By Sushil Kutty
Just as we were getting disabused of misplaced notions like the one about earth being flat comes this assertion that the first man on the planet was native to the subcontinent! It is being spread that “Abul Bashar Sayyed Adam” appeared on Adam’s Peak in Sri Lanka by a miracle of God Almighty, and Sri Lanka is an extension of mainland India.
The question is, how far back in time does Adam go? A million years? Three/four/five? Such questions do tend to roil inquisitive minds. The problem is, Adam is a relatively late construct. Also Abrahamic. On February 10, prominent Muslim cleric Mahmood Madani of the Jamiat Ulema Hind and his uncle Arshad Madani claimed India was the “first homeland of Muslims”, and the Hindus came much, much later.
The gist of their argument was Islam was older than 1400 years. “Islam is the oldest religion among all religions. India is the best country for Hindi Muslims,” Mahmood Madani told a gathering of Muslims in Delhi’s RamLila Ground. “India is special for Muslims because it’s the land of the first Paigambar of Islam, Abul Bashar Sayyed Adam”.
This “is his land. This (India) is the birthplace of Muslims. This is first a Muslim land. So saying that Islam is a religion that came from outside is totally wrong and baseless,” Madani said. “This land (India) is the legitimate progeny of Islam”.
The Sangh Parivar, of which the BJP is a part, never tires of dividing Indian Muslims in two parts, one with matching Hindu DNA and the other, which is identified with the invaders from Central Asia – Nadir Shah, Khilji, Taimur, and Babur.
Importantly, the assertion “this land (India) is the legitimate progeny of Islam” was not spoken of when the topic of Pakistan was raised more than 75 years ago by Mohammad Ali Jinnah and the Muslim League, whose only demand was a separate and exclusive homeland for the Muslims of the subcontinent, which they got.
No Muslim in undivided India said “this land (India) is legitimate progeny of Islam”. Instead, Pakistanis take pride in calling Pakistan the only country created by Allah for Muslims. Pakistan’s Finance Minister Ishaq Dar very recently went to the extent of claiming that Pakistan’s welfare and safety were the first priorities and exclusive responsibility of Allah.
Unlike the Madanis, Pakistan’s Muslims haven’t ever made the “India is homeland of Islam” claim. That must be because they had got what they wanted in 1947, a Muslim country. But not the Indian Muslims, some of whom have rewritten ancient Indian history in their heads with the central thesis that Hindus came later and Muslims “appeared first”.
These are the children and grandchildren of Muslims who had changed India’s geography with the Partition. Now they want India’s history rewritten. That said, the “India is Islam’s homeland” theory comes in the wake of RSS Chief Mohan Bhagwat’s “friendly advice” to Indian Muslims not to flaunt their “supremacy airs” if they wanted to continue living in India, and that “Ghar Wapsi” was a distinct choice.
Since then, Muslims like Mahmood and Arshad Madani have equated Manu to Adam, and Allah to ‘Om’. Yet other Muslims, who are frequent talking heads in TV debates, claim they are “Sanatani Muslims”, even as they ask for the imposition of ‘Nizam-e-Mustafa’ in India. They know another Partition of India is out of the question; therefore, the preposterous claim that India in its entirety belonged to Muslims, from the time of “Abul Bashar Sayyed Adam.”
Not surprisingly, all of a sudden there is also a clamour to declare India a ‘Hindu Rashtra’. Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath said “Bharat was always Hindu Rashtra” even as some Muslims started spreading talk that India was always Islam’s abode, and a preordained country for Muslims. And all this is happening because the BJP is ruling India and Indian Muslims are concerned that a Hindu Rashtra is the avowed goal of the Sangh Parivar.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi may reiterate and confirm and reconfirm as many times as possible “sabka saath sabka vishwas”, but when there’s a major election round the corner, a political DNA-altering election, the BJP and the Modi-Shah election juggernaut realize they cannot depend on anybody other than their core vote-bank of the Hindutva to keep the BJP in power.
So, it’s not just prime-time TV shows that are reverberating with drum beats for declaring India a Hindu Rashtra, but BJP spokespersons have also joined the chorus along with an assortment of the “Sant Samagam”, like the 26-year-old Bageshwar Dham Baba whose cries for declaring India ‘Hindu Rashtra’ is getting unprecedented publicity.
The fact is, talk like “India is-was-will remain Hindu Rashtra” and “Islam travelled from India to Mecca and Medina” and not the other way round is leading to controversy, and confusion. A parallel history is being written even as we speak. Will historians like Romila Thapar just sit and nod off to sleep, or will they wake up to the developing situation and smell the coffee? (IPA Service)