Stories about Indian Muslims

When a dupatta and a nose ring become agents of patriarchy

Coming from a conservative Muslim family where your male cousins won’t even look at you if you are not wearing a dupatta, I have always felt that my body was constantly scrutinised and kept under the male gaze. Forcing clothing around my breasts and a silver wire around my nose was equivalent to patriarchy establishing its territory. My gender which is deemed to be the ‘lesser one’ was expected to wear a sexualised cloth and a ring in order to assert my cultural identity as it makes me ‘unique’ and less ‘westernised’. Women and their bodies have always been pedestalised to ...

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What happens to India now that Modi stays in power?

At the time of writing this piece, the National Democratic Alliance (NDA) is leading in 351 seats. This landslide victory belongs to Narendra Modi and his Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), for those who predicted the demise of the Modi wave did not realise how India’s electoral democracy works. When a magician like Modi – who knows the nuts and bolts of public perception – teams up with a shrewd election strategist like Amit Shah, together they create waves that win elections. If by divine grace they are blessed with an opponent as incompetent as Rahul Gandhi, such tides turn into ...

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Modi says ‘Hindus cannot be terrorists’ – so what does that make Godse then?

‘Hindus can never be terrorists,’ and ‘Hindus are not beef eaters’. India’s ruling party, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) , and its patron Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS), are very vehement when it comes to defending these two statements. They can even incite a lynch mob to prove their point. But why do they say that a Hindu can never be a terrorist? The BJP’s idea of India is a majoritarian state where the Hindu way of life takes precedence over all other faiths. In their worldview, it is important to clearly demarcate the Hindus from Muslims. It is sine qua non ...

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Voting for Modi again? 6 questions every Indian should ask

With India now fully in election mode, only one question reigns supreme in the minds of the people of India as well as the world: should Narendra Modi become the Indian prime minister again? Has he ushered in the “ache din” (good days) he promised five years ago? This question is polarising India. It is, however, a valid question. This is a man who came to power in 2014 with a promise to usher in a new era of development, coined a popular new slogan “sabka saath, sabka vikas” (collective effort, development for all), assured the nation he would address the ...

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While endorsing Modi, did Imran Khan forget the plight of Kashmiris and Indian Muslims?

Pakistan’s Prime Minister Imran Khan, while talking to Reuters, gave a statement that really shocked the diplomatic world. Referring to the Indian elections, he said: “Perhaps if the BJP – a right-wing party – wins, some kind of settlement in Kashmir could be reached.” India’s General Elections have started from today, April 11th, and will continue till the end of next month. The most surprising aspect about Imran’s statement is that it came just a day before the start of the first round of the Indian elections. Usually, world leaders avoid giving out statements that seemingly endorse any political party of a foreign ...

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If India can release the terrorists behind Samjhauta Express, why should Pakistan do more than it already has done?

Over a week ago, Swami Aseemanand, a saffron-wearing culprit on trial for the Samjhauta Express attack, emerged out of the courtroom with a loud chant of ‘Jai Sri Ram’. He, alongside three others, had just been acquitted by the court due to an alleged lack of evidence. Ironically, during the investigation period Aseemanand boastfully confessed to his heinous crimes to sabotage peace. February 18, 2007 was a disastrous day for peace between India and Pakistan when Hindutva followers blew the Samjhauta Express with improvised explosive devices killing 70 passengers, a majority of whom were Pakistani. The incident took place near ...

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Dear India, here are 7 enlightening lessons to end the blame game. Sincerely, Pakistan!

The Pulwama attack was an unfortunate tragedy and an act of terrorism; one that should be investigated and the perpetrators held accountable. However, it seems that India is more concerned with upholding its anti-Pakistan narrative for a political agenda than actually trying to get justice or finding a solution for the Kashmir issue.  The already tense dynamic between the two countries has escalated quickly and relations seem worse than they have been in a long time. But while Pakistan tries to use diplomacy and backchannels to call for peace, India seems to be too busy beating the drums of war. ...

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For Muslims in India, Eid namaz was offered under the shadow of fear

I recently recalled the memory of an argument I had with one of my friends from school six years ago, when I was still in high school. It was around the time Narendra Modi was vigorously campaigning to become the next prime minister of India. He was a hot topic for debate, and every media house was discussing the sharp rise in the popularity of the chief minister of Gujarat, despite the Hindutva identity he carried. The media termed it the ‘Modi wave’. My friend and I were discussing the series of corruption scandals that unfolded during the tenure of ...

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Pakistan and India have one thing in common – they are both intolerant nations

A few days ago, I watched a video clip of a Hindu MNA from PTI, Lal Chand Malhi, in which he gave a fiery speech, pointing towards the discriminatory, and in fact, derogatory attitude of the Pakistani society towards the Hindu community. He objected to the way in which the Hindu style of worship is mocked. Malhi also lamented about the conflation of Pakistani Hindus with the Indian state by saying, “inko gali deni hoti hai India ko, galian de dete hain Hindu ko.” (They want to abuse India, instead they abuse Hindus). He claimed that Hindus are equal citizens of Pakistan, and complained that ...

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Fudging the population: The missing 90 million Indian Muslims

There is one thing about Indian Muslims that just can’t be denied – most of them are poor. They don’t earn enough to be able to go on vacations to other countries. Most of them wish to go for Hajj to Saudi Arabia, and this they are able to do only when they are very old; having struggled to save over many years for the journey. Of course, there are rich and literate Indian Muslims whom one occasionally meets (mostly in the UAE and Saudi Arabia), and when you talk to them, they are adamant that the population of Indian Muslims is ...

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