Response to ‘Indian Muslims: Dilemmas and Panacea’-1

WITH regard to the article titled “Indian Muslims: Dilemmas and Panacea”, published in this newspaper on 4 February 2021 in which the author has suggested that Muslims should introspect and improve their community image through a multi-pronged strategy. The author suggests that Indian Muslims should unite and focus on education and cleanliness to get out of the present state of affairs. He seems to blame Indian Muslims for their present condition. It is not that Muslims themselves do not want to get involved with the government but it is the government that denies them any such opportunity. In fact, not only are they denied opportunities but through several laws and judgements, Muslims are marginalized and excluded. Various laws that seem to vilify and implicate muslims, were brought and the decisions that were taken were not because Muslims are divided, uneducated and do not focus on cleanliness but it was because of the ideology of the current dispensation. The best that came of united Muslims in India was the resistance against CAA-NRC but it was met with brute force in Jamia Milia, Aligarh Muslim University and Shaheen Bagh. Muslim students and activists like Sharjeel Imam and Dr. Kafeel Khan who expressed their views against the laws were jailed. How does a community in the face of such systemic injustice introspect and change their condition through education, cleanliness and unity?

Right now, the only factor that is responsible for Muslim community’s current “fate and dilemmas” is systemic anti Muslim sentiment. The battles that Indian Muslims are presently fighting are truly existential and cannot be resolved by putting the onus on the community itself. One cannot put the blame of oppression on the oppressed. We need to recognise that there’s nothing inherently wrong in Muslims that justifies their marginalisation. A community is responsible for acting dutifully and responsibly. It is not responsible for what is deemed to make it “deserve” marginalisation, because nothing does. This is only victim blaming.

Samid Pandit

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