Muhammad Ali Jinnah
Muhammad Ali Jinnah | Graphic by Arindam Mukherjee | ThePrint
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Sahil was killed on Delhi streets because the mob thought he was Muslim. When a Muslim hears this, the first reaction isn’t a “why” but silence. When they read about Tabrez Ansari and Pehlu Khan’s murder, there is no outrage that spills onto the streets demanding justice and freedom. Why are Muslims in India so passive? Perhaps, if you were to scratch the surface, you will see the festering wounds of India that have refused to heal in 72 years. It all goes back to Muhammad Ali Jinnah.

Like Pehlu Khan, Tabrez Ansari also died of a cardiac arrest. Murder charges against 11 accused who beat Ansari for seven hours have been dropped by the Jharkhand Police. The statue of justice not only has her eyes covered, but her mouth taped and her ears plugged too.

None of us is surprised that a murder case didn’t invite charges of murder. News of mob lynching itself doesn’t shock us anymore. Even dilution of the rule of law doesn’t. But humiliating the dead by denying how the victim has died, with documented proof in the form of viral videos that anyone could see, is a new normal.

Tabrez Ansari suffered a subarachnoid haemorrhage (bleeding in the space between the brain and the tissue covering the brain) and clotting of blood in the lower layer of the skull. Human bone is four times stronger than concrete. The sheer brute force needed to fracture the skull is about the force that 500 kilograms would exert in standard gravity. Can you imagine the force of the hate within a person to hit someone like that?


Also read: Indian Muslims know what is going on in Kashmir only too well — their will is being broken


The Jinnah legacy

Yet, the passivity of Muslims is a Partition legacy. The Partition is still fresh in our memories. Trains full of corpses are still running through our minds, reminding us that we were wronged by a community that wanted an exclusive “paak” (pure) land for themselves. If the bloodied history wasn’t enough, conversations at home, RSS shakhas in every other ‘mohalla’, fake forwards on WhatsApp and movies high on nationalism keep the trauma fresh and unhealthily thriving in our psyche.

Pakistan’s Quaid-e-Azam Jinnah impacts the lives of Indian Muslims today more deeply than any other pre-Independence leader ever has. Ideally, Muslims of India should have only been identified with someone like Maulana Abul Kalam Azad, a patriot, who served as India’s first education minister and under whose leadership IITs, School of Planning and Architecture, and the University Grants Commission were set up. But instead of Maulana Azad, it is Jinnah that Indian Muslims find themselves getting associated with, today more than ever. And all Indian Muslims got from this forced association is the image of ‘traitors’ who ‘always put religion above nation’. It’s another thing that Jinnah was a pork-eating, wine-drinking namesake Muslim who gave two hoots about Islam.

The Jinnah legacy has come full circle in the 21st century in India where religion is indeed put before the nation. You are first judged for your religion and once it is established which community you belong to, your patriotism is assumed accordingly. You are asked to go to Pakistan because some Muslims in pre-Independence India chose the other side. Of course, just like in Jinnah’s case, here too facts don’t matter or become common knowledge – out of the total 94 million Muslims in British India, 86 per cent did not have the right to vote.


Also read: Their silence is not helping Indian Muslims – they must speak up and be heard


Silencing into shame

Indian Muslims have indeed turned passive. How else do you survive in a land where the popular content is all about hating on the Mughals, synonymous with Muslims, and the valour of those fighting ‘barbaric Muslim invaders’ who ‘looted, plundered and destroyed’ the Hindu-Indic culture of India? It’s almost as if the Muslim is being silenced into shame. And those victimising Muslims are the real heroes of modern India, not rifleman Aurangzeb, who, while serving in Kashmir, laid down his life for the nation and whose two brothers joined the Indian Army soon after. This Aurangzeb cannot hope to be a hero in the eyes of nationalist Hindus while the other Aurangzeb, the one who ‘destroyed the Kashi Vishwanath temple’, is the perpetual villain to be remembered every day. At some point, a Tabrez Ansari will be identified and made to pay for the excesses of the cruel Mughal king.

Survival of the fittest doesn’t work for Muslims in India anymore. You survive only as long as you go unnoticed. Tabrez was beaten up for allegedly stealing a bike, something that wasn’t even found around him when he was caught. It was just something that the mob communicated among itself and decided to believe. Tabrez was identified. Just like Junaid was, while travelling in a train wearing a skull cap. Gauraksha (cow protection) is no longer the smokescreen. Asking a “Tabrez Ansari” to chant ‘Jai Shri Ram’ is the real caveat.


