Okay this is going to be a long post, please bear with me.... YES ! I' would like to expand on this. It's the crux of the matter. Plus this is related to the whole conversion debate too.
First, this are my beliefs so people know where I stand.
1. I'm an atheist
2. I believe all religions are manmade
3. I'm not a communist (I'm a nationalist)
Okay, know that's cleared, let me begin . They are just my observations, so don't take them personally
#1 The world is way more ethnocentric then we would like to believe !!
Cannot stress this more. Ideology be damned, in the end ethnicity and common culture counts, for this is human nature. These 'tribal insticts' are hardwired into out brains !
#2 follows #1. Our ethnicity ...for the sake of simplicity let be just use the term 'Brown'
On Islam (please read this objectively)
Islam in India has not formed a unique Indian identity. I'm sorry to say this, but this has been my observation. Except for a few small indigenous sects (like the Dawoodi Boharas for eg), Islam in India (and the Indian subcontinent at large) tends to look outside for authority (Iran or Arabia). And this (IMVHO) was the reason for that disguting ideology of Pakistan !
I don't know what the reason was, especially for such a syncretic culture as ours. From history we know that Akbar tried to make an Indian version (Din El Illahi was it?) but the clergy screwed him over.
PS:Sects like Deoband don't count as they are a recent creation and pan-islamist in nature (from what I know)
Now combine this with #1 and tada ! You see the problem ?
Here are some examples which will illustrate what I'm thinking:
Iran persianized Shia Islam and now they're the spiritual center for it. Only Iranians are the authority on it. Their state religion is also a means of projecting their soft power
Turkey got rid of the problem of nationalism by drastic measures ! Kemal Ataturk realized the ethnocentricity of the world and devised Kemalism which is pure ethnic nationalism.
Arabia no surprises here. Arabs are extremely ethnocentric and they have their soft-power version too (Wahhabism is it?)
Christain sects like the Syrians have a distinct Indian identity and are culturally integrated into Indian society without the 'ethno' bug.
Neo converts, not so much. The missionaries destroy every connection to their ancient traditions/culture by terming it as pagan, satanic etc.
Now what is this common culture and ethnicity which I'm referring to ? I'm not the best at articulating my point, so let me try through some examples
The 'west' makes makes movies on Roman Mythology, Greek Mythology, ancient battles (and other 'pagan' stuff part of their civilization). Here in India such a movie would have people screaming 'secularism' and 'saffron' and what not !
Every Chinese would probably swear by the Art of War. Whereas the Arthashastra would be called communal by some people. (Yes this is the reason why the TV show Chanakya was called down)
Sure, we love to quote philosophers thinkers, but if someone quotes the Buddha or a Tirthankar. Bam ! Saffron agenda, purple, agenda, rainbow blah blah
These were written by Brown folks just like you and me and they give a reflection of our collective Brown Society/Civilization (can't find a better word). In the end we're all Brown Bastards
To those that got offened: You're a fellow Brown bastard like me, so stop whining
Can you elaborate on this more please? I to agree that apart from some Sufis and Boharas many parts of Islam dont identify with India as much as an Iranian Muslim identifies with Iran. Also why do you think this has happened?
Your sweeping generalizations are incongruous with reality. Given India's history and ground reality it is impossible for one to accept overarching labels to define the ethos along the lines of all Hindus or all Muslims. India is the most heterogeneous society one can think of where the divisions are not only along religious lines but also along communal, caste and linguistic lines. Heck even the supposed group of secessionist Muslims can't come to a consensus without blowing each other up; this in spite of being inundated with all sorts of religious notions.
Indian Muslims are here to stay and they need not be collectively blamed for creating dubious versions of history or supposedly messing with its continuity or anything else for that matter. Collective blame and/or collective punishment is signatory of a crude and uncivilized society and that is simply un befitting for a culture as sophisticated* as that of India (*I say this based on global cross-cultural comparison). The history of Islam in the Indian sub continent is but a component of the greater collective which defines all of India. I would go a step further and say it is more critical now than ever to preserve the originality of Islamic Indian history thanks to the self appointed preservers of all things Indian Islam- the Pakistani intelligentsia- took it upon themselves to torpedo it.
PS: I'm glad we have all decided to stick to civilized debate but at the same time it is important to refrain from sweeping generalizations because it is highly offensive.
Objectively speaking I would have to reject this observation. Indian Muslims are markedly different from non sub continental Muslims in their cultural practices. This is glaringly evident in the Middle East countries where you can see the interaction between Arabs iand the sub continental Muslim expats. The pre independence rift was clearly engineered by a select group of Muslim elite who were able to utilize the general turmoil as a catalyst. The emphasis on the external sources of identity is also an engineered phenomenon (by members of the Pakistani intelligentsia) which is no more than a few decades old.
Prior to all the turmoil the Indian Muslims were beneficiaries of their Indian heritage, however the partition and the post partition calamities have caused a great interference in the acceptance of the identity. On the Pakistani side... well that was a colossal clusterf**k and needs no mention. But on the Indian side Hindu groups have also become increasingly chauvinistic and constantly seek to undermine Indian Muslims to keep them in a state of panic. This is a self fulfilling prophecy; the more you threaten the Muslim minorities (and "teach them a lesson" once in a while) the more insecure they become about their own identity.
The accusations of generalization of the role of Indian Muslim in the partition plan is merely an attempt to deflect the need to seriously introspect the role of the Muslim community in the evolution of the partition plan and as a final solution to the vexed ethnic divide that haunted Indian in the fag end of the freedom struggle,skirting away from issues will not in anyway mitigate the seriousness of the issues,which you describe as sweeping generalization.
On contrary while stating the primary role of the Muslim community in instigating the partition,this was not intended to be crucifix to be hung around any community neck,it was just stating a fact with wide implication on the eventual formation of statehood's in the subcontinent.
As a matter o fact after its initial reluctance the larger Hindus society too came around to acknowledging the merit of the partition plan and even though not singularly brilliant or original,the plan itself had been it been accomplished with more efficiency and thoroughness,would effectively settled a thorny issues of conflicting identities and with absolutely no bloodshed.The Hindus and Muslims could eventually have congratulated each other for achieving the near impossible,carving out their nation states with out a mass ethnic pogrom.
Alas as in all things Indian,we came up with brilliant and workable plan but did not have the fortitude and conviction to see it through to its logical conclusion.
Notwithstanding how the partition turned out eventfully,its a fact testified by history that Indian Muslims chose to stay but as different nations,and i must add the Hindus too saw the wisdom in it.Whether any body accepts it or not,the Muslims and Hindus of undivided India,upon independence,chose to conduct the rest of their social and political engagements as sovereign Islamic and Hindu nation respectively
Its only in fairness of best norms of justice that this decision to go separate be acknowledged and be acted upon in the best of the spirit.
The Constitution is a "legal book " through which we Indians have resolved to conduct our affairs .
But India's essential " Hinduness " comes out in many ways
From 1. saffron at the top of our flag
2 to the names of Missiles and tanks and planes
3. to National emblem ,
4. to films and culture wherein, most of the characters and stories / plots are about and of Hindus
5 and the word HINDUSTAN being used at several places as in the Public sector companies
as well as in names of newspapers ,colleges etc
If you want further proof look at the Indian top 20 cities and see how the population is Neatly and clearly demarcated into different Hindu and Muslim zones
Hindustan, originally meant to be land of the Indus.
Bollywood showing "Hindu" characters only eh? Who plays majority of those characters? A few Khans over the years. Shows what our curry is all about, unity in diversity. Unlike some who are only thinking of division.