An Open Letter To Aligarh Muslim University’s Professor Irfan Habib
Justice Markandey Katju pens an open letter to Dr. Irfan Habib of AMU. He argues that the professor has not done his job right in educating the people of India about their history and should put forward explanations for it.
Professor Irfan Habib of Aligarh Muslim University, a highly acclaimed historian of India, has lately been in a controversy over an incident in Kannur University, Kerala, when in the 80th session of the Indian History Congress he had a verbal spat with Kerala Governor Arif Mohammed Khan, which was widely reported in the media.
I am not going into the question about the merits of this controversy, or whether it was proper for Prof Habib to interfere when the Governor was speaking, but instead I would like to express my opinion that renowned Indian historians known for their secular views like Prof Habib, Prof Romila Thapar, etc. have let down the nation by not presenting the true facts about our history to the Indian public, for reasons best known to themselves. It is well known that British historians and their agents distorted Indian history to create hatred between Hindus and Muslims and thus further the British policy of divide and rule. So, it was the sacred duty of our historians to correct this, but it has to be said with regret they have signally failed to do so.
I am therefore posing these 12 hard questions to Prof Habib, as also to other Indian historians and await their answer:
- Why did you not state, as I stated in my article ‘What is India?’, that India is broadly a country of immigrants, like North America? This knowledge is vital for knowing India and the key to understanding the reasons for our tremendous diversity.
- Why did you not tell the Indian people that Gandhi (like Jinnah) was objectively a British agent, as mentioned by me in several articles on my blog Satyam Bruyat? Please refer specifically to the points raised in my blogs such as ‘Gandhi, the British agent’, ‘Gandhi and Caste’, ‘Gandhi again’, ‘Who was right, Gandhi or Bhagat Singh and Surya Sen?’
- Why did you not tell the truth to the Indian and Pakistani people as expressed in my article ‘Was Jinnah right?’ Why did you not tell the truth about Jinnah to the Indian and Pakistani people expressed in my article ‘Quaid-e-Azam Jinnah’ in my blog Satyam Bruyat?
- Why did you not tell the Indian people, including the Indian Muslims, the truth that Sir Syed Ahmad Khan, founder of AMU, was a British agent, as demonstrated in my article ‘An assessment of Sir Syed Ahmad Khan’ on my blog Satyam Bruyat? Why did you not say that Sir Syed was the real father of the vile 2 nation theory (as evident from his Meerut speech of 1888, which I have quoted in my article, In which he repeatedly called Muslims a nation and said that Muslims should serve the British because they were both ‘kitabia’ and God had ordained that the British should rule over India), which resulted in the greatest tragedy of India in its 5000 year old known history—that historical British swindle called Partition, which caused immense suffering to the people of the subcontinent ? Was not creation of AMU and BHU part of the British policy of divide and rule? By definition, a university is something universal. How can it be Hindu or Muslim?
- Do you agree with my opinion of the poet Allama Iqbal in my article ‘The Truth about Allama Iqbal’ in my blog Satyam Bruyat that though in his youth when he wrote ‘Saare jahaan se achcha Hindustan hamaara’ Iqbal was secular and patriotic, later, probably due to some secret British inducement, he became a British agent and highly communal and preached pan Islamic nonsense as evident from his long poem ‘Shikwa’ and his advocacy of Partition of India in the Allahabad session of the Muslim League in 1930. If not, respond to my reasoning.
- Why did you not clarify that though the Muslim invaders destroyed many temples (e.g. Mahmud Ghaznavi destrying the Somnath temple) their descendants, the local Muslim rulers (who ruled for a considerably longer period than the Muslim invasions), like the Mughal Emperors from Akbar onwards (there is a controversy about Aurangzeb), Nawabs of Avadh and Murdhidabad, Tipu Sultan, etc., far from breaking temples gave grants for Hindu temples, organized Ramlilas, participated in Holi and Diwali, etc., but this fact was almost completely suppressed by the British historians and their agents.
- Why did you not state that there was no communal problem in India prior to the Mutiny of 1857? There were no communal riots prior to 1857 and Hindus and Muslims used to live amicably like brothers and sisters, Hindus participated in Eid and Muharram while Muslims in Holi Diwali etc. As stated in my article ‘The Truth about Pakistan’, and BN Pande’s speech in the Rajya Sabha ‘History in the service of Imperialism’, communalism was artificially created by the British after suppressing the Mutiny of 1857 (in which Hindus and Muslims jointly fought against the British), when they realized that the only way to control India was divide and rule.
- Why did you not state the truth about Tipu Sultan which I have stated in my article ‘Tipu Jayanti celebrations’ in my blog Satyam Bruyat? Some people have tried to demonize Tipu and brand him as communal, but the truth is just the reverse, as I have clarified. Tipu was first demonised by the British because he fought against them and then by the Hindu reactionaries because he was a Muslim, though the truth is he was thoroughly secular, and used to give annual grants to 156 Hindu temples, as mentioned by BN Pande in his speech ‘History in the service of Imperialism’.
- Why did you not tell the Indian people that they have been deceived into thinking that Gandhi, the British agent, was the Father of the Indian Nation, when their real father was the great Emperor Mughal Akbar (see my article ‘Emperor Akbar—the real Father of the Indian Nation’ on my blog Satyam Bruyat). It is only Akbar’s policy of suleh-e-kul or equal respect to all religions which can keep the country together despite all our diversity and take us on the path of progress.
- Why did you not say that Partition of India in 1947, on the basis of the bogus two nation theory, was a historical British swindle (see my article ‘The Truth about Partition’)? Why did you not say that Pakistan is a fake, artificial country ( ee reports of my speeches that Pakistan is a fake country in Times of India, First Post, India Today etc, and the article ‘Pakistan is a fake and artificial country’)? Why did you not say that India and Pakistan are really one country, sharing the same culture and were one since Mughal times and are bound to be reunited one day under a secular government the way West and East Germany were reunited in 1990?
- Why did you not say that Urdu was the common language of a considerable section of the educated Hindus, Muslims, Sikhs etc. till 1947 and was not a language of Muslims alone? Why did you not say that the propaganda that Hindi is the language of Hindus and Urdu of Muslims, was fallacious and part of the British divide and rule policy?
- Why did you not say that the present efforts by the political rulers to polarise the Indian people on religious lines is because they are unable to solve the real issues of the Indian people such as massive poverty, record unemployment, appalling level of child malnourishment, almost total lack of proper education and healthcare for the Indian masses etc., and hence our rulers have to create a scapegoat, as Hitler created of the Jews, and these are the Indian Muslims ? ( See my article ‘Dark days are ahead for India’, ‘Putting out the eyes of the Indian people’ and ‘Bad days are ahead for Indian Muslims’).
These were issues which it was the job of historians like Prof Irfan Habib, Prof Romila Thapar etc. to examine and thereafter enlighten the Indian people, who have been deceived for long. It was not my job, as I am from a legal background. But when I found the historians failing in their duty to the nation, I had to take the job on myself
Markandey Katju is a former judge of the Supreme Court of India. He was also the Chairman of the Press Council of India.