Also read: Tabrez Ansari’s wife demands CBI probe, alleges police protecting accused in lynching case


India’s trouble

The whataboutery of why lynching of Hindu victims is not reported as extensively as those of Muslim victims does nothing other than drive home a simple fact: religion remains the only sticking point in identifying which hate crime is acceptable and which isn’t. But when was the last time, in India, that you saw a non-Muslim being asked to say ‘Allahu Akbar’ while being beaten to death? And when was the last time you saw Muslims garlanding people accused, and convicted, of lynching? If you can’t see this difference, you are part of the mob.

The last time we saw incidents of barbaric hate crimes on social media and elsewhere were when the ISIS used to release videos of beheadings or photos of mass killings or of places being attacked. The attackers filmed themselves and chanted that only their God was great. If the cases of mob lynching and hate crimes in India are only comparable with the crimes committed by the ISIS then that alone explains how big a trouble the country is in.

India needs to heal. Band-aids won’t work to heal deep wounds. Compensation to victims isn’t the answer to the problem of mob lynching. Our past is coming to haunt us, and if we don’t address the psychological wounds of the hate from our past, our future will also be haunted by the ghosts of the many Tabrez Ansaris, Pehlu Khans and Subodh Kumars.

The author is a political observer and writer. Views are personal.

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38 Comments Share Your Views

38 COMMENTS

  1. How exactly are any Hindus supposed to trust Muslims when the Muslims believe in Ghazwa e Hind? (The Muslim conquest and conversion of India, ie, the annihilation of Hinduism).
    Are Hindus supposed to forget Partition?
    Are Hindus supposed to forget Aurangzeb?
    It is the Muslims who need to abandon their belief in Islamic Supremacism.
    And if Muslims believe that India is so horrible then they can go to the countries they created – Pakistan and Bangladesh.

  2. Imagine there is a serial killer on the streets killing people wearing a doctors coat .. everyone in the community is aware of it … now one day you are walking alone on a Lonely street and you see a person wearing a doctors coat walking towards you … however respectful the white coat used to be at this point you will be scared and given a chance attack that person. This is what is happening to the Muslims too … 95% of the violences and war happening in this world has Muslim religion as a party … this has serious perception impact on people from other community and converts into islamophobia … when a Hindu lynches a Muslim though there are supporters to it but the general leaders condemn it and ask a stoppage for the same but when a terrorist attack by a Muslim group happens in the name of Allah, we normally don’t see a very vocal condemnation from the leaders of the Muslim community … so the indian Muslims are silent both when a Hindu gets killed or when a Muslim gets killed because they know somewhere that the fault lies in the religious followings and fabric … in fact this silence frustrates the world in general …

  3. In which country do you find a majority community driven out from their own land in the name of Jihad and same muslim community & seculars keep watching ? Infact, Hindus have suffered more after India was made a secular country. So stop this crying about muslim victimhood.

  4. It appears that Zainab has failed to understand the central issue. The fact is Muslim invaders killed millions of Hindus & destroyed Hundreds of religious shrines, while present day Muslims can not be blamed for acts of Muslims of past they need to acknowledge it.

    issues of Pakistan is another issue that Indian Muslims need to understand. After creation of Pakistan, Hindus were virtually wiped out from Pakistan. Hindus who used to be from existing from eastern borders of Iran, now exists only from eastern borders of West Punjab., while Muslims who were 9% at the time of partition are more than 15% in India.

    So it is time for Muslim community to acknowledge wrongs done to non-Muslims and as gesture of good will gift Hindus Babri Mosque & Gyanwapi Mosque. this gesture will go a longway toward healing communal divide.

    • The day this hate against muslims will stop when they acknowledge that their forefathers were Hindus and stop braggimg about Moghuls and other invaders as heroes who ruked upon Hindus.

    • Millions of Hindus?? Naah billions of hindus were killed by these tyrant Islamic forces. Hundreds of thousands of temples were demolished by them…

  5. Crux of the article :
    The article wants to implant grudge among muslim community for their community leader Jinnah ( being an illusive muslim) who underwent a conspiracy with hindu leaders to humiliate and suffer remaining muslims in india but intended to portray country as a hardline secular.

