Kumbh and Ramadan, two important religious events of the two major religious communities of India are taking place when the country is suffering from a Covid wave worse than the one last year. The stance of the two communities with regards to Covid-19 is, however, very contrasting in nature.
While the Hindu authorities and officials of the Kumbh have declared that the event will not be cut short despite the rising number of Covid cases in India. The Shahi Imam of Jama Masjid in Delhi was heard urging the members of the Muslim community to maintain the protocol of Covid 19, pray with social distancing, and to pray ‘Taraweeh‘ (special prayer offered in the month of Ramadan) at home as much as possible to reduce the number of people outside.
The media ran a constant Islamophobic campaign against Tablighi Jamaat members last year.
The contrast and difference in the approach of the religious authorities of both communities are very evident. While Hindus played Holi in different parts of India or indulged in Shahi Snan in Kumbh Mela without any protocol of Covid 19, Muslims in many parts of the country have been reduced to their home in the holy month of Ramadan. With night curfew due to Covid in many states, Muslims are unable to engage in Taraweeh in mosques this year too.
The condition in West Bengal, especially in Kolkata where the last few phases of Vidhan Sabha Elections 2021 are still left, Muslims are reducing their acts of worship so that they won’t be blamed for the rising number of cases in Kolkata. On the other hand, several big political rallies are happening every day, by AITMC or the BJP.
India is slowly shifting towards being a de facto Hindu state where Hindus get to exploit their majoritarian privilege while members of the minority communities, especially Muslims, stay cautious and careful all the time so that they will not be unnecessarily blamed for the negative conditions prevailing in the country.
The whole Muslim community in India was character-assassinated because of the Nizamuddin Markaz incident last year. Today, Hindus are not only silent at the Kumbh episode, but most of them including the intellectuals, politicians, and journalists are defending it.
While Hindus of the de facto Hindu state of India are doing whatever they want despite the rising number of cases in the country, Muslims are staying at home or are cutting short the duration of their religious acts in the holy month of Ramadan to stay cautious.
It can be said that Muslims are in constant fear of being harassed or declared guilty, but this has only made them more empathetic than the majority community, several members of whom are dancing naked in the face of 2 lakh Covid cases and 1000+ deaths per day.