Ever since the partition, the Muslims who live in India have not exactly felt at home. Not everybody treats them as outsiders but some do and that is enough to make them feel like they don’t belong here. It isn’t a good feeling, to reside in what feels like a foreign country that your ancestors once called home and then, be repeatedly reminded by a handful that this is not where you belong. It is never a good feeling.
The Muslim students feel the sting even more. They are to build a future in a land that is not their own. (an idea that is drilled into their heads ). Their future depends on those who they can’t call their own. It is a scary feeling, a crippling sense of alienation as if nobody cares.
Rashid Nehaal is the director of the Aligarh Muslim University’s Kishanganj campus.He is running an academic centre, starved of funds, with non existent infrastructure, in one of the poorest corners of India with little linkages with industry and the market for students to leverage. Nehaal, 48, senses prejudice from the central government.Yet, Nehaal’s advice to younger Muslims and the community at larger is to “stop complaining“.
Mohammed Adil Faridi is in his thirties, and works at the Imarat-e-Sharia, an influential Muslim organisation in Patna’s Phulwari Sharif. When asked if Muslims are feeling like a ‘defeated community’, a phrase one has heard elsewhere, he replies, “No.Muslims know that education is the only route to mobility. And anyone who wants to study can study. Yes, if someone can succeed with 30% work, a Muslim may have to put in 50% work because of certain prejudices. But no one is stopping us from doing that.” In a minority hostel for Post Graduate students in Patna college, Nishad Ahmed from Motihari said that Muslims are insecure. “But the only way of empowerment is through intellect. And we can gain this through higher education. There is no other way.”
“No.Muslims know that education is the only route to mobility. And anyone who wants to study can study. Yes, if someone can succeed with 30% work, a Muslim may have to put in 50% work because of certain prejudices. But no one is stopping us from doing that.”
The Muslims in India who are studying and working , know what can save them.They have their priorities set out right and work hard for it. Muslim students study with so much more dedication and focus. Their masters have instructed them, repeatedly, to stop complaining and keep working and that is exactly what they do. These students who hide their pain , their sighs of suffering behind the curtains of brilliant educational achievements make all of us feel proud. These brave hearts give us hope that this world has a strong set of young leaders waiting to alter pre-existing notions in their attempt of making the world a better place.