To be a Muslim in India

Published: January 31, 2013
The writer is a columnist. He is also a former editor of the Mumbai-based English newspaper Mid Day and the Gujarati paper Divya Bhaskar

The writer is a columnist. He is also a former editor of the Mumbai-based English newspaper Mid Day and the Gujarati paper Divya Bhaskar [email protected]

In India, the Muslim lives on sufferance. It is the Hindu who has freedom to attack India and its culture, its vulgarity. The Muslim who objects to something, no matter that it is obvious and visible, must qualify his argument.

Usually, the qualification demanded is that he show himself as patriotic. In India, this is a term which comes out of the negative sentiment. To be a patriotic Indian, one is not required to be taxpaying, law-abiding, well-meaning or philanthropic. Patriotism is demonstrated through hating a particular country. The reason the Indian Muslim lives on sufferance is also rooted in this.

You see, the Muslim is guilty of the original sin, by voting for Pakistan in the 1945-46 elections. He divided Mother India and his generations must carry this burden of Adam.

Shahrukh Khan said this: “I sometimes become the inadvertent object of political leaders who choose to make me a symbol of all that they think is wrong and unpatriotic about Muslims in India. I have been accused of bearing allegiance to our neighbouring nation rather than my own country. This, even though I am an Indian whose father fought for the freedom of India. Rallies have been held where leaders have exhorted me to leave and return to what they refer to as my original homeland.”

He should have prefaced his remarks (which I find ordinary, inoffensive and accurate) as follows: “I don’t like Pakistan. My fans are mostly Hindus, whom I love more than Pakistanis.”

Having said this, he would not have offended us, no matter what he then unburdened.

Like children who need a pacifier, the Muslim offering opinion on prejudice must hold out this lollipop to Indians, whose natural view of him is coloured by his religion. At all points, he must remember this and mumble an Apologia Pro Vita Sua.

In not doing this, and I’m surprised he didn’t because he should know a thing or two about Indian public opinion, Shahrukh Khan opened himself to an attack which goes in this fashion: “Aren’t you grateful, are you not satisfied, that we gave you — you Muslim! — such fame, such success? You didn’t whine about this then, did you? Now, the Pakistanis are lecturing us because of your remarks. You should be ashamed.”

The self-congratulatory assumptions we make about ourselves — secular nation! World’s largest democracy! — are not particularly reflected outside of the Constitution. We should think about that.

On Nidhi Razdan’s show on NDTV on the night of January 29, I was on a panel, discussing Narendra Modi as a prime ministerial candidate. In the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) corner was a woman called Meenakshi Lekhi. Midway through the discussion, she asked a soft-spoken man, Najib Jung, vice chancellor of Jamia Millia Islamia, if he thought Indian Muslims wanted Pakistan.

Why did she bring this up? I don’t know, and there was no occasion to. But it was dropped in casually because it’s the natural thing to say to a Muslim here — hey, are you guys Pakistan-lovers? Tell us the truth, now.

As a writer, I can imagine the pressure on Muslim writers who are aware of India and the space they operate in. MJ Akbar wrote an unthinking paean to the BJP’s idiocy after Pokhran, and I suspect that wasn’t because he’s a fan of nuclear weapons. It’s all quite frightening, or should be. It doesn’t surprise me at all.

In India, it has always mattered who says something. What is said depends not on the intellectual content but which side it has blown from.

How it is said is also always more important than what is said because the Indian is easily offended. Ashis Nandy shouldn’t have assumed that he could be subtle and clever only because it was the anglicised middle class he was speaking to at Jaipur.

They are cut of the same cloth as other Indians. Quick to emotion, barely literate about anything whether their own culture or the West’s, and powered on and on by an asinine media.

Published in The Express Tribune, January 31st, 2013.

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Reader Comments (101)

  • Younus Muhammad
    Jan 31, 2013 - 2:13AM

    Man you really showed courage in writing such an article. I hope and pray for your safety.


  • Laali
    Jan 31, 2013 - 2:15AM

    superb!! best thing ive read in a while


  • Vikas
    Jan 31, 2013 - 2:33AM

    Pakistan was made as a home land for Muslims of the Indian sub-continent. Do I need to say anything more?
    Also people should visit the following link and find out some important remarks of Mr. Jinnah.


  • Ram Ram
    Jan 31, 2013 - 2:59AM

    India should not compare itself to Pakistan.
    But Mr.Patel,
    Can you write a column titled “To be a Hindu in Pakistan”.
    and compare the “sufferance”


  • Spud
    Jan 31, 2013 - 3:09AM

    These days people are becoming less tolerant of other person’s opinions. Therefore everyone has to be careful what they say. This means a free and frank dialogue will become a thing of the past and will be of benefit to politicians in power. In Australia our current Government wants to stifle conversation by making it difficult to say anything and this is in a country which considers itself democratic. I do not think what Shahrukh Khan said was extraordinary. it was his gripe nothing more than that. I would ask Indian and Pakistani writers to move on.


  • Aytachaar
    Jan 31, 2013 - 3:25AM

    Looks like we Indians need are expected to be humble about our secular values, so that people proud of their intolerance can not be guilt-ed about their intolerance. Thanks for the lecture Mr. Patel, but no thanks. In this environment of extreme intolerance, we are rightly proud of our tolerance and are going to reiterate it again and again. With pride and head held high!


