Author: Murtahin Billah Jasir Fazlie
Publisher: Abul Qasim Publishing House (1995)
Pages: 130 Binding: Paperback
Description from the publisher:
Excerpt from the Book:
The Country and the People
India is the seventh largest country in the world, and the second largest in Asia. Before the advent of Muslims, the country was fragmented into small warring states and there was no concept of Indian nationalism. The Muslim rulers, especially the Mughals, unified the country and gave it a central administration. They called the country Hind and Hindustan, i.e. a country of the Hindus (non-Muslims). The name 'India', a distortion of Hind, was given to her by the British rulers. Before the establishment of Muslim rule, there was no history of India. People of particular locality recorded some events of certain rulers vaguely. The Muslims took special care to record historical events and appointed historians to do that job. The British administration reconstructed their accounts and gave the Hindus a history of the distinct past not without their self interest to play one community against the other.
In respect of population, India with about 900 million people, is second only to China. It is a country with people of multireligious, multilingual and multiethnic people. Because of the large variety of the ethnic origin of her people, the country is often called an ethnic museum. The racial groups include the adi vasis (original settlers), the Dravidans, the Aryans, the Semites and the Mongols. There are 845 dialects and 225 distinct languages spoken in the country. Hindi, the language of the cow-belt region of the north, is the official language of the country but there are several others which are recognized as state languages. Sanskrit, though a dead language not spoken by anybody, is also recognized by the Indian Constitution because it is the religious language of the Aryan Hindus.
The main religious communities of India are Hindus, Muslims, Sikhs, Buddhists, Jains and Christians. These groups are divided into two broad groups: Hindus and non-Hindus. Among the non-Hindu population, the Muslims are 11.19 percent, the Christians 2.16 percent, the Sikhs 1.67 percent and the Buddhists and the Jains 1.14 percent. These non-Hindu communities together make 16.16 percent of the total population. The Muslims are the second largest religious community.
The Hindus are broadly divided into two groups, namely, high caste Hindus- descendants of the Aryan invaders, known as Brahmins, Kshatriyas, Vaishyas- and low caste Hindus, the original inhabitants of India (Shudras, Dalits, Other Backward Castes and Tribesmen). Among the low caste Hindus, Dalits are 15.05 percent, Backward Castes (including Shudra) 43.70 percent and Tribesmen 7.51 percent. In fact, these groups who together make 66.26 percent of the total population are not Hindus. Only the high caste Hindus (those who are Aryans by race) are Hindus. M.K. Gandhi says, "Hindus (Aryan high caste Hindus) are not considered to be original inhabitants of India." For this very reason, no member of the low caste Hindu is allowed to enter a Hindu temple, join the high caste Hindus in worshipping their gods or even mix with them in social life. The religious activities, rituals, way of social and economic life of the low caste Hindus are completely different from those of the caste Hindus and are permanently determined by the rules and codes prepared by the Brahmins in the name of religion.
Hindu is a Persian word which was first used by the Muslims for all the non-Muslim inhabitants of India. "The Hindus never used it in any Sanskrit writing, that is those which were written before the Mohamedan invasion." Swamy Dharma Theertha says, "The Mohammadans called all the non-Muslim inhabitants, without any discrimination, by the common name 'Hindu', which practically meant non-Muslims and nothing more. This simple fact contributed to the unification of India more than any other single event, but also at the same time, condemned the dumb millions (low caste Hindus) of the country to perpetual subjection to their priestly exploiters. Indians became 'Hindus', their religion became 'Hinduism' and Brahmans their masters."
India was under the rule of different nations from time to time. The Aryan invaders conquered the sub-continent in about 1500 B.C. and remained in power for about one thousand years. This foreign minority subjugated the indigenous peoples through the most barbaric and demoralizing practices. They compelled and conditioned these peoples to ready submission to the ethics and laws of the Hindu caste system and thus, in the name of Dharma (Religion), they made a permanent arrangement for denying the indigenous peoples human dignity. The first revolt against the Aryan tyranny and oppression came about in the form of Buddhism founded by Goutom Buddha. The Buddhist rule was established in 500 B.C. and continued up to 800 A.D. The Muslim rule was initiated by the conquest of Sind in 713 A.D. by Muhammad Ibn Qasim al-Thaqafi and ended in 1858 A.D. when the last Mughal emperor, Bahadur Shah, was deposed by the British colonial power. The British rule came to an end in 1947 A.D., with the partition of the sub-continent which gave way to the emergence of two independent states, namely, India and Pakistan.