Understanding the Muslim mind through Dr Ambedkar
by Sanjeev Nayyar on 14 Apr 2016 1 Comment

The Pakistan envoy to India, Abdul Basit, stunned India by unilaterally announcing the suspension of the peace process and saying the dispute over Jammu and Kashmir is the root cause of mutual distrust between the two nations.


Have we not heard this before? The only constant is India’s inability to understand the Pakistani mind!


This article analyses extracts from Dr BR Ambedkar’s 1941 masterpiece ‘Thoughts on Pakistan’ on the occasion of his 125th birth anniversary. The author’s purpose is to share insights and not to provoke anybody.


1. Loss of political power

The condition of Muslims was best stated by a liberal, R M Sayani in his Presidential address at the 12th session of the Congress held in 1896. … Before the advent of the British in India, the Muslims were the rulers of the country. The court language was their own (Persian was the official language till 1842). Every place of trust and responsibility, or carrying influence and high emoluments, was theirs by birthright. The Hindus did occupy the same position but were tenants-at-will of the Muslims.


“Meanwhile, British introduced English education into the country. The Hindus were used to this, as under Muslim rule, they had practically to master a foreign tongue, and so easily took to new education. But the Muslim had not yet become accustomed to this sort of thing. Muslims resented competing with the Hindus, whom they had till recently regarded as their inferiors.” [History and Culture of the Indian People, Bharatiya Vidya Bhawan, Vol. X, p. 295]


-         Whether it be 1896 or today, Muslims tend of hold the government responsible for everything, rather than pull up their socks and face the contemporary world. It is easy to criticize others but difficult to change oneself. The intrinsic nature of Sanatana Dharma helps Hindus to keep changing with time.


2. Cohabiting in independent India

Sir Syed Ahmed Khan, the founder of Aligarh Muslim University, said on 16 March 1888, “Now suppose all the Brits were to leave India, then who would be the rulers of India? Is it possible that Hindus & Muslims could sit on the same throne and remain equal in power? Most certainly not.”


-         Sir Syed and the Muslim leaders who fought for Pakistan clearly realized that one man one vote is at the heart of democracy. As Hindus outnumbered Muslims, the latter could not expect a disproportionate share of power. After partition and independence, they increased their population (from 3.77 crore in 1951 to 17.22 crore in 2011).


3. Communal composition of Indian Army   

“The Indian Army today is pre-dominantly Muslim in its composition. The Muslims who predominate are from Punjab and North West Frontier Province. It means that such Muslims are made the sole defenders of India from foreign invasion. The Hindus will have to pay for the Army but will not be able to use them because the realist must note that of all the Muslims, those of the North-West is the most disaffected Muslim, in his relation with the Hindus”. [Thoughts on Pakistan, p. 89]


“Out of the total revenue of Rs 59.04 crs the Pakistan area contributed Rs 7.13 crs. Of this Rs 52 crs is spent on the army, the bulk of which is on the Muslim army drawn from the Pakistan area.” [ibid].


-         That India is secure today because of its Army is incontestible. That is very likely the reason why the Army is sought to be weakened by tying it down in counter-insurgency operations and maligning it.


-         One wonders if the large percentage of Punjabis in the Pakistan Army is the reason for the latter dominating Pakistan’s political landscape since independence, at the cost of the civil liberties of the population.  


4. How does the creation of PAK remove the communal question from Hindustan?

“It does not free Hindustan from the communal question with Muslims scattered all over India. The only way to make Hindustan a composite state is to arrange for exchange of population. Unless that is done the creation of Pakistan does not solve the majority vs. minority problem, which will continue to produce disharmony in the body politic of Hindustan”. (Ibid, p 111)


-         The Hindu Muslim strife continues to this day. To overcome resentment against the success of the Indian polity and justify its existence, Pakistan unilaterally posits itself as the defender of Muslims in India. India on its part has failed to criticize Pakistan for its treatment of Ahmediyas, Shias and Hindus, thereby strengthening Islamabad’s diplomatic adventurism.


5. Holding Muslims responsible for violence

“Gandhi never called the Muslims to account even when they have been guilty of gross crimes against Hindus. Prominent Hindu leaders who had offended religious susceptibilities of the Muslims by their writings or by their part in the Shudhi movement were murdered or stabbed by some fanatic Muslim. Swami Shradhanand, a leader of the Shudhi movement was shot dead by Abdul Rashid on 23/12/1926.” (Ibid, p 152)


“The following instances of the silence of Gandhi over cases of Muslim intransigence are recorded by Swami Shradhanand for e.g. even such an unbiased leader as Yakub Hassan, openly enjoined upon Muslims the duty of converting all untouchables in India to Islam.” (Ibid, p. 155)


-         The failure to question Muslims has since become the norm. In any riot it is always assumed that Hindus are at fault, though they were clearly the first victims of events like Direct Action Day (1946) or at Godhra where 59 were burnt alive in a train.


