Smell the coffee: The trend #TalkToAMuslim will hardly solve problems
The Indian political discourse has been reduced to Hindu-Muslim debate, quite, unfortunately. Whatever happened to development, a united opposition and other pressing issues is a question for science fiction writers. As the members of ruling Bharatiya Janata Party, including Prime Minister Narendra Modi, attacked Rahul Gandhi for allegedly claiming Congress was a 'Muslim party', the divide deepened. This prompted the #TalkToAMuslim trend.
BJP's attack, Congress's rebuttal: What started the #TalkToAMuslim trend
Congress denied BJP's 'Muslim party' blitzkrieg vehemently. But after the ruling saffron party kept fanning the controversy, Rahul Gandhi tweeted he stood by marginalized and that "their religion, caste or beliefs matter little to me." After this tweet, Twitter users started the #TalkToAMuslim trend on Tuesday in hope of fighting Islamophobia and abolishing preconceived notions about Muslims. The trend caught attention soon.
Many noted celebrities promote conversation to fight myths
Actresses Swara Bhasker, Gauahar Khan and noted historian Rana Safvi were among the ones who supported the hashtag. Soon there were dozens of tweets. One user @ansabtastic tweeted: Muslims aren't the demons or unspeakables they are portrayed out to be. We're humans too, and you can talk to us. You can talk to me. Meanwhile, Bhasker tweeted the trend was a response to hate politics.
India comes in all creeds, beliefs, tweets Swara Bhasker
But will this trend achieve anything? Looks like not
The idea of #TalkToAMuslim, its promoters feel, is to fight against marginalizing of Muslims but the trend, in fact, ends up marginalizing them. Regardless of how well-meaning the trend is, it patronizes Muslims and seeds the idea that no one really speaks to them. Which is, of course, not true. Leaving pseudo intellectuals aside, NO ONE CONSIDERS RELIGION BEFORE SPEAKING TO ANYONE.
This tweet suffices all our feelings about #TalkToAMuslim
Not #TalkToAMuslim, how about #TalkToAPolitician
The larger problem of #TalkToAMuslim, which pseudo-intellects won't tell you, is that it won't ever work. Wondering why? Because people already talk to Muslims without 'preconceived notions'. We have Muslim best friends, partners and mentors, and their religion never mattered to us. Perhaps #TalkToAPolitician trend might solve the problem. After all, politicians thrive on hate and they need a reminder on India's pluralism.
India doesn't need hate politics, stop exercising for it
The 2019 elections are approaching and all parties seem to have moved back to their old tricks. But they forget this is not 1950s. The 'Hindu Khatre Me Hain' tagline or Congress's 'Muslim party' controversy wouldn't (and shouldn't) concern sane voters. As for those contesting elections, we advise you to talk about real issues and then fulfil your promises. Enough of this communal charade!