Tag Archives: Sare Jahan se accha

Partitioned Freedom – 5

(Read “Partitioned Freedom – 1” from this link – 1)
(Read “Partitioned Freedom – 2” from this link – 2)
(Read “Partitioned Freedom – 3” from this link – 3)
(Read “Partitioned Freedom – 4” from this link – 4)

Part 5

The Khilafat misadventure was not without consequences. It had set a trend, both in the Congress as well as the League. For the League, it was more demands, and for the Congress, more capitulation.

Moplah Rebellion:

The Khilafat movement had led to massive violence in the Malabar Coast of Kerala when a local leader, Variankunnathu Kunjahammad Haji declared himself as the Khalifa and also designated two tehsils as ‘Khilafat Kingdoms’. He instigated his followers against the British. The rebellion, famously known as the Moplah Rebellion or the Malabar Rebellion, was launched on August 20, 1921, and continued for four months.

Taken aback initially by the unexpected aggression of the local Muslims called the Moplahs, the British returned with greater force and brutally suppressed the rebellion. All its leaders, including Haji were arrested. As the British were suppressing the rebellion, the Moplahs turned their ire against the local Hindus, blaming them for not fully supporting the Khilafat cause. Houses and temples were destroyed, women were dishonored, and people were forcefully converted or burnt alive. The atrocities committed by the Moplahs shook the conscience of many leaders, including Dr Ambedkar and Annie Besant. While Annie Besant vividly described the brutality against the Hindus, especially the women, Dr. Ambedkar minced no words in condemning the massacres by describing them as ‘blood-curdling’ and ‘indescribable’. Gandhi’s close confidant C. Rajagopalachari was so distraught by the cruelty of the Moplahs that he shot off a letter to Gandhi stating that “the atrocities of the Moplahs have made men, women, and children lose faith in the concept of Hindu-Muslim unity completely”.

However, strange was the Congress reaction. When the AICC met at Ahmedabad in December 1921, the entire effort seemed directed towards downplaying the atrocities by the Moplahs. While the Servants of India Society led by Annie Besant reported that over twenty thousand Hindus were forcefully converted to Islam, the Congress claimed that as per their information, only three people were converted. The Ahmedabad session of Congress witnessed intense tussle between the Congress and League members over the Moplah incidents. All that could be said in the resolution was that the Congress “…is of the opinion that the…disturbance in Malabar could have been prevented by the Government of Madras accepting the proffered assistance of Maulana Yakub Hassan”.

Describing the events at the session, Swami Shraddhanand, a senior leader, wrote: “The original resolution condemned the Moplas wholesale for the killing of Hindus and burning of Hindu homes and the forcible conversion to Islam. The Hindu members themselves proposed amendments until it was reduced to condemning only certain individuals who had been guilty of the above crimes. But some of the Muslim leaders could not bear this even. Maulana Fakir and other Maulanas, of course, opposed the resolution, and there was no wonder. Nevertheless, it was most surprising that an out-and-out Nationalist like Maulana Hasrat Mohani opposed the resolution on the ground that — the Mopla country no longer remained Dar-ul-Aman but became Dar-ul-Harab and they suspected the Hindus of collusion with the British enemies of the Moplas. Therefore, the Moplas were right in presenting the Quran or sword to the Hindus. Moreover, if the Hindus became Mussalmans to save themselves from death, it was a voluntary change of faith and not forcible conversion—Well, even the harmless resolution condemning some of the Moplas was not unanimously passed but had to be accepted by a majority of votes only”.

All this for the sake of keeping the League as a bed-fellow. When Gandhi too downplayed the incident by commenting that the Moplahs were ‘brave and God-fearing, and were fighting for what they considered as religion, in a manner which they consider as religious,’ even Dr Ambedkar could not help but express his despair. He decried saying ‘Mr. Gandhi was so much obsessed by the necessity of establishing Hindu-Muslim unity that he was prepared to make light of the doings of the Moplas and the Khilafats.’

Vande Mataram (‘Partitioned’):

After the Khilafat and the Moplah rebellion, the Muslim League’s price went up further. It started insisting on rejecting the essential symbols of national unity as a price for its support to the Congress. The first to come in the League’s crosshairs was the song Vande Mataram. It became a regular practice since 1905 to sing it at all the important Congress events. But the League members in the Congress started raising objections to it.

