«ESTHER WAPSTRA Thesis submitted for MA degree Supervisors: Dr. Laurens G. H. Bakker Prof. Paul J. C. L. van der Velde 30 August 2013 COMMUNAL HARMONY ...»
6.1.2 Aggression, untrustworthiness, bad habits of Muslims According to some interviewees, the aggression of Muslims is in sharp contrast to the peacefulness and tolerance of Hindus. Not only have Hindus endured their country being taken over, accepted the religion of the invaders, and have they “been tolerating tortures and cruelties”, they are also afraid to express their real feelings because if they would, they “would be declared terrorists” according to the sārī businessman.151 While the real terrorists are not Hindus, PAC security guard Pramod Yavad, tells me, “the terrorists are from the Muslim community! No terrorists from the Hindu community would damage the mosque, the maximum fear in this regard comes from the terrorists only.”.152 A washerwoman describes the situation very clearly: “They [Muslims] always want to fight, Hindus never want to fight!”.153 This is quite hypocritical given the demolishment of Babri mosque in Ayodhya. The idea that Muslims are aggressive, being descendants of invaders, conquerors and people who destructed temples and cannot be trusted is deeply ingrained in the thoughts of some interviewees, as much as the idea that Hindus are tolerant and ‘peace lovers’.
It is part of a pervasive Hindu nationalist discourse. A chāī walā, Mr. Kamal Rao, illustrates this by telling Hindus never wanted or attempted to attack or conquer other countries. It is interesting that one of the countries (Bangladesh, Pakistan, Nepal) he uses as an example to support his argument has actually been colonized by Hindus. No matter how strong the idea that Hindus never conquered or destructed is, it is not true.154 Typical Indian savory snacks sold in the streets. Momos are steamed or fried dumplings and pānīpūrī are crisp deep fried spheres filled with potatoes, chickpeas, seasoning, and tamarind water Interview with Mr. Abishek Dutta, Dashashvamedh, 13 January 2012 Interview with Mr. Pramod Yadav, Dashashvamedh, 4 February 2012 Interview with Mrs. Geeta Belwar, Luxa, 3 February 2012 Sri Lanka was invaded by Indians several times, most notably when the Chola dynasty of South India have invaded Sri Lanka and ruled there for at least a decade, oppressing the people, until they The chāī walā demonstrates that the aggression and foreignness of Muslims will never change, after all “[t]hey live with this thinking that they have ruled us for 100 years and in future as well they would rule us. Their thinking has remained like this [wanting to conquer and convert]. Their heart is still black.”.155 The businessman in sārīs says it is part of their culture to be aggressive, therefore Muslim leaders in India and the Arabic world do not actively oppose animosity against and destruction of other religions. After all, it is the Qurān that inspires people. Mr. Abishek Dutta explains: “We would worship statues and it has been written in your book that [it you have to] ‘break statues’!”.156 They spread this aggression wherever they are, spreading fear and terror throughout the world.
Mrs. Ama says that in daily life Muslims are not observably more aggressive than Hindus are, but in some times a certain temperament might come up. She gives the example of Muharram, during which Shia remember the Battle of Karbala in which Imam Hussein ibn Ali, the grandson of the Islamic prophet Muhammad, was martyred.157 During Muharram, Shia Muslims take tazias (replications of the mausoleum of Imam Hussein) out in procession and re-enact the sufferings of Hussein ibn Ali by beating themselves. The French lady cautiously says “You know, they begin… gently, but after then… a little violent.”.158 She also recognizes the often were driven out around A.D. 1070. Apparently, the invasion took place partly as ‘peaceful penetration’ and partly violently (Codrington, 1926). From the north, Brahmins invaded Nepal after slaughtering or converting the local people (Hamilton, 1819). Fisher (1990) established the date around A.D. 1772 with an earlier Hindu invasion in 1717. In India, Hindus have destructed Buddhist stupas in the early 500s and again around 1050 (Ramesh, 2005). See also Eaton (1993) Interview with Mr. Kamal Rao, Khalispura, 14 January 2012 Interview with Mr. Abishek Dutta, Dashashvamedh, 13 January 2012; the Qurān often mentions that “you have no deity other than Him” (see also footnote 144), but the interviewee probably refers to the section in which Abraham breaks the idols of the people (Sūra 6). It is important to keep in mind though, that the same holds for Judaism and Christianity, which after all share the worship of one god and reject the worship of idol (e.g., the adoration of the golden calf, Exodus 