Category: Politics & Social Issues Page 1 of 7

Look who’s trippin again

Amid the heatwave and a looming electricity crisis, do you know who decides to resume his foreign trips?

Yes, him. Our prime minister.

I mean, we’re all looking for ways to beat this heat. But, the masterstroke definitely has to be from none other than the globetrotter himself.

Germany and France, I mean, who can ignore, right?

It’s alright if we continue to have power cuts in this heatwave. I mean, for someone who laughed about demonetization’s impact on common man and didn’t bat an eyelid when lacs of people died due to covid and suffered immense trauma, expectations are at the bare minimum.

When the entire energy is focused on fancy dressing himself and reading out of teleprompter, he’s bound to get tired? A trip to Europe is just the right call to enjoy on taxpayers’ money.

I hope no one there brings about the topic of ‘Global warming’ to him. He might just explain it to them. It’d be good if he just hugs and shares his abbreviation-filled speeches.

While we Indians will hope that nature takes care of the heatwave because expecting this communal government to do anything of value is plain stupid.

Preparing for Eid

Most likely, Muslims in India are going to celebrate Eid on Tuesday. Unless, of course, the crescent decided to show up tomorrow in India itself after missing from the gulf skies today. Highly unlikely.

This Eid-ul-Fitr will be the first one post-covid. Grateful that we got to observe Ramadan without the fear of the coronavirus. Of course, there were other viruses affecting peace throughout the country.

And that takes up a lot of our mental bandwidth. And most likely, will do so in the nearest future.

In times like these, it’s easy to feel, ‘what’s the point’ to celebrating when houses are being demolished and people are being put behind bars or slapped with court cases.

But, I feel, especially this time, we need to put our best selves forward and celebrate Eid the way Allah intended for us to. It’s a blessing bestowed upon us after a month of fasting, and we should honor it.

With at least two days left, do make it a point to prepare for the day as per the sunnah of Prophet Muhammad PBUH. Get some suitable clothes for yourselves and your family, clean up and decorate your houses, and most importantly, ensure you’ve paid out your Zakat and Fitra.

Yes, things are difficult. But, honestly, when they were not? If you look back on the stories of our Prophet’s companions, they faced worse, and yet they persisted. Have your tawakkul and use it as your strength.

If it doesn’t come naturally to you, think of the joy Eid brought you when we were all kids. Perhaps, that and just that can make you reconnect with the joy and happiness we’re all meant to enjoy.

May Allah be pleased with us and bring peace everywhere.

The bubbles we live in.

We all live in bubbles within our circles, communities, regions, and social spaces. Issues that we talk about, raise our voices on and seek solutions to are confined within the boundaries of these bubbles.

It’s so easy to be surrounded by agreeable audiences that share the exact cause or pain. There’s the validation of your thoughts and a mutual acknowledgment to shout out loud -YES, even I wanted to say that.

I definitely know that outside this bubble, there are polar opposites and similar bubbles of others in place. For instance, when I’ve resumed writing on Facebook, I can imagine myself being in a bubble. Interactions are limited to those who have the same concerns- mostly Muslims. And a few here and there.

But this doesn’t trouble me. It used to, a few years ago. So, what changed?

I realized that people could only empathize with others if it affects them. Not saying people don’t have empathy. They do. But, they can only empathize if they can feel something similar happen to them. Either now or in the future. Essentially, if they can’t fit your shoe onto their feet, it becomes a chore for them to empathize.

A few, definitely, force themselves to try and fit it. As they think that it’s the ideal way. But, unless there develops a pseudo empathy system, they give up. Even console themselves that they tried to clean their conscience.

If what I said above doesn’t make sense, then try to picture the number of so-called Islamic countries that have done to raise any voice against the lynchings of Indian Muslims. Or, think about that friend you shared a biryani with a few Eids earlier.

Of course, no one is to be blamed. It’s human nature to ONLY care about what affects them directly.

And that’s why being in these bubbles doesn’t bother me anymore. It’s a way to give voice to others who might not be able to articulate the pain. Writing is the sole craft that I can contribute to this, and I will. Even if it means these thoughts remain restricted to our echo chambers.

I do hope that Insha Allah when we come out of this that we develop empathy for even those that have a different pain than us, and we burst a few of these bubbles.

Document ’em all

The primary reason why they’ve not been able to shift the entire blame on Muslims as easily as before is because of video evidence. Videos recorded by Muslims capture the whole tamasha. 

Documentation is always going to be necessary. I wish we could all afford to install CCTV cameras outside every mosque in India. We’ll need to ensure evidence is captured against these goons. Else, a sizeable number will be put behind bars without bail. 