The AICC sessions were held in Kakinada in Andhra Pradesh in 1923. Maulana Mohammad Ali was presiding over the Congress. Senior leaders, including Motilal Nehru, Maulana Abul Kalam Azad, Sarojini Naidu, Sardar Patel, and Kasturba Gandhi, were present along with over twelve thousand delegates. Gandhi was in prison and hence could not attend.

Like in the past, Pt. Vishnu Digambar Puluskar, a Hindustani musician from Maharashtra, was there to sing the song at the inaugural. When Pt. Puluskar climbed the dais to sing Vande Mataram, Mohammad Ali raised objection saying that singing the song would hurt the sentiments of religious Muslims. Seeing the silence of the leaders present on the dais, Puluskar took it upon himself to challenge Mohammad Ali and went ahead with its rendition. Mohammad Ali, in protest, walked away while the song was being sung. It may be worthwhile to mention here that on many earlier occasions, the Ali Brothers and other League leaders used to rise together with other Hindu and Muslim members of the Congress when the song was sung. The objection at the Kakinada session was thus more a part of the enhanced bargaining than a genuinely religious issue. To placate the League members, Congress introduced Mohammad Iqbal’s famous song ‘Saare jahan se Acchha – Hindustan Hamara’ in its sessions. Yet, the opposition to Vande Mataram continued.

In 1937, when the elections were held for the Provincial Councils, the Congress formed governments in several of them. The controversy over Vande Mataram was raised once again when the proposal to sing the song at the commencement of the sessions was opposed. A ‘committee’ had to be constituted to review Vande Mataram. Rabindranath Tagore, Subhash Chandra Bose, and Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru were made its members. The committee recommended that the song be truncated and only the first two stanzas be sung.

The national song was partitioned in 1937 to appease the Muslim League. Ten years later, the nation was partitioned.

(To continue)

(Courtesy: The article was originally published in Chintan, India Foundation on August 17, 2020).

Sare Jahan Se Accha – Poet Iqbal and Tabligh

Islamic indoctrination training in Europe seem to have begun in the late 19th century and early 20th century to create radical Muslims leaders who would then work towards furthering European interests.  Jinnah & Iqbal both seem to have nationalist views before they went to Europe where their “Tabligh” or Islamization happened.

Iqbal wrote the poem ” Sare Jahan se Accha”, known as “Tarānah-e-Hindī or Tarānah-i-Hindī” was published in the weekly journal Ittehad on 16 August 1904. Apart from the references to “Us” being Hindi ( or belonging to Hind), the poem has an interesting line stating 

“यूनान-व-मिस्र-व-रूमा सब मिट गए जहाँ से, अब तक मगर है बाक़ी नाम-व-निशाँ हमारा,

कुछ बात है कि हस्ती मिटती नहीं हमारी, सदियों रहा है दुश्मन दौर-ए-ज़माँ हमारा “

“In a world in which ancient Greece, Egypt and Rome have all vanished without trace, Our own identity lives on today. Such is our existence that it cannot be erased. Even though, for centuries, the cycle of time has been our enemy.”

This clearly shows that Iqbal identified with his “Hindi”, “Hindustaani” identity and when he refers to the culture of this land in comparison with ancient Greece, Egypt or Rome, he is referring to the ancient culture of this land, viz, Hindu.

Iqbal 1

Later that year he left for Europe for a three-year sojourn that transformed him into an Islamic philosopher and a visionary of a future Islamic society. Who are the people who were instrumental in this transformation is to be investigated. This is similar to the Tabligh movement happening in today’s Bharat. Tabligh transforms Muslims into radicalized Muslims. The increase in initiatives like Love Jihad and support received by Muslim youth for pan-Islamic movements like ISIS ( read news ) is proof of this.

After his return, Iqbal wrote another song for children in 1910 Tarana-e-Milli, (Anthem of the Religious Community), which was composed in the same metre and rhyme scheme as Saare Jahan Se Achcha, but which renounced much of the sentiment of the earlier song. He wrote

Cīn-o-ʿArab hamārā, Hindūstān hamārā
Muslim hain ham, wat̤an hai sārā jahān hamara 

Central Asia and Arbia are ours, Hindoostan is ours, We are Muslims, the whole world is our homeland.

A comparison of these two poems by France Pritchett is given in the link below

taraanah-e hindii and taraanah-e millii – A comparison

The world is seeing the effect of “Tabligh” and it needs closer attention to counter the current terrorism and recruitment for the same.

On another note, it can be said that Britain and other European countries are now facing the “boomerang effect” of the seeds of Islamic radicalization that they had sowed by nurturing radical Muslim leadership to divide Bharat.