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Thank You Jinnah For Revealing Our Ugly Side

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Dear Quaid-e-Azam,

You must be happy to know that India is burning, that finally after seven decades you are vindicated and now the Muslims of India are suffering the wrath of Hindu extremism. I have been waiting for this moment for a long time, and at this inauspicious moment I would like to thank you for attaining for the Muslims of the subcontinent a home of their own.

Today I look at India and what its Hindutva are doing to its Muslim minorities, I thank you from the core of my heart for providing us with Pakistan where we are free to do as we please. You know what they’re doing to Indian Muslims? They are beating and killing them mercilessly while the government watches with apathetic disdain. To think they could have avoided this if they had just migrated to Pakistan during partition where they would have been first-class citizens.

In fact, even the second-class citizens – the non-Muslims – live like kings in your Islamic Republic; they are fully enfranchised and live without fear. We don’t constitutionally alienate them, or forcefully convert them, or kill them – India should take a leaf out of our book and treat its Muslim minorities the way we treat our non-Muslim ones.

Quaid, I know you must be disappointed in our poor socio-economic record, and our sub par performance on many international indicators, but look at the bright side, look at what’s happening in India, how Modi has twisted his religion to use it for his own nefarious means, and how the Muslims suffer it.

Don’t you see, our problems don’t matter anymore now that this glorious day has finally arrived when India is tormented by religious zealotry and we’ve got the best seats in the house to watch it twitch in agony engulfed in its own fire, writhing in pain. It is so satisfying.

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The truth, dear Quaid, is that I’m not really sorry for the Muslims of India because in their strife is my absolution. You see, my self-worth is deeply connected to India, however it is an inverse relationship – when India is well, I am unwell and when India is unwell, I am well. This is because my connection with India is that of hate – I have always hated it and when I watched it grow into the giant it has become, going from strength to strength, I hated it even more.

And then Modi arrived on the scene. In him I have found the saviour of my hate, in his fanaticism I saw the kindling of hope because now my hate out of prejudice can be disguised as my hate for injustice.

Yes, it is true that there are Indians who are fighting for India’s soul – its lawyers, its academics, its artists are all striving to uphold its pluralistic spirit. Yes, there are protests across the nation including Shaheen Baagh in Delhi, the very heart of the nation, where many Indians from all walks of life, are opposing the fascistic policies of their government.

And yes, they aim to retain the very secular essence of India’s constitution that has for so many decades, much to my chagrin, allowed it to thrive despite its vast and diverse population.

But do I want them to succeed? Do I want India to be a pluralistic country where all Indians irrespective of caste or religion live in harmony and togetherness? No, I don’t. Because, you see Quaid, if India survives this darkness and enters the light as a united secular nation, then I have no absolution and you have no vindication. If India defeats the Hindutva ideology, it defeats us twofold for it will not only reconcile its differences, but will also make an undeniable case for Secularism (which we both despise).  Isn’t it ironic, Quaid, that Modi needs to remain in power for my hate to be justified, for my existence to be justified, for my gratitude to you to be justified?

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I must confess though, dearest Quaid, that I have been having a horrible, recurring nightmare. In it I see faces of all kinds of people who are fighting for my fellow Muslim brothers by putting their lives on the line.  I can feel their outrage at seeing their country bleed at the hands of religious fanaticism.

 I sense the pain that tugs at their heart as violence is used against them augmented by the sounds of ‘conspirator’ and ‘anti-national’ and ‘faith traitor’. “Who are these people?” I wonder. A voice whispers to me, it says that they are simply humans with a conscience, warriors of compassion – they are the light of inclusivity and harmony battling against the darkness of religious fanaticism and hegemony.

And then the sky changes. I am standing on a mountain and there’s a man whose back is towards me. He is looking out into the vastness where fires rage and the sound of thunder rattles the sky. He is speaking to the void, ritualistically uttering chants so acrid and poisonous it makes my heart feel sick – they are hateful words full of malice intended to crucify the voices of peace and reason. I can sense who he is: the hatemonger, the infamous Butcher of Gujarat. Unafraid, I walk towards him to confront him, he turns around but it isn’t him – I am face-to-face with myself.

I know it’s just a meaningless dream but I am glad I told you, Quaid, writing you this letter has been a cathartic experience for me. I hope you are looking down at all of us with a satisfied smile, comforted by our enemy’s agony – I only hope that its most conscientious citizens don’t prove me wrong.

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