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.
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