Author: Prajjwal R T
(In the eyes of my Muslim friend)
It has always been a frightening moment for me whenever horrendous terror incidents used to occur during my school days. A quiet Mulsim colony revamped and recovered from the previous destruction, yet again had to bear the brunt of the situation. Houses and cars set ablaze, the pelting of stones, vandalism of shops and properties took place occasionally in our colony.
I used to reconsider my decision to attend school anymore and elucidated on how to overcome my fears this time. The eyes of the nation glued to the television broadcast on how Pakistan was the entire brainchild behind the terror operations and soon paving its way into a directionless debate where the term Muslim makes an impetuous presence in the conversations. It is at this moment I start to experience trepidation.
My schoolmates named me as jihad and a terrorist, words too sensitive to be burdened on a young child. I soon realized that even though I suppressed myself in terms of my attire, my views, or me being a Muslim, the tags and derogatory remarks showed no sign to cease. It was because my name yelps the religion I belong to and questions whether I had the right to belong to a Hindu dominated nation. When I leaf through the history book, Indo-Pak wars and communalism is more pronounced while topics such as peace, harmony, and respect towards other religious identities fail to grab a space in our bulky books. The long-standing discrimination feasts over our fears and cripples the mere existence of being born to a Muslim family.
The Ram-Mandir verdict witnessed a repugnant reaction, marking it as a victory of Hindus against the Muslims. The footage of a man coercing a Muslim to chant Jai Shree Ram failed to hit the limelight. On the other hand, the recent mob violence by Muslim protestors in Bengaluru took to national headlines without any tactful intervention of government in such abysmal situations. Growing up, I learned about the existence of something called Islamophobia, prevailing in the far west, post the 9/11 attacks, and perceived that our ideologies and our religion as a whole were to blame. It was not just in India, but prevalent across the entire globe, blemishing the lives of millions of innocent Muslims.
Why is it that a specific religion isn’t vouchsafed when people hunt animals for hides and ivories while slaughtering goats for meat and beef, is considered as a shameful and heinous sin committed by Muslims? Growing up in a Muslim family has never been easy for me. When one learns that I hail from a Muslim background, their perspective and demeanor towards me change in a split of a second, so is the plight of several people out there suffering the repercussions of a brutal world.