Sri Aurobindo on how Hindus should deal with Muslims

  • By Sri Aurobindo
  • December 18 2019
  • 16212 views
  • Sri Aurobindo on how Hindus should deal with the Muslim problem. Present excerpts from his words from 1906 to 1940.

In an earlier part we had shared Maharshi Aurobindo’s views on Gandhi. We now present Aurobindo’s views on how the Hindu community must deal with Muslims. These are excerpts from book ‘India’s Rebirth’ that contains his thoughts at various points of time. Excerpts are verbatim from the book, format is when spoken and matter.

September 4, 1906 - Partition Bengal

“The idea that by encouraging Muslim rowdyism, the present agitation may be put down, is preposterous and those who cherish this notion forget that the bully is neither the strongest nor the bravest of men, and that because the self-restraint of Hindus, miscalled cowardice, has been a prominent feature of his national character, he is absolutely incapable of striking straight and striking hard when any sacred situation demands this. 

Not has it been proved recently, that the mild Hindu is so absolutely helpless and incapable of defending his rights and liberties as he is painted by his foreign enemies.” 

June 19, 1909 - Hindu Muslim

“Of one thing we may be certain, that Hindu-Mahomedan unity cannot be affected by political adjustments or Congress flatteries. It must be sought deeper down, in the heart and in the mind, for where the causes of disunion are; there the remedies must be sought.”

September 4, 1909 - Muslim problem

“Every action for instance which may be objectionable to a number of Mahomedans is now liable to be forbidden because it is likely to lead to a breach of the peace, and one is dimly beginning to wonder whether the day may not come when worship in Hindu temples may be forbidden on that valid ground.”

April 18, 1923 - Hindu-Muslim unity

“(Sri Aurobindo :) I am sorry they are making a fetish of this Hindu-Muslim unity. It is no use ignoring facts; some day the Hindus may have fight the Muslims and they must prepare for it Hindu-Muslim unity should not mean the subjection of the Hindus. Every time the mildness of the Hindu has given way. 

The best solution would be to allow the Hindus to organize themselves and the Hindu-Muslim unity would take care of itself, it would automatically solve the problem. Otherwise we are lulled into a false sense of satisfaction that we have solved a difficult problem when in fact we have only shelved it.”

May 18, 1926 - Khilafat

“Take the Hindu-Muslim problem: I don’t know why our politicians accepted Gandhi’s Khilafat agitation. With the mentality of the ordinary Mahomedan it was bound to produce the reaction it has produced: you fed the force, it gathered power and began to make demands which the Hindu mentality had to rise up and reject. That does not require Supermind to find out, it requires common sense. Then, the Mahomedan reality and the Hindu reality began to break heads at Calcutta. (Refers to the riots in Calcutta the previous month).”

June 29, 1926

“If it is India’s destiny to assimilate all the conflicting elements, is it possible to assimilate the Mahomedan element also?

Why not? India has assimilated elements from the Greeks, the Persians and other nations. But she assimilates only when her central truth is recognized by the other party, and even while assimilating she does it in such a way that the elements absorbed are no longer recognizable as foreign but become part of herself. For instance. We took from the Greek architecture, from the Persian painting, etc.

The assimilation of the Mahomedan culture also was done in the mind to a great extent and it would have perhaps gone further. But in order that the process may be complete it is necessary that a change in the Mahomedan mentality should come. The conflict is in the outer life and unless the Mahomedans learn tolerance I do not think the assimilation is possible. 

The Hindu is ready to tolerate. He is open to new ideas and his culture has got a wonderful capacity for assimilation, but always provided that India’s central truth is recognized.”

August 1, 1926 - Muslim problem

“The attempt to placate the Mahomedans was a false diplomacy. Instead of trying to achieve Hindu-Muslim unity directly, if the Hindus had devoted themselves to national work, the Mahomedans would have gradually come of themselves…. 

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.”

May 28, 1940 - Gandhi’s attitude to Muslims

“Have you read what Gandhi has said in answer to a correspondent? He says that if eight crores of Muslims demand a separate State, what else are the twenty-five crores of Hindus to do but surrender? Otherwise there will be civil war.

(A disciple:) I hope that is not the type of conciliation he is thinking of.

Not thinking of it, you say? He has actually said that and almost yielded. If you yield to the opposite party beforehand, naturally they will stick strongly to their claims. It means that the minority will rule and the majority must submit. The minority is allowed its say, “We shall be the ruler and you our servants. Our hard [word] will be law; you will have to obey.” This shows a peculiar mind I think this kind of people are a little cracked.”

June 21, 1940 – Kashmir

“In Kashmir, the Hindus had all the monopoly. Now if the Muslim demands are acceded to, the Hindus will be wiped out.”

November 28, 1940 - Gandhi’s Ahimsa

“Something in him takes delight in suffering for its own sake. Even the prospect of suffering seems to please him… It is the Christian idea that has taken hold of him.

The English are not quite wrong when they say that the Indian must settle their own differences. The Lucknow Pact has become a big political blunder. The Mahomedans, they want to rule India.”

Also read

1. Dr Ambedkar on Islam and Indian Muslims

2. Sri Aurobindo on Gandhi

3. Understanding the Muslim mind through Dr Ambedkar’s writings

4. India’s Rebirth

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