Tuesday 1 January 2019

Life of Muslims in Non Muslim Countries: India

Whenever India is mentioned as tourist haven, Taj Mahal is projected as its 'proud heritage' - a heritage which is legacy of Muslim rule and Mogul architecture in India. While still boasting of its secularism, India today has become one of the most notorious countries for its indifference and extreme hostility to its minorities, specially Muslims, who once ruled India and let Hindus lived peacefully and coexist beside the Muslims. 

Islam, which today is the second largest religion in India with its 189 million Muslims (2017 estimates), came to this part of the world  when Arab traders came here as early as the 7th century CE to coastal Malabar and Konkan-Gujarat. The presence of Cheraman Juma Mosque in Kerala which was built in 629 CE is still thought to be the first mosque in India.

However, a Muslim expedition under Muhammad bin Qasim in the 7th century CE brought the province of Sindh (in present-day Pakistan) under the dominance of the Muslims and Sindh became the easternmost province of the Umayyad Caliphate. Up in the north, Mahmud of Ghazni added the Punjab to the Ghaznavid Empire and conducted 17 raids on modern-day India in the 10th century. In the 11th century, Ghazi Saiyyad Salar Masud played a significant role in the conversion of locals (Hindus) to Islam. A more successful invasion came at the end of the 12th century from Muhammad of Ghor. This eventually led to the formation of the Delhi Sultanate. There have since been many changes in the dominating Muslim powers which continued to change hands till the arrival of the Mughals of Central Asian ancestry.

The Mughal Empire, founded in 1526, became the largest and most stable Muslim ruling elite over India and ruled India till 1857 when the last Muslim emperor was defeated by the British and brought into an era of famous British Raj that ruled lands that constitute present day India, Pakistan and Bangladesh till 1947 when the indigenous independent movements forced British to end their last and the largest overseas empires.

The Muslim rule over India has left a profound and meaningful impact on India's religious and cultural heritage. Although over the centuries, there has been significant integration of Hindu and Muslim cultures across India and Muslims have played a notable role in economics, politics and culture of India. All over India, once can find Muslim and Mughal architecture. Lahore in present day Pakistan is still known as the showcase of Mughal architecture.The Muslims also contributed a lot in various forms of art and literature and most of the notable poets and writers have been Muslims.

The majority Hindu population which once ruled the India became more restive to regain their lost glory from 19th century onward. And the rift between Muslims and Hindus became so pronounced that the ruling British were forced to divide the erstwhile United British India into India and Pakistan in 1947. The partition of India and Pakistan saw display of bitter animosities between the two leading religions and have since then prevailed not only in relations between Pakistan and India, but also between Hindus and Muslim population of India.

With the breakaway of Pakistan from British India, the Muslims who once ruled India, became a minority, but have been coexisting with the dominating Hindu population in varying degrees of peace and animosity. However recently, the rise of extremest Hindu parties, the life of Muslims has become a nightmare. Today, Muslims get abused, investigated and dissected daily on Indian channels and media while they have been barred from slaughtering cows, which Hindus worship as their mother. In recent times, since the ban on cow slaughtering, many Muslims have been killed on the suspicion of slaughtering cows. There have been videos viral on social  media wherein Muslims are shown tied with trees and beaten to renounce Islam and raise pro Hindu slogans. Those not 'cooperating' are beaten mercilessly and even killed in many instances. 

Muslims today are eyed as sympathizers of Pakistan and even if someone has never visited Pakistan or have no relations there, they should be prepared to be harassed and called a Pakistani by Hindus. as per one 'advice' one has to try to be extra sad if India loses a cricket match to Pakistan, even though one is supporting India. Still don’t smile or make a happy face next day or else a Hindu friend will congratulate you and say your country has won, and immediately he’ll file verbal complaint that you were celebrating Pakistan win with fire-crackers.[2]

