Yes ‘mistakes’, I dare say that. Agreed that Muslims may not have got great opportunities but what never fails to amaze is the aloofness of Muslims from the society. Let us start with social works–every day you open local vernacular newspapers and find Sindhi Panchayat, Agarwal Sabha, Bania Samaj, Jain community or say Kshatriya Mahasabha organising free health check up camps, blood donation camps, free fruit distribution at hospitals, distribution of books toÃ‚Â poor children, blankets to poor in winter on pavementÃ‚Â and umpteen similar camps.Have you ever seen Muslims ever do such charitable things?
Ã‚Â In fact, the poorest communities do lot of such social works that areÃ‚Â positive and create a good impression on the minds of people in society. I have seen at small railway stations the societies and groups of such communities providing cool water to passengers on passing railway trains.
In the scorching summer when the general and even sleeper compartments of the trains in India turn into ovens, such small gestures of charity strike a chord with the citizens. People remember the good works done by the particular community and if a person of that sect comes across they remember it.
Now why would any one remember Muslims–for protesting only about their issues. Why would it concern anybody else? That’s why a veteran wrtier said that she was appalled to find that in the Kashmir earthquake, many upper middle class people flatly refused to give any money to Muslims and this happened in posh South Delhi. Why? They said that we have nothing to do with Muslims, many were so filled with hate that they reportedly said that it was good that they have died.
If you are a Muslim who is mistaken as a Hindu in a groupÃ‚Â you may find lot of vitriol and anger. Aren’t Muslims responsible for their plight. No what we do is protesting and demonstration for issues that hardly help us.
We have no dearth of ‘leaders’ and politicians at all levels. The organisations are springing up every day–the Rangrez samaj, Quraish Samaj, Raeen society and what not. But no body looks at this aspect. Except in parts of Mumbai and some Sourth Indian states, no where Muslim organisations have any thing to dow with society.
If a Muslim leader of Congress in a town will organise a blood donation camp, the first thing is that someone will object and say it is un-Islamic etc. How many social organisations do we have that are active. How many iftaars are organised outside the ghettoes and why not poor non-Muslims actively invited at the ‘iftaar’ in large numbers.
An example of a city with 15 lakh population with 5 lakh Muslims and 10,000 Jains. Now Muslims are 25 times Jains but have one Musafirkhana where Muslim visitor coming from other city could stay at night but the Jains have around 20 comfortable dharam-shalas apart from 45 temples all of them having the same facility without any bar. In the Muslim musafirkhana, you would not be able to enter if you are poor or if you don’t have sifaarish.
There are hundreds of examples and there is just no comparison between Muslims and other communities. Our religion emphasises so much on good conduct with others and rights of neighbours but we stand aloof. That is why we 15 crore are now out of this mainstream in a sense. No matter how many Premjis and Kalams and Sanias come, they will remain exceptions because the image of a Muslims can’t improve until we take up cudgles and in every spehere where ever possible spread this awareness and make an effort to change the picture.