Nehru - Toward Freedom (1936).pdf

Latterly there has been an interesting development in

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Latterly there has been an interesting development in the speeches and statements of some of the Moslem communal leaders. This has no real importance, but I doubt if many people think so; nevertheless it is significant of the mentality of communalism, and a great deal of prom inence has been given to it. Stress has been laid on the "Moslem 291
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nation" in India, on "Moslem culture/' on the utter incompatibility of Hindu and Moslem "cultures." The inevitable deduction from this is (although it is not put baldly) that the British must remain in India for ever and ever to hold tie scales and mediate between the two "cultures." A few Hindu communal leaders think exactly on the same lines, with this difference, however, that they hope that, being in a majority, their brand of "culture" will ultimately prevail. Hindu and Moslem "cultures" and the "Moslem nation"- how these words open out fascinating vistas of past history and present and future speculation! The Moslem nation in India a nation within a nation, and not even compact, but vague, spread out, indeterminate. Politically, the idea is absurd; economically it is fantastic; it is hardly worth con sidering. To talk of a "Moslem nation," therefore, means that there is no nation at all but a religious bond; it means that no nation in the modern sense must be allowed to grow; it means that modern civili zation should be discarded and we should go back to the medieval ways; it means either autocratic government or a foreign government; it means, finally, just nothing at all except an emotional state of mind and a conscious or unconscious desire not to face realities, especially economic realities. Emotions have a way of upsetting logic, and we may not ignore them simply because they seem so unreasonable. But this idea of a Moslem nation is the figment of a few imaginations only, and, but for the publicity given to it by the press, few people would have heard of it. And, even if many people believed in it, it would still vanish at the touch of reality. But what is this "Moslem culture"? Is it a kind of racial memory of the great deeds of the Arabs, Persians, Turks, etc.? Or language? Or art and music? Or customs? I do not remember any one referring to present-day Moslem art or Moslem music. The two languages which have influenced Moslem thought in India are Arabic and Persian, especially the latter. But the influence of Persian has no element of religion about it. The Persian language and many Persian customs and traditions came to India in the course of thousands of years and impressed themselves powerfully all over north India. Persia was the France of the East, sending its language and culture to all its neigh bors. That is a common and precious heritage for all of us in India. I have tried hard to understand what this "Moslem culture" is, but I confess that I have not succeeded.
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  • Fall '16
  • Alan Kolata

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