The Blind Men Of Hindoostan

Naipaul, Karnad & Dalrymple would all be right if they look at the big picture. But none of them do.

Much has already been said about the whole debate sparked off by actor and playwright, Girish Karnad over the lifetime achievement award given to author, VS Naipaul. To start at the beginning, this is what Karnad was quoted as saying of Naipaul. The quotes reproduced here are as reported in Mint:

“Apart from his novels, only two of which take place in India and are abysmal, Naipaul has written three books on India and the books are brilliantly written -he is certainly among the great English writers of our generation. They have been hailed as a continued exploration of India’s journey into modernity, but what strikes one from the very first book, A Wounded Civilization, is their rabid antipathy to the Indian Muslim. The ‘wound’ in the title is the one inflicted on India by Babar’s invasion. Since then, Naipaul has never missed a chance to accuse them of having savaged India for five centuries, brought, among other dreadful things, poverty into it, and destroyed glorious Indian culture.”

He went on to say that:

“One of the first things Naipaul did on receiving the Nobel Prize was to visit the office of the BJP (Bharatiya Janata Party) in Delhi. He who had earlier declared that he was not political, ‘that to have a political view is to be programmed’, now declared that he was happy to be politically ‘appropriated’. It was then that he made his most infamous remark: ‘Ayodhya,’ he said, ‘is a sort of passion. Any passion is creative. Passion leads to creativity’.”

It would appear that Karnad was repeating some of the same charges against Naipaul that had been made by historian and author William Dalrymple in an article in The Guardian in 2004.

In that article, Dalrymple had this to say:

“More striking still was the quote attributed to Naipaul about the destruction of the Babri Masjid, Babur’s mosque, in Ayodhya, Uttar Pradesh, a decade ago: ‘Ayodhya is a sort of passion’, he said. ‘Any passion is to be encouraged. Passion leads to creativity’.”

Dalrymple considered it unlikely that a Nobel laureate would endorse mass murder, but then went on to write that the remarks would be consistent with ideas Naipaul had been airing for many years. “In 1998, for example, he told the Hindu newspaper: ‘I think when you see so many Hindu temples of the 10th century or earlier disfigured, defaced, you realise that something terrible happened. I feel that the civilisation of that closed world was mortally wounded by those invasions…The Old World is destroyed. That has to be understood. Ancient Hindu India was destroyed.’ Such attitudes form a consistent line of thought in Naipaul’s writing from An Area of Darkness in 1964 through to the present.”

Farrukh Dhondy has responded to the episode that had sparked off Dalrymple’s article, and is a crucial element in Karnad’s talk, by saying this, according to Hindustan Times:

“Some of the things that Karnad quoted Naipaul as having said never happened. I was present on two occasions. Neither Karnad nor Dalrymple was. The first was in Delhi, where Naipaul asked me to come with him to meet the BJP’s cultural wing because he didn’t want to be misrepresented. What Naipaul said was: ‘I haven’t come here to say anything to you, but to ask you: What do you stand for?’ He went on to speak about how the BJP should abandon its religious agenda, and instead, build vote banks based on development and public benefit. When someone asked him about the Babri Masjid, his exact words were, ‘It was built by the emperor as an act of hubris’. That’s all he said. Nothing about the demolition.

When we came out, reporters started asking him questions; one asked him whether he supported the demolition, to which he replied, ‘I said what I had to say inside’. Another asked him if he condoned the Sangh Parivar’s anti-Muslim stance, at which point his wife, Nadira, turned around angrily and reminded the reporters that she was Muslim.”

On NDTV 24X7, Dhondy repeated most of this statement, saying clearly that Naipaul had never said the things Dalrymple and Karnad have quoted him as saying. Neither Dalrymple nor Karnad mentioned their sources, and Dalrymple who was present on the talk show did not dispute Dhondy’s version.

Anil Dharker, Director of the Mumbai Lit Fest, commented that this indicates the whole case had been built around something that was never said.

