Is India really intolerant?
You've probably already read my name. It reads Mohammad Musharraf (मोहम्मद मुशर्रफ).
Here's my experience:
I was born in a locality where a Hindu majority resided. Then I went to a Christian school for education. Majority of students there were Hindus. In 10th standard, I remember, we were three Muslims among 35 to 40 other Hindus.
For college, I went to Bhubaneswar, Odisha, a state with a totally different culture than Jharkhand, where I hail from. Different language, different ideologies, different types of people.
I lived there for four years and completed my graduation.
Through all these years, I faced discrimination – at least that's what communal people want to hear. But you know the best part, it was nothing in comparison to the love and acceptance I received throughout.
In school, where I said we were three Muslims in a batch of 40, I never realized that I belonged somewhere else.
I remember my each and every classmate and how much fun it was to be with them.
In college, well it got even better. During my first year, in the hostel, I lived in a room with two other guys, both Hindus. Never really felt anything was wrong.
In second year, we moved to a rented apartment where I was living with 5 other Hindu friends. Holi used to be so much fun.
I've experienced the discrimination for being from Jharkhand and studying in Odisha. I've experienced discrimination for being a Muslim.
But even Odia people might have faced the same in Jharkhand. And Hindus too might have faced discrimination from Muslims. It's never just one way.
We need to start looking on the brighter side. Letting a handful of communal Muslims and communal Hindus making us believe that India is intolerant would surely make us a population of 1 billion idiots – including you and me.
So, calling India intolerant is far from being correct.
I'm sure that no other nation would have survived so much diversity for so long and that too with so much peace.
Till the day I see Hindus visiting a Muslims house on the eve of Eid and Muslims visiting their Hindu friends on Holi, you can't make me believe that India is intolerant.