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Feeding prejudice

Friday, July 4, 2008



it no great secret that wen u say terrorist u immedialtely picture an Islamic fundamentalist ,beard n skull cap n all..
n then of course there is enough mistrust towards teh muslim community at large.. how many ppl who have never met a muslim person in their entire life assume taht they're all anti-social n angry n murderous lunatics? how justified is this assumption? how is it fair to teh community?who painted this gruesome picture? the world has had terrorism forever...but how did it happen that n entire community is suddenly suspect of wanting to blow up teh world? and wats even more scary is the fact that a whole lot of ppl assume that its taught by the religion itself... if that is true how is it that i wasn't taught any such thing in the 20 yrs of my very religious upbringing?
whre did all these assumptions come from?.... i blame the media... print,t.v and every other kind.
there is a huge chunk of teh muslim community today that lives below the poverty line and is still educating its children n women, getting better jobs, doing honest business...
i m tired of having to explain n defend my religious identity..of getting labelled and being pushed into a false stereotype...of having to ask for the benefit of a doubt...
n i m not even just blabbering this time..heres a list of events that stand out n make me ask myself wat made it possible for ppl to think the way they do..
- person at polling booth during elections asking me if i can sign my own name or do i want to put a thumb print ... [assumption?muslim girl in hijab- assume illiterate ]
- history teacher teaching abt social renaissance in tenth grade makes me stand up n asks me if i can enlighten teh class on the social status of muslim women,their financial dependence n general bad state - [assumption?they're all teh same n i kno so coz i read it somewhere n fed my own prejudice, let this school girl defend her community in teh class bcoz i want to be a smartass]
- at job interview teh HR guy telling me that teh company has a dress code n he cannot permit me to wear a headscarf as it violates teh code [assumption? none - just a blatant disregard for a person's faith, of course teh sikh gets to wear his turban,no problem there]
of course i m not saying that i havent enjoyed equal rights n a good life n great opportunioties ... India is still a better democracy than many others ... no i m not complaining abt rights or anything..i m just wondering where these assumption came in while we weren't looking...
heres an interesting article i read regarding teh movie 'Aamir' in the Indian Express today :----
i m pasting it here :----

In bad faith
Jyoti PunwaniPosted online: Friday, July 04, 2008 at 2252 hrs
Had the film 'Aamir' been a thriller about an innocent trapped by the mafia into crime, it would have been as gripping. But then it would not have been set in Mumbaiís oldest Muslim ghetto, where, according to the film, every bylane harbours people ostensibly doing innocuous jobs, but actually working for a shadowy Boss. In an earlier, innocent era, the Boss would have been a slightly comic smuggler. Today he is the deadly serious Muslim terrorist out to avenge the injustices caused to his community.
Only the beard, namaz and azaan are missing from this stereotype of the Muslim terrorist. Otherwise itís all there: the prayer mat, the cap, the lavish meal with every conceivable meat, the paan, the spittoon. As are all the other trappings: the minarets, the narrow lanes, the chunks of hanging meat, butchers with namaz caps chopping away. Not a pretty world at all, and one wonders what those living in it would think, watching it portrayed on screen as a den of filth, violence, crime and unquestioned obedience to jehadi bosses in Pakistan and all over the Islamic world.
This squalor is part of the wrongs done to our community, the terrorist tells the squeaky clean, handsome, and completely secular yet devout Muslim hero. (Of course someone like him must love a Hindu.) Should we be grateful that our filmmakers have moved from biryani-sherwani- qurbani socials to the injustices meted out to Muslims?
If the first depicted an enchanting but completely unreal world, the latter world is only too real in its physical depiction. Thatís why the recent trend of films on Muslim terrorism are so dangerous. They project the popular image of the youngMuslim-turning-terrorist so technically well, that those who know hardly anyone living in these ghettos will be even more apprehensive of them.
Itís not as if these ghettos donít contain in them a hundred stories waiting to be told about deprivation, neglect and injustice. But many of these have resulted not in revengeful terrorism but in redoubled struggles to overcome. The residents who step gingerly around mounds of garbage in lanes where butchers ply their trade in the open, pay municipal taxes as regularly or irregularly as those living in Hindu colonies, but rarely see a garbage-collection truck. Pan-stained rickety stairs donít always lead to empty rooms reserved for bombers. Sometimes they lead to informal classrooms filled with first-generation learners trying to get ahead in school year by agonising year by rushing here to study after cooking and cleaning for their families.
In one such building in Mumbai lives bank employee Iqbal who wrote Shivajiís biography in Urdu; in another, lives computer teacher Shabana Qureishi, whose modest salary barely supports her younger brotherís college education. Their father and elder brother were killed by local boys she identified as Shiv Sainiks in the í92-í93 riots. And when will our filmmakers turn their cameras towards the other ghettos in Mumbai, where too, young men are exhorted to revenge, but by tilak-wearing saffron-clad supremos?
The writer, a freelance journalist, has covered the í92-í93 Mumbai riots

Posted by munazz at 6:07 AM

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