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A powerful and thought-provoking play relevant to our times

The Muslim Vanishes:
A Play in Three Acts
Saeed Naqvi
Penguin, 2022

Reviewed by Arshad Shaikh

The Muslim Vanishes by Saeed Naqvi is a thought-provoking play and a timely fable about the dangers of communalism and the importance of empathy.

The play is set in a dystopian future where 200 million Muslims have suddenly disappeared from India, along with their cultural heritage. The remaining population is left to grapple with the consequences of this mass vanishing and to try to understand what happened and why.

The play is told from the perspective of a diverse cast of characters, including a TV news anchor, a Hindu nationalist leader, a Muslim woman, and a Dalit activist. Each character has their unique perspective on the events that have taken place, and their struggles to come to terms with them.

Naqvi’s writing is sharp and insightful, and he uses the play to explore a range of complex issues, including the nature of national identity, the role of religion in society, and the dangers of prejudice and discrimination.

The play is also a powerful plea for empathy, tolerance, and understanding. It challenges us to confront the realities of communalism and intolerance in our world.

The Muslim Vanishes is a must-read for anyone who is interested in contemporary Indian politics and society, or who is concerned about the rise of communalism and intolerance around the world. The play will stay with you long after you finish reading it.

The play is a creative way of exploring the key themes that India is currently grappling with and trying to come to terms with. The play is a powerful critique of communalism, which is a form of ideology that divides people along religious lines.

Naqvi shows how communalism can lead to violence, hatred, and even genocide. The play also makes a case for empathy, tolerance, and understanding. Naqvi challenges us to see the world from the perspective of others, even those who are different from us. He shows how empathy and tolerance can help us to build bridges and to create a more just and inclusive society.

Naqvi explores the complex nature of national identity. He asks us to question what it means to be Indian, and who owns India. He shows how national identity can be manipulated to exclude and marginalize certain groups of people.

The Muslim Vanishes is a powerful and thought-provoking play that is relevant to our times. It is highly recommended to add it to your bookshelf.


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