Monday, 5 December, 2022
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Being a Muslim was never fun in India. State agencies have been misused to target community

Let’s not even get started on the Islamophobia that Muslims face in their schools, colleges and workplaces on a daily basis.

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In a remarkably simplistic piece, Fauzan Alavi, spokesperson for the All India Meat and Livestock Exporters Association, decided to throw lesser privileged Muslims under the bus by displaying woeful ignorance, which is characteristic of the elite in most (marginalised) communities. Ignorance, not only of the current state of affairs in the country, but also of history.

Alavi’s piece, titled ‘Indian Muslims won’t lose religion by saying ‘Bharat mata ki jai’, we have bigger battles’, misses the bigger picture by a huge margin, quite ironically.

The article starts by rightly calling out the so-called secular parties and how they’ve taken the Muslim community for a ride all these years. But Alavi quickly adds, “It’s time for Indian Muslims to do a quick introspection and correct what needs to be corrected”—not realising that correcting systemic discrimination, structural marginalisation and repeated denial of justice requires more than a ‘quick introspection’.

How else can one describe the treatment that has been meted out to Muslims in India – consistently, government after government?

Also read: Indian Muslims won’t lose religion by saying ‘Bharat mata ki jai’, we have bigger battles

Deliberate misuse of state institutions to target the community and relegate it to the margins of society should not come as a revelation – Muslim men picked up and killed by personnel; 11 men fighting a 25-year-long battle to prove their innocence in a ‘terror’ case. All this creates a fear psychosis that only pushes Muslims into ghettos, where they are denied basic resources. To add insult to injury, a narrative is then peddled around Muslims being inherently unhygienic. And, let’s not even get started on everyday Islamophobia that Muslims face in their schools, colleges and workplaces.

“There are bigger issues to resolve – like schools, primary health, water crisis, infant mortality, etc.”, Alavi writes. It is in fact the state’s duty to ensure unbiased access to these amenities to every community, but I am guessing the author already knows that.

The very premise of Alavi’s argument that India is a country where “Muslims and Hindus have lived in peace and harmony since time immemorial” is flawed. Riots between the two communities pre-date Partition — the fault lines have always existed.

Being a Muslim was never any fun in India, but is Alavi right in whitewashing the deeds of the present administration?

The Narendra Modi government has been accused of legitimising the hate and bigotry that was always ever-so-present in our country. So, when a Union minister garlands people convicted in a case of murder by lynching, it’s a message to the community: you are second-class citizens, not despite the state but because of an active helping hand by it.

Also read: The Modi playbook: Delay in PM condemning attacks on Kashmiris is part of a pattern

Blame the victim

The crux of what is wrong with Alavi’s piece is essentially what is wrong with the arguments employed by most privileged Muslims – from Naseeruddin Shah, when he argued that Muslims “must determine to stop feeling persecuted”, to when former union minister Arif Mohammad Khan says that “the seeds of the problems are within”. They very conveniently choose to blame the victim. The importance of introspection and reform cannot be stressed enough, but should it come at the cost of making a distinction between us (the good Muslims) and them (the regressive, unhygienic, uneducated Muslims)? Selfish and arrogant pontification cannot pass off as a virtuous call for introspection.

Hate to break it to you, sir, but the reason why Muslims like you and I did receive the education that we did, or we enjoy the societal privileges that we do is only one: we lucked out. There really isn’t more to it.

Alavi goes on to make a point about how Muslims lack a strong political leadership; and while that is true, it would also do us good to remember that only 27 Muslims MPs were elected to Parliament this year – and none from the BJP. 

Most Muslim leaders indeed deserve the flak they get for not articulating the woes of the community adequately. But while we are on the subject of introspection, perhaps Alavi too would like to reflect why the only thing about the ruling party that seemingly bothers him is how the meat export industry is facing a difficult time in Yogi Adityanath’s Uttar Pradesh.

