Wednesday, Aug 17, 2022

A Letter To Mr Chetan Bhagat

We write to you not as crazy fans but as Indian Muslim youth, who felt utterly patronized, insulted and hurt after reading your article, ' Letter from an Indian Muslim Youth'.

A Letter To Mr Chetan Bhagat
A Letter To Mr Chetan Bhagat

Following is the text of a letter that was initially written by some of us and subsequently endorsed by the undersigned. This letter is a rejoinder to the article written by Chetan Bhagat titled, ‘Letter from an Indian Muslim Youth published in The Times of India on 30th of June, 2013. The letter was sent to The Times of India for publication with 166 signatures but we are yet to receive any response, or even an acknowledgment. Hence, we are left with no option but to make it public with additional signatures which we have received in the course of time. In the letter sent to The Times of India, we included only ‘Muslim names’ since Mr Bhagat, in his letter pretended to be an Indian Muslim Youth. However, here we are including all the endorsements we received because a large number of the emails read, ‘I am not a Muslim but I am equally disgusted by Chetan Bhagat’s letter’.

Given below is the text of letter followed by more than 200 signatures:

A Letter to Mr Chetan Bhagat from Indian Muslim Youth

3rd July, 2013

Dear Mr Bhagat,

At the very outset, let us make it clear that we are not fans of your regressive fiction. Therefore, we write to you not as crazy fans but as Indian Muslim youth, who felt utterly patronized, insulted and hurt after reading your article, ' Letter from an Indian Muslim Youth'.  You might have not realized this, but in pretending to render “a strong modern Indian Muslim voice’’ to the youth and the Muslim community at large, you have ripped them of their agency. You have reaffirmed stereotypes that many in the community have been fighting against. Heard of the Muslim god and his flock?

Sir, one does not need a name like Ahmed or Saeed or Mirza, or even be a Muslim to show one’s genuine concern for the community. One just needs to see beyond one’s own prejudice and biases. Believe us, this disgusting piece of your writing made us more nauseous than any of your (or Madhu Kishwar’s) love-verses to Modi. Your article is nothing but an extension of the thought process that anything Muslim is backward and regressive. Since you have assigned to yourself the task of bearing the moral burden of the community, would you care to explain what a ‘Muslim cap’ is?

We agree with you when you say political leaders make promises that go empty post elections. And that there are Muslims who have achieved much without any ‘’cap-wearing politician’’ helping them. But who is this leader that you are suggesting; one who would understand ‘’the desire’’ of the Muslim youth ‘’to come up in life’’ and ‘’inspire us to do better’’? Is it by any chance the mass murderer, Narendra Modi?

You know what hurts? That people pretend to care for you when they don’t. When in fact they use you to grind their own axe. How cleverly you turn everything that the Muslim youth face today—“being frisked with greater attentiveness, denied renting an apartment”—into a product of the community’s inherent backwardness, as if it bears no relation to the increasing communalization of our polity and society.

What makes you think that the ‘cap’ wallahs exercise a great deal of influence within the community? Interestingly, one particular party has been lately seeking a lot of photo-ops with precisely these kinds of community leaders. Make no mistake Mr Writer. They don’t. 

“Because of you”, you write castigating an imagined Muslim leadership, “people feel we vote in a herd.” Now, isn't that really clever, Mr Bhagat. People feel we vote in a herd because certain parties never tire of screaming hoarse about ‘minority appeasement’ and ‘vote banks’, even though, any psephologist or political scientist, or even an ordinary Muslim youth at chai dukaan will tell you that Muslims vote just like any other community does: according to a mix of factors: local, national but above all, keeping in mind who will preserve their interests best. And their interests do tend to include the safety of life and livelihood. 

We are sorry, Mr Bhagat, but the "democratic republic" you talk of is not so democratic. If it were so, Afzal Guru wouldn’t have been executed to "satisfy the collective conscience of the nation". Muslim youth would not have fallen prey to minority witch-hunting, and their killers not decorated with gallantry awards. Adivasis in Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand and Orissa would not have been ripped of their fundamental rights to live with dignity. Dalit poets would not have been falsely charged under sedition laws.

Loving one’s nation is well and good, but being blinded by patriotism is not. Why do Indian Muslims always have to prove their allegiance to India? Why can’t they also be critical of their country?

The party whose path you are treading has had Indian Muslims pass through too many Sita-like ordeals of fire, Agni Pariksha.  You may have the privilege to turn a blind eye to the post-Babri Masjid Demolition violence, the Gujarat pogrom, but many others don’t. How then do you think a leader who doesn’t even have the integrity to apologize for his complicity in the Gujarat pogrom represent Muslim youth’s aspirations for "scientific way of thinking, entrepreneurship, empowerment, progress" and above all, "personal freedoms"? And just by the way, have you heard of the word, ‘Justice’? 


