Islamic extremism and the freedom of expression
Islamic extremism and the freedom of expression
1857 struggle for independence is a remarkable chapter in Indian history as both Hindus as well as Muslims fought together for the independence of our country. This union ended in beginning of 20th century especially in post Khilafat movement era. This era witnessed multiple riots, looting, plundering, killing and insult to womanhood. The religious extremism reached its peak resulting in partition of the country in 1947. The literary circles of those days were also influenced by this extremism. Britishers adopted a policy of backbiting. They kept mum on destruction of Hindu property in riots and on another hand promoted Muslims to suppress Hindus. This was just another extension of divide and rule policy by the Britishers.
In 1920s Muslims targeted Hindus by publishing two books named “Krishna teri Gita Jalani Padegi” and “19vin sadi ka Maharishi”. The former book contained derogatory remarks on Lord Krishna while the latter on Swami Dayanand. Hindus were offended by this step of Muslims but the Aryasamaj which was most revolutionary movement of 19th century did not remain silent. Mahashya Rajpal published a book in 1924 named “Rangila Rasool” with author name as “Dudh ka Dudh,Pani ka Pani” as a counter answer to this mischief. Actually book was authored by Pt Chamupati Ji but due to expected resistance from Muslims he was assured by Rajpal ji that he will neither print nor inform anyone about the author of the book. Mahashya ji accepted the proposal of Chamupati ji and printed the book without name of original writer. Book was published and sold as a routine book.
Later Mahatma Gandhi noticed the book and penned an article demanding Muslims to oppose publication of such books. The article by Gandhi Ji caused wider resentment among Muslims and they started demonstration against the publisher. The matter went to lower court and Rajpal ji was jailed and fined for printing the book. Rajpal ji appealed in the High court. His case went under Kumwar Daleep Singh. Justice Singh found Rajpal ji as non-guilty. He heard the appeal on the grounds of criticism against the religious leaders . He considered that how immoral is the matter.The issue is not covered by S.153 of the Indian Penal Code. He let Rajpal ji free from all charges. Muslims encouraged by Gandhi ji went amok. They started agitations and widespread demonstrations against Rajpal Ji. The shop of Rajpal ji was attacked thrice. Two persons named Khuda bhaksh and Abdul Aziz attempted to kill Rajpal Ji but failed. Both of them were caught and imprisoned.
On April 6, 1929 Rajpal ji was attacked by an illiterate carpenter name Ilm-ud-din. He was stabbed in chest and died on spot. Killer was caught and handed over to police. Rajpal's body was cremated with all honors. His last rites witnessed thousands of Hindus who felt pride over his sacrifice for the sake of protection of Dharma. Rajpal ji joined the league of martyrs of Aryasamaj which included the legendary Pundit Lekhram and visionary Swami Sharddhananda. Hindus pledged to sacrifice their life but not to tolerate fundamentalism.
Ilm Din was kept in Mianwali jail. The case went to court and Muhammad Ali Jinnah was his defense lawyer. Jinnah fought Ilm Din's case on a special request from Allama Iqbal after charging hefty fees. Money was collected by Muslims all over the country on name of Islam to save the killer. Jinnah urged Ilm Din to enter a plea of not guilty and to say that he acted due to extreme provocation. The counter party exposed Ilm Din claim. He was asked how he got provoked as he was unable to read the book being illiterate. This proves that he was incited by others. (*It seems that Ilm Din was brain washed by some fanatics promising Virgins, Rivers of wine, Sweet Water and all sorts of pleasure in Jannat). The Session Court awarded Ilm Din the death penalty. Muslims lodged an appeal but it was also rejected. Ilm Din was executed on 31st October 1929.He was buried in Jail premises. Mass demonstrations broke out and the tension between the Hindu and Muslim communities became palpable. The Muslim inhabitants of Lahore wanted Ilm Din's body to be buried in Lahore. Allama Iqbal campaigned for the body of Ilm din. At last the permission was given to exhume the body. It was exhumed and transported to Lahore. Muslims in huge number attended the funeral of the killer. Iqbal placed the body of Ilm Din into the grave. The mindset of the mentor of Pakistan was exposed by his last declaration. He said “This uneducated young man has surpassed us, the educated ones." Iqbal was playing with the sentiments of Muslims. He nurtured them to oppose Hindus by poisoning their minds. Ilm Din was honored with the title of Gazi (One who is killer of Kafir or non-Muslim). The Muslims glorified the grave of Ilm Din as defender of Islam. Yearly celebrations were started in Lahore on his hanging Day. Visitors still visit his grave, even his desolate Home and his cell in Mianwali Jail. Post partition, even movies were released in Pakistan depicting Ilm Din as defender of Islam.
A question vexes my mind again and again.
Who killed Rajpal Ji?
Was it Ilm Din?
Answer is a big No.
Ilm Din was a puppet.
The killer of Rajpal ji is “Islamic mindset of intolerance”.
Swami Swatantranand ji describes this sick mentality in impressive words. He writes that “First Muslims incite Hindus by derogatory publication on their Gods. Hindus counters such maligning attempts by publishing Books. In-tolerating Muslims will go to court blaming Hindus? Defeat in court provokes Muslims to kill Hindus with daggers. ”
Rajpal Ji was defender of freedom of expression. He published the book on basis of authentic Hadith. Rajpal ji motive was not to hurt the sentiments of common Muslim man. His attempt was to counter the mindset of Fundamentalists. His aim was to remove ignorance. He was against those who think that they can hurt the feelings of anyone on name of religion. The readers might be in confusion.
They might be thinking that why the work done by Rajpal ji is equivalent to freedom of expression while the work of others is equivalent to fundamentalism?
Answer is quite superlative.
I will go strongly with freedom of expression only if two criteria's are fulfilled.
1. The motive of expression must be for the benefit of society.
2. The person expressing his view must be impartial and unbiased.
If the intention of the author is not impartial. Then it's nothing more than fundamentalism. Such attempts will only create differences and divisiveness. Great Persons like Rajpal ji sacrificed their life for noble cause.
Let the freedom of expression help us in defending Truth and only Truth.