It’s a hard time being a Muslim right now. There’s general Islamophobia all over the world, and in India too. The number of increased lynchings confirm that. Depending on your leaning, you will blame Muslims for it, or you will understand that internationally, villianising Muslims is a way to de-stabilise countries with oil wells, and in India, it is a result of Hindutva politics (which affect not just Muslims but women, queer people, caste minorities and even men).
Given the recent scenario of sexual assaults, the trans bill/act and the citizenship act, it is quite easy to feel despair and feel hopeless. I keep questioning, fine, the government have their agenda, but why do the people hate us so much? What have we ever done to them. Most muslims I know, live with their heads down, trying to stay way out of trouble. Yes, if the question is of the small number of anti-social elements, of course they exist, just like Sadhvi Pragya exists, but her existence doesn’t mean every Hindu has to prove that they are not terrorists.
Then there is the additional layer of being a woman, who has people dependent on her. In this case, going to protests too, is not easy. Because the incidence of sexual and physical assault is quite high, and no one will pay the bills/do the labour if anything happens to a protestor.
And without the viable outlet of slogans, what can one do? The despair increases. But a look around, and I saw that clients (those to whom I offer therapy services) and friends, are having difficult conversations with families, trying to explain to them, not to be this way, to care for the rights of others. What do these friends and clients have to gain, except from the wrath of their families? And yet they do this labour.
The only explanation, is that for them, this is the labour of love. The love of humanity. The love of knowing that none of us belong, till all of us belong. None of us are happy, till all of us are happy.
There’s students all over India protesting, regardless of the religion they belong to. The scenes are so reminiscent of Rang De Basanti.
Yes, there are people with extreme beliefs, and some people who genuinely thought this government will bring change, voted for them. But, there are so many who feel this is wrong. So many who have changed their stance.
And now, its starting to feel, there are enough who feel the wrong. There are enough, to give hope. There are enough to re-build.