By Syed Junaid Hashmi for TwoCircles.net
I am appalled as to why a war has been declared on me? From television studios to the national highways to the lanes and by-lanes, lynch mobs are out to sniff life out of me. They want me dead for being anti-national, anti-animal, anti-cow, anti-India, pro-Pakistan and an ISIS-inspired Muslim zealot. Come what may, new India won’t tolerate ‘special privileges’, I had been enjoying in a country where my forefathers ruled for 1000 years and which got freedom from the occupiers and their collaborators not on the midnight of August 15, 1947 but on May 16, 2014 (The day Narendra Modi came to power).
The new India has had enough of ‘appeasement politics’. No more appeasement. Be they ‘illiterate, semi-literate Indian Muslims’ or ‘Azadi seeking red cheeked rascals’ of Kashmir, the new India is virtually screaming from the television studios in New Delhi and Mumbai to the pages of the social networking sites; “Enough is enough. You illegitimate offsprings of foreign militants with red cheeks how dare you take on government forces valiantly. Don’t you know you have no right to dissent? We feed you and you throw stones at our holier than thou security forces. This won’t be tolerated any longer. We are a new nation. Now, we won’t sit-back and watch your anti-national acts silently. We will teach you a lesson for all times to come. You anti-national thugs.”
Loud pronouncements of me being ungrateful ‘Ehsaanfaramoosh’ to the nation which has been feeding me since last 70 years are being made by ex-Army officers and right wing infected activists masquerading as independent Journalists. And this all is happening under the watch of a government which often talks about 125 crore Indians ‘Sabka saath, Sabka Vikas’. I am astonished if these 125 crore Indians includes 18 crore Muslims especially those living in Jammu and Kashmir, then the silence of the ‘Sabka Saath, Sabka Vikas’ government on these loud pronouncements is not only baffling but criminal. If Kashmir is all about ‘anti-nationals, red-cheeked rascals and illegitimate offsprings of foreign militants’, I am being hounded in rest of the country on one pretext or the other.
If it is my eating habit in one part of the country, it is ‘Love-Jehad’ in some other part which merits me being lynched or killed without even a whimper in the ‘hypersensitive, hyper-nationalist national media’. My lynching is justified if ‘meat discovered from my refrigerator’ is beef. I am perplexed how to assure my fellow countrymen, even if I have red cheeks, I do not live in Kashmir where ‘Pakistan’s victory is celebrated and stones are pelted at peacekeepers.’ You curse me in Kashmir for being what I have already narrated above but why I am a punching bag in rest of the country puzzles me.
I am an Indian Muslim and I celebrate India’s victory over Pakistan and mourn every loss. Be it on the battlefield or on the cricket field or any other competitive field with Pakistan as the opponent. Yet I am lynched, kicked, abused and humiliated in a manner not befitting a nation whose strength has always been its much abused secularism. I have refused to revolt and be part of ISIS. I am told I wish to turn Hindu India into Muslim India in next one decade. I ponder, I belong to a community whose slums, under-developed colonies and ghettos are called ‘child producing centers’ and whose pathetic state of development is a case to study, and all this, when my forefathers ruled this country for more than 900 years yet India remained a Hindu dominated nation, secular, socialist and above all, where love, diversity, humanity and humility are not only respected but venerated.
Thousands of magnificent temples all over the country whose architecture is several hundred years old bear testimony to the fact that the Indian soul had not allowed my forefathers to enforce their way of life on them. But the new India, the India of Yogi Adityanath and Manohar Lal Khattar, is in no mood to listen. Yet I choose not to remain silent but answer some of the pertinent questions which an ordinary Indian often asks. From Twitter to Facebook, the intellectual litter is all over. The language used often refers to problem being the increasing religious bigotry, fundamentalism and fanaticism among the Muslims (read from Kashmir to Kanyakumari).
Let me outrightly reject this hypothesis. The belief that if I give up ‘hard-line Islam’ and adopt another fantastic term ‘Sufism’, I would become a law abiding good citizen of this new ‘Twitter, Facebook and Instagram’ India is a misconceived one. Instead of finding fault with ‘hard-line Islam and prescribing Sufi Islam’, the new India should specifically tell me where the problem lies and what corrective measures am I supposed to take. But when I analyze, I find much of what is being said in complete contrast to the situation on the ground.
