This post has been self-published on Youth Ki Awaaz by Youth Ki Awaaz. Just like them, anyone can publish on Youth Ki Awaaz.

Anti-Muslim Prejudices: What This Series Is All About [Part 1]

More from Youth Ki Awaaz

By Karmanye Thadani:

In the last few months, several incidents that have taken place deserve our attention. The shooting down of the chief of the Ranvir Sena, a Bihar-based upper caste Hindu terrorist group, that has killed many innocent Dalits in the name of fighting Naxalism (the Laxmanpur-Bathe massacre in 1997 is significant in this connection, for which death sentences have been awarded to the perpetrators), was indeed a major development that ought to have reminded our nation that terrorism or even terrorism perpetuated in the name of religion is certainly not a Muslim monopoly (though terrorist attacks by Muslims hit the nerve centres like Delhi and Mumbai and hence get much more media attention), just as the attack on a former Indian Army officer in London by Khalistani terrorists, besides other such fortunately unsuccessful plots by Khalistani terrorists in India itself, should have.

Another recent development that deserves attention in this context are the decrees issued by a Khap Panchayat declaring that women ought not to use cellular phones or ride bicycles or engage in love marriages, besides several honour killings of couples engaging in inter-caste or intra-gotra marriages that have been carried out, showing that the Taliban is not the only entity on this planet with such a regressive agenda, and Joseph Kony’s Lord’s Resistance Army, an ultra-right wing Christian armed group in Uganda or the bill mandating the death penalty for homosexuals in that country motivated by religious reasons, too should have reminded us of the same. Coming back to India, a Dalit being killed for trying to access a public hand pump and a Dalit MP being denied entry in a temple, both being fairly recent developments, should remind us, Hindus, that we need to introspect before boasting about being liberal and progressive.

Not too long ago, a Muslim who happens to be the son of an Indian Army officer who served in the 1971 war and has won several medals, and who served in the Army himself, was allegedly subjected to communal slurs by someone from the staff of an airline in an airport over a not-so-serious issue, and this has brought the question of the prevalent communal divide in our country at the forefront yet again, just as the issue of the Allahabadi Mosque/Pandav remains issue, or even more recently, the Hindu-Muslim violence in parts of Uttar Pradesh has, though it is certainly true that India has come a long way since the early 1990s, and there are and have always been many Hindus and Muslims who are not only not prejudiced against any religious group but are ever-ready to fight tooth and nail to eliminate such prejudices (I belong to this very category, and am only a small part of this huge section of our society, though some Hindus of this variety also sometimes subconsciously exhibit prejudice in their statements, such as “He is a Muslim but he is a nice person”, the ‘but’ implying some inherent contradiction between the two attributes, which one needs to take cognizance of and refrain from doing!), and there are even those who do have some prejudices on both sides but they do not harbour extreme hatred or support violence.

Jawaharlal Nehru had once stated that while communalism may appear to be a giant, it has feet of clay and the nation can be exorcised (yes, ‘exorcised’ was the word he used and it’s quite an apt one, for communalism is indeed a demon) of it if the lies and half-truths on which it rests are busted. Communalism in India exists among the Hindus, Muslims, Sikhs and Christians in its own ways, but this particular article shall focus on the prejudices we, Indian non-Muslims, particularly Hindus, have about Muslims, particularly Indian Muslims. I would request you to read this article with an open mind, and not with any sense of belligerence, and I am quite confident that if you do so, you will have a lot to agree with me on.

A major reason for a boost in such prejudices is the approach of the Western media, which has indeed exhibited an anti-Muslim bias in reporting (I have written a Facebook note on this and elaborated on it in the comments, which can be accessed here, though it must be noted that there are impartial non-Muslim media personnel in the West too, like Pierre Tristam, as also Muslims like Farid Zakaria) and another is the fact that many progressive and peace-loving Muslims would simply want to evade the fact that these wrongdoings have a basis in their religion, even though a distorted version of the same, or they would like to evade the truth by seeking solace in baseless conspiracy theories or instead of giving a clear and coherent response to eliminate a prejudice against their own community, they would start bashing others, leading to mudslinging matches and still others would give unsatisfactory answers, but very few would actually give logical responses. I am not a Muslim but owing to my commitment to impartiality, I have, like many other non-Muslims in India and elsewhere, made an effort in this direction.

No, I am not silent about the wrongdoings of Muslims and I am equally outspoken against them, and I do plan to write about anti-Hindu prejudices too. I do not sympathize with anyone who kills innocent civilians and I advocate the death penalty for such people. I support a uniform civil code and I have written an article on this very portal about the same (that can be accessed here), and in that very article, besides others, I have also dealt with the pain of the Kashmiri Hindus; so, I should not be mistaken for being a pseudo-secularist.

