In India, the Muslim community consists of the second largest population after Hindus, amounting to around 213 million (based on Pew Research Centre data). India is also the home to the largest Muslim population outside Muslim majority countries. In a multicultural nation like India, communities with diverse ethnicities reside with unity since ages without uniformity in their practices. Be it Hindus, Muslims or Sikhs, all citizens of the country are free to practice their religion and culture without any interference by the state. Apart from it, the supreme law book of the country, the Indian constitution also guarantees numerous rights to all their citizens, especially to the people belonging to the minority communities, including Muslims. The constitution not merely provides minorities with the right to practice their religion but specifically the right to set up their institutions too.
From the freedom struggle to independent India, the Indian Muslims have contributed in every sphere for making of today’s modern India. Be it Ali brothers, Ashfaq Ullah Khan etc during the freedom struggle or the missile man APJ Abdul Kalam of modern independent India, the Indian Muslims glorified the country in every possible way. However, despite the undeniable contribution of Indian Muslims, misleading rumours are being spread by people with vested interests to create a sense of hostility with the ultimate aim to destabilise India.
Sporadic violence against minorities is not a new phenomenon in any country with mixed population. Minority versus majority debate is not restricted to India alone as shreds of evidence of violence against minority communities can be found in any country with diverse religious beliefs. In comparison to other such countries, minorities in India enjoy much better standard of living and amount of freedom as well as equality. Taking example of Sri Lanka, a small South Asian country situated in the Indian Ocean, numerous instances of persecution can be cited against minority Tamils by the majority Sinhalese. In Pakistan, it’s against Shia by the majority Sunnis, while in Afghanistan it’s against Hazaras by the majority Pashtuns. In contrast to neighbouring countries, minorities in India are protected by Constitution, strict implementation of rule of law and by the collective activism of Indian intelligentsia. Sporadic violence against the minorities is too less in numbers to be cited as a threat to the existence of minorities.
In India, two largest majorities (by population percentage), the Hindus and Muslims usually live peacefully with unity and brotherhood. Only some anti-social elements with vested interests intermittently create rifts between the communities, which results in sporadic incidences of violence. While in the current scenario, specific external forces abetted by some internal forces of the country which are trying to create a communal environment to make Muslims feel unsafe in their own country. Such forces are using lies and spreading propaganda with the help of the virtual world, including social media, to create an environment of fear which is in stark contrast with the reality.
Stand-up comedian Vir Das recently placed green against saffron while addressing audiences at Kennedy Centre, USA. If persecution of minorities’ theory were to be considered true, the punch line of Das would have garnered widespread popularity across India. However, the cheap comedy of Das received widespread condemnation throughout India cutting across caste, creed and religion. This shows the true spirit of India. While some people tried to give communal angle to India’s loss against Pakistan by targeting cricketer Mohammad Shami, a solid defence by Indian skipper Virat Kohli, a Hindu, sealed the mouth of every hate monger. This is the beauty of India. The allegations against the Indian state and its majority community of persecution against Indian Muslims are baseless and have no factual ground.