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.


Anrosh said...

"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."

a pakistani muslim who was once upon a time my neighbor traced his ancestry - 7 generations ago they were rajputs who were forced to convert ..you know the history.

Welcome back sagarone

Anonymous said...

I'm glad that you've come out of hibernation...Most Muslims and Christians are descendants of Hindus - in fact amongst some Christians even today, caste is very important...I've read matrimonial ads which specify that the bride/groom wants to marry only a Brahmin Catholic/Protestant...Everybody seems to be confused these days...

Balvinder Singh said...

Today, on my blogroll, i found two back to back posts titled "Identity Crisis". I thought the subject may be same and considered them like a mail forward which comes to you from many senders with same title and subject matter.

But these two posts, though with same title, talk of different identity crisis.

While "Shail's Nest" talks about the identity crisis in the blog world, Sagarone, you have touched the subject which is actually staring us all in the face.

All the different religions of today have their origin in a few common ones. Today's Indian Muslims, Sikhs and Christians have their roots in the the Hindu religion. Their forefathers adopted other religions due to force or by their own will.

But in todays modern world where the boundaries of caste, creed, colour and cultures are suppose to be melting owing to the communication explosion, we are finding that the same are getting stronger and stronger day by day. That indeed is very unfortunate.

manju said...

A very thoughtful post, Sagarone.

"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."-

This thought has been at the back of my mind for some time now. You have expressed it in a much better way than I could.

Sagarone said...

Thanks, Anrosh and Bones for the welcome back. Balvinder and Manju, I think this identity confusion is a major reason for the hatred being spread around. The sooner it is confronted the better.

Anonymous said...

The lines that all the other friends have highlighted caught my attention too

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."
YEs I think today in almost all the cases one can say that this indeed is true.

Like you said later Identity confusion rather than idenity crisis.

In trying to distance themselves from the very culture that they have been an inherent part of(and by default also the country then) they are neither here nor there..

As far as I know even the religions and cultures that they originally claim to belong to refuse to accept their claims.

PS:- The new look of the blog is really nice:)

Sagarone said...

Thanks, Indyeah, the sad thing is that we can just point this out to them. Ultimately it is up to them to get themselves out of this confusion and dedicate themselves to this land and claim their rightful place as sons of this soil.

Satyask said...

Hi Sagarone,
Nice blog-site. Nice post.
I can't agree more.
We are all Indians, children of India.
In most cases, neither the Muslims nor Christians have a single drop of foreign blood, they are preached into owing an allegiance to the middle eastern religions..

To see the descendants of Indian heroes, being critical of them...
what can one say?

Such is Life!

Anrosh said...

i was re reading this post today and it struck me - America is full of such stories and except of native indians , each one can trace their identity to its roots - swiss, or scottish or welsh or irish or a combination of scandinavian or german - i did read somewhere or am i making this up i am not quite sure - once we trace our roots and know where we come from and accepts its reality, one can easily put on wings and beging to run , than identifying and refusing to accept the roots - there is nothing to hide, or defend ones identity today - even if they are forceful converts . swami vivekanad says so clearly - " there is a world in your mind" - so dissecting the pieces and fixing the puzzle and moving on is best for the individual, the society (collective action ) rather than propogating and tell otherwise - history may tell lies and get manipulated - but every generation has its own "war" (literally and metaphorically) and fight its battle. aaking one to forcefully take an identiy will not do good in any generation - political premises does ask a society to do that , , but if when done without bias or sterotype, it is the generation to gain - don't you think