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To combat polarization, rise to the occasion: Bushra Khanum

– Uzma Ausaf

New Delhi, Dec. 23: It’s December all over again. Winter is here along with the chill. Any talk of winter here remains incomplete without the mention of the brave women of Shaheen Bagh. After all it was on 15 December, 2019 that the homemakers, working women and students residing in Shaheen Bagh stood up as one in a peaceful protest against the Citizenship Amendment Act. Even as the BJP’s media cell alleged that the women had gathered on a plate of biryani and Rs. 500 each, these women remained cool, and continued their protest for equality in citizenship.

In the fitness of things Jamaat-e-Islami Hind Women’s Wing paid its tribute to Muslim women in India by organising a talk titled, ‘Muslim Women Combating Polarization’. Appropriately, noted journalist, Bushra Khanum was the main speaker on the occasion.

Incidentally, Khanum, a veteran journalist who has worked with News18, Doordarshan and ETV Urdu, used to host a show on problems of Muslims on Zee Salaam. Hailing from Khurja, she now works with DB Live as a consulting editor.

In the programme organised on December 23, around 35 women turned up to listen to Ms Bushra Khanum, who gave an engaging talk full of identifiable instances of common man’s life. She was both lively and methodical in her talk. Ms Khanum, drew attention to the brave protests of the Shaheen Bagh women. Focussing attention on their long protest in chilly winter four years ago, she called it historic. Ms Khanum went to quote the Shaheen Bagh protest as the best way to combat polarization.

Ms Khanum also remembered the brave girl Muskan, who singlehandedly stood up to the taunts of men opposing hijab in Karnataka. Not many people would have forgotten how teenaged Muskan, who was clad in a black burqa, was faced with cries of Jai Shree Ram as she entered her college. The brave Muskan responded by saying Allahu Akbar. Ms Khanum recalled Muskan’s bravery as yet another example of Muslim women rising to combat polarization.

She also recalled the harrowing experience of Muslim women who were put on “sale” in the Sulli deal on social media by some misguided right-wing elements. Here many well-known journalists, artists, and activists were sought to be sold by the goonda elements. Ms Khanum felt it was the bravery of these women to come out and register the complaint that forced these men to backtrack. She recalled her own terrible experiences where goons have abused her, threatened her and tried to silence her with their verbal attacks. Ms Khanum also pointed out the urgent need for the community to rise to the occasion, and not waste time on electronic gadgets.

She called the Sully deal protest as yet another example of Muslim women refusing to be intimidated. Incidentally, the incident also highlighted the pitfalls of social media, particularly those sites where people freely share their photographs. The pictures can be misused by lawless elements later.

Her talk was followed by a lively question/answer session. The audience liked her presentation very much. And many women came forward to ask questions and shared their experiences.

Dr Fatima Tanveer, Media Secretary, JIH Women’s Wing felicitated the resource person of the meeting.

 

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