To this, Dalrymple responded that Naipaul’s whole view of Islam in India, as seen from his works, is unbalanced.

Dalrymple and Karnad have both made much of the fact that Naipaul only mentioned the negative impacts of early Islam on India, but omitted the positive aspects. Dalrymple said that while there had indeed been a picture of destruction in the early days, there was another half of the story, of the great fusion as Hindu currents mixed with Islamic ones. “Naipaul correctly points out that there was a lot of destruction. But he doesn’t get the other half”, Dalrymple said.

It is a charge that can be thrown back at him and Karnad.

Dalrymple is the author of several books, of which the best known in and about India are City of Djinns and White Mughals. Karnad’s most celebrated play is Tughlaq, and is about Sultan Mohammad bin Tughlaq.

It would appear that both Dalrymple and Karnad are a tad too sentimental in their view of Islam in India. They have focused on half the story, too. If Naipaul has not written enough on the positive aspects of Islam in India, it can be argued that Dalrymple and Karnad have not written enough on its negative aspects.

That is a mug’s game. A writer has to choose his or her subject, since the whole of reality is too vast to fit into one book or three. That is what they have all done.

It is undeniable, as Dharker pointed out on NDTV 24X7, that most Muslims came to India as invaders and many temples were destroyed. What is wrong if Naipaul said so? It was hardly breaking news.

This is not to suggest in any manner that the descendants of those Muslims should be held responsible for what their remote ancestors did a thousand years ago. Every individual bears responsibility only for his own actions, not even those of his immediate family. To accept that there was invasion and destruction is merely to accept a historical fact.

According to Dhondy, this is what Naipaul has attempted to do in his writings. “He is not anti-Muslim, he is giving you a corrective to history”, Dhondy said.

Dharker was also at pains to point out that he has been working with Citizens for Justice and Peace to pursue over 200 legal cases against the rioters who massacred Muslims in Gujarat. Their work contributed to the arrests of Mayaben Kodnani, a former BJP minister in the Narendra Modi government, and Babu Bajrangi, a Bajrang Dal leader, who were among the main orchestrators of some of the massacres in Gujarat in 2002.

It is a common problem with those who call themselves secular in India that they usually get only half the story, like those they oppose. The Left sees the Left half of the picture, the Right sees the Right half, and on and on they go about what is correct, like the blind men of Hindoostan about the elephant.

“For, quarreling, each to his view they cling.
Such folk see only one side of a thing.”

The country might actually achieve peace and progress if both sides could see the full picture, and get the full story.

In that full story, Naipaul, Karnad and Dalrymple would all be largely right. So too would Dhondy and, most of all, Dharker. He seems to be the only one among all of them to have accepted the destructive past of Islam in India, and its creative aspects, and then gone on to actually fight for justice for the Muslims of India, whom he obviously accepts as fellow countrymen.

What I want to ask of him, and of all of these gentlemen, is what they think of episodes like the banning of entry for women to the Haji Ali dargah in Mumbai. Will they speak up against this as well, or will they let it pass since it has the sanction of a religion, in this case a certain Arab brand of Islam?

If you are against injustice, oppose it everywhere. Religion and tradition cannot be allowed special rights to commit secular wrongs, whether it is done by Muslims, Hindus, khap panchayats or dargahs. That would be the truly secular position. Anything else is communal.

The author is currently Consulting Editor of The Asian Age, Mumbai. The views expressed in this article are his own.

All our articles are run through a software to avoid the possibility of unattributed work finding its way into Newslaundry.

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  • Rahul Karmakar


  • Roark

    Quite balanced and unbiased article, and that too without any insinuations… part was that you nowhere seem to push any personal opinion, yet making a point..also .a picture perfect..!!!

  • Paromita Das

    Dear Mr Samrat,

    This article is the most balanced among the ones that I have read on the controversy. Astrologers say balanced people are of the Libra (tula) sun-sign; would you mind letting us know your date of birth (only to check whether their statement is correct or not)?

