By Ambreen Zaidi
January 20, 2020
Muslims, Modi and my motherland, India. All three of them entwined in a way that it is very difficult to talk about one without citing the other. The growing unrest, the mistrust, the anguish all around makes you wonder if our democracy is about to die in the darkness that has engulfed us all.
Muslims are a worried lot. As soon as I air my concerns, I am bombarded with messages telling me that Muslim citizens living here for ages have nothing to worry about hence I should stop getting paranoid about CAA or NRC. As per them, Muslims are being fed with wrong information with malicious intent to use their frustration and anger to paralyze the govt. It is a cunning and vile game to use Muslims as cannon fodder against Modi government. Fine. Then what stops the government to address these issues directly with Muslims, I ask. They have no answer.
As Indian Muslims, we are held responsible for the acts of Mughals, the Arabs and not to forget Pakistan. We are daily labeled as Paki, Jihadi, anti-national. Wicked and vile videos from Muslim countries are thrown at our faces, asking us a justification. Numerous edited versions of the Quran are shared; asking us if we agree or do we follow the Holy book, will we also kill all the Kafirs, behead them, etc. What they are blind towards is the fact that IF and I repeat, IF Indian Muslims ever followed what is followed in Arab countries or even in Pakistan, things would have been crazily different?
Then why are we held responsible for their heinous acts? We are told to choose and move to any of the Muslim nations of our choice. But why should we? We didn’t move, even in 1947, when we had a chance, we chose to stay back in India because we identified with the pluralistic secular democracy and not a theocratic or dictatorship state. India is where we belong and we are NOT going anywhere. Period.
Modi Ji, our honorable Prime Minister. Every single citizen of the country looks up to this chair when faced with any societal stalemate. For this is what democracy is all about, where there is active participation of the people as citizens, in choosing their representatives and also in questioning them when there is a threat to fundamental human rights when laws are brought in where the basic existence of a sect or a group or a community is in danger. All we want is that you address the concerns, issues, insecurities people have regarding CAA-NRC-NPR. Nothing more, nothing less.
I have written to you earlier and I am requesting you again, that let’s work towards nation-building. If there is an issue which is making a certain community anxious, it’s time for you to step in. Forget what opposition does or says, forget what Pakistan is up to, please focus on your own people, who are out on the streets against this law. Why do we have to prove our existence on this soil when this all that we have known, when this is where we have been born and buried? As a Prime Minister of my country, I strongly believe that only you can solve this standoff and not the police brutalities. Am I wrong?
My Motherland, India. The love I have for you is so deep and so overwhelming that I fall short of words. And I hate to see you going into the hands of fanatics. To you, we all have our promises to keep and miles to go, you my country of Karma, my dharma, to you I belong and I will not let the pall of gloom and hate destroy your beautiful soul. I will work towards building this beautiful nation, nurturing its development and guaranteeing its prosperity. I will till the last drop of my blood, work for my country and for peace and prosperity to return. No one can come between you and me. And here I echo the thoughts of every single Muslim of India. I stand for each one of them.
In the end I would request, do not question our patriotism, ever. We have a right to be angry, outraged when our core existence is questioned, our intentions doubted, and our actions suspected. We are Indians and to India we belong.
Ambreen is a well-known journalist and blogger. She has won several awards for her work. She has also worked with UNICEF and NASSCOM Foundation. As an Army wife, Ambreen has been involved in the welfare of retired soldiers, war widows, orphans and disabled soldiers.
Ambreen, is the founder of an organisation called The Changemakers where she and her team identifies, mentors and guides the ex-servicemen, war widows and war orphans, till they are firmly placed and secure in the professions of their choice.
Original Headline: The M-word: Muslims, Modi and my Motherland
Source: The Times of India