“In logon ko to Bharat me rehne hi nahi dena chahiye” that is what my uncle declared while watching a “News Debate” on plight of Muslim women on ZEE Hindustan, yesterday. An evening before he used a demeaning word to describe Muslims, which he passed off very smoothly in his work related conversation.
I have seen him since childhood, though he has never been a liberal person, some years earlier, on the topic of muslims, he would only have biryani or sewayi or that neighbour who brings them on eid, to mention.
What has suddenly changed could be traced down to the whatsapp messages he has been bombarded with, and such “impartial” news debates which are staged NOT to bring out plight of Women, but to discredit Islam, in the most passive aggressive way.
Average uppercaste hindu men (certain sexist and casteist, more in number than you can imagine) were already insecure and uncomfortable with dalits and women becoming their bosses and by the muslims gaining influence. The whatsapp messages, mindless news debates on “Love jihad” and the “Intelligence information about Rohingyas being threat to the nation of India” have only helped creating an environment where now it is safe to be a bigot towards Muslims.
I am very sure that those upper caste hindu men and sometimes women who have similarly being passive aggressive towards Muslims and Islam on the social media, might be saying the EXACT same thing as my uncle did, behind closed doors. It is a matter of time it would be okay to say that publically.
People like my uncle are not going on streets and commit acts of violence, but they are going to vote.
Dear educated and wise citizens of India, WE ARE LATE, to call out Islamophobia. We are also guilty of indulging into the delusion of Hinduism grandeur (which is similar to race superiority). We have been an accomplice in the unpatriotic act of encouraging Islamophobia by remaining silent and not confronting the bigots in real time.
I do not know how would we be able to cure this relatively new disease of Islamophobia, but I am sure it starts with a realisation. It is a journey to realise that we do not need to be “great” to be relevant to the world, or superior, as sense of superiority in us somewhere derives from the sense of inferiority.
We have recently seen a protest rally in support of a rapist. As a society, we have fallen so down to be Casteist, Sexist, Homophobic, Transphobic and Islamophobic. We can do good with introspection now, we need to heal and it starts with this acknowledgement of our great fall.