A girl holds a doll as she attends a hunger strike protest of Swati Maliwal, chairperson of Delhi Commission for Women, demanding stricter laws for rape in India, in New Delhi, India on Monday. Image Credit: Reuters

Dear Muslims,

I am writing this with full responsibility and knowledge of the situation on the ground. I live thousands of kilometres away from Indian shores but visit thrice in a year and closely follow events and remain in touch with friends and acquaintances. 

Please do not get me wrong, this shouldn’t be interpreted as a patronising lecture. I understand the sentiments you express on social media and share the anger and frustration over events taking place in several parts of the country. 

However, please understand that nothing is permanent, what goes up is bound to come down. The prevailing climate will change very soon. I can see that happening. Things that happened six months ago are no longer happening. There are signs of change in every sphere of Indian society.

A man beats an effigy of one of the rapists at a protest against the rape of an eight-year-old girl, in Kathua, near Jammu, a teenager in Unnao, Uttar Pradesh state, and an eleven-year-old girl in Surat, in Ahmedabad, India (Reuters)

Bigger issues at hand

Issues of bread and butter are a great leveler and hurt people indiscriminately, regardless of caste, religion and ethnicity. It has started to hurt people — businesses are suffering, jobs are vanishing, sources of livelihood are shrinking. In a short span of time, these issues will consume all the sections of the society. You should worry more about jobs for your children than a silly tweet or an abuse from a right-wing motormouth.

Religion or ideology can’t fill stomachs, create jobs or propel growth. People will realise this very soon and in fact they have begun to understand — protests by farmers in several states and anger of Patels in Gujarat are good examples. 

In a democratic society, disenchantment sometimes is masked by electoral victories. But public anger simmers below the surface and manifests itself in various forms – on social media and street protests.

Girls offer juice to Swati Maliwal, chairperson of Delhi Commission for Women, to end her fast during her hunger strike protest demanding stricter laws for rape in India, in New Delhi, India (Reuters)

Peaceful co-existence 

Most importantly, for every person blinded by Hindutva, there are nine good Hindus who believe in peaceful co-existence and harmony. Just look around and see who are fighting these thugs. Lawyers, journalists, former bureaucrats and others — all are Hindus.

The recent case of Kathua rape-murder was investigated by Hindu officers and the girl’s parents are represented by a young Hindu woman lawyer. Moreover, hundreds of retired bureaucrats and academics who last week wrote open letters denouncing this climate of fear were mostly Hindus. This is a fight between right and wrong. Don’t make this is a fight between us and them.

Similarly, just look around at your workplace and neighbourhood, you will find that most hate this climate of fear and polarisation. So, stay calm, stay positive and focus on your jobs, studies and continue to do whatever you do.

Just avoid one thing — do not overreact and paint all with the same brush.