Deserves a thread. This IPS officer writes sensible things and he has 'on the ground' experience. Suresh Khopade - I.P.S Misconceptions about Hindus by Communal Muslims Leaders Similarly, here are some of the features of the anti-Hindu propaganda carried on by Muslim fanatics: Islam is the holiest and the greatest religion in the world. Hindu religion encourages several superstitions. Hindus are very dirty and have no ethical sense. Hindus are misers and easily fall prey to monetary and other allurements. Hindus are ungrateful and ill-treat the followers of other religions. It is the Hindus who first foment communal disturbances with the covert intention of eliminating Muslims. Hindus are very caste-conscious. They would rather not employ a Muslim servant or craftsman. Marathi language is imposed on pupils in Urdu schools. Muslims do not have proportionate representation in administration. All the important positions have been appropriated by Hindus. With this sort of propaganda, truth becomes the first casualty. The common man is misled, because he is misinformed. I have, therefore, attempted to demonstrate the truth or its opposite on either side with some statistics in the following paragraphs. This type of false propaganda crosses national boundaries and strengthens religious group identities; and the tendency to oppose each other grows. Fanaticism rules the roots. Communal leaders never lag behind in taking advantage of the fear-complex and the sense of insecurity thus generated in the society at large. This sort of propaganda leads to the creation of a philosophical and psychical self image; which, in the hands of the so-called leaders, becomes a tool to enhance their prestige and achieve their personal ends. In this way, the result is an unhealthy growth of communal intolerance, social alienation, hatred and lack of mutual confidence. The technique is frequently employed by notorious leaders in public meetings or religious gatherings. Passions thus aroused, form the breeding ground for a bumper crop of fanatic followers. The 96-20 per cent of the accused in the above analysis had been the victims of this strategy. They had been aroused to such heights of religious frenzy as to come crashing down on the followers of another religion at the raising of a finger. When religious festivities are around the corner and there are celebrations and processions to mark the occasion, the fanatics, indoctrinated with the virus of communal hatred, are always to be found in the forefront. In recent years, the number of processions and their volume have both been steadily increasing. These are occasions when strength is displayed by coming out on the street in impressive and intimidating numbers. The other side, equally fanatic and determined is seized with the desire to be one up. The highly-charged show of mutual strength leads to minor clashes with bigger ones to follows, until everything is caught up in a turmoil. Prior to the Shivajayanti procession in 1984, Bhivandi had gone saffron all over with thousands of fluttering flags. The reply came immediately after, when green flags flooded the town in celebration of Shab-e-Barat. Obviously the saffron flags were taken as a challenge to Islam by the Muslim fanatics. The undue zest and unhealthy competitive spirit of the office-bearers of celebration committees on both sides cause an almost vertical rift between the two communities, until no room is left for reconciliation or rapprochement. The sole purpose of the office-bearers is to guard the interests of their community, and their efforts in this direction bring them rewards in the shape of communal leadership being bestowed on them. It is interesting and enlightening to study the two respective propaganda mages for stoking the fires of communal hatred, while secretly furthering their private ends. Let us first have a look at the anti-Hindu propaganda of the Muslim fanatics: (1) Some mullahs and maulavis declare that Islam is the greatest religion in the world and pass virulent strictures on others because being a mullah or maulavi is their source of livelihood. They are appointed as such after their source of livelihood. They are appointed as such after their theological studies are over and a religious degree, â€˜Alamâ€™, is conferred on them. Thus, their interest lies in encouraging the Islamic faith among ignorant and simple masses. If they fail, that would mean loss of their daily bread. Here is an example in point: After a few instances of dacoities and shop-breaking incidents in the surrounding villages, the housekeepers in my native place hired the services of a Gorkha watchman for night vigils. Some days later, they met to discuss whether the services of the Gorkha should be dispensed with; for, it appeared that they could not afford to pay the Gorkha got wind, he started making a lot of noise with his danda and