John Dayal says while he is always there
for Muslim victims of injustice it is not necessarily a two-way street in terms
of the Muslim leadership’s sympathy quotient towards other troubled
communities. His lament was instructive. There is indeed almost always a
spontaneous outpouring of fellowship and solidarity among groups ranging from
Sikhs to Dalits, from representatives of the north-eastern tribes to
intellectuals among Kashmiri Pandits, who rally support and solidarity for the
Middle of the road Hindus,
Parsis, Sikhs, Christians, Buddhists, pagans, communists, all form a protective
ring around Muslims when they are under attack. But I am scratching my memory
in vain I think to remember when a Muslim body last intervened on behalf of Sikhs
or Dalits, or Christians, let alone remote tribes people in their hour of need.
A police station official in
India’s Jharkhand state this month reviled Christians who sought protection
after Hindu extremists beat and threatened to kill them for refusing to convert
to Hinduism. Does the story touch Muslim hearts? For, when it does begin to
matter, India’s Muslims will not find themselves in their ghettos any longer.
They will be leading a minorities’ collective, in which women and people of
different sexual orientation will have a strong voice too.
The choice is squarely with India’s largest
minority community whether they wish to crawl out of the ditch, which they have
dug for no good reason or remain tethered to the mullah’s sectarian agenda.