This letter comes a bit late – in response to the Letter Chetan Bhagat wrote as an Indian Muslim Youth a couple of Months ago – yet I would still write this reply from an “Indian Muslim Youth” to the best selling author. Chetan Bhagat wrote a letter as an Indian Muslim “apparently”on my behalf to my so called Muslim Leaders wearing Namaz Caps ( he simply mentioned “cap” and not namaz cap even though most north Indian Politicians also wear a cap – The Gandhi Cap)
His letter reminded me of my sojourn to rural Punjab some years ago. The younger brother of my Punjabi host who was fondly called “Ghughu”. He was a 16 year old young boy who had never stepped outside of his small village of rural Punjab.
Ghughu loved Bollywood movies and kept talking about movie stories and often told me filmy stories and in many of the stories Ghughu would often end up saying “and then the villain returned with the Muslims to attack the hero, I heard his stories a few times and I was flummoxed by his repeated mention of Villain returning with Muslims so I asked him what did he meant by Villain attacking the hero with Muslims. He answered “Bhai don’t you see the film’s most of the bad guys in cities are Muslims. That’s what they show in the Films most Goonda’s are Muslims wearing the Namaz cap. When I told him I was also a Muslim he could not believe me.
I was surprised by Ghughu but forgave him for his innocence as he was a innocent victim of the Bollywood stereotyping of Muslims but one cannot be that generous to author like Chetan Bhagat for his letter is not only ludicrous but also reflects his ignorance
Mr. Bhagat starts his letter by saying my name is not Ahmed Sayeed or Mirza, Does that imply that Muslim Leaders do not read books and newspapers to be ignorant about a well known author like Chetan bhagat?
Mr. Bhagat thanks a lot for speaking on my behalf but I wish he had stepped in my shoes before writing the letter instead of writing the letter “from the right” to my Cap wearing leaders.
First and foremost Mr. Bhagat needs to know that the majority of Indian Muslim youth in India vote and look up to the Gandhi Cap or I will rather call it the Politicians cap for leadership. So if there is anyone who is promising or delivering any real or imaginary freebee it’s the politicians cap and not the Namaz Cap. Being an Indian Muslim youth I do not recall any leader in recent memory of an Indian Muslim leader in a Namaz Cap in a position to deliver anything for the Indian Muslims, If Mr. Bhagat knows a few names kindly forward to us.
Indian Muslims with the exception of Kerala and Hyderabad city have never voted for a Namaz Cap adorning Politician. A Muslim Political party even in a Muslim Majority state like Jammu and Kashmir remains secular likewise in rest of India in most states and even in states like Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, West Bengal which have given the highest number of Elected Muslim members of Parliament. Most of the elected Muslim leaders belong to the mainstream National or regional secular parties, so which namaz cap clad leaders is Mr. Bhagat talking about?
The Phenomenon of Mullahs and fundamentalist dominating the political or social sphere belongs to the neighbouring Muslim countries like Pakistan and Afghanistan and not relevant to India and if you are looking at Indian Muslims with the same prism it’s a reflection of a Jaundiced eye. Mullahs or religious leaders in India do not command the voice or influence among the Indian Muslims that the countries mentioned by me do so this logic does not apply in the case of India.
For Mr. Bhagat’s knowledge some years ago when Samajwadi Party leader Mulayam Singh Yadav had announced a carrot of allowing Muslim boys to wear Namaz caps in the class rooms It was denounced by none other than the Muslim community themselves rather than anyone else.
The fact is Muslim Namaz Cap and Biryani is an obsession of non Muslim leaders who want a short cut to Muslim vote or an opportunity to indulge in Muslim bashing. It was the Non Muslim politicians and some lethargic media that had created a Stereotyped Muslim leader like Shahi Imam that looked for a so called Muslim face.
The fact is Shahi Imam and his likes were not able to capture the Muslim youth imagination and never managed to turn into an Ayatollah Khomeni type of a figure speaks for the secularism of the Indian Muslims. The fact is Indian Muslims have always looked up to the secular non Muslim leaders for good leadership and if the Indian Muslims are lagging behind in many spheres of life it’s the mainstream politician’s cap to be blamed rather than the Namaz cap.
Mr. Bhagat’s letter reminds me of some of the Bollywood directors and script writers who do not do enough research before they shoot a movie and do not understand the difference between an Afghan accent and an Arab accented Hindi. Mr. Chetan Bhagat if you have any genuine concern for Indian Muslim youth I would suggest you write a letter to your own favorite poster boy and so called Bjp’s “Prime Minister” in waiting to give some tickets in next elections to non Namaz cap wearing Muslim leaders so that we have some new Muslim leaders who can try and deliver for their community.
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