Wednesday, 5 September 2012

Sarat Chandra Chatterjee & Communalism : A Buried Chapter.

By: Maulana Muhammad A. K. Azad [ Abu Arif Al Alawi ]


                   Sharat Chandra Chatterjee (15 September 1876 - 16 January 1938) was an eminent Indian Bengali Novelist. He is respected as preacher of Hindu-Muslim harmony and novel-loving many Bengali Muslim youths take him as their role-model. But very few knows about his communal mental set-up. It is true that he appreciated Islaam's greatness in many of his writings, specially in  Narir  Mullya ( VALUE OF WOMEN ) but failed to rise above narrow communalism.  Cats from his bag came out in his essay Bartaman Hindu-Mussalman Samasya.

         Wikipedia writes :           Bartaman Hindu-Mussalman Samasya (literally, Contemporary Hindu-Muslim Problem) is an essay by Sharat Chandra first presented at the Bengal Provincial Conference of 1926. In this short essay, Sharat Chandra argued about the root cause of the inability of Hindu-Muslim unity, and said that it is because of inherent outlook of Muslims. He expressed his observation that the general Muslim behaviour was characterised by "brutality, barbarism and fanaticism", and that Islam lacked any culture altogether. Considering the unity of Hindu-Muslim to be impractical and unnatural, he argued that instead of pursuing that mirage of Hindu-Muslim unity what was required was unity within the Hindu community. He supported the internal consolidation of the Hindu community. Commenting about this, the marxist historian K. N. Panikkar writes that this manner of thinking contributed to the "construction of a new communal consciousness".


                     V P Vatia, a zealot Hindu analyzed this "ill-famous" speech by Sarat Chandra in RSS mouthpiece, Organizer and used it for their evil communal propaganda. Let me quote this Hinduist :  "However, according to the great Bengali novelist Sarat Chandra Chattopadhyay, the writer fo the much-filmed noval Devdas and a few others like Bipradas, Palli Samaj and Pather Dabi change of religion not only leads to the change of nationality but to the very nature of the convert, if the religion of the convert happens to be Islam. In an address to the Bengal Provincial Hindu Conference of 1926, where he spoke on the subject of "Bartaman Hindu Muslim Samasya" (Present day Hindu Muslim Problem), condemning Muslim violence and plunder in the wake of the failure of the Khilafat Movement which united the Muslims as never before, rousing them to Pan-Islamic consciousness upto the village level and leading to large scale riots against the Hindus all over India especially Pabna district of Bengal because of the mullahs' fanatical propaganda. In fact, both the British administration and the Islamic fanatics joined hands to punish the Hindus for their nationalistic activities.”

                         V P Vatia, The zealot RSS-Man continues:  “While the whole of Sarat Chandra's four-page address needs to be read carefully by all Hindus in the present day context of worldwide Islamic terrorism, the crux of his 1926 speech was that while a Christian may still retain some Hindu qualities after conversion, a Muslim convert changes completely, turning his back on every cultural and civilisational quality of the past, including his humanity. Under the circumstances, Hindu-Muslim unity is an impossible dream. Criticizing Gandhiji's fad of communal unity, he said "To my mind, there is nothing more dishonourable than begging for pity and grovelling for unity (with Muslims). In this country and abroad, I have several Christian friends. Either they or their forefathers adopted a new faith. But unless they tell you themselves that they are  Christians it is impossible to tell them apart from us, or to think they are not still our brothers and sisters. I knew a Christian lady once. She died young, but even so, there are few who have earned as much respect in their life time." Most of them don't change their names and even surnames after conversion to Christianity to avoid undue social stigma.

                     "But Muslims? I had a Brahmin cook once. He sacrificed his religion in order to indulge his passion for a Muslim woman. One year later, he had changed his name, his dress and even his nature. The very face that God gave him had changed beyond recognition. And this is not an isolated instance. Those who know something about village life know that this sort of thing happens frequently. And in the matter of hatred and aggression against Hindus those converts put even their Muslim co-religionist to shame."

                “Hindus should concentrate on the internal unity of Hindu society. According to Sarat Chandra Chattopadhyay Hindu-Muslim unity was an impossible dream because only the Hindus wanted and tried for it. But the Muslims reply only by aggression, repression, violence and plunder of Hindus. So Hindus should for sometime forget about it and let Muslims desire it first. If the Hindus stop running after Muslims for unit, Muslims may ultimately come round and ask for it. Till then Hindus should make no move towards it. The real problem for Hindus was not Hindu Muslim unity but the internal unity of the Hindu society itself - of the upper castes with lower castes, lack of which was eating into the vitals of the Hindu society. Let the Hindus concentrate on it and try sincerely to cultivate feelings of oneness towards their own kith and kin instead of running after those who do not consider India as their own country and are more interested in Pan-Islamic causes.”

