Dear Fellow Indians,
I am born in a so called modern India. My parents have tried to impart the best education that they can and I have grown up to be a peace loving individual. But still, people find it hard to believe that I can possess these characteristics.
When I was in school, no child wanted to share a bench with me. Mom said it will all get better with time. I waited. When it did not change, they shifted me from the convent I studied in. I couldn’t understand why. The convent was so near my place of residing and the teachers were nice too. Over a period of time, I adjusted to my new school and made new friends. I forgot being treated as an outcast.
But things worsened when I grew up. I started understanding why. People said it was difficult to place trust on me. And it hurt. Most of you might join the bandwagon when I say that I am fair, have light eyes and wear a skull cap. The last two words may have changed the way you look at me now.
Yes, I am a Muslim. But that doesn’t change the values I am bought up with; neither does it change my love for the country I reside in. I fail to understand why people give me curious looks when I cheer for Virat Kohli during an India Pakistan match. He is my favourite cricketer. Is it wrong to support my country?
I participated in the protest held against the 26/11/2008 attacks. I joined the rally against the terrorists at gateway of India. I wanted Ajmal Kasab to be hanged! But I was frisked away by the security. Was i wrong? I condemn the Charlie Hebdo attacks. There is no logic in fighting for religion. I believe that truly. But do you believe me when I say this?
Why am I being strip searched on the airport before my flight to Goa and why are my friends given a clean chit? Why do people despise me when there is a terrorist attack in some part of the world by some Islamic group? Do the same people stop accepting milk from their milkman (who is from North India) when some people of his state gang raped Nirbhaya? I want to ask. But I am scared. Scared that I will be misunderstood. Scared that they might feel that I am taking advantage of being in minority. Scared that I will again not be believed.
I shut myself from the world when I am tired of this casteism. How much ever I train my brain not to think in that way, but it loses track and thinks whether I was certainly better off as a terrorist. Rather than facing the same treatment as one in spite of not being one! Confused? I am too, since the day I am born in this country.
I wish people also take example of peace loving APJ Kalam who belongs to the same cast as I do. Did he face the same when growing up? Will I be able to brave the majority and shine like him? Or will I give up and die being labelled as a prospective terrorist?
–A confused peace loving male born in a country where people view someone with a skull cap as a sure sign of terrorism and aggression.