Hindu vs Muslim in India

A generation of Indians passing down the hate

The British empire’s infamous “Divide & Conquer” strategy has contributed to this long-lasting, never-to-end feud between Hindus and Muslims in India. They certainly didn’t create this animosity, but they did add more fuel to the fire.

People often struggle to maintain peace in a society where there are many differences. Instead of accepting the differences and learning from the varying past and perspectives; fear takes over and people begin to seek comfort in the notion of us vs them.

It might be a human condition, or perhaps even a survival tactic to always have an enemy so the rest of us can band together and fight that common enemy. But history also shows that people who create the us vs them narrative are the very same people who aim to gain control and power.

So what triggered me to even write this. Well, during Diwali of 2020, I witnessed so much hate on twitter over something so trivial! It all started by a tweet from the Indian-African-American vice president elect of the United States of America, Kamala Harris. Both her and President elect Joe Biden wished Happy Diwali and Sal Mubarak to everyone celebrating the festival around the world.

But our man of the hour, T.V. Mohandas Pai, had to chime in and discredit them for using a “fake greeting”. Sal Mubarak translates to Happy New Year which is totally accurate as the 4th day of this 5-day festival is considered as the Hindu new year. But Mr. Pai and the other agitated Hindu extremists (you can see this twitter thread to witness the hate first-hand) have a problem because mubarak is an Urdu word. And the Urdu language is associated with Muslims. His argument is that Sal Mubarak does not resonate will all Indians. Mind you the same guy who has “a global citizen” in his twitter bio.

Language is indeed crucial when it comes to preserving a culture and the south Indians, especially the Tamilians are prime example as they are so adamant to not speak in Hindi, the national language of India.

But what is language?

A means to transfer knowledge through time!

An ability of human beings to live in harmony, share ideas, build beautiful things…together!

The British ruled a quarter of the world and have invaded 90% of todays countries at some point in history. And it goes without saying that this endeavor was super bloody. They destroyed families, culture and knowledge shared within these communties only to feed their hunger for power and dominance. But there are also positives to that. One being that most countries today speak a common language now!

Born to Indian parents and raised in some remote part of East Africa, the English language is what allowed me to understand the world. Being educated in the English language is what allowed me to easily assimilate in America. It is because of this English language, I am able to reach readers from around the world who can comprehend my thoughts.

Preservation of knowledge, culture, language, rituals is ok but this should not be enforced upon now in the present just for the sake of keeping it alive. Everything in this universe goes through iterations and transforms into something else. That is the beauty of life. Tradition is the most toxic concept.

So coming back to “Sal Mubarak” not supposedly resonating with all Indians, isn’t the message conveyed though? Isn’t the whole point of language to understand one another?

Keep in mind, I have nothing against Mohandas Pai. In fact I have mad respect for him. The first time I saw him was at TechSparks YourStory 2015 and he was one of the few speakers that made this event worthwhile. But with half a million followers on twitter, he ought to be careful with his tweets and what it does to the general public.

As someone in his place with a large fan following, there is a moral obligation to put a view forward in a more diplomatic way so as to not be misconstrued by the millions out there who already have strong views on sensitive subjects like these. Branding the greeting as “fake” is unwarranted & juvenile.

Was the comment made to cause controversy to what was an innocent greeting on the celebration of one of the biggest festivals in your own country? Or was it a personal jibe that wasn’t thought through? Either way, was it really justified?

I do not believe that he is inciting hate knowingly but at the same time he is unable to have a constructive conversation about the injustice felt by the Hindu/Indian community. And why is that?

Because there is too much hate. I see that in my own Hindu family. Some of my family members despise Islam and during any family gathering, they will never forget to mention the atrocities Muslims have done to Hindus and the country as a whole. This has left a gap in my knowledge as I am not aware of any Hindu crimes against Islam unless I personally go around researching on the internet. (Also what’s weird is they all have muslim friends, even relatives in some cases and they are mighty chummy with them. - I really don’t know how that works)

History is full of tragedy and injustice. No Hindu or Muslim leader ever ruled without bloodshed. But let’s not be divided by this. People were hurt from both sides in the past. Properties were destroyed, families got separated, history got rewritten and even falsified. But there is no need to carry on that hate. Let’s learn from it. Let’s forgive our ancestors and let’s channel all our energy to coexist in peace! I am all for historians in fact-finding and restoring the truth but the common man shouldn’t heed much to it.

We should feel emotions and act on logic. But I think most Indians do the opposite! They feel the logic and act purely on emotions.

People claim Taj Mahal was built by a Muslim emperor by destroying a Hindu place of worship — so does it make sense to bomb this beautiful wonder to rubble? Are we still that barbaric in the 21st century? Get historians, researchers, scientists to discover the truth and make it a fact. Put a big sign at the entrance claiming the true story, make sure it’s in the history books and on wikipedia but there is no need for destruction.

