1969 : When India formally applied to be part of the Muslim world

Not surprisingly, the successfully concluded World Hindu Congress in Chicago has raised the heckles of the organized anti-Hindu mafia in India. Some have accused the event of being casteist, others communal. From what I saw of the actual event on the internet, the WHC called for a universal Hindu unity. I can see why opposition parties in India that ask for votes in the name of various castes, including the recent “Brahmin DNA”, would be nervous.

Others accused the WHC of “staining” the reputation of Hindus, most prominently, the NGO Avaaz which spent USD 26,000 on a full page ad in the Chicago Tribune. The same NGO Avaaz, that had earlier morphed the sacred “Om” symbol into a Nazi Swastika (Hooked Cross) and projected it onto the British Parliament.

Yet others wanted to know why the Hon. Vice President of India Shri Venkaiah Naidu would be present at an event that caters exclusively to one religious group. And that too at a cost to the public exchequer. I guess these people have never heard of the hundreds of crores that the Indian public spends on Haj Houses. In particular, one of the “journalists” who asked this question has recently finished a PhD from Aligarh Muslim University, a publicly funded Muslim institution that has been laughing off Supreme Court verdicts, India’s secular constitution and democratically elected government since the 1960s. At least she should have known better. But then you can’t wake up people who are pretending to sleep.

This prompts me to tell you of an episode in the history of the “secular” Indian republic, a particularly embarrassing one. It’s from 1969 when India  formally applied to become a part of the Muslim world.

But we didn’t become a part of the Muslim world. Not because our government was held back by our secular constitution. But because the Muslim world refused to let us in, formally berating us Indians “conmen”, “crafty” and “persona non grata.” Exact words. No joke. Read on to find out why.

You see in 1969, the “Muslim world” decided to form its own international organization, something that would be “the collective voice of the Muslim world.” It was called the OIC (Organization of the Islamic Conference), later renamed in 2011 as the Organization of Islamic Cooperation.  The first conference was to be held in Rabat in Morocco.

Among the countries jostling to be part of the “Muslim world” : secular and democratic India under Prime Minister Indira Gandhi.

But India made some key mistakes. Because the event was to be held in the capital of Morocco, India asked its ambassador in Morocco to lead the negotiations. This as it turns out was a goof up. As the Times of India tells us:

Of course, as former foreign secretary JN Dixit wrote, India itself goofed up — by letting its ambassador Gurbachan Singh lead the negotiations and not an Indian Muslim leader.”

Sending Gurbachan Singh instead of an Indian Muslim leader was a mistake? You can just feel the “secularism” gushing through the veins of this tolerant Islamic organization, can’t you?

But India did realize its mistake and it tried to make amends.

In fact, subsequent delegation to OIC from India, led by Fakruddin Ali Ahmed, did not make it beyond Rome.”

Prime Minister Indira Gandhi quickly replaced a Sikh representative with a Muslim just in time to show how secular we were. Blame it on bad air connectivity back in the day … but full marks to Indira Gandhi for her commitment to secularism. And her determination to join this very secular Organization of Islamic Conference.

As you can tell from the opening lines of the OIC charter that India was so desperate to sign:

In the name of Allah, the most Compassionate, the most Merciful We the Member States of the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation, determined …. to be guided by the noble Islamic values of unity and fraternity … to endeavour to work for revitalizing Islam’s pioneering role in the world …

So secular.

What a loss for Indian secularism that we could not become a part of this historic endeavor to revitalize Islam’s pioneering role in the world. It’s left a big hole in the “idea of India.”

Okay, so who saved us from formally becoming a part of the Muslim world? When Pakistani President Yahya Khan heard that India was going to join the OIC, he threw a tantrum and threatened to leave Morocco on pretext of being “unwell.”

For the Muslim world, the choice was clear. They could have Pakistan OR they could have India. Not both.

Who would the Muslim world go for? The “believers” from Pakistan or the “non-believers” from India? What do the “noble Islamic values of unity and fraternity” say?

What if the “non-believers” from India sweetened the pot by withdrawing their Sikh representatives in favor of Muslim representatives?

