Shouldn’t every BJP leader also be asked to say ‘Hindustan zindabad’ to prove his/her Indianness? AIMIM president Asaduddin Owaisi is angry that Muslims are being forced to restate their identity as Indians from time to time. In fact, he has said that anyone calling a Muslim citizen of India a “Pakistani” should be sent to prison for three years.

This is a bold suggestion, but a just one. Muslims citizens of India are being constantly asked to prove that their heart lies with India. What is the logic behind this? Muslims are as much a part of India as the Sikhs, Christians, Hindus or any other community members. This division of people into social circuits based on their religious and cultural beliefs only furthers the cause of nations and ideologies based on exclusionism.

Every Hindutva leader, be it from some tiny “sena” or the Shiv Sena itself, is adding to the prestige of the idea of Pakistan, which shall use this behaviour to incite Muslims of India to defect to their nation, and also add to the prestige of the two-nation theory and its resultant state worldwide.

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If the such senas are so angry, they should join the real Bharatiya sena (Indian Army) to fight the real and organised enemy at the border. Asking your own people, who have rejected the politics of exclusionism more than any Hindu, by flatly choosing to live on in India, instead of migrating in 1947, is like nurturing a cow only to slaughter it later.

The very idea that a Muslim should be asked to say “Hindustan Zindabad”, which when translated in the language of Hindutva becomes “Bharat Mata ki Jai”, is actually reminiscent of the Hindi movie Gadar: Ek Prem Katha, in which an Indian is asked to curse his nation in the enemy land to prove his loyalty to his wife.

The level of intellectual ignorance is so high that even in furthering their own cause, the Right not only does not ask for a more genuine proof requiring hard work and service to the Indian Constitution, which is nothing but being a conscientious citizen, but uses these cheap tactics of symbolism to agitate and anger their so-called enemies.

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If I am forced to say “Bharat Mata ki Jai”, then by forcing me you have not added to my respect for the country, you have only made yourself a subject of my contemptuous humour when you are not around, and made me a tad contemptuous of my country as well for being so badly programmed against me. The latter is the problem.

I love my country, then why should I be forced to have misgivings towards it just because you do not like my beard or my clothes? The stupidity involved in dying for a worthless cause affects the perpetrators as well as the victims of these symbolic crimes.

A three-year jail term for one who calls a Muslim citizen a “Pakistani” may be too harsh. But the times are such that – just like prevalent social attitudes led to the enactment of laws against discrimination of members of SCs and STs – new laws should be passed to protect the Muslim citizens of India as well.

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The community is clearly insulted and their loyalty “tested” on a regular basis. To say that Muslims and leaders like Owaisi should be forcefully sent to Pakistan is akin to saying that Hindu leaders should be forced to go to some Hindu state (which, ironically, Hindus have not been able to create).

How would the Togadias, Thackerays, Yogis etc, feel if they were asked to prove their loyalty to India? They have Hindu names, and that is mostly all that is Hindu about them socially. So should that be mixed with religion, and become a measure of anything other than individual identity? Should every BJP leader also be asked to say “Hindustan zindabad” to prove his/her credentials?

This politics of vengeance, hatred, cheap social engineering, and the loyalty tests reflect but one common element: The crisis of identity that Indians suffer from within and without its national borders.

Maybe addressing this crisis will help all of us (including BJP leaders) more than making juvenile additions to it on a regular basis. #KhabarLive