At the outset of this article, I want to make a few things clear. I am a Muslim. I did not vote for Modi and I wish we had someone else as a prime minister. But we have him. India chose the leader it wants.
On 23rd May as and when it started getting more and more clear that Narendra Modi is returning for the second term, my Twitter timeline was filled with tweets of solidarity where upper-caste Hindus were wondering how it must be being a Muslim in India.
Heart has sunk to my knees already. Can’t even imagine what it must feel like to be a Muslim in India this morning. ?
— Urmi Chanda-Vaz (@URM1) May 23, 2019
To be honest, on 24th May, I woke up feeling exactly the same I have felt past 27 years. I had no increased fear. I did not feel despair that the world is coming to an end. I did not feel the need to pack my bags and leave the country.
Today I stand with my minority( Muslims) brothers and sister who feel threatened and scared. Don’t worry, we together will fight to protect secular India together. India can never be Hindu Rashtra.
— nikhil wagle (@waglenikhil) May 23, 2019
What fight are you even talking about? There is no fight. I do not have Hindus walking up to me asking my religion and ostracising me after knowing I’m a Muslim. The only place I feel most aware of my religion is on Twitter. I am constantly being told I need to be afraid because it is inevitable that I will be killed just for existing as a Muslim in India.
I read an article by a fellow Muslim where the author said she feels tired to emphasise her Indianness and is drained of her energy trying to distance herself from Pakistan. Maybe she’s moving in the wrong circles or she’s just spending too much time on Twitter, where rabid trolls from either side of the political spectrum make sure you feel threatened just for voicing your opinion. But if you actually do step out of your home or even interact with your extended family, life has been as usual today as it was ten years back.
In fact, what you actually need to do is stop identifying us as Muslims who need to be ‘saved’. People are angry not on us, but on that Muslim who is fighting the holy battle in the name of Allah. Stop making us feel like we are special because of our religion. You lose your secular credentials the moment you identify me as a Muslim. The more you downplay the crimes committed by people belonging to my religion in the name of Islam, the lesser angry they will get. Their anger stems not from the fact that I am a Muslim, but because you whitewash the crimes of my people by saying religion was not the motivating factor when it clearly was the only motivating factor.
There are people in my extended family which does not mingle with people of other religion. They like living in their own concentrated localities, refusing to interact with others, thereby creating a sense of distrust amongst others. They live in fear and extreme poverty because some religious leader of theirs wants them to. The top 5% of privileged Muslims who want to use Islam as a weapon against those who threaten their authority do not let the other Muslims they control step out of the well and see the world.
Does that mean I am a Modi supporter? No. Am I a Congressi? No. Do I believe in AAP? Never.
And am I feeling threatened? Definitely not.
So, you guys, could perhaps get down your high horses and do some real work. Talk to Muslims and educate them and learn a few things yourself that life is business-as-usual for most Muslims outside your TV studios.
It is you who are scared for whatever reason but want the Muslims to carry the burden of fear. This is as communal as asking Muslims to prove their patriotism.
I don’t want this burden. I just want to live a normal life.
Note: Author Noori Mohammad was born and brought up in Bhopal. She is an MBA and currently working as an HR executive in a Gurugram-based company.