I am an Indian Muslim (Poem)

Indian Muslims

I am an Indian Muslim.
I’ve been living in this country for past 1000 years or so,
Yet you consider me an outsider.
I have adopted many cultural practices of yours,
Be it in marriages, in costumes, in language or in food.
I’ve even adopted your caste system,
Your Sindoor, Your Mangalsutr, Your rituals,
Yet you feel that your culture faces a threat from me.
My dietary habits are same as yours,
Yet you consider me a beef eater, and insolent towards the cow you worship.
Even though the Govt of India is the largest beef exporter of the world.
I am an Indian Muslim.
I’ve played Holi with you,
Visited Puja pandals with you
Sported the Tilak as well.
Yet you consider me an orthodox proselytizer.
My literacy rate is at par with SCs and STs,
My representation in bureaucracy is mere 3%,
Same is the situation in other services,
Be it police, judiciary or the army,
Yet I’ve never demanded any special treatment in recruitment process.
I am an Indian Muslim.
Polygamy in my community is lower than among tribals and Hindus,
My population growth rate has been declining,
Yet you feel threatened by political demagoguery of “Hum Paanch Hamaare Pachchees”
I’ve painted your homes,
Welded your grills,
Tailored your clothes,
Woven your textiles,
Served your culinary tastes.
I pull the rickshaws,
Weave your carpets,
Repair your punctures,
Service your vehicles,
Do all menial jobs.
I constitute the largest community living Below Poverty Line,
Yet you consider me an unduly privileged class thriving at the cost of others.
The Hajj subsidy given in my name,
Goes to Air India,
Yet you feel that I’ve been pampered by ‘secular’ parties.
I’ve borne the brunt of riots,
Orchestrated by virtually every party,
In every nook and corner of the country,
Yet you feel that I’ve been a beneficiary of ‘minority appeasement’.
I am an Indian Muslim.
I have my own share of faults,
I am not an angel,
Neither am I a devil,
I am as mortal as you,
As vulnerable to vices as you,
As compassionate as you.
It pains to give an explanation of misdeeds committed by ruffians in the name of my community.
It pains when I am asked to apologize for inhuman deeds over which I have no role or control.
I am struggling to get out of the clutches of orthodox mullahs,
To clear the image of my community
Painted black by the unscrupulous media.
To live in harmony with you all,
To enjoy the diversity of this land and its culture.
However lack of education and control of orthodox mullahs are an impediment in my way.
But you are educated.
How did you fall victim to political demagoguery?
What eroded the trust? The bonhomie we used to share, since ages?
Can’t you see that bigotry today is a worldwide phenomenon?
Engulfing human lives?
Threatening Love and Trust?
What is stopping you from rejecting hate embracing love?
I am an Indian Muslim.
And I need you.
And I believe,
You need me too,
As much as I do.
Coz I believe –
Peace doesn’t come of its own.
Those who love peace must learn to organize themselves as effectively as those who love bigotry.

Image: Business India



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