Opinions

Deciphering the Muslim Indians' Silence

'Silence in the face of injustice is complicity with the oppressor' — Ginette Sagan

Shivam Vij has written an excellent piece on the silence of the Muslim Indians in his article “Their silence is not helping Indian Muslims – they must speak up and be heard”. A thought-provoking article with so much of ground realities and food for thought; a picturesque reminder to the Muslim Indian community that there is no one to stand by them and that they must fend for themselves in the cumulative communalization of India.

Shivam is right in saying so, because the general citizenry of India is so dumb, obtuse, and spineless that it cannot differentiate black from white; and the saga of this cumulative communalization of India must be recited to them with fervor time and again, and that too by Muslims in isolation. However, there are many aspects to this silence of the Muslims that remain undocumented in Shivam’s piece, and I shall try to put those pieces together to complete the puzzle.

Shivam starts by disclosing the primary reason of this silence – fear:

“What is the reason for this silence? It is mostly fear, my friends said. Nobody wants to stand up and speak out for fear of further reprisal. This has been happening for a long time. Since the fall of the Babri Masjid, there have been fewer and fewer Muslims wanting to speak as Muslims in mainstream public discourse.”

Good observation by Shivam. Muslims are indeed scared and apprehensive. They need to learn to be assertive and brave from the general citizenry of India that has so bravely engraved this saga of cumulative communalization of India since the fall of the Babri Masjid more than 25 years ago. They must learn how the brave Indian citizenry has been busy in incrementally yielding power to the Saffron Brigade and painting the country Saffron (and it’s so patriotic – after all Saffron is one of the colors of the National Flag) ever since 1992. It’s high time Muslim Indians should come out of this mold of scathing fear and be assertive, but first let them throw away their skullcaps down the drains to ensure that their voices are not drooled out through these nitty-jetty domes of repressiveness (Ramchandra Guha shall help in amplifying their voices then). Let them first burn their burqas to ensure that their voices are not sucked up in the black holes of this inordinate, regressive, and distasteful overdress. Then, as maintained by Shivam, there will be “nothing like a community speaking for itself. – ‘Jo dar gaya, woh mar gaya’.” Incidentally, Marathas, Jats, Patels and Dalitsresemble the Gabbar Singhs of the New India and their voices make sense because they don’t wear skullcaps and burqas.

Shivam further maintains that “As the fake charges against Dr Kafeel Khan in Gorakhpur showed, even a good Muslim is a bad idea.” This bad idea of a good Muslim is actually a litmus test for the Muslim Indian community to prove their goodness and loyalty at every possible occasion. Muslim Indians must realize that goodness is demonstrated not in actions or deeds towards fellow citizens, but in tail-wagging iteration that they have never tended to Pakistan, and that Islam prescribes a Muslim to be loyal to his nation. So what if this has been repeated so many times that now everybody knows about it and it has eventually become an imprudent rhetoric – they must still harp on it nevertheless to be assertive. They must also turn the litmus test positive by hollering and bellowing that Muslim Indians are more Indians than Muslims. Haven’t the assertive Dalits, Marathas, et all shown how to demonstrate more Indian-ness by rampaging national and public properties in their rallies? Now this is some assertiveness in real sense. What will the Millennial Muslim youthachieve by storing and forwarding Owaisi’s videos on their smartphones?

Shivam believes that “Muslims have internalised the idea that they must keep quiet. And that this is a strategic silence of the Muslims because if Muslims decry over anything, it will offer BJP the opportunity to call them regressive. This is one of the most potent observations by Shivam, and I must congratulate him on this. The only thing that BJP really needs for the success of its hate campaign is the opportunity to call Muslims regressive. The other smaller part of BJP’s success saga shall be scripted by the “progressive” Indian citizenry that patronizes lynching and mob justice by its judiciously intoxicating silence towards religious belligerence. This “progressive” Indian citizenry must not fall into any indoctrinated trap of religious affiliation of hate crimes to lose its focus. A criminal is a criminal; a rapist is a rapist; Nirbhaya and Asifa are just two sides of the same coin. If Muslims decried Asifa rape case as a hate crime against their religious identity, they constitute a retrogressive hazard towards religious polarization. Therefore, to uproot BJP in the upcoming Generation Elections, the young, smartphone generation of Muslim Indian community must not resign themselves to the fate of electoral politics. Rather, they must thrive on the strength of WhatsApp rumors – it has great power and always goes unchecked and unquestioned!

