Muslims in beard, Cap ,Burqa and Flag are signalling the rise of a new Indian Muslim. Not afraid to look Muslim, and not shy of flaunting her nationalism. With a willingness to fight carrying the Constitution, the flag, the anthem, Ambedkar, Gandhi and the chant of ‘Hindustan Zindabad’. The immortal words of Urdu poet Rahat Indori are being quoted often in these fraught days: Sabhi ka khoon shaamil yahan ki mitti mein, kisi ke baap ka Hindustan thodi hai (Everyone has shed their blood on this soil, nobody can claim exclusive right over India). He must be smiling.
These are Muslims, ‘dressed’ like Muslims. We underline this since our prime minister just indicated that the clothes people wear signal their intentions. They are ‘armed’ with the Tricolour, the Constitution, many framed portraits of Babasaheb Ambedkar, some of Gandhi, chanting ‘Jana Gana Mana’ and ‘Hindustan Zindabad‘. In the classical Left-liberal worldview, flaunting aggressive symbols of nationalism, the flag, the anthem and the assertion of national identity, are symptoms of exaggerated majoritarian nationalism, and the last step before jingoism.
Prime Ministerof India in order to intensify communal hatred said said this insinuating Muslims can be identified by their clothing and this is how Indians responded.
What happens when the Republic’s largest minority (one of every six or seven Indians) comes out on the steps of their holiest mosque to pronounce they are Indians first, believe in the Constitution, the flag and the anthem, and reject the idea that someone could now reimagine the basis of the Republic, whatever his majority?
Think hard to understand what has changed in India. The Muslims are questioning the majority’s first claim to Indian patriotism. They are also saying something immigrants, dominated by those from India, chanted in Britain four decades ago when racism grew rampant: Come what may, we are here to stay.
No one can fight them. No one can open fire at them with any justification. Our country has changed. Or, as the more contemporary line goes: Mera desh badal gaya hai, mitron.