A Letter from Indian Muslim Youth to Chetan Bhagat

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Dear Mr. Bhagat,

At the very outset, let us make it clear that we are not fans of your regressive fiction. Therefore, we write to you not as crazy fans but as Indian Muslim youth, who felt utterly patronized, insulted and hurt after reading your article, ‘Letter from an Indian Muslim Youth’ . You might have not realized this, but in pretending to render “a strong modern Indian Muslim voice’’ to the youth and the Muslim community at large, you have ripped them of their agency. You have reaffirmed stereotypes that many in the community have been fighting against. Heard of the Muslim god and his flock?

Sir, one does not need a name like Ahmed or Saeed or Mirza, or even be a Muslim to show one’s genuine concern for the community. One just needs to see beyond one’s own prejudice and biases. Believe us, this disgusting piece of your writing made us more nauseous than any of your (or Madhu Kishwar’s) love-verses to Modi. Your article is nothing but an extension of the thought process that anything Muslim is backward and regressive. Since you have assigned to yourself the task of bearing the moral burden of the community, would you care to explain what a ‘Muslim cap’ is?

We agree with you when you say political leaders make promises that go empty post elections. And that there are Muslims who have achieved much without any ‘’cap-wearing politician’’ helping them. But who is this leader that you are suggesting; one who would understand ‘’the desire’’ of the Muslim youth ‘’to come up in life’’ and ‘’inspire us to do better’’? Is it by any chance the mass murderer, Narendra Modi?

You know what hurts? That people pretend to care for you when they don’t. When in fact they use you to grind their own axe. How cleverly you turn everything that the Muslim youth face today – “being frisked with greater attentiveness, denied renting an apartment” – into a product of the community’s inherent backwardness, as if it bears no relation to the increasing communalization of our polity and society.

What makes you think that the ‘cap’ wallahs exercise a great deal of influence within the community? Interestingly, one particular party has been lately seeking a lot of photo-ops with precisely these kinds of community leaders. Make no mistake Mr. Writer. They don’t.

“Because of you”, you write castigating an imagined Muslim leadership, “people feel we vote in a herd.” Now, isn’t that really clever, Mr. Bhagat. People feel we vote in a herd because certain parties never tire of screaming hoarse about ‘minority appeasement’ and ‘vote banks’, even though, any psephologist or political scientist, or even an ordinary Muslim youth at Chai dukaan will tell you that Muslims vote just like any other community does: according to a mix of factors: local, national but above all, keeping in mind who will preserve their interests best. And their interests do tend to include the safety of life and livelihood.

We are sorry, Mr. Bhagat, but the ‘’democratic republic’’ you talk of is not so democratic. If it were so, Afzal Guru wouldn’t have been executed to ‘’satisfy the collective conscience of the nation’’. Muslim youth would not have fallen prey to minority witch-hunting, and their killers not decorated with gallantry awards. Adivasis in Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand and Orissa would not have been ripped of their fundamental rights to live with dignity. Dalit poets would not have been falsely charged under sedition laws.

Loving one’s nation is well and good, but being blinded by patriotism is not. Why do Indian Muslims always have to prove their allegiance to India? Why can’t they also be critical of their country?

The party whose path you are treading has had Indian Muslims pass through too many Sita-like ordeals of fire, Agni Pariksha. You may have the privilege to turn a blind eye to the post-Babri Masjid Demolition violence, the Gujarat pogrom, but many others don’t. How then do you think a leader who doesn’t even have the integrity to apologize for his complicity in the Gujarat pogrom represent Muslim youth’s aspirations for ‘’scientific way of thinking, entrepreneurship, empowerment, progress’’ and above all, ‘’personal freedoms’’? And just by the way, have you heard of the word, ‘Justice’?