6. Double-standards of Muslims

“How perverted politics has become is shown by the attitude of the Muslim leaders to the political reforms in the Indian states. Muslims & their leaders carried on a great agitation for the introduction of representative government in the Hindu state of Kashmir. The same leaders are deadly opposed to the introduction of representative governments in other Muslim states. This is somewhat difficult to understand but the reason for this strange attitude is quite simple. The determining factor is how that will affect the Muslims. In Kashmir the ruler is a Hindu and majority of subjects are Muslims. A representative government would mean transfer of power from Hindu to Muslims.” (Ibid, p 232)


-         This hypocrisy continues to this day. Pakistan refers ad nauseam to India’s failure to meet the aspirations of the people of J&K but is hardly questioned for its failure to permit a democratically elected government in POJK and Gilgit/Baltistan.


-         Further, Muslims want the benefits of being a minority (undefined in the Constitution) across India, but will not cede similar benefits to the Hindu minority in J&K.


-         And has anyone questioned Kashmiris for the manipulation of Census and Assembly seat numbers?

(See http://www.esamskriti.com/essay-chapters/Making-Sense-Of-Jammu-ad-Kashmir-Census-2011-Numbers-1.aspx)


7. Hindu Muslim struggle

“The Muslims think that the Hindus & Muslims must perpetually struggle, the Hindus to establish their dominance over the Muslims, and the Muslims to establish their historical position as the ruling community – that in this struggle the stronger will win and to ensure strength they must suppress or put in cold storage everything which causes dissension in their ranks.” (Op. cit., p 233)


-         Indians who desire peace with Pakistan must remember Dr Ambedkar’s words: Pakistan respects strength!


8. Never ending Pakistan demands

“After taking into account what the Muslims demanded at the Round Table Conference one would have thought that the limit of Muslim demands was reached and that 1932 was a final settlement. But it appears that even with this the Muslims are not satisfied. A further list of new demands for safeguarding the Muslim position seems to be ready”. (Ibid, p 260)


-         Envoy Basit said the Kashmir dispute is the root cause of mutual distrust. Issues waiting to be raised include the Siachen glacier, Sir Creek, Pakistan running dry because India has (allegedly) violated Indus Water treaty, and many more.


9. Muslim law must prevail

“How the Muslim mind will work and by what factors will it be swayed will be clear if the fundamental tenets of Islam and views expressed by prominent Muslims having a bearing on Muslim attitude towards an Indian govt are taken into consideration. Among the tenets is one which says that in a country which is not under Muslim rule wherever there is conflict between Muslim law and the law of the land the former must prevail over the latter and a Muslim will be justified in defying the law of the land. (Op. cit., p 291)


-         Currently there is unrest as the Supreme Court has taken notice of the issue of ‘triple talaq’. During azaan, the Supreme Court’s order of 2005 on use of loudspeakers continues to be breached.


10. Onus on Hindus to achieve Hindu Muslim unity

“In the first attempt it must be admitted that every possible attempt to bring about union between Hindus & Muslims has failed. The history of these attempts begins with 1909. Attempt 1 was Separate Electorates. Attempt 2 was the Lucknow Pact of 1916 where the Hindus gave satisfaction to Muslims on every count. Result – failure. Attempt 3 was the Khilafat Movement of 1921, what followed was the Moplah Rebellion, massacre of Hindus in Malabar.” (Ibid, p 305)


-         Sri Aurobindo said in 1926, “This attempt to patch up a unity has given too much importance to the Muslims and it has been the root of all these troubles”.  


-         Each time India stopped talks after terror attacks emanating from Pakistan, there was/is pressure to forget and resume dialogue. Similarly, the responsibility for keeping India ‘liberal’ rests solely on Hindus.


11. Inability to see

“I feel that those Hindus who are guiding the destinies of their fellows have lost what Carlyle calls the ‘the Seeing Eye’ and are walking in the glamour of certain vain illusions, the consequences of which must, I fear, be terrible for the Hindus.” (Ibid, p 349)


-         Virtually every Prime Minister from Mrs Gandhi has been unable to accept this reality; they all chase a mirage called ‘Peace with Pakistan’.


-         Indian politicians are unable to call a spade a spade, appease in the hope of peace, are defensive about Hindus being a majority, swear by colonial concepts and are congenitally incapable of withstanding pressure from the US/Middle East. This explains their inability to deal with Pakistan and to reduce Hindu/Muslim animosity in India.



1. History and Culture of Indian People published by the Bhartiya Vidya Bhawan, Vol. X.

2. Thoughts on Pakistan, Dr B R Ambedkar, 1941.

3. India’s Rebirth, Sri Aurobindo, 1993.


The author is a chartered accountant, columnist, travel photo journalist and founder of www.esamskriti.com

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