The Neelesh Misra Show Ep 6: In Conversation With Young Muslims 

What is the first thing that comes to your mind when you hear the word “Muslim”?

Updated14 Apr 2018, 01:22 PM IST
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3 min read

If my name was Neel Mohammad, then my worldview would have been slightly different, right? The street, the city, the religion, the country that we are born in – these are facets that give us a perspective as soon as we are born.

Like I always say, in today's furious, one-sided world, we are never able to see things from the other side. We are unable to introspect. We are so busy finding faults in other people that we are never able to analyse ourselves objectively.

So, for one minute, I decided to step into Neel Mohammad’s shoes. A few questions came to me. Muslims make up almost 14 percent of India's population.

The Neelesh Misra Show.
The Neelesh Misra Show.
(Photo: Quint Hindi)

The Sachar Committee report sheds some light on the condition of the Muslim community in India. The report states that Muslims are worse off than the Dalit community in the country – oft considered the group that is most deprived of development.

When did the Muslim community get to such a state? Who is responsible for it? Is it the government’s fault? Or are the leaders of the community to blame?

I asked a few young Muslims about the community.

Who Are The Leaders of The Muslim Community?

“This is a very peculiar situation. But our community’s leadership does not have a vision for the next five years. The leadership does not know which way is the world heading,” one student told me.

Sir, I really can’t think of even one leader. Any leader speaking about the Muslim community does not have even ground-level information.
Ahmed Bashar, student
The Neelesh Misra Show
The Neelesh Misra Show
(Photo Courtesy: Neelesh Misra)

“Muslim leaders use our issues to get votes,” another student said, adding, “They do not represent out thoughts. They bring out their own thought and project it before the world as ours. This projects a bad image of the Muslim community”.

Another student blamed leaders of the community for making them look like victims. “They make us look victimised. We are not that victimised. I say the leaders who support Muslims should come and look at the ground level. They should see that Muslims are not that victimised. They have been uplifted. There are some concerns. But making it an agenda to win is not right”.

Another student made a pertinent observation. “This is a funny thing about the media. During discussions about legal rights they have a shahi imam sitting there. Where there should be a vice-chancellor or a legal expert sitting, there is a shahi imam”.

“Read” is the first word of the Quran Sharif. Isn’t that beautiful? However, according to the 2011 Census, Muslims account for the majority of India’s uneducated citizens.

“If you have to go to China to gain knowledge, then go” – it is strange to think that a community that revers scriptures which encourage education lags so far behind in terms of education.

Sayyad Ahmad Khan, who founded the gorgeous Aligarh Muslim University, stressed on the importance of faith as well as education. After all, who says that someone who prays five times a day, or someone who goes to the temple twice a day cannot be an astrophysicist?

What is the first thing that comes to your mind when you hear the word “Muslim”? Is it an image of a person in a white kurta pyjama and a skullcap? With a beard and kohl-lined eyes, perhaps?

For years now, we have been labelling Muslims with these harmful stereotypes and perceived notions. These projected images are then spread by the media. The world views Muslims through this foggy lens – as do political figures.

The sad part is that a large section of Muslims have started viewing their issues incorrectly and have started casting their votes on these factors.

When the Haj subsidy is removed, voices are raised in protest, but why does no one demand to know why 31 percent Muslims still live below the poverty line? When Muslims are wronged in other countries, protests are held. But why does no one question the low number of educated Muslims? Or about the low percentage of Muslim employees in the Indian Railways? Or why there are only 3 percent Muslims in civil services and 1.6 percent in foreign services.

Is the Muslim community introspecting on all these issues? There are more questions, and I’m on the quest to find the answers.

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Published: 14 Apr 2018, 01:19 PM IST
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