Mr Rajnath Singh.are you trying to divide the country again? Should Hindus and Muslims have different icons ? Should Maharana Pratap only be an Hindu icon?

Dear Mr Rajnath Singh

You must be elated that Maharana Pratap’s anniversary is being celebrated in Bhopal today and his persona is being explained in terms of right wing Hindu traditions and not as a part of Ganga-Jamuni tehzeeb.

Maharana Pratap Maharana Pratap Was Not Just A Hindu Icon

So Sir where your world view (or rather India view) is concerned ,you don’t want my children to draw inspiration from Maharana Pratap’s life as he in your words is a Hindu icon or some one who upheld the Hindu honour. In your view Muslim children like mine should restrict themselves to Akbar or better still deserve no icons at all.

I was taught the Quran by one Maulvi Hamid Ali -a poor Imam of a small  mosque in BHEL area of Bhopal who first introduced Rana Pratap to me. Maulvi Hamid Ali was a history buff and he could recount historical narratives by the dozens.He admired Akbar but he admired Rana Pratap more for courageously defying Akbar; for never choosing the easy option of accepting Akbar’s suzerainty like the other rulers of Rajputana. He would close his eyes and speak in his usual soft spoken manner,”If anyone could face the Akbar juggernaut at that time, it was Maharana Pratap.

Like all of us he could appreciate the Rana’s spirit,his love of independence and these are the values he tried to instill in me which I have in turn tried to instill in my children..Because Maulvi Saheb was from Gwalior so I got to hear a number of stories about Tantiya Tope, Rani Laxmibai and even the Scindias. He didn’t have much love lost for Vijayraje Scindia for reasons best known to him but the Scindia men were held in high regard .

There was a time when as a little girl I used to imagine myself as the Rani of Jhansi on her horse back with my doll tied with a dupatta on my back and a cardboard sword in hand.I still remember Subhadra Kumari Chauhan’s poem about her” Khoob ladi mardani…”. My friends and I also admired Razia Sultan , Shah Jahan or felt envious of Mumtaz Mahal’s beauty….there were historical narratives from Asoka to Indira Gandhi which we discussed and even dramatized for our school functions.

The British divided India in 1947, the process for which had begun immediately after the revolt of 1857. The British realized that in order to strengthen their grip over the country; they’ll have to kill the syncretic traditions of the country-the 700 year old Ganga-Jamuni tehzeeb. They were successful to some extent but by and large the people remained undivided.

Mr Rajnath Singh.are you trying to divide the country again? Do you accept Jinnah’s and the RSS icon Savalkar’s view when they say that Hindus and Muslims are two different nations and have different national heroes.

What type of India are you trying to build? You rue over the fact   that we don’t pay enough attention to Hindu icons and the Mughals have received extra attention. Well for one I don’t see any roads being named after Akbar or Shahjahan or even Noorjahan for that matter (the poor lady’s contribution to Indian textile industry has been totally ignored by one and all; and mind you textile exports are what made India rich in the first place). In fact all the new colonies or roads have been named after the so called Hindu icons and gods and goddesses even in Muslim majority areas. This is our culture and not your culture as you seem to proclaim.

This attitude of yours encourages right wing groups to deface the so called Muslim names of roads or colonies in Delhi. It puzzles the Muslims and amuses some. Like our Hindu brethren we are too much involved in bread and butter issues to pay attention to such petty things.

The world is looking at us and if we wish to present a confident face to the world ;let’s embrace the past with all its glory and shortcomings. Let the past rest Mr Singh..excluding the largest minority group in your new historical narratives will only bring divisiveness in society.I don’t think you want that Mr Singh or do you ?

Sabina Jamshed

Published in her blog page at IndiaOpines

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