                        “In this context, it may be remembered that Islam is not simply a religion, it is a political religion, rather pure politics to conquer the whole world by inflating the number of its followers by hook or crook.”

     Some more extracts from Sarat Chandra Chattopadhyay's above mentioned address are given below:

                 "The one who laboured hardest of this (Hindu-Muslim unity) was Mahatmaji himself. No one else had as much hope, and no one else felt so cheated. In those (Khilafat) days. Muslim politicians were at his right hand and at his left, they were his eyes and his ears. My goodness, was there ever such a spectacle? His last attempt for Hindu-Muslim unity was his twenty-one day fast at Delhi. He is a simple, God fearing man: perhaps the thought that by showing a readiness to suffer, they would take pity on him (and relent). Somehow his life was saved. His dearly beloved friend Mr Mohammed Ali was the one who was most disturbed, it all happens before his eyes. Shedding crocodile tears, he said, 'Oh, what a good man is this Mahatmaji! I want to do something really helpful for him. So let us first go to Mecca, then make an oblation to the Pir, then read the Kalima, and make him renounce the infidel religion'. On hearing this, the disillusioned Mahatma cried, 'Let the earth swallow me.'

              Sarat Chandra Chattopadhyay' further says,  "The truth is that if Muslims ever say that they want to unite with Hindus, there is no greater hoax. The Muslims came to India to plunder it, not to establish a kingdom. They were not satisfied merely with looting, they destroyed temples, they demolished idols, they raped women. The insult to other religions and the injury to humanity was unimaginable.”

          Sarat Chandra Chattopadhyay' further says,  "Even when they became kings they could not liberate themselves from these loathsome desires. Even Akbar, who was famed for his tolerance, was no better than notorious emperors like Aurangzeb. But  today it seems that their practices have become an addiction. Many argue that the monstrous events at Pabna were the work of mullahs from the West (Western India), who excited the innocent and uneducated Muslim peasants and instigated these awful deeds. But if, in the same way, a party of Hindus priests were to arrive in a Hindu-majority area and try to incite the docile Hindu peasantry to burn the homesteads, loot he property and insult the women of their innocent Muslim neighbours, then the same unlettered Hindu peasantry would immediately declare them mad and drive them away from the village.” 

            Sarat Chandra Chattopadhyay' further says,   "Why does this happen? Is it simply the result of illiteracy? If learning is simply knowing how to read and write, there is little difference between Hindu and Muslim peasants and laboures. But if the essence of learning is breadth of mind and culture at one's very heart, then there is no comparison between the two communities. When journalists raise the question of the abduction of Hindu women, why are the Muslim leaders silent? When people of their community regularly commit such grave crimes, why do they not protest? What is the meaning of their silence? To my mind, the meaning is crystal clear. It is only a sense of decorum that prevents them from admitting openly that far from protesting, given the opportunity, they would commit the same crimes themselves!”

             Sarat Chandra Chattopadhyay' further says,   "The problem before Hindus, therefore, is not to bring about his unnatural union between Hindus and Muslims. Their task is to achieve unity within their own community, and to bring an end to the folly of those practising Hindus (Hindu dharmaablambi) who insult some people by calling them 'low caste'. Even more pressing is the need for Hindus to think about how they may let the (religious) truth within them blossom like a flower in their everyday lives and public behaviour. Those who think do not speak, those who speak do not act and those who act are not accepted. If this evil is not checked, even God will not be able to mend the countless holes that are being punched into the fabric of the (Hindus) community.”

          Sarat Chandra Chattopadhyay' further says,   "This is the problem and this is the duty. There is no point in wailing or beating our breasts because Hindu-Muslim unity has not come about. If we stop our own crying, we may be able to hear crying from their quarters.”

             Sarat Chandra Chattopadhyay' further says,   "Hindustan is the homeland of the Hindus. Therefore it is the duty of the Hindus alone to free this nation from the chains of servitude. Muslims look towards Turkey and Arabia, their hearts are not in India. What is the use of bemoaning this facts? To appeal to them in the name of the Soil of Mother India is as pointless as talking to a brick wall. Today it is vital that we understand this point - that this work is the work only of Hindus, and no one else. There is no need to get agitated counting how numerous is the Muslim population. Numbers are not the ultimate truth in this world. There are greater truths, in whose scale of values the arithmetic of counting heads has no place"

[Source: Haripada Ghosh (ed.). Sarat Rachana Samagra ('Collected Works of Sarat Chandra Chattopadhyay'), III, Calcutta 1989, Quoted in Divided Bengal by Joy Chatterjee, Cambridge University Press, Foundation Books 4764/2A, 23 Ansari Road, New Delhi - 110002.]

              Dear Muslim brothers & sisters ! Saratchandra ,  Bankimchandra , Rabindranath etc don't deserve to be our rolemodels . Our rolemodels are only Rasulullah (pbuh), Sahaba e Keram, Ahle Bait & Awliya-Allah.  So Beware and take care.


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