32:1-16) After the death of Prophet Muhammad in 632 CE, the leaders of Medina came together and elected Abu Bakr (Muhammads oldest companion) as caliph whilst Muhammad's son-in-law and cousin Ali, whom Shia believe was Muhammad's successor chosen by god, was preparing the funeral. Ali and his family were dismayed, but in order to preserve the unity of the ummat (the Muslim community) they accepted it. After the first three khalīfahs (caliphs, successor of Muhammad and religious as well as political leader), Ali was asked to take up the khilāfat (Caliphate). After his death, his elder son Hasan became khalīfah. Muawiyah challenged his position and after confrontation with his army, Hasan agreed to give the khilāfat over to Muawiyah to maintain the peace. Hussein, Ali's younger son and brother of Hasan, resisted calls of Muslims to reclaim the khilāfat from Muawiyah but felt betrayed when Muawiyah in 680 CE did not return the caliphate to Ali's line but passed the caliphate to his son Yazid. Yazid asked Hussein for allegiance, but he refused. In Kufa there was a lot of support for Hussein as khalīfah and imām so Hussein and his family went from Medina to Kufa. On the way Yazid's army met them in Karbala and during the ten days of the battle Hussein and 72 family members and followers were killed, women and children left living were made prisoners.
Interview with Mrs. Ama, Shivala ghat, 10 February 2012 cited argument for their (occasional) violence: “Those people are conquerors, so… they’re warriors. You know, so maybe they’re warriors in their temperament.” This can only be part of the truth as most Muslims are converts; the percentage of conquerors (Muslims from Afghan, Turkish, or Persian descent) is very small.
However, she offers a very interesting alternative explanation for the aggression of Muslims: “I don’t know whether it has to do with the fact that people eat meat all the time. Might affect. It might affect, you know, Muslim people eat much more meat.” Indian Muslims are not respected that much in other places and even in Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, and in Arab countries Indian Muslims are not accepted as complete Muslims and called Kāfirs (disbelievers) due to their un-Islamic customs like worshipping saints which is considered shirk (idolatry). Yet, Hindus accept Muslims as Indians. And despite this Muslim call Hindus Kāfirs, the chāī walā maintains.
Muslims are difficult to fathom as you never know what is really inside them. The pandit puts it this way: “If we talk about 100% they open up to only 2%, nobody knows about the rest of 98%, that what is there in their mind and heart! They do not open themselves.”.159 Another interviewee, Mr. Abishek Dutta, states he felt that even though there appears to be brotherhood in business, even though Muslims call him ‘brother’, they might be hiding a knife and be ready to kill him any moment.
They can never be trusted. Even when it appears they are kind and help someone, bring someone in need to a hospital, give food and water to needy people, “the moment the matter comes regarding their religion they are immediately ready with their swords!”.160 Their religion is very important to them, much more important than the state they live in. As Indian Muslims they are Muslims first and Indian only second. So even though it appears that there is a Hindu-Muslim tahzīb, this is just an outside perspective on the situation. In fact people are incredibly divided and “have been involved in something similar to cut-throat activities”. The sārī businessman adds to that: “Even if they offer their hands for friendship and love there is no transparency in that... they can harm anybody up to any extent... Muslims can harm anybody for their religion, they have been free to do anything because that is their religion.”. He gives an example of which I have heard more rumors: Muslims men might even dress up as ladies in order to harm people.
Clearly, according to some interviewees they only have one thing on their mind, which is the establishment of a Dar-ul-Islām (a ‘home of Islam’ or country under Islamic rule). Mr. Kamal Rao recounts how they do this: “It is in their culture that increase your population and then rule…so gradually they have been doing so and Interview with Mr. Parvesh Chaturvedu, Dashashvamedh, 12 January 2012 Interview with Mr. Abishek Dutta, Dashashvamedh, 13 January 2012 their population has been increasing... and wherever their population is big they keep constructing mosques after the mosques.”.161 In line with a widespread idea, a professor of BHU asserts that Muslims from Europe send money for more mosques and for causing disturbance. However, he argues that Hindus also send money.
Another method by which Muslims allegedly try to reach Dar-ul-Islām is conversion.
