Guilty until proven innocent. That seems to be the approach of law enforcement agencies towards a lot of Muslims in the lower socio-economic class in India. As the Sachar Committee Report of the Indian government points out, Muslims bear the twin burden of accusations of being “anti-national” and “appeased” at the same time.
What is often under-examined thanks to some of the noise the Hindutva brigade drums up about Muslim appeasement is that Muslims in fact face a lot of structural violence in India; something that has gone up in the Islamophobic environment created after 9/11.
A recent question that appeared in a history exam of the Ranchi University is of a piece with this structural violence. Apart from reflecting an utter and complete lack of academic rigour, it reflects the hardening stereotypes of Islam and Muslims, all happily fueled by the media, a distorted teaching of Indian history and of course the propaganda of the saffron agency.
The question in the university exam was, “Prophet Mohammed started his career as a trader and ended as a raider. Comment.”
There are so many prejudices and assumptions built into that statement that it is worrisome that the person who framed it was teaching. He or she has since been debarred.