However, not being biased in favour of Muslims doesn’t mean being biased against them, and the lies and half-truths that generate an unwanted sense of resentment, even if not hatred, for a particular class of people constituting a sizable fraction of the population of our country and the world at large, need to be busted. In this series, I have tried to cover all the major talking points and have made references to other material, online and in books, that can be accessed in support of my arguments, and though some of the prejudices enumerated are prevalent universally, this series focuses on them from the standpoint of Hindus in India. References shall also be frequently made to the saffron brigade, and though even that is actually not a defined homogeneous entity and has several relatively moderate elements, the references to it in this series are with respect to its more extreme elements.

[box bg=”#fdf78c” color=”#000″]About the author: The author is a freelance writer based in New Delhi. He has co-authored two short books, namely ‘Onslaughts on Free Speech in India by Means of Unwarranted Film Bans’ and ‘Women and Sport in India and the World’. To read his other posts, click here.[/box]

You must be to comment.
  1. Charumati Haran

    An excellent initiative and it is very heartening to see it coming from a Hindu! It is true that there is a certain prejudice against Muslims and a tendency to attribute to them every terrorist activity. Knowledge about extremist elements in other religions or communities do not get so much limelight which creates a false impression in the average persona’s mind. This is something that is really needed for bigoted elements in our society to realize that people are just people and no particular religion is predisposed to violence. A change in thinking is visible in the younger generations, but there is always the danger that they inherit the prejudices of their elders without sufficient knowledge. I look forward to the remaining parts of the series 🙂

  2. Karmanye

    Thank you so much.

More from Youth Ki Awaaz

Similar Posts

By Archana Mishra

By Prakash Chand

By Fazlu Raheman

    If you do not receive an email within the next 5 mins, please check your spam box or email us at actnow@youthkiawaaz.com

      If you do not receive an email within the next 5 mins, please check your spam box or email us at actnow@youthkiawaaz.com

        If you do not receive an email within the next 5 mins, please check your spam box or email us at actnow@youthkiawaaz.com

        Wondering what to write about?

        Here are some topics to get you started

        Share your details to download the report.









        We promise not to spam or send irrelevant information.

        Share your details to download the report.









        We promise not to spam or send irrelevant information.

        An ambassador and trained facilitator under Eco Femme (a social enterprise working towards menstrual health in south India), Sanjina is also an active member of the MHM Collective- India and Menstrual Health Alliance- India. She has conducted Menstrual Health sessions in multiple government schools adopted by Rotary District 3240 as part of their WinS project in rural Bengal. She has also delivered training of trainers on SRHR, gender, sexuality and Menstruation for Tomorrow’s Foundation, Vikramshila Education Resource Society, Nirdhan trust and Micro Finance, Tollygunj Women In Need, Paint It Red in Kolkata.

        Now as an MH Fellow with YKA, she’s expanding her impressive scope of work further by launching a campaign to facilitate the process of ensuring better menstrual health and SRH services for women residing in correctional homes in West Bengal. The campaign will entail an independent study to take stalk of the present conditions of MHM in correctional homes across the state and use its findings to build public support and political will to take the necessary action.

        Saurabh has been associated with YKA as a user and has consistently been writing on the issue MHM and its intersectionality with other issues in the society. Now as an MHM Fellow with YKA, he’s launched the Right to Period campaign, which aims to ensure proper execution of MHM guidelines in Delhi’s schools.

        The long-term aim of the campaign is to develop an open culture where menstruation is not treated as a taboo. The campaign also seeks to hold the schools accountable for their responsibilities as an important component in the implementation of MHM policies by making adequate sanitation infrastructure and knowledge of MHM available in school premises.

        Read more about his campaign.

        Harshita is a psychologist and works to support people with mental health issues, particularly adolescents who are survivors of violence. Associated with the Azadi Foundation in UP, Harshita became an MHM Fellow with YKA, with the aim of promoting better menstrual health.

        Her campaign #MeriMarzi aims to promote menstrual health and wellness, hygiene and facilities for female sex workers in UP. She says, “Knowledge about natural body processes is a very basic human right. And for individuals whose occupation is providing sexual services, it becomes even more important.”

        Meri Marzi aims to ensure sensitised, non-discriminatory health workers for the needs of female sex workers in the Suraksha Clinics under the UPSACS (Uttar Pradesh State AIDS Control Society) program by creating more dialogues and garnering public support for the cause of sex workers’ menstrual rights. The campaign will also ensure interventions with sex workers to clear misconceptions around overall hygiene management to ensure that results flow both ways.

        Read more about her campaign.

        MH Fellow Sabna comes with significant experience working with a range of development issues. A co-founder of Project Sakhi Saheli, which aims to combat period poverty and break menstrual taboos, Sabna has, in the past, worked on the issue of menstruation in urban slums of Delhi with women and adolescent girls. She and her team also released MenstraBook, with menstrastories and organised Menstra Tlk in the Delhi School of Social Work to create more conversations on menstruation.

        With YKA MHM Fellow Vineet, Sabna launched Menstratalk, a campaign that aims to put an end to period poverty and smash menstrual taboos in society. As a start, the campaign aims to begin conversations on menstrual health with five hundred adolescents and youth in Delhi through offline platforms, and through this community mobilise support to create Period Friendly Institutions out of educational institutes in the city.

        Read more about her campaign. 

