Protest CAA in Lucknow
Police personnel patrol march during a protest against the Citizenship Amendment Act, in Varanasi on Friday. Image Credit: ANI
Bobby Naqvi

What’s my wish list for 2020?

I do wish the next year is a little less full of bigotry and communalism, especially in my home country of India.

I am an Indian expat and have spent most of my productive life in the UAE. But I still maintain close bonds with my motherland. My home is in India, my close family members and most importantly, my best friends are in India. One day, I hope to retire in the country where I was born, educated and where I began a career in media.

2019 was a very disturbing year in many ways for expats like me. My religious identity as a Muslim came under attack from politicians who rule India. Today, I no longer feel secure when I visit my home country. In the back of my mind, there is always a fear that everything that belongs to me would be taken away – my identify, my assets, my self-respect and I fear for my physical safety and that of my family.

There is a sense of hopelessness among Muslims expatriates like me who are living in the UAE, a great nation that is home to diverse cultures and ethnicities and where your religious identity is not a baggage. In sharp contrast, India has become a deeply polarised nation where religious minorities are increasingly becoming marginalised politically and socially. What is more worrying is that the root cause of this insecurity among Muslims is the government which is expected to protect all.

In that sense, 2019 has been a very disturbing year for Muslims. It was only towards the end 2019, that a large section of Indian society has begun to speak up against bigotry and raised their voice against State action against Muslims. I hope that 2020 will bring a new dawn and Indians who value and cherish India’s diversity will continue to protect the minorities.