This is Ramadan, and hence, a larger crowd is present in the mosques. I hope the numbers drastically don’t reduce in troubled areas; else, there won’t be anyone to protect that itself. But, it’s a reality we will need to be ready for. 

Of course, cameras or evidence don’t scare them now. Even if some of them are put behind bars, they are welcomed with garlands when they come out. Getting arrested is like an induction session for them.  And yet, we all have to think of strengthening the security of our mosques and madrasas. Relying on the state will be foolishness. The force itself is corrupt and willing to stand by and watch our mosques being burnt and vandalized amid the cheers of Jai Shree Ram. 
Document everything. Voice out and speak regularly. Don’t care what anyone else will think of ‘soo many posts’ or ‘being political.’  Not all of us can always hit the streets or join politics, nor can we all articulate what’s going on. If you can, do what’s possible from your end. 

Ramadan is also a month for charity. Contribute to your local mosques in whatever you can to help improve their security.
Whatever happens, will happen according to Allah’s will only. But, there are still a few things we should do. Documenting things is one of them. 

After Ram, it’s Hanuman now.

After Ram Navmi, now it’s time for rallies for Hanuman Jayanti. The intent is clear—assertion of authority. Ensuring that they keep creating scenarios where violence can happen—awaiting for retaliation to bundle up as many Muslims behind the bar as possible.

We should brace ourselves for more such rallies, decorated with loudspeakers, saffron flags, sticks, swords, and the loud noise of these ‘bhakts’.

This is the only way the BJP can provide any kind of employment anyway. So, we’re bound to see this charade of fake religiosity being displayed more often. Such a convenient way to transfer our taxes to these jobless thugs without giving them a job. This is a job too, which they seem to be enjoying.

It won’t be limited to just these festivals. We should anticipate some innovations in Eid as well. They asked school kids to celebrate Vajpayee’s birthday on Christmas. They’ve even created a ‘Matr-pitr was on Valentine’s day. Legit. Perhaps, because our festivals’ date doesn’t get decided until the very end, it’s playing a spoilsport in planning for them.

We should remind some of them that this approaching Eid isn’t the one where we sacrifice. They’ll have to wait for a couple of months for their animal love to outpour.

Looking forward to the trend of Hanuman Chalisa being played with the azaan everyday. I hope they learn it by heart instead of reading it like those shared videos. Even I can recite half of it, thanks to the films and television we watched growing up.

We will retaliate. Not with violence. Allah will take care of us. In a way, our Imaan and taqwa are only getting strengthened because of it. Perhaps, this is Allah’s way of teaching us a lesson to leave everything to him.

We are here to stay. Deal with it.

They’re going to come for everything. Clothes, food, language, appearance, jobs, and everything you can name don’t fit into their idea of a Hindu Rashtra. It won’t matter in the spectrum of religiosity or privilege where you mark yourself. Whether you fancy yourself to be ‘moderate,’ ‘liberal,’ or ‘practicing.’ They’ll come after all. Your name is enough.

In the last 5-6 years, we’ve all had discussions about leaving the country with family and friends. Toronto, Dubai, New Jersey, Sydney, and Istanbul are not just destinations to travel to but viable discussion points on ‘where all you can go.’ A life far away from the maddening crowd that keeps encircling cities and states. Color-coding them in shades of saffron.

We’ve all stopped watching news channels, stayed away from mindless discussions, and even cut ties with many to keep our sanity intact. The online world has the handy unfollow button at our disposal, but the real world is yet to follow suit. We wish.

None of us mind the zoom fatigue as it helped us stay enclosed within our safe spaces. Offices, cafeteria, and the outside world before the pandemic ceased being that post the dawn of ’14. It’s much easier to watch them go ballistic on a comment section chanting slogans while justifying why we are rightly being treated this way.

We’ve watched transitions. From those asking, ‘Biryani Kahan hai?’ to ‘asking for a halal ban.’ From a concern, ‘your community should allow girls to study’ to ‘why is hijab allowed in college’ while sharing holi pictures from their college campuses with captions ‘hashtag memories.’

Expectations. We don’t have any. We start with the assumption that you’ll get one day to vote for a ticket for us to a camp far away. Sighing away at the ashes that burn through those chimneys. Maybe make movies about it years later and sob on stage years later. Don’t worry. A few of us will still remain somewhere.

For year’s, we’ve all grown listening to,’both sides’, ‘we should behave this way’, and gyaan from within the community and of course from outside. Now, we’re at a point where we don’t care.

