Identity crisis

Now whose identity shall I assume as I write an open letter to someone or the other? Should I be a politico-religious nutcase, explaining why my fascist party is better to vote for than all others? Should I pretend to be a Deatheater and start promoting Voldemortbhai of Gujarat? Or should I write one of those essays so beloved of Class VI English teachers: a dialogue between a desk and a chair?

Let's not forget: Indian Muslims don’t just think of themselves as Muslims. It is possible for them to have other identities or ideas about themselves.

How about writing to all politicians about how Hindus who don’t believe that Voldemortbhai is one of the 33,000 crore deities of Hinduism want to be treated? It would be unfair of me to pretend to be a Muslim and write an open letter to politicians on how I want to be treated by them, because the esteemed writer has already done that. The esteemed writer is a fabricator he says (not like the man who made my wrought iron window grills but of another sort more metaphorical sort) so he can fabricate himself into the position of an Indian Muslim even though he is not (as he so clearly says in case we had any doubts on the matter).

To be a fabricator par excellence however is not an easy matter. For one thing, you have to be as bland and banal as possible with your designs. Girls like pink, boys like girls and such. Variations are anathema to us open letter fabricators, oh, sorry, that third word was too complicated to use here and maybe word one as well. The second is to find the most obvious points that you can think (I use the think word in the broadest sense possible) of. Like the desk says to the chair, your arms can be hurtful when they bang into me. Oh wait, I think I’m being too imaginative here. How’s this instead: desk to chair, “I see you are also made of fiction by an ace fabricator”?

So you know how it is: all Indian Muslims are dopes who cannot think for themselves unless a skull cap or a fabricator comes along. Or all Indian Muslims only think of themselves as Muslims. They cannot possibly have other identities or ideas about themselves. Can’t be men, women, trans-gender, artists, artistes, atheists, believers, cooks, chefs, carpenters, debunkers, eminent, fabricators, godly, nutcases... No, they are all of one white-washed sort with no differences. It is an en masse kind of thing in fabricator world where Indian Muslims are concerned. I get ahead of myself again by chucking in that show-off bit of French. At least I think it’s French. My fabricator dictionary does not stretch very far. But I am allowed two states so maybe I am allowed to make grammatical and other errors in more than one language.

When you are an esteemed writer who composes open letters on behalf of someone else, it is also important to skirt around all issues which might be embarrassing to You Know Who and other bigots. It is vital therefore not to mention riots, discrimination and social boycotts for instance. Or even the Constitution and equality before the law. And the dreaded “secular” word must never ever be mentioned, please always remember that. But you must always mention economic progress because that is the essence of life or at least I would know that if I had studied at a prestigious management institute. But please remember that I am a pretender pretending to be a fabricator and already I have created a massive cloud of confusion on top of my little, even if it is esteemed, head.

Okay, my head is not esteemed but I am fabricating fiction after all.

I suppose if I was a fabricator of little, but not necessarily esteemed brain, I would have written an open letter on behalf of the Hindus of India who do not think the way that politicians of some sort would like them to think. Too complicated I guess since I’m not Chetan Bhagat. And of no use to Voldemortbhai whatsoever.

Ranjona Banerji is a senior journalist. You can follow her on Twitter @ranjona  

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