whistling, so that traders were misled into the belief that dacoits had once again become active. They wily Gorkha resorted to his trick every alternate night and took to striking on the shop-shutters with his danda. This went on night after night. But some of the bolder shopkeepers kept a close watch and caught him at his tricks. The poor Gorkha was obviously doing it for his daily bread, dacoits or no dacoits! Some mullahs and maulavis must be using some such technique. I had several rounds of discussions with many of them about science and its methods. Unless they come to develop some scientific outlook on things that matter, they would merrily continue to misguide their fold. It is not shocking that, while using a microphone system themselves to deliver sermons they forbid others the use of TV or wireless sets, because, according to them, that is anti-Islamic? Another misconception that is assiduously sought to be cultivated among the Muslims by the mullahs and maulavis is that mosques are desecrated by the throwing of gulal or loud street music to the chagrin of devout Muslims during namaaz. The latter of these two acts has been the cause of a very large number of clashes between the two rival communities. Unfortunately, we hardly come across a thoughtful Muslim reformer who would take up this unique social cause of removing the superstitious belief of the Muslim masses that Islam could be harmed with such petty acts. (2) The assertion that Hindus alone are superstitious is not tenable. Muslims are equally superstitious. We often come across Muslims asking fakirs for charms, offering navasas (a covenant with some deity involving a promise of some offer in return for divine favour), or making requests for mannat by active participation in Moharram processions. (3) It is not true that Hindu manufacturers are unjust only to Muslims. Every manufacturer, be he a Hindu or a Muslim, aims at every bigger profits, without bothering about the community to which his workers belong. (4) Muslims believe that they have no proportionate representation in the administration, and that all the high ranking posts are cornered by the Hindus. But the plight of Muslims results from negligence of education, influence of reactionary Muslim priesthood and an unreasonable, in fact positively harmful insistence on Urdu. Misconceptions about Muslims by Communal Hindu Leaders Communal-minded Hindu leaders indulge in the following kind of anti-Muslim propaganda. Muslims are extremely fanatic, orthodox and cruel; they are more firmly united than Hindus. They do not accept Shivaji as a national hero, nor do they participate in the celebrations of his birth anniversary. If they fail to do so, they should be asked to leave India. Their loyalties lie outside India; to Pakistan. As long as they do not agree to (ask for) and abide by a common civil code; they do not deserve to call themselves â€˜Indiansâ€™. A Muslim has four wives at a time, and produces a number of children; indeed that is the only thing they know how to do well. Muslims are extremely dirty. They aim at increasing their numbers by proselytizing and by refusing to accept birth control with the obvious intention of carving another Pakistan out of the present India. Muslims intend to convert Bhivandi into a mini-Pakistan. Hindus in fact are obliging the Muslims by permitting them to stay in India, while Pakistan was expressly created to accommodate the Muslims. All Muslims are anti-national. This is borne out by the fact that, whenever Pakistan defeats India in some sport, they show their jubilation by bursting crackers. Let us now turn to the Hindus and their charges against Muslims. (1) Muslims as a whole are anti-national. Their loyalties lie outside India, i.e., towards Pakistan. How far would it be justifiable to stamp a whole community as anti-national, simply because a few urchins start running amok, shouting pro-Pakistani slogans at India's defeat by Pakistan in some match played at the other end of the world? I have seen for myself that my Muslim friends and acquaintances love India as much as, if not more than, any given Hindu. In the face of (a few instances of) selfishness taking precedence over every consideration of national interest, how can a whole community be branded as traitors? A little bit of careful self-searching will help any one arrive at the real truth. (2) The charge of excessive cruelty is often leveled against the Muslims, chiefly as a by-product of the trauma suffered by the Hindus under Muslim regimes for well over a thousand years, from which they have not yet sufficiently recovered. However, an in-depth study of communal disturbances in the country will reveal that once the rioting starts, neither community lags behind the other in the demonstration of heartless, beastly cruelty. (3) Yet another charge against the Muslims is that they are better