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The Indian Left is drawing a false equivalence between African Americans and Indian Muslims

Author: Harshil Mehta
Publication: Myind.net
Date:  June 12, 2020
URL:      https://myind.net/Home/viewArticle/the-indian-left-is-drawing-a-false-equivalence-between-african-americans-and-indian-muslims

George Floyd, an African American, was killed by Derek Chauvin, a White police officer, in Minneapolis, United States on 25th May 2020. The video of incident went viral on social media across the world. As seen in the video, Chauvin had put his knee on the neck of the Floyd even as the latter kept saying “I can’t breathe” for multiple times.

The Officer was accused of racism. Soon protests erupted across the US of America for demanding justice. Many of those protests were peaceful but some turned violent where shops were attacked, looted and burnt. “Black Lives Matter” started trending in the Twitter trends and many celebrities joined the online movement for justice. Indian left-liberals too jumped into the issue with hyper-enthusiasm.

So far, so good.

But the Indian left-liberals went one step ahead. Ashok Swain, professor at Uppsala University, Sweden, appealed for similar protests to save Muslim lives. Aakar Patel, human rights activist, also expected same from Muslims and others. #Muslim_LIVES_MATTER soon started trending in India in which there were claims made that Muslims are “historical marginalised” in India and similar protests are needed in India. Many columnists started writing long pieces advising people to hit the streets in India for a similar cause.

This drawing of parallel lines between African Americans and Indian Muslims is absolutely wrong.

First, let’s understand the historical context.

African Americans were brought to Continent as slaves by Europeans. In 1526, Spanish brought enslaved Africans to a doomed settlement in South Carolina.

While, Muslims didn’t come to India as slaves. If history is to be believed then first Muslims reached the western coast of India in 7th century. They were either travellers or traders from Arabia. It is said that Malik Dinar, Persian scholar, established the first mosque—Cheraman Juma Mosque – in Kerala and propagated Islam.

This was in the sharp contrast to the America. African Americans were already marginalised when they were introduced to America while Muslims were privileged in this case.

Second, let’s check their position at a similar point of time.

Let’s take year of 1526 CE. African Americans were just brought to America as slaves to find gold because all the indigenous people in Spanish colonies had died. In the Indian subcontinent, condition of Muslims was radically different.

India had already faced conquests by powerful Muslim rulers like Mahmud of Ghazni, Mohammad Ghori and many temples were already destroyed and looted by them. Till 1526, Delhi had already been under the rule of Muslim dynasties including Mamluk, Khalji, Tughlaq and Sayyid. Lodi, another Muslim dynasty, was ruling in the India around same time.

In the same year, when African Americans had just arrived to America and had started revolting, Panipat was witnessing a war for power between two Muslim rulers—Babur and Ibrahim Lodi.

When African Americans were revolting against their Spanish masters to become free, Muslim rulers in India were fighting for power. Is there any similarity here?

If you take any random time in the history and start comparing their privileges then Indian Muslims will always be privileged and African Americans will seem underprivileged.

Third, political marginalisation in democracy.

African Americans were discriminated in parts of US of America in voting rights till Voting Rights Act of 1965 was enacted.

Did same thing happen in India after independence? Never. Muslims were given same, perhaps more, rights than Hindus since India became a republic.

Also, prior to independence, Muslims had a fixed quota of seats where only Muslim candidates were able to contest the elections. The Muslim League, a political party, not only demanded separate nation—Pakistan—but also did rioting in the various parts of India.

At the time of independence, Nawab of Junagarh, Nizam of Hyderabad, Sultanate of Kalat (Balochistan) and Nawab of Mahmoodabad were few prominent names of rulers who were Muslims.

America has had only one African Americans as a president while India has had 4 presidents and 3 vice presidents as Muslims.

Fourth, one may rationally say that Police brutality is a problem but it is unfair to say that only Muslims are facing brutality in India.

In this article of The Wire, Siddarth Bhatia compares the viral video of Muslims allegedly beaten by Police with Floyd’s case. Along with anti-CAA protests, he also invokes encounter of 8 SIMI terrorists who escaped from MP jail in between. By cherry-picking incidents, he tries to set a narrative that Muslims are adversely affected by Police brutalities.

During Patidar agitation in 2015, issues of Police brutality was raised by human rights activists. Patidars, although being upper caste Hindus, also faced same fate. Again in 2017, Ketan Patel, 26 y/o Patidar youth, died in custodial death at Mehsana, Gujarat. He obviously was not a Muslim or from the marginalised community but still became a victim of brutality. These issues have been selectively ignored to draw imaginary lines between African Americans and Indian Muslims.

Fifth, African Americans don’t have international political, financial or moral support.

African Americans are not united with citizens of Africa with concept of ummah unlike Muslims. They don’t even have organisations like Organisation of Islamic Cooperation in which nations discuss about their conditions. No Imran Khan dedicatedly tweets about them every second other day.

“There is nothing like worldwide Black brotherhood to which American Blacks subscribe,” argues Saroj Chadha, retired Indian Officer, in this piece. “But Indian Muslims have sought and got political, financial and moral support from many Islamic nations across the world. Many among them openly solicit foreign intervention for perceived grudges by design since they would like Indian Muslims to be part of the worldwide Islamic brotherhood that believes in spread of Islam. If this harms their nation, India that [sic] does not seem to bother them.”

India is fighting with COVID-19 but the Indian left-liberal intelligentsia is busy in obfuscating religion with race to draw imaginary parallel lines between American Blacks and Indian Muslims so that employment can be provided to professional protestors.


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