A couple of days back, a glamorous actress of yesteryears proclaimed on national TV that she’s seen Pakistani flags fluttering with impunity in Mumbai and nobody seems to want to do anything about it. What she had really seen were the flags of the Muslim League, an Indian political party much older than Pakistan itself.
She can be excused – even a gnat would be insulted if her IQ is compared to his – but what was appalling was that she was allowed to make a statement like that on prime time, and the TV channel did not deem it fit to either correct her, or tender an apology immediately.
But then, for most of us, Pakistan is the enemy. And all Muslims are Pakistani sympathizers, so regardless of whether the colour of their passport is blue or green, they are the enemy.
Indian Muslims are Indians first, Muslims later. Over the last few years, they have gone out of their way to prove it – being the first to burst crackers when India defeats Pakistan in a cricket match, toning down Eid festivities after the recent bomb blasts, raising the tricolour whenever they can – but that somehow still doesn’t seem enough.
People still seem to equate Indian Muslims with the enemy, and others who know better do not see it fit to correct them.
And yet, the proportion of Muslim casualties in the recent terror attacks in Bombay was far greater than their proportion in the total population.
Muslim clerics have refused to allow the bodies of the slain terrorists from being buried in our cemeteries.
Today, Indian Muslims are celebrating Bakri-id today not with biryani, but with black arm bands.
Muslims in India and elsewhere have taken out candle-light processions to protest against the terror attacks.
It is high time we stopped asking Muslims to prove their patriotism again and again. It is time Indians realized that the real enemy is not the Muslim, or even a Pakistani.
The real enemy is the terrorist, and it is against terrorists that the war has to be waged. And that war can only be won if we stand united and fight united.