I Am An Atheist Yet People Always Judge Me On The Basis Of My Name

A few days back, I was walking down the street with one of my friends. Suddenly, a 9-year-old boy yelled at me, saying, “You are a Muslim which is why you are not allowed here”. The boy who said this happened to be the younger brother of the friend I was walking with. I was stunned.

I really find it difficult to react or even say a word in my defence when people say this kind of thing. There was a time when I was a devout Muslim and even used to visit the mosque every Friday to offer my prayers. But slowly, I started realising there is nothing called God, and dividing people, on the basis of religion, is a bogus idea introduced by those who never want to see people together and united. It is better to believe in humanity.

There was a time when I was a devout Muslim and even used to visit the mosque every Friday to offer my prayers. *Image for representational purposes.*

I started leaning towards the ideology of atheism. And for the past five years, I have been leading my life without believing in any imaginary entity like God. But, people often judge me on the basis of my name, which, needless to mention, still sounds like a Muslim.

My friend’s younger brother also fails to differentiate between my name and the ideology I believe in. I am pretty sure that he hardly has any clear idea of who is a Hindu and who is a Muslim, let alone having a clear perception of an atheist person. He is not the one to be blamed, for sure. He is just a kid and copying things he is witnessing and experiencing around himself. This is a small instance, of how the venomous propaganda, solely created by the communal elements, comes to create more and more differences, along the communal lines.

The poisonous environment around him might have encouraged him to be a communal person. This is a matter of serious concern. A 9-year-old boy is judging others on the basis of religion. This is one of the many reasons, as to why I would teach my next generation, not to be either a Hindu or a Muslim. Identifying oneself with the identity of a human being is a far better option.

But, this is not the first time I have been judged on the basis of my name. When I was in the 11th standard, my tutor accused me of supporting Pakistan in a cricket match held between India and Pakistan. His argument was that since I am a Muslim, I am supposed to lend my support to Pakistan. I told him that if you want to consider it from my personal viewpoint, then the answer is that India is my birthplace, and it is my utmost responsibility to support my nation under any circumstances.

In another incident, it so happened, that I was arguing with one of my Muslim friends over the practising of my atheism. He suddenly asked me to change my name since it “still carried a Muslim identity”. I smiled and replied that “My dear friend, as I was born to Muslim parents, it is natural that my name would carry a Muslim identity. I cannot do anything with this. It does not matter whether I have a Muslim name or something else. What matters most to me is that I don’t believe in any imaginary entity and believe in the concept of humanity, instead”.

This is how I am always judged on the basis of my name. Sometimes, I have been harassed. It really hurts when I see that people can never think beyond my name. At the end of the day, I am always “Masidur Rahaman” to them.

*The feature image is for representational purposes only*

Similar Posts

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