    With regards,

    • Guest123

      When did News Laundry become a matchmaking website? Horoscope, indeed.

  • gaurav86

    Its a clannish pursuance among few of overrated artists like girish and dalrymple to make their voice heard with an undue and disconnected interpretation of history. Temples were demolished by the invaders and those invaders happens to me from other religion than those whose worship areas were contained in temples. What’s wrong with putting facts on table. I have read same in school just few years back and i know it since than and i don’t hate muslims of present day for all those historical periods.. Its well laid fact even in state backed NCERT books. So does girish and dalrymple tag these texts communal? Naipaul has just said what happened centuries back. And if i rely exclusively on this piece, then does dalrymple think Fusion of Hindu and Muslim culture a positive facet which naipaul has conveniently ignored? If dalrymple hold it up as greatest positive impact than i feel extremely sorry for him and for those who admire him. Assimilation/fusion of ideas. culture, value system etc can never be and should never be judged from one podium and has to be heard from both the sides. In case of india, it has resulted into good and creative outcomes, but same can’t be said about every assimilation/fusion ever occurred in any patch of history in any corner of world. Latin America and Africa is full of negative and destructive outcome of this process. To me, ‘Girish and Dalrympl’s allegation seems completely baseless and intellectually malnourished. They were just looking for 15 minutes of rejuvenation of their public recognition, if ever that was present in past. Poor people.

  • Gabbu

    Very good Article but i think i wasted my time here to read their views on Hinduism and Islam.

  • Sameer

    The fact that a majoritarian streak in public discourse outodoes all other arguments is something very evident from the article here. for instance, the Haji Ali episode (where women are still allowed in, but apparently restricted at the sanctum) ibecomes huge, but no one wants to talk of Sabarimala and plenty of other temples, where women are not allowed at all. Temples like the one at Puri have always been less accommodating of other classes. Similarly, when talking about Muslim ‘invasion’ is apparently in (and this is a complex subject considering Muslim rule itself wasn’t discriminatory to a large extent), why do the same people chose to remain mum over the much wider subjugation of dalits by higher castes throughout Indian history? Or the destruction of Buddhism at the hand of Hindu revivalists? For hundreds of years, a huge section of hindu society were forced to live lives worse than animals – ad this received state sanction under most Hindu kings. The fact is, Islam bashing is the new politically correct stance. Criticism of anything related to Hindu history is now ‘politically incorrect’. This is majoritarian discourse, adulterated

    • gaurav86

      they can’t and will never. Because caste system, minority slang, dalit-mahadalit strife are the fuel of our political system and democracy. Its feudalised form of democracy we have. How rubbish is this that on one side we indulge in this complete non-sense debate of naipaul-girish on all news channel and on other hand there is a democracy which elects its president knowing them and their policies head to toe and we clap for them. We are in a shell of all these aforesaid india exclusive issues. I don’t expect any improvement in my lifetime at least though i have just entered in my 20s. Democracy in its terminological and real sense of word can never survive till we have likes of girish ( and many more) who just for the sake of getting a seat in rajya sabha from one political party can go to any shameful extent to poison the whole environment. How does it matter what naipaul thinks of indian medieval history or how girish interpret it. Who cares about these individuals’ hidden feelings. Indians has been deliberately put inside this trap to keep on fighting on trivial issues so that those who want to amass wealth and can go on and on without any accountability. Divide and Rule has been played in india for centuries and same action is still going on. It just take a personal vomit of a girish or dalrymple to decide the menu for next two days of tv debates. Shame on such people and shame on news channels who followed it. Has girish or naipaul anything to say about widening fiscal deficit, increasing unemployment, 45 % of malnourished indian children, criminality of fixing Poverty line at 32 rupees a day, lacs of crores of scams. every day, on kuddankulam project, on lokpal????/ No they don’t have. And here they are deciding how somebody thinks wrongly about what happened centuries back. People like naipaul or girish or dalrymple have nothing to contribute to future of this country , they should keep on doing what they have to do without making any noise for no reasons. Enough of this undue rent.

