1 day ago
When will racism end?
It hasn’t been long that I started my new journey as a businessman. We’ve our ancestral business of glass beads (Potay products) located at Indra Chowk.
It’s is a different kind of feeling that I am going through since I became the one – The Muslim Businessman. I didn’t want to be specific but to put my points here I am writing ‘The Muslim Businessmen’. Clad in a traditional Muslim dress wearing a Muslim cap along with beards, I sit and wait for a customer in a smiley face – a woman comes and browse the shop and asks, “Bhaiya, yes ko katti ho?” Listening to this word ‘bhaiya’ in a racist voice makes me feel bad and in reply I say, “Yes ko 250 ho behen ji.” The woman then questions me, “Why did you call me behenji instead of didi?” I reply, “If you could say me bhaiyya not dai, then why can’t I tell you behenji instead of didi?” and that woman says, “You speak Nepali well bhaiyya, how did you learn to speak it so fluently, your Nepali is better than us.” I reply to her, “We are Nepali.” “But you look like a Muslim,” says a woman. “Yes, I am. Our fore-forefathers all have lived here since long,” I say. “Then where is your home?” “Here in Maitidevi, Kathmandu and yours?” “In India…” she says.
This is just a common conversation that I’ve to deal with every other day – be it foreigners or so called Nepali, they have their fixed questions set to ask us and I have to explain them exactly as in the above conversation. I haven’t realized before coming to this profession that people would be so biased towards this religious group in Nepal. Their perception of us being an outsider, especially an Indian citizen and treating and talking to us in a different way makes me feel irked. I just don’t understand that every other person is Nepali except the one who is a Muslim, especially those Muslims who wears the traditional Muslim dress, a Muslim cap and has a beard on his face? How often we have to clarify that we are Nepali, also a Muslim unlike other religious groups residing here in Nepal?
Is it a crime that despite being a citizen of Nepal since many centuries and helping nation in different forms and just because of being a Muslim we are an outsider to our own home country – Nepal? When will the racism ends – oh! It seems it won’t end soon, as the most powerful nation US has a candidate who has a strong biasness towards Muslims and he wants to sweep this group from its roots. How long Muslims have to struggle to have their own identity with their own ideologies living harmony with other religious groups in unison? It seems we have a long way to look forward. Hope still persists for good.