Analysis

Anti-National, Communal Elements...!

Who should be blamed for the communal prejudice and bias that still prevails in this country against Muslims? Equally important is the question as to why has this been allowed to continue? The blatant manner in which Muslims continue to be targeted and also murdered by extremist, communal elements is hardly suggestive of needed action being taken to check the same. Yes, considering that cow has religious importance for Hindus, those practising other religions are expected not to indulge in practises that may be abusive for the former. However, of late, the manner in which elements have sprung up as “cow protectors” and have aggressively targeted Muslims, their intention is hardly suggestive of being religious and that too in the interest of the cow. After all, an impression has been created of Muslims being “guilty” of being in possession of cow meat, even before this has been verified and proved.

Whatever be the status of the so-called “cow protectors”, it is disturbing that they have chosen to take law in their own hands, decide on “criminal activity” of Muslims, pronounce them as guilty and also punish them as they choose to. Equally serious is the fact that this disturbing trend is not showing any sign of coming to an end. This is a pointer to the prevalence of severe shortcomings in the Indian system, legal, political and also social. Clearly, quite a few so-called representatives of the Indian system have chosen to literally turn a blind eye to the illegal activities of the so-called cow protectors. What does this suggest?

Muslims have been targeted for no fault of theirs. Tragically, communal elements indulging in such activities have in most cases been spared. Surely, the sparing of these extremist elements hardly speaks well of the manner in which constitutional, political and administrative duties as well as responsibilities are being practiced. In fact, it would not be an error to hold them accountable for abusing their responsibilities. After all, when a criminal is deliberately ignored, it amounts to encouraging similar elements to continue indulging in such crime. And this hardly is in keeping with the constitutional duties each citizen is obliged to live up to. Also, abuse of constitutional rights of the Muslim, for no fault of his, cannot be ignored.

Perhaps, greater attention needs to be paid to correcting a diseased, communal pattern that tends to easily surface to target Muslims. What else is the global tendency projecting Muslims as “terrorists” suggestive of? This prevails in India, too. Even though statistics do not support the assumption of them being linked with terrorists, such an attitude regarding Muslims has been deliberately created in our country. This naturally gives rise to the question as to why should innocent Muslims be blamed for being needlessly linked with terrorism? The fault lies with people holding such negative opinion, without any basis or evidence. They are to be blamed for nurturing a biased opinion. Yet, barely any attention is paid to correct such faulty notions about Muslims.

The same may be said about numerous incorrect assumptions held about Muslims in India. It may be noted that this trend largely prevails among sections who have not interacted much with Muslims. Lack of interaction or none at all plays a major part in easily poisoning their minds regarding Muslims. Thus, when they come in contact with Muslims, they have a biased opinion about them and this also affects their attitude and behaviour towards Muslims. Though India has the second largest population of Muslims in the world, here they form less than 15 percent of the total population. Thus, there would be nothing stunning about more than fifty percent of the country’s population having never really interacted with Muslims.

This factor is, to a degree, also responsible for ill-conceived, largely manufactured beliefs being propagated and held about Muslims in India. These include wrong assumptions about Muslim males having two or more wives, the ease with which they can divorce their wives, suspicions about their national identity and so forth. Certainly, these false views are considerably responsible for generating wrong and communally-biased views about Muslims. Again, Indian Muslims are made to suffer for a fault for which they are not responsible. Sadly, continuance of such false views has only encouraged extremist elements not only to hold negative opinions about Muslims but also target them. Clearly, if sincere effort was made to check and correct false opinions held about Muslims, there would have been little reason for rise of communal prejudice targeting them.  

The tragedy is that at present this communalism is assuming increasingly dangerous proportions. The manner in which the so-called cow protectors have begun targeting Muslims is just a minor example of this harsh reality. Little importance is being given to the fact that each time Muslims are victimized, the culprits are abusing as well as violating their constitutional obligations and national duties, which includes democratic and secular principles. But while nationalism of Muslims is easily suspected, little attention is paid to punishing communal elements who freely indulge in anti-national and illegal activities!    

This article appeared in The Milli Gazette print issue of 1-15 October 2016 on page no. 11

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