Dr. Mahesh Mehta is Chairman of the Advisory Board of the VHP of America. He gave his thoughts on what Hindu grievances are with Muslims in India. TKTKTKTK

Growth Rate:
I don't have statistics with me but Muslims are allowed to marry four wives and according to their religion they don't follow birth control so if I have to assume, they'd have more children.

A friend from Kerala said his Muslim friend had 35 children. So this example gives me an idea that Muslims may contribute more number of children per family. From 1947 to today, India has produced more Muslims than in Pakistan. The rate of growth is alarming people.

Women and Education:
Women have no real status in the Muslim community. They're not treated with any dignity. No woman in the world would like to have three partners with her husband. If women were interviewed without fear, this is what they'd say. These women aren't educated or they're educated to the minimum. This produces more children. You'll have a hard time finding names of outstanding women in different fields of life. Take any field. You'll find very few women on the forefront, compared to Hindu or Christians or Jews. There are examples now and then, but I'm talking in relative terms.

Islam is a political ideology, not just a religion. One of the dictums is Islam first. Everything is 2nd priority. So any idea of a nation is given second priority, whether you're in Pakistan or Afghanistan or Saudi Arabia. Mrs. Margaret Thatcher said after 9-11, that British Muslims didn't condemn the actions. When British soldiers went to fight, there were Muslim students carrying banners saying `This is not our war.'

I was talking to a group of Indian Muslim doctors in America. I asked them what their priority would be if there was a conflict of interest between their country and their religion, and they said religion. This was coming from a highly educated group of people.

Take Vande Mataram ("Salute to the Motherland," a patriotic Indian song). It inspired thousands of people who died for the country. But Muslims of India say it is not acceptable to them. They resist saying Vande Mataram. Are they not children of the nation?

It doesn't mean they have no loyalties to the country but people suspect otherwise. It doesn't mean they're anti-Indian but this is a general impression.

Special Privileges:
When we became independent India was divided in the name of religion for the first time. Otherwise, for thousands of years, there were so many religions. The political leaders of India, Nehru and company, decided Indian would be a secular country. Secular means you wouldn't face any hurdles because of your religion. What really happened was it became a politics of votes. It's not that politicians love any minority. So it gave Muslims special rights while also restricting Hindu groups. So they gave them the feeling they were Muslim saviors. And that's what politics is all about - if you work for Hindus you're branded `communal.'

There a number of special privileges for Muslims:
  • the lack of a uniform civil code. Muslims can marry four wives.
  • Madrassas get special funding. Will a Hindu school get that? They will not.
  • The pilgrimage to Mecca. They're given special funding. Why? Even Arabic countries may not give subsidies.

    Ayodhya and Temples Past:
    The issue is the faith of Hindus that this is the birthplace of Ram. Why can't Muslims accept this and say: okay, our forefathers may have done something, right or wrong. The disputed site is 40 feet by 80 feet. It's been proven by archaeological evidence that this is Janmabhoomi (the birthplace). Babar destroyed it when he invaded India. They have destroyed 30,000 temples and we're only asking for three temples. And they have special meaning: Ramjanmabhoomi, Krishna's in Mathur and Kashi Vishwanath (Shiva) in Benares. This would cover 75% of Hindus who mostly worship Ram or Krishna or Shiva. If Muslims would only accept these three as temples then this would help build bridges of understanding.

    In 1950 the temple was locked and in 1984 Rajiv Gandhi unlocked the temple. It was in the courts until then. He tried to politicize the issue and satisfy Hindus as well.

    The structure in Ayodhya was a victory monument. If there was a mosque there would've been ajaan and namaaz every day. The issue became politicized. We have said we want the undisputed area back to the temple committee and let the courts and government decide on the disputed area.

    Even when the dilapidated structure (Babri Masjid) existed the VHP and RSS offered to lift the whole thing and place it where Muslims wanted. The issue is not between Hindus and Muslims. It's between the government and the VHP.
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