Dear Mr Raza Rumi,
Enjoyed your book on Delhi.
I know very little of Delhi and so can’t comment on on what you said about its history, its monuments and Darghas.
What I liked most about your book is how the spiritual tradition of India is interwoven with strands of Hinduism and Islam and how we have lost it as a result of politicisation of religion. It appears to me that the decline of Delhi is only a reflection of the disappearance of Hindu-Muslim composite culture.
I have been reading a lot about Partition, Islam and Jinnah ever since I read Wajahat Habibulla, IAS, Chief Information Commissioner, India wrote a few years ago that in a corner of his heart every Hindu hates Muslims and every Muslim hates Hindus. Being a south-Indian and an agnostic, I was unaware of this animosity.
You said that as a Pakistani you believe in the necessity of Partition but that the violence that followed was an enigma. To me Partition itself is an enigma. Not that I want it reversed, but how did ten years efface thousand years of living together and sharing the same space? Why did not other non-Hindus feel that they would be overpowered by Hindus and therefore need a separate ‘homeland’. I know that they were not a ‘major minority” like the Muslims, but still doesn’t explain. The enigma of Partition still eludes me. And, the aftermath of Partition has given rise to Hindutva zealots and marginalisation of Indian Muslims and Wahabinisation of Pakistani Muslims.
I know that your book is about Delhi, not about Partition but a few thoughts on the subject would not have been out of place. Similarly, you quote Irfan Habib approvingly about the need for ‘rethinking in Islam’ (page 299) but you don’t say where you stand. May be you are reserving these matters for another book.
I hope I have not offended you by my comments.