I am an Indian Muslim. However, neither my nationality nor my religion is chosen by me. No one asked me, no one took my approval. Just based on my birth in a Muslim Indian family, I was tagged with this label. I was given a Muslim name and for everyone in my country, my name is enough for my religious identity. During riots, no non-Muslim mob will ask my ideology or my faith. My name is enough to kill me.
When I was in secondary school, I realise that different religions have different morals, eating habits and even Gods. In my class of 60 students only 5 students were Muslims. However, to your surprise none out of five were friend together even though we come from same community. I had three best friends, all of them were Hindu. Being a Muslim is not easy though. My friends seldom embarrass me for my eating habits enquiring about what is in my tiffin. They were suspicious that I might have meat in my lunch box! Thanks to my mom, she was smart enough to give me only bread and vegetables.
When I compare that time to present time, I feel those were golden days. My parents and parents of my friends never taught us to stay away from someone because of religious differences. I used to visit my non-Muslim friend’s home and they visited my home. I never feel scared. No such thought ever came to my mind.
When Babri Mosque was demolished, I and my friends had a consensus that on disputed land government should build a hospital or school so that everyone will be benefited.
Slowly but steadily things changed across the north India. Communal forces succeeded in spreading communal poison across many states especially UP, MP, Maharashtra and Gujarat. RSS and BJP finally started gaining success in convincing Hindus that they are indeed in danger because of Muslims who are in minority. Inspired by Nazi ideology, they portray Muslims as culprit of every problem in India, whether it is over population or terrorism. However, fortunately, thanks to globalization and information technology, intellectuals are still against such ideology. Unfortunately, in democracy, only heads count not intellectual ability. Whether you are an illiterate or a graduate you can caste only one vote.
I do not want to pretend like I am victim. Certainly I am not. Even today, my constitution gives me more rights as a citizen of India then in anywhere in the world. I am free to speak and I am free to follow any faith or abandon it. I am happy to be Indian. Indeed, I feel indebted of my country. My country gave me an identity when I travel abroad. I am proud to be Indian. I know many countries where constitution is heavily influence by one religion and for others there is no space. Other people have to live as a second grade people. Sometimes even citizens belonging to the majority feel suffocated because of heavy dose of religion in constitution.
In my opinion, there should be a separation between religion and state. Religion is a private affair, whereas government is for public work. Let me give you an example. When you pray to god or give charity, you give it for your own rewards which you receive in your afterlife. However, if someone asks you to build a road or a mobile tower, you will be reluctant. If a religious person has to choose between making a school or a Mosque, surely he will choose to build a mosque. Because, mosque will fetch him more rewards in afterlife.
People already have enough motivation for religious deeds. But for secular things we need a government who can develop infrastructure, make policies without discrimination based on religion and caste and colour, open more school for scientific education, secure the national borders and to provide employment etc.
Coming back to Indian Muslims, ironically, Muslims are nomore important for any political party. Even in past, no political party didenough for them. Congress and other so called secular parties use them as avote bank. In last 50 years, even Muslim leaders fail to do anything forMuslims. Indian Muslims are living in very funny situation. On one hand theyhave to give proof of their patriotism and on other hand they have to balance their religious identity.