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Updated: Jun 23, 2020

“As per policy, the firm has decided not to engage ourselves to provide services for any organization working for a specific community welfare scheme ”, read an email from a Chartered Accountancy (CA) firm to me. I had reached out to the CA earlier in the week to discuss setting up a not-for-profit career planning enterprise that would help a particular, discriminated group of Indian women. The CA’s email and my enterprise’s mission both sound benign, right?

Wrong. The CA’s email is one but in a string of obstacles faced by people who either belong to or want to work for Muslims in India. A huge impediment to establishing this all-pervasive discrimination is that evidence for it cannot be presented in a clear-cut fashion. Gallingly, the discrimination is cloaked under non-discrimination, as seen in the CA’s email.

The CA email meant the firm did not want to work for a social enterprise that was focused on Muslims. Period. This is not a surprising response. India is a highly polarized country, so much so that it has spun a global pandemic into a weapon to spread religious hatred.

Muslims in India are a minority that does not have the internal or external ecosystem to realize their full citizenship potential. Reams have been written about this. However, if that is the case, why am I still a proud Indian? And why is India still home?

“WTF”, was Prakhar, my non-Muslim friend’s response when I told him of the email his referred CA had written. It made me chuckle. My disgust at the CA’s bigotry was overshadowed by my friend’s disgust. That is why India is still home. It is strange that I feel the need to write these words because I know that 1.3 billion people are not the same persons.

The most recent rebuttal to the communal spin that Covid-19 is whirling under in India, reads: “the biggest corporate donor to the fight against corona is a Muslim, Azim Premji. India’s biggest pharma companies, both at the forefront of the fight against COVID — Cipla and Wockhardt — are owned by Muslims.” This is written by Sagarika Ghose. Not a Muslim.

There are hatred and bigotry in this world. But there are also Prakhars and Saragikas. Humanity will end at the hands of nature and not (wo)men, for as long even a few good (wo)men speak up.

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