    • Paromita Das

      Dear Mr Sameer,

      You say that this article is evidence of “a majoritarian streak in public discourse”. I wonder if you have noticed that the terms ‘majority’ and ‘minority’ are RELATIVE and not absolute – for instance, Christianity is the majority religion in the world whereas it is one of the minority religions in India (within the country, though, it is the majority in some states). Similarly, Islam has more followers than Hinduism on the global scale but less on the national scale (again, within the country, it is the majority in one state).

      There is another problem with the usage of the terms ‘majority’ and ‘minority’ – that is, their complex relationship with economic prosperity. For example, Jews and Sikhs are minorities (whether internationally or nationally) but they are economically MORE prosperous than communities which are numerically larger than them.

      So, shouldn’t all of us be careful when we talk about ‘majority’ or ‘minority’?

      You are correct in saying that “women are still allowed in” at Haji Ali but are you correct in saying that “women are not allowed at all” in Sabarimala? The fact is that there is NO blanket ban on the entry of women at both these places – however, at both the places, there are some restrictions (that women are not allowed in the sanctum sanctorum of Haji Ali and that women of child-bearing age are not allowed in Sabarimala). Does this really prove that one is more gender-neutral than the other? Doesn’t it indicate that both are sexist in their respective ways?

      You have said, “Temples like the one at Puri have always been less accommodating of other classes.” But you have not said whether sects like the Ahmadiyyas have always been accommodated in the religion which they say they belong to. Again, does this really establish that one religion is more accommodating than another? Doesn’t it show that intra-religious differences exist in Hinduism AND in Islam?

      You have called talking about Muslims a “complex subject” – does that mean talking about non-Muslims is a SIMPLE subject? What makes the one complex and the other simple?

      You have asserted that “Muslim rule itself wasn’t discriminatory to a large extent” but that there was “much wider subjugation of dalits by higher castes throughout Indian history” – it appears that you not only want to acquit Muslims elite but you also want to convict Hindus. Is it difficult to accept that BOTH the communities have committed thousands of acts of discrimination in Indian history? At least, casteist discrimination has been constitutionally and legally acknowledged by reserving seats for the backward castes in education and employment.

      You have alleged “the destruction of Buddhism at the hand (sic) of Hindu revivalists” – but you have not mentioned the destruction of the Buddha statues at the hands of Muslim fanatics. Will it hurt Buddhism LESS if it suffers at the hands of one community rather than another? Moreover, I wonder how Hindus can destroy Buddhists religiously given the fact that the former regard the Buddha as an incarnation of Lord Vishnu.

      You have also stated, “For hundreds of years, a huge section of hindu society were forced to live lives worse than animals – ad (sic) this received state sanction under most Hindu kings.” However, you have not mentioned that, for hundreds of years, most of the Hindu society was forced to live as ‘dhimmis’ – and this received state sanction under most Muslim rulers. Why say a HALF-TRUTH and not the full truth?

      I am not sure bashing which religion is politically correct or incorrect – however, I am sure that whitewashing any particular religion (or blackening any other religion) is HISTORICALLY incorrect.

      With regards

  • Shyam

    I don’t know what do you mean by ‘balanced’. How can chicken tikka, sitar and tabla somehow balance out marauders who came to loot and pilfer? Weird logic. Looks very similar to Stockholm syndrome. Its good to try to be fair but its a silly to portray everyone equally guilty so that there is an appearance of fairness. The logic will be fine if there is also some documented history of Hindu rulers imposing their way of life in other countries/regions or killing non-followers who refuse to convert or comply. This is not a trivial difference and cannot be sacrificed for the sake of political correctness.

