30th September 2013
Islam has much innate viciousness but so do ALL religions. Let’s demand the rule of law and punish all criminals.
My advocacy for the INNOCENT and attacks on CRIMINALS – regardless of their "religion" – is often taken by readers to be a defence of Islam.
The problem is such readers are superficial and haven't read my scathing criticism of ALL religions (plus also recognition of the good arising from them). An example would be the chapter on tolerance in The Discovery of Freedom. I am keenly aware that ALL religions have passages in their scriptures that are extremely hateful and – if followed strictly – will lead to certain obliteration of the human species. Christianity, Judaism, Islam are the most vicious of all.
Hinduism's texts are far less vicious in the way they attack non-Hindus, but they are defective in many other ways (e.g. by advocating atrocities against the lower castes).
Violence is the hallmark of ALL organised religion. It is up to us to take the good (if any) out of them and reject the rest.
I agree that Islam has an extremely violent history – and many of its current advocates are even more violent. But the fact that someone (Babur) demolished a key temple and built a mosque out of it is NO REASON for "Hindus" to go about demolishing the mosque and taking the law into their own hands. In a constitutional republic, the RULE OF LAW must reign supreme. Past crimes – hundreds of years old – must necessarily be taken out of the equation, and the situation evaluated on merit according to the law prevailing today. There is no law passed by the Indian parliament to authorise random demolitions/ killings by "Hindus" – in retaliation of what someone did hundreds of years ago.
It is the tendency of BJP to incite people to take the "law" into their own hands that is the reason BJP must be rejected. BJP has no respect for justice. No respect for law.
I'm posting an email I received today – which raises important points. While I agree with the author, we need a lot more research to establish a balanced and TRUTHFUL situation regarding the role of Islam in India. We should not forget the DELIBERATE ROLE OF THE BRITISH in dividing India based on cooked up stories stories of religious hatred.
The hatred we see in India today amongst religions can be attributed in large part to the British.
Dear Mr Sabhlok,
I have been a follower of your blog for a while now, and really admire your work, as well as your mission of bringing in Classical Liberalism in India. I really identify myself as being compatible with the values of individualism, pragmatism and freedom with accountability that Liberalism espouses.
I don’t want anyone to misinterpret my response as an Islamophobic rant (which it isn’t). Firstly, I would like to clarify that I am DEAD AGAINST ideals like the RSS version of Hindutva and turning India into a Hindu Pakistan. Like you, I respect (NOT worship) the Advaita, Charvaka and Kautilya’s capitalist traditions of Hinduism, and although not engraved in stone, identify myself as a “Hindu agnostic”. I believe in researching both sides of an argument before arriving to my own conclusion (one of the hallmarks of critical thinking).
I did read the article, and yes, it does make sense that the British might have forged history textbooks in order to propagate their ideal of “Divide and Rule” in the subcontinent.
But there is overwhelming academic and physical evidence of:
1) Islamic brutality against Hindus – In the Koran, Hindus were (at the time of Muslim conquests) considered “pagan” and not even accorded basic traits of forgiveness allowed for defeated populations of Christians and Jews (whom the Koran considers “people of the book” or “Dhimmi”) (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dhimmi). [Sanjeev: The actual practice of this was far less aggressive. The jazia is applied on people of the book. That was applied to Hindus, as well – please check. I speak from memory, and have not re-checked this fact.]
2) Iconoclasm – some famous examples being Somnath (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Somnath), Nalanda (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nalanda), Martand Sun Temple (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Martand_Sun_Temple) and Babri Masjid (not 100% on this one though). [Sanjeev: At the same time, other Muslim rulers FUNDED TEMPLES. Ghazni's loot – he wanted Somnath's gold- purely driven by greed – can't be compared with Babri Masjid.]
3) Forced conversions of Hindus, Jizya taxes on non Muslims, and the general propagation of Persian over Sanskrit as the language of courts, administration and royalty (one notable exception being the rule of Akbar). [Sanjeev: Forceful conversion is highly exaggerated. The economic factor – jazia was, I think, very important. Also, the fact that you were more likely to get good jobs if you were Muslim. Note that economic factors generally trump others. Of course, any such economic incentives are also problematic. Please note that Sanskrit was NEVER am Indian language of the court.]
4) India being one of the very few countries where Islamic rule did not annihilate the indigenous civilization/religion (famous examples being ancient Egyptian and Zoroastrianism in Iran). I guess it is a testimony to the bravery of Indians that the Indian subcontinent was not completely Islamized. [Sanjeev: India was never one nation but hundreds of kingdoms. Things kept changing. Most battles were TERRITORIAL. Almost none were religious]
5) The ancestor of Indian Mughals, Timur (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Timur) (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mughal_Empire), while being one of the greatest conquerors of all times, would today be definitely considered as a genocidal sociopath.
A very good resource that I came across that explains the history, tribulations and implications of Islamic rule in India (http://www.islam-watch.org/HistoryOfJihad/Jihad-against-Hindus-of-India-Pakistan-Bangladesh.htm).
Also, http://www.thereligionofpeace.com/ [Sanjeev: You've got be really careful with one sided websites]
Moreover, as someone who strongly believes in liberalism as a political ideal, I have more than enough reason to believe that fundamental Islam (including the Sharia) is in direct opposition of the most basic tenets that defines Classical Liberalism like freedoms of speech, action, and thoughts, capitalism, equality of opportunity, democracy, critical thinking and free markets. [Sanjeev: I disagree with this. Neither was Christianity compatible with liberalism. But it changed. It took those bits that were compatible, and now is broadly liberal. Islam has MANY aspects that are compatible with liberalism. Do read The Discovery of Freedom.] Hence, I cannot respect such a religion/political ideology. Sad to see that the Hindutvawadis are joining this bandwagon of ignorance as well, just replaced by saffron robes instead of green. Hence, I firmly decline to identify myself as just Hindu. [I don't "respect" ANY religion – but I tolerate EVERYONE so long as they don't perpetrate violence]
However, as Gandhi so aptly put it “An eye for an eye makes the whole world blind”, so also harbouring feelings of resentment towards the current generation of Muslims in India for historical reasons is nothing but ignorant and nonsensical, and just perpetuates the vicious cycle of hatred amongst the society. But I really wish that Indian Muslims (as all other groups) would put good governance and national development as the forefront agenda, instead of fighting obscure medieval battles and championing myopic interests. [Sanjeev: Agreed. I'd say the same to Indian "Hindutavas", as well.]
As an OCI living in Australia, I have seen what good governance and free markets can do for a society, and really despair that the people of India might not have the choice to vote for a party like SBP in 2014, whose policies are the need of the hour.