  6. The article sounds somewhat ‘mystic’, or may be I did not understand the stark meaning of it. However, there are two pieces of informations that I would like to clarify, if not rectify:
    I pesonally think thak that Maulana A.K. Azad was a better, wiser leades for the Muslims of India than Jinnah. But if if you have gone throught the book /manascript that Maulana Azad had left to be published after his death(why?) throws pure daylight over the issue of the partition of India;. You will also be able to feel the deep pain that he felt while having been elbow -pushed out of the presidency of Congress by a group of people, held in high esteem by the ruling elits of India today. Out of the above mentioned ‘group’, one was the son of his beloved friend, and the other is a ultra rich ‘Sardar’, while venerable Gandhiji, to his painful feeling of surprise, remaned mysteriosly silent. Had Maulana Azad not been pushed out of the presidency of INC it would not be that easy to divide India!
    But unfortunately, the the most powerful people in India at that turning point of history, including the British government, saw a better future for themselves in a divided India. And Maulana Azad was seen as a ‘bone in the kebab’, to quote an Indian proverb. India got divided with all the blames put on the thin shoulders of Jinnah( and the Muslims), which he did not survive long to carry. To be frank, the Indian Muslims were politically trapped like foolish wild animals, or you can say, tricked out of India to a land whick were envisaged to be Holy(Pak), but eventualy, in my observasion, by the tail end of 2019, has turned into, what I see, something like the Subcontinental ‘West Bank’ and ‘Gaza Strip'(see the map to realize). Strangled!
    The second issue is about ISIS. It was merely a creation of the enemies of Islam, in collaboration of those who are ‘within’ with those who are ‘without’. It was simply a ‘Hollywood Gang’ coming out of an Orientalist script, and nothing else! Islam has no relationship with it whatsoever. The history of Islam is full of ‘nifak’ ( inhouse treachery). What else is necessary to cite as evedence while three of the four ‘Rightously Guided’ were assasinated by “Muslims”! Maulana A.K.Azad knew it better!

  7. What is happening to some individuals of the minorities is undoubtedly wrong. A climate of fear has been created to silence those who want to speak out . Ours is a country with deep wounds which have not healed . And unfortunately that is going to remain so for a long time to come. Having said all this , the last thing one wants is ‘pop’ psychology of the above kind to explain the event s that are happening. One hopes , fervently, that better values of humanity and compassion prevail over religiousity and nationalism .

  8. Didn’t muslims create hue and cry when afzal guru was hanged? Has the author seen shab ki raat parade on delhi streets? Muslims are not silent. They bide their time till they are in majority. Go to any university in kashmir or aligarh and see how non Muslims are treated. Even in jamia hamdard in delhi. This is a stupid piece of journalism

    • absolutely rights.. the majority of muslims even in minority often act violently abusing in their dominated area and they are just waiting for their numbers to swell hence their opposition to kick out illegal uslims immigrants … its time to call spade a spade …

    • Didn’t hindus vote for terrorist and sent her to Parliament? Don’t the Hindus love the butcher of Gujarat? Have you seen the streets on the day of Holi, Kanwar yatras, Diwali, Dusshera, Gandpati visarjan, Durga visarjan etc, they not just pollute the atmosphere but also terrorize the common folk. Hindus are perennially in victimhood while lynching the minorities, raping and massacring them.

  9. This article is perhaps the worst article to explain mob lynchings on Muslims that I have ever read. It shows the decrepit, poisonous mind-set of this Indian Muslim uneasy to recognize the bigotry that is overwhelming India. To escape that difficult question, she does what so many have done before her, is blame Pakistan. Pakistan has nothing to do with what is happening to minorities in India. Pakistan was never a part of India – wake up and get your facts straight

    • moron pakistan dint exist before 1947 …. the MODA EK BAL n porki eating n wine drinking sis lover JINNAH whose wife left him for another man and his own daughter married a Kafird infidel n left his religion to settle in INDIA.. is testimony of the bigotry of mullas n their idiotic qaum ….

    • Pakistan has everything to do with what is happening to minorities in India. Pakistan set a standard of treating helpless minorities, by killing ,expelling & converting them and at the same time claiming to speak for Indian Muslims. So Indian Muslims get linked to Pakistan by non-Muslims.

  10. In 1947, Ambedkar proposed the best idea ever to deal with Muslims: Since Jinnah wanted a separate nation for Muslims, Ambedkar suggested that all Hindus from (to-be-formed) Pakistan move over to India, and all Muslims from India move over to Pakistan. He argued that a complete exchange of populations would be beneficial to both countries. As usual, the half-brained Gandhi and Nehru rejected the wise proposal of Ambedkar.

  11. Muslims brought this upon themselves. They ghettoise themselves. When given space in Hindu communities, they start killing cows wantonly to hurt Hindus. They bring more Muslims into the street, slowly and surely making the street a Muslim one. They don’t want to be part of the Indian community. They want to be separate. They hate Hindus. They trouble Hindus. They marry Hindu girls and forcefully convert them to Islam. What is the incentive for a neutral Hindu to be loving towards a Muslim, who brings nothing but pain and despair to his fellow Hindu citizen?

  12. The author is wrong when he says “because some muslims had chosen to support Pakistan”…
    An super overrwhelming majority of Indian muslims, 85% of them, had voted for Jinnah’s communal demand of Pakistan, over Nehru-Gandhi-Maulana secular congres in 1945-46 provincial elections, faught on the demand of creating Pakistan.