    Just to be clear so that I’m not tagged as the ‘rabid right’, I concur that the current followers are not responsible for them but if history is inconvenient and politically incorrect because of years of marxist historians writings, should alternative narratives be stifled?

    But Indian muslims have to face the fact that most of them were actually victims who were converted over sword en masse or to avoid jizya tax (So here’s where the question of HIndu ancestry comes in, which is proved by DNA studies today, that even Indian muslims have Hindu ancestry, which is not exactly breaking news for most). If some believe the mughals came for ‘benign’ reasons or even the British came to India to have a cup of tea, they are just in denial which is their right. But pointing it out is my right too.

    But as islam is a religion with codes on how to treat non believers, it merits questioning (as I’m someone unlucky to be born outside it) what those ‘benign’ reasons were. The invaders were probably just driven by stories of wealth but none were for here any altruistic reasons (unless you define altruistic as ‘spreading islam is for the greater good of mankind even if others don’t voluntarily choose it’ or ‘conversion to islam is for their own good as it the only TRUE religion’ or ‘its fine to kill a dhimmi as Allah has okayed it and so killing them is actually better since living as a non muslim is worse than death’ or some such logic).

    As someone at the receiving end (as I’m someone unlucky to be born outside it), I have a right to ask the questions and investigate if the source book of morality of any cult or religion can impact me (if it gets powerful) or it has impacted non-followers of that community in the past (when it was powerful).

    If any one wishes to share their take on history of islam in India, the hows and whys, the motivations and impact without the need to drag every other historical discrimination for some sense of parity (false parity), I’m here to listen.

    • Reality5000

      As far as my reply being “balanced” is concerned, it was just on the merit of the article and the way it was presented, but the problem is, if the article anywhere refers to religion ( no matter what the bottom line is), the comments go into a tangential plane of Hindu/Muslim, in a country like India which claims itself to be the largest democracy comprising people of various ethnicity and religion.

      But still I shall reply to your comment. First, I would like to make clear that I don’t believe in any of the historical text written by any of the writers.

      Reason 1- Suppose you are walking down the road, and you find two people, say X and Y running on road.. X shoots Y from the range of 10m….The first thought that shall come to anyone’s mind is “OMG, X is a murderer”..You run towards X and holds him from back…He takes out his ID card and says he is an army man and Y is a terrorist..Your perspective changes in a flash of seconds..Now Y is the culprit…But, still you run towards Y who is lying in pool of blood..He says, X is lying, else he would have shot me on my legs rather than back…His ID card is fake …He snatched my gun and he is the culprit….You are again in dilemma…Now at the end of the day, you write down the incident, and as you were in dilemma, you just put on the facts on paper…Also, police carries down investigation and frames you citing that it was “You” who shot Y, and was present at the incident…

      Now just imagine a person writing down history after 100 years on the same incident…He will have two reports with him which shall be completely contradictory….And than he may use his wisdom and actually conclude that, Y, himself shot him…because the gun belonged to him..!!!

      One incident is seen through 3 perspectives and it completely changes the fact….the only people who know the truth are you, X and Y.

      Same is with history..No one knows the fact..You just change the perspective..and the whole scenario changes…Also, there could have been something truthful, but many texts have been distorted and corrupted, so no one knows what actually is factual…In short, history is the most interesting fiction people discuss upon….So we just need to believe on something on which we have either done research our self…or read everything with an open mind, without being judgemental, jsut on the basis of some fact which corroborates our own view point

      For this particular reason neither does I endorse the thought of Naipaul nor of Karnad…In fact, they might be talking of the same facts, but seem to be opposing each other, just because the frame is reversed..!!!

      Reason 2- I would have tried to find out the truth in the history, had it been an equation written by Einstein which could have helped in the future development of my country….But who killed whom or who destroyed which structure in the past, is of no substantial importance to me or my nation, other than, being used by few people to go on writing a book, or some politicians to instigate riots of 1992…or just for few people to have shrilled debates on TV just to satisfy there ego in order to prove how well read they are.

