By Shariq Mumtaz Hashmi
On 10th of June, barely two days after the petrodollar rich Muslim monarchies registered their protest with India on the of blasphemous comments made by the ruling party spokespersons, Indian Muslims, being the citizens of this democratic republic, also decided to register their protest with their elected government for the same reason. Protesters hit the street after Friday prayers in large numbers all over the country demanding strict action against the now scapegoated BJP spokespersons.
But the difference in response from the ruling dispensation to these two protests on a similar issue is too glaring to be missed. While the first protest compelled those in power for a prompt compliance, no matter how superficial the move may be, to wheedle the Foreigner Muslim. On the other hand, a brutal crackdown was unleashed to hustle and further subdue the Indian Muslims in reply of their protest, by their democratic government. Bulldozers were called in to raze the protester’s home and hence their willpower, FIRs and cases were registered indiscriminately and even bullets were fired on the protesters, to convey the message of those in power – that the action taken against the blasphemous spokespersons was not because we care about your sentiments being hurt by the contempt of the prophet but to take care of the economic loss that might incur due to the anguish in Arab countries, so don’t dare foolishly express your emotions or demands.
The informal policy implementation of minorities being reduced to second class citizen is there for everyone to see. This repressive environment targets not just Muslims, but also Christians, Sikhs, Dalits, Adivasis, Women, Ethnic minorities from India’s northeast and Liberals, but being the largest minority, it’s imperative for the fascist forces to subjugate the Muslims first and foremost, a project they will never succeed in, In’Sha Allah. That this erosion and subversion of India’s constitutional assurances is being accomplished without adequate resistance by level-headed members of the majority community, political opposition and institutions like courts and the media, provides a sense of affirmation to this inequity which is proving to be noxious not just for the targeted communities but also for the country and its global relations.
Nevertheless, as Muslims, what do we expect from the antagonists, the neutrals and the sympathizers when we ourselves are not concerned enough to stand for ourselves. Recently, a senior scholar & leader heading the oldest Muslim organization of India declared in a huge gathering of Islamic scholars that ‘we, the Muslims of India, are ready to bear the oppression and atrocities for the sake of country’. He even gave an ovation to the ruling party for their farcical action of declaring their own spokespersons as fringe and disowning them. The question, with all due respect to our ‘innocent’ community leaders is that, by handing a Carte Blanche to the oppressors for subjugating us, do you expect them to respect our dignity and that of our religious personalities?
All those satisfied with the farcical action taken by the ruling party and thinking that it’s done and dusted so we can be at ease now must not hallucinate. Albeit delayed, the community is awakening to the reality and its high time that our leaders do the same. The reprehensible violence that took place in the Friday’s protest and the provocative statements made by some politicians is a testimony to the vacuum created by our inefficient leadership which is being misused by the antisocial elements within the community as well as our adversaries. The fact of the matter is that those discarded spokespersons are going to be rewarded sooner than later, but the fascist forces will get a cover to come out in their support if we carry on with such unconstitutional statements and protests. It’s heartening to see the recent Jaipur peace and justice conference, where some of our respected elders from across the sectarian & religious spectrum tried to shape and guide the community in its endeavour for dignified existence by creating a united front. This gathering further cements my belief that one and only factor that can bind this Ummah together despite all its sectarian divide is The Holy Prophet, peace be upon him!
We must keep resisting with our peaceful protests because no outsider will come to help us in our local issues unless WE take a stand for ourselves. The viral Twitter trend in Arab countries that triggered the reaction from their respective governments, ‘Ela Rasul Allah Ya Modi’ means ‘Except Messenger of Allah O Modi’. So appreciate it but don’t get too much carried away and don’t expect that we will get the support of sorts next time when one us is lynched, our sisters deprived of their right to dignity, our homes bulldozed or when we are officially declared a second class citizen!
For sure the oppressors eventually perish but Allah says: Indeed, Allah never changes the condition of a people unless they strive to change themselves (Al Quran 13:11)
-Shariq Mumtaz Hashmi
B. Tech, M. Tech, PG(PMP)
Ministry of Defence, KSA