Welcome Guest! You are here: Home » Views & Analysis

India’s Rhetorical Shift: Spanish Model and Muslim Game

Some equate the developments in India with those in Spain that took place some 500 years

Thursday April 23, 2020 3:55 PM, Syed Ali Mujtaba, ummid.com

India Spain Muslim History

India is undergoing a rhetorical shift. This trend that is glaringly visible is the bubbling communal virus at a time when the nation is engaged in the Covid war. The Hindus hatred against the Muslims is blatantly at display when Tablighi Markaz – Corona linkage surfaced. It appears that all and sundry got a license to rebuke at the Muslims, even they had no connection with the Markaz. The blind eye of the ruling elite and law enforcing authorities many to think where this Muslim game is heading?

It became evident that the charade of secularism that overlaid on the Indian society since independence was thrown away and the societal truth of bitter social relationship was out into open.

Ever since Covid war began, India’s communal virus creating social unrest is bursting at its seams. If one goes by the media reports, one gets the understanding that Muslims have become the biggest headache for the majority community.

How this has happened is a long history and it goes back to 1947. But since 2014, when the current government has come to power Indian Muslims are drifting at a faster pace.

It all started with the current dispensation that allowed mob lynching of Muslims for the protection of the cows. The Muslim personal law was trampled and ‘triple talaq’ issue was regulated. The Babar Masjid judgment was a one sided affair and an appeasement to the majority community. The abrogation of article 370 and 35 A, the CAA, NPR and NRC are all part of the same chain. The sequence of events in India clearly points to a rhetorical shift that has a game plan to marginalize the Indian Muslims.

‘Muslim Game’ where it is heading in India is the moot point? Some equate the developments in India with those in Spain that took place some 500 years ago when Muslims were exterminated from that country in 1612.

How it happened is a subject of study by some radical Hindus who want to replicate the ‘Spanish model’ on the Indian Muslims. What is this model?

Muslims ruled over Spain for 780 years from 712 AD to 1492 AD. Subsequently, the political power slipped out of Muslim’s hand and in next 120 years it is reported that the last batch of Muslims left Spain.

Spanish Muslims were divided into three categories: (i) the descendants of the Arabs, (ii) descendants of Muslim fathers and Spanish mothers and (iii) those who adopted Islamic faith.

The Muslim representation in India too can be categorized into three categories; 1) descendants of those who came from foreign lands ii) offspring of Muslim father and Hindu mother iii) those who adopted Islamic faith.

After the “Granada War” that ended the Nasrid dynasty the Islamic rule ended in Spain. Following that many among the first category of Muslims left Spain, those who chose to live in Spain were subsequently branded as 'foreigners" (as in India they are being called ‘Babur ke aulad’).

Among those who had Muslim-Christian parentage and opted to live in Spain were ridiculed and persuaded to revert to Christianity. Their lives and property were under constant attack. They were told this to be a temporary phenomenon as constitution guarantees them complete religious freedom. We are told in India the same thing that Muslims have equal rights but the ground reality is quite different.

The third category of Muslims in Spain who converted from Christianity was persuaded to reconvert. They were told that their ancestors were forced to become Muslims and now since there is no more coercion, they should revert to back to their old faith. In India there is a similar trend and its echo is seen in Ghar Wapsi campaign.

There are many developments in India taking place that looks like complete replica of the Spanish model. The periodic communal riots are one such example. In the earlier years of communal riots, Muslims resisted and fought pitched battles on the streets with police coming late to the scene. Then gradually the riots became one-sided affair and Muslims were losers with police playing partisan role.

In Spain, the government made deliberate policies for the marginalization of Muslims. Arabic was removed from the administration; schools attached to mosques were only meant to give religious teachings. Lessons in history were rewritten. Muslim rule was dubbed as barbaric. Contribution of Muslims to the development of Spain was omitted. Muslim houses were constantly searched for anti-national activity. Islamic law was declared illegal. Marriages performed in the Islamic manner were directed to be registered with the judicial officers.

