Something shocked and deeply saddened me today.
Scrolling through my Facebook timeline, I came across a post shared by a friend:
Few things that I want you to note about this are:
1. The name and image of the actual meme creator are boldly visible, with no filters, no fear, no shame.
2. The caption reads ‘agar Modi Ji ke saath hain to page like karein’; indicating this to be a post by someone from his political party with one goal: equate the love for your country with Modi (the two are not the same by the way)
3. The attack in this meme is on Shabana Azmi, the winner of awards such as the Padma Shri, the fourth highest civilian honour of the country. She is a Goodwill Ambassador of the United Nations Population Fund (UNPFA). In appreciation of Azmi’s life and works, the President of India gave her a nominated (unelected) membership of the Rajya Sabha, the upper house of parliament.
The reason why this deeply shocked and saddened me is that it was shared by someone highly educated and who has several Muslim friends in her network.
Not for one second, did she think before sharing this graphic, how it would affect the people on her list who will read this? If someone as legendary as Shabana Azmi has been reduced to just being a Muslim to be hated and discriminated against, where does someone like me and the rest of the 14.2% of India’s population stand?
It was also shocking because this woman’s sister has complained to me for hours on end how much she is frustrated with things in India, how awful even the corporate world is and how many times she has tried to get employment in other parts of the world, especially in UAE which ironically happens to be a Muslim country.
At first, I thought of responding with a simple comment saying, “the fact that you shared this post without any thought and the bravado in the content is evidence enough about the condition of Muslims in India.”
It kept me mentally disturbed for hours. Then finally, I just unfriended and unfollowed because once you get to know of this line of thought, there is little left in the relationship. However, it disturbed me enough to write an article about it.
The thing that Hindus are failing to understand is their privilege.
I saw a photograph of a protestor from a #BlackLivesMatter carrying this placard which is the best explanation of a privilege:
Note that the protestor is not black himself. Yet he is supporting the movement. He is the perfect epitome of using privilege in the right way, something in which many Hindus are failing.
Just because this attack on Muslims or Dalits does not affect you personally, does not mean it is not a problem.
That former friend of mine could share that ‘go to Pakistan’ meme because she belongs to the privileged class whose sharing such vitriol have no consequences. And they would like to go on ignoring atrocities committed on minorities as well.
Do I really need to prove that Muslims in India are unsafe, discriminated against and literally attacked and killed?
This friend’s sister had once asked me, “What are you really facing as a Muslim, I mean come on, your life is perfect, why do you say you are discriminated?” I gave her several examples of me being personally discriminated against, but as you can imagine, I received no empathy in return.
When Aamir Khan suggests that he and his wife are concerned about the safety of their Muslim kids in India, he gets trolled endlessly for being an ‘anti-national’. His remarks became a national controversy and were discussed and misinterpreted by media houses and government officials for days, despite his several clarifications.
But Akshay Kumar proudly gets a Canadian citizenship and constantly boasts of his patriotism, and yet no one questions him. Someone actually did question, and watch his ridiculous and vague response here:
Not going as far as the Akhlaq story, just this week, this happened:
How is this not an attack on Muslims? And if influential people like Shabana Azmi claim that Muslims are not in good condition, then they get ridiculed, and their loyalty to the nation is questioned.
Just two days ago, in a temple in Uttrakhand, a fearless Sikh police officer, Gagandeep Singh, saved a young Muslim boy from being lynched to death by an angry Hindu mob. While he was hailed as a hero for his bravery, he also was hated because the life he saved was that of a Muslim.
Look at the remarks of the BJP, MLA:
My cousins live in Uttarakhand, and they tend to loiter around with their friends along rivers, mountains and yes, temples. Apparently, that deserved to be met with a mob lynching. And this is not it. My article on YKA’s Facebook timeline attracted some facepalm comments such as this one-
So, they turned the whole story around and are saying that the Muslim guy was harassing a Hindu girl.
How daft do you have to be to believe in something like that? Because if that were the case, would Gagandeep Singh the policeman, shield the Muslim guy or arrest him? Read what Gagandeep Singh had to say, here.
Still, don’t think Muslims are being targetted? How about this news story below-
“In Ranchi, around 20 Muslim families were forced to flee their homes in Koderma district of Jharkhand on Friday night. A mob attacked their homes around Iftar (breaking of fast) in the evening and assaulted several people including women. The mob also ransacked the mosque and assaulted the Muslims who were offering Maghrib prayer there.”
When you are Muslim, and a woman, your oppression is doubled.
Not aware what happened with the journalist, Rana Ayyub lately?
Muslims are constantly targetted and harassed, and yet if they utter a single word, they are called anti-nationals and told to ‘go-to-Pakistan’ (whoever coined this idiotic and ridiculous phrase will have a special place in hell).
Despite this public harassment, the privileged class of the majority wants to keep their eyes tightly shut. This rhetoric has become so pervasive; I see Muslims constantly self-policing because of this fear. Like when in the case of Kathua rape protests, I saw several Muslim protestors not going for protests simply because they were aware of the backlash they would receive for standing for a Muslim victim. This is the intensity of fear and self-policing.
And this ain’t confined to just Muslims.
You’d think Dalits won’t meet the same fate as Muslims. But you are wrong. A YKA writer shared this post about the death of Mukesh, who was beaten to death by iron rods.
Look at the comments under this: Some Mr Kunal Singh Tomar, as blinded by systemic oppression as he could be, is more interested that the reporting of the news mentioned the glaring fact that the victim of abuse was a Dalit man. I tried to respond to make some sense.
He still didn’t get. Instead, look how he calls systemic oppression a bookish concept when we are literally commenting on a post of discernible reality.
So, if casteism is an issue, where the hell do we talk about it? Because in any and every scenario, the moment a victim of oppression mentions caste, this is their fate.
Apart from hating Muslims and Dalits, hating women is also another beloved timepass of the privileged Indian men.
On the Facebook page of Youth Ki Awaaz, another article of mine was shared about the biases faced by working women.
Obviously, an article like this was bound to draw attention, but this I did not expect.
His response attracted a whopping 87 replies!
It takes a special kind of hatred and enormous time and effort to respond to every single person proving that women are not worthy of decent employment. I bet this person didn’t even bother to read the article because it was about the biases faced by working women and not their overall representation in an industry. He is just comparing apples and oranges here.
And then there are people like this who do not know the difference between foeticide and abortion, but still has the gumption to pass comments on the issue with zero hesitancy:
Several women attempted to explain to this constant troll that there is a difference in killing the girl child on purpose in favour of the male child and abortion rights where a woman chooses to terminate a pregnancy based on her choice, regardless of the gender (usually way earlier than the gender is even identified). Nevertheless, he persisted.
What completely made me gave up was this comment on an article written by a fellow YKA writer:
If you still think
Muslims are safe,
Dalits are opportunists,
and Women are not oppressed, there is nothing I or anyone can say to educate you.
And the Cobra post sting operation is evidence that the Indian media, did exactly what Malcolm X warned the world about.