As An Indian Muslim, The First Thing I’m Asked By Trolls Is To Go To Pakistan

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I am tired of what is happening within India. I am amazed at how everyone is fooling each other. The cases of increasing violence, rapist babas, lynchings and other atrocities towards minorities are making me weaker every day.

I see a few of my friends no longer care about such incidents. I hated them initially. How could they be so ignorant about their own country? I reviled them for their ignorance but now I realise that at least they are happy. They are happy with their own lives, where they don’t have to face such instances of violence.

We are a few more deaths nearer to becoming where dissent or voicing your opinion can result in the loss of life. Murders and lynchings are becoming the new ‘normal’ in this country. The kind of trolling and justifications we had to witness online after Gauri Lankesh’s murder was shameful.

I have been writing for a few media houses. One NDTV article I wrote for Rohith Vemula got me trolled and I was told to go to Pakistan. If you are a Muslim in India, the first thing the trolls ask you is to go to Pakistan. Because they think we are not patriotic or that we belong to this country at all. Our existence or image is limited to beef, triple talaq and terrorist attacks. And if you can survive such taunts, then the trolls resort to rape threats. This is what it feels like to be an Indian Muslim these days.

Picture used for representative purposes only.

I remember when I was in college, I got a threatening message on Facebook. The person bullied me, saying that I should not have migrated to that city. I was a Muslim and therefore the only place I should go to is Pakistan. The message was dripping with hatred and he even blamed me for love jihad. I was just 19, and got depressed reading those messages. I never came to know who that person was.

I wanted to tell him that I would not go to Pakistan. That is not my country. I was born here and I will probably die here. I am tired of proving my patriotism. And I have realised that it makes no difference to them. But you know what? I will continue to be who I am. And I will no longer be affected by your opinions on what I eat, whom I support and which country I should go to.

The online threats coming from trolls are not just limited to other religions. It comes from my own community as well. I wrote an article on Youth Ki Awaaz regarding sex-related myths that I grew up with. I got trolled by my own community for writing such things. They accused me of bringing shame to my community. Did I care? No. However, I was disturbed for a few days, wondering if I was wrong to write on such a topic. That’s what threats from trolls do – it disturbs you so much that you start questioning your own self.

There was a time where I did not pay any attention to any of this. A course in journalism opened me up to a lot of thoughts I was previously unschooled in. Initially, I felt good that my voice mattered and may be somewhere, I could make a change. However, my opinions are different now.

I want to time travel to the days when all that mattered was who got evicted from shows like Big Boss, Splitsvilla and Roadies. I do not want to know why Rohith Vemula did not get justice or why Mohammad Akhlaq and Junaid Khan were killed. Why are my rights to privacy curtailed? What happened to Najeeb? Why did I have to pay extra to get my own money from the bank? Why are the voices of the LGBTQ community still ignored? Why did a senior journalist get shot for speaking the truth?

I am done. I am tired of my vulnerabilities. I need love. Either I want to shut my eyes to all these things or want India to be what it used to be.


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