Mothering A Muslim, this is what the name of the book is. The two accentuate, “Mothering” and “Muslim”, perhaps rapped you to excogitate in advance. But that’s not what you think in a very generalised form. This book is a symbolic call to everyone irrespective of who we are, explicitly, when the country is almost divided into shades of religion.
A quote credited as anonymous says: “Every child is a different kind of flower and all together they make this world a beautiful garden.” I couldn’t agree more, but at the same time, I can’t help wonder, how does it speak for our society when these very flowers, beautiful and fragile as they are, start discriminating against each other on religious grounds — a subject they aren’t even equipped to comprehend?
Mothering A Muslim is not a compilation of difference of opinions over religion. It is a conversation on the values with which children are being raised today. An alarming sign for parents to teach their child the ethics of worldly life. Children perceive actions more than words and inadvertently quaff the sentiments of the elders around them.
There is no point in rating this book. It came into our space from a very disgustingly discomfort zone faced by composite challenges. Rating is secondary or perhaps zilch. Reading, learning, critically looking over and implementing should be the primary or sole objective.
This book is a collection of stories from around 118 students in and around Delhi NCR and 145 Families across India. All the families or students were from such localities which are socially heterogeneous. The author painstakingly centralises her works on hatred of locality, structured bullying in school premises, Islamophobic catcall in the playground and open segregation in public life.
This book helps us understand the depth of sensitivity of being a Muslim, particularly where division based on religious sentiments has happened. Amidst the plentiful real stories, each story projects conglomerate challenges before us.
How will you stop your child to discern the actuality of being Muslim and terrorist? How will you figure out Islamophobic bullying in school if so happens with your child? How will you create an ambience of liberalism in the society you live in and share everything for the sake of your child? How will you make your child strong enough to face the denouncement by pro-Muslims? Is hijab or the skull cap compulsion right from very teenage for your child to be a Muslim?
There is much more. A myriad of challenges for me and you. A myriad challenges for all of us.
In his book The Free Voice: On Democracy, Culture and the Nation, Ravish Kumar talks of the socialisation of fear. Ravish vividly narrated, “The socialisation of Fear is complete. To be afraid is to be civilised in this new democracy. This the new Normal.” To say we are in an existential crisis is wrong. This is a new normal and our silence has built this up. If we aren’t comfortable with this new normal, we must stand to speak out.
Mass media controls everything, from what to eat and who to slap. The media formulates opinions of people and without being fair, people contemplate it as their own. The Muslim community is projected much widely in a way like never before. From singing the national anthem/national song forcibly to lynchings in the name of beef and to the recent, chaotically mapped out relationship between the Tablighi Jamaat and the unabated spread of the Coronavirus.
We are a part of a broken society and individually we are nothing but totally oblivious. We consider physical violence immediately as damaging. Verbal violence is seldom recognised for the harm it causes. This book taught me more than I expected. It raised me to a different level. It taught me predicament is good.
It’s the predicament of christening her daughter which pushed her to research to compile everything into a book. There you find reflections of the complexity of being a Muslim. This tough to be so. A must-read and re-read.