      For the same reason I don’t bother whether Muslims had Hindu bloods in there veins or not….because a) its there personal prerogative. Even if they were converted in the past, they have a complete right to do it again in free and independent India, if they feel a need to do so. We cant dictate beliefs and faith of a person. b) And if I consider the lame logic of few “extremists” that India is a Hindu nation, and they need to accept that then I guess there was no need to write down the constitution of India after Independence. We already had 10 basic scriptures in Hindu tradition which can define more than what law did….which simply creates a question mark on the wisdom of the makers of our constitution….But the constitution was framed, keeping in mind that every citizen who is born after 15/08/47 is human and an Indian..and enjoys equal rights (and also let others enjoy it )irrespective of his caste/creed/sex/religion…and I believe in the very same way, at least, when I am on a public platform.

      But still, just for sake of argument,I take your contention that you could be affected just because someone ruined you in the past, so he can do it again, if it becomes more powerful. I guess in that case, keeping in mind the divisional boundaries around the world, we should be more fearful from UK, (which looted us and even admit doing that, so you need no historian to corroborate the fact !!!.) or maybe China ((especially after the loss of 62) and discuss about the ways required to handle them tactfully across the borders …..They have done the very much same to us…and if they again become powerful they can come back on us…

      But I know, you will not take my contention, because to think in this manner, we need to think like an Indian first and feel proud in introducing oneself through nationality rather than religion…But I think people are rather interested in discussing endlessly on how to divide Hindus and Muslims , on the like of few “extremists” who are just there to divide us and serve there larger political motives…!!!

      • Reality5000

        This is Roark, replying above….Thanks..

      • durdant

        Unfortunately friend, you really don’t know the basic of subject being discussed. Its a fact that History, Religion, and Politics are core to all the civilizations. No religion has spread without support of the rulers of the day. No doubt, it does not matter who killed whom or who destroyed what in current day-to-day life. The problem resides only with the form it takes in future.

        Every individual has an identity and race & religion are two important aspects of it. Politics is a tool for power which is strongly connected to religion. To be meaningful and important one has to protect his identity. Power is required for protecting this identity where politics is a tool and which is linked to history & religion. And in any democracy history is most important thing which will keep you in power.

        Say, when you go to a shop and ask for a toothpaste, shopkeepers offers you two brands. One is colgate and other is blackmonkey. In all the probabilities you will pick up colgate given both product will deliver same value. UNLESS BLACKMONKEY IS A REAL DEAL, HAVE TOO MANY ADVANTAGES OVER COLGATE. Why? Becoz colgate is known everywhere and has a good ‘history’. So to capture imaginations of people, you need good history, which will in turn will take you to power.

        • Reality5000

          I could find no sense in your opinions or comment but I shall reply because of the first “unfortunate” statement you made in your comment above.
          “Its a fact that History, Religion, and Politics are core to all the civilizations. No religion has spread without support of the rulers of the day. No doubt, it does not matter who killed whom or who destroyed what in current day-to-day life. The problem resides only with the form it takes in future.”

          I completely agree that history is important for a civilization, but only the part of history which is constructive not destructive and also which is quite transparent and not ambiguous. Like I mentioned the equation by Einstein, which is also a part of history, proven and helps in the progress of nation. Religion, or rather call it belief or faith is definitely important but it cannot supersede or taint the significance of nationality, and if it does it should be limited to being personal rather than making public and trying to reap benefits out of it. Politics, no doubt is important but it shall rather be used in supporting religionS instead of “A Religion” because than it adds up to the culture of the country and allows the existence of every human being with peace and eqality, rather than causing unbalance of power, resulting in benefits to one and troubles for another.
          Every individual has an identity and race & religion are two important aspects of it. Politics is a tool for power which is strongly connected to religion. To be meaningful and important one has to protect his identity. Power is required for protecting this identity where politics is a tool and which is linked to history & religion. And in any democracy history is most important thing which will keep you in power

