With a minority of 14.2% of the country’s population, Muslims face quiet a lot of stereotypical questions, questioning their patriotism.
Patriotism is one’s attachment to their homeland. Now this attachment can be seen in view of different characteristics relating to one’s own homeland, like, ethnic, cultural, political or historical aspects. Religion does not define or alter one’s patriotism. Religion plays a major role in communalism, not patriotism. And being a secular country, we are far from that.
Of course there are a lot of people who are warm and understanding towards Muslims. But there are always two sides to a coin.
There have been a few personal instances with me where my nationality and loyalty was questioned. Being a hijabi, my choice of attire makes the first impression for me. One such instance was when i had to take my French viva. I was asked to give a self introduction followed by a few basic questions, nothing out of the ordinary. But the Professor taking viva moved on to ask me where would I like to go for a vacation. And before I could even answer, she asked me if i would like to go to Pakistan. I was a bit taken aback and took a few seconds to answer in negation. Maybe it was nothing of importance but I can’t say I wasn’t offended. It as hard not to.
After all these years, the scars of separation still run deep. But its important to keep in mind that patriotism is not related to any religion. It is love for our homeland and loyalty towards our country that makes us one.
I do feel a surge of pride when I see any Indian succeed, my heart aches for the brave men and women at the border fighting for our security, I feel my heart inflate when i stand up to sing the National Anthem.
I am not denied of those feelings, yet my patriotism is not acknowledged. And when time comes, I will stand for my country. And till then I will work for the development of my country and my people.
Writes Rakshaan Fatima from Hyderabad.