Appeasement! Appeasement and Appeasement!
My appeasement remained sole objective of all the previous governments. That includes one led by ex-Prime Minister and Bharat Ratna Atal Bihari Vajpayee. Yet even after so much appeasement since August 15, 1947 to May 16, 2014; Justice Sachar Committee report laid bare outcome of this much abused term ‘Muslim appeasement’. The one who coined the term ‘Appeasement’ would be turning in his grave on hearing that I was being appeased for the last 67 years and that it all stopped on May 16, 2014. An account of the communal riots and Justice delivered thereafter coupled with my socio-economic status and treatment at the hands of the state apparatus explains in depth how I was appeased for the last 67 years and how everything changed for me after May 16, 2014.
I have lost count of the number of times I was lynched, bullets were shot at me, pellets showered at me, my home was burnt, my house razed down, my mosque plundered, my shrine reduced to rubble, my personal property ransacked, my honour robed, my women raped, my cattle taken away, my slaughterhouse closed, my meat shop’s license cancelled, my business damaged by design, my job taken away, bank refusing to finance my venture, my car damaged and above all, my right to dissent taken away from me. Let me tell my nation. From Congress days to the present time, not much has changed for me. From Hashimpura to Lal Chowk to Chennai, the bullet has never spared me. Justice has always remained elusive.
You cannot hide behind the veil of ‘hyper-nationalism’ and silence me by shouting at the top of your voice from the Television Studios. You should ask yourself who appeased me, when and where. Be it Congress bullet or the BJP, only chest that it has found to hit is that of me. From pellets to Bullets, ask your conscience, has not I been the easy target. Leave this anti-national rant aside; I was killed in cold-blood despite being Mohammed Akhlaq of Uttar Pradesh. And you justified my killing from the Television studios. There was not even whimper about an FIR being filed against the family of Pehlu Khan. And yet ‘Muslim appeasement’ worries you.
And if this is not enough, look at the roles you offer this ‘pampered and appeased red cheeked rascal’ me in the Bollywood, Tollywood or Punjabi movies. Butchers, tailors, cobblers, carpenters, mechanics, electrician, Hawaldar, orphans, handicapped, beggars, pimps, prostitutes, bar-dancers, sophisticated courtesans, servants, friends, guards, Chaiwalas, Tonga-wallas, Shikarawalas, villains, fanatics, fundamentalists, gangsters, mafia dons, anti-nationals besides being cast as treacherous, untrustworthy communal bigots or simply terrorists. Don’t sing peens of Khans.
Even they have nothing to offer as Muslims in their movies. They produce what sells. Shahrukh prefer playing Rahul when it a Love story and Raees when he has to narrate tale of a Gangster. Salman plays Bajrangi when he has to narrate a tale which goes across the border. And yet I have been appeased and pampered since the last 67 years. And what makes this more interesting is my new government being worried about polygamy and triple Talaq in this ‘appeased community’. Take into account the killings during the 10 years of my appeaser number 1, Congress; and tell me, when was I appeased last time and where?
Ishrat Jahan is long dead. And those who killed her are running the nation yet I am appeased. Did she walk-back to life or conspired from her grave against my nation? And if the appeasement discourse is taken to the Jails, I have never had luxury of being a Sanjay Dutt or some Sikh terrorist or someone involved in the killing of a Prime Minister in office. Assembly in Tamil Nadu passes resolution seeking clemency for three assassins of Late Rajiv Gandhi and the nation watches silently. And if I would even demand fair trial for those arrested randomly after every terror act, I would be branded anti-national, ‘Pakistani, red-cheeked rascal, communal bigot, Wahhabi moron, terrorist sympathizer and fundamentalist’. Yet I am the one who is being appeased.
A poster of Sardar Jarnail Singh Bhindranwale or catchy captions of ‘Never Forget 1984’ do not invoke wrath of the state but if I hang a religious sign in my car, I will be booked under sedition and the loudmouths would try to outweigh each other in abusing and ridiculing me on the national madhouses in the evening. And next morning, the whole nation would jump into the discourse on the Twitter and Facebook. And if someone comes out in my defense, he would be made to either soften his stance or fall silent. Yet I am appeased and this appeasement needs to be stopped.
The author is a Journalist based in Jammu and Kashmir.