Sd/-

1.Rafiul Alom Rahman, Student, Delhi University, Delhi
2.Mahtab Alam, Civil Rights Activist and Journalist, Delhi
3.Javid Parsa, Student, Maulana Azad National Urdu University, Hyderabad
4.Zulaikha Jabeen, Researcher and Activist, Raipur, Chhattisgarh
5.Shahnawaz Malik, Journalist, Delhi
6.Abdullah A Rahman, Student, TISS Tuljapur
7.Abu Zafar, Journalist, Delhi
8.Sadika Saiyed, Law Student, Surat
9.Omar Rashid, Journalist, Allahabad
10.Imran Ali, Filmmaker, Delhi
11.Rashid Hussain, Software Engineer, Jaipur
12.Mahtab Azad, Development Consultant, Araria (Bihar)
13.Ali Amir, Student, TISS Mumbai
14.Gauhar Iqbal, Entrepreneur, Delhi
15.Bilal Kagzi, Advocate, Surat
16.Imran Khan, Journalist, Bangalore
17.Nesar Ahmad, Researcher, Jaipur
18.Aasiya Aslam, Architect, Chennai
19.Saif Khan, Student, IIT Kharagpur
20.Ejaz Ahmad, Student IIT Delhi
21.Mohd Tanveer Iqbal, Civil Rights Activist, Chennai
22.Mohammad Noor Alam, Medical Student, Bagalkot
23.Khan Rashid Ayyub, Legal Translator, Azamgarh
24.Tariq Shabibi, Software Engineer, Hyderabad
25.Naim Siddiqui, Marketing Professional, Gurgaon
26.Shahid Parwez Saiyyad, Entrepreneur, Mumbai
27.Yuman Hussain, Social Activist, Kishanganj (Bihar)
28.Mansoor Ali, Network Administrator, Vellor, Tamilnadu
29.Mohammad Altamash, Operation Manager, Gurgaon
30.Naveed Hasan, Software Engineer, Bangalore
31.Syed Hassan Kazim, Journalist, New Delhi
32.Shehla Rashid, Policy Analyst, J & K
33.Abul Kalam Azad, Student, TISS Guwahati
34.Tasneem Khan, Assistant Professor, Galgotias University, Noida
35.Najmul Huda, Research Scholar, Jamia Millia Islamia, New Delhi
36.Dayam Anwar, Accountant, New Delhi
37.Shahrukh Hameed, Asst Bank Manager, Lucknow
38.Mohammad Rafiq Mulla, Web Developer, New Delhi
39.Ershad Ahmad, Development Consultant, New Delhi
40.Shoaib Mohammad, Student, Bangalore University
41.Faraz Ahmad, Business Executive, Mumbai
42.Sikandar Azam, Journalist, Delhi
43.Tarique Shafeeq, Activist, Azamgarh
44.Rabab Iman, Social Worker, Delhi
45.Najid Hussain, Scientist, Indian based in USA
46.Sana Maryam, Writer, New Delhi
47.Sadiq Naqvi, Journalist, New Delhi
48.Md. Zaurez Danish, Mechanical Engineer, Manipal
49.Ovais Sultan Khan, Social Worker, Delhi
50.Saleha Tahseen, Corporate Trainer, Bangalore
51.Syed Zameer Hasan, Software Engineer, Mumbai
52.Mohd. Jalauddin, Executive with Coal India, Maharashtra
53.Malik Abid Rasool, Student, Amar Singh College, Sri Nagar
54.Mohd. Imran, Real Estate Appraiser, Indian based in New Jersey
55.Sahil Rafiq, Student, Kashmir University
56.Younis Altaf, Student, Hyderabad
57.Javed Iqbal, Corporate Employee, Hyderabad
58. Zoha Khan, Student, Dehradun
59. Irfan Hashmee, Student, Hyderabad
60.Md. Ali, Journalist, Delhi
61.Saira Manzoor, Homemaker, Kolkata
62.Shafaque alam, Journalist, Delhi
63.Afreen Khan, Student, Dehradun
64.Afroz Alam, Journalist, Delhi
65.Mazin Khan, Publisher, New Delhi
66.Mohd. Reyaz, Journalist, Delhi
67.S M Fasihullah, Freelance Journalist, Hyderabad
68.Zoha Abdul, Student, DU
69.Tarique Anwar, Journalist, Delhi
70.Mohammad Muneeb, Private Employee, Kohir, AP
71.Areeb Rizvi, Student, Jamia Millia Islamia, New Delhi
72.Ufaq Paiker, Research Scholar, JNU
73.Sania Mariam, Student, Kolkata
74.Ayesha Farooq, Student, DU
75.Falak Khan, Student, Bangalore
76.Sarah Jameel, Student, Doon University, Uttarakhand
77.Talha Hussain, Software Engineer , Gulbarga Karnataka
78.Maheboob Shahana , Student ,Jamia Millia Islamia Delhi
79.Abdul Haadi, MA Sociology , Kottayam Kerala
80.Waseem Ahmed , Circulation Executive, Hapur (U.P)
81.Atiya Firdaus, Student Activist, Kota Rajasthan.
82.Abdul Raheem, Procurement Manager, Bangalore Karnataka.
83. Imran Ahmed, Real-Estate Developer, Kota Rajasthan
84.Inam ur Rehman , student ,Delhi University ,Delhi
85.Md Khalid , Ph.D Scholar Jamia Milliya Islamia, Delhi
86.Ubaidurrehman, Ph.D Student ,JNU Delhi
87.Shuaib PV , Student activist ,Kerala
88.Ts Amanullah , Engineering Student Chennai Tamilnadu
89.Riaz Ahmed, Law Student Chennai TamilNadu
90.Aminulislam , Political Activist Murshidabad West Bengal
91.Danish Raza, Journalist, Delhi
92.Sharib Zeya, Research Fellow, Delhi School of Economics
93.Nizamuddin Ajmeri , Social Worker , Bundi Rajasthan
94.Jeelani Basha, Software Engineer Poona.
