Unbreaking India Breaks Fresh Ground
A review of Sanjay Dixit's latest book, Unbreaking India, which has the abrogation of Article 370 as its principal subject.
The iconic Kannada poet K.V. Puttappa classified literature as Sakala (Timely) and Trikala (Timeless). Author and columnist Sanjay Dixit’s latest book, Unbreaking India eminently falls in the former category for several reasons, three of which include:
· The astonishing speed at which he brought it out
· Its value as a contribution to the messy mass of literature on a highly contentious subject
· A much-needed course correction to a lopsided narrative that was politically and ideologically sustained for more than half a century.
Indeed, Unbreaking India, originally titled Nullifying Article 370, couldn’t have come at a better time given its singular, civilizational importance to Bharatavarsha. Which is precisely one of the many underlying strands of the book—it is not just an exposition of the abolition of an article in the Constitution but a learned discussion on the topic of reclaiming both the territorial integrity and civilizational unity of Bharatavarsha.
The sweep of the book is vast and the treatment of the subject is not only impressive but easy to grasp for even the routine-minded newspaper-reader. The structure and organization of the book into logical sections and small, breezy chapters adds additional flavor.
Sanjay Dixit’s knowledge and understanding has an integral quality to it given the fact that he begins the discussion of the Article 370 (non) problem correctly with the Partition of Bengal, and investigates the roots of Kashmir with its original Hindu history. This entire narrative is infused with several fundamentals: the core doctrines of Islam, their voluminous expositions by Muslim theologians over half a millennium, how and what these expositions translated into on the ground for Muslims and more tragically for Hindus, the role played by various transnational political forces, the British policy drawn from their own sources, the innate chicanery of our Communists and the limited successes and monumental failures by the Congress and Hindu leadership. Unbreaking India is at once both history and contemporaneity: a knowledgeable guided tour of a century beginning from 1905 and ending in 2019.
The Kashmir issue is rooted in the Partition of Bengal because it gave the Muslim community a seminal opportunity for its post-imperial consolidation in the form of separate electorates. As the book shows, the Muslim Ulema patronised by the Muslim aristocracy seized this as a golden opportunity to work towards regaining their past imperial hold on Hindustan shattered by the twin blows of the Maratha Empire and the British. For the first time, a determined minority became a social and political bloc sans actual political power. But for the separate electorates, the Partition of India and the Kashmir headache wouldn’t have occurred.
Sanjay Dixit explains how this determined minority evolved and grew from strength to strength over the last century with great lucidity: “The issue is not whether [the Ulema’s] interpretation is according to the Quran or not. The issue is that the lay Muslim is not even authorized to do any interpretation different from that done by the Ulama or the High Clerics.” [Italicised] This finds perfect resonance with what Ayan Hrisi Ali repeatedly says about interpreting the Quran in Heretic and her brilliant Intelligence Squared debate.
The author also shows how the partition, Pakistan, and later, the Kashmir issue got help from the misguided mystic Mohandas Gandhi and the Communists. The Muslim leadership was clear about their goal from Day One and pursued with it with single-minded grit while the Gandhian Congress read their own fantasies into this goal. The accurate realization that Pakistan remains the unfinished Mughal dream has two strands to it as the author shows: the first was the school that held that Muslims as a community should wage war against infidel Hindustan by remaining in it and the second is the Pakistan-as-the-new-Medina school. That is, Muslims migrating en masse to the newly-created Pakistan following Prophet Muhammad’s model of migrating to Medina and then, gaining the strength required for a final conquest. As the history of “independent” India shows, it appears that the fanatical Ulema have nearly succeeded in getting both. This is how Sanjay Dixit puts it in light of the anti-CAA and Article 370 protests that rocked the country in 2019:
As I had noted in an old essay following the death of former Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister Y.S. Rajashekhara Reddy, Asaduddin Owaisi has emerged as the modern-day Jinnah. The similarities are eerie: at five-star literary fests and seminars, Owaisi plays the part of a liberal Muslim voice fighting for the “oppressed” minority Muslims while his campaign speeches aimed at the faithful drip with violence and incitement. Compare Sanjay Dixit’s reading of the support that the Muslim clergy and aristocracy gave to the highly-Anglicised, liquor-drinking and pork-eating Jinnah:
Unbreaking India traces the progressive Congress capitulation in face of such Muslim intransigence with clinical precision marshalling a wealth of facts, episodes and anecdotes all the way to the partition of India. Thus, when he calls it a “policy of appeasement that lasted nearly a century,” one immediately recalls what Pandit Madan Mohan Malviya said on the topic:
In other words, it was the Congress that granted legitimacy to the Muslim League by sitting across the negotiating table as equals. Neither did it stop at that as Sanjay Dixit shows: the existence of Muslim League MPs in the Indian Parliament after Pakistan was created and their unchanged behavior about the “safety” of the Muslim minorities, a minority that had just wrested an entire country for itself. Here, Dixit offers a good perspective rooted both in this centurial history and the present:
Indeed, this among others is the chief value of Unbreaking India. For example, when Sanjay Dixit narrates the account of the so-called Rahmat Ali “plan,” which actually drew a futuristic map of a wholly Muslim India, it only reveals yet another visual proof of the innate fanatical worldview of the Ulema.
