During one of the usual chats in the whatsapp group of ex class mates, i was horrified by the unadulterated bigotry about muslims being “dirty” which came as a shock to me for its rabidity and as an unapologetic statement of fact. Interestingly or horrifyingly that was the complete U turn from the earlier retort by my friend who opined that Muslims in general in India are living like Kings in India, when Sachar Committee report was stated, the 916 bigoted comment began.
I left the conversation mid way as it was too much for me to take. To be honest i am no sympathiser of Islam or its religio political ideology becoming all the more terrifying as it has under its wing extremists, who are more than willing to kill others and themselves in the name of islam. Although much of other dominant religions like Christianity has its hoary past in crusades, inquisition even Hinduism with its so called “peace” loving smrithis and sruthis has unleashed untold miseries to anyone who had questioned the supremacy of Vedas or Gita or the denial of casteism amongst its staunch believers perpetuating casteism in turn, Islam still edges them due to various reasons.Some of them include- wahabism supported by oil money of Saudi, the support of orthodoxy as virtue, the almost static belief that context is unimportant while interpreting texts.
But the “intolerance debate” trolls feel that such criticism of Islam is license to spit venom on muslims thus exposing their bigotry. Much of the internet savvy upper caste hindus who have become upwardly mobile due to reforms post 1991, have little understanding of the fine difference between the two and seem to think muslims or dalits have “shrunk” their space for prosperity. Much of their hatred to these communities stems from the mistaken notion that state policies to protect the underprivileged is an act of discrimination and is not fairness, in a society such as India which has high inequality in distribution of wealth and power. However the Muslim community need to understand that their deprivation or poor socio economic condition can only be corrected, if the religious orthodoxy is openly questioned and accept that like any other religious scripture (Gita or Bible), Quran does espouse violence and progress can be made only when you overlook them.
Much of the online troll and the sheer verbal abuses thrown around Shahrukh or Aamir (maybe they will start with A R Rahman also!) is definitely due to their community, because a similar comment by Kamal Hassan or Modi in Shanghai resulted in muted response from the same “nationalistic twitter trolls”. And those like Anupam Kher and Raveena Tandon who mistake comments against government as comment against India, a reminder to their tweets earlier here.
Liberal values are definitely under threat and unless these toxic comments are countered and attacked with reason, we as a society may push ourselves into a deeper mess than Pakistan ended up with Islamisation. A “Hindu India” is a nightmare to failed state!