stick to hindus and muslims

But we live in a time when even multitudes are forced to lay claim to a singular label.
from this moving piece of writing at space bar's blog. and the comment i couldn't bring myself to post:
i wish i could overlook the presumption here that i can lay claim to the label 'hindu'. a great many people with hindu names can't be hindus even if they wanted to, not even if india today or bajrang dal wanted them to. i wish i didn't have to post this comment, but i've noticed many 'liberal secular hindus and muslims' share this presumption.
why didn't i post it? because the key tenets of the liberal secular ethos in india were defined by nehru, who took great pains to describe his descent in the very first chapter of his autobiography, and later interpreted by his biographers like m.j.akbar who take great pains to engage only with upper caste hindus in all their writing. because even when one has been labelled one doesn't feel invited to these debates.

because my folks come from a village where the muharram procession still starts from lower caste homes. because some of my mother's cousins were named after a holy man called yaqub. because my grandmother always believed the festival of peers was our festival. one could go on, but for any debate to be truly liberal secular, one should stick to hindus and muslims, i guess.


Space Bar said...

wish you had posted, kuffir.

here's a (related) post on surabhi's blog: http://surabhish.blogspot.com/2008/10/fourth-r.html

it might make for a good link on BB (wrong place to say this, i know, but things are crazy).

kuffir said...

space bar,

it's ok..and it's a good read. thanks.

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