Pass the 'poor Muslim' some halal, please

I love it when the media tries so hard to sound secular. The Times of India had this first person account by someone who calls himself ‘A Son of India’. Now this SOI was on a flight back home from some holiday. The flight attendant apparently was rude to a Muslim. The writer is a Hindu. He makes that clear, just in case we make the grievous error of seeing a Muslim take up for a Muslim. That would be so bad, na?

The story is full of crappy stereotypes:

In the seat in front of us, there sat a young, quiet man, with a long beard, a typical Muslim cap, and white salwar.

So, our SOI has checked out the beard and the salwar although the man was in the seat in front. Even if they were travelling Business/First class, and he had to visit the loo in the front, how many people look at the clothes of men?

This Muslim man did what all Muslims are supposed to do – asked whether the non-veg meal was halal. See, what I mean? You cannot be a bloody Muslim until you find out how the animal or bird you are going to eat has been bled to death after some prayers were uttered.

There is also something about how he was not given tomato juice because it was over, but the White man was served. This does happen, but here the motive is different. You see, SOI had “downed a Ballantine’s with soda”, which is just so cool; his mother was also given half a glass of tomato juice. See, lady does not drink and because she is a Hindu she gets at least half a glass of juice. Muslim is offered Pepsi (how could he ever imbibe alcohol…taubah!) and just has to wait for his halal whatever.

The halal thing got our SOI furious. “All the poor man was doing was making sure that the meal was something that he could eat.”

Yeah. “Poor man.” Feeling good, eh? And, yes, our SOI can tell his V apart from his W…sooo werrryyy vonderful…

What really got my goat had started at the very beginning of this fable-like tale. It is about eight “Sardarjis” who were drinking themselves silly, making a noise. Of course, SOI is quick to tell us, “Some of my closest friends are Sardarjis. Some of the kindest, humblest, most intelligent and polished people I have met in Delhi are Sardarjis.”

Oh, cut it out…and some of the best bhangra I have seen is by sarjardis and sardarnis. So? Get to the point.

Here is the point. After that halal thing, he heard someone from the Sikh group say, “This is Indian Airlines, not Muslim Airlines!’’ SOI was aghast:

I could not hold back any longer. I turned to them and said as politely as I could, ‘Sir, please let me inform you that India is a huge nation. We have millions of Muslims. In fact, we have more Muslims than Pakistan. I am a Hindu and I really do not appreciate this kind of talk.’ At this point they all shut up and nodded.

Wahe SOI! He gave them an education. A bunch of people high on drinks wait to finish their meal and hit out at the poor Muslim? Does the poor Muslim not say anything at all? Does the SOI complain to the flight attendant in charge? Does he register a complaint? No. He writes this pathetic attempt at being the magnanimous fellow.

Pathetic because he goes on the ‘Jai Ho’ trip about India being the next superpower. What all his has to do with halal chicken only he knows. “The Europeans did it right, divide and conquer. We were great and rich once upon a time, and we are still the same now.”

Well, if there is anything this SOI has learned from the Brits it is to divide. If he wanted to tell us about the poor Muslim and rude airline staff, he could have written about that. He brought in the Sikhs. Imagine, Hindu saving the Mussalman from the Sikh.

What’s the next episode, kid? Pork on Muslim plate and how you saved the poor Muslim from Christian wrath?

This nonsense will get a lot of claps from people who think they are all liberal. TOI will publish letters. It is like their Sacred Space stuff…no-jhatka chicken for the soul.

People like SOI should just stick to their Ballantine’s and check out a bit of other booze that even Muslims relish. Oh, I forgot to ask whether the salwar was ankle-length or not.

Was it? Just wondering…

With a mouthful of rum-soaked chocolate, here I am signing off,
A Halal Mother of India.


  1. Really nice. Well this is the story all around these days. Money really matters. Everything else seems secondary.

  2. I am a little confused and have some genuine doubts (don't take offence)...
    1. Are you saying the writer should not have written that the group drinking was of sardarjis, that the man in front was a muslim and that he himself is a hindu?
    2. I agree the entire incident, including the jai ho speech, sounds cheesy... but isn't that what people enjoy reading?
    3. Is the paper wasting editorial space by trying to do something which many readers may find 'noble'?
    4. Is this just another marketing strategy by toi?
    5. Would your opinion differ if it was signed Daughter of India?

  3. Zish:

    This isn't about money, but manners.



    1. No one can say whether someone should write this or not. One can and will disagree, as I have done. IMO, if it were merely to describe, then fine; here a point was being made about togetherness, therefore the stereotypes were too pat. BTW, I have written against the Muslim Alyque Padamsee's and Shabana Azmi’s similar attempts to make good Muslims out of the believers.

    2. I did not enjoy it, and I am people too. There are at least some like me and there has to be a context.

    3. Glad you put 'noble' in single quotes. TOI is less editorial space; it is mostly advertising, including the edits.

    4. Read above.

    5. No.

    Now, you tell me: would you have asked these questions if the blogpost had been written by a male and a non-Muslim?

  4. I think I would have, or at least would like to believe so.
    Can't be too sure till I read something like this from a non-muslim male...

  5. Ha ha ... if SOI doesn't announce his religion and the heckler's religion, then isn't it likely that some people would assume it to be the other way round ( Sikh SOI and Hindu heckler) and then there would be no Jai ho trip? What rattles me though is that some people may think that he did something "noble"... And someone should sue these airlines for not stocking on food which is preferred by each traveler on every flight... They do include the price of food in the price tags. For many a times I have been forced to have veg food on flights to India ( foreign airlines) because, being an Indian they assume me to be a vegetarian. I guess on domestic flights in India the choice is between veg and "the safe" chicken, though how safe is the chicken is again a thing of contention ;)

  6. It would be quite something to see role reversals...how about Muslim SOI and Christian hecklers and the vegetarian Hindu? Btw, when I traveled on PIA, there were a couple of vegetarians, and they were catered to. Though PIA's veggies don't sound appetising...

    There are often problems with airlines and their food service. My mother is a vegetarian but with a Muslim name it is just not considered 'normal', so there have been times of soups and salads. Problem is she even dislikes mushrooms because they look meaty:)

    About the 'noble' intentions, I think the noblest thing is to to take a valium and go off to sleep.


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