So many issues dealt with together, Ayodhya, Operation Bluestar, the Mughals, Indianness, oppressed women, arranged marriages and difficult choices. Words of wisdom, not spouted uselessly or reeking of jingoism but those that appeal to you in the way's that's best - when your heart sees the truth. When you feel the pain of a character, his words about his nephew. There's no use of a book that doesn't make you think. Words that provoke you, incite feelings about things forgotten, the terror that makes your heart thud when you see huge processions shouting slogans, waving flags whether green or saffron, beating huge drums that you can feel thundering inside your head, the imagined horror of seeing someone close to you being butchered or burnt alive, the anger, the hatred, the lust for revenge.
The definition of an Indian Muslim. The number of times I get links/mails, many a time from people who scarcely understand that the underlying issues are not as club-beatingly simple as they are made out to be, 'Look at this. They beheaded this guy/ They killed this woman/He has four wives/Why are you people so intolerant? Other people don't have such problems when people make fun of their religion'. And while I feel guilt for how little I've let people understand, I wonder how they would feel if for every injustice I felt, I sent a mail saying 'Oh look, your people did this. And this. And this'. Friends putting up links they hardly understand the significance of, 'More funny links on the cartoon controversy'. It's a simple matter to me, what you can ridicule, you cannot respect. And I used to think being human and well-mannered enough to respect other people's feelings comes easy.
Yet, I've hardly suffered. Apart from snide comments and occasional overlooking, nothing major has happened around the place I live, even though its actively denounced as a 'communal tension filled' area. Maulana Azad's speech about belonging and feeling you belonged was true, but the most enlightening words were those of an American character, about how we let history matter ... too much. It does matter in the identity it gives us, but it cannot and should not define who we are and how we live our lives.
you jab me,
in my eyes,
if it hurts.