Shashi Tharoor and Sadanand Dhume are not bigots and anti-Islam, instead they are sensible liberals who know how to stand in this fight for secularism unlike the woke-Indian-Muslim-liberals who have to resolve to using slogans like ‘La ilaha ilallah’ and ‘Allahu Akbar’ to show their ‘support’ for secularism.
All of India came out of its slumber in order to raise their voices against the recently passed bill, now an Act, Citizenship Amendment Act, 2019. The protests have been led mainly by Indian Muslims, and they have become the backbone of these protests throughout the country after the dark night of December 15th and the horrific acts of Delhi Police in and around the campus of Jamia Millia Islamia. The whole of country opened their eyes and came out on the streets to protest against this unfair and unjust Act in order to get it withdrawn and/or amended.
After Delhi Police showed its true colors in Jamia on December 15th, the whole of country stood with Jamia and condemned the acts of Delhi Police. AMU and JNU, both followed Jamia with their own protests against Delhi Police and also against the very agenda on the table, i.e., CAA and NRC. But Jamia wasn’t the only one to get the full brunt of the officials of Government. AMU was also stormed by the UP Police and soon the varsity was under heavy attack. Undoubtedly, December 15th was a very dark night for both Jamia and AMU. Soon protests began happening all over the country and even outside India to show support for Jamia and AMU and to condemn the actions of the Government.
The protests against CAA and NRC are still going on throughout the country with Delhi being the one in the center and the heart of these protests. Protest in Shaheen Bagh is led mainly by Muslim women who have come out on the street to fight for their identity as an Indian and are protesting day and night. Alongside, protests outside Jamia are still continuing with full intensity and now even the Jamia Administration stands with them. Many esteemed personalities have also come to Jamia protests in order to show their own support to the cause.
However, there are some issues in these protests against CAA and NRC that will benefit the Bharatiya Janata Party and their agendas. The communal divide that these issues are creating will benefit BJP and RSS who most certainly thrive on communal animosity. As Hayaat Fatemah states in her article on The Indian Express, “… the citizenship of a Muslim is questioned, not [their] religious identity.” Since CAA questions the citizenship of a Muslim in India and not their religious identity, slogans like “La ilaha ilallah”and “Allahu Akbar”will never and has never helped Muslims in any movement. This protest against CAA and NRC that started from Jamia has become a nationwide movement and should not take the shape of an all-Muslim movement because there are people of other religions protesting with Muslims against this unjust Act.
Recently, Shashi Tharoor had visited Jamia to show his support in his stand against CAA and NRC and was met with chants of ‘la ilaha ilallah’which caused him to take to Twitter to express his concern towards this fight against Hindutva extremism. He stated, “Our fight against Hindutva extremism should give no comfort to Islamist extremism either.” But he was met with heavy backlash by “woke” Indian Muslim liberals who were raising nonsensical arguments like, “People in this country say ‘jai bajrang bali’ even before lifting a heavy rock and no one calls it communal. Muslims are pushed to the wall today. Using religious slogans for keeping spirits high is ok when demands are secular. Please spare us this soft bigotry.” What these liberals cannot understand is that this fight against CAA and NRC is only about the citizenship of Muslims in India and not about their religious identity. These slogans, which when translated are: There is no God but Allah, not only incite a communal divide within the protests but also raise concerns of religious extremism entering the protests through a backdoor.
These protests, albeit led by Muslims, constitute and are supported by people of all religion and Muslims should refrain from shouting and chanting slogans like these to not give an edge to BJP and RSS’s agendas. And instead of attacking Tharoor or Sadanand Dhume, Muslim liberals should instead take a lesson and keep the prayers at bay as Papri Banerjee brilliantly writes in her poem The Proper Secular Liberal –
“Be mildly Muslim,
Not wildly Muslim.
Bring poetry to us,
Keep prayer at bay.”
Muslims have been known to play the victim game whenever their identity is questioned or whenever they feel attacked for being a Muslim. And the same is happening in these protests around Jamia. They are using Shahada to claim that they help in keeping the spirits high of protesters but what they forget is that these slogans can be alienating towards other protesters who are not Muslim. These Islamic fanatics clearly have no clue that this is a fight for secularism and are pushing their own extremist agendas through these slogans in the protests.
Department of English, Jamia Millia Islamia
The opinions expressed in this publication are those of the author. They do not purport to reflect the opinions or views of The Jamia Review or its members.