The author’s discussion of the Nehru-Liaquat Pact and the mess Nehru made of it is quite an eye-opener for many. He provides a good takeaway:
Sanjay Dixit’s treatment on the meat of the book, Kashmir, makes for great but disturbing reading. It is the same story again: of Hindu shortsightedness and infighting leading to epic civilizational tragedies. The author compares the bigoted code of Shah-e-Hamadan prescribed to Kaffir Hindus with that of Hitler’s code for the Jews. On the historical timeline, the author identifies seven great exoduses of Hindus, the first beginning in the fifteenth century and the seventh in 1989-90.
The entire section reads like a thriller.
Without giving out too many spoilers, I can only offer a summary. Unbreaking India correctly pins the wholesale Islamisation of the Kashmir Valley to the events of 1931 when the maulanas unleashed an orgy of violent preaching: it was an open call for Jihad against the Dogra ruler. Throughout this section, Sanjay Dixit brilliantly punctures perhaps the greatest myth surrounding the Kashmir narrative: the hot-air balloon called Kashmiriyat, a snow-capped perfidious variant of the more popular myth, Ganga-Jamuni Tehzeeb. Sifting through a mass of concoctions and open lies, the author gives us two notable realities lying underneath:
Three crucial—and central—lessons and conclusions emerge from the book’s discussion of Kashmir and the ultimate abrogation of Article 370:
1. It was and remains (until full normalcy is restored) a civilizational issue.
2. The abrogation is merely a temporary fix, akin to a pause in a longer civilizational battle that began with the origins of Islam itself. Eternal vigilance and rock-solid safeguard is the only option.
3. A thorough re-education of the political and even military leadership to this civilizational aspect will sustain this abrogation and absorb the negating impact in the short-term. In my view, history is the surest guide in this process.
The other insight that Unbreaking India offers is rather simple but its beauty lies in it: placing the abolition of Article 370 in the backdrop of this century-long history, Sanjay Dixit concludes that “Modi is merely the culmination of Hindu angst against this policy of appeasement that lasted…from 1916 (Lucknow Pact) to 2014 (Modi’s victory in the general elections with full majority).”
Like every history-conscious and civilisationally-rooted writer on India, Sanjay Dixit follows in the footsteps of that incisive savant, Sita Ram Goel to whom he pays rich tribute. Unbreaking India heavily borrows from Dr. Ambedkar for extensive discussions on the Pakistan and the Muslim problem which is as it should be. Dr. Ambedkar still stands tall among his contemporaries for making highly original contributions in this field. The evidence is in its ignorance: throughout the history of the Congress party’s treacherous appropriation of Ambedkar’s legacy, it studiously avoided mentioning his masterpiece, Pakistan, or The Partition of India (originally titled, Thoughts on Pakistan). The other service of Unbreaking India is the ten appendices it contains: all of them primary sources—from the Citizenship Amendment Act, 2019, the J&K Reorganisation Act, 2019, the full results of the 1937 and 1946 general elections, the Liaquat-Nehru Pact and other valuable documents. I am personally humbled and honoured to note that Unbreaking India copiously cites several essays published in The Dharma Dispatch and my book, 70 Years of Secularism.
Although the book is richly footnoted, there remains a minor shortcoming: the absence of a much-needed bibliography for a work of this nature. Perhaps a future edition can remedy this.
Unbreaking India also leaves us with a glimmer of hope. The abolition of Article 370, although a minor victory in recent years for the unbroken Sanatana civilization, has caused quite a setback for the combined forces of Islamism and Nehruvian secularism, the greatest purveyors of this sustained breaking-India operation. Sanjay Dixit describes this as follows:
In the final reckoning, Unbreaking India breaks fresh ground on several counts, challenges the so-called “established” mainstream narrative, lives up to its thesis and has the potential to be a reference work. It is also a valuable addition to your library.
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