Senior Congress leader Mani Shankar Aiyar today wondered if there was any "bigger crime" than asking Muslims who chose India during Partition as to whether they are loyal to the country or not.
Speaking on 'Indian Muslims in democratic India' at an event here, he hailed the country's syncretic traditions, adding, "Islam can't be thought of without India, and India can't be imagined without Islam."
"Those who wan't to break this relationship are anti-nationals. Muslims had the opportunity to leave and a large number of them stayed back.
"Now, what can be the bigger crime than asking these Muslims who chose stay back whether they are loyal?...Those who insist on this loyalty test seem to forget that the name of the force that Subhash Chandra Bose had raised was Azad Hind Fauz and not swatantra bharat sena," Aiyar said.
Senior Supreme Court lawyer Prashant Bhushan, who also spoke at the event held at the Constitution Club, echoed Aiyar's views while adding that the meaning of nationalism is "not to chant Bharat Mata ki Jai".
"When a Muslim had opted for India, did he not automatically prove his loyalty to the country? The meaning of nationalism is not to chant Bharat Mata ki Jai. It means being sensible towards the people who live in India," Bhushan said.
Aiyar also said it was "not right" to blame events taking place before Independence as the cause of problems that the country is facing today.
"Can we tell what is going to happen in 2036? If not then how fair is to blame in retrospect events taking place in 1920s or 1930s as the cause of problems that the country faced in 1947 or today," he asked.
The Constitution calls for equals rights for all citizens and we must as a country strive towards that goal, he said.
"The term Hindutva was manufactured by (Veer) Savarkar who considered himself an atheist. It has got nothing to do with Hinduism. Neither Gandhi nor Nehru were ready to believe in his views. As per statistics, Hindus form the majority in India but the same statistics also say that it contains the world's second largest Muslim population," the senior Congress leader said.
Bhushan further said "To improve the situation of Muslims, one need to stay away from religious orthodoxy and education can diminish their plight. The Sachar Committee report has shown that their situation is bad."
He referred to the Dadri incident last year in which a Muslim man was lynched by a mob for allegedly consuming beef.
"The meaning of Uniform Civil Code is that a civil code will be drafted using the most liberal elements of all the personal laws. Its benchmark will be that it will not contain anything against women and won't have regressive practices against public policy," he said.