So, Facebook blocked me. For 24 hours (but I was unblocked only after more than 40 hours). For putting up a comment which went against “OUR COMMUNITY STANDARDS”.
Apart from making me join the ranks of ‘thosewhoareblockedbyfacebook’, causing a lot of outrage among friends and comrades, and giving me ammo for this article, Facebook’s ban also raised a lot of questions in my mind. What is it that I had said that actually merited a ban? Oh yes, I had mocked, yes openly mocked, the #TalktoaMuslim campaign. I had asked if the ‘liberals’ who were running this unbelievably ridiculous campaign equated the Muslims with some exotic animals one spent time with, felt good about, and yes, posted a picture or two on their Facebook/Instagram accounts. Like the day at the zoo, perhaps?
And that, obviously, offended someone enough to block my account. Hurrah!
But come to think of it, did someone in a country like India, with a population of 172 million Muslims, actually think that there was a need for a campaign which was hashtagged #TalktoaMuslim? I mean, like, really? It is baffling to even imagine that there are real people in this country who have NOT talked to a Muslim? What do they do when they meet Muslims in their schools and colleges, at workplaces, in restaurants, on public transport? They turn away? Don’t talk to them? Pretend they don’t exist? For a campaign like #TalktoaMuslim to have some meaning, any meaning at all, one has to first create conditions where Muslims are alienated enough that they are not spoken to, and then attempts have to be made to ‘’talk to them”. Now, that is how ridiculous this campaign is.
While the campaign in itself is laughable, what it really shows is how disorganized and clueless the liberals in this country are. While the right wing has a clearly chalked out agenda which they have been following for the last 70+ years, and visibly so since 1989, the liberals continue to out of depth with the existing reality. Not only are they lost, but their knee-jerk reactions, of which this campaign is an example, only serves to strengthen the rightwing. What we need in India is a considered, organized and intelligent response from the liberals – by which I mean, both Hindus and Muslims. The saffron agenda cannot be countered with silly hashtags like #TalktoaMuslim and #Notinmyname (yes that one too. Has anyone missed noticing how the lynching has continued unabated and even more brazenly, despite the nation-wide outrage and kilometer long human chains, last year?).
If the liberals really want a campaign, How about #TalktotheHindus? Tell them to stop killing the Muslims. That would be a great help. And, yes, let them eat beef. While at it, tell them to abolish the caste system. Otherwise it would be rather presumptuous of them to speak to anyone about anything, anyway. (Question to self: How does someone with a caste name even pretend to be a liberal?)
It is not as if the liberal Hindus are unaware of what is being done in and to this country for the last three decades. From the day the rath yatra left the Somnath temple in Gujarat in 1990, the rape and murder of Muslims has become a regular affair in the country. History, culture, mythology, folklore, practically everything has been used to gleefully kill, yes, actually kill, rape, and slaughter Muslims. And with unprecedented impunity. Any attempt to question this brazenness is met with incessant trolling, abuse and even murder (Remember Gauri?).
So, dear Hindu liberals, if you do not want to be seen as being complicit to the downfall of one of the greatest democracies in the world (yes, we have the potential) and the conversion of India into an autocratic state, what you need to do is break your own silence.
Fuck #TalktoaMuslim. #TalktotheHindus.
Post Script: As for #TalktoaMuslim. They don’t need you to talk to them. What they need is a talking to, from the liberal Muslims, who can tell them to leave their medieval mindset behind and step into the 21st century. Triple talaq and halala………. really!! And, yes, the damn burqa has to go.
But that is another story, for another day, maybe in more equal times…
Asma is a once-upon-a-time journalist, a sometimes writer, a constant fighter, and a disobedient dreamer.