August 3, 2023


Burning books, mosques and Muslims: India's bloody burden for the future (Sameena Dalwai, August 3, 2023, Al Jazeera)

[Germany]'s painful modern history is commemorated everywhere -- a police station where the Stasi tortured suspects, a hospital where cruel experiments were conducted upon Roma children, Jewish homes from where families were deported to the gas chambers.

India has never had any such reckoning -- not even over the subcontinent's partition, during which more than one million people were murdered, and 15 million migrated between India and the new state of Pakistan.

We have no plaques, painted walls and hardly any memorials, only memory. Visions carved into the minds of people and passed on from generation to generation.

In Germany, it started with attacks on Jewish trades and bans on their professional work, grew into the capture of Jewish property and homes, but very soon turned to deportation to ghettos, followed by mass murders. All this while non-Jewish Germans watched. Could they have stopped it?

In India, we are watching the rapid poisoning of the collective mind with propaganda that the ancient glory of Hindus was tarnished by Muslim rulers. That contemporary India's rise is being held back by Muslims -- who are blamed for everything from the country's large population and the spread of the coronavirus to anti-women practices and even inflation. From the withdrawal of scholarships for Muslims to amendments to the citizenship law that discriminate against Muslim asylum seekers, the ruling party is leaving no stone unturned to fan the fuels of division.

Periodic violence and lynchings, as in Haryana this week, help push Muslims further and further into ghettos. Muslim women's organisations working towards domestic equality, Muslim youth trying to adopt a liberal way of life away from the community gaze, and children trying to get education and economic mobility are all pushed back into the ghetto. They are then compelled to live a Muslimness that is defined by others -- the Hindu right and self-proclaimed Muslim leaders determine how a Muslim should look, behave and dress. Fanatics from both sides debate over it, clash swords over it.

The voices of the common Muslim - youth, children, women, men and professionals -- are lost. As a result, an unchanging target is preserved for the merchants of hate.

Posted by at August 3, 2023 6:27 AM


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