And even then, not only is Alavi quick to cut the CM slack, but also conveniently forgets about the many poorer Muslims who have been lynched allegedly on the mere suspicion of storing and consuming beef. Perhaps, in Alavi’s world, these are only “silly little things” that we shouldn’t get provoked by.

The Muslim problem

Alavi’s mischaracterisation of ‘the Muslim problem’ doesn’t end there. He goes on to write, “Indian Muslims could have solved the triple talaq issue on their own, but we chose to serve it to the world on a platter”. Except Indian Muslims did resolve the issue on their own — it is the Muslim women who led the fight against triple talaq until it was banned by the court. Of course, why the BJP government is hell bent on criminalising a practice that has already been invalidated by the top court, is something that should serve as food for thought for Alavi.

Also read: Arif Mohammad Khan, you are still in 1986, your views on secularism & Muslims are outdated

“We will not lose our religion if we say: Bharat mata ki jai,” writes Alavi. Muslims know they won’t lose their religion if they say Bharat mata ki jai, or Vande Mataram, or Jai Shri Ram. Muslims will, however, lose their lives despite chanting these. Tabrez Ansari, 24, was tied to a pole and allegedly forced to chant Jai Shri Ram — he did but still didn’t survive.

Alavi quotes Prophet Muhammad twice in his article. Here’s another quote by The Prophet that we would do well to remember in trying times: “People, beware of injustice, for injustice shall be darkness on the Day of Judgment.” The privileged Muslims should extend their hand to ensure justice for the poorest, marginalised and vulnerable, and not blame them for their own persecution.

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  1. The elections came as a shock to us Muslims. The majority community voted overwhelmingly for the facist government. They voted for a government that is now openly communal, the government who stayed silent when Muslims were lynched. The majority community voted for the figurehead of these elections, the man who was CM of Gujarat where deadly riots took place. The majority community voted for The man who has written extensively of his mentors Savakar and Golwalker, who wrote the position of Muslims in India must be that of second class citizens. You voted for a party that will make India into a Hindu state.
    The majority voted not in their own interest of economic advancement and employment, but most voted because this government ‘would put Muslims in their place’ they were not put off by the communal agenda of this government.
    That the majority of the Indian middle classes are throughly communalised, one can ascertain just by reading the comment section under the articles here in the Print, it’s even worse in publications that offer a less balanced viewpoint of happenings.
    This effects and hurts me deeply as a Muslim, I have read these hundreds of communal comments, I have every right to say India belongs to me too.
    Well voters it’s your democratic right to have people govern you of your choice. It’s a democracy after all.
    But do you think you can elect those who want to make 170 million of your fellow citizens in second class and not have any comebacks???
    As a Muslim there are things happening in India that hurt Muslims deeply.
    It was because we are so culturally integrated with our Hindu brothers for hundred of years is the reason we remain silent so far.
    But there will be a reckoning, just as the RSS Parcharak has polarised the Hindu community, he is succeeding in polarising the Muslims.
    Not satisfied with helping to make one Pakistan, that insidious communal organisation is sowing the seeds of another.
    What makes them the RSS think the Muslim in India is a docile person, as anger grows amongst our community there are those who now talk of a reckoning.
    As the businessman Godrej said, India can Ill afford a divided population, we face crises in so many fronts, we must be united and work together with the minorities.
    If Only a minuscule number of Indis 170 million Muslims, decide to take the path of militancy, they there will be rivers of blood over my beloved land, greater than that during partition. In a civil war millions might perish.
    My fellow Indians wake up, we have a huge minority population, all patriotic people must work towards bringing people together, to spread division to garner the vote is in the modus operandi of people who unsurp power for selfish ends. They are the ones setting India on a path of destruction.
    Do not say India belongs more to a Hindu then a Muslim, the will eventually not tolerate being treated as second class, the RSS are sowing the seeds of ideas in the 170 million minority Muslims that they are second class citizens.
    We Muslims the sons of the soil are a proud people. This huge Muslim population will not accept this meekly,
    This is how Pakistan’s are born.

