Unfair to minorities - GulfToday

Unfair to minorities

Shaadaab S. Bakht


Shaadaab S. Bakht, who worked for famous Indian dailies The Telegraph, The Pioneer, The Sentinel and wrote political commentaries for Tehelka.com, is Gulf Today’s Executive Editor.


Photo used for illustrative purpose.

Muslims, Muslims, Muslims. In the last ten years or so, I haven’t been to a dinner party, to a meeting of proven intellectuals, to a respectable political gathering where people haven’t questioned, often raw and insulting in tenor, Muslims’ way of life and their “over-emphasis” on religious tenets. Where participants haven’t mindlessly attacked Muslims for “being illiberal and retrograde” on the basis of half-baked truths and strength of numbers. Where tables haven’t been thumped passionately to silence fair and educated opposition. Where people haven’t walked out in a huff. Where outnumbered speakers haven’t left feeling emotionally bruised. And sadly helpless.

I am really upset and depressed because it was never like this and I should know that very well. I was born among non-Muslims. I was raised among non-Muslims. I worked merrily for non-Muslims. I, like all healthy and normal males, chased non-Muslim beaux ideals. I owe a good deal of my health to a non-Muslim physician of national repute. Six out of the eight people who donated their blood for the most important person of my life — my mother — were non-Muslims. I am happy the flow of her blood was controlled by her Creator and not by a Parliamentarian. (I don’t know why they are often called people’s representatives. A gentleman at home went a step further. He used to call himself a public servant.)

I didn’t ever feel the need to introduce changes to my name or to my appearance or to my outfit for the sake of social acceptance…

And what is really heartwarming is that despite my close association and daily interaction with non-Muslims I freely followed my faith in letter and spirit. I didn’t ever feel the need to introduce changes to my name or to my appearance or to my outfit for the sake of social acceptance or mobility or physical safety.

But some years ago certain power-driven and heartless politicians, endlessly fuelled by wealthy carpet-baggers, discovered a form of rare electoral energy in appealing to voters’ religious sentiments. They were right on the money. Their discovery subsequently ensured them immeasurable and near-invincible power and transformed the entire political landscape. I am almost certain that the transformation that took place is irreversible. In other words, those with extreme feelings have arrived.

What makes the situation increasingly unmanageable for some is the veteran politicians’ undeniable elected status. They belong to a hugely vibrant and time-tested democracy. And in a democracy, whether we like it or not, the winner takes it all. 

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