Name          Profession      City (State)

  1. Rafiul Alom Rahman, Student, Delhi University, Delhi
  2. Mahtab Alam, Civil Rights Activist and Journalist, Delhi
  3. Javid Parsa, Student, Maulana Azad National Urdu University, Hyderabad
  4. Zulaikha Jabeen, Researcher and Activist, Raipur, Chhattisgarh
  5. Shahnawaz Malik, Journalist, Delhi
  6. Abdullah A Rahman, Student, TISS Tuljapur
  7. Abu Zafar, Journalist, Delhi
  8. Sadika Saiyed, Law Student, Surat
  9. Omar Rashid, Journalist, Allahabad
  10. Imran Ali, Filmmaker, Delhi
  11. Rashid Hussain, Software Engineer, Jaipur
  12. Mahtab Azad, Development Consultant, Araria (Bihar)
  13. Ali Amir, Student, TISS Mumbai
  14. Gauhar Iqbal, Entrepreneur, Delhi
  15. Bilal Kagzi, Advocate, Surat
  16. Imran Khan, Journalist, Bangalore
  17. Nesar Ahmad, Researcher, Jaipur    
  18. Aasiya Aslam, Architect, Chennai
  19. Saif Khan, Student, IIT Kharagpur
  20. Ejaz Ahmad, Student IIT Delhi
  21. Mohd Tanveer Iqbal, Civil Rights Activist, Chennai
  22. Mohammad Noor Alam, Medical Student, Bagalkot
  23. Khan Rashid Ayyub, Legal Translator, Azamgarh
  24. Tariq Shabibi, Software Engineer, Hyderabad
  25. Naim Siddiqui, Marketing Professional, Gurgaon 
  26. Shahid Parwez Saiyyad, Entrepreneur, Mumbai
  27. Yuman Hussain, Social Activist, Kishanganj (Bihar)
  28. Mansoor Ali, Network Administrator, Vellor, Tamilnadu
  29. Mohammad Altamash, Operation Manager, Gurgaon
  30. Naveed Hasan, Software Engineer, Bangalore
  31. Syed Hassan Kazim, Journalist, New Delhi
  32. Shehla Rashid, Policy Analyst, J & K
  33. Abul Kalam Azad, Student, TISS Guwahati
  34. Tasneem Khan, Assistant Professor, Galgotias University, Noida
  35. Najmul Huda, Research Scholar, Jamia Millia Islamia, New Delhi 
  36. Dayam Anwar, Accountant, New Delhi
  37. Shahrukh Hameed, Asst Bank Manager, Lucknow 
  38. Mohammad Rafiq Mulla, Web Developer, New Delhi
  39. Ershad Ahmad, Development Consultant, New Delhi 
  40. Shoaib Mohammad, Student, Bangalore University
  41. Faraz Ahmad, Business Executive, Mumbai
  42. Sikandar Azam, Journalist, Delhi
  43. Tarique Shafeeq, Activist, Azamgarh
  44. Rabab Iman, Social Worker, Delhi
  45. Najid Hussain, Scientist, Indian based in USA
  46. Sana Maryam, Writer, New Delhi
  47. Sadiq Naqvi, Journalist, New Delhi
  48. Md. Zaurez Danish, Mechanical Engineer, Manipal
  49. Ovais Sultan Khan, Social Worker, Delhi
  50. Saleha Tahseen, Corporate Trainer, Bangalore
  51. Syed Zameer Hasan, Software Engineer, Mumbai
  52. Mohd. Jalauddin, Executive with Coal India, Maharashtra
  53. Malik Abid Rasool, Student, Amar Singh College, Sri Nagar
  54. Mohd. Imran, Real Estate Appraiser, Indian based in New Jersey
  55. Sahil Rafiq, Student, Kashmir University
  56. Younis Altaf, Student, Hyderabad
  57. Javed Iqbal, Corporate Employee, Hyderabad
  58.  Zoha Khan, Student, Dehradun
  59.  Irfan Hashmee, Student, Hyderabad
  60. Md. Ali, Journalist, Delhi
  61. Saira Manzoor, Homemaker, Kolkata
  62. Shafaque alam, Journalist, Delhi
  63. Afreen Khan, Student, Dehradun
  64. Afroz Alam, Journalist, Delhi
  65. Mazin Khan, Publisher, New Delhi
  66. Mohd. Reyaz, Journalist, Delhi
  67. S M Fasihullah, Freelance Journalist, Hyderabad
  68. Zoha Abdul, Student, DU
  69. Tarique Anwar, Journalist, Delhi