Muslim Indians have also failed to recognize the real Muslim Indian leadership – it’s not about just Azam Khan and Owaisi. Muslims today have Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi, Shahnawaz Hussain, MJ Akbar, and so many others of their likes to look up to. The Muslims who have floated the suicidal idea that the community should boycott the 2019 electionsare actually tangled and imbecile community deflectors. They don’t want the Muslim leadership to strengthen and the secular parties to unite. This may just be a publicity stunt; these deflectors don’t really see the simple arithmetic of how BJP can get a whopping 400 seats because of the absence of a staggering 14% of Muslim electorate. How can they not see that the miniscule 86% of the electorate will not help BJP win by any means? How stupid, frustrating, and annoying! Muslim Indians therefore, must still vote for secular parties even if it means allying with caste politics and continued betrayal and infidelity for the Muslims in general. After all, having their unequivocal voice in Indian polity is akin to affiliation with Muhammad Ali Jinnah. And displaying the portrait of Muhammad Ali Jinnah as a historical artifact in a Muslim educational institution is an even bigger crime.

Shivam remarks that “…if Muslims appear to be on the right side of the moral argument, the BJP will not be able to blame them.” This is another enigma for Muslim Indians as pointed out by Shivam – they belie the right side of all moral arguments. For example, just see how immoral it is for them to announce time and again that they will not stop short of anything but abiding by Supreme Court’s judgement in the Babri Masjid dispute. After all, a dilapidated structure in ruins that was pulled down as part of a legal dissension of the Hindutva cadre must be acceded to the majoritarianism of the elite Indian democracy without inquest. When Muslim Indians unnecessarily cry over the spilt milk, it is bound to vex the collective conscience of not just BJP and Saffron Brigade, but the progressive Indian citizenry as a whole. “Hindutvawaadis have a right to break the law and get away with it” and the progressive Indian citizenry has the moral responsibility to confide in it in the larger interest of the spirit of India. Muslim Indians must also stop offering congregational prayers in Masjids, procreating in large numbers, and eating beef because all this “beefiness” of the community encroaches upon the right to freedom of Indian citizenry. This is also paramount to upholding the right side of all moral arguments.

Another insightful revelation by Shivam states that “One result of this strategic silence is that opportunist mullahs seeking 15 minutes of fame have occupied TV studios. They dance to the tune Hindutva wants them to, playing the bad, intolerant Muslim.” This is such an irresponsible engagement by the Muslim Indian community. In spite of enjoying an unprecedented control over the mainstream Indian media today; Muslim Indian community has failed badly in selecting respectable panelists of Muslim representatives to be sent for media debates. The Muslim Indian community is duty-bound to send such representatives who are tolerant and can flawlessly sing Vande Mataram with fluency on television debates. These representatives must also know how to benignly acclaim and herald Savarkar and Godse, the real architects of the New India. Muslim Indians today have access to impressive public platforms, including railway station platforms and lynching crime scenes, where they can “assert their constitutional rights regardless of electoral politics, make interventions in the mainstream public spaces, speaking as Muslims and for Muslims”. It’s really intriguing and daunting to decipher what stops them from doing so.

Martin Luther King had once remarked: “In the End, we will remember not the words of our enemies, but the silence of our friends.” I wish to alter this quotation a little for the Muslim Indian community – In the End, we will remember not the persecutionof our enemies, but the scholastic impassivityof our friends.”

Sharjeel Ahmad is MBA and an Economics graduate. He is an instructional designer by profession and is presently based in Saudi Arabia. He has keen interest in social, economic, and political issues facing Indian populace, with special emphasis on minority issues.

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