If there is one thing that really gets to me about all the criticism that Muslims face in India, it is hearing this “I know you are all not terrorists but the rest of you need to be more vocal” or some equally crappy version of this attitude.
So I want to say this, we are all not social activists. Sorry..not sorry. And there is a perfectly good reason why you should be talking to my hand instead of parroting that line to me.
Because seriously the problem isn’t even Muslims.
To put it plainly and simply, Indian Muslims are among the weakest communities in India and the weak do not have a voice even if they scream themselves hoarse. Muslims are both economically backward and vastly uneducated, on par with lower castes.
And as Rakesh Basant, professor of economics at IIM-A has pointed out in a study, this is due to the lack of ‘supply’ of basic schools or educational institutions in areas of Muslim and other marginalized communities. Such organizational apathy spreads across the spectrum in our country. So sadly most Muslims are busy fulfilling their most basic needs to even think about activism or being ‘vocal’ whatever that means.
Secondly, in India, Muslims disproportionately form a large part of those under trial. This just means that apart from being dirt poor, Muslims are also more likely to be in jails and many even on false charges, bye bye basic life.
Thirdly the line between terrorists and common Muslims blurs politically and otherwise when it comes to fighting terrorism, radicalism etc. You cannot insult a whole community and then expect them to support you in demonizing them even more.
When you alienate a whole community by unfairly associating their faith with terrorism, anything they do is suspicious, anything they say is debatable/unreliable, anything wrong that happens to them is out of provocation, anything other than a confession of their crime is a victim card or anti-national sentiment. It’s classic catch 22.
Fourthly, your assumption that Muslims need to somehow ‘rise up’ against extremism is part of the problem. Its a reflection of how some people think that all Muslims have ears to the ground and are having normal interactions with their Muslim friends while awkwardly ignoring the pile of guns and bombs in their friends and neighbors’ living rooms. Just..no
Also, it builds on the attitude that Muslims support terrorism and so they do not counter it even though it is in their power to do so.
These are important and selectively ignored criteria while judging Indian Muslims and their dedication to fighting terrorism since right wing fanatics and bigots are not in the business of being pragmatic and/or objective.
The problem doesn’t end there. On those occasions when Muslims do speak up, it is either completely ignored or invalidated as not being enough or not acknowledged at all.
So ultimately there seems no need to prove anything or go out of one’s way to clear the air for people who keep moving the goal post and refuse to recognize their own prejudice.