Sri Aurobindo had put his views on this in a very pithy and clear manner. Not just once, but many times, when he was a political leader, when he used to edit a newspaper. I found an article written by around 1909, “Swaraj and Musalmaans”. He explains in a very concise and clear manner the solution to the Hindu-Muslim problem. This problem had manifested in 1909 in a different manner. But it’s essential character was the same.
You will find many of his essays which speak about how Muslim goons were used by the British to suppress the independence movement. Sri Aurobindo wrote many articles and editorials on this. This was a commonly known fact that the British used Muslim goons to suppress the people in the independence movement. In this context Sri Aurobindo had said that we should clearly look at the Hindu-Muslim problem, communal unrest, the lack of trust between the two communities. We should not try to be clever about such things.
He said we should look upon Muslims as being as much Indians as we are, and that is why the first thing we should do is treat them as equals. Second thing, we cannot allow religious conversions only from their side. If they indulge in religious conversions, then so should we. If they don’t want to convert to Hindusim, it is a different matter, but we have every right to take our religious message to the Muslims and the Christians, just as the missionaries do.
There should not be any problem in doing this in a very conscious manner, in fact we should do these things. Sri Aurobindo further says, it is upto the Muslims whether they want to come into politics as our brothers. If they do come as brothers we will embrace them, But if they come as wrestlers the we should be ready to tackle them. This is what Sri Aurobindo said very clearly.
The third thing which he said, which is also more or less the conclusion at I have arrived at. He said we should highlight Mohammad and Islam. He had used the term, “more just”, “justier facts”. He says we should present Islam to the Muslims in a new light, through the Hindu point of view. We should do this dutifully. He concluded, this he mentions in many places, but this is important. He said in order to make the Muslims less harmless, he used the term “harmless”, there is no other method other than making them a little less loyal towards their religion.
All this points to one direction. What out secular, leftist friends ask is valid. What will you do with so many Muslims? We will do nothing. The circumstances under which they became Muslims – I was told about this a young sanyasi – he said all these people did not become Muslims by their own volition. They became Muslims under tremendous oppression and terror. In comparison if you become a strong force to reckon with many people will convert on their own.
I found some examples in Swami Shraddhanand’s life which convinced me about this. When he started his Shuddhi program in Delhi, many Muslims from Lahore came up to him, saying swamiji we want to come back into the religious fold. Our ancestors became Muslims under compulsion and we want to leave that path.
Therefore I say, what we hesitate to say is in reality the way forward. This is the path that people in other parts of the world are very well versed in, because this is the path they have adopted.
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