29.1.06

Myths about Indian Muslims?

Much has been made about the IBN-CNN survey on myths about Indian Muslims (click headline link). It was supposed to be a liberal take and all that. The following is my take…

I would register my protest at the extremely patronising survey. Every ‘myth’ here has an even more fabulistic analysis.

Besides, they have polarised the two communities, instead of bringing in the others. There is every reason to discuss Muslim issues, but not on a major event as Republic Day. What were they trying to convey? That the Constitution has to be reinterpreted or that is has not been adhered to by one community?

Let us take the myths:

1.Myth of Muslim Population.

They say, Muslims “overestimate their own population”.

I say: It goes against the discussion where you state they are insecure.

2.Myth of Extra-territorial Loyalty.

They say, “This myth is not spoken about, but hinted at and whispered…In this survey, all but two per cent of the Muslims said they were ‘proud’ or ‘very proud’ of being an Indian. A clear majority of Muslims said they are first an Indian and then a Muslim.”
I say: Are you hinting and whispering too? How did you pick up the courage to even ask such a question? Can you define pride? Suppose a Muslim were to ask inconvenient questions about the administration, the law, social mores, would they be deemed to be disloyal? And what is this business about what you are first? People are several things besides their religion and their nationality. Grow up and look out of the window.

3.Myth of Islam and Democracy.

They say, “Three-fourth of Muslims, about the same proportion as the Hindus, are firm in their rejection of any non-democratic alternatives.”

I say: How is “the same proportion as Hindus” a proviso? Why was this poser necessary in a secular democracy? Do you think Indian Muslims people some cuckoo land in their minds where they dream of an Arabian Nights adventure of being flogged to death?

4.Myth of Muslim Personal Law.

They say, “69 % chose livelihood issues as compared to only 4% who talked about religious matters. An overwhelming majority of Muslims, more women than men, disapprove of the practice of polygamy as well as ‘triple talaq’”

I say: I am curious about how this question was posed. Like, did you ask them, “Khaana chahiye ya talaq?” You call this a myth? This is completely lacking in common sense.

5.Myth of Muslim Appeasement.

They say, “One out of every five Muslims interviewed in this survey said they had personally faced discrimination on religious grounds. The more educated and better-off Muslims experienced greater discrimination.”

I say: Appeasement is a sop; it has nothing to do with discrimination. That is the reason the more educated people are the easier it is for them to see through the game. Besides, a kaarigar in the interiors of a village is worried about survival and does not understand the concept of appeasement.

6.Myth of Irreparable Hindu-Muslim Rift.

They say, “Only 13% Muslims feel that the rift cannot be bridged, about the same feel that it made no difference in the first place. The largest number of Muslims feel Gujarat did cause serious tensions, but now things are getting back to normal.”

I say: And this survey was sponsored by Narendra Modi? On a more serious note, Hindus and Muslims do not think in terms of a rift in day-to-day life. But the communal cleavage is not something to be sniffed at. Daily life is always back to ‘normal’.

For the rest, it is all about bricks and stones.

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