Hijrat or Colonization:
You Choose the Model You Want!
(Bringing Islam to the World One Concept at a Time!
Taking the Qur’an to Every Home and Heart that Needs It --
And which One Does Not?)
Recently, a wonderful friend spoke some very beautiful words.
He used the most beautiful Urdu language to give voice to his pain and to his disappointment at the condition of Muslims around the world in general and Muslims of Indian origin and background in particular.
He was addressing a large group of fairly highly educated and smart people.
He said, more or less:
If you people from Indian Muslim background had not been given the education the British gave you, you would have all turned out to be marsia-go, qawwaal, humnawa, bhaand, meerasi, tabla nawaz, mehter, naat khwan, bait baaz, hakeem and shair.
All these words more or less translate down to one concept: Good-for-Nothing Wastrels.
There is a great deal of truth behind these words. And a fairly painful truth.
At the same time, some others among the same very smart group of people were arguing that the British did great and incalculable social, economic and political damage to India and Indian people, including Muslims of Indian Subcontinental background and origin.
I am wondering could it be that both these positions and arguments are true?
And there is a context to the whole thing?
1) First of all, it is absolutely, positively true that the British enslaved and plundered India, as so many other Colonizers did to other colonized lands and peoples around the world.
2) At the same time, it is also a fact that the British had to create an educated class of slaves in India and elsewhere to run their slave operations, and they did.
Too bad -- or too good -- some of the same slaves like Gandhi and Nehru and others, using the tools of education that the British gave them, turned everything upside down for the British and became the instruments of liberating India from Britain’s Colonial Rule.
As they say in Urdu poetry, and how mighty and sweet and absolutely amazing some of that poetry is -- most remarkable and almost unrivaled in languages and literature around the world:
Is Ghar Ko Aag Lag-Gayi Ghar Kay Charaagh Say!
“It was a lamp from this house that burned down this house!”
The problem is not with Britain or with India, or with other Colonies of Britain or other Colonial powers, such as France, Belgium, Netherlands, Spain, Portugal or Italy.
The problem is with the very concept of Colonization.
It is the very concept of Colonization that is flawed and problematic.
And that is because Colonization by definition means one country conquering another country, and plundering its wealth, and taking it to the Mother Country to enrich the Mother Country while enslaving the people of the colonies to work more or less free and without adequate compensation for the benefit of the Mother Country.
That is what Colonization is about at its core -- no matter how you slice or dice it.
As an alternative to the concept of Colonization, consider the other model of world expansion and migration: the concept of Hijrat.
While Colonization was definitionally exploitative, dehumanizing and nefarious, Hijrat, as it unfolded, both conceptually and operationally, was liberating and empowering of all the people of the world.
It sounded the death-knell of religious and political bigotry and tyranny around the world including putting an end to the Roman and Persian Empires.
Both Western Colonization, including British Colonialism, and Islamic Hijrat changed the world in all kinds of profound ways.
But one -- Islamic Hijrat -- in the direction of general goodness, empowerment and liberty for all.
And the other -- Colonization -- with the clear outcome of general devastation, genocide and enslavement of all those who came under its influence and target range.
And now, thanks in no small measure to British Education, many of us have developed the ability to go beyond being marsia-go, qawwaal, humnawa, bhaand, meerasi, tabla nawaz, mehter, naat khwan, bait baaz, hakeem and shair, and become Revolutionaries and Ref
The question is: When and how do we plan to start this work?
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