    • I concur with you I will never accept being a second class citizen, As a Muslim I will resist, it is the duty of every human being and every citizen of India to protect his rights granted to him by the Constitution.
      They cannot make a second-class citizen of us, in the land of our ancestors, we will fight for our land, we will fight for our rights.
      If those rights are taking away, then this this theft will be resisted even if it’s via the barrel of a gun.
      My Country is not the property of the RSS, it Belongs to every citizen.
      If the majority community does not want to share this beloved land of India with the Muslims, if they keep voting in these evil communal people, then Muslims in India will ensure that this great land it is divided again.

    • Haha! Another Pakistan? The only reason why Muslims like you got a separate Islamic country because Gandhi and Nehru gave it to you. Muslims were only 24% in 1947. 76% majority would have easily wiped out the remaining if a real war was fought. Just look take a look at how minority Christian Serbians made Bosnian Muslim minority in Muslim majority parts of Bosnia.
      In case you Bhikaris who live off doles handed out by Hindu taxpayers, muster the courage to pick up arms, we will be glad. The incomplete partition of India will be completed by the transfer of Muslims living in India to Pakistan and Bangladesh.

      We are waiting. Don’t just be a keyboard warrior. Walk the Talk.

        1. The rise of RSS to the power was based upon the hatred against Muslims and nothing else.
        2. Neither development manifesto nor the corruption of congress was responsible for the victory of Narendra Modi. His involvement in 2002 riots was sole reason why majority of the Hindus give him massive mandate.
        3. From the time of Sarvakar BJP-RSS leaders are spreading venom against Muslims and now they got their aim of instilling hatred into the larger Hindu Community by their poison.
        TV anchors keep throwing propaganda against Muslims . RSS IT cell trolls, over social media keep promoting violence against Muslims. The campaign of hate is instigated by the RSS.
        4 Throughout the Indian social media, you can find right wing supporters calling for the exodus or the genocide of the Muslims, many are followed by the senior leadership of BJP and many of the hate mongers are followed by Narendra Modi himself.
        5 From the parliament to the streets of this country, BJP leaders and their sympathisers keep bashing Muslims. We keep hearing dog whistles in speeches from RSS leaders against the Muslims.
        6 Mob lynchings are going unpunished because ruling government have sympathy for the killers. The police forces are communal and infiltrated by the RSS, the victims of hate crime are punished instead of the perpetrators.

        • Like I said, walk the talk. Pick up arms and fight for a separate country. Your brothers in the Muslim majority Kashmir cannot even do that. What makes you think you can? We will kick out your kind like we were supposed in 1947, but we did not. Jinnah’s and Rangeela Rasool’s orphans won’t be tolerated in Bharat Varsha anymore.
          Bharat Mata ki Jai! Jai Hindu Rashtra!

          • Mr Kathin Singh our Kashmir brothers (whom you mention with such contempt) are a small population, being kept from their self determination by over 400,000 fully armed security forces.
            These Kashmiri people were peaceful people, but now our brothers want their independence it takes 400,000 full armed and trained Government forces to keep them down.
            Mr Katin Singh if the 170 million Muslims In the mainland rise up. Your Kaki short pants will be full of your own brown stuff. Your Shaka training will not help you.
            You RSS member, every Muslim and self respecting Hindu notes your cowardly lynching against the weak with anger.
            It’s a pity you misuse Hinduism to bully the poor and the weak. the Hindu people are the most civilised people in the world. It is the RSS and its wicked ideology that the Indian Muslims are against, the bully is usually a coward , you will never be able to fight us.
            You RSS people seem to have a severe inferiority complex, there is no other way of explaining your communal hate.

      • Well said when these Muslims threaten of another partition I really feel offended. Do these guys think we are Hindus of 1947?????

