one written by Mahwash Badar on 12.05.2014 in the blog of The Express Tribune of Pakistan. Badar’s article was entitled “Jinnah made a mistake and I am ashamed of being Pakistani”. The article has since been withdrawn. Mahwash Badar wrote “I find myself deeply wishing that Jinnah hadn’t made this mistake- that he had thought about the future of Pakistan. He didn’t think of obscurantist mindset that he had propelled forward, the countless millions that died at the hand of this vague agenda that fails to unite us as a nation”….. “We share more with our Indian brothers than our ancestral DNA. Our food, language, cloths, lifestyles are more like them than the Arabs we so badly want to mimic and ape”.
The earlier avatar of Bangladesh was born on the basis of religion. Islam was the primary (or should I say absolute?) reason as to why Muslims of undivided India went for Pakistan. The concept of secularism was/is alien to Islam. Before the British came, Muslims Sultans and Emperors ruled India for about a thousand years. During this prolong period of Muslim rule, conversion of local people of the country to Islam took place mostly under duress except Bengal. In Bengal conversion was mostly voluntary and peaceful. Surprisingly only about one fifth of India’s population during 1881 census was Muslims. This showed the amount and magnitude of resistance Islam faced in India in the issue of conversion. India remains an oasis for non-Muslims within the vast stress of land from Senegal to Indonesia.
Apologists try to explain that but for the tolerance of Islam, India would have a Muslim majority country. Firstly, I ask them to recall the genesis of the name “Hindukush” mountain range. Except Akbar the Great, all Muslim rulers/invaders of India were ruthless in the question of nonbelievers. Conversion was based on force and atrocity, grinding pressure of Dhimmtude and slavery, as well as, lure of position. It is irony that such converts of Indian sub-continent after hundreds of years don’t look back to their dark past and wish it away by the false glory of Arabs as their own. In this context, it is of immense importance that the general Muslims of Bengal were tolerant towards non-Muslims all along until Muslim League poisoned their mind first in 1906-10 (division of Bengal) and then in 1940s (before partition).
Islam in India was vastly influenced by the local culture. Honouring Holy men and Pirs, songs and literature, Black magic, Nazar laga, use of good luck charms, visiting Saint’s tomb, marriage rituals (Sangeet & mehendi), reading of holy book in house on special occasions and food & cuisine (both veg & non-veg) etc are a few examples. The languages of Bengali and Urdu were of local origin. Thus Bangladesh has cultural and linguistic similarities with West Bengal and Pakistani Punjab with Indian Punjab. The majority people are basically same. Only in certain point of history some converted to Islam. But Muslim League preached an orthodox and intolerant Islam and convinced the vast majority of Indian common Muslims that “Muslims are separate nation”. They propagated that in undivided India, Hindu hegemony would destroy Islam. Thus the slogan was “Haat mey birhi muh mey paan; lorh ke lengey Pakistan”. Ironically when India was divided into India and Pakistan, millions of Muslim remained in Indian part. The logic of ‘two nation theory’ fell flat on its face on that count first.
The Indian Muslims have been much secure than the non-Muslims of Pakistan and Bangladesh. In spite of much publicized ‘Babri Mosque’ and ‘Gujarat’ riot, proportion of Muslims in India has increased from 10% to 15% between 1951 and 2001. Current estimated proportion of Muslim population is 20%. On the other side in the then West Pakistan proportion of non-Muslims decreased from 21% in 1941 to 3.5% in 1951. In case of the then East Pakistan the proportion of non-Muslims decreased from 29.5% in 1941 to 23% in 1951. The estimated current proportion of non-Muslims in Pakistan and Bangladesh is 2% and 10% respectively. Every sensible Indian is ashamed of Babri Mosque & Gujarat incident and strongly condemn any type of communal trouble for Indian Muslims. But the sharp decline of non-Muslim population in Pakistan and Bangladesh during past 65 years speaks that atrocities on non-Muslims and plunder of their places of worship, as well as, forceful conversion (by raping or wedding non-Muslim girls) in West Pakistan/Pakistan and East Pakistan/Bangladesh have been continuous and of monstrous dimension.
Even after independence from Pakistan, majority Bangladeshi is yet to come out of original politico-religious sin. Bangladeshi Paki-stooges and foreign funded Wahhabism through Jamaat and Hefazot are simply increasing the religious slaves for Saudi Arabia in Bangladesh. Common Bangladeshis are taught “darhi-er majhe-i deen aachhe”. Saudis are worse castist than Brahmins of Hindus. If Bangladesh does not understand this, she should face severest criticism. Bangladesh should protect its minorities with real concern and sympathy. The rise of BJP in India is an ominous sign.