In a report published by the Council on Foreign Relations, in an answer to the question:How has the Hindu nationalist movement affected Indian Muslims?, it is said that:[3]
Anti-Muslim sentiment has also been used to win votes. For Hindu nationalists, who warn of a threat to India’s Hindu heritage, religion serves as a rallying cry to gain support. Their movement is “at the core very anti-Muslim,” says Ashutosh Varshney, an expert on Indian ethnic conflict at the University of Michigan. Hindu nationalists stoke fears, arguing that Muslims’ higher birth rate and an influx of migrants from Bangladesh threaten India’s Hindu majority. Hard-line Hindu nationalists argue Indian Muslims (as well as Christians) converted from Hinduism and should reconvert to the majority religion.
In a report published by TRT World under the title Life of Muslims in 'Modi-fied' India, the treatment meted out to Muslims highlights extreme indifference to Muslims and their rule of India. The report highlights that:[4]
  • The BJP government has added a “Hindu first” version of Indian history to school curriculum, which had long taught that people from central Asia arrived in India much more recently, some 3,000 to 4,000 years ago, and transformed the population. 
  • The Mughal Empire, established and governed by a Muslim dynasty, ruled most of the sub-continent in the 16th and 17th centuries before the arrival of British colonialists. However, the government of Maharashtra state revised the curriculum of state textbooks by removing the Mughals from its history altogether, as part of the campaign of erasure of the Mughal rule-era of the subcontinent from the syllabus textbooks.
  • There have been reports, supported by videos circulating online, that show right-wingers shaving off the beard of a Muslim convert and forcing him to renounce his religion.
Harsh Mander writes in his article 'India - No country for Muslims' [5]:
A rising tide of hate is surging through India, of toxic speech and attacks on religious minorities, mostly Muslims. A permissive environment that tacitly or openly encourages hate speech and assaults is actively, even aggressively, fostered by the majoritarian anti-minority ideology of the country’s political leadership. Muslims are systematically demonized as sexual predators, as being sympathetic to terrorism and as people who slaughter and eat cow, which is held sacred by many Hindus. Most hate attacks on Muslims are never publicly condemned by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who is otherwise extremely voluble on Twitter and public addresses. This has fostered widespread social legitimization of anti-Muslim prejudice, hate speech and hate crimes.
Vigilante mobs, who style themselves as cow protectors, lynch people transporting cattle with impunity, visibly supported in many instances by the local police. India Spend, a news data portal, found that 97 per cent of reported hate attacks in the name of the cow since 2010 occurred after Modi was elected to office in 2014. About half the attacks were on Muslims, but 86 per cent of the people killed were Muslims. This means that if vigilante attackers learn that their victim is Muslim, there is a much greater chance that he will be killed. Eight per cent of those killed were from the Dalit community of untouchables. 
In a report published under the title of Profile of Muslims in India, it is asserted that: [6]
  • The Indian Constitution claims to provide equality of opportunity to all individuals, organizations and social groups. But the biggest Indian minority is a victim of deprivation. Whether it is legislative assemblies educational institutions, government jobs, the problem of security in case of riots, representation in political organizations, posts in policy planning and decision-making groups or other pressure groups there is acute shortage of Muslim representation everywhere, resulting in constant social tension and problems in governance.
  • The state of present textbooks in the Indian education system are very aggressive in teaching Hinduism. This hits Muslims' faith, culture, civilization, language and way of life. The educational syllabi have prescribed course books in all states, which are replete with matters pertaining to the faiths of the majority community, mythological and other stories of Hindu gods and goddesses against the principles prescribed in the Constitution. Obviously all these things are negations of Islamic beliefs and teachings, especially about the Oneness of God Almighty. Hence there is no doubt that these things are causing great concern to the Muslims.
  • More than fifty percent Muslims are leading a life below the poverty line as compared to thirty-five percent of Hindus who live below the poverty line. Because of a general environment of hostility against Muslims, decent employment in the private sector is becoming increasingly difficult for Muslims, while in the public sector there is no encouragement for Muslims either. The future of Muslim professionals and its working class, traders etc has been very greatly affected.
  • Today very few Muslims are found in government jobs. A recent survey shows that there are only eight Muslim police chiefs in India's 591 districts. That is .01% as compared to 12% of the Muslim population in India. The situation of other departments is also worsening day by day. 

However, despite all odds, the Muslims continue to observe their religious obligations even under duress with religious zeal and fervour. The mosques are fill to capacity on Friday and Eid congregations and month of Ramadan is observed true to its sanctity by a large majority of Muslims. A majority of Muslims in India are either Sunni Deobandi or Sunni Barelwi allegiance, although some declare allegiance to Shia, Sufi, Salafi and other smaller sects. Darul-Uloom Deoband has the most influential Islamic seminary in India, considered second only to Egypt's Al-Azhar in its global influence.
Muslims offer Eid prayers at the Jama Masjid, Delhi | Reuters

"The Muslim Personal Law (Shariat) Application Act, 1937" governs Muslims in India. It directs the application of Muslim Personal Law to Muslims in marriage, mahr (dower), divorce, maintenance, gifts, waqf, wills and inheritance.[3] The courts generally apply the Hanafi Sunni law, with exceptions made only for those areas where Shia law differs substantially from Sunni practice.

As of today, the Muslims of India are very vulnerable in a country which describes itself as the world's "largest secular democracy". Muslims today remain poorer, less educated and less empowered in India.

You may like to watch the video "The price of being a Muslim in India" - An eye opener for those who think India is a true secular country. But reading what is shared above and what is said in the video below, one gets a feeling that India is the most minority offensive country inn the world, specially with regard to Muslims:

Photo | References: | 1 | 2 | 34 |  5 | 6 | 7 |
If you like Islam: My Ultimate Decision, and to keep yourself updated on all our latest posts to know more about Islam, follow us on Facebook

Please share this page to your friends and family members through Facebook, WhatsApp or any means on Social Media so that they can also be benefited by it and better understand Islam and the Holy Qur'an - Insha Allah (Allah Willing) you shall be blessed with the best of both worlds.


Post a Comment

Twitter Delicious Facebook Digg Stumbleupon Favorites More