ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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Reinvention of Identity

While Javeed Alam’s article ‘The Contemporary Muslim Situation in India: A Long-Term View’ (January 12) deals instructively with the contemporary Muslim situation in India, it necessarily skips over the predicament of individual famous Muslims, who are targeted by “Hindutva” forces. An examination of two such well known cases might illustrate the larger predicament of Muslims, while also offering a commentary on “Hindutva’s” loss of touch with itself.

Quite a large well-organised section of the population, who proclaims adherence to the “Hindutva” cause, seems to be intent on controlling the imagined growth of Muslim influence in India. Nothing else can explain the persistent harassment meted out to such individuals as the nonagenarian artist M F Hussain or the tennis star Sania Mirza, just out of her teens. There is a strong muttered feeling that Muslims, by the very fact of being Muslim, must be anti-national and disrespectful of Hindu culture, and in need of being put down with a firm hand, under any pretext. Sections of Muslim religious leaders have also joined hands in putting down Sania Mirza, which suggests that the fundamentalist leaders of both religions would like to see the Muslims under the control of traditional power structures that exact obedience.

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