Many Muslims have exhausted their capacity to feel fear - By Irena Akbar - IAMC
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Many Muslims have exhausted their capacity to feel fear – By Irena Akbar

Pragya Thakur, an accused in the 2008 Malegaon blasts that killed six people, is contesting the general elections. As a Muslim, am I scared by this development? No. Am I worried Maneka Gandhi won’t offer work to Muslims if they don’t vote for her? Far from it. I am actually amused by her ‘threat’. Am I offended when Yogi Adityanath compares “Ali” with “Bajrang Bali”? Yawn. I wish he could find better rhymes. Am I angry with most TV anchors for their pro-Modi stance? No, I feel sorry for their inability to practise the courage that journalism requires.

I, the Indian Muslim, have come a long way from feeling a sense of fear, anger or resignation over the politics of hate that has been directed against me in the last five years. Since it was elected to power in May 2014, the Modi-led government has left no stone unturned to corner Muslims – it has rewarded mob violence against members of the community, its leaders regularly spew anti-Muslim rhetoric, it has directed the media to further its divisive agenda, it has allowed the WhatsApp rumour factory to flourish, peddling the imagined fear of “Hindu khatre mein hai”.…

Alienating Muslims, of course, has only been an appendage to the government’s larger project of developing a misplaced sense of Hindu pride – one that depends on the demonisation of Muslims. As an ordinary Muslim who has outgrown her fear, I hope the ordinary Hindu too has outgrown the anti-Muslim hate her conscience has been fed with in the last five years. Like fear, hate can’t be held on to for too long. Both have an expiry date. My fear has expired. Has your hate too?


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