Muslims in 21st Century India

Delhi Jama Masjid

Photo Credit: Reuters

India, as we all know, is a land of various cultures, languages, religions & beliefs. This very distinct feature of being a diverse nation further solidifies the ‘Secularist’ facade of the Constitution of India. The fundamental right of an Indian citizen to practice his/her religion, without external influence per se, aims to leverage the coexistence of different communities that the country proudly accommodates.

The outpour here is a feeble attempt to substantiate the view of secularism indoctrinated in the Indian Constitution.  If I analyze the situation of Muslims in today’s India, the brush would only paint a gory picture. Thanks to the intrusion of those nationalists cum ruffians, who leave no stone unturned to disturb the serenity & harmony of our country. Aftermath of this all – it has virtually become a sin to be a Muslim in India. In these times, almost every aspect of a Muslim’s life is under strict surveillance. With the ever proliferating Saffronism & downtrending GDP, the motherly sympathies are only for Muslims in terms of what they eat, what they wear, how they worship, how or who they marry & even how they get divorced! In my view, the condition deteriorated only after the ruling authority, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), came into power in 2014. It catalyzed the efforts to promote their ideology of ‘Hindutva’, along with the support of other political parties like the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) & the Shiv Sena.

I have lost count of how many innocent people have been butchered in the guise of beef-eating in innumerable instances of lynching across the country. On the other hand, when it comes to the choice of cloths, a Muslim women wearing a Burqa, which is the outer garment worn by women in public, is seen as an oppressed female soliciting affection from the outer world. The so called feminists conveniently ignore the fact that covering the body by a Burqa is no oppression, rather it is adorned to protect oneself from a number of social evils.

To talk about other barriers to practicing religion in greater detail, I would clawback to the recently concluded festive season of Eidul Adha. The Islamic practice of sacrificing certain animals was questioned yet again & debated about 24×7 on news channels. I find it utterly illogical that how can a sacred ritual, which aims to feed the poor, be a matter of concern to some. According to a report by the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) and the Organisation for Economic Cooperation (OECD), India is the third-biggest beef exporter in the world & would likely hang onto this position through the next decade. It would be interesting to note that the beef exporters in the country are predominantly non-Muslims. Above all this, hundreds of thousands of animals are killed by leading restaurant chains around the world throughout the year, but the ruckus is only when Muslims sacrifice, that too for a generous cause.

These issues are actually leading to an increase in religious intolerance among masses & paving a way for anti-Islamic fanaticism. If Muslims continue to be targeted in this fashion, the Constitutional setup of a ‘Secular State’ would be crushed & rendered as a mere literary adornment.