          Definitely, individual has his identity from race and religion, but than again it cannot take over, curtail and taint his identity of being an Indian, in ANY of the circumstances, whatsoever and if it does it should be limited to personal level.
          Sorry, but politics is not a “tool” for power, instead, it is a way of service to mankind and people whom politicians represent. Power is just a small and ancillary part of it. Also, politicians “dharma” is to protect the identity of an Indian, not of a “particular” race or religion and to protect that identity, every leader should go to any extent possible. Also, in a democracy you don’t need history of race and religion and power. You need the history of good work, development and progress to be in power. Although, in India, still caste based politics is practised, because its an easy way to use public money for personal benefits and misguide gullible people, or rather call them irrational, by using caste and religion as the “tool”.
          For the last paragraph of your comment, I will say, definitely I will use Coalgate instead of Blackmoney (nice name, eh..!!!), because its a brand and it has a history. But question is history of what?….History of providing a product which helps against tooth decay and provide a bright smile (I have one, I guess), but not because the owner of the company is of my religion or my caste. The identity of the product or a politician is from the quality it has maintained, not from whether he goes to a temple or a mosque for his daily prayers…!!!

          • durdant


            Before giving my reply, I confirm that I am no muslim-hater/Hindu-fanatic and opining purely on ‘objectivity’ of History which has been written.

            You say politics is not ‘tool’ for power, and then comment on what politician ‘should’ do, itself confirms that today politicians don’t conduct it the way ‘idealist’ should do. Hence politics is being used to usurp power. So even in a democracy like India or even US you will hear which majority/minority is voting whom. Across the world religion has been used in politics. Sometimes even in democracy. Pls note even in communist countries it is used or else you would not have seen persecution of Buddhist in Mao period.

            Also, you mention equation of Einstien (that is science, which is absolute) and try to connect it with History (which is perspective), you mixed the subject itself.

            History is the perspective of ruler of the day and not absolute. There is nothing ‘good’ & ‘bad’ history. It is just event which have happened in ‘past’ and ‘present’ have no control over it. Only control is how it is presented.

            Let me give an example on ‘absoluteness’ of historical facts:
            I have read history of Pakistan, as in textbooks there. Now, what do you expect them to say about Jinnah. He is Quaid-e-Azam. A very reverential figure there, but in India he is an evil who took us to partition. We have read in History that the word ‘Pakistan’ came into existence only in 1939. And how do they define history of pakistan…..’The start of Pakistan is 11th century when Ghazni captured Delhi.’ Also, ‘Pakistan was upto awadh and bengal, which is actual territory of Pakistan’. But somehow Hindus partitioned it. By the way, fanatics in Pakistan still claim awadh (lucknow) the actual territory.

            (Muslim rule has been a part of history but how that has been represented is for everyone to see)

            It will be very easy to discard above example “India is different from Pakistan hence can’t be compared, and India has been very objective on historical facts’. But the fact remains that History has been written by historian with some perspective and there is always a perspective which one has not seen which is ‘bad’ to oneself and ‘good’ to other.

            ** My example was colgate (not coalgate) and ‘blackmonkey’ (not blackmoney). I am not trying to connect corruption issue here. In earlier days, I have seen ad of ‘bandar chhaap kala dunt manzan’. It was to connect the issue there.

    • Sudipto Roy

      We gave our Somnaths for tikka masala kabab. Splendid piece of writing 🙂 Couldn’t agree more.