It isn’t our battle alone. Even if we’re the first casualties. We no longer want to bear the burden.

What’s the worse they’ll do? We’ll be here. Waiting.

Not Toronto, Sydney, Dubai.

Here. Come at us, with whatever you got. #Day1.

When will YOU speak up?

Watching the video of Delhi police mercilessly beating students up makes my blood boil. How can they? And how is everybody being okay with something like this?

My timeline is just filled with the same video being shared by almost every Muslim I know of. The protests across Jamia and AMU are also being done by Muslims. And no, I won’t pander to the very select group of non-Muslims who’re standing along with us in THIS time. I f***** won’t. It is BASIC. You aren’t doing anyone a favor. And if getting a pat on your back is the reason, you’re doing this, then DON’T.

Of course, a large part of the ‘OTHERS’. Yes, I’ll call ALL OF YOU Morons as OTHERS. Because you effing are! Standing aside, looking at what is happening and doing NOTHING!

This is all on you. All you morons who voted for these assholes to power. And I’m ashamed of having known each of you who has voted for a party whose sole objective is to get rid of Muslims!

And EVERYONE of you who voted for them had an idea on what they stood for. And you still did.

And if the economy were any better, you would have happily accepted this price for the sake of your wallets. You are THAT selfish.

This all might even be appearing useless to you. The whole protests, people creating a ‘scene’ and every word that comes out of our mouths! Because at the end of the day, YOU DON’T CARE!

I know, some of you must be thinking, but hey, ‘I’m NOT like them. I’m with you all. Well, if you are, then show it. Just as we’ve been trying to show for the entirety of our lives that WE ARE INDIANS and we’ll have to do for another lifetime.

How do you morons sleep? How do you sleep knowing that you voted for people who will ONLY be satisfied if they see Muslims suffer?

I know I’m just venting this out and might even regret later for this language, but this is exactly what each of us is feeling right at this moment and just wanted to put it out there. Maybe ONE of you morons will realize his mistake and SPEAK UP.

‘Har Taaj Uchaale jaenge. Sab Takht giraye jaenge’

‘hum bhi dekhenge. Laazim hai, ham bhi dekhenge.’

2019: Hours away from another election

Modi will go away tomorrow, or maybe after 5 more years, but it’ll go away someday. But, it has definitely helped unmask the hatred lying beneath a lot of faces. Not saying all BJP supporters have that, some are just delusional and actually believe that he’s ‘doing something’, but a vast emboldened majority is bigoted. That has been the highlight of the Modi government’s rule. Emboldening the fringe. Tomorrow is only going to be about whether those vocal bigots will continue spreading their hate for a few more years or there’d be some semblance of ceasefire.

Over the years, since Modi started his campaign, I’ve seen people turn from sensible lads to ‘Dude! What happened to you?’. Not sure, if the bhakti for the RW style of politics was always there or it was the ‘cool and rebellious’ thing that they latched onto, and got stuck in the loop of ‘now, I’ve committed to it’ as if it’s a marriage. Ironically, their ‘supreme leader’ ran away from one. And perhaps that’s why cannot see people happy.

To those privileged folks who think, leaving all this behind and building a new life outside the shores of this madness is a solution (Sadly, that’s what I keep hearing from everyone), irrespective of wherever you go, you just can’t cut off your roots. The overdose of patriotism infused in all of us is never gonna take away the Indianness out of us. Suckers, that we are.
So, let’s not let your privilege dictate how the others who can’t afford to even think that way feel like their life is going to be useless.

It’s not like a BJP loss is gonna make things alright. Suddenly, our country will change overnight like a typical bow-tied fairytale ending of a Bollywood movie. The only respite would be the hateful frenzy that seems to have seeped across the board, from roads to houses to schools and colleges and offices. The brazen outspokenness of othering anyone who doesn’t like this government or more specifically Modi. The false binary of equating Congress and BJP, which is laughable to say the least.

‘Why do you guys hate Modi so much?!’ is the general retort flying out of a well-educated, watsapp-university trained person.

The majority that dislikes modi is the one who dislikes him right from 2002. And yet, they ask as of the other side has to list down reasons for the same. Like, seriously?!

Sure, if you hate Congress for ’84, I’d still believe it. But, that’s just used as a counter to 2002. Of course, had ’84 culprits were punished, 2002 might not have happened.

Anyway, I’ll be very surprised if BJP does not win tomorrow. If all this propaganda and money power, cannot make them win, then what will. Also, let’s not blame EVMs for the loss. If it were that critical, Congress should’ve protested every day before elections than doing it now.

