Several Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) bigwigs, including Prime Minister Narendra Modi, claim repeatedly that India is a “Vishwaguru” (teacher to the world). But Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh chief Mohan Bhagwat recently accused Muslims of practising a “boisterous rhetoric of supremacy”, advising them to abandon it.
But if India has really become a global leader, why should Muslims – who constitute 15% of the country’s population – abandon this rhetoric? is this an exercise that is only reserved for the majority Hindu community? Another related question is, are Indian Muslims really indulging in “boisterous rhetoric of supremacy”? By all indicators of development, they are way behind the majority Hindu community.
Before Independence, when India had more than 25% Muslim population, there may have been some Muslim leaders who had a superiority complex. But their numbers were small and all of them would have crossed over to live in Pakistan.
Before Independence, there might have been some takers of the RSS’s view of Muslim superiority. But it seems that in the last 75 years, the organisation has learnt nothing. They are still engaged in Hindu-Muslim polarisation in secular India.
It seems that the RSS and its chief have not come out from the pre-Independence mindset. They do not seem to realise that by claiming that Muslims are indulging in the rhetoric of supremacy, they are unconsciously exposing their own inferiority complex.
The Sangh parivar appears to be a confused lot. They claim that Hindu civilisation is the Vishwaguru, but at the same time say that Muslims indulge in the rhetoric of supremacy. By instilling a feeling in the mind of the majority community that Muslims are superior – when the case is not so – Bhagwat and other Sangh leaders are doing a disservice to Hindus. They must understand that psychology plays a crucial role in the development of any community or nation.
There is a difference between the rhetoric of supremacy and being superior. Even for the sake of argument, if one accepts Bhagwat’s assertion that Muslims indulge in the “boisterous rhetoric of supremacy”, it does not make any difference. They are actually not so. Thus, there is no need to keep 80% of the population of India in constant fear.
Any nation, community or country can become superior by its deeds, and not just by making fantastic claims. It is meaningless even if the Muslims are indulging in this rhetoric and are living in a fool’s paradise. Let them remain so. After all, it is not a crime. Should a personality like the RSS chief issue such a trivial statement?
Apart from this, Bhagwat’s reference to a 1,000-year war is also meaningless. He was obviously hinting towards the repeated invasions from foreign lands, especially by Muslims.
No doubt, Muslim conquerors did invade India and ruled it for several centuries. But this was not an unusual phenomenon. Attacks from the northwest of India were a regular occurrence since the days of Alexander. But then, India was not a single geographical entity like it is today. It was divided into several small kingdoms. So when the Muslims or even the British came, they did not fight the whole of India, but relatively small rulers.
Even Ibrahim Lodhi was the ruler of a small part of North India when he was defeated by the invading army of Babur in 1526. Lodhi’s army had Hindu soldiers too. This was followed by the defeat of Rana Sangha, a Rajput king. Calling the Delhi Sultanate or Mughal Empire as Muslim rule would be a misnomer. Many historians are of the view that from the reign of Akbar to Bahadur Shah Zafar, it was the combined rule of the Mughals and Rajputs. Most of the rulers had Rajput wives and Rajputs had a substantial presence in the court and army.
In a country that has more than 100 crore Hindus, it is bizarre to raise the bogey of Muslim superiority. And that too when Muslims form a small minority whose material conditions lag far behind the majority community.