95.Kosar Jahan , Student Activist , Kota Rajasthan
96.Lukhmanul Hakeem , Student Activist , Edappal Kerala
97.Abdul Raheem Mulla, Corporator GCC, Gulbarga Karnataka.
98.P.Abdulnazar , Student activist , Vengara Kerala
99.P Niyaz , Photo Journalist , Chennai TamilNadu
100.Naveed Parsa, Engineering Student, Chandigarh
101.Haseena Khatoon , Teacher Chennai Tamil Nadu
102.Anjumand Ara, Teacher, Delhi University
103.Ziyaullah , Political Activist Chennai Tamil Nadu
104.Umer Farooq, Engineer, Punjab
105.Saquib Ahmed, Advocate, Ahmadabad
106.Mohammad Syeduddin, Student, Patna
107.Parvez Bari, Journalist, Bhopal
108.Shayed Sayeed, Software Engineer, Ahmadabad
109.Zafar Mohammed, Business Executive, Mumbai
110.Mohammad Saif, Journalist, Cuttack, Orissa
111.Tauseef Ahmad, Technocrat, Delhi
112.Mohd. Zakaria Siddiqui, Researcher, Indian currently in Australia
113.Haseeb Mustafa Alvi, Engineer, Delhi
114.Mohd Aarif Khan, Systems Engineer, Mumbai
115.Fazal Ahmad, Advocate, New Delhi
116.Qazi Sadaff Rehan, Student, Bhadrak, Orissa
117.Aarif Khan, Assistant Professor, Indian currently in Riyadh
118.Faisal Iqbal, Electronics Engineer, New Delhi
119.Pervez Chaudhary, Student, AMU, Aligarh
120.Fehmeena Ahmad, Activist, Delhi
121.Mohd. Yousuf, Student, Chennai
122.Mohd Abdul Rasheed, IT Manager, Hyderabad
123.Moosa Azmi, Activist, Varanasi
124.Saman Roohi, Phd Candidate, Indian currently at Amsterdam
125.Dr. Uzma, Medical Practitioner, Mysore
126.Dr. Zaheer Ahmed, Neurologist, Chennai
127.Adnan Farooqui, Academic, Delhi
128.Farhatullah Khan, Research Scholar, University of Madras
129.Munawwar Kavungal, Trichur, Kerala
130.Muneebuudin, Advocate, Hyderabad
131.Samiullah Khan, Quality Control Manager, Bangalore
132.Mohd Saif, IT Engineer, Kareem Nagar, AP
133.K T Hafis, Student, Jamia Millia Islamia
134.Fawaz Shaeen, Law Student, AMU, Aligarh
135.Shihab Khan, Civil Engineer, Bhopal
136.Abdul Raheem Kaiser, Student, BITS Hyderabad
137.Salima Aarif, Blogger, New Delhi
138.Abdullah, Teacher, West Bengal
139.Azhar Khan, Advocate, Jalgaon, Maharashtra
140.Syed Salman Ali, Law Student, AMU
141.Waseem Siddiqi, Entrepreneur, Delhi
142.Parvin Sultana, Research Scholar, JNU
143.Kashif Ilyas, Student, Aligarh Muslim University Aligarh
144.Riad Azam, Student, Aligarh Muslim University Aligarh
145.Imran Kichloo, Student, Aligarh Muslim University Aligarh
146.Ameen Ahmed, Student, Aligarh Muslim University Aligarh
147.Roshan U. Alam, Civil Services aspirant, Delhi
148.Shaheen Ahmed, Performance Artist, Delhi
149.Mohd Arif Dagia, LIC Agent, Raipu, CG
150.S M Zaki Ahmad, Development Professional, Delhi
151.Ahmar Afaq, Law Student, Saharanpur, UP
152.Muhammed Imtiyaz Ahmed, IT Consultant, Delhi
153.Memon Junaid, Dentist, Ahmedabad
154.Omair Anas, Researcher, JNU
155.Mukkaram Niyaz, Web Developer, Hyderabad
156.Imran Khan, Journalist, Noida
157.Zaheer Hussain, Journalist, Bangalore
158.S. Mohd Saim, Advocate, Rampur, UP
159.Md Iqbal, Engineer, Ranchi
160.Mohd Sajjad Hussain, Student, Delhi School of Economics
161.Syed Humayoun Shabir, Research Scholar, AMU
162.Fairoz Ahmed, Software Engineer, Bangalore
163.Moinuddin Ahmad, Journalist, Delhi
164.Yasir Iqbal, Engineering Student, AMU
165.Faheem Ahmad, Planning Engineer, Vellore
166.Abbas Hasan, Marketing Professional, Delhi
167.Sadiq Umar, Young Scientist, Delhi
168.Sarfaraz Nawaz, Consultant, Bangalore
169.Shahnawaz Akhtar, Journalist, Delhi
170.Rabia Khan, Marketing Consultant, Lucknow
171.Rasshad Khan, Technology Entrepreneur, Noida
172.Abdullah Azzam, Law Student, Faculty of Law, AMU
173.Meher Jahan, Law Student, Faculty of Law, AMU
174.Sarah Hashim, Law Student, Faculty of Law, AMU
175.Anam Khan, Law Student, Faculty of Law, A M U
176.Sheeba Aslam Fehmi, Writer-Activist, Delhi
177.John Dayal, Member, National Integration Council, GoI
178.Anuradha Bhasin, Journalist, Jammu
179.Preeti Sampat, Researcher, Delhi
180.Sukla Sen, Activist, Mumbai
181.Brijesh Kalappa, Advocate, Delhi
182.Archana VB, Software Professional
183.Smita Charbarty, Phd Scholar, Kolkata
184.Himanshu Kumar, Activist, Delhi
185.Faisal Ahmed Khan, Assistant Professor, Kerala
186.Brinda Bose, Teacher, Delhi University
187.Neha Misra, Student, IMT Ghaziabad
188.Shehba George, Activist, Ahmadabad
189.Imran Khan, Educator, Aligarh
190.Faisal Khan, Advocate, Meerut

