Friday, March 29, 2013

Sayyid Ahmed Khan on communalism

The rise of Muslim communism is associated with Sayyid Ahmed Khan. As we all know he was a great educationist and social reformer who established the Mohammedan Anglo-Oriental College at Aligarh.

He tried to bring the teaching of the Quran in line with modern ideas and emphasized the value of service. Though this led to a sharp conflict between him and leaders of orthodox Islam, he believed in  the close cooperation of the Hindus and the Muslims.

To support his belief is this paragraph in his own words said in 1884:
     'Do you not inhabit the same land? Are you not burned and buried on the same soil? Do you not tread the same ground and live upon the same soil? Remember that the words Hindus and Mohammedan are only meant for religious distinction; otherwise all persons, whether Hindu or Mohammedan, even the Christians, who reside in this country, are all in this particular respect belonging to one and the same nation. Then all these different sects can be described as one nation, they must each and all unite for the good of the country which is common to all'.

But with the rise in the INC, Sayyid Ahmed became apprehensive about the position of the Muslims, particularly of the Muslim zamindars many of whom had supported him. The British also pulled strings behind the scenes. Ahmed Khan now declared that the interest of Hindus and Muslims were different and even opposite. He even organized a counter-movement swearing loyalty to the British.

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