6 situations for Naseeruddin Shah to live through before he starts imagining stories

Naseeruddin Shah has yet again got up from his social slumber and first thing he does is spit his anti-Modi venom in the open. He is upset about the ‘hatred’ growing in society. Umm…I am sorry, but I didn’t quite understand which hatred is the almost septuagenarian referring to. Do the maulana-maulvis who slander Nusrat Jahan for sporting the sindoor worry him, or it is the repeated attacks on Ram Navami processions and Durga pooja immersions? I have a strong feeling, it is none of these. 

Pyare Naseer chicha,

I heard you were scared for your kids last year, you grieved that cows are valued more than humans. You refer to a town, oblivious to the fact that 10 lacs Muslims held a march in that very town and returned home unscathed.

You say, ‘humara ghar hai, humein kaun nikal sakta hai yahan se?’ (it is our home, who can drive us out of here?) No one is even trying to, in fact, people who were driven out of their own homes in Kashmir and Kairana were not even Muslims, sir.

You say, ‘har right-thinking wale ko gussa ana chahiye’ (every right-thinking person should feel angry). Where was this rage when Owaisi junior boasted that if the police get removed for 15 minutes, 25 crore Muslims would show 100 crore Hindus who is boss….. and his speech was welcomed with roaring applause. Did you not sense the ‘zehar’ in that speech and in the spirit of his audience that approved of it?

You claim your children have no religion and so you fear they wouldn’t have an answer, if someone asked them, if they were Hindus or Muslims, and thus their lives depended on answering this hypothetical question. I am not particularly mad at you, because I understand, parents fear for their children. The fear, most of the time, is based on a flawed and random hypothesis – much like the one you are entertaining. Now, here are some situations you can imagine your children in the midst of:

  1. Regular parents, like you and I, that don’t keep company of terrorists from across the border so our kids are warned against visiting certain places on days when bombs are to go off, should fear bomb blasts – bomb blasts that have not happened in the past 6 years.  Why were you not scared while signing on the mercy petition of a terrorist who attacked the peace and sovereignty of this country? A bomb planted by him could blow up your child.
  1. You mention you son has no religion. Then why do you fear someone would ask him if he is Hindu or Muslim, why this binary? Have you forgotten the time when people were actually asked if they were Sikh before tyres were hung around their neck and they were set ablaze – you never spoke up about that dark period, and still continue to support the rule of that same party under whose watch the 1984 Sikh pogrom happened?
  1. Your son doesn’t wear any signs of any religion, you say. Have you ever thought how an Islamist could have grabbed him in Kashmir, run a machete through his body and tossed him in a passing stream, as they have proclaimed will be the fate of every kafir, including atheists/agnostics?
  1. Your son could be walking with the Bharatiya flag on a 26th January or 15th August, all soaked in the pride of the tricolor, just a free soul, marching through few familiar, few unknown streets of his own independent country. Out of nowhere, he gets into a little quarrel and before he realizes, a bullet pierces his body.
  1. Your child goes to school and greets his teacher in the regular and acceptable manner, with all politeness. The teacher reaches for a wood plank and beats him up leaving his leg fractured – all because the student didn’t offer the teacher the ‘religious greeting’ he preferred. Or imagine that your irreligious son objects to certain students saying ‘Allah Hu Akbar’ while the national anthem is being sung, but his displeased seniors thrash him up and school administration remains silent.
  1. Say your son is in love and the parents of his beloved quiz him on his religion. But he doesn’t have one, and unsatisfied by the response, these parents drag him out of their house, and run a knife across his throat – right in the middle of the road, in broad day light. Unnerving thought!

Do you know, revered sir, that not one of the situations listed above is ‘hypothetical’ like the one you cooked up in your head and insulted your own country over? Each of these tragedies has hit a home, swallowed a child, and left a mother’s lap empty.

None of victims were from the community you and other ‘intellectuals’ of your ilk believe are under some kind of threat in this country. The parents who lost their children in the tragedies mentioned above are living with their cursed realities, while privileged and entitled ones like yourself, who have never suffered a fraction of the pain these parents have endured, sit surrounded by luxuries and decide on imagining stories to check what fear may feel like – and, you fail.  

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