Anindianmuslim.com: Blog against fundamentalism. We stand for communal harmony, composite culture and humanism. Leading Indian Muslim Voice on internet since mid-2005. Now in its 10th year. More than a MILLION HITS and counting. For ad related queries, write to indscribe@anindianmuslim.com

Thursday, January 31, 2008

The 'communal' scrap-dealer


A junk-dealer comes at your door and when you ask the price at which he will buy the old newpapers, he says "Don't worry, I will give the right money, I am not like Muslims, who are cheats".

Now, if you are a Muslim, will you be angry, hurt or get into a serious introspective mode about yourself, your community and the society?

Let me explain the situation. It didn't happen to me. We are the single Muslim family in the entire locality. I was away. My wife was selling the papers and a neighbourhood lady (not Muslim) who was passing by, asked my wife 'yeh log taulne mein be-imaani karte hain' (Take care these people don't weigh properly).

It was in this context that Mr Kabaadi said that 'ham nahin karte, yeh sab Musalman karte hain' and a bit more. My wife was too shocked and couldn't control her anger. She said that she was also a Muslim and questioned him, how he could be so judgemental about the entire community.
The guy appeared embarrassed but still went on to say...'maiN voh daadhi wale musalmano ki baat kar raha hun'. (I am talking about the beareded Muslims...not the ones like you!).

To this my wife gave him a piece of her mind. Some other neighbours and our domestic help also scolded him. Later he left in a huff. Had I been there, I may not have scolded him but my wife, who is much more rational and always considered it too to petty to judge someone on the basis of religion or caste, was astonished at the manner the junk-dealer could spell out his biases so openly.

She also gave him the rest of the papers without accepting the money, saying that 'hum log to be-imaan hote hi hain'. She took it to her heart and was upset the whole day. I think in her place I may not have reacted so strongly. But I can understand her anguish. It's better to give vent to your anger in such situations.

Though I don't think the guy was communal. Firstly, he was not expecting to come across a Muslim family in the slightly posh locality. Secondly, it could be his business rivalry with Muslim junk-sellers (there are lot of Muslims among kabaadis). But the ease with which he could spell it out, openly before any stranger, was surprising.

It simply illustrates the inherent biases in our society. In Maharashtra blame the Biharis for the ills or in Kolkata, the Marwaris. Of course, it is even better to blame Muslims for all the ills. Muslims are already branded, as fundamentalists, producing too many kids and found more in jails.......ek aur tohmat sahi....be-imaani ki

So what should I, as an individual do, to lessen this impression.... Try to be even more fairer in my dealings, which I think I already am. Blaming others won't help. Isn't it time Muslims at all level seriously address this image problem.

Shall we not try for more interaction with people belonging to other communities and go extra mile in helping everybody. Ghettoisation has already divided Hindu and Muslim localities in most cities and that's the reason for growing hatred and misconceptions. Let's try and make more friends....

Or if you have any suggestions, readers of this blog!

14 comments:

Ye manzilen !! said...

A
I have had the same expereince here as well. I was in a part and this old gentleman visiting from India made a disrespectful comment about Muslim as a community. This was twice in 5 a year.....

When I find myself in these situation where my patroitim for India is questioned or my community is branded terrorist, I challenge folks to find who is more patroitic? Just having a Hindu sounding name does not give u a an automatic right to India. Plus gone are the days when borders mattered...

Khair....U are right we need to work on involving more people from other sides. I try to and have many stories to tell on that front...

Sorry jwaab bada hogyaa..

indscribe said...

True Shahid bhai...aur
jawaab baDaa ho gaya to achchi baat hai na!

"Adal" said...

Iam from Tamilnadu. I have travelled all over South and many places in India.i ahave not had any such experience.
Rajaji, "MR.Brain", used to say that "the lowest part of dhoti or pyjama only gets soiled being close to dust!" So raddiwalas and the like could make big mouth!
Of late the communal poisn administered by some vested interests have made people bold to attack our community through blogs!
Allah has declared :"You(Muslims) are the best of peoples, evolved for mankind, enjoining what is right, forbidding what is wrong.and believing in Allah".(Holy Quran 3:110)When many failed to live up to that level we started losing our respect!
Now, as never before, we have to get back to that position and impel others see how we have changed.

Anser Azim said...

"voh daadhi wale musalmano ki baat kar raha hun". I hope he meant daandi marne wale musalmanon" that is rather different from "daarhi wale". Islam's basic foundation is based on adal and justice. Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) was known to be amin and truthful. I know that many of us do not practice what we believe in and what we believe in. This is very true for many Muslims of the subcontinent.Unfortunately, Mr Kabaari had a very strong point and should be taken seroiusly. When Muhammad (pbuh) spoke Gods word everybody believed him because he was always truthful.
I hope we all become the icons of truth and Quran and truth reflect from our respective lives so that Mr Kabaari will like to say that "he is like those daarhi wale musalman who are always honest and truthful!!!!"

anser azim

Anser Azim said...

I was saddened to read all the comments on your blog about Zakir Naik. If they all are Muslims who ahve posted those comments, in that case Mr Kabaari is prophetic in his comments. Those comments are lamentable and shows state of Muslim minds.

the victorious.. said...

hmm, interesting post. it is even more interesting to see how you have dealt that problem. as u have said, blaming other communities happens everywhere.
Alhamdhulillah, in Tamil Nadu, atleast as far as I know, muslims are treated with a lot of respect. muslim men are fondly addressed 'bhaai' and women, 'bhaai amma'. :)though ive heard that some ppl call us 'thulukkan' or 'thulukachi', which is believed to have taken its roots from 'turks'.

as the others who have commented here say, we will show them in our actions and return good for evil

Imran Mulla said...