  13. Indian Muslims have invited this hatred and suspicion themselves. In 1950s I as a young schoolboy watched them cheering for Pakistan against India in sports. Elders asked their children not to go into their ward. Then as I grew up I was surprised at their silence on Kashmir. Wonder why 18 crores Indian Muslims never speak that Kashmir belongs to India. Also, why don’t they take pride in Indian heritage just as Muslims of Indonesia do. Why do they always relate themselves to the Moghuls who invaded, looted, ruled and converted their ancestors.

  14. This is really a shame. We should not treat Muslims like this. But if we are rational and clinical then you have to accept the fact that the Muslim community should also take some onus. They don’t want to modernize and they keep thinking that their way is the only way. If someone tells you that a car has hit a crowded market and killed people what will be your guess on the religion of the driver? Yes it is a shame that we treat our Muslims brothers with suspicion but they should also accept the fact that there is some problem on their side too

  15. Why drag Jinnah now? Somehow to me the author looks to be having a communal mindset.That muslims have the first onus to take up the case of lynching of Tabrez Ansari ,Pehlu Khan etc by itself is a communal thought.Both of them are Indians first and muslims next.So their cause have to be taken up by another Indian muslim or Hindu or Sikh…. So the author making it responsibility of other muslims to look after him is a typical communal and pre-partition mindset.It is precisely such ppl create the backlash for hindutva resurgence.

  16. THE PRINT editors should absolutely bar such “intellectualish” titles for articles. The columnist obviously knows nothing about Indian Muslims. Not most, but perhaps ALL of them wouldn’t even have heard of Jinnah’s name. These poor people are being harassed from all sides, they should at least not be used as a football in drawing rooms.

  17. What about 4 lakh hindus who were driven out of Kasmir, when the loud speakers were blaring “Kashmir mein agar rehna hai to allah hu akbar kehna hoge”.
    Was Jhina responsible for that as well?

    • And what about the lakhs of Muslims who were slaughtered by fanatic Hindu mobs chanting “Jai Shree Ram” in Jammu at the time of partition in 1947. See brother, you did this and I did that will not solve any problem. India needs to treat its Muslims just like other citizens of the country. Efforts to demonise (Media) and disenfranchise (NRC) them will only aggravate the existing problem.

      • What about lakhs of people killed by pakistani islamists in East Pakistan in 1947 and lakhsof people killed in West pakistani by the same set of islamists.. Forget that what did your favorite pakis do in 1971 preceding Bangladesh liberation. How many people killed ..

      • lol those scum bags deserved it for killing raping n looting sikhs n hindus etc …such mentalities n ideologies need to be eliminated .. peacefully if possible .. physically if needed

      • We will treat them in the manner they treat other non-muslims. And for jammu 1947, it was in response to
        killings of Hindus/Sikhs in Sialkot in 1947.

  18. People commenting on why muslims are silent should also read what one of the Owaisi brothers said recently, not long ago., wanted to remove police for 15 minutes so that his group can cleanse the entire Hindu community. Such was a hatred he tried to create and his hatred is not new. Hyderabad as a city has gone through enough of such cleansing activity right from Razakar days to 1960s, 70s, and early part of 80s under erstwhile congress governments, until TDP came to power for the first to control the so called Hindu-Muslim riots. Moreover, those days, the riots happen only in Muslim dominated locality killing some innocent and poor Hindus and never under Hindu dominated area where all muslims were safe. It is also something like how the cleansing has happened in Kashmir Valley where pandits were driven out of their home. Before people commenting that it only a new phenomenon and ignore the is nothing but acting naive. One should accept the fact that any type of killing creating animosity among people, whether in the name of religion, caste, status or in any form of enemity should be condemned and guilty are punished.

  19. Is this article a joke or what? Really, Instead of questioning the successive governments for the state of the Muslims today and the constant denial of justice to them, the author is pinning the blame on Jinnah. Most of the Indian Muslims today would not even be knowing who Jinnah is. This is more ridiculous than some of the statements being made by the BJP ministers today. The author would do more justice to the Muslims by highlighting the pathetic conditions and constant fear they are living in, in these days and the remedial measures the government and the judiciary can take. But yeah, the easier way is, “blame it on Jinnah”.

  20. I find bringing Jinnah into the conversation too a form of whataboutery. What happened in 1947 is no longer relevant to what is happening in 2019. It is not that communal riots did not take place in the decades after independence. Or that subtle forms of communalism did not exist. But what is now taking place is a form of mental sickness that did not exist till quite recently. A new found confidence, brazenness, immunity, impunity. Why the Muslim community is so passive, the columnist would have a better sense than I do. Perhaps they are overawed by the forces arrayed against them. Or the pressures of making both ends meet. However, we should not lull ourselves into believing the other cheek will obediently be turned after each outrage. I tremble sometimes to think where this is leading.

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