Mainstream, VOL LIV No 17 New Delhi April 16, 2016
I Am An Indian Too
Friday 15 April 2016
by Fayezah Iqbal
I am a Muslim and an Indian too to supplement my identity description. Despite knowing the fact that the raging times of minority hatred will add to more alienation of Muslims at every single step, I have felt a strong affinity for my nation since my childhood, for my land, for this soil. Promising job prospects in a foreign country and thereafter a prospective career full of newness awaits me.... but yet these lucrative prospects never ever succeed in appeasing my senses to settle or reside in a foreign land.
When it comes to me and my notion about home it is my land that lures me, that attracts me as always to its mysteries and unrivalled diversities. I feel like roaming and traversing the entire perimeter of my country, infiltrating through its various channels and tributaries which I haven’t seen yet... So how could I think of abandoning it with such a dismay when I have not known it well and the quest for it is yet in its pre-natal phases. How can I disappoint myself with the thought of knowing other nations when I know my very own land barely? How can I invest into the unknown risks of a new adventure when the horizons of my land are seemingly more blue and clearly portrayed spectacle of my fantasy?
This is the place where I took birth to deem myself as an Indian, this is the land to whose culture and traditions I feel inclined to and enamoured enough to call it proudly my own traditions though I don’t comply with it completely. This is the land where I have seen plenty of frictions and farces amongst the communities and religions and regions, but this is the same land where I witness a commendable spirit of camaraderie in the festivities and gaiety.
Paradoxically, this is the same land where I have known and come across communities rioting barbarically amongst themselves at the sheer political overture without their own discretion of hatred and likes or their true willingness into the violent indulgence. It is the same country where the vote ballots are filled by ensuring a sharp divide between the targeted communities.
It is the same country where I have heard and read across many acts of sheer discrimi-nation and exclusion of Muslims ranging from their employment, accommodation and lodging to the uneasy acceptance of this community as an integral part of this nation having been labelled at every instance as so-called invaders or second-class citizens of the country.
But this is the same country where I practised strongly, strictly and exclusively my religion, that is, Islam, without any inhibition or a feeling of discomfort or slightest disapproval from anywhere. This is the nation to which I owe my freedom as a proud Muslim and an Indian. It has made me proud of its glorious history, of an intrepid struggle for waging a war for freedom, armed with an upright and sturdy patriotic entity of freedom fighters, passionate love for the fellow countrymen. This history has always made me value my country for its worth and feel loyal to its cherished image earned after waging a ruthless and strenuous battle for almost two centuries.
This is the land of my ancestors to whom I owe my blood-line; this is the land where I have grown up lovingly in its climate and tropical aura. In all these years of my life many a time I was caught up in the crossfire about my real identity of that of a Muslim or an Indian.... but despite of the numerous episodes of bloodsheds, carnages and riots cruelly targeting the minorities, I failed to separate myself from the uniqueness of my identity that is of an Indian... maybe because of the sound and cosy atmos-phere I have always seen around me, because of the same old warm company of my friends and people around me since childhood, regardless of their creed or religion, maybe because I dismiss the thought of being segre-gated on the ground of intermittent upheavals and tarnished image of my community, maybe because I refuse to call this a substantial reason to uproot me from my roots, maybe because I would rather prefer to cure these infirmities and deformities and better it (this country), to make it concordant and harmonious as it had been centuries before for every community, maybe because I feel it’s more than anything a temporary and ephemeral phase of my nation whose pupils get attuned to the political streaks played upon them since times immemorial, maybe because I still cherish to acclaim myself as an Indian, maybe because I have always had a gut feeling of my originality to this country that is my home which can never be forgotten, never be detested or disliked, never be abandoned no matter how much it disgusts or disappoints at some point or the other. Because this home entails all my members who might get fragmented sometimes but have to accept their integrity and oneness of identity that connects them to be called a family or Indians.
Fayezah Iqbal did her Masters in Spanish from the Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi. Writing being her passion, she has been writing for various blogs since the last three years.