  70. Mohammad Muneeb, Private Employee, Kohir, AP
  71. Areeb Rizvi, Student, Jamia Millia Islamia, New Delhi
  72. Ufaq Paiker, Research Scholar, JNU
  73. Sania Mariam, Student, Kolkata  
  74. Ayesha Farooq, Student, DU
  75. Falak Khan, Student, Bangalore
  76. Sarah Jameel, Student, Doon University, Uttarakhand
  77. Talha Hussain, Software Engineer , Gulbarga Karnataka
  78. Maheboob Shahana , Student ,Jamia Millia Islamia Delhi
  79. Abdul Haadi, MA Sociology , Kottayam Kerala
  80. Waseem Ahmed , Circulation Executive, Hapur (U.P)
  81. Atiya Firdaus, Student Activist, Kota Rajasthan.
  82. Abdul Raheem, Procurement Manager, Bangalore Karnataka.
  83.  Imran Ahmed, Real-Estate Developer, Kota Rajasthan
  84. Inam ur Rehman , student ,Delhi University ,Delhi
  85. Md Khalid , Ph.D Scholar Jamia Milliya Islamia, Delhi
  86. Ubaidurrehman, Ph.D Student ,JNU Delhi
  87. Shuaib PV , Student activist ,Kerala
  88. Ts Amanullah , Engineering Student Chennai Tamilnadu
  89. Riaz Ahmed, Law Student Chennai TamilNadu
  90. Aminulislam , Political Activist Murshidabad West Bengal
  91. Danish Raza, Journalist, Delhi
  92. Sharib Zeya, Research Fellow, Delhi School of Economics 
  93. Nizamuddin Ajmeri , Social Worker , Bundi Rajasthan
  94. Jeelani Basha, Software Engineer Poona.
  95. Kosar Jahan , Student Activist , Kota Rajasthan
  96. Lukhmanul Hakeem , Student Activist , Edappal Kerala
  97. Abdul Raheem Mulla, Corporator GCC, Gulbarga Karnataka.
  98. P.Abdulnazar , Student activist , Vengara Kerala
  99. P Niyaz , Photo Journalist , Chennai TamilNadu
  100. Naveed Parsa, Engineering Student, Chandigarh 
  101. Haseena Khatoon , Teacher Chennai Tamil Nadu
  102. Anjumand Ara, Teacher, Delhi University
  103. Ziyaullah , Political Activist Chennai Tamil Nadu
  104. Umer Farooq, Engineer, Punjab
  105. Saquib Ahmed, Advocate, Ahmadabad
  106. Mohammad Syeduddin, Student, Patna
  107. Parvez Bari, Journalist, Bhopal
  108. Shayed Sayeed, Software Engineer, Ahmadabad
  109. Zafar Mohammed, Business Executive, Mumbai
  110. Mohammad Saif, Journalist, Cuttack, Orissa
  111. Tauseef Ahmad, Technocrat, Delhi
  112. Mohd. Zakaria Siddiqui, Researcher, Indian currently in Australia
  113. Haseeb Mustafa Alvi, Engineer, Delhi
  114. Mohd Aarif Khan, Systems Engineer, Mumbai
  115. Fazal Ahmad, Advocate, New Delhi
  116. Qazi Sadaff Rehan, Student, Bhadrak, Orissa
  117. Aarif  Khan, Assistant Professor, Indian currently in Riyadh
  118. Faisal Iqbal, Electronics Engineer, New Delhi
  119. Pervez Chaudhary, Student, AMU, Aligarh
  120. Fehmeena Ahmad, Activist, Delhi
  121. Mohd. Yousuf, Student, Chennai
  122. Mohd Abdul Rasheed, IT Manager, Hyderabad
  123. Moosa Azmi, Activist, Varanasi
  124. Saman Roohi, Phd Candidate, Indian currently at Amsterdam
  125. Dr. Uzma, Medical Practitioner, Mysore
  126. Musab Iqbal, Writer-Poet, Bangalore   
  127. Dr. Zaheer Ahmed, Neurologist, Chennai
  128. Adnan Farooqui, Academic, Delhi
  129. Farhatullah Khan, Research Scholar, University of Madras
  130. Munawwar Kavungal, Trichur, Kerala
  131. Nasiruddin Khan Haider, Journalist, Delhi    
  132. Muneebuudin, Advocate, Hyderabad
  133. Samiullah Khan, Quality Control Manager, Bangalore
  134. Mohd Saif, IT Engineer, Kareem Nagar, AP
