Recently the Indian actor Naseeruddin Shah uploaded a video saying that he is thankful that there is a Hindustani version of Islam that is totally different from the barbaric Talibanic mentality. In the video he says that the Indian version of Islam is tolerant, inclusive, and has moved way ahead of the mediaeval, barbaric lifestyles and jurisprudence that hold no meaning in the contemporary world.
Muslim intelligentsia and the liberal class that normally dons the mantle of “the champions of the oppressed” (mostly Muslims) went berserk. One of their fellow champions who was just last year towing the expected line by declaring that Muslims are scared in India, was suddenly saying something that ran counter to their narrative. From being victims, the Muslims are suddenly being portrayed as perpetrators which, according to them, is outrageous.
The common refrain is, “Why should the Indian Muslims feel apologetic about what the Taliban is doing in another country? Why should they feel apologetic just because they come from the same religion the Taliban comes from?”
Logically, of course the Indian Muslims have nothing to explain, and it is right that what their co-religionists do in another part of the world, or even within the country, shouldn’t and mustn’t be held against them.
The problem is that their double standards are mind boggling. According to their convenience, they either want people to scream from their rooftops, or they want them to adopt ostrich mentality.
Take for example the statement issued by Naseeruddin Shah. As long as he is playing the victim card and portraying his community as victim and persecuted, he is a sagely person with worldly wisdom and every possible platform should be available to him so that his message can be amplified.
But as soon as he advises his community to not to celebrate the ascent of the Taliban in Afghanistan and that Indian Muslims must distance themselves from the ideology of the Taliban, he suddenly becomes persona non grata.
This double standard is manifest in their every approach. If something suits them, they say that it is their right to speak up. If something doesn’t suit them, they say that it has got nothing to do with them and they shouldn’t be asked to speak up. Yup, you need to have exceptional shamelessness to act like that so openly.
Again, logically, yes, they can choose to speak or not to speak as per their convenience, but why can’t they let another person say whatever he or she wants to say? Then why do they start jumping around and go all crazy? Why this uncontrollable siyappa?
I mean, if you’re so detached from whatever the Taliban is doing in Afghanistan, why do you freak out when Israel retaliates and bombs Gaza or any other place in Palestine? After all, the Palestinians are in another country and the Indian Muslims have got nothing to do with them, no?
Why do you oppose Donald Trump when he speaks against Muslims and other minorities? What has Indian Muslims got to do with Muslims in America?
Why do you want India to give asylum to Rohingyas and other Muslims because after all, what’s happening in their country is their own business and Muslims in India shouldn’t be rattled or worried about them.
Why were there CAA protests when the Indian government refused to include Muslims in the list of religious minorities that can be given refugee status in India when they are persecuted in the neighboring Muslim majority countries? After all, they’re Muslims from another country and what happens to them shouldn’t concern the Muslims in India.
Why do all Muslim intellectuals and activists endorse the Khilafat Movement organized in India in support of Caliphate in Ottoman? Just imagine, you are being ruled by a colonial power in your own country, and you’re worried about what’s happening in Ottoman. Even a child can understand the underlying motivation.
The point is, Indian Muslims shouldn’t feel apologetic about criticizing the conduct of Muslims elsewhere in the world. No religion is full of angels. No religion is 100% victimized, especially a religion that is projected to become the most dominant religion by 2050 by Pew Research. Muslims, especially in democratic countries like India and America, are not vulnerable. In fact, Muslims in India, population-wise, are growing faster than any other community.
In a ridiculous incident in 2012, a Muslim crowd, while protesting against atrocities against their co-religionists in Myanmar, started rioting in their own city in Mumbai and vandalized Amar Jawan Jyoti at Azad Maidan. Who starts a riot in his or her own country for what is happening to someone else in another country? Is this the conduct of a community that lives in fear? Imagine another community indulging in such activities in a Muslim-majority country like Pakistan, or even in Turkey which is known to be quite moderate.
Hence, if they feel so strongly about what’s happening to their co-religionists in other parts of the world, they should also be concerned about what their co-religionists are up to.
During the farmers protest in India, many Sikhs were being assholes on social media as well as mainstream media. Their conducts were embarrassing, to put it mildly. Being a Sikh I criticized them without a tinge of apology. I’m not insecure. I have a clear distinction of what is right and what is wrong. My religious affiliation does not dominate my ability to think and articulate. If someone is being villainous, he or she is being villainous and if he or she belongs to your religion, too bad — suck it up.
It is high time the so-called champions of Muslims stopped infantilizing the community. People shouldn’t have to walk on eggshells around Muslims. They are the second largest religion in the world after Christians. There are 50 Muslim majority countries in the world and 45 among them are Islamic countries (source). If they are so articulate when they feel that their community is being targeted, they should also be articulate when they think that their community is targeting another community. It’s high time they stopped being the brats of the world.