Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Identity Crisis

My maternal grandparents hailed from Karachi and my mother and all her siblings were born there. They had to flee Karachi in the wake of the partition in 1947, leaving behind a comfortable existence and had to start a new life, struggling to make ends meet in a new place amongst strangers. My mother was just entering her teenage years during that time and her memories of her childhood and those years is vivid and I have heard a lot of stories about those times from her. My father was working in Karachi at that time as well and he too had to leave Karachi and find his fortunes elsewhere. The tales that my parents have told me over the years have made Karachi hold a special place in my heart.

I stumbled onto Karachiwali's blog a couple of days back. Her posts about the Mumbai incident and the comments by her and her fellow bloggers were painful to read. I left a comment for her requesting her to revisit what she had written earlier and to her credit, as of now she has taken down all Mumbai related posts and comments off the blog.

Yesterday I watched Bhowani Junction on the telly which talks about the identity crisis of the Anglo-Indians and realised that the Muslims of our subcontinent are facing a similar identity crisis. Sooner or later they will have to decide who they are and where they belong. Are they expatriate Arabs, Iranis, Turks, Afghans or Mongols, living in a land conquered by their forefathers? Or are they the sons and daughters of the soil of this subcontinent? Do they wish to regain the lost glory of their ancestors and rule over the infidels, or do they want to be citizens of a modern nation having a stake in the stability and prosperity of this area? Most Muslims can trace their ancestry back to a Hindu ancestor even if they tend to hide it and glorify their Arab or Middle Eastern origins. They have to accept their origins and dispose of their victim mentality. Because the Muslims too have a hand in the mess that the subcontinent is in today. Taali kabhi ek haathse nahin bajti.

Edit: I think it is more of an identity confusion than an identity crisis.