organized. This may well be true during disturbed times. It is a common experience that people come together when faced with a common threat, which may be real or imagined. But this type of unity tends to dissolve as soon as the threat is over. I drew up separate lists of complainants and defendents in Bhivandi who were involved in cases of physical assaults during 1985-90. There were in all 1688 cases, out of which in as many as 935 cases, both complainants as well as defendants were in all 1968 cases, out of which in as many as 935 cases, both complainants as well as defendents were Hindus; while in 491 cases both were Muslims and only in 164 cases, the picture was Hindu versus Muslim. In the remaining 98 cases the exact communities of the accused could not be ascertained. Obviously, the statistics fail to prove the charge. Besides, if we grant that Muslims are better organized; there ought to have been only one Muslim candidate per constituency in elections. But in 1989 by-election for legislative assembly for one seat in Bhivandi, out of a total of 18 candidates, 11 were Muslims! What happened to their so called unity? The conclusion is that the temptation to close ranks on communal grounds is very strong during riots; while in times of peace, unity is thrown overboard and people go their own way. An instance in point is the rift between the savarnas (Superior castes) and the dalits (so called untouchables) on the issue of renaming the Marathwada University. Perhaps, the feeling of a stronger Muslim alignment has its origin in the historical past. (4) Why should the Muslims keep themselves away from the Shivajayanti celebrations, it is asked? Shivaji himself never fought expressly for the creation of a Hindu Kingdom. In fact, there were Muslim admirals like Daulat Khan and Ibrahim Khan in his navy and 700 Pathan troops in his army. He had strict standing orders for the protection of Muslim institutions. He has been depicted by many as a Hindu king in seventeen century who founded a state where all religions received equal treatment. Provided the Shivajayanti procession is conducted without anti-Muslim slogans and with due decorum befitting Shivaji's historic image, any thoughtful person would be happy to join it. (5) Lately, a large section of public opinion has been making out a strong case in favour of a common civil code for all citizens irrespective of their caste, creed or religious faith. It seems that the common man is completely unaware of how the measure, if adopted, will affect his community. I feel, however, that the largest beneficiaries of such a measure will be the Muslim women. If a majority of them happen to be against its adoption, the others need not be unduly concerned over the issue. Besides, laws alone do not solve problems, unless people are trained to see the benefit. (6) There was a time when I myself was a victim of the mischievous propaganda that every Muslim male had four wives and his house was timing with children. While serving in the CID (intelligence Department) I had seen hoardings put up by certain organizations, showing a bearded Miya in the midst of his harem surrounded by a number of children, from toddlers to teenagers. The caption on one such hoarding read, 'We five and ours twenty-five!' On the lines of a popular family planning slogan 'we two, we have two!' I can assure you that I have not come across a single such family during my three years tenure in Bhivandi, a predominantly Muslim town. (7) A few years ago some communal organizations had publicly warned that by 2151A.D. Muslims would outnumber Hindus in India. However, social scientists working at the centre for Research in Rural and Industrial Development, Chandigarh, have demonstrated, with the help of census figures for the decades 1961-71 and 1971-81 that the rate of recession in population growth among Hindus was 0.29% as compared to 0.63% among Muslims for the same period. This is a convincing proof of the falsity of the propaganda. The same institution has shown further that in India there are 29 towns where the Muslim population exceeds that of the Hindus by a margin of 25 per cent of the total. Of these, the rate of population growth among Muslims in 16 towns is less than that among Hindus. The finding is based on the census figures of 1971-81. Nearer home, even in a town like Bhivandi, predominantly Muslim, and the census figures for the same decade show that growth-rate of the Hindus is 3.89% as against 3.27% for the Muslims. This should remove the misapprehensions aimed at spreading alarm in the majority community. Muslims do not have any secret plan of outnumbering the Hindus by begetting children at a faster rate, and by having four wives at a time. It is their poverty, lack of education and ignorance that are the real causes, besides their misguided, if not mischievous, priesthood, that hamper their progress.