The backlash was just waiting to happen

Nupur Sharma’s obnoxious unleash against the Prophet of Islam, was not just blatantly communal but against all the basics of civility. Aren’t we taught in our homes that one should respect all faiths ?

This had to happen! This backlash had to come whether from the foreign lands and their rulers or from the Indian Muslim community.

Nupur Sharma’s obnoxious-communal-horrific unleash against the Prophet of Islam, was not just blatantly communal but against all the basics of civility. Aren’t we taught in our homes, right from the very childhood, that one should respect all faiths and religions and beliefs…In fact, in all civilized societies the very basic concept of respect and love for the other forms the very basics to the very existence. But see what dismal lows we have reached, with communal poisoning ruining us. I would go to the extent of stating that more worrying is this communal poisoning than any of the pollutants in the atmosphere! As this poisonous unleash is destroying our age old civilization, our diverse culture, our everyday living, our infrastructure, our children and us, our very future.

I’m not being very original in stating that if you stretch a bit too much there’s bound to be reaction. Under the present ruling Right-Wing government, the hounding and humiliation of the largest minority community of India, the Musalmaans, has been on …ongoing.

Even a day back, news reports surfaced of blatant targeted communal attacks on Muslim fakirs in Uttar Pradesh’s Gonda district. And last week one of the barbaric instances of police torture was reported from Uttar Pradesh’s district Badaun – when a 22-year-old Muslim vegetable vendor was tortured by the Uttar Pradesh police and two unidentified people, over suspicion of smuggling cow meat…the tortured man’s mother stated that Sub-inspector Satya Pal inserted a stick inside her son’s rectum and gave him electric shocks several times. And when the cops realized that they  had  picked up a ‘wrong person’ they gave him Rs 100 and  sent him home …that tortured- injured  man suffering from seizures, is  now admitted in a  hospital, where  the doctors have stated his  nervous system  has been left severely damaged because of the police  torture! Shouldn’t the accused cops and the two ‘unidentified men’ be charged with semi-murder of an innocent young man. After all, once the nervous system is destroyed, what’s left of the person! Shouldn’t the victim be provided the best medical care by the State! Yes. That’s the least the establishment could do.

The communal situation has deteriorated to such an extent that every possible alibi is put forth to hound and humiliate a Musalmaan. Alibis range from his or her ‘terror links ‘, ‘anti–national’ stand, ‘ hijab or the head scarf and  the skull cap, ‘cow slaughter…beef’,  ‘As- salaam – alaikum’ greetings (May peace  be on you).

Alibis could range from a this to that, but the targeted attacks are only compounding. And because of the poisonous propaganda and communal perceptions, innocents are targeted and tortured and ruined.

New Delhi: In this file photo dated Sunday, May 1, 2022, BJP Spokesperson Nupur Sharma during a programme at Delhi University. BJP suspended Sharma from party membership over her alleged remarks about Prophet Muhammad, on Sunday, June 5, 2022. (PTI Photo/Manvender Vashist)(PTI06_05_2022_000167B)

In fact, weeks after the Modi government took charge the second time, in the summer of 2019,  there were blatant attacks on the  Muslims. The most blatant was the killing of the 24- year-old Muslim man, Tabrez Ansari, in Jharkhand. An orphan, he was visiting his ancestral village to get married but  before he could get back  to his place of work, Pune, he was lynched by a  mob of  Right-Wing goons, after forcing  him to chant  ‘Jai Shri  Ram…Jai Shri Hanuman’ slogans. Tying him to an electric pole, they beat him the entire night. Even when the police came on the scene, instead of shifting Tabrez to the nearest hospital, they threw him into a prison hell-hole. Not just that, they did not arrest any of the Hindutva goons who had assaulted Tabrez. Only much later, after Tabrez was declared dead and videos of those goons thrashing him went viral, that those typical reactions did the rounds…There’d been no lessening of communal attacks even after that brutal killing of Tabrez Ansari. News reports surfaced of Muslim men forced to chant Hindutva slogans. Mind you, even after they chanted those slogans, there was little guarantee of their survival.

Mind you, I have been a witness to several communally surcharged phases in the recent history of the country, but the communal unleash had never been so blatant and brutal and barbaric as it is today.With the political climate turning murkier and blatantly communal by the day, strangest possible twisted notions of the ‘other’ are doing the rounds. Myths are manufactured and facts get twisted to dent the very image of the Muslims. All sorts of wild notions about the Muslims are being made to circulate among the masses so that there’s  negativity hovering around…so that Muslims stand bypassed and boycotted, if not  hounded and humiliated.

Why should the largest minority community of this country sit reduced to this third-class status by the political rulers who want to rule just about somehow! By distorting if not changing the very narrative, spreading the communal virus, unleashing violence. And then speak in different voices, to confuse the masses and with that halt a collective outcry. …There seems a blatant strategy by the Right-Wing lobbies to portray Islam and its followers in dark shades. The visual media misses no opportunity to dwell on the negatives to the community. Also, non-issues are churned overtime. Wrong perceptions and misconceptions are projected. All sort of wild theories in circulation.

If only the concerned and responsible citizen groups in the country insist on this  basic essential  corrective measure: The various myths and misconceptions and wrong negative portrayals about the Indian Muslims should  stand corrected. If this happens, then perhaps, the communal onslaughts and growing hate for the ‘other’ would lessen.

The concerned citizens of the country will have to step in. Now and immediately. It is time to cry halt to the dangerous communal build-ups!


( end of the column  –  HUMRA  QURAISHI)