    • As a Pakistani, this my honest opinion.

      The Problem is RSS’s Brahmin supremacist, extremist mentality, and historically they have used majority Hindus for their goals.

      And what is happening with muslims currently in India is not an isolated event or spontaneous happenings.

      The Lynchings, the ‘ghar wapsi’ schemes, the jai shri ram madness, all of this has been programmed & planned to its minute details. I mean the Hinduwadi, they have all the support from the govt and the right wing media, killing muslims at will.

      See the anti muslim riots in India has a history, even before the partition, right… but the current onslaught against muslims has its roots back to 2002 Gujarat. Gujarat was the first laboratory where the mass scale violence against muslims brewed through hate mongering was tested & it created enormous political gains for extremist hindu lot i.e RSS, BJP.

      To cut the long story short, Extremist Hindus got a brilliant recipe for political mileage, they used it at larger scale, attracted hindu vote and ultimately captured the whole country, they will not let go off it now.

      Anyone who thinks that this cow vigilantism or onslaught against muslims will die down any time soon, lives in a fool’s paradise, to me it will only spread & increase and at some point of time in future it will spill out of Indian borders ‘overtly’. It will not be contained.

      • You don’t really understand the character of India. There are many right-wing Hindu groups, from right to far-right just like Jamat-e-Islam and LET. Some groups perpetuate this violence which is rightly condemned and people are horrified by it and debate on twitter, all newspapers report these activities as well.

        For all the talk of Gau-Raksha, BJP wants cows to be protected by law, which I don’t think will really happen. People who are doing these actions are by far very radical fringes whose numbers are few but appear large due to the sheer size of the Indian population. It is also important to note, India is a very big country with 1.3 billion population and second-largest Muslim Population in the world as well. There are many Indias within India as well. Indian culture is rapidly changing as well, accepting new ideas and fashions across the Globe. There is sizable Indian Diaspora across the world making a lot of difference as well. The booming tech industry, the Indian Space Program, Movies and TV, Sports et el have accelerated this change.

        When Salman Taseer was murdered, his killer was showered with flowers and lawyers in the heart of Pakistani law Institution and they wanted to defend and free him. Blasphemy laws are still legal in Pakistan and often used to harass minorities. Not to mention Bin Laden, multiple power grabs by Military and barely stable civilian Governments in between the military rule.

        I did not vote for BJP and probably never will vote for that party. But BJP came into power because they campaigned hard and worked very hard and opposition was weak and depending on just the name of their great-grand-father. India still happens to be a vibrant democracy. India is called World’s largest democracy for a reason.

  2. The problem with Muslims, anywhere in the world, is that they don’t respect other religion or way of life. For them everyone outside Islam is inferior and this ingrained psyche shows in their action. In India, this psyche got reinforced by years of Moghul rule followed by the British who continued favoring Muslims for their own selfish reasons. The British, in fact, nurtured division between Hindus and Muslims for their own benefits. Although Islam professes to be a peaceful religion, they have been carrying the concept of jihad of formative years Of the religion to the present day with devastating effects.. Terrorism is the direct outcome of such thinking which whole world is grappling with. In India also, every riot has its origin in the community including the much discussed Gujarat riot of 2002. It followed mindless burning to death of 59 ‘kar servals’. This is not to say that Hindus are beyond reproach. As regards , social backwardness of Muslims in India, the community themselves are largely responsible. If they waste a child’s formative years in Madrasas instead of in modern schools, backwardness is bound to be the outcome. Although the debate can be endless, the community will have to introspect and analyse why The worst problem of today’s world, the terrorism, has dominant presence of followers of Islam in its narrative.

