“O mankind! Lo! We have created you male and female, and have made you into nations and tribes so that you may know one another. Verily, the noblest of you, in the sight of Allah, is one who is deeply conscious of Him. Behold, Allah is All-knowing and All-aware,” – Holy Qur’an 49:13.
Holy Qur’an teaches that all Believers belongs to one Brotherhood (Ummah) and no human is superior to the other on the basis of his/her family-line or colour of skin, or nationality or ethnic – but his/her love of Allah (piety) and good deeds in this life. However, the Muslims during their centuries-long rule over non-Muslim societies – have adopted many un-Islamic practices of social discrimination which prevail among Hindus, Jews, Christians and pagans societies.
There are over 260 million Dalits (Shudhars) in the world – close to 230 million living in India. Dalit communities are considered to be created by Hindu god Lord Brahma – to serve the three upper-caste communities of Brahmin, Kshatriya, and Vaisya – which they have been doing for more than 3,000 years.
Since the Muslim genocide in Indian state of Gujrat in 2002 – in which the Hindu facist Hindutva leaders of state government actively participated – bribed poor Dalits and tribal Hindus to kill innocent Muslim civilians (over 5,000 killed and 100,000 made homeless), mostly women and children – A large Dalit-Muslim dialogue meeting was held in Ahmadabad in July 2004 – which was attended by a large numbers of religious and social activists to understand each others’ point of views.
One of important literary forum for Dalit-Muslim dialogues is Dalit Voice (DV).
Rashid Salim Adil, a Delhi-based advocate, social activist and politician – was interviewed by Joginder Sikand on Dalit, social liberation and Islam.
“I see my conversion to Islam as culmination of a long search for liberation from caste system and as the answer to my quest for self respect. I was born in a poor Chamar (Dalit) family, who are hereditary leather-workers, in a small village near Delhi. We were considered as untouchable by the upper castes…..
When the Dalits of Meenakshipuram converted to Islam, there was a sudden change in the attitude of local so-called “upper castes” towards them. Now they could enter village tea-shops, could wear shoes, something that was not possible earlier. This was because the Hindus knew that Muslims would not let them carry on treating our people who have become Muslims as they had been treating them before. In this way, Islam gave these Dalits a new sense of identity and pride……
I began studying Islam myself to see what it was in that religion that has drawn oppressed people to its fold over the centuries, and I found what particularly attracted them was Islam’s stress on justice and equality and sovereignty of Allah alone. All man-made masters, all priests, pundits and maulvis, are denied completely. And after a detailed study, I decided to convert. I recided Kalima at the historic Jamia Masjid in Old Delhi. on December 6, 1981 – the 25th death anniversary of Dr. Ambedkar and was given my new Islamic name…..”
Since India’s independence from Britain on August 15, 1947 – More and more Dalit people are leaving Hinduism for Budhhism, Islam and Christianity. More than 100,000 Dalits have opted for Budhhism, followed by Islam in that period of time.
In 1979, the Mandal Commission listed 3,743 Hindu and non-Hindu castes as backward classes constituting 52% of Indian population. On August 7, 1990 – when India’s prime minister V.P. Singh announced his government’s intention to put some of Mandal Commission’s recommendations to address the poor state of those castes – political opposition and Hindu religious parties created such a public mess against him that he was removed from the power in 1991.
Since 1989 – Hindu extremism is on the rise, lead by BJP party – which had only two seats in 1984, but won 181 seats in Lok Sabha and headed a 14 communal and secularist parties coalition government in the centre. Today, the highly extremist Sang a Parivar parties from the margins have moved to the centre stage. Looking for Hindu identity – these groups have in fact taken a page out of history of Jewish Zionism and Hitler’s Nazism. The proponents of Hindutva are seeking to indulge in a blood-letting human cartography. They are committed to the revival of their centuries-old glory – in contrast to the so-called “Muslim militants”, who are fighting to regain their lost lands and human dignity at the hands of Christian, Hindu and Jewish colonial powers – in Kashmir, Palestine, Chechnya, Iraq, Afghanistan, Philippines, Somalia, etc. etc.
The movie Slumdog Millionaire which bagged the “Best Film Award” and eight Oscars – tells the story of India’s hidden slums and its caste system.