Thursday, August 1, 2013

Mrs. Annie Besant (1847-1933)

          The great humanist leader and ex-President of Indian National Congress Mrs. Annie Besant told :
          “But since the Khilafat agitation, things have changed and it has been one of the many injuries inflicted on India by the encouragement feeling of hatred against ‘unbelievers’ has sprung up, naked and unashamed, as in the years gone by. We have seen revived, as guide in practical politics, the old Muslim religion of the sword, we have seen the dragging out of centuries of forgetfulness, the old exclusiveness, claiming the jazirut-Arab, the island of Arabia, as a holy land which may not be trodden by the polluting foot of a non-Muslim we have heard Muslim leaders declare that if the Afghans invaded India, they would join their fellow believers, and would slay Hindus who defended their motherland against the foe: We have been forced to see that the primary allegiance of Musalmans is to Islamic countries, not to our motherland; we have learned that their dearest hope is to establish the ‘kingdom of God’, not God as Father of the world, loving all his creatures, but as a God seen through Musalman spectacles resembling in his command through one of the prophets…
          The claim now put forward by Musalman leaders that they must obey the laws of their particular prophet above the laws of the State in which they live, is subversive of civic order and the stability of the State; it makes them bad citizens for their centre of allegiance is outside the nation… We had thought that Indian Musalmans were loyal to their motherland, and indeed, we still hope that some of the educated class might strive to prevent such a Musalman rising; but they are too few for effective resistance and would be murdered as apostates.
          Malabar has taught us what Islamic rule still means, and we do not want to see another specimen of the ‘Khilafat Raj’ in India. How much sympathy with the Moplas is felt by Muslims outside Malabar has been proved by the defence raised for them by their fellow believers, and by Mr. Gandhi himself, who stated that they had acted as they believed that religion taught them to act. I fear that that is true; but there is no place in a civilized land for people who believe that their religion teaches them to murder, rob, rape, burn, or drive away out of the country those who refuse to apostatize from their ancestral faiths, except in its schools, under surveillance, or in its goals.
          The Thugs believed that their particular form of God commanded them to strangle people-especially travelers with money. Such ‘Laws of God’ cannot be allowed to override the laws of a civilized country, and people living in the twentieth century must either educate people who hold these Middle Age views, or else exile them…
          “In thinking of an Independent India, the menace of Muhammadan rule has to be considered.”
          (The Future of Indian Politics, by Annie Besant, pages 301-305, quoted by Dr. B. R. Ambedkar in ‘Pakistan or The Partition of India, pages 274-275, 1946).

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