Wednesday, March 17, 2021

Muslims must learn from own experiences under right-wing majoritarianism, shouldn't pester own minorities over sectarian, inter-community issues

Shams Ur Rehman Alavi

There is a context and it is important but first let me narrate this incident.
Once there was an event & suddenly lot of people in Bhopal began condemning the Bohra community.
They quickly forgot that one Bohra man had set up Saifia college in the region after independence & generations came up, thousands of graduates in Bhopal alone, from 1960-1990s.

Saifia College created an educated middle class in Bhopal, people in jobs in India, foreign, Middle East for long, you met and they told, 'We from Saifia'. Bhopalis should be indebted to Mulla Sajjad Husain and Mulla Fakhru but if just ine point, quick to forget & blame 'all'.

Exactly same majoritarian mindset that 'we know, what we believe is final, we decide, they must prove, be loyal to us..'.RW too feels Muslim ninority must prove. Even if you hold anti-terror conf or stand against cow slaughter, they sayprove more, onus. 'Ye aise hi hain'...

When there is bias, hate, suspicion, then there is no end to such behaviour. As Muslim what we fight against and what angers us, the same is our behaviour towards our own minority. This is no way, rather, it shows inability to learn from own experience and suffering.

If you dislike someone because of their religious sect or different belief, say it openly, no need to make an argument that I know 5-10 or 15 such people out of 2 crore so they all are bad. Try to understand our own majority privilege.

Then comes the line, 'Bolna chahiye, saamne aana chahiye'. Har cheez par prove karein bolein to tum sun rahe ho, kuchh pata bhi hai. Standard set karo. Its the same when we hear that we aren't rashtravadi & all should behave and be like 'Kalam sb'. 

If there is one Wasim Rizvi. The sudden rush to link him with other Shias, not being aware of local politics, the fact that Shias have denounced him lot of times, openly opposed him, yet putting onus on the entire sect, it's all similar to right-wing majority mindset.


I remember very well how when an artist painted a photograph that was considered to have hurt Hindu sentiments, Muslims were opposing but Hindus said, 'they don't oppose enough'. A top editor had also written a piece, that 'Muslims should come out to protest'. 

Though there were open protests but they were not covered in papers and TV. It is always the same--suspicion, putting the minority in the dock. Even if the minority does what you want them to do, they say--'it's just their plan, doesn't come from their heart, just an eyewash, their intent is different'.

Similarly, when media would link Muslims with terror, all over India, Muslims would repeatedly come out, hold demonstrations, even Ulema led protests, issued fatwas against violence and terror. Every other day it was done but we kept hearing it, 'not enough' and that 'Muslims don't condemn terror'.

Majority doesn't feel that it has to prove anything to anybody. Either a Sunni majority or a Hindu majority. Whoever has more numbers, feel it is is the ruling class. So a normal Sunni doesn't need to prove anything when Tarek Fatah, Salman Rushdie or Ayan Hirsi Ali, Tasleema Nasreen attack Islam and even our holy figures.

We don't even bother. As majority wants minority to 'behave'. But if one Shia does it, entire Shia community must be questioned and names of other Shias who haven't lived up to the standards of Sunni majority, must be counted, and these 4-5 or 10 names are enough for point blank charge against all Shias. 

If sectarian differences become a shield for majoritarianism and end up leading to harassment of minorities, then it's a shame. Compassion, love and unity give way to blind hatred, prejudices and accusations--that's the tragedy for us, Muslims.

[The author is born in a Sunni family. This needs to be mentioned that because it's our job to take stand, speak up when our minorities are made to prove certain things and looked at with suspicion. In this situation, we must clearly take stand and say it]

[This is first part of the series. Lot of people pretend as if there is no such widespread prejudice, pressure or charge, reality is even on social media, it's too common to question Shia beliefs and even use extremely objectionable words about them. Next part will deal with it.]

Photo: Mulla Fakhru, leading educationist of Bhopal, Madhya Pradesh