Ashaq Hussain Parray exposes the political malignancy of those who denounce ‘identity politics’ as divisive.

“The Great Anxiety

As the Indian left/liberal and secular people are standing shoulder to shoulder with the Muslim minority against the divisive CCA and NRC, there however is a strange anxiety that is prevalent in these supporting groups. A student from Aligarh Muslim University writes an article arguing why she fights as a Muslim. Another student from the same university writes in response to this article arguing for a case that the Indian Muslims should fight without resorting to the slogan of la ilaha illalh, the central credo of the Muslim faith. She believes raising this slogan automatically throws non-muslims out of the current movement.

Now, one may ask with all the humility why does left/liberal lot have problem with La-Ila-Illallah? There can be many reasons, foremost among them, that they equate it with RSS shouting Jai Shri Ram and this is where the problem lies. There is a heck of a difference. These guys have failed to understand the nature of Indian secularism. The constitution of India provides full freedom to practise one’s religion, a part of one’s identity. Muslims while shouting the Islamic slogan don’t impose or lynch people of other faiths for not following it whereas the Hindutva forces do force people to chant their religious slogans and that is what differences the Hindutva fascism from the Muslim secularism. Muslims are really working on a secular plane when they raise Islamic slogans, whereas the Hindutva forces are not because they believe others should follow and accept their worldview.

These people who are suffering from these anxiety attacks play a divisive politics where they want to deprive Muslims of the opportunity to make a case for their own survival. They are anxious about a Muslim movement that they equate with being under oppression and backwardness. Shashi Tharoor as an Indian liberal has a right to write a huge book like why I am a Hindu, though he does not engage with his predecessor Kancha Iliah’s Why I am not a Hindu, and claims himself to be a proud scion of a faith that is plural and diverse invoking the great Hindu sages like Vivekananda. He has an absolute right as a liberal Hindu to express his freedom and call himself as a proud Hindu because he believes it is his faith and constitutes part of his identity. No Muslim has any problem with his liberal Hinduism, but when a Muslim raises a slogan like there is no God but God, expressing the central credo of his/her faith, it sends shivers down to the likes of Tharoor. I don’t know how Muslims can assert their identity without their faith. Just how?

Muslims have been assaulted because of their faith and they can only assert their presence by openly practicing their faith, otherwise what is the fun of it all. Telling Muslims to keep their faith at home while they come for protests is another way of saying them that “convert and be like us first, only then you will be acceptable.” It is that simple.”