        A student from Delhi School of Social work, Vineet is a part of Project Sakhi Saheli, an initiative by the students of Delhi school of Social Work to create awareness on Menstrual Health and combat Period Poverty. Along with MHM Action Fellow Sabna, Vineet launched Menstratalk, a campaign that aims to put an end to period poverty and smash menstrual taboos in society.

        As a start, the campaign aims to begin conversations on menstrual health with five hundred adolescents and youth in Delhi through offline platforms, and through this community mobilise support to create Period Friendly Institutions out of educational institutes in the city.

        Find out more about the campaign here.

        A native of Bhagalpur district – Bihar, Shalini Jha believes in equal rights for all genders and wants to work for a gender-equal and just society. In the past she’s had a year-long association as a community leader with Haiyya: Organise for Action’s Health Over Stigma campaign. She’s pursuing a Master’s in Literature with Ambedkar University, Delhi and as an MHM Fellow with YKA, recently launched ‘Project अल्हड़ (Alharh)’.

        She says, “Bihar is ranked the lowest in India’s SDG Index 2019 for India. Hygienic and comfortable menstruation is a basic human right and sustainable development cannot be ensured if menstruators are deprived of their basic rights.” Project अल्हड़ (Alharh) aims to create a robust sensitised community in Bhagalpur to collectively spread awareness, break the taboo, debunk myths and initiate fearless conversations around menstruation. The campaign aims to reach at least 6000 adolescent girls from government and private schools in Baghalpur district in 2020.

        Read more about the campaign here.

        A psychologist and co-founder of a mental health NGO called Customize Cognition, Ritika forayed into the space of menstrual health and hygiene, sexual and reproductive healthcare and rights and gender equality as an MHM Fellow with YKA. She says, “The experience of working on MHM/SRHR and gender equality has been an enriching and eye-opening experience. I have learned what’s beneath the surface of the issue, be it awareness, lack of resources or disregard for trans men, who also menstruate.”

        The Transmen-ses campaign aims to tackle the issue of silence and disregard for trans men’s menstruation needs, by mobilising gender sensitive health professionals and gender neutral restrooms in Lucknow.

        Read more about the campaign here.

        A Computer Science engineer by education, Nitisha started her career in the corporate sector, before realising she wanted to work in the development and social justice space. Since then, she has worked with Teach For India and Care India and is from the founding batch of Indian School of Development Management (ISDM), a one of its kind organisation creating leaders for the development sector through its experiential learning post graduate program.

        As a Youth Ki Awaaz Menstrual Health Fellow, Nitisha has started Let’s Talk Period, a campaign to mobilise young people to switch to sustainable period products. She says, “80 lakh women in Delhi use non-biodegradable sanitary products, generate 3000 tonnes of menstrual waste, that takes 500-800 years to decompose; which in turn contributes to the health issues of all menstruators, increased burden of waste management on the city and harmful living environment for all citizens.

        Let’s Talk Period aims to change this by

        Find out more about her campaign here.

        Share your details to download the report.









        We promise not to spam or send irrelevant information.

        A former Assistant Secretary with the Ministry of Women and Child Development in West Bengal for three months, Lakshmi Bhavya has been championing the cause of menstrual hygiene in her district. By associating herself with the Lalana Campaign, a holistic menstrual hygiene awareness campaign which is conducted by the Anahat NGO, Lakshmi has been slowly breaking taboos when it comes to periods and menstrual hygiene.

        A Gender Rights Activist working with the tribal and marginalized communities in india, Srilekha is a PhD scholar working on understanding body and sexuality among tribal girls, to fill the gaps in research around indigenous women and their stories. Srilekha has worked extensively at the grassroots level with community based organisations, through several advocacy initiatives around Gender, Mental Health, Menstrual Hygiene and Sexual and Reproductive Health Rights (SRHR) for the indigenous in Jharkhand, over the last 6 years.

        Srilekha has also contributed to sustainable livelihood projects and legal aid programs for survivors of sex trafficking. She has been conducting research based programs on maternal health, mental health, gender based violence, sex and sexuality. Her interest lies in conducting workshops for young people on life skills, feminism, gender and sexuality, trauma, resilience and interpersonal relationships.

        A Guwahati-based college student pursuing her Masters in Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Bidisha started the #BleedwithDignity campaign on the technology platform Change.org, demanding that the Government of Assam install
        biodegradable sanitary pad vending machines in all government schools across the state. Her petition on Change.org has already gathered support from over 90000 people and continues to grow.

        Bidisha was selected in Change.org’s flagship program ‘She Creates Change’ having run successful online advocacy
        campaigns, which were widely recognised. Through the #BleedwithDignity campaign; she organised and celebrated World Menstrual Hygiene Day, 2019 in Guwahati, Assam by hosting a wall mural by collaborating with local organisations. The initiative was widely covered by national and local media, and the mural was later inaugurated by the event’s chief guest Commissioner of Guwahati Municipal Corporation (GMC) Debeswar Malakar, IAS.

        Sign up for the Youth Ki Awaaz Prime Ministerial Brief below