My Sister Brought A Muslim To Dinner With My Modi Friendly Family
She’s a Muslim after all. And she did act like one.
Last month, my sister brought her friend who’s visiting Delhi and staying at our home to dinner with ours and my wife’s family. But first, I had to make a few phone calls and request everyone not to discuss politics over the course of dinner. I said we were going to have a guest, who apart from being a friend, was a Muslim.
I decided to make those calls, courtesy of our (Modi-friendly) Hindu families.
And it was somewhere in between those calls when I realized my family might have a ‘Muslim problem’.
I was quite aware that many Indian Hindus have a Muslim problem, but so far I was mostly blind towards my family’s role towards the larger picture.
Dinner With Muslim in the Time of Shaheen Bagh Protests
The timing of our guest couldn’t have been better, though. As for months now, hundreds of thousands of Indians have filled the streets to protest against the citizenship amendment act, forced by the government, that discriminates against the Muslims.
The government, in turn, has continued to take extreme measures to silence the voices and curb the protests. Under Modi, all dissent is conveniently framed as anti-national and curbed down using all means necessary. From massive internet shutdowns to imposing curfews, locking up of protesters, and brutal police crackdowns, targeting student protests in some of India’s top educational universities. The Prime Minister, too, played his part in inciting communal hatred. More than thirty people were reportedly killed in clashes with the police within the first thirty days of the protests.
The government maintains its stand that the law isn’t discriminatory. And this is just one such example of their continued agenda against the Muslims.
The BJP is famous for its ideology of a Hindu state which threatens the secular nature of the Indian constitution. People have been brainwashed, with fake news and fake narratives, largely by a media that’s paid to sell the government’s propaganda.
And most of them will easily buy these lies that fit their molds of years of sticking to the same wrong facts, rather than do the hard work and think for themselves.
My Family Doesn’t Deserve A Muslim
The lies are repeated so many times that people start to believe in them. Like, they believe that the country’s 14% Muslim population is all set to overtake the massive 80% Hindu population. And, one day, the Muslims will oppress us or, worse, throw us out. So, we have decided to not take any chances, and do to them, right now, what we fear might happen to us later—failing completely to recognize the irony in it.
I’m writing this as I’m afraid my family is guilty of siding with people with such mindsets. And they don’t deserve a Muslim, or a friend, at their table.
The problem with my family, as with most of humanity, is that they are stuck with this wrong idea that their religion is somehow superior. Combine that with their fear of Islam, and you’ve got a recipe for chaos, or in other words, the success of the BJP.
We’re all born into a religion. It’s an inheritance, just like our skin color, and even our nationality. What you inherit could be a privilege, or a curse, depending upon your circumstances. In an ideal world, it shouldn’t matter. And well, mostly, it doesn’t. At least not as harshly as it did throughout history. Thanks to humanity’s constant strives for equality. Think about the abolition of slavery, the right to vote for women, or the fight against colonialism, among other important victories.
Ashamed of the New Normal: Hating the Muslim
Once again, the BJP’s desperation is quite clear in the upcoming Assembly elections in Delhi where they compete against the Aam Aadmi Party. The BJP has stuck with propaganda politics and chosen to target Delhi’s Shaheen Bagh, which has become the epicenter of anti-CAA protests, led mostly by women, against a party that dares them to fight the election on progress and merit. I want to say this to the BJP, that they can’t keep using religion to serve their political interests, and to win elections. And they should be afraid of the modern Indian thinker and the Indian youth to call their bluff.
But first, we have to make sure that we don’t become a part of their propaganda, and a tool to spread their lies. I was ashamed that putting the Muslim community in a bad light had become the new normal in my family.
I was ashamed that I had to make those phone calls to make sure they shut up at dinner. And worst, I hated their guts for acting as hypocrites to make an exception for a friend.
She’s a Muslim after all. And she did act like one, as she enjoyed her food, looked at her phone a lot, went to the washroom a couple of times, which according to my wife is quite normal, and in the end thanked us for a great time. Remember, Muslims, like most people, are regular beings. It would be great if only we could stop talking behind their backs.
(Sumit Garg is an independent writer from Delhi. This is a personal blog, and the views expressed are the author’s own. The Quint neither endorses nor is responsible for them.)
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