Ms. Theresa Martiz has personal experience with someone trying to convert her, although it was not very disturbing to her. She told me that in her first year in university she was searching god, which made her a bit confused about whether there is a god and a Jesus and she did not know what exactly to believe. Moreover, she was also curious “to make sure that whatever I’ve been hearing, I’ve been hearing since long… It’s true or not. I just a…, I just asked.”.162 When a friend of hers, whom she regards as a good guy, found out that she was a Christ follower, he gave her some books criticizing the Bible and wanted to give her some movies also.
Many times they try to like ke… they just keep asking me, na? ‘Did you read Qurān? Did you read that book? That book I gave you?’ I said no. ‘Oh you better read it, then you will know!’ Okay, then I read some. Then I talked with my priest. My church people. They told me ke… okay whatever is written, they told me, they are telling you in different way and it’s wrong whatever is written and they proved me and like I just told him I don’t need to read. But I read Qurān. Little bit.163 A less innocent method of conversion is the so-called ‘love jihād’. I have not come across this in any interview but learned about this from Dr. Sushil Kumar. It will be interesting to briefly discuss this in the light of conversions, because it directly explains once more the difficulties and stigma around Hindu-Muslim love relationships. In 2009, a newspaper in Kerala published an article about a conspiracy in which a Pakistani terrorist organization called ‘Love Jihad’ encourages young male Muslim to trap Hindu girls in their net with sweet talk and gifts like dresses. Once trapped, the girl is converted, married, and the couple is encouraged to have at least four children. To facilitate the trapping, Muslim youth are supplied with a bike and mobile phones and once a girl is trapped they will receive 1 lākh (1,00,000) Rupees from the organization (Das, 2010). Throughout India people reacted shocked and with protest, but eventually the whole idea of ‘love jihād’ appeared to be hyped up, if Interview with Mr. Kamal Rao, Khalispura, 14 January 2012 Interview with Ms. Theresa Martiz,BHU, 2 February 2012 Ibid.
not a hoax (Rao, 2011; Times of India, 2009g). Gupta (2009, p. 13) concludes that nothing has changed between the 1920s and 2009 The fake claim by the Hindu right that there is a ‘Love Jihad’ organisation which is forcing to Islam through false expressions of love is similar to a campaign in the 1920s in north India against alleged ‘abductions’. Whether 1920 or 2009, Hindu patriarchal notions appear deeply entrenched in such campaigns: images of passive victimised Hindu women at the hands of inscrutable Muslims abound, and any possibility of women exercising their legitimate right to love and their right to choice is ignored.
Lastly, besides Muslims being aggressive, untrustworthy, and disloyal to India, they are also said to have dirty and backward customs. When I told my Hindi teacher that I was thinking of staying in with both a Hindu host family and a Muslim host family for some time so that I could experience what some of the differences in household are, he advised me not to stay with Muslims as their houses are dirty. In fact, the Muslim households I visited for the interviews and questionnaires were very clean and modern. The violent festival of Muharram was mentioned before. Ms. Theresa Martiz responded “cutting anyone’s body, that’s what Hindus afraid of. Such things, na. The bleeding and cutting of body.”.164 Another point she mentions as something unacceptable for Hindus are cousin marriages, which indeed appears to have happened reasonably often in the recent past.165 Additionally, according to the priest of the Vishwanath temple they practice musalmānī (circumcision). He gives the reason why Muslims do this: “The skin is removed because they eat meat and other non-edible things, hot things, so they could marry 5 women. So they could produce 25 Muslims through those 5 women only! These are the specialties of Islam!”.166 In this section we have seen some of the negative attitudes towards Muslims.
According to interviewees Muslims are aggressive because they came to India as invaders and still have the same mentality; that their god forbids idols and therefore they are idol breakers; that during the hundreds of years they live in India they were unwilling to adjust; that they are terrorists and the real danger when it comes to situations where temple and mosque are standing together; and that they betrayed Ibid.
Hussain and Bittles (2000) calculate 22% consanguineous marriages (marriage within the family) using a nationally representative sample and data from 1992–1993 Interview with Ram Sahai Shankar, Dashashvamedh, 18 February 2012. From the early 1970s on, the Indian government advocates the ideal of small families with the motto ham do, hamāre do’ (‘we two, our two’) which VHP published a pamphlet that caricaturizes Muslims as saying ham pānch, hamāre pachīs (‘we five, our twenty-five’) (S. Sarkar, 1993, p. 165).