DISCRIMINATION AGAINST MUSLIMS
30 JULY 2012
From the narrative of the Md Ali Shah-Spicejet episode several questions arise:
a. the old question of whether the Indian Muslims/Hindus are Indians first or Muslims and Hindus first?
b. Is there discrimination against Muslims in India?
a. Ali [a nephew of Naseeruddin Shah and a former Army Major himself] claims he is an Indian first, and a Muslim later. Most Muslims would say rather that they are both equally. Consider also that one is born an Indian by virtue of place of birth, whereas one is born a Muslim by default of parentage. You decide.
b. Both Naseeruddin and the former Major have claimed that they never faced any discrimination before. I doubt this. Yes, there is plenty of discrimination against Muslims in India. And not always conscious. In most districts with poor population share, Muslims have learnt to live with this. I have witnessed this hundreds of times.
Sadly, though, I can't also ignore some factors that Muslims are themselves responsible for, contributing to this sad discrimination.
Interestingly sometimes one's minority status also works to one's advantage. For instance an interview panel very conscious of their secular image may pick up a failing minority student/employee for their secularism's sake!