With the death of an innocent, humanity dies too.
These lines are from the 2010 movie ‘My Name is Khan’. There’s no need for me to repeat the whole plot of the film as most of us have watched it and showered our love. Islamophobia, yes, that’s what this article is going to be about. Most of the readers will stop reading this piece after going through the highlighted word ‘Islamophobia’, and that’s fine, because being a Muslim, I am used to it. I am used to being called a ‘terrorist’.
Islam—this particular religion has started to disgust many people around, especially in India. Infiltrators, terrorists, jihadis are some of the nicknames given to the people from this community. This kind of ‘love’ Muslims receive can’t be matched. They even get lynched out of love. Not bragging about the love and blessings poured on us, I would like to recall that before giving a particular community the tag of being ‘anti-nationals’, why not consider the parameters that identify how patriotic a person is? A nation-lover or a patriotic person should love their country. I know that we all are accustomed to this ideology. But what more?
A true patriot respects the Fundamental Rights of others as much as their own. Patriotism lies in the very fact that every living being inhabiting the land of a nation deserves to be protected. And that is what is happening in this country. Minorities are enormously respected and loved. They are being made conscious of their identity. An identity that may or may not be real. They are forcefully being given an unpleasant identity.
History is evident that people in power have always used the citizens of this country to achieve what they want. The anti-Sikh riots of 1984, the attack on Kashmiri Pandits in 1990, Gujarat riots in 2002, Muzaffarnagar riots in 2013, and now the Delhi violence in 2020. All the above-mentioned incidents have one thing in common, and that is communal hatred. Every time communities turn against each other, the issue of race supremacy comes forward. This finally takes a turn where a competition takes place to see who is more patriotic.
Coming back to the dialogue from ‘My Name Is Khan’, with which this piece of work began. This line makes me question our ethics that govern our behavior towards others. It’s saddening to see so much hatred in the hearts of people, that mass-murders and genocides are celebrated as an act of racial purity. It is true in every sense that with the death of one innocent human, the whole humanity dies. Imagine if every community turns against each other, who will survive? The world will turn into a graveyard and there will be bloodshed everywhere. Another bigger issue to be dealt with here is when a particular community faces atrocities, justification is given and that is:
People from their community did the same in the past. What about the terrorists from ISIS?
I agree. But there are good and bad people everywhere, and why do you have to become like them? Don’t you have your ethics? If they lose their patriotism by killing others you, are losing yours too. And believe me, no good human being worships ISIS, and that goes for Muslims too.
Besides, religion should always come after humanity. I would like to recall an incident that kind of gave me hope for the future. I recently visited a temple in Delhi. Wearing a hijab on my head, I was extremely conscious and hesitant about entering the temple. Feelings of fear and alienation kept making me reconsider my decision. Finally, I decided to accompany my friends.
What happened next was surprising. I went to every corner of the temple – the darshan room, the stairs, the garden, everywhere. And not one person looked at me with disgust. No one gave me a look, and not a single soul there made me feel like an outsider. Even the priest there was very welcoming. He welcomed me with a smile. I did not see a situation where I might have to say “I am a Muslim, and I am not a terrorist. I won’t harm you.”
That day I learned something. We all are the same. The parameters set by some vicious and wicked people to gain power are what divide us. Other than that, there is no way that communal hatred can arise.