Would be pleased to be proven wrong.

Hours away from a very important day for our country.

The fight will still continue!

Creating False Equivalance

As kids, when the era of the Internet hadn’t dawned upon mankind, one of the favorite pastimes used to be solving riddles. Hours spent thinking and breaking down riddles. These riddles would fly far-off across cities and villages over the course of several holidays or even train journeys. Nostalgia aside, one of these riddles that I fondly recall, was ‘how much of cotton would have to be added to the beam-balance to equal 10KGs of Coal’. It was merely a play on words (might be lost in translation from Hindi) to confuse you in tricking you.

While the correct answer is still 10KG for an equal amount of Coal. The comparison here, apart from the weight of the two, is not equivalent.
Without having to explain this analogy in detail, I’d like to jump straight to what I intend to talk about-The narratives of creating a false equivalence.
How often have movements been attacked for a supposed bias for non-inclusion of a different or a broad group? How often have the hashtags been altered Equivalence?

Quite often, if you were looking for an answer to my rhetoric’s! Have we not also watched people breaking away from restricted groups for the fear of being branded and decided to become part of a larger group? Yes, we have.
No one likes being branded. Of course, few thrive on those brands for the attention it provides them while few run away when it gets just too much to handle.

None of the above, in any way, don’t intend to solve the problems or be part of movements that can bring change. They just don’t want to be on the side which isn’t going to win or exclude them from society’s perks distribution list. The ones with a sense of identity they are uncomfortable to discuss. We’ve all been there at some point, right?

The problem isn’t this running away or being uncomfortable when asked for a POV, the problem is giving in to the false equivalence created to justify acts by the majority over any set of minorities across a spectrum of issues. The problem is when all the issues are viewed from the prism of one set of eyes alone. The set of eyes for which black is black, and there aren’t shades of it. A set of eyes with a scant disregard for the amount of cotton that’ll occupy the space for every kilogram of Coal. The set of eyes, who’ll still say, ‘At the end, both are 10KGs only, right?’

Irrespective of how much you shout for #BlackLivesMatter, there’ll be a set of folks with #AllLivesMatter. For every #MeToo, there’ll be a #NotAllMen. As soon as you raise an issue concerning a finite group, easily identifiable with a common problem, a larger group would be ready with their list of whataboutery on your face. Why now, why not then? Why just you, why not us?

Even in a cry for justice, false equivalences get created all the time! If this isn’t being inconsiderate, then what is?

The Pakadwa Vivah Phenomenon

Did you watch the now-viral video of an Engineer forcefully being married at Gunpoint in Bihar?
No? Well, you can check it up. And no, it isn’t a unique instance of it happening. The term for a marriage like this is, ‘ Pakadua Vivah’. I do feel sad for the guy who becomes victims of this.
Not to take anything from their victimhood nor make myself indulge in an exercise of whataboutery, I’m just left with one thought. The thought that this ‘forced marriage’ is so common for the opposite sex. The Woman.
How normalized we’ve made the forced marriage of the woman folk that it doesn’t surprise us like what the rest of India feels for the guy who is getting forcefully married at a gunpoint. There are multiple imaginary emotional guns and izzat at stake for the girl to get married according to her parents wish.
Among the many reasons:
1. Isse acha rishta kahan milega?
2. Umar nikal gayi to?
3. Khaandaan ka naam ka kya hoga?
4. Zamaana bada kharaab hai aajkal ka
And of course, there’d be many similar instances of that ‘emotional gun’ pointed at the women to ‘get married’, because that’s the only reason they’re born on this earth. Get married and have babies.
Not to divert from the topic of ‘Pakadua Vivah’, one of the prime reasons for this is the inability of the bride’s family to pay Dowry for a proper marriage that pushes them to take this step. There are ‘abduction gangs’ who even do this professionally.
When you dive deep into this, the finger again comes back to pointing at another problem: Dowry! Yes, because just marrying the woman is not enough, the groom and his family also need money, bike, house and what not!
And in many of these cases, the marriages don’t get annulled. They Adjust. Because, of course, India. Marriages are also jugaad based.
Rationally, you’d wonder, how can one stay in a marriage like that? But rational (ha ha!).
The vicious cycle has just one possible solution, to make the women independent enough that they don’t need a marriage for validation of their achievement. The parents, of all the people, have to realize this. Next is, do not place the entire existence of women (even men) onto the successful completion of the act of marriage. And, not make the system of separation so rigid that people continue to live in unhappy marriages not to try and make it work but because of ‘log kya kahenge?’

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