A Letter to My Recently Turned Silent Friend


I hope you’re well; I’m not doing very well. I write to you because I am troubled, pained and hurt. I write to you because I need you. Just like you, I am a student, a student at one of the finest universities of India, Aligarh Muslim University.

No, please don’t stop reading. Hear me out.

We grew up in this country, our motherland, standing for the national anthem, singing ‘Saare Jahan Se Achcha‘. I’ve thrown colours at you, you’ve eaten siwain with me and we’ve all sung ‘Jingle Bells’ together.

In primary school, we’ve all made posters of us standing together with “Hindu Muslim Sikh Isai, aapas mein hai bhai bhai” scribbled across. We’ve all been brought up in secular India, the largest democracy in the world.

And then, my friend, out of the blue, a party takes over with all its divisive policies and its ignorance towards our economy and growth as a nation. It’s aim is clearly anti-secular, its progress is the death of democracy.

Members of this party go on shouting about how they want an ‘akhand Hindu rashtra’, spewing hate speech and provoking the masses to choose between ‘Bhagwan’ and ‘Islam’.

They passed this unconstitutional Citizenship Amendment Act, and linked it with theNational Register of Citizens. There have been strikes and protests against it, and yet the government has not taken a single measure. Despite the disapproval of the majority in Assam, our home minister promises to implement the NRC all over India.

Are you assured that the people who find it hard to arrange bread and butter for their families, people who fight poverty every single day, will be able to produce documents not just to prove their identity of recent years, but to prove it right from 1971?

Let me also draw your attention to the anti-secular nature of this act and how this is a fundamental step by the ruling party to convert India into a Hindutva nation. Once the NRC comes into action, all the citizens are in for doom. Those citizens who won’t be able to produce documents will be declared immigrants. That’s where CAA will kick in as the saviour for everyone except Muslims.

Do you spot a well designed strategy?

Also read: Letter to My Right-Wing Uncle

Despite all evidence lying in plain sight, they continue to manipulate the masses by saying “Indian muslims have nothing to worry about”.

Think for yourself, it’s an Act that is looking to kill the spirit of secularism our country has long been proud of; the secularism we’ve written reams about in essays and poems in school.

This is what thousands of students country over are protesting against. And if you wish to see clearly, you won’t miss how all the violence and chaos surrounding the anti-CAA protests has been in states ruled by the saffron party.

For a moment, imagine you’ve been peacefully protesting in your university, and the administration allows the police in tear gas, lathi charge and fire upon you and your friends.

Imagine seeing your classmates run for their lives, screaming for help. Imagine hospital beds filling up with more and more students – not hard, since that is a present reality. Imagine looking at people you recognise with bruised and busted faces, fractured ribs, and broken hands and legs. Imagine students being beaten so brutally that they lost their vision.

All this brutality and so much more, by the very people who are supposed to protect us!

Is this the idea of democracy? To debate, to ask questions – isn’t that the basic nature of educated minds?

And you my dear friend, you who have chosen not to speak, how can your blood not boil seeing the cruelty happening around you? Do you not care about our constitution and our secularism? Does my life mean nothing to you?

How can you let the ruling party divide us?

Remember it’s not a communal fight, it’s a fight for the people of this country, for it’s constitution. It’s a fight against the idea of converting India into a nation just for the Hindus. It’s a fight for unity. It’s a fight for you, it’s a fight for me.

We have to bring back the glory of India, the India that our forefathers fought for. The India they freed with their blood – an India that is secular and democratic.

Butool Baquir is a graduate student at Aligarh Muslim University.

Featured image credit: Pariplab Chakraborty