I also had a similar experience in my early adolscenece . I was palying with my friends in our galli. We and one more family are the only muslim households in our arear.. which is a relatively well off locality in city. We were playing the cricket and ball went in a gutter. So we all came together and were looking for a stick or some thing to take out the ball from the gutter. Then a marwari businessman who was living in our galli came across for conversation.. to chat with us..
We are discussing things and in the flow of conversation he said what you all doing and why u r not playing today. A frind of mine said the ball has gone in gutter and we are not able to take it out.
He said .. i dont know delibrately .. jokingly.. or with pinch of reality that.. u know.. muslims will put their hands in gutter to take out even a 5 paise.....
This was a shokcing me and i kept quite for the moment... i was too small to reply to him in proper way... but that incident is iched on my mind...
I wonder how a marwari man say that muslims will put thier hands in guuer to take even a 5 paise... i just wonder these beimaan business community.. who will even bargain thier wife in trade.. is saying some thing which is not at all reflects the muslim community. Let belive for a moment that muslims are liked this only.. then you must wonder why muslims make up the largest group in below povert population ot this country... Its marwari who are riched in the country and not muslims.. though i agree that their riched is due to thier business acumen and sense of togetherness..but they all are ready to even allow their wives to be slept over in bargain...

Milind Kher said...

A very sad part about the biases against Muslims is that they are created and furthered by affluent and educated people.

They do not come from illiterate people who would hardly know better.

prabhat said...

dear frined ,

i know you will take it to the heart but whole of the indian society is full of biases, its not just muslim - its only when one air his biases against muslim or any other religion he is termed communal - you were right that kabadi wala may not be communal.

I like your point of view but how many people may have attitude like you - and i feel if most of the people have attitude like you - mean thinking before reacting there would not be any problem in india.

At last india has lot of biases and notion about eaach other cast , religion , culture - and they are there becuase alck of education - friend do something for entire community to spread the light of education - scene will change .

In my family i know no body will eat in muslim house - but i had muslim friend - and i had eaten there but i never told my parent ( why to hurt their feelling because they wil not listen to reason ad will live wth their biases but - i insure this will not happen with my childern - and that is the way we change the society - forget the past move forward...

Anonymous said...

I have come across this site today. I thought this site is promoting self-inspection among muslim community. But looks like Muslims can never find fault with themselves. Trust them to find someone else to blame for any issue (real issue or percieved issue).

Population growth, lack of education, bad image, terrorism, opposition to polio drops..the list is long.

Kashmiri Pundits driven away from valley, burning of train in Gujrat never discussed or mentioned.

Trust me, there are few muslims out there in India who openly supports Pakistan...

So what, muslims argue...these are the deeds of few fundamantlist elements...But WHAT MODERATES ARE DOING? BLAMING HINDUS FOR THEIR PERCEPTION...

Opposition to polio drops in western UP is most intersting example. I have never saw Moderate and Educated muslims doing something about it. It is still Hindus who are going to those ghettos risking their lives trying to administer polio drops to muslims infants. So, what should I percieve?

Perception can change, but your community have to change first. Accept that you need to change first, then discuss what needs to be changed and then put in effort to change. Perceptions will change on its own.

Anonymous said...

Imran Mulla has making same kind of comment against Marwari businessman which the Kabariwala has made against muslims.

Anonymous said...

It is heartening to see this post, while the internet is full of hateful opinions. It shows understanding and maturity.

Yes, I have seen such generalizations. But it is not just Muslims but also Brahmins, politicians, harijans, Malayalees, Tamils, Telugus and so on. In fact no group is immune !

I think it is high time that Indian Muslims shun the false leaders who have not helped the community in all these 60 odd years and encourage education. I call upon all Indian Muslims abroad and at home to give back to their community.

rafat quadri said...

I think ur mrs shd have accepted the money and bepolite with him and a the end shd have said that she was a muslim too and shd have invited him next time after 3 to 4 visits the message or suggestion of not to generalize ur bias or ill feeling about a ny community shd have been given. i am a muslim too a lday journalist living in gujarat many people during my career have been complimenting by saying that u dont look muslim at all otherwise muslim women r so suppressed and pained. i explain to them after a closer relation or contact is bonded that look they are mosre pestered liberated and pampered lot than pur hindu women who slog so much and still think that thier men cant remarry lie muslims but it is untrue and is another debate. point is such comments are always there may be if u got o any muslim area there u find opposite statements. so we have to be tolerant and generous by our good deeds the ill can be defeated and sorry to say but our muslims are least bothered to know as to what i s going on in the society and what is their image self pity and self sympathy never takes anybody to the path of progress we shd be self introspective and must come forward to be the part of the mainstream. This is my purely personal opinion. Thanks Rafat Quadri rafatquadri@gmail.com

Anonymous said...

I came across few articles in this blog and I really appreciate the view point with a liberal vision..Non-Muslims almost everywhere across glob do hate Muslims..The reasons are historical/geopolitical/ social but certainly not common man’s fault..I believe solution lies in 1. Educating Muslims on real Islam 2. Brief, patient and positive interaction of Muslim intellectuals with their non-Muslim counterparts..Sorry if I have hurt any sentiments just my opinion.