Sunday, May 01, 2005
When Will We be Truly Secular?
The other day at the Art Mantram Exhibition, we had put up our pictures from the Gujarat trip. Basically a Travel documentary. Only a few of the whole collection were exhibited, some 13, and it just happened that half of them were of Muslim subjects.
The journalist walked upto me and asked me with a wry smile on her face, "Why have you all pictures of Vohrajis only in a Gujarat Documentary?"
What does one answer to that sort of a question?
I recollected my experiences and said, "Well it wasnt concious. We weren't particularly looking for Hindus or Muslims in our pictures, we were basically shooting what we thougth represented Gujarat. Most of these subjects dont speak any other language but Gujarati."
I dont know if i put my point across...but why is it that a Muslim is not a Gujarati or a Tamilian for that matter?
Why is it that we have this immediate bias for a person from an Islamic religion (not that we dont have a bias otherwise, but this is strongly strong)? India is supposed to be a secular country, and that's actually the beauty of it. Isnt it?
I loved those faces i clicked... they have beautifully expressive faces and eyes...
To my understanding they are as important a part of Gujarat as are the Hindus in that land. They dress differently. But then again we have these "cliche'" ideas of what a Gujarati is, why cant we open our mind to breaking away from those?
The journalist who spoke to me is a Parsee.. i wouldnt call her any less a Guajarati if she was one...
Its a political thing, this bias... dont we realize its been created in our minds over a long period? Cant we do away with this judgement that we form immediately?
Yes each culture is different and therefore the person has an influence of that particular culture and religion, but why such a strong bias for a Muslim? Dont we realize that its been imbibed in our mentalities today? And that we should start making a change in that way of thinking?
When i say "WE" i mean those who judge so easily. These individuals we judge do feel at home in these places, feel this place and people are theirs.... the only thing we do on judging them is by making them feel less at home...
Can we have a discussion on this? As this is something that has disturbed me for really long...