It is a historic fact that Indian Muslims have given to India, more than they can afford. At every step, they have not only risen, but also gone out of their way to protect themselves, their loved ones, and even their country and its Constitution. But with the foundation ceremony of Ram Mandir at Ayodhya and the anniversary of Kashmir’s lockdown, there has been visible hurt, discontent and discomfort that can be seen in many people, especially Muslims. We all know the importance that Babri Masjid holds in the hearts and minds of people, but one always wonders, especially at this time, is it just about the Babri Masjid? Or does the hurt and loneliness travel far and wide?
Muslims in India have always, at every step, felt like an outsider, as someone who was unwanted. At every point of their lives, they had to prove their patriotism — whether it was during an India-Pakistan match or something as simple as taking non-vegetarian food to school. The privilege of asking questions from the authority or showing dissent was never something that Muslims have enjoyed. Even after having half, if not the full, the share in the freedom struggle against the British, Muslims hold little to no power in the government or decision-making authorities.
The very India that Muslims are ready to give their lives for, has orphaned them. The way the majority oppresses the minority in India, the demolition of the Babri Masjid symbolises that; how minorities have to always bow down their head and accept whatever is given to them by the majority, the Babri Masjid demolition symbolises that; how one is made to feel an orphaned at their very home, the Babri Masjid demolition reminds us of that. The Babri masjid demolition represents every injustice that Muslims have faced over the years, on the very soil that they have given their lives for. It is Babri Masjid, but “not” just the Babri Masjid.
It is the feeling that an eight-year-old had when he was asked whether he was happy because Pakistan had won the match; it is the feeling that a 12-year-old girl had when she was asked to not bring non-vegetarian food to school even though it wasn’t mentioned anywhere; it is the feeling that a 16-year-old had when he was forced to sing Gayatri mantra in school assembly (there is no problem with Gayatri mantra, I just feel schools in India need to me more inclusive of other faiths); it is the feeling that an 18-year-old boy has when he is told to go to Pakistan; it is the feeling that a 21-year-old boy had when he was acquitted of fake terror charges; it is the feeling that a 25-year-old girl has when she steps out clad in her burkha; it is the feeling that a 28-year-old mother has when she doesn’t have the answer to her son’s questions; it is the feeling that a 28-year-old has when the interviewer makes a face on hearing his name; it is the feeling that a 60-year-old man has before going to the police when his home is looted; it is the feeling that Muslims have when someone calls them a terrorist.
Some Muslims find themselves inclined towards Pakistan, but the problem is not that. The problem is why they feel so. We don’t need to call that person out, but we must try to find the reason to why someone who has lived their entire life here feels more at home somewhere else, somewhere he hasn’t even visited?
The reason is simple if we look closely: if, at your place, you’re constantly reminded at every step of your Muslim identity and that you belong to Pakistan, and when you’re oppressed, you tend to incline towards anyone who is softer to you. When none of your sacrifices matter, you tend to turn away. It is very hard to love a place where a large of part of people are out to kill you, with full support. It is hard to love a place where the value for your life is less than zero.
Similarly, some non-Muslims also hate Muslims and would go to any extent to get them eliminated. We need to understand why. The reason is, again, simple if we look more closely. These people consider Muslims outsiders. They are taught so since they were young and now, this notion has made a safe place in their mind, such a safe place that it refuses to get out. They are made to believe that as India was devoured, India was meant for Hindus and Pakistan for Muslims. Their minds are crafted so well that they don’t step out of the circle of what they’ve been taught.
The common problem or the common reason for the existence of both of these issues is the lack of education. By education, I don’t mean holding a PhD degree. I mean the kind of education that forces you to make a change, an education that makes you ask questions, and finally, an education that enables you to change the lives of people.
The problem with many Indian Muslims is that they are quite behind in education. This, in turn, reduces their chances of holding any powerful position (not that you need education to hold power, but the fact that many poor Indian Muslims are busy ensuring their survival, that not enough importance is given to education). This further makes their representation in the Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha zero, and all of this chaos is because of poverty, because the cream layer of Muslims migrated to Pakistan in 1947. This is a void that even if Muslims tried to fill, non-Muslims didn’t let them, and now, they tell them that their religion is in danger and they need to protect it.
Same is the case with Hindus — they tell them that Muslims are outsiders, and attempt to snatch away what is rightfully theirs. Another common theory that is taught to people is the theory of ‘us and them’, and that this us need to do all they can to fight them. This is just a glimpse of what happens, but you understand the bigger picture and the path through which hate is instilled in both the communities.
The definition of secularism, which these so-called secular parties of India hold, is really messed up. No one community is better, it’s just that some are ahead while others are behind. Some follow soft Hindutva while others follow hard-core Hindutva. Nothing is different.
It’s high time we denounce these political parties, make a new political system that doesn’t have people from shakhas and affluent families. Instead, the political system should have people from reputed colleges, people who are educated and tolerant, and can reclaim India. It’s high time that Muslims and Hindus understand that they are one and keep aside the hate.
I hope this India gets successful in making Muslims feel at home and not end up making them orphans here. Tomorrow, these political parties that are making us fight won’t come when we are in trouble, but your neighbour, be it Salma or Prabha, will surely come to your rescue.
Embrace what India is and what it stands for. A long way to go, but the path is beautiful.
Fight on, spread love.
Until next time.
Is it just the Babri masjid? No, the pain travels far and wide.
P.S. Babri was, is and will be alive.
The tombs of Babri will face the fall of tyrants.