Recently, a 16-year-old Muslim singer, Nahid Afrin, an overachiever by all standards, had to face many a backlash when fatwas were issued against her by 46 Muslim clerics. Where did they see the harm?
There is an old Urdu couplet which goes, “Muddai lakh bura chahe toh kya hota hai? Wohi hota hai jo manzoore khuda hota hai!” This essentially means that no one can harm you just by wishful thinking; rather it is up to God who decides your fate. But what happens when someone goes against your beliefs using God himself as a rhetoric. In the current polarised world, extremism is not an achievement, whatever viewpoint you hold. Recently, a 16-year-old singer, Nahid Afrin, an overachiever by all standards had to face many a backlash when fatwas were issued against her by 46 Muslim clerics. They reportedly warned her to stop singing as it was ‘against the Sharia’. Earlier this month, a 22-year-old Muslim girl, Suhana Sayed was trolled on social media platforms for singing a Hindu devotional song at a singing reality show. While both of them are law-abiding young girls trying to make it in the world through art, one fails to understand why there is such blatant disregard for humanity from certain sections of the society. But the positive thing out of all this is, how such young people are throwing light on the path to progress despite facing the wrath of trollers.
The so-called trollers marinated with their hatred incitement and other threats is a sad example of a world stooping towards more extremism every passing day. In order to control people you have control what builds a civil society, the culture. It is total annihilation. Doing certain things like these do not aid in saving culture. In fact, it does something extremely opposite – incites cultural terrorism. While thinking about these acts, another few examples come to the mind. ‘Dangal’ actress Zaira Wasim, also found herself embroiled in a controversy when she met Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti. The tremendous actress who recieved accolades for her performance is also considered a role model for many. Famous Indian cricketer Mohammed Shami was trolled when he posted a picture of his wife and the trolls hounded and judged with no holds barred. Shami, in his reply to the haters, had also said that he perfectly knows what he’s doing and that people should look inside themselves. Some of the religious fanatics just could not digest the fact that she was not wearing a burqa. Something similar happened when former cricketer Mohammad Kaif became a victim of social media trolling after he posted photos of doing Surya Namaskar. What has physical exercise got to do with religion? While Kaif attempted to release a positive message to the world about fitness awareness, there were some groups who equated performing Yoga to religion defiance and trolled Kaif.
From a completely humane and rational point of view, what these young Muslims are doing to unify religions, is path breaking and that tends to make radical people jealous which give rise to useless wrath. Art, music, sports, etc can never be part of any religion’s patrimony. None of them preaches hatred, but only symbolise love. And it is not that what these young guns are doing have not been done before. Many Muslim singers have sung famous bhajans before, many Muslims practice Yoga at their homes, but sending out a message to the world in trying times like these takes real guts. Why are we as a nation differentiating between Sufi music and Bhajans anyway? Both of them propagate love for humans, communal harmony and tolerance as a part of faith and culture. Even Hindu poets have written couplets like these: ‘Ishq ho jaye kisi se koi chaara to nahi…Sirf Muslim ka Mohammad pe ijaara to nahi’ (When one falls in love with somebody, there is no cure….Only Muslims do not reserve the right over Mohammad, for sure.) A culture which thrives on excellence needs to have unity as an expressive character, and the next generation is showing the way.