“There is no distinction between one community and another, no discrimination between one caste and another. We are starting with this fundamental principle that we are all equal citizens of one State.”
I simply don’t know how to move with these two words “insensitive” and “intolerant”. Over a period of time, we have emerged as a highly insensitive nation. We love to make fun of those who are sensitive and care a lot for the social cause.
It dates back to a story when we were discussing works of Pashtu poet Amir Crore during lectures. A boy started making fun of him and his name… “Pathans have stupid names like this…..” and the class started laughing. (I was the only Pathan there and was a topper as well.) The teacher scolded me for pointing them out as she was enjoying their sick sense of humor. A very small example of racial intolerance I observed during my college days. A group of people hated me for belonging to a Pashtu caste. They reason they gave me for hatred was they hated Taliban. Excuse me, I wasn’t a Taliban.
I have been observing many signs of insensitivity that extends over personal, political and religious levels as well. To start with, see our text books that create a typical image of us in the world. A culture of cultural and social intolerance also exists where we stand quite reluctant. This insensitivity and intolerance is a customary effect that is observed in linguistic, cultural, social and ethnic expressions. It is not only limited to the religious expression. What are some of the most prominent examples of insensitivity and intolerance? Here are a few:
There comes our intolerance towards minorities and hatred towards them. The attack on Ahmadi worship area is the main example of that. Even after the attack, some people were heard saying that it was good to kill Ahmadis and they were “Wajib-ul-Qatl”. The attitude towards Ahmadi community in the drastic floods of 2010 is again inhuman and very much insensitive. Forget about the killing. Does Almighty ever stop its people and creatures from giving food, even if they are Ahmadis, Parsis, Hindus or Sikhs? About 500 Ahmadi families were been hit by floods, they were rejected food items and they were forced to leave the relief camps by the local administration. They were given refuge only by their fellow Ahmadi people. What have we given to our minorities? This discrimination would lead us nowhere. Ahmadi Community in Faisalabad suffered a lot even when people were handing out pamphlets urging people to boycott businesses owned by Ahmadis and also asking Ahmadis to resign from high level posts.
But, what is left about the fake and double standards of ours? Can we justify them? There is an Ahmadi family who shared their story with me. People didn’t want to marry their sons since they were Ahmadis some years ago. They used to criticize them openly for being Ahmadis and asking other people to boycott them. Now the same people, who have been criticizing them for decades, now have not been able to find matches for their daughters. So they are asking the mother of those Ahmadi boys again and again to marry their daughters. The same story applies to a girl whose late grandfather was an Ahmadi. But she brought a lot of money and dowry with her; people were ready to marry her, despite being an Ahmadi’s daughter. Here comes the greed, lust and materialism where intolerance simply goes away.
Then we show our hypocritical standards by protesting for not allowing Muslim women to wear veil in France, when we ourselves are at the peak for showing high discrimination towards Non-Muslims. One would be shocked to know that majority of the people among the protestors never wore a “Hijab.”
While writing a post on my favorite season Coke Studio, I heard someone commenting badly as why the Coke Studio had a Christian drummer in it and why Pashtu, Sindhi and Baluchi singers weren’t introduced in it? This was a very shocking example of “Music discrimination”. While talking about music, let me quote one more example. A music website published news of sudden demise of Imran Lodhi of ADP, over which a famous singer-cum-song-writer instantly messaged me and asked me to remove my status of “RIP Imran”, because he died a “Haram” death, after committing suicide. This was again a very insensitive and inhuman response from a musician. Not to mention, after a Pathan friend saw my music reviews, he asked me to review “Janaan” by Hadiqa and Irfan, since it was a Pashtu song. Does one write a review on the basis of Sindhi, Baluchi and Pashtu music? I review what I like and whatever is soul touching.
Even on the day of Air Blue plane crash, there were hundreds of people who were least bothered about the tragic incident. I wasn’t in a jolly mood and they kept asking me what was the best film to watch that day and what was the best refreshment to have with tea? This level of insensitivity extends on personal level. I also noticed some people asking me to write reviews on their music albums and listen to their new songs, on the day of crash. The coffin of late Prem Chand (member of Youth Parliament) was marked as “Kaafir”. The term literally means infidel. What was bad in writing “Mr. Prem Chand” on his coffin? The use of alphabets was not a problem, but yes the discriminatory attitude was. The latest example is of the brutal killing of two brothers in Sialkot. One can’t even beat an animal so brutally and ruthlessly. The insensitive attitude wasn’t only restricted to the ones beating them only, but also the ones standing there and enjoying watching the beating.
From individual insensitivity, we have now started moving towards a collective insensitivity and an intolerant culture. With increased target killings and attacks, nothing is left safe now. Thanks to some deep fanatics who think that they represent the religion at their best and the whole of the world is wrong. Plus, it has become a habit of ours if we don’t ask annoying and highly irritating questions from victims who are already suffering. It is not only that we are bad at tolerating Non-Muslims, but we discriminate a lot within ourselves too.