  • yasa
    Jan 31, 2013 - 4:17AM

    i am a muslim, and i appreciate ur thought,i want to do something for the country but there are people not like u n me,they have a fixed mindset against islam,n they always inspect my intention n patriotism ,i want to ask you who are they to teach us,and nowdays media is also supporting things like that coz the maximum number of viewer want to see anti-muslim stuff,
    we all know whats the problem but we dont understand how can we change there mentality,
    does it is necessary for Indian muslims to prove himself infront of each n every person who thinks we are terrorist without knowing us persnally


  • a_writer
    Jan 31, 2013 - 4:33AM

    I hate it when someone tells the truth the way it is – well done, this is a good article,


  • Prabhat Pal
    Jan 31, 2013 - 4:52AM

    Thank you so much for this article Aakar. The “patriotism” expected out of Muslim before he utters a word is a fact in India, and it truly is hideous. People in India will take decades before they start living upto the constitutional ideals – but during that time, the constitution would have been unrecognizably diluted (like POTA, if NDA comes to power).


  • Lahoria
    Jan 31, 2013 - 4:53AM

    Very well articulated Aaker sahib.


  • Alex
    Jan 31, 2013 - 4:55AM

    I am astounded that Mr.Patel did not leave MJ Akbar too. You are reaching new heights of mindless writing… I wonder what would you say to APJ Kalam -that he was acting as president to please Indian Hindus and therefore he made missile to make himself and his muslim brothers in India secure by pleasing Hindus? Thats the only thing left in this essay. Such essays need multiple directions of thought and not unidirectional ranting to say whatever comes to mind.


  • Misery Ghalib
    Jan 31, 2013 - 4:59AM

    the original sin is becoming muslim under force or by choise


  • Pakistani in US
    Jan 31, 2013 - 5:49AM

    Oh boy. If a neutral Pakistani (as myself) had pointed this out, I’d have a dozen Indians on my tail to get a rebuttal out of me.


  • Mahakaalchakra
    Jan 31, 2013 - 5:55AM

    Aakar Ahmed Patel writes, “You see, the Muslim is guilty of the original sin, by voting for Pakistan in the 1945-46 elections. He divided Mother India and his generations must carry this burden of Adam.”

    There is another perspective to this division of mother India. Almost all Muslims who were living in the current India, supported the creation of Pakistan in 1946-47. However only 15% decided to migrate to Pakistan; on the other hand, no Hindu or Sikh who was living in the current Pakistan supported the creation of Pakistan and almost all (85%) were forced to run from the land of their ancestors who were living there even before the advent of Islam in 7th century. Allow me to quote Jinnah:

    “We shall have India divided or we shall have India destroyed.” – Mohammad Ali Jinnah


  • Vivek
    Jan 31, 2013 - 5:58AM

    (In India) “The Muslim who objects to something must qualify his argument.”

    In Pakistan, he wouldn’t be alive to do so.


  • Sid
    Jan 31, 2013 - 6:26AM

    Yawwwwn….for a member of community which is known across the world and reviled for it …weather in modern Europe or developing Africa ….to talk as if all Muslims are loyal citizens of countries they live in is laughable. Akar Patel is proof why Indians suspect Muslims love Pakistan and hate everything indian..ungrateful to ost nations where they are minorities…bombing attacking misbehaving …and hateful to minorities where thy are a majority..they deserve no trust


  • Kamal
    Jan 31, 2013 - 7:06AM

    Unbiased piece! India needs more thinkers like you Sir!


  • mystreeman
    Jan 31, 2013 - 7:06AM

    If Shah Rukh migrated to Pakistan he will be discriminated as Muhajir in the land of Pure.


  • Rajkafir
    Jan 31, 2013 - 7:34AM

    “because the Indian is easily offended.”. Bang on.


  • jagjit sidhoo.
    Jan 31, 2013 - 8:14AM

    “The self-congratulatory assumptions we make about ourselves — secular nation! World’s largest democracy! — are not particularly reflected outside of the Constitution. We should think about that.” Things are not that bad(they are not great either) ,else the minority population would not be going up and a fair number are doing quite well . India is a secular country and like in all secular countries the accepted norm is to identify yourself by your nationality first and then religion and region . I am a SRK fan who is a patriotic Indian to the core , he is a public figure and he needs to learn how to manage his public image from another of my favorites Javed Akhtar .


  • Prakash
    Jan 31, 2013 - 8:42AM

    “secular nation! World’s largest democracy! — are not particularly reflected outside of the Constitution.”
    I’ll not give you the cliches about non-Hindus occupying key positions in the government. During recent massive protests against the rape incident – none of the protesters even knew the victim’s name – so how many of them were aware of her religion? How many even cared? That’s secularism for you – outside of the Constitution.
    As for democracy not being particularly reflected outside of the Constitutions – haven’t you ever seen an election taking place in India with massive public participation? Is the whole election process a paper exercise?


  • Wondering
    Jan 31, 2013 - 8:47AM

    Which India does Mr. Patel live in? Sensationalism in the garb of journalism is his forte and for this I’ll give him credit. He knows the galleries that he is playing to and makes little effort to mask that.

    To generalize notions ,that he perhaps holds, are not only is a disservice to the profession that he belongs to, but an insult to the average Indian. I’m hoping that is only because of his lack of understanding of the national psyche.

    I can only hope that my muslim brothers and sisters do not take this crass extrapolation by perhaps a misguided and possibly an opportunistic writer of what India as a nation truly stands for.


  • Hukka
    Jan 31, 2013 - 9:04AM

    Two nation theory was valid, is valid and will remain valid. In one india Muslims would have suffered more. Just take an example of cricket, our smaller nation produces so many quality cricketers, does any one really think Waseem akram or Waqar younus would have made it to Indian bowling attack as front liner?


  • Sinclair
    Jan 31, 2013 - 9:11AM

    Let me show you the mirror there Aakar, remember Modi?


  • Gus
    Jan 31, 2013 - 9:15AM

    Well India treats it’s minorities far better than any other countries…


  • Sufi
    Jan 31, 2013 - 9:23AM

    ” powered on and on by an asinine media”

    I could say the same for pakistani media specially english


  • Ankur
    Jan 31, 2013 - 9:23AM

    “To be a Muslim in India?”, who are Indians Aakar? Do Muslims not make India..are they a separate entity? You might be confused between the concept of a nation and the concept of a religion, and all this whimpering when Shahrukh himself did not say anything like this in his article. He wasn’t writing about his religion, he was writing about “Himself”. Noone questions Muslims in India, they have the right to decide, to live and to be, like Hindus, or any other religion for that matter. And about your general statement saying that non-muslims ask muslims if they have their hearts in Pakistan is a world phenomenon, and not confined to a nation or two.


  • In the name of love (what more)
    Jan 31, 2013 - 9:23AM

    i have no doubt that the writter’s bread and butter depends on the readership of pakistan coz most of what he has written is good for a certain gallery in pakistan but most of it is false…mr. aakar patel, compare this…being a minority in india and being a minority anywhere else in asia and u wud then get a pragmatic picture in front of you…


  • Sajida
    Jan 31, 2013 - 9:38AM

    But those who voted, didn’t they leave? Those who wanted to remain stayed;and instead of showing Pakistanis Muslims had no reason to worry, they have proven them right.
    Maybe Indian Muslims and Hindus are paying price of British divide and rule policy. There is documentary evidence how this was done after 1857 Mutiny to prevent a recurrence.
    One may winder even if there had been no partition would the situation have been any different?


  • External Hand
    Jan 31, 2013 - 9:51AM

    Very well put. I too share the following assessment about us:

    “Quick to emotion, barely literate about anything whether their own culture or the West’s, and powered on and on by an asinine media.”


  • Indian Catholic
    Jan 31, 2013 - 9:55AM

    @Author: Let me give you my perspective as a Catholic. Going by your logic that Muslims are guilty of what you call “the original sin”, Hindus should be livid at Christians for imprisoning and killing certain leaders and subjugating the Hindu population for well over a century or two. However as you well know, that is not the case in India. Why?
    For one, there is no Christian neighbor, let alone a Christian country (in any case, most in the West are secular) that constantly undermines India day-in and day-out. Recently in the case of SRK, we saw Hafeez Saeed who is wanted for crimes in India and Rehman Malik who is equivalent to our Home Minister both voicing out their support for him just because he is a Muslim. Hundreds of Shias have been killed in Pakistan recently, do you see Iran behaving the same way? It is Pakistan’s belligerence in terms of infiltration, war and this show of sympathy that has made life difficult for India’s Muslims.
    Secondly, Muslims in certain parts of India are not integrated with Indian society, live in ghettos and have poor levels of education. This is exacerbated by the fact that their leaders hardly do anything for their own community. However in most of the South except the Hyderabad region, Muslims are well integrated with the rest of society. You will find that many Muslims are educated as engineers and doctors and live in integrated neighborhoods. In fact in places like Kerala and Tamil Nadu, people are bound by their common language and culture rather than religion.
    Wherever I have lived in India, no one has questioned my loyalty as a Catholic. I do not wear my religion on my sleeve, but no one in India cares any way.


  • Ravi
    Jan 31, 2013 - 10:01AM

    In India, anyone who thinks and behaves like indians is never questioned about his religion.

    But lately, the muslim community has been hijacked by religious, political parties, the ulemas. There has been gradual creeping of puritanical/ salafi form of islam, which is quite visibly seen in behaviuor.

    Pakistan is obviuos enemy for indians at large and people do have very strong anti-pak feelings.


  • Yuri Kondratyuk
    Jan 31, 2013 - 10:13AM


    Quick to emotion, barely literate
    about anything whether their own
    culture or the West’s

    I truly admire your ability to self-reflect!


  • Iyaz khan
    Jan 31, 2013 - 10:13AM

    SRK should come and live in Pakistan. No one will criticize him here. After all Pakistan was created for muslims of South Asia.


  • Jan 31, 2013 - 10:45AM

    What you have said is true, but the Hindu argument also holds true.

    Nehru and his Congress wanted Muslims to feel at home. He created a Constitution which guaranteed them forever this.

    But, the people who asked for Partition didn’t quite migrate completely to their side of the property.

    In the property dispute between 2 brothers, the ancestral property was divided, but one guy still takes up the property of the other!

    I am not saying suddenly Muslims should be expelled out of India or should be shouted at for the sins of their forefathers. But, just saying the Hindu argument holds some merit.

    India is now built on the Hindu cultural ethos of tolerance. To turn it into a Hindu Pakistan is a grave disservice to the Sanatana Dharma and its values. The land of Buddha and Mahaveera should have high standards.


  • Topak Khan
    Jan 31, 2013 - 11:08AM

    I think replace India with Pakistan, and reverse the Muslim Hindu order in the arguments, and you have a great piece about Pakistan as well.


  • ethicalman
    Jan 31, 2013 - 11:13AM

    @ yasa ‘i am a muslim, and i appreciate ur thought,i want to do something for the country but there are people not like u n me,they have a fixed mindset against islam,n they always inspect my intention n patriotism ,i want to ask you who are they to teach us,and nowdays media is also supporting things like that coz the maximum number of viewer want to see anti-muslim stuff,’

    yasa u could be any muslim..frm anywhere..but u would still talk like this..because u’re muslim..u want be the victim untill u take over the country western India (like pakistan)
    and then show how biased and radicals muslims are..

    Aakar Patel writes pretty decently..i use to thing he was biased but now I don’t think so..and one thing that Aakar should write about is the congress goverment bends even backwards to get vote banks on there side..congress even changed the consitution of India to get muslims to vote for them..and that is still happening..Congress is the most communal party in India..


  • Gulam Rasool "Kuldeep sharma"
    Jan 31, 2013 - 11:20AM

    This writer just want some Attention, nothing more than that. I am a Muslim i accepted Islam with Core of my heart in 2012. after that nobody objected on my decision. can you imagine such type of thing in Pakistan (if any Muslim converted in Christianity Or Hinduism) Both Hindu & Muslim have some bad elements. but India is really a Secular Country not like others. We are safe and even we have more constitutional rights than Hindus.
    I AM A FIRM MUSLIM & INDIAN MUSLIMS ARE MORE PROSPEROUS THEN PAKISTANIS. Creating Pakistan was a wrong decision. HINDU & MUSLIMS WILL ALWAYS BROTHER. India will be happiest place on earth.


  • prashant
    Jan 31, 2013 - 11:24AM

    am disappointed with this article aakar….


  • Arijit Sharma
    Jan 31, 2013 - 11:52AM

    @Iyaz khan: ” … SRK should come and live in Pakistan. No one will criticize him here. After all Pakistan was created for muslims of South Asia. …. “

    Prove it by talking back stranded Pakistanis.


  • gp65 .
    Jan 31, 2013 - 12:46PM

    @Iyaz khan: ” … SRK should come and live in Pakistan. No one will criticize him here. After all Pakistan was created for muslims of South Asia. …. “

    Do accept the ROhingyas and before that the PAkistanis who are strandd i Bangladesh.


  • Nathoram Godse
    Jan 31, 2013 - 12:50PM

    So true!! The fact is that the force behind India’s freedom movement, a harbinger of justice non violence Gandhiji was killed by us Hindus just because he sided with Muslims. This is shining India for you!!


  • Nafees Qureshi
    Jan 31, 2013 - 12:58PM

    Excellent article Mr. Patel. It will be unfair if we generalize the mindset you have elucidated upon but I agree there are people (across religious lines) who at times resort to tactics which is sure to put the ‘other guy’ in a very awkward situation. I have myself faced this during my school / university days with friends asking me if me and my family will be supporting Pakistan in the cricket match being played on that day, do you guys eat beef, etc…
    However I will stress on the point that my most trusted friends are from non-muslim community and mostly we all gel together as a family. I have worked in corporate sector for almost 12 years and the best mentors I have is a Bengali & a Punjabi gentleman who have played a significant role in shaping me as an individual.


  • Ghaznavi
    Jan 31, 2013 - 12:59PM

    @ BruteForce who says “India is now built on the Hindu cultural ethos of tolerance”

    The entire world sees the ‘Indian Tolerance’ on daily basis i.e.:
    Golden Temple, Ayodhya, Gujrat riots, Samjhota express, Mumbai riots, killing and burning of christian missionaries, killing of female infants, raping of women, aggression and wars with China, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, killing and raping fields of Kashmir, more hindus attending Bal Thackrey’s funeral than Gandhis…. This is true ‘tolerence’ as per your religion!!

    What an amazingly unblemished record by India on tolerance isnt it?? When will the day come when indians stop spreading their white lies people like you are only fooling yourself and no one else.


  • SM
    Jan 31, 2013 - 1:04PM

    I guess it must be hard to be an Indian Muslim living in India. Perhaps someone can illuminate me preferably a person of Muslim faith of India, where would you like to be born today if you had a chance to choose, if the options are between one of counties of the subcontinent?


  • cruiser
    Jan 31, 2013 - 1:48PM

    the condition of muslims in india is a million times worse than what Mr. Patel has argued and shall continue to deteriorate, no matter what the so-called shining hindu india talks about. A public figure visiting temples and resorting to fancy pujas is hailed as a religious ,humble person, whereas a muslim actor or public figure cannot even dream of praying five times a day without being called an extremist.


  • sameer
    Jan 31, 2013 - 1:48PM

    just google “indian urdu news paper”


  • Razi
    Jan 31, 2013 - 2:13PM

    If the Indians commenting here had the slightest of ability or readiness to self reflect, they would not have gone into a paroxysm of rage against Aakar. Lecturing and castigating Pakistan and Muslims is their favourite pastime. Had a Pakistani author written something similar about Pakistanis and Muslims, which many regularly on these pages, you would have seen a standing ovation by the Indians. One cannot and should not expect impartiality from their side. While there are many upright and unbiased Indians, those who come here have only one agenda, and should therefore not even be dignified with any attempt to engage with them.


  • PakiKaka
    Jan 31, 2013 - 2:43PM

    God bless you Jinnah… And God bless my ancestors for following him… SRK would now understand why Jinnah asked for a separate homeland… Sooner or later all Muslims will, and hopefully the Hinuds in india will also and change their attitudes towards Muslims to prevent another Pakistan…


  • venky
    Jan 31, 2013 - 3:44PM

    Hey Muslim sympathizer know this India is secular because Hindus are Secular so the onus of making India secular doesn’t lie on us. Its the Muslims that wanted separate country, separate sharia law and have problem with National Anthem not us. India is the only place where jews were not persecuted, we dont have a problem with parsis, we dont have problems with Christians either barring those organizations that convert people by force.

    Why is that whole world has a problem with Muslims? Because a large section of people have loyalty towards their religion not towards their country. Even in the blog by a Muslim yesterday on NDTV he preferred to use Muslim Indian and not Indian Muslim. Ever heard of Hindu Indian or Sikh Indian ? Its always Indian Hindu or Indian sikh. The whole argument lies there what comes first. A person loyalty to a nation is must. I have openly seen Muslims in Hyd supporting Pakistan so dont try to fool anyone.


  • Cool Dude
    Jan 31, 2013 - 4:01PM

    Why on earth Hindus are teaching us our religion. Why they are so concerned that to guide us to right ‘form’ of Islam.


  • karma
    Jan 31, 2013 - 6:46PM

    @Younus Muhammad:

    Nothing will happen to Aakar. He knows that well. He can say what ever he wants, even if it is absurd. Same with SRK. Irrespective of what he says – he is not only safe, he is the #1 celebrity in India. If his ruminations have iota of truth, he wouldn’t be.

    Aakar, SRK etc. live in a secular republic and what they say will be read, perhaps be criticized but they won’t be physically harmed. No one was physically harmed in India for something they said.


  • Prany
    Jan 31, 2013 - 6:59PM

    @Younus Muhammad:
    Journalists in Pakistan have to worry about their security. Not in India. They can say anything, specially against Hindus, Indian culture and in favour of Muslims and live happily. No one is killed or lynched for blasphemy in India, unlike in Pakistan. Indians just raise a little noise when they are annoyed, that’s all. It is Pakistanis who are serious about such thing. Therefore I do understand your concern, because you are thinking according to the environment you are in. The author of the article is an a different environment.


  • Jan 31, 2013 - 8:45PM

    I would like another article from a Pakistani titled say for example ‘being Rinkle or being Hindu in Pakistan!’


  • Jan 31, 2013 - 9:25PM

    It would be naive to think that this distrust of muslims dates only to partition – but you are right – we are extremely sensitive about being projected as a secular country. Which is proabably a good thing – I would rather be under pressure to be secular than anything else. but slowly we are seeing muslims who are assertive in the public sphere – and are not invited on talk shows for being muslim but being spokesmen for issues – I suppose that is a good trend. But it can never be perfect because partition was based on two opposing theories – both vying for success – the two-nation theory vs the secular, inclusive theory.


  • Jan 31, 2013 - 9:42PM

    it has been the problem with this region. once this region was very open and adaptive towards the ideas of others but over the time things changed and changed a lot. today there is a general lake of both the traits mentioned above. the tolerances towards others seems like a long gone story. things can not be generalized tough, but the element is “suffering” is on the both sides of the border which is honestly speaking not something to be proud of. the hawks in the region are successfully keep coming with the things that causes disgust and everyone start pointing fingers on the opposite side. i guess the time has come that every one shall have a sneak peak of one’s own collar and address the issues. otherwise the element of “suffering” and “security” will keep haunting us.
    P.S. kudos to you on writing this. i hope that you stay safe.


  • sabi
    Feb 1, 2013 - 2:51AM

    Intresting article and well expected responce from indian friends.Jay hind!


  • Mani
    Feb 1, 2013 - 6:47AM

    This article reflects what many political leaders in India are infected with, that only Hindus are trusted and patriotic to India.


  • Sridhar
    Feb 1, 2013 - 6:57AM

    Well written article. Stereo typing Indian Muslims as Pak supporters is not insulting to the Muslims of India but also dangerous to India’s integrity. The problem is with Muslim leaders like the Owaisi brothers. These are the ones who get highlighted in the media but people do not realise that there is a larger section of the Muslim population in India that is liberal and true patriots.


  • Mani
    Feb 1, 2013 - 7:03AM

    India’s secularism was exposed when MODI became a popular leader even after he was exposed for being responsible for massacre of Muslims travelling on a train.


  • Incredulous
    Feb 1, 2013 - 8:00AM

    “Like children who need a pacifier, the Muslim offering opinion on prejudice must hold out this lollipop to Indians, whose natural view of him is coloured by his religion.”

    Aakar isnt this similar to what every western or non-Muslim writer who has to say that “Islam is a religion of peace but ‘some’ people are abusing the religion”

    It is always a 2 way street. At least in India Shah Rukh gets a platform for expressing his views. In Pakistan or any other Muslim majority state, minorities are silent sufferers of violations on a daily basis.


  • jessie singh
    Feb 1, 2013 - 8:14AM

    At least we have minorities who are successful and credit goes to the population of India because you wouldn’t even know who Shahrukh Khan was if Indian public hadn’t accepted him as a good actor. On the other hand, I don’t see any minorities from your country that your people worship. You can’t even take care of your own artists; they have to come to India to gain some recognition.


  • amit (India)
    Feb 1, 2013 - 8:25AM

    There is a serious problem in India, but the author’s diagnosis is completely incorrect. The problem is that of late, Indians tend to get easily offended. There are three controversies going on right now – Shahrukh Khan’s article, Kamal Hassan’s movie and Ashish Nandy’s comments at the Jaipur Literary Festival. In the second case, it is the Muslim community that is protesting against the movie for unfair portrayal, and they have been successful in stopping the movie’s screening at multiple locations – not exactly the sign of an oppressed minority. Nandy’s comments have little to do with religion, but selective reporting has done its bit to damn him as well.

    Incidentally, I haven’t seen the Shahrukh Khan affair in the papers after his press conference. Not having seen his article earlier, it did feel a bit odd to have ‘charity workers’ such as Hafiz Sayeed taking potshots at India using Mr. Khan’s article as an excuse. As someone who has lived in Mumbai, Mr. Patel, you surely know what kind of sentiments does this ‘charity worker’ inspire in India for his charitable role in the 26/11 attacks. This was something bound to snowball into a controversy after comments from this man. Also, to have the foreign minister of a sovereign state – even if the man is an acknowledged buffoon – to pass comments on security of a private citizen is also a bit awkward.

    India had a problem of religious extremism at one time. But thankfully, that time is long gone and a vast majority of the country has moved on ahead, even as our neighbors continue to avenge the Babri Masjid every other week by kidnapping women, attacking minor girls and destroying places of worship.


  • Arijit Sharma
    Feb 1, 2013 - 8:37AM

    @Nathoram Godse: The correct spelling is Nathuram. He was a great patriot. Please show some respect and do not mis-spell his name.


  • Another North Indian
    Feb 1, 2013 - 8:50AM

    I have also noticed that the author is being advised to ‘stay safe’. He need not write about Hindus or anyone else in Pakistan, but as a matter of basic integrity the author should clarify whether he expects this column to make his life in India less secure.


  • Arijit Sharma
    Feb 1, 2013 - 9:17AM

    @Rai M Azlan: ” … it has been the problem with this region. once this region was very open and adaptive towards the ideas of others but over the time things changed and changed a lot. … “

    The region has gone downhill since your Muslim brothers came visiting.


  • Bombayite
    Feb 1, 2013 - 9:32AM

    Mr. Aakar Patel, please extend your boundaries of research to rest of the world. Why muslims are viewed with suspicion in western countries ? Remember, Shahrukh was detained at an American airport as a muslim and not as an Indian.After 9/11, muslims are under constant survelliance in US.


  • nadya
    Feb 1, 2013 - 9:57AM

    what happens in india is an indian problem, but i was quite shocked to hear the Pak Interior minister, rehman Malik offering Shahrukh Khan, thats way out of line. But surely Muslims in India want to be recognised on the same level as Hindus and Christians.


  • Karachite
    Feb 1, 2013 - 10:39AM

    We need more ppl like yourself Aaker Patel on both sides of the border. Hyper-nationalists on either side have been holding the future of billion plus ppl hostage with their jingo-ism and ‘delusions. Hats off to you sir!


  • prof raj kumar
    Feb 1, 2013 - 10:53AM

    the islamic and arab inventions are just plagiarised from other hindu ,vedic and indian texts ,even albert eienstein told that the world must thank to india for the invention of number systems ,and varius mathematical inventions muslims and arabs are pathological liers they all copied from other texts and named after muslims as islam permits (“al taqia”)which means you can tell the lie when required even have you ever asked your forefathers why arabs and muslims are writing alphabets from right to left and when it comes to number system they are writing right to left you also dont know because it is copied from india mean while you muslims always everywhere created problem you cannot coexist with hindus ,christians,jews ,sikhs,budhists,seculars ,as you people are living in fools paradise aakar can you ask the same question to the pakistanis in pakistan


  • Observer
    Feb 1, 2013 - 10:57AM


    “Akar Patel is proof why Indians suspect Muslims love Pakistan and hate everything indian.”

    That is a huge misplaced over generalization of a whole community. The fact is that over 75% of Indian Muslims are patriotic Indians who love their country. The apple cart is spoiled by about 10-20% of Indian Muslims, mostly in places such as Uttar Pradesh, Azhamgar, Hyderabad who feel they are Pakistanis and are engaged in anti-national activities. These are the people who also fly Pakistani flags in their neighborhood and cheer when Pakistan beats India in cricket. These also happen to be hard-core wahabi Islamists.

    Instead of castigating all Indian Muslims in one basket, if you say that they (>75%) should be more vocal and proactive in curtailing the anti-national activities of the 10% or so hardcore Islamists, you would be correct.


  • Observer
    Feb 1, 2013 - 11:15AM


    Good points and well said.

    “But surely Muslims in India want to be recognised on the same level as Hindus and Christians.”

    But they are! Indian Constitution guarantees equal citizenship and rights irrespective of one’s religion, in contrast to the Pakistani constitution that condemns non-Muslims to second class citizenship permanently.


  • Alexander
    Feb 1, 2013 - 7:29PM

    @Ghaznavi, you tried pretty hard listing the crimes (I will not deny all) but thats in one billion nation. In your nation that is less than 200 million, the list of crimes that were done in the name of religion will require entire web space of ET. The simple question of asking Indian muslims if they would ever choose Pakistan and their answer will give you sleepless nights. And the fight against religious arrogance continues… but in the midst, do you have guts to accept the truth… because you need to accept those facts about where your nation is heading because you need that nation to survive to listen to such stories you have in your mind….your guts to face the truth are a slave to the religion that you follow? is that problem of the religion or is it you? Are you and the religion the same? Then why use the religion to shame it?Recommend

  • Feb 1, 2013 - 9:10PM

    Mods, since you have approved Ghaznavi’s comment, its only fair you approve mine.

    @Ghaznavi: “This is true ‘tolerence’ as per your religion!!”

    Earlier I had posed a question which was not approved by the moderators. Apparently Muslims can call Hindus and their ideology names, but not allowed the other way around.

    @Ghaznavi, take the year 2012, the members of the Religion who have perpetrated the most Terror attacks in the world, killing the most number of people are intolerant and so goes their ideology they follow. Agreed? I can name 50 Terror attacks in the Muslim world, killing thousands.. As far as I know compared to the Christian world and the Hindu world, Muslim world has been the most violent.

    I can’t understand your assertion of Hindus being intolerant, when clearly most number of Terrorist attacks have taken place in the Islamic world and from the followers of the true Religion.

    Here are the numbers from Pakistan alone..


  • Samira
    Feb 1, 2013 - 9:30PM

    @ramram dont compare indian’s muslims situation to Pakistani hindus because pakistan is an islamic country and india is a so called secular state….


  • shikhar
    Feb 1, 2013 - 10:52PM

    aakar sir, i also watched the show on NDTV and i think that the comment by the lady was taken out of context by you. I would suggest to review the show and then write about it in your column.


  • observer
    Feb 1, 2013 - 11:58PM


    dont compare indian’s muslims situation to Pakistani hindus because pakistan is an islamic country


    Don’t expose the ‘most peaceful religion’ and show the world what it stands for.


  • observer
    Feb 2, 2013 - 12:01AM

    Quick to emotion, barely literate about anything whether their own culture or the West’s,

    You seem to know ‘your people’ really well.


  • Alexander
    Feb 2, 2013 - 12:11AM

    So you get rights to kill minorities in Islamic state…hmmmm did not know that. And you also get right to question secular states after killing minorities. Thank you much for this lesson. None ever cleared these doubts.


  • Feb 2, 2013 - 12:22AM

    @Samira: ask Adnan Sami how he feels in India?


  • Cynical
    Feb 2, 2013 - 2:04AM


    ‘@ramram dont compare india’s muslims situation to Pakistani hindus because pakistan is an islamic country and india is a so called secular state…..’

    Do you even understand how you implicate yourself!
    Talk about shooting oneself in the foot.


  • ks
    Feb 2, 2013 - 2:18AM

    I am very happy in Pakistan. – Muslim.


  • Feb 2, 2013 - 4:00AM

    This article kind of reminded me of a short BBC analysis a month back.

    It needed to be said and pragmatic Hindus among the majority needn’t be defensive. India will have its problems and must pro-actively deal with such biases and prejudices against Indian minorities which is a reality. While SRK comments highlighted an important social issue within India which must be dealt with, Hafiz Saeed’s comments should have highlighted an even more serious immediate issue of bigotry and extremism within Pakistan which unfortunately has caused great pain to its Pakistani minorities and the region and is sadly not being dealt with at all except by a few brave Pakistani writers.


  • Abhishek
    Feb 2, 2013 - 10:24AM

    @Younus Muhammad:

    Dont worry there will no suicide attack on aakar patel, we dont live in pakistan. Thanskl for your concern anyways


  • Sunshine
    Feb 2, 2013 - 1:43PM

    Look who’s talking!
    We don’t claim to be the ‘perfect’ nation in the world. We know Pakistan has it’s own problems. There was no need of posting the links ’cause we remember everything. Delusional Indians should come out of their bubble, Pakistanis don’t live in a bubble. At least we don’t deny the fact that we got problems, like you guys. The better is someone who accepts his faults, and the worst is the one who lives in fantasies and starts the blame game.


  • Anand Kumar
    Feb 2, 2013 - 5:57PM

    “In India, it has always mattered who says something. What is said depends not on the intellectual content but which side it has blown from.”

    Ahhhh! Aakar Patel fancies himself to be an intellectual!


  • Cynical
    Feb 2, 2013 - 9:56PM

    @Arijit Sharma

    @Nathoram Godse: The correct spelling is Nathuram. He was a great patriot. Please show some respect and do not mis-spell his name.

    I thought Neanderthals disappeared some 30,000 years ago. I was wrong and you are my witness.


  • Lucknow Nabob
    Feb 3, 2013 - 12:51AM

    Shah rush Khan testifies for the Two Nation Theory … a slap in the face of Indira Gandhi …


  • Mohsin
    Feb 3, 2013 - 4:44PM

    Very sorry for minorities in Hindustan. Their freedom and the right of free speech is taken away from them. And all have to pretend they hate Pakistan.
    It seems like Pakistan is keeping Hindustan together :)


  • Zehra
    Feb 4, 2013 - 5:44PM


    ‘If Shahrukh had migrated to Pakistan, he would have been discriminated against as a muhajir’. How so? Let me list down some important ‘muhajirs’ from our nation:

    – Liaqat Ali Khan ( first PM of Pakistan)
    – Abdul Qadeer Khan (father of Pakistani nuclear program)
    – Attatur rehman (a very accomplished chemist)
    – Gen. Musharraf (CHosen to be the chief of army staff, the highest position possible)
    – SHaukat Aziz ( former PM, served at the same time as Mushy, another muhajir)
    – Perveen Shakir (Pakistan’s most revered poetess)
    – Nazia/Zohaib Hasan duo
    – Sahibzada Yaqub Khan, Agha Shahi (some of the most famous foreign ministers of Pak)
    – MM Alam ( 1965 war vet, a very respected hero)
    – Mirza Aslam Beg (former COAS who was given some very important operations during his stint)
    – Moin Akhter ( Pakistanis claim that there will probably be no greater actor than he was)
    – Anwar Maqsood (playwright)
    -Abdul Sattar edhi (world renowned philanthropist)
    – Agha Hasan Abidi (the man behind BCCI)

    the list is endless….and ive only taken the names of heavy weights from different fields. Muhajirs are not discriminated against in Pakistan. How else did so many people make it big? Recommend

  • Zehra
    Feb 4, 2013 - 5:57PM


    ‘No one was physically harmed in india for saying something’!
    How about Gandhi who was killed by a hindu zealot? That was days after India got partitioned. Or Indira Gandhi who was killed by a Sikh due to a perceived attack on their religious installations? You may want to call India secular a thousand times over, but empirical evidence suggests otherwise. there is an inherent schism or religio-cultural divide prevalent even today. u guys prefer shoving the filth under the carpet, only to uncover it years later to find rotten bugs there.


  • Zehra
    Feb 4, 2013 - 6:08PM

    @Gulam Rasool “Kuldeep sharma”:
    your argument about a muslim wanting to convert to other religion in pakistan is misleading. U converted from some other religion to Islam. Thats becuz in Hinduism or most other religion, apostasy isnt punishable. But in Islam it is. Hence the ire at such a prospect is not specific to Pakistan. Its established by Islamic jurisprudence.
    Secondly, you said that Indian Muslims are a lot more prosperous than Pakistanis. Now that is a sweeping statement based on idiocy. Neither do surveys, cenusus reports and other human rights reports conducted in India, by Indians, support your claim. They all point out to the impoverished conditions of Indian Muslims in general. Some fellow Indian above, actually referred to their neighborhoods as ‘ghettos’. I mean which world are you living in? These notorious reports and their findings have actually been hotly debated by Lok sabha and Rajya Sabha in the preceding months!


  • sabi
    Feb 4, 2013 - 8:33PM

    “Thats becuz in Hinduism or most other religion, apostasy isnt punishable. But in Islam it is.”
    In mullah’s Islam yes and that what you are following.This is your ignorance about Islam.Don’t jump to pass judgement when you have no proper knowldge of Islam.There is no punishment in Islam for apostasy.


  • mani
    Feb 20, 2013 - 2:45AM

    @Ram Ram: You are right Bro. Mr. Patel can right a series: To be a Hindu in Pakistan and To be a Shia/Ahmadiya in Muslim Pakistan!


  • Mani
    Feb 20, 2013 - 3:14AM

    Muslims are the biggest minority in India(and world’s largest Muslim population). There are Sikhs, Parsis, Jains, Christians, Budhists live peacefully following their own believes in India. No Hindu question them. Eventhough Parsis are not of Indian origin they are well integrated with Indian mainstream now. If Hindus are not tolerant towards Parsis they don’t have a nation to go. It is in India only where Jews are never discriminated. No Christian complains they are discriminated in India.

    I’m a Hindu and I’m working in a Shia’s organisation(Wipro) which employs more than 1,00,000 Indians (almost 90% employees are Hindus) and we are proud of that. Can a Shia run such an organisation in Muslim Pakistan?

    India would be the only country in Asia-Africa region where Shias and Ahmadiyas leave peacfully following their believes. Nobody would bomb their Masjids.

    Still why the writer trying to fool poor Pakistanis by writing such an article?


  • j komerath
    Feb 26, 2013 - 12:40AM

    This article is nonsense,and uses the same old cliches-he uses the word sufference freely-the sufference is mostly due to the influence of religion,and the mullahs,who prevent the othes from getting and educatin and moving ahead-INDIA OFFERS A BETTER LIFE AND MORE OPPURTUNITIES THAN PAKISTAN OR ANY OTHER MUSLIM COUNTRIES-LOOK AT ALL OF THEM-ALL SIX OR SEVEN COUNTRIES,WHERE THE SUNNIS CANNOT TOLERATE THE SHIAS AND THE SHIAS THE SUNNIS!


  • tariq mehmood,
    Feb 28, 2013 - 6:31PM

    well, ours is busy in farce mantra of “aman ki asha” despite the fact that people on other side of the fence never digested the idea of a muslim state out of india….


  • Vinay Anand
    Mar 21, 2013 - 2:28AM

    To be a Hindu in Pakistan is more terrifying than being a Muslim in India.
    In Pakistan, minorities are just not safe.

    The burning of Christian homes in Lahore amply illustrates this point.

    Muslims in India are as free an equal as any Hindu, Sikh, Buddhist or Christian.

    They have a huge canvass to paint on. They have a huge playing field and they
    can methodically chart their carriers and professions and be anything they want.

    Many of them are productive, tax paying members of our republic, they are growing in health, wealth, stature and their kids have the best environments.


  • Aastha
    Mar 22, 2013 - 10:10AM

    @Gulam Rasool “Kuldeep sharma”:
    Please first decide what your name is. And get over the infantile imagination of India being the happiest place on earth. This is just sad.


  • Aastha
    Mar 22, 2013 - 10:12AM


    History is and was never objective. Grow up.


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