191.Clifton D’ Rozario, Advocate, Banglore

192.Masihuddin, Pharmacist, Betiah, Bihar
193.Aftab Fazil, Educationist, Delhi
194.Nandini Rao, Activist, Delhi
195.Dr. Aurobindo Ghose, Advocate, Delhi
196.Asgar Hussain, Bank PO, Delhi
197.Dr. Aslam Rizvi, Medical Practitioner, Delhi
198.Naaz Khair, development consultant, Delhi
199.Garga Chatarjee, Columnist, Kolkata
200.Menu Seshu, Activist, Shangli
201.Nitya Vasudevan, Research Scholar, Bangalore
202.Rukmini Sen, Journalist, Mumbai
203.Vimochana, Women Rights Activist, Bangalore
204.Shraddha Chickerur, Delhi
205.Girish Pannikkar, Accounts Manager, Kerala
206.Aruna Ganadason, Christian Feminist, Kerala
207.Ms Jarjum Ete, activist, Itanagar, Arunachal Pradesh
208.Navneet Shrivastava, Mumbai
209.Dr. Shelly Dahiya, New Delhi
210.Amalendhu Upadhyay, Journalist, Ghaziabad
211.Himadri Sekhar Mistri, Research Scholar, Delhi School of Economics
212.Soma Marik, Visiting Professor, School of Women’s Studies, Jadavpur University
213.Sudipto Muhri, Assistant Professor, Pune University
214.Kalyani Menon, Feminist, Gurgaon

5 thoughts on “A Letter from Indian Muslim Youth to Chetan Bhagat

  1. Add me to signatures. They want us to move on but does not want to talk about justice. They don’t have the courage to say Murderer to a murderer instead they are talking like paid pens. And then they say we are a democractic nation, I am sorry but what democracy where it takes over 11 to prove Modi,s roles in gujrat riots and mass muders and still nobody can take his name for that. Its less democracy and more Hitlershahi.

  2. Add me to signatures. They want us to move on but does not want to talk about justice. They don’t have the courage to say Murderer to a murderer instead they are talking like paid pens. And then they say we are a democractic nation, I am sorry but what democracy where it takes over 11 to prove Modi,s roles in gujrat riots and mass muders and still nobody can take his name for that. Its less democracy and more Hitlershahi.

  3. Great retort.. Although there is so much more to say it is important for us to keep our voices in the democratic arena and to be represented and retort back at all times so that twits like Chetan Bhagat can’t claim to be messiahs of the cause of the “Muslim youth” in India, they don’t know or care about.. All they want is to disregard the very Muslim youth as a part of the political voice of the nation and to quell their concerns.. What they dont understand is that one cant move on without justice being met, and in this case, from shameless continuing wrongs.. Please consider this as my endorsement

  4. Such a relief to read this response! Kudos to you!! One has to be politically naive or willfully blind to not see the communal and finally Hindu basis of all ‘general democratic politics’ or even ‘secular politics’ in India.

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