  135. K T Hafis, Student, Jamia Millia Islamia
  136. Fawaz Shaeen, Law Student, AMU, Aligarh  
  137. Shihab Khan, Civil Engineer, Bhopal 
  138. Abdul Raheem Kaiser, Student, BITS Hyderabad
  139. Salima Aarif, Blogger, New Delhi
  140. Abdullah, Teacher, West Bengal
  141. Azhar Khan, Advocate, Jalgaon, Maharashtra
  142. Syed Salman Ali, Law Student, AMU
  143. Waseem Siddiqi, Entrepreneur, Delhi 
  144. Parvin Sultana, Research Scholar, JNU
  145. Kashif Ilyas, Student, Aligarh Muslim University Aligarh
  146. Riad Azam, Student, Aligarh Muslim University Aligarh
  147. Imran Kichloo, Student, Aligarh Muslim University Aligarh
  148. Ameen Ahmed, Student, Aligarh Muslim University Aligarh
  149. Roshan U. Alam, Civil Services aspirant, Delhi
  150. Shaheen Ahmed, Performance Artist, Delhi
  151. Mohd Arif Dagia, LIC Agent, Raipu, CG
  152. S M Zaki Ahmad, Development Professional, Delhi
  153. Ahmar Afaq, Law Student, Saharanpur, UP
  154. Muhammed Imtiyaz Ahmed, IT Consultant, Delhi
  155. Memon Junaid, Dentist, Ahmedabad
  156. Omair Anas, Researcher, JNU
  157. Mukkaram Niyaz, Web Developer, Hyderabad
  158. Imran Khan, Journalist, Noida
  159. Zaheer Hussain, Journalist, Bangalore
  160. S. Mohd Saim, Advocate, Rampur, UP
  161. Md Iqbal, Engineer, Ranchi
  162. Mohd Sajjad Hussain, Student, Delhi School of Economics
  163. Syed Humayoun Shabir, Research Scholar, AMU
  164. Fairoz Ahmed, Software Engineer, Bangalore
  165. Moinuddin Ahmad, Journalist, Delhi
  166. Yasir Iqbal, Engineering Student, AMU
  167. Faheem Ahmad, Planning Engineer, Vellore
  168. Abbas Hasan, Marketing Professional, Delhi
  169. Sadiq Umar, Young Scientist, Delhi
  170. Sarfaraz Nawaz, Consultant, Bangalore
  171. Shahnawaz Akhtar, Journalist, Delhi
  172. Rabia Khan, Marketing Consultant, Lucknow
  173. Rasshad Khan, Technology Entrepreneur, Noida
  174. Abdullah Azzam, Law Student, Faculty of Law, AMU
  175. Meher Jahan, Law Student, Faculty of Law, AMU
  176. Sarah Hashim, Law Student, Faculty of Law, AMU
  177. Anam Khan, Law Student, Faculty of Law, A M U
  178. Sheeba Aslam Fehmi, Writer-Activist, Delhi
  179. John Dayal, Member, National Integration Council, GoI
  180. Anuradha Bhasin, Journalist, Jammu
  181. Preeti Sampat, Researcher, Delhi
  182. Sukla Sen, Activist, Mumbai
  183. Brijesh Kalappa, Advocate, Delhi  
  184. Archana VB, Software Professional 
  185. Smita Charbarty, Phd Scholar, Kolkata
  186. Himanshu Kumar, Activist, Delhi
  187. Faisal Ahmed Khan, Assistant Professor, Kerala
  188. Brinda Bose, Teacher, Delhi University
  189. Akshay Pathak, Writer, Pondicherry
  190. Neha Misra, Student, IMT Ghaziabad
  191. Shehba George, Activist, Ahmadabad
  192. Imran Khan, Educator, Aligarh
  193. Faisal Khan, Advocate, Meerut

194.                      Clifton D' Rozario, Advocate, Banglore


  1. Masihuddin, Pharmacist, Betiah, Bihar
  2. Aftab Fazil, Educationist, Delhi   
  3. Nandini Rao, Activist, Delhi
  4. Dr. Aurobindo Ghose, Advocate, Delhi
  5. Asgar Hussain, Bank PO, Delhi
  6. Dr. Aslam Rizvi, Medical Practitioner, Delhi
  7. Naaz Khair, development consultant, Delhi
  8. Garga Chatarjee, Columnist, Kolkata
  9. Menu Seshu, Activist, Shangli
  10. Nitya Vasudevan, Research Scholar, Bangalore
  11. Rukmini Sen, Journalist, Mumbai
  12. Vimochana, Women Rