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Should we Indians learn from the way Americans behaved in Ahmed Mohamed case?

By Mohd Mansoor Alam,

On May 31, 2015, a 22 year old MBA graduate was denied a job by a diamond export company in Mumbai because he was a Muslim. Interestingly, the export company Hari Krishna Exports Pvt Ltd fearlessly writes to him the reason of denial as his being a Muslim. A few days passed and on June 4, Saturday, 2015, Mohammad Ali Ismael, who was working with Adhunik Group of Industries as MD (Mines) got fired from his job because he started keeping beard after return from Hajj. He got termed as a “terrorist”. He was abused. His salary got reduced to half and ultimtely his salary was completely stopped and he was thrown out of his office where he had worked for six years. It is noteworhty that Adhunik Group of Companies is not a small company but is 5000 crores conglomerate working in the field of mining, steel, power and so on.

A few months passed, and one more incident came into light. This time, the incident occurred far from India, in the United States. On September 14, 2015, Ahmed Mohamed was arrested for bringing his home made clock his school because the school authorities mistook it as a bomb.

Two nations and three stories. Two incidents in India that clearly violate the constitution of India. Hari Krishna Exports Pvt Ltd fearlessly writes that because Zeeshan is a Muslim, they can not offer him a job. It is against the policies of the company. It would be surprising to know for any Indian who has the least wisdom and who has read the article 14 of the constitution of India where it is clearly stated that discimination can not be done on grounds of religion, race, caste, sex, or place of birth. The same has happened with the MD (Mines), Mohammad Ali Ismael. He was the MD of the company and he fired from the company with total humiliation not to its senior employee but for the embarassment of the whole humanity.

These two incidents in India turned no outrage in India. Human Rights Commission, Minority Commission, Chief Minister Office, Police administration showed no reaction, justice is a very distant thing. Alebit, in Zeeshan Ali case Adani Group gestured positive and offered him a job which Zeeshan accepted later.

However, arrest of Ahmed Mohamad prompted outrage with thousands expressing their anger at authorities for arresting. US President Barack Obama issued a White House invitation to him. President Barack Obama tweeted “Cool clock, Ahmed” and invited him to visit the White House with his clock. “We should inspire more kids like you. It’s what makes America great,” the president of America further tweeted. Hillary Clinton, a Democratic candidate, rushed to the boy’s defence. “Ahmed, stay curious and keep building,” she tweeted. Mark Zuckerberg told him he’d love to meet him at Facebook.

Suddenly, the American dream opened up for the boy whose father came from Sudan, with a seat at the Google Science fair and an internship offer from Twitter.

Not only big companies showed their solidarity with Ahmed, but Social media users also rallied behind the teen using the hashtag #IStandWithAhmed, which picked up more than 500,000 mentions on Twitter so far, according to analytics site Topsy, and continued to rise rapidly for so many days. The story also ranked highest on the user-generated curation website, Reddit.

Many others on Twitter drew comparisons between how US authorities treated white people who carried arms and how they treated black youth like Mohamed, who were involved in benign activities. One user poked fun at US police for arresting a child for carrying something as harmless as a clock.

Comparing how two nations reacted to injustice suffered by their countrymen is enough to decide the future of these two largest democracies in the world. Our Indian electronic media, which does a month long program on a murder case of Sheena Bora, takes no trouble in even running these news of injutice for a few days. News flashed and disappeared as if nothing happened. Print media did hardly any follow-up. No government representative showed any sign of humanity. Even Mamta Bannerji who is supposed to be with Muslims took it very naïve way. Social Media also has been not as hyper as it should be. In nutshell, these two incidents sparked no sensitivity in us at all for our own contrymen as if India is used to this kind of things.

I remember the quote from Horace Mann, the American politician and educational reformer that “Injustice alone can shake down the pillars of the skies, and restore the reign of Chaos and Night.”

The quote from Horace Mann is enough for us Indians to think how sensitive we are to our own people. And how we should.

(Mohd Mansoor Alam is a Writer, Translator and IT Consultan)



—Courtesy “Muslim Mirror”