The goal is to make sure the future generation knows what really happened here. The goal is not to please the ego of today’s people driven by some blind dogma.

On a side note, there is animosity towards Christianity as well in this country. Christian converts in India (and even in many parts of Africa) happened because of missionaries who essentially bribed the poor and this is not only provoking but a systemic way for the west to worm their way and ideology into different parts of the world. This type of indoctrination is so messed up. But…at the same time — Would you rather want people to die of hunger than for them to convert to Christ?!

Hinduism is not even a religion. It is actually a way of life. The beauty of Hinduism is that it is very flexible and it truly allows people to be free. So we shouldn’t aspire to Hindu fascism. I admit that I don’t fully understand the Hindutva movement but I can see it is an extremist movement and anything extremist is toxic and regressive. I am scared of such Hindus because these are the same guys who are capable of bringing Sati back! Similarly, I am scared of a certain type of Muslim.

In my life, I have come across 3 types of Muslims:

  1. Friend A — Muslim who doesn’t drink alcohol because it says so in the Quran. I would rather have them not drink because alcohol isn’t good for the mind or the body just like I would rather appreciate a Hindu friend who doesn’t eat meat because meat is murder. But Friend A is still ok. I respect their way of life.
  2. Friend B — Muslim who drinks alcohol. They practice Islam but they leave a few things for personal interpretation. They may even try some bacon to see what the big deal is and taste the hype. I ❤️ Friend B. Because such people take the wisdom in their holy books and then live an open-minded life. They are model citizens for a truly inclusive global community.
  3. Friend C— Muslim who drinks alcohol but…they consider it as committing a sin. These are the DANGEROUS ones. Because not only do they see themselves as scumbags for drinking, they see you as a degenerate for a)drinking alcohol and b) not being a Muslim. I am no longer in touch with acquaintances who fall in this category.

Religion played a great role for humans to become more conscience as a society — so we cooperate to create and grow instead of compete to only survive.

Many religious practices and rituals get banned over time as they violate basic human rights. So it’s possible and probable that in a century or two, all of today’s religions would be deemed prohibitive for human evolution!!!

Once we develop an all-knowing A.I. that lays down the true origins of our existence and helps us decipher what lies beyond our comprehension, then all religious indoctrination will become invalid.

Technically we do not need religion anymore to be civilized. There are schools and government mandated curriculum and there is an abundant spread of information via the internet. There are so many individuals, institutions that have dedicated their lives into learning about human behaviour, interactions, relationships, it begs the question on whether religion is really the only option to learn a way of life in today’s day and age.

Will the next generation really be interested in religious teachings or more likely to learn something that comes with a simple rationale.

There are enough avenues that allow a tabula rasa to learn how to be a human with human values.

Perhaps it’s time we all need a replacement for religion from The School of Life. There is wisdom in all the holy books of all existing religions and we should take the best lessons and move forward in unity.

I recently watched an Indian sci-fi show, JL50, where one of the characters expresses his frustration on the condition of our country:

In India, our focus is limited to Hindu, Muslim, mandir, masjid, politics…we never rise above it.

If we see something in the sky, we join our hands and pray to it. We do not question it. We do not ask Why, What, How….NEVER!

Many slums in India don’t get into redevelopment because the locals build a small temple or mosque in betweeen the shacks. This is the downside of religion. People are not building a place of worship to feel one with God but instead to be slumlords.

I, like many Indians from my generation, love India for the fact that there is so much diversity. We have people speaking different languages, making different cuisines, celebrating various festivals and exhibiting minor subtleties in their ways of living. So what’s the harm if we adopt the Urdu word Mubarak or use the Punjabi word Chak Dey Phattey or use the Tamil word Vanakkam and integrate it into our vernacular. As Indians, such popular words should resonate with all of us! Sometimes, Bollywood without Urdu sounds so lame. Certain regional dialects of Hindi, mixed with some Punjabi & Urdu personally sound great to me. Language evolves and we should really leave religion out of this. The English language itself has evolved with not just European but Sanskrit & Hindu words added to the Oxford Dictionary every year, like “jugaad” and “samvidhaan”.

So for a diverse nation like ours, are we really that close minded to kick a fuss on the use of an “Urdu” word in our speak? Does it really make us bad Hindus?

I really enjoy eating fusion. Just like we can take regional dishes and put a different spin to it, same thing is usually done to language by ordinary citizens and popularized by artists, singers, rappers, entertainers and influencers. India is a great melting pot and we shouldn’t let extremists take that away from us.

If we keep reminding ourselves to come from a place of love, we will eventually be proud to show off our civilization to the aliens! Shouldn’t that be the ultimate goal? To flaunt our achievement as a species to the rest of the universe. And India should strive to be at the forefront of this development.