You Can’t Represent All Muslim Youth, Mr. Bhagat

Samreen Saquib Naaz for BeyondHeadlines

The dearest writer of the country, the youth icon, the self-proclaimed flag-bearer of all the problems concerning the Indian youth; yes, you guessed it right – none other than our very own sweetheart, Mr. Chetan Bhagat.

Mr. Bhagat, I don’t know about the sample space of youth who consider you as a youth icon, but for me and many other youth of India, you are an average writer. You might think of yourself an intellectual considering the IIT/IIM connection, but my dear sir IIT-IIM thing isn’t a full-proof measure of one’s intellectual capacity; at best, you could be intelligent for it. The problem begins when an intelligent person starts portraying himself as a thinker.

A Letter to Mr. Chetan BhagatAnyway, we are not discussing you or your fiction here – which has nothing better than Love, Sex and Dhoka; we are here to discuss the recent article of yours – ‘Letter from an Indian Muslim Youth’. How, on earth, could you think that you, for that matter anybody, could represent the entire Muslim youth of India? There are youth: rich and poor, urban or rural, intelligent and dumb, traditional and not-so-traditional ones, and many other deciding factors. Your greatest flaw was to think you can represent them all! Just by the way, one doesn’t need a surname like Ahmad, Saeed or Mirza to understand the problems concerning the Muslim community as opposed to what you thought; it just needs an unbiased judgment.

I’m in agreement with you when you say that political parties do nothing about minority upliftment or empowerment; instead, they are concerned with their vote bank and for that what they follow is a policy of “minority appeasement”- which is just a dust to mist eyes and obscure vision. And you know what, we know it very well. And contrary to what you said we don’t vote “in a herd”.

What makes you think we vote as a “flock”? We vote much in the same manner as other communities do: considering factors like development, nation-building, social and economic dynamics, and of course personal space and security. Yes, security tends to be one of our inclinations to vote for, and the reason for it is very clear. A community which has been defamed as “backward” and extremist and fanatic by the mainstream media and by politicians, sometimes even by members of other communities, does need security. How could we not ask for security when at many areas our right to live is seriously threatened! And there’s nothing bad in seeking security; everybody wants it irrespective of the community he/she belongs to. I think you don’t know that people from many parts in India do vote for a particular political party, but you won’t bring that in picture.

Yes, you were right. Muslims are shining in every field. But, have you ever pondered upon the findings of Sachar Committee? It says: in every state of India, percentage of Muslims in PSUs is less than half the population of Muslims in the state (2006 report). My intellectual youth icon, I don’t think it requires solving some Einstein’s equation so as to understand the reason behind it.

Now, what exactly is your definition of the word – “modern” or “progressive”? Do you judge a person on how modern he is by his thought process and actions or simply by his attire? Because I don’t think a “Muslim-cap” can be a hindrance to one’s progress. I have friends in MNCs who wear caps to office and lady friends who go to universities and office wearing a hijab, and, in no way, that acts as an impediment to their modern-thinking and growth. And, yes we don’t need a cap-wearing show-off politician, nor do we need a politician who refuses to wear a cap. We just need a politician who will do what is required for India, as a whole, and for Muslims, as well.

An Indian Muslim faces problem to rent an apartment, to get jobs, to get scholarships for higher education, et al. After every terror attack, the first person to be blamed is a Muslim youth, and they say Muslims unnecessarily cry the discrimination-tear. So yes, we do need a leader who will not only wear a cap (that isn’t required even) but also goes on to solving the problems concerning the Muslims; a leader who caters to our needs and not just make fake promises.

I have nothing against you, Mr. Chetan Bhagat, though I’m not a fan of your fiction; I’m also not criticizing what you had written. I shouldn’t even be worried about the leader you praise or anything related to you. I just, politely, want to mention it to you that when you do write something – gather your facts well, and try not to leave the write-up in air so as to be open for any analysis.

(The author is a graduate and hails from the City of Joy – Kolkata, India)


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