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Syama Prasad Mookerjee

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It has often been asserted that the polytheistic Hindu failed to establish a spiritual kinship with the monotheistic Muslim who held much that is Indian in scorn and still seeks his spiritual inspiration abroad. How can we say that India ignored the teachings of Islam when we find saints like Nanak and Chaitanya, Namdev and Tukaram, preaching the brotherhood of man and the futility of caste in matters spiritual? Although attempts on Hindu culture and institutions fill the pages of Indian history, how can we assert that Muslims ignored the appeal of Hindu culture when we find Muhammad Jayasi weaving a beautiful romance to illustrate the teachings of Hindu philosophy, when we read the simple devotional hymns of Kabir and Sheikh Farid, who refused to recognise the barriers of caste and creed on the high road to God’s kingdom? “Utter not one disagreeable word,” said Farid, “since the true lord is in all men. Distress no one’s heart for every heart is a precious jewel.” In the same strain did Kabir proclaim, “There is the same God for the Hindu as for the Muslim.” A rejuvenated India found an Akbar to put an end to political chaos and social disharmony and a Shah Jahan to dream a dream in marble the like of which is not to be met in the world.
Speech delivered at Patna University Convocation on 27th November 1937.

Syama Prasad Mookerjee

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