Vir Sanghvi has an interesting article on the problems faced by liberal Indian Muslims vis-à-vis their Hindu counterparts. Totally agree with him expect on the optimism that he displays here:
At the start of the 21st century, we are on the threshold of a new age; of the emergence of a New India. Over 60 per cent of our population is under 25. These are the men and women who will determine the future of this country. Millions of them are Muslims eager to make their fortunes in this new frontier.
What little I have seen of their progress is encouraging. In the new sunrise service sectors — computer programming, call-centres, airline cabin crew, TV channels etc — the proportion of Muslims is far higher than in the traditional jobs.
Even though the number of Muslims taking up jobs in the aforementioned sunrise sectors may be increasing, it is not doing much to remove the rift between the two majority communities in the country. A large chunk of people (Hindus and other similar communities) still believe Muslims are from a different planet altogether. E.g. after reading LalBadshah’s excellent post condemning the actions of the Muslim extremists, I passed on the post to a friend who I knew had prominent anti-Muslim sentiments. And guess what happened? She did not even bother to go through the post. Why? Because it was written by a Muslim and "these people are like that only re". WTF?? And the lady in question is a PG from one of the most prominent colleges of science in the country.
Agreed that this may be an extreme example but the fact remains that a major anti-Muslim bias runs through an alarmingly high number of young Indians. This may not be visible to us normally but in crazier times this very bias risks turning our seemingly progressive youngsters into vitriol spewing VHPians (or whatever they prefer to call themselves). And until this sentiment is removed from its roots, no number of call center jobs can result in true progress.
The only solution I see to this problem is if people stop believing in organized religion altogether. But then, coming from an agnostic like me, this may be an example of my own biases coming into play. 🙂
Also, on the occasion of India’s 60th Independence day, an excellent article by Bhagat Singh, written in 1930.