Gandhi’s India

“I shall strive for a constitution, which will release India from all thralldom andpatronage, and give her, if need be, the right to sin, I shall work for an India, in whichthe poorest shall it is their country in whose making they have an effective voice; anIndia in which there shall be no high class and low class of people; an India in which allcommunities shall live in perfect harmony. There can be no room in such an India forthe curse of untouchability or the curse of the intoxicating drinks and drugs. Womenwill enjoy the same rights as men. Since we shall not be at peace with all the rest ofthe world, exploiting, nor being exploited, we should have the smallest armyimaginable, all interests not in conflict with the interests of the dumb millions will bescrupulously respected, whether foreign or indigenous. Personally, I hate distinctionbetween foreign and indigenous. This is the India of my dreams….I shall be satisfiedwith nothing less”.[1]

These words of Gandhiji are still a dream for the people of India.Problems like poverty, communal violence, untouchability, intoxication, etc. are on their peak. India has made its constitution but these problems are still prevalent in India, even after 67 years of independence. Gandhiji, during his entire life span, practiced non-violence but India’s condition in 2015 is known to everybody. All across the country, violence has spread like a wild fire. Gandhiji was against the view that Hinduism & Islam represent two antagonistic cultures & doctrines. According to him, if someone believes that Hinduism & Islam are two antagonistic cultures & doctrines, then that doctrine according to him is denial of God. According to Mahatma Gandhi, “for I believe with my whole soul that the God of the Quran is also the God of the Gita, and that we are all, no matter by what name designated, children of the same God.” Thesewords of Gandhiji do not find place anywhere in the India of 2015.

Gandhiji was of the opinion that if a person belongs to some religion, he has the right to reconvert to the previous religion at any point of time in his/her lifetime.The Malkana, a Muslim Rajput community, were originally members of the Hindu Rajput caste. They were converted during the reign of the Mohammed Shah Bangash, the Pathan ruler of Farrukhabad. They relate their story of their conversion to Islam to an incident. Once, Qassim Ali, the son of a local Muslim ruler visited Farrukhabad, and hunted peacock in the forest. A Hindu Rajput of the area, named Fateh Singh, murderedQasim Ali, after being told thatQassim Ali had killed the peacock. The king, on hearing the death of his son, came to the locality, and challenged the Rajputs to battle. During the course of the battle, one of the Rajputs, Umroa Singh came in the custody of the Muslims. Later on Umrao Singh was released, but the other members of the Rajput community considered him impure, and as result of this social ostracism, converted to Islam. He took the name the Amir Khan.[2]At the turn of the 20th Century, during the time of Gandhiji, the Malkana were a community that was on the religious fault line, as there customs were a mixture of Hindu and Muslim traditions. They kept Hindu names, used the salutation Ram, and were endogamous. But the community buried their dead, practiced circumcision, and visited mosques on special occasions. This eclectic nature of the community led to attempts by both Hindu and Muslim revivalist to target them. This has led to splits in the community, with many members of the community converted to Hindusim in the early part of the 20th Century, during the course of the shuddhi movement.

The shuddhi campaign among the Malkanas, was launched in early 1923 and led by the AryaSamaj under PanditMadan Mohan Malaviya. This re-conversion campaign reached its peak by the end of 1927, by which time some 1,63,000Malkana Muslims are said to have been brought into the Hindu fold.[3]Gandhiji said,if the Malkanas wanted to return toHinduismfold, they had a perfect right to do so whenever they liked. But no propaganda can be allowed which reviles other religions. For, that would be negation of toleration.

The best way of dealing with such propaganda is publicly to condemn it.[4] Today in 2015, forced conversion is taking place in the name of Ghar-wapsiby some right wing organization. According to me, it is a duty of the government to check these organizations& when there is a need , if all these right wing organizations are disturbing the internal security of the state, put reasonable restrictions as provided under article 19(6) of the Constitution. This is up to Government of India to fulfill the dreams of our great Father of the Nation or to work on the principle of RSS or other right wing organization. I would like to ask one question to all the readers that do you really think that we are living in the country(INDIA) of the dreams of Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi??


[1]Young India, 10-9-1931
[2]People of India Uttar Pradesh, Volume XLII Part Two, edited by A Hasan& J C Das, pp.1057-1060.
[3]Hindu-Muslim Relations in British India: a study of Controversy, Conflict and Communal Movements in Northern India 1923 to 1928, by Gene R. Thursby.
[4]Young India, 24-12-1931


[author image=”” ]I am Sahil Ahmed, 2nd year law student at faculty of law, Jamia millia islamia. True Gandhian and working for the welfare of the women and children.[/author]

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