If you have even the slightest social media presence and engage regularly with political accounts you will have noticed we are well on our way in the process to decolonisation. Where I was disappointed and resigned to relative solitude on Twitter, because even our allies are mostly white and middle class over there, and even the people of colour are tokenised in their respective fields and seem happy to be, Instagram united me with my kind of people, from all over the world, with less emphasis on their personal achievements and more of a focus on healing together.
I have nattered with the descendants of righteous rebels against the British imperialists, those who held on to their names as a final fuck you to the colonisers (where my ancestors dropped their names and ran into the mountains, for fear of genocide after the British had promised as such for all bearing the Timurid name) and they acknowledged my royal roots, which gave me butterflies in my stomach I can tell you. To live your entire life relegated to the bowels of society only to be elevated by someone whose ancestors historically stood in front of mine, well someone did in fact walk over my grave. It felt like a moment yknow, one where I can look back and pinpoint the exact moment I knew who I was and what I would no longer tolerate.
On the flipside I was also exposed to an online army of unpaid fascist Hindu Modi fanboys. They’re quick to dismiss the trauma of partition and sing the praises of their white colonisers. Thankfully the moderators of the accounts they target are on the right side of history and refer to them affectionately as bakhts, or devotees to Modi’s cause. It is perhaps spat rather than softly spoken as it riles them no end. At first I was perplexed by their words and the way they swerve at you seemingly from nowhere and it took me a while to muster the confidence to retaliate, because they are so pernicious, invoking the same deeply embedded feelings of shame and fear for simply being born a Pakistani but these people are due a reckoning, for collaborating with the British empire and destroying India from within. Tell me, how are these people proud Hindustanis who love their land and people when they let the British drain India of all her resources (taking her from the 3rd richest nation in the WORLD to one of the poorest) and are committed to perpetuating harmful and nonsensical narratives in order to maintain power? Say a good thing about the Mughals on social media and witness the hysteria. It is as if they could be resurrected from their graves, as though a genocide was not committed against them. Why has this fact been erased from the annals of history and replaced with grotesquely fake news that has benefited an alliance of oppressors for hundreds of years? Imagine if the Jewish holocaust was revised in the same way, so that holocaust deniers had the protection of Nazis, and descendants of those put to death in the gas chambers were ridiculed and silenced into submission.. utter madness, but they justify it for those of us with black or brown skin.
Far right hindu nationalists will defend their hateful words promising more oppression of Muslims with the excuse that the Mughals were oppressive towards Hindus but this completely erases the reality, where Hindus and Sikhs made up large parts of the establishment, taking senior roles in the army and other parts of the infrastructure. Moderate Muslims Sikhs and Hindus are erased from the history books, in its place this dichotomy that benefits white supremacy. Be under no illusions, far right Hindus believe in their own superiority, just like the far right in Israel who value their own lives over Palestinians and even black Jews. They believe in hierarchies and justify oppression of human beings in their very way of life. How can you cry on and on about the historical exodus of pundits when you are killing your own ‘dalits’ TODAY simply for being born into the wrong caste? How can Israel expect anyone to acknowledge its right to existence when it means the annihilation of an entire people? Far right Hindus will not share a plate of food with a starving dalit (or anyone else, google ‘jhoota’) but a Muslim would, and that is why they hate Islam, because there is no distinction between human beings in the eyes of the almighty.
Sure Muslims have been awful, the good ones will even acknowledge this is the cause of their suffering today but why are far right Hindus allowed to perpetuate violence against them when they were slaughtered en masse by the British, aided by far right collaborators, the descendants of whom cannot back the fuck down even today? They are awful human beings. I was bullied as a child by the mother of a close Hindu friend and if I saw her today she’d get two tight slaps for being such a nasty piece of work and abusing a minor. It started early, the constant narrative that we are the lowest of the low and must be reminded in case we dare raise our heads but it has happened. Sure it took me nearly 40 years to get to a place where I am proud of myself and my heritage, but it was denied to me growing up, possibly because I was so earnest and naive. There is a clear divide in my extended family, those who know our rich history and those who don’t and the latter tend to be as loudmouthed and willing to confront shit head on as I am. We (those of us still learning) have concluded fear and shame kept them from passing on oral histories, despite our many queries over the years. The fear that we would reveal our true identities and the shame that we did not deserve the riches my generation feels it is owed. The fear that a pursuit of what is rightfully ours may send us to our graves. When you have been living as if you are dead though, you see things in a different light.
As utterly shameless as I am, at least this way we will have lived.