Sorry, but in the end, a non-believer is just that: a non-believer. And so it was that Pakistan President Yahya Khan received a joint apology from King Faisal of Saudi Arabia, King Hussein of Jordan and the host King Hassan of Morocco. They blamed everything on us Indians, especially our Ambassador who happened to be a Sikh:


An apology given to Pakistan by Islamic nations, calling Indians crafty, conmen, barring our delegation from entering and declaring our ambassador as persona non-grata.

How do you like your Indian secularism now? Feels great, doesn’t it?





12 thoughts on “1969 : When India formally applied to be part of the Muslim world

  1. The Congress has reason to be worried about any sign of Hindu resurgence (of which the WHC is a sign).

    The Congress lost about 10% voteshare in the period 1991 to 1998. This is the period when Ram Janmabhoomi issue was at its peak. The second period when there was a drastic drop is of course 2014 when it lost about 9.5 % vote share because of the second wave of Hindu resurgence due to Modi



  2. The sarcasm is priceless.

    Now, all the BJP and other like-minded entities have to do is to cobble together this and other similar postures, positions, and determinedly sectarian published views and broadcast them far and wide. Plus overtly, expressly, and candidly admit the party’s orientation: if the Shiv Sena is overtly for the Marathas, Owaisi for the Muslims, and CPM for the Communists – with the Congress in a befuddled confused entity not knowing what it is any more – so can this party. The mainstream English media and assorted activists keep taunting that the BJP is a “saffron” party; so might as well make that official and be un-embarrassed about it.

    Time to take the war to the invaders!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. “The mainstream English media and assorted activists keep taunting that the BJP is a “saffron” party; so might as well make that official and be un-embarrassed about it.”

      There is very little chance of that happening. Other than Yogi, everyone else (inluding Modi) seem to be half-hearted Hindus at best.

      I agree with Mr. Kannan’s observation that bandhs and the accompanying hooliganism is beginning to be associated with the Congress.

      As for Joshiji’s comment, it was a blessing in disguise that India is NOT a part of the OIC. Time for us to ditch that part of our foreign policy, just as we ditched our “traditional” support to the Palestinians. None of the OiC countries support us anyway, not even Iran for whom India is now a lifeline in the face of US sanctions.

      I could not post any comments yesterday on KCR’s decision, but have posted one in case anyone is interested.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. I never understood what was the benefit if we had become a member of OIC? Do they offer cheaper Petrol to its members? In facts, I am glad that we don’t hear much from our government to be part of UN Security Council. Bagging in front of other countries.

    Today, Jaggi has written a good article about ten points Hindu agenda for BJP.


    1. One of the things BJP could do is to take a decision never to call for a Bandh – whether they are in power or in opposition.Pass a resolution to the effect and make it public. Bandhs achieve nothing and cause damage to property and lives. It affects livelihood of poor and daily wage workers. Bandhs are anti-poor and the party that calls for it is also anti-poor.

      People are now identifying this hooligan tradition of Bandh with the Congress party (some are calling it the Bandh party of India) and are pretty angry about these Bandhs. I dont remember BJP calling for a Bandh in recent times atleast.


      1. Yes. We have seen protests in many Democratic countries, but nobody forces schools, businesses to be closed and almost never damages to public (or private) properties. Let us not shy away from coping what is good in other civilized countries. E.G. Uniform Civil Code. The parties responsible for calling the protests and resulting damages has to come out from these parties coffers.


  4. Congress party is a sinking ship – & it will take with it all her allies.
    I have not heard anything positive for the country from Congress party apart getting all the trouble makers together to cause trouble.


  5. The Muslim world gets a free pass everytime…

    The most recent is the UNHCR’s reference to J&K and India’s tepid response to it. What about the over 100,000 Kashmiri pundits who had to escape the state due to persecution and violence? What about the absolute absence of any fundamental human rights across the Muslim world? No, they will not talk about these. They know India will only make meek noises, never stand up. Time to change that.

    As Subramaniam Swamy noted in a talk in the US recently, the only way out is for the majority community to unite and exert itself forcefully. Tell the UNHCR or whoever else who makes fake demands to, as the English would say, “bugger off”.



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