The 'M' Word
What’s your full name?
She casually asked.
You don’t look like an ‘M’ she scratched her head.
It was convenient for you to write me of as an ‘M’
But why the taboo? You almost made it sound like a dirty word.
Probably because you think Muslims are scary.
That they are unreasonable and violent.
They are bearded old men blindly following religious dogma.
Maybe, I didn’t look like a ‘Muslim’ because I wasn’t in a burqua?
Or I didn’t feel Muslim because my English was eloquent?
Or my political views were liberal?
I brushed off the casual racism.
But today our capital burns in communal violence.
I cannot stay quiet.
Yes it’s the government to blame, but he fed into the prejudices you hold.
He is the best boyfriend you had but you didn’t marry him because he was Muslim.
She looks too damn fine in the leopard print dress. How could she be a Muslim?
Even if the only Muslims you’ve ever met were at the friendly Chacha’s Kebab shop;
You still continue to hold the stereotypes close to your heart.
If you are seeking freedom, start with yourself.
Break free from your personal prejudices,
that’s the Azadi to strive for.
(written on 28th February 2020)