  • shaktifabian

    both dalyrample and karnad are not that creative or talented as it appears since much of their so called talents were hyped up by their dear friends in the media for long time one has written a not so readable book about the decadent mughal rule and karnad a play on mohamed bin tughlak mohamed who??? this barbarian came into indian history books thanks to marxists and their secular friends both this pygmies have huge complex against naipaul one of the finest english writers of this century and this was one of the reason which made the fraustratedkarnad abuse the absent naipaul on an hijacked platform in mumbai

  • Mani

    Whatever the argument, Muslim rule was the best thing to have happened to Dalits and lower classes, who didn’t know what equality meant earlier. If not for Islamic influence, India would still have a large section of society living as second-class citizens. Are the right-wingers telling us that only Muslim kings took over lands by force, while Hindu or other kings did so peacefully? Do they expect us to believe people had an option to elect rulers back then? Of course, lands were conquered by emans of war, but when it came to ruling the country, Muslim rulers had the foresight to treat its subjects equally, with a few aberrations like Aurangzeb, which lead to the weakening of his for which he anyway had to bear the consequences – in terms of his weakened hold over the country. If Muslim rule was so bad, why was beef banned during the tenure of most Mughal rulers – some would then term it appeasement of the majority! An entire complex of temples in Ayodhya was built by Awadh nawabs. It was mainly the egalitarianism of Islam that led to the weakening of the caste system. A dalit was technically a citizen with equal rights under Muslim rule, a status that he could never have achieved under Hindu kings. Should it be surprising then that this whole set of Muslim bashing is led by upper caste commentators? Are they peeved at losing the centuries-old stranglehold over society?

    • Paromita Das

      Dear Mr Mani,

      You say, “Muslim rule was the best thing to have happened to Dalits”. Did the first and foremost leader of the dalits, Dr BR Ambedkar, think on the same line?

      In his book ‘Pakistan or the Partition of India’ (Thackers Publishers, Bombay), Ambedkar has written:

      “Take the caste system. Everybody infers that Islam must be free from slavery and caste. Islam speaks of brotherhood. Everybody infers that Islam must be free from slavery and caste. Regarding slavery nothing needs to be said. It stands abolished now by law. But while it existed, much of its support was derived from Islam and Islamic countries. While the prescriptions by the Prophet regarding the just and humane treatment of slaves contained in the Koran are praiseworthy, there is nothing whatever in Islam that lends support to the abolition of this curse. As Sir W. Muir has well said — ‘. . . rather, while lightening, lie riveted the fetter. . . .There is no obligation on a Muslim to release his slaves. . . .’
      But if slavery has gone, caste among Musalmans has remained. As an illustration one may take the conditions prevalent among the Bengal Muslims. The Superintendent of the Census for 1901 for the Province of Bengal records the following interesting facts regarding the Muslims of Bengal —
      ‘The conventional division of the Mahomedans into four tribes — Sheikh, Saiad, Moghul and Pathan — has very little application to this Province (Bengal). The Mahomedans themselves recognize two main social divisions, (1) Ashraf or Sharaf and (2) Ajlaf. Ashraf means ‘noble’ and includes all undoubted descendants of foreigners and converts from high caste Hindus. All other Mahomedans including the occupational groups and all converts of lower ranks, are known by the contemptuous terms, ‘Ajlaf ,’ ‘wretches’ or ‘mean people’: they are also called Kamina or Itar, ‘base’ or Rasil, a corruption of Rizal, ‘worthless.’ In some places a third class, called Arzal or ‘lowest of all,’ is added. With them no other Mahomedan would associate, and they are forbidden to enter the mosque to use the public burial ground. Within these groups there are castes with social precedence of exactly the same nature as one finds among the Hindus.”

      With regards,

  • dccjb

    What do you mean by a “certain Arab brand of Islam”? What other brand is there?

  • Sudipto Roy

    In terms of the “positives of Islam” all that we have been taught since childhood is how our art and architecture developed. I guess we could do with a few less architectural splendours but our culture intact. Think of all that would not have been destroyed that was uniquely ours. No hard feelings against any religion but this crap about architecture is not enough to destroy a civilisation.

  • An excellent article that deserves all round clapping.