Today is Eid-ul-Adha. Most of the newspapers in India wish the readers for all festivals. Today's issue of The Times of India had a token crescent-star in the masthead.
This is the picture they had on the front page titled 'SANTA GETS HIS LITTLE HELPER' with the caption: "CLAUS AND EFFECT: A young girl shops with her mother for a Santa Claus figure for her school’s pre-Christmas party in Powai".
I love the idea of cultures meshing, but I am sorry I found this utterly devoid of any sense, forget sensitivity. A woman in a veil, her face completely covered, is with her little kid, also wearing a hijab.
Several messages go out here:
1. Eid is of no consequence and poor Muslims need to be helpers.
2. Muslim women cannot be shown without the veil or else they won't be recognised.
3. For Muslims to be seen as part of the mainstream they have to do all these lovely things; no one shows people of other communities doing one damn thing on Eid. (And I say this because in India we do go on and on about how we have so many religions, castes and ethnic types and yet remain a thriving democracy.)
4. Powai is a newly-developed area (where this picture is purportedly taken) and hardly a ghetto, so the veiled women do stand out.
5. I went to a Christian school and we had a Christmas party a day before the festival, so this pre-Christmas shopping thing is only a ruse.
I have said this before. Only because newspapers occasionally bash up Modi it does not make them secular. Do not forget that the TOI had stopped covering the hearings of the Srikrishna Commission regarding the Bombay riots in its early days and had not wished its readers for Eid on an earlier occasion.
Time to wake up and smell the stink of fake gestures.