“Mauj-e-khoon sar se guzar hi kyun nah jaaye; aastaan-e yaar se uth jaayen kyaa”
(However much you spill our blood, we will not leave this land of our beloved) — Ghalib
When the rain is sent down to the barren earth, which is then stirred to life, its yields increase. Will the raindrops become a stranger to the crops? A prisoner freed by a lawyer, will the prisoner become a stranger to the lawyer? A teacher who gives lessons of wisdom to his unruly students, will the students call their teacher a stranger? Can a father be a stranger to his son? What will be your answer to these questions? I am confident that your answer will be negative.
“We aren’t strangers but real citizens. We aren’t a minority but the second-largest majority.”
Even after living here for hundreds of years and having contributed enormously to the country, far too often we are called strangers.
We did not invade this country nor did we enter through fraud or deceit. We entered from the Malabar Coast with the light of Islam and message of harmony and tolerance. We contributed immensely to the economy of this country. We worked towards establishing a society filled with justice and peace. We gave Kashmir its splendid shape, we gave Punjab its treasure of crops, we gave Delhi its style of conversation, we revived politics, we raised the slogan of “Inqilaab Zindabad”, Long Live the Revolution. We fought heroically against imperial rule to liberate the Golden Bird. We have watered the tree of liberty for several years. We built the magnificent Taj Mahal & Red Fort. This land we love so much that when we die we bury ourselves in it.
Aur jab bhi… (and whenever)
“Gulistan ko lahoo ki zaroorat pari
Sab se pehlay hi gardan hamari kati
Phir bhi kehtay hain mujh say yeh ahle-chaman
Yeh chaman hai hamara, tumhara nahi”
(Whenever the country needed sacrifice
We were the first to offer our lives
Yet, our fellow countrymen tell us
This is our country and not yours)
My dear fellow countrymen had we been strangers in this country, we wouldn’t have contributed to its culture, architecture, and economy. Nor participated in its war of freedom, exposing ourselves to persecution and humiliation at the hands of the British. Nor have seen headlines written from our blood. Had we been strangers in this country, there wouldn’t have been a Tipu Sultan nor freedom fighters like Ashfaqulla Khan, nor war heroes like Havaldar Abdul Hamid and Muhammad Hanifuddin. Nor would there have been education minister Maulana Abul Kalam Azad. Nor communications minister Rafi Ahmed Kidwai. Nor captain Azharuddin. Nor scientist APJ Abdul Kalam. Nor tennis star Sania Mirza. Nor musician AR Rahman. Nor artist Amir Khan.
We have been through many ups and downs, faced many tides and turns. Survived many riots. People plotted vicious strategies to remove us, aggressive cultural nationalism is forced on us, and discriminatory laws are instituted to keep our mouths shut. Our history has been substituted with a corrupt version. We have suffered too long in this nation.
Is this the prize of our sacrifices? Is this great honour of our blood? Did we orphan our children so that they be made to live as second-class citizen in this country? Did we take bullets on our chest only to be called strangers one day? Is this why we gave the slogan of liberty? Did we give our lives for this country so that innocent people would be lynched by cow vigilantes? Will you snatch our inheritance by calling us strangers?
No, we will not allow that happen. We are loyal to this land. We aren’t strangers but real citizens. We aren’t a minority but the second-largest majority.
Originally published at www.huffingtonpost.in.
(The writer is sales professional & blogger. blog: medium.com/@ajazsiddiqui