Do Muslims In India Really Feel Alienated?

As much as technology would make you believe; not every thing around here is binary. There are things which are a tad complex & won’t fit into your typical cliches. This is one among those things. Muslims in India are a complex lot, just as diverse as are Hindus or any other community. If you were to ask this same question to a urban- bred Muslim who’s highly accomplished & has had a privileged upbringing certainly he’d have never experienced first- hand discrimination & won’t surely feel alienated about anything. This tells you one important thing, as people climb up the ladder of social hierarchy religion, caste & other social markers simply obfuscate. Personally, I believe class difference resonates more than any other social- marker. A poor Hindu who lives by the street & begs every day has more in common with his fellow who accidentally happens to be a Muslim. There’s little in common between a sophisticated & suave Muslim man who travels between continents & his coreligionist who happens to beg by the street just outside his gated community.

This aside, one can’t gloss over the fact that the Muslim community in general is hapless lot of poverty stricken people (a fourth of India’s beggars are Muslims) or the fact that disproportionate number of Muslims are languishing in jails across India simply because they can’t afford legal help. Then, there are riots from Post Babri Masjid demolition, Gujarat pogrom to Muzzafarnagar. In majority of the instances Muslims are at the receiving end both in causalities & economic losses (in many instances the establishment is in hand in gloves with the rioters who target Muslims). To add to this, there are politicians who love stereotyping Muslim men as terrorists & Muslim women as ‘baby machines’ (I’ll let you out a secret Muslims in India are actually on a secret mission to demographically overrun this country!).

Oh! I didn’t want to paint it all as gloomy. I’m an optimist, I do believe that there are problems & certainly there are solutions. Some decades into the future when India would have become more prosperous & a middle- income nation, things as these would certainly vanish.

(This post first appeared on Quora)

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