By Sania Ahmad
My dear fellow Muslims,
I write this letter to you in the hope that you will realise how important it is to take charge of your lives, to step out of the age-old ‘we are oppressed’ narrative and start fixing things that you can.
Don’t take me wrong. I do not deny that the community has been oppressed, that there has been rampant, blatant discrimination. The Sachchar Committee report exists for a reason, and still holds true, 14 years after it was published. I am asking — what did you do to fix the status quo? There are approximately 200 million of us living in India today. What stops us all from stepping up, introspecting, looking at we can do, on our part, to re-write our destiny, to make things slightly better for all us, if not perfect?
Recently, an aged Muslim patient died at the NRS Medical College in Kolkata.
Enraged relatives turned up and assaulted a junior doctor, leaving him in a critical state. The doctors protested. Mamata Banerjee, CM of the state, gave ultimatums to the doctors' community. What followed was strong criticism from around the country, blaming her for Muslim appeasement, something she is said to champion.
A few days later, a post by former Miss Universe Ushoshi Sengupta, on the harassment that she faced from bike-born miscreants on the streets of Kolkata, went viral. The accused, who were arrested, turned out to be Muslims.
In light of these two events, a group of eminent Muslim citizens from Kolkata wrote a letter to Mamata Banerjee asking her to bring the accused to justice, regardless of their faith. “They should not be allowed to get away scott-free because they happened to be Muslims (as is the growing perception),” the letter said.
After all, if we were actually getting appeased and not just for the sake of political optics, wouldn’t the community have been flourishing by now, rather than primarily living in ghettoes?
Here are other things that we can do to make things slightly better for us, if not perfect:
Please start utilising the seats that you get in educational institutes, especially those in universities that have minority status, rather than indulging in hooliganism, and passing just for the heck of being called a BA graduate. Make the most of it. Accept it or not, education is what will uplift the community.
Please start throwing your garbage in the bins rather than tipping them over the balcony — and then crying about how no party leader pays attention to your area and how it is all a mess. Accept it. You do that all the time, then blame the world during a dengue outbreak.
Please stop stealing electricity and then protesting about how, as a part of some conspiracy, your area doesn't get regular power electricity (because the transformer catches fire again and again, thanks to all the illegal load). Get a legal connection. Won’t really cost you an arm and a leg, would it?
Please stop your sons from zipping around on bikes without wearing helmets, especially during Shab-e-Qadr, and causing general nuisance. It won't hurt you to follow traffic rules.
Those of you who are endowed should think of working for the community that you feel so pained for. Merely writing FB posts on issues like the Rohingyas won't help. Refugee camps exist for these people. Go help them out — what's stopping you? Think apart from your annual Zakat, please. Get out of Facebook and get on the ground.
Start boycotting every Maulana who goes on national TV and portrays a negative, sickening image of the community, spewing divisive venom for a few petty rupees. Refuse to offer Namaz behind them. Refuse to donate to their madrasas. Write complaints to the Waqf Board. Take a stand and stick to it.
Please stop thinking everything is a giant conspiracy against you and using that to cover up your own shortcomings. There is no better time than now for an internal change. See where you are going wrong as a community. Fix it. Just stop whining every time anything goes wrong around you.
If nobody is doing anything for you, hasn't done anything for you all these years, and won't in the future as well, why not take things in your own hands?
Who are you waiting for? No messiah is going to descend for you.
Remember, "Indeed, Allah will not change the condition of a people until they change what is in themselves" — Quran 13:11
These are small steps — but they sure can make a world of a difference. Empower yourselves and your own.
Let the change start with you.
Source: The Daily O