In compare the method adopted by Spain we could see its shades on the government policies being experimented on Indian Muslims.

In Spain, the first two generation of Muslims adopted passive methods to save their religion and they taught Arabic to their children at home or at mosques but gradually they lost all such zeal. Muslims in early stages performed dual marriages in Spain, one registering with the government authorities and then privately celebrating in their homes in the Islamic manner. Subsequently, marriages were ordered to be registered with the government agencies and private ceremony was banned.

In Spain there was no political leadership of the Muslim, no organization to protect them, the Muslim intelligentsia left the country due to hostile environment. Only religious leaders were left and they tried their best to save the situation but could not withstand the pressure and had to leave Spain in 1612.

This "Spanish experiment" is being tried with greater energy and vigor in India. The cries of Personal Law amendment and its replacement with common civil code, re-writing of Indian history, describing Muslim professions like beef-selling as a sin, glorifying cow protection, are all deliberate polices towards the marginalization of Indian Muslims.

Muslims history is disappearing from the syllabus. A great martyr like Tippu Sultan who fought against the colonial rule is made a controversial figure in India. Whereas the name of Tantia Tope, who fought not for India but for his pension, and Laxmi Bai of Jhansi, who fought for her adopted son's heir-ship to the throne, are being glorified.

Urdu, which holds the same place in India as Arabic was in Spain, is being eased out. Muslims are voluntarily holding on to madrasas to study Urdu and Arabic and many are taking refuge in their psychological and physical seclusion joining Tablighe Jamat whose ideology is to be farthest from the real life.

There is no middle class among the Muslims. English-educated richer Muslims are away from the Muslim masses. They are cozying themselves with the Hindus, living in non-Muslim localities cutting themselves away from the poor Muslims who live in ghettos (95%) and are target of all anti-Muslim riots. As such the gulf between the Muslim masses and educated rich Muslims is widening every day.

On the political front, Muslim electoral constituencies are divided horizontally and vertically so that they don't have an effective voting power anywhere in the country. Any move to organize Muslims is branded as communal and any Muslim flirting with such idea is called ‘anti-national’.

Muslim masses are left rudderless. Muslim leadership is not allowed to flourish. There are ultra-secular Muslim leaders are no body just holding the tails of the Hindu leadership to survive in so called secular political parties.

Even the Muslim leadership consider mass killing of Muslims as something natural. Whenever such human rights violation is raised at international forums such actions are called interference in the internal matter of India and Muslim leaders are chosen to give such statement.

What is left in India is the theological leadership that is trying to maintain the cultural identity of the Indian Muslims. But they are under constant watch of the government facing pressure from both within and outside the community. Remember what happened to ‘Desh Bacho, Deen Bacho Andolan.’

What comes out clearly from this discussion is Muslims are constantly being subjected to the replication of the Spanish model in India. They are living in innocence of hope that everything will be fixed right and they need not to worry about. Such wishful thinking is doing more harm to them than any good. It is high time the Muslim intelligentsia rises to the occasion and come up with some counter measures to check the Spanish model being replicated in India otherwise the Muslim Game will be over soon.

It needs to be remembered that religion does not protect its followers, it is the followers that protect the religion. How Indian Muslims can save themselves from the incursion of the Spanish model, is another tale for another day to tell.

Right now let’s keep it focused to understand the Spanish model and ‘Muslim Game’ in India.

Note: This is a summary of editorial in ‘Dalit Voice,’ May 16-31, of 1999

[Syed Ali Mujtaba is a journalist based in Chennai. He can be contacted at syedalimujtaba2007@gmail.com.]

For all the latest News, Opinions and Views, download ummid.com App.

Select Language To Read in Urdu, Hindi, Marathi or Arabic.

Share this page

 Post Comments
Note: By posting your comments here you agree to the terms and conditions of www.ummid.com