The “M" word

The name is Shahnawaz, speaks Hindi/Urdu, has reasonable knowledge of English. Profession, delivery boy for an  eatery oufit. Young, early 20s, bike rider. Has been around as delivery boy for some months and surprisingly seems to have taken to his job with as yet undiminished enthusiasm. Occasional tips by considerate customers – make his earnings seem reasonable. That’s until he ran into Mr H, the orthodox Hindu patron of veggie food and veggie restaurants this week. H, it appears, ordered a vegetarian meal through Zomato, one of the bigger operators in several north Indian towns, a middle-man of sorts playing the role  of  arranger of  quick delivery food from client restaurants routinely – a middleman who accepts orders and  passes these on  to  client eateries, which in turn, make it their job to cater to the demand from individual buyers. Mr H, it appears had ordered a vegetarian meal via Zamato which in turn passed it on to a vegetarian restaurant. And that’s where Shahnaawaz enters the scene; he is assigned by his eatery to deliver the meal at Mr H’s place, well-packed in a paper box. But as bad luck would have it Mr H came to the door to receive the packet. Seeing the delivery man’s short,trim beard, probably his first growth, H came up with the million dollar – predictable though,– question. Are you a Hindu or Muslim .” Muslim”, replied  Shahnawaz. And the man refused to accept  the package. I don’t eat food served by a Muslim. His privilege. But the man called Zomato, rejected the charge. It was a sealed package and he saw nothing wrong with the whole thing. Luckily for Shahnawaz, aghast as he was, he was spared punishment while Zomato maintained that the food; sent in pilfer-free package,  was pure vegetarian and ordered, in the first place, from a veggie restaurant. There was another Muslim boy who was subjected to similar indignity but, both he and Shahnawaz were undaunted though it is doubtful how long. Lucky twosome, I saw them on one of the sober English language channels.

Unlike them though Captain Amanullah, a retired serviceman, met with the instant death in Minister Smriti Irani’s newly won Rae Bareli seat wrested from  Rahul Gandhi. Amanullah was killed by goons while  he was  pleading for restraint and sanity with his Muslim friends. The peacemaker was lynched by the goons.  Not one word of sympathy for the ex-serviceman by anyone in authority. And the word from the BJP Pramukhs is that Muslims, for all the saffronites care, might as well be dead. There is talk already of setting up camps to hold ‘Muslims living illegally in India’. The National Register will decide who is or is not an Indian. The camps might remind one of identical camps Hitler opened during World War II to get rid of German Jews via the camps and on to the gas chambers. Hitler’s exercise claimed only six million lives. Given the zeal with which the BJP rulers are pursuing “illegal” Muslims in Assam, Bengal, Meghalaya and elsewhere in the country, there is a fair chance that Hitler might shortly be forgotten. The Muslim population in India is estimated at around 19 crores. The Muslims in the North East is the cumulative result of migrations to the Indian side of Muslims from Bangladesh  in the wake of the Bangladesh war of liberation. In their over enthusiasm it is also argued that President Fakhruddin Ali Ahmed from Assam was not a genuine  Indian. Dr Abdul Kalam, another Muslim President is safe because he played Veena and had studied Sanskrit scriptures in Tamil Nadu. By this token there might be need for far too many detention camps to hold Muslim illegals. And considering that it has been around in India since 7th century, the Muslim community here, is indeed too vast and extended; it surely is not a fistful that the BJP can hope to strangle I only hope that the saffronites understand that they  can’t indulge in pogroms in this age and time. Congress-Mukt Bharat and Muslim-Mukt Bharat are not the same. Nineteen crore indigenous Indian Muslims can’t suddenly be turned into non-Us.  Sheer numbers give the lie to the string of BJP lies and distortions. The same will hold true of Kashmir. However much the New Delhi dispensation  might want to change the population structure in Kashmir the efforts are going to come to a naught. Yes, the BJP dispensation is set to  stage-manage the population index in Kashmir (delimitation of constituencies is a possibility but requires legal sanction) but the valley surely can’t host another one crore non-Muslims for them to neutralize the vast Muslim majority.. Jammu and Leh have virtually  been converted into BJP enclaves. Political skullduggery will only rise in the next few weeks in the valley but somehow I do believe that any effort to destabilize it through means foul it will only boomerang. You can play with things like elections, by changing the rules of the game at your convenience but you can’t possibly play with the aspirations of a people whom you in the first place love to hate. Truth  to  tell, in conclusion, it’s pathetic to see how much effort the BJP is investing in whipping up the anti-Muslim sentiment. Can’t believe it that the BJP is the ruling party in this vast multi-religious, multi-lingual, multicultural land called India. Shahnawaz, Captain Amanullah and hundreds of similar other incidents are mere pointers to how no effort, whatsoever, is made at governmental level to even cause a dent in the BJP’s preposterous  anti-Muslim machinations.