Look at this photograph. Who are these two gentlemen? They are just ordinary Muslim beggars who are called as Fakirs. In South India they are revered as divine people. They go with their sambirany pugai Camphor and all that and get small change for their favour.
Muhammad Ali of Two circle dot net a popular Muslim internet site wanted to photograph them. Their reaction to his request depicts the ordinary Muslim Psyche of India today.
Excerpts from his article :
Human lives apart, the war against terror has affected human psyche immensely. I had an experience of how even the ordinary members of the Muslim community live under constant fear because of the torture that goes on in the name of the anti-terror campaign. I wanted to shoot a photo of two fakirs.
In loose and colorful gowns and loads of beads around their neck, they, to me, were typical Muslim beggars known as fakirs. Initially excited at the idea of being photographed (probably first time in their life time) the promise of 10 rupees each which came with it was quite a good offer for them.
But the moment they came to know that I am a journalist, they started walking away from me. Now they said they can't let me take their photo even if I promise them 100 rupees each.
"We can't risk being branded a ‘terrorist’” was their straight face reply after my repeated efforts to persuade them for the photo shoot. They feared that their photos may get misused and they may end up being in the newspapers as the "most wanted" and as a result getting picked up by the police.
"humko nahin banna hai terrorist, Sir. Aap isko kahin chhap dijiyega to hum to kuch nahin ker paayenge. Aaj kal to roz hi police masoom longon ko pakadti hai"
And to bear so much torture only for a photo shoot was foolish for them.
After that they became very cautious and suspicious to my questions. So when I asked one of them his name, Toofan Ali was the answer. I wondered whether he gave his real name.
Funny and chilling in equal measure, this incident was an astounding statement on the distorted way in which the war on terror is being waged in this country by a close alliance of the media and the police and how an average Muslim is able to see through this.