My Story: As I Was Born To A Muslim Family, Its Natural That My Name Would Carry Its Identity

Image Credit: Masidur Rahaman

My Story: 'As I Was Born To A Muslim Family, It's Natural That My Name Would Carry Its Identity'

Masidur Rahaman came from a small town in West Bengal and is 22 now. He recalls how difficult it was to survive with his religious identity. He was always asked to prove his love for the country, making him feel like he belonged to an ‘other’ entity.

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I come from a small town in West Bengal, and at the age of 17, I completed my class 12 education. When I'm 22, I look back at events that have affected me in many ways. From being asked to prove my love for my own country to the questioning of my own identity based on my name, all such incidents have made me feel that I belong to some other 'entity.'

One afternoon, we sat in our tutor's room, waiting for him. He was scheduled to teach us about the Indo-Chinese war and its subsequent impact on the diplomatic relationship between two Asian Countries who could have become good friends if they had set aside their respective egos and vanity. When he reached and started teaching, he suddenly asked me whether I would support India or Pakistan in an ODI cricket match.

He argued, "As you are a follower of Islam and Pakistan too is an Islamic country, you are bound to support Pakistan." I gave him a befitting reply as per my capacity. But today, I feel that I missed many crucial points in my response to him. A few days later, in a plain statement, he said, "Muslims consume beef, and that's why they are hot-blooded and prone to killing and fighting."

After continuously listening to my teacher, there was nothing left in me to argue with him. I was not blaming him for anything. I was blaming myself for calling him a teacher. A teacher who can spew such communally charged remarks can never impart good value to his students. I regret being his student.

'My Religious Identity Made Feel Left-Out'

I passed my Higher Secondary examination and got admitted to one of the prestigious colleges for graduation. You might ask, what's so unique in this? Everyone goes through the same process. I was refused accommodation in Berhampur for having a Muslim name. Later, I learned that one of my cousins who got me there had to stay there pretending to be a Hindu.

The man who refused me accommodation was an ex-officer. He first asked my name, and knowing that I am a Muslim, he told me, "This place is not for you. Go and find places where people like you stay." Every time I faced humility because of the religious identity I carry. In another instance, I was questioned to prove my love for the country by a close friend.

I smiled and replied, "My dear friend, as I was born to Muslim parents, it is natural that my name would carry a Muslim identity, and I cannot do anything about it. It does not matter whether I have a Muslim name or something else. What matters most is that I don't believe in any imaginary entity and the concept of humanity, instead."

My mother has also told me often to "ignore if someone doesn't like you being a Muslim because that's their problem and not yours." It is highly depressing and traumatising to be excluded, judged for just having a name 'tag'.

If you, too, have an inspiring story to tell the world, send us your story at mystory@thelogicalindian.com

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Editor : Shiva Chaudhary
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Creatives : Ronit Kumar Singh