  3. India went through a painful and bloody portion in 1947 when Muslims demanded and got a separate country of their own. Some of and Muslims who remained in India by choice or by default ( for a vast majority, the so called ‘free choice’ was neither free nor painless) have unfortunately chosen to still maintain a strong and separate religious identity and rather than focus on their duties and being pleasant and cooperative, chosen to focus on their rights and being obtuse and demanding.
    To many fellow non Muslim citizens, who may be, by and large, sympathetic to genuine hardships and injustices. the shrill complaining and blaming after a while, begins to be jarring. Add to this the domestic and global terrorist incidents and for a vast majority of these associated with Muslims, the reports of sexually predatory behaviour of Muslim youth in targeting European females and similar domestic incidents have managed to paint a rather negative perception.
    The rising political outfits are not forgiving at all and are able to convey to the majority community the fear of a hidden agenda of a followup partition.
    Unfortunately the regressive religious leadership of Mullas further reinforce the fears of the majority.

    Muslim brothers and sisters would do well to disassociate from these agents of darkness and join hands with others is a spirit of cooperation and brotherhood.
    When India progresses all will benefit irrespective of religious affiliations .

  4. The Mulladum of India has a lot of sway in Muslim behavior. They want to be Muslim first, Arab second and Indian last. Are you going to blame Modi or RSS for this low educational level? Giving up claim on Ram Janmbhumi the Muslims loose very little but gain a lot of goodwill, Mullas don’t care.

  5. Always playing victim card will not help. Aggressive posture, privilege that I am minority, my religion first and I expect all others to follow me in the garb of protect me or else i may harm you. This attitude should change.

  6. I absolutely agree Fatima Khan. One cannot and must not make adjustments with systemic disorder. Religion aside, even within the Hindu social system, for ages our Shudra and other so called lower class were made to concede to the system and continue to be sidelined even today. No. No one in the world has any business discriminating against others and the affected parties cannot afford to adjust. Women worldwide “adjusted” to the atrocities of men and continue to struggle for their due space even today. True, Muslims won’t lose their religion by saying Jai Shree Ram. But is it equally true that Hindus won’t lose their religion by saying Allah-O-Akbar..! Think..!

  7. This article is exactly opposite of what I think. Living in India for a Hindu is very discriminatory. All the legitimate educational, living and jobs are taken away from Hindu Majority in try the name of religious reservations and unequal laws asking Hindi’s to give up all there rights for their Muslim brothers And yet discriminatory laws are created for Hindus and misused by Muslims.

  8. Then why did Muslims stayed in India, indian Muslims demanded for separate country for Muslims and got two countries, cleansed all Hindus and sikhs from their countries , declared them as Islamic countries, Then why did Muslims stayed in India and complaining, same arguments what all Muslims are complain now was made in 1947 ,and 96 percent of Indian Muslims voted for creation of Pakistan, congress promised special privileges for Muslims with special guarantees under constitution before 1947 partition but indian Muslims never want to live with Hindus, and got Pakistan violently, Hindus all over India has this question, why did Muslims stayed in India when they demanded and got Islamic Pakistan, why, is it due to Muslim ideology to turn India in to Islamic country Darul islam , do not tell me that Indian Muslims love India that was the reason they stayed in India ,in that case why Muslims partitioned INDIA. Indian Muslims never loved this country , for Muslims Islam comes first country comes later, just read what speeches Indian Muslims leaders gave during 1940s , the Leftist media white washed all Muslims sin but not Google, just search in Google, read even Ambedkar comments about Indian Muslims and stop fooling Hindus with the help of Leftist media owners like shekha Gupta.

  9. Govt will not solve the issues Indian Muslims face, however safety, security and justice expected in any civilized society.

  10. I totally agree. It was indeed much more fun to be a Muslim during the 1000 years of Muslim rule in the country, when Hindus, Buddhists, Jains and Sikhs were forced to convert to Islam, have their religious places systematically destroyed, pay Jaziya tax etc. It is still fun to be a Muslim in Kashmir, having participated in ethnic cleansing of Kashmiri Pandits, occupying their properties and jobs, receiving largesse from the Indian state while routinely throwing stones and killing Indian soldiers

  11. So Fatima ji says : Being a Muslim was never any fun in India until they were ruler themselves 🙂 . so Fatima ji, until a minuscule minority was ruling Indian and taxing Jajiya on non-muslim. I hope it was fun at that time. If one extrapolates this argument, Muslim never feel secure until they rule the country. Muslim were 9% of the population after partition in 1947 and today they are 15% of the population while the overall Indian population itself have more than tripled during this time.

  12. You are wrong in saying the Congress exploited Muslims for the vote. There are two realities you must face: (1) Muslim leaders offered the Muslim vote in exchange for promises of special treatment on the basis of religion and (2) Ordinary Muslims blindly – like bhakts – followed these Muslim leaders, both as interpreters of the Holy Book as well as their political masters. The responsibility for being victimized by Congress lies with you – your greed wanted special treatment in exchange of the vote. An educated person should be asking ordinary Muslims not to follow such leaders, and ordinary Muslims must be brought to realize that their leaders are in it for themselves.

  13. Even educated Muslim are unable to rise above religion and contribute positively to countries economic. Always looking for sympathy.

  14. Whether we like or not but we must introspect the root cause of all these issues encircling the community. Most important of all these lack of pragmatism, over emphasizing the religious beliefs and every other interest including national interests are viewed and weighed only on the religious prism, have stopped the progress of the community. Community must be first part of the country it is part of and look to see how it prospers. Some of us talk of freedom of choice of foods, etc. but not strangulation that prevents the freedom should exist inside.
    For all of us country interest must be the foremost than religion, if we want to see the community grows to the top.

  15. Fauzan Alavi , Naseruddin Shah and Arif Mohammed are being grateful , gratefulness according to psychologists is a useful trait for leading a happy life , of course , for themselves . Gratefulness and loyalty are great criterion for arguments , once you know who is on which side , the merits of the arguments need not be debated .That painful truth reveals itself to my wretched self in an unvarnished manner , sometimes many times in a day . I prefer to stay wretched , ungrateful and terribly lonely.

  16. Constantly claiming victim hood, but pursuing hostile and uncompromising agenda of religion first country next will not solve the problems.

  17. Muslims are the biggest perpetrators of violence worldwide but they will always play victim good even in the most liberal countries of the world. Compare the rights &dignity of minorities living under countries ruled by Muslims &Minorities living under countries ruled by hindus or christians.This should be the yardstick.

  18. Janaab Fauzan Alavi na samajh nahin hain. Like a wind sock, he bows to the breeze which is now at gale force. 2. The Sachar Committee predates the incumbent. The issues that trouble the community will take decades of education and economic empowerment to overcome. However, the callous, wanton disregard for their physical safety and emotional security and well being is recent and deeply troubling. It will lead to radicalisation and other consequences the security establishment needs to be mindful of. It is also eroding India’s moral standing abroad. One cannot quantify its economic costs and consequences. However, not doing good to anyone.

    • Let’s follow your sicular sick logic:
      Who prompted the radicalization and vicious hate ideology of Mohammed Ali Jinnah in the 1940s? Gandhiji, Nehruji and the Congress party? Hindus were solidly behind Congress and RSS was in the fringe. Yet Jinnah repeatedly ridiculed Gandhi and Nehru and called them Hindu leaders. Read Zakria’s books.

      No amount of pandering and submission will satisfy Islamic aggression.

      But no amount of logic and truth will cure sicular mindset.

      • If Muslims insist on their identity, they cannot blame Hindus for insisting on their identity. You cannot avoid clash of identities because majority of the followers of any religious group is senseless zealots. If Muslims are wise, they should play down their identity that would have calmed down the Hindus. But alas, Muslims want to flaunt their 1400 year old practices. They are responsible for their plight.

    • “It is also eroding India’s moral standing abroad. ” 😀😀😂 A horrendous report today on China’s detention camps. Want me to share the link?

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