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Saturday, August 30, 2008

The Muslim. The Hindu. And The FEAR

This is just the tip of the iceberg.
I am not a leftie; I am not an underdog-lover; But I do hate religious fanaticism.
Probably because I was born and brought up in Chennai, which is not communal in the way Mumbai, Delhi or even Bangalore is... And I had no problems with the Muslims I knew there... I found them no weirder than the rest of us. I married a Christian... though not the evangelical, the 'lord is my saviour' type.
And I've always had a problem with people who generalised about Muslims... including my father and my sister. I found it petty and unreasonable.
Now this is getting to a different level.
A friend of mine relocated to Mumbai from here. A techie, chilled out, totally in love with the city he calls home. Then his Hindu-wife tells me, every day there are subtle signs telling him he is different.
Only Muslim tele-marketing agents contact him; it was difficult to nail a job because of his religion... worse because he comes from the Gulf.
I know tonnes of people who would say they are getting what they deserve. Bullshit!
Discrimination can't be justified.
I live in a Muslim country, fanaticism is in my face everyday. I get totally annoyed by the unquestioning blind faith, and rejection of anything 'different'. I fear their narrow-mindedness; I fear the power their clerics have over them; In some of their eyes, I see a madness that gives me goose bumps; I hate the way they treat their womenfolk; but I still can't hate THE MUSLIM. Because I see many who don't fit into my fear parameters.
When I hear rabid comments from Hindu fundamentalists, I react with anger. When I hear it from regular folks, whom I consider reasonable, I pee in my pants.
Because whether we realise it or not, if we don't watch our thoughts, actions, words, we will cross the thin line that divides us from what we deplore.
That all that we accuse the Muslims of (almost all of which is true to only some, not all of them), we ourselves will live to bear.
That the greatness of India and even Hinduism, and the reason it has thrived so wonderfully all these thousands of years (despite its many flaws), should not be corrupted by the culture of non-acceptance and intolerance that other religions may follow. In condemning those ideals, we should not end up creating our own monstrous dictums.
I am scared. Terribly scared, that my daughter will be forced to identify with one of her parent's religion... that she will not have the liberty to imbibe all and create her own walk of life.


Sonia said...

Vani, if you had married someone who is Muslim, you would not be called Vani today. If not for the few Hindu fundamentalists still around, India would be an Islamic country by now. Your friend would do well in Bhopal and Hyderabad and Lucknow and in North Kerala.

umm oviya said...

sonia, my friend still retains her name and religion very actively. all that i am saying is, the danger of generalisation is way too underestimated. and marginalising muslims in india further, will only make matters worse for us. in chennai, where you won't find such huge divides, you will realise they are far more integrated into the society. and hindu fundamentalists are not restricting their venom to muslims are they? even christians are a target -- see what's happening in Orissa!

Teesu said...

I completely agree with you, on the dangers of going to the other side within moments if we are not careful -- giving in to 'religion-rage'. The thing is, people really do take themselves (and God) too seriously. I am a believer and proud to be a Hindu --I am proud NOW...but for how much longer? What if we develop a terrorist and unreasonable side of our own? We are playing with fire, indeed.Self defence is one thing, but aggression in the name of religion? Disgusting.

Sonia said...

Ah,ok. I was talking from my experience. 2 of my friends have changed their names and are totally different people. A close relative was seeing a muslim boy for almost 3 years, but he dumped her when she would not change her religion. Now, that hurt. When people give more importance to religion, problem arises. And this particular religion demands it.Religion for me is just a word I use to fill in when required in forms.

Pollux aka Paps said...

V: Like Teesu, I too am abso proud that I actively follow and participate in my religion and can do so without fear or shame. But when I see people who belong to our liberal Hindu religions becoming fanatical, I see red. Nothing can excuse such thing.

Shyam said...

Come get your award, Mother of Oviya :)

umm oviya said...

heehee, shyam, you are being sarcy? i sound holier than thou huh?

yep, kiwi/teesu, all the religion i enjoy is what my mum practices in her kitchen and pooja room.

shyam said...

I'm NEVER sarcy! (except sometimes, but not this time) :)

Broom said...

@sonia: When I married a Mallu (Hindu) I was expected to change:
1) my last name
2) my very liberal way of life to his conservative Mallu way of life.

I am Hindu by birth and I still had to change a lot to please my HINDU spouse. No wonder I got divorced.

What you're describing is not a religious thing, it's a gender thing.

With all due respect, your contention that India would be an Islamic country if not for Hindu fundamentalists, is like using the "she was asking for it" argument to justify rape.