The most awaited moment for many Indians had arrived. A dream that was seen by millions of Indians was realized on 5th August when our Prime Minister Narendra Modi laid down the foundations of building Ram Mandir. For many, this was a dream come true, for some it was a struggle that they all were living in. No matter what crisis we all are living in, one cannot deny the sheer auspiciousness and huge significance this day of 5th August 2020 has on the lives of many Indians. But for me, this day made me feel uncomfortable and triggered a number of horrors that perhaps we all have to live in.
It was an unusual morning and I was immediately glued to the news channels that were running live telecast of Bhumi Pujan of Ram Mandir. With so many dignitaries and others performing the rituals it was indeed a spectacle but within me I knew that it also signified a new era of India where people won’t realize that their celebration of the crimes that took place in that land has left a deep scar on the minds of many Muslims across the country. As a Muslim, who never witnessed the demolition of the Babri Masjid, I am perhaps facing the aftermath of this tragic history that has engulfed millions of Muslims for almost 28 years.
Since the BJP won the mandate (twice in 2014 & 2019), the narrative has always been communal hatred, Love Jihad, demonization of Muslim community, oppression of Dalits and stamping on their massive foot over dissenters which mostly consisted of students. But 2019 has shown the vulnerability of Muslims to its greater extent. Not only did the oppression continue but a sense of solidarity is also slowly diminishing. There is no doubt that the amount of resilience showed by the Muslim community in all levels of atrocities has been truly exemplary. But the question that sinks in me is that how long can we continue this? Is it that every single time this regime comes an inch closer to slice off the fabric of this great nation the first victims would always be Muslim/s?
I sometimes cannot stomach the fact that I truly live in a nation which promised democracy and justice as its true spirit. All I and the millions of Muslims have to stomach in is sharp polarization and communal disharmony and mistrust of the communities. To add more in this horrendous dystopian development, Jammu & Kashmir had completed its one year of the abrogation of Article 370 where for one whole year this Muslim majority state has been turned into the world’s largest prison. The invisibility of extant regional and ethnic violence in the region of Kashmir has gone unnoticed for several months which saw more than 4000 Kashmiris detained, 4G Network services suspended, politicians kept under house arrest, complete media blackout and serious human rights violations on children and women.
But how do these topics affect me personally? It does. Every single day!
My fear has escalated over the years of the identity I carry. When I see the horrors unleashed on Muslims who were lynched or beaten up in the Delhi Riots it makes me worried of whether I should stand up for them or not as I might end up being a victim of the ruthless social media witch hunting. The space for Young Muslims in India to talk freely and passionately has been greatly restricted with their instilled fears. And witnessing or hearing the everyday persecution has simply made this grand function more traumatic than ever before. For the previous generation of Muslims it was 6th December and for the millennial Muslims it is unfortunately 5th August. But one widely shared distinctive attribute found within Muslims is that there has always been a sense of grace in continuing their fight against fascism and to cling towards its kindness and not losing its spirit and hope in the idea of India envisioned by Dr. B . R. Ambedkar.