Puppets of Faith: Theory of Communal Strife (A critical appraisal of Islamic faith, Indian polity)
Author: BS Murthy

Chapter 21
Double Jeopardy

It may be interesting to follow the Islamic fate of those unfortunate untouchables and other marginal caste groups of Hindustan, who had embraced the bigoted faith of Muhammad. True, the Hindu fringes, at last, got their God that the Brahmans so cruelly denied them, even one amongst their three crore deities, and what if Allah Ta’ala was an alien One for they were never allowed to feel like the coparceners of the land of their own forebears? Nevertheless, as the enshrined caste edifice was too strong even for the Almighty Allah to pull down, and since their Muhammadan masters would have only condescend to descended with them, the early converts might have been, to start with, tentative in their new faith. But yet, for the pain of circumcision, Islam afforded them the solace of faith and the hope of the ‘Hereafter’.

Moreover, for them the Sufi sop of allowing them to nourish their new Islamic credos in their old Hindu habitats was like having the cake and eating it too. But for the caste Hindus, they became mlecĥās, apart from being the outcasts that is even as the alien circumcision earned them the ridicule of a katua. And making matters worse for them, it was only time before the Wahabi zealots forced the progeny of the Sufis’ soft converts to shed their loose Hindu habits, and adopt the strict Muhammadan customs, which, to say the least, were cumbersome to the core. Thus, the double  jeopardy of the Islamic religious rigidity and the Hindu caste prejudice would have insensibly pushed those hapless converts into the ‘circle of hazard’ of the life ‘here’, and, what is worse, tied their progeny to an alien lifestyle for all times to come. 

This unjust happenstance should be a cause of regret for the caste Hindus that their progenitors so mistreated the forebears of these folks that forced them into an alien faith with a slavish ethos to the God and a narrow vision of life that is firmly coupled with burdensome religious precepts and practices. So, ironically, Islam, which attracted many outcastes of yore with its egalitarian tenets, had reduced their progeny into incorrigible obscurants of our times; whereas, their religiously removed caste cousins, aided by the times, are now riding on the high tide of modernity, be it those who had retained the identity of their progenitors or such who are resisting to be trapped into the Church by the wily Christian missionaries (may the Hindus be thankful to them). This alone calls for an unqualified apology from the Hindus to the Indian Musalmans and their sub-continental cousins before the Subramanian Swamys of the world want them to own up their Hindu origins to usher in the laudable integral Indian nationalism.

Whatever, the unabated profligacy of the Sultan-Nawab nexus of the Islamic order should have depressed the Indian economy sooner than later, which wouldn’t have improved the economic lot of the native converts for the alien rulers suffered no qualms for their lack of concern to the new but lowly additions to the grand umma, not to speak of their kafir subjects. But as the general economic condition of the Hindustan further deteriorated in time, being the poorest of the polity, the plight of the progeny of those converts would have only got worsened.

And yet, as the Islamic brainwash would have made them believe in their eternal bliss in the ‘Hereafter’, they could have derived a vicarious pleasure on account of the economic plight of their former tormentors ‘here’ as well for they had no scope to hope for the paradise that debars kafirs from entering its pristine precincts. And in the modern era, as the naivety of the Nehruvian socialistic pattern of society perpetuated the Islamic legacy of celebrating poverty, Mother India remained a pauper in the vice-like grip of the State, tightened further by his self-serving daughter Indira, till
PV Narasimha Rao unshackled it with the Manmohanamic wrenches!

Whatever, we may delve into the factors that kept Islam going strong in India, and that too with certain vigor; to start with, the mundane condition of the marginalized Hindus had admirably fitted into Muhammad’s Quranic glove that Islam is. Besides enhancing their self-worth, the cult of Muhammad promised them a certain heaven that Hinduism denied them anyway. While their social depravity was addressed by the equality before Allah Ta’ala, their economic poverty was solaced by the Islamic deprecation of life ‘here’ and its extolment of joys ‘there’. While in their Hindu state they were kept out of its social fold as untouchables or retained as retinues at the social fringes, their religious transformation as Musalmans would have enabled them to develop a sense of solidarity in their ranks, easing the burden of their former social exclusion. All this could have inculcated a ‘feel good’ in the converts about their newness ‘here’ all the while assured of the mouthwatering ‘Hereafter’, owing to the happy circumstance of their having become Musalmans.

How remarkable that the temporal condition of a set of people and the religious dogma of a faith that makes deprivation a virtue should serve the cause of both! Their new-found religious status could have enabled those converts to perceive themselves, no longer as Hindu outcasts but as Musalmans in a pan-Islamic world. Above all, the satisfaction of belonging to the religion of the ruling class, not only in India but also of the best part of the world then, would have countervailed the plaguing caste Hindu contempt for them. So, their religious conversion should’ve enabled them to gloss over the drudgery of ‘here’ aided by the hope the ‘Hereafter’, which in turn would have cemented their faith in their new faith.

Besides, the converts could have perceived every humiliation of the Hindus, at the hands of their coreligionists, alien though, as an Act of Allah dispensing His poetic justice for their unjust oppressions of the past. While Muhammad exploited the Arab psyche of deprivation to nurture Islam in Arabia, providence helped sync it with the hurt of the outcasts of Hindustan, which had afforded the Abrahamic creed an unabated growth in it. And it was not long before Muhammad’s irresistible socio-religious mix had spread far and wide in the land of the Hindus, to eventually transform it as the most populous Muslim part of the planet, albeit facilitated by the Brahman follies and abetted by the Rajput foibles. Thus, with no change in the ground realities, and in spite of the burden of an unyielding religious dogma coupled with its tedious practices that the faith imposed upon them, yet the converts remained enthusiastic about their lot, thereby illustrating the power of Islam over the minds of the poor, to be precise on the poor men.

Why not, on the personal front, Islam has a lot to offer to the men of its faith, and sadly for the outcaste woman, as is the case with all womanhood, it was her man who calls the conversion shots for her and her children as well. Surely, variety being the spice of life, the appetizing prospect of ‘four wives’ the alien cult grants its men, as opposed to the native norm of ‘monogamous monotony’, would have made many a male, not religiously attached with Hinduism, enamoured of it. As for divorce that is an anathema to the sanātana dharma, the alien faith provided the Indian convert a free passage to get rid of any or all his boring wives. With no questions asked that is, and naturally that would afford the economically poor Musalman a sway in his home with his wife or wives in thrall, which is bound to bloat his ego sag.  

Thus, while Islam gives its poor males a sense of invincibility within their homes, in spite of their vulnerability outside of it, for its privileged men, it accords the ‘license of levity’ for an unabated indulgence in the ways of the flesh. Sadly though, Islam, save the ‘Hereafter’, has nothing on offer for its women, who in the confines of the burka take the whims of their man as the diktats of the God, and thus subject themselves to their inimical Islamic order in perpetuity, so it seems. 

It would be interesting though to speculate about the course Islam would have taken in Hindustan had the Sultans, with religious zealousness, made sharia – civil as well as penal part of it - mandatory for all the converts. Surely the rigours of the Islamic penal code - chopping off the hands for theft, stoning to death for adultery, beheading of the apostates, lashing the backs for breaking the laws etc. - would have put off even the hapless outcasts to ever contemplate about touching it even with a barge pole. That being the case, would there have been even one willing convert to Islam by vouching that “There is no God but Allah ‘n Muhammad is His Messenger” to face the music of the sharia? Doubtful, isn’t it?

In proof of it, while being enamored with the civil sharia that affords them medieval conjugal privileges and affords them deliverance from a nuptial contract of diminishing returns through triple talaq, the Musalmans of the day wouldn’t lament for the shelving of the penal sharia in India and elsewhere as well. Isn’t it a blessing in disguise for the Indian Musalmans that the kafirs have left the penal sharia alone to let them save their errant limbs and remain the masters of their homes, of course, contrary to what Allah Ta’ala had willed for them? That is about the hypocrisy of the Musalmans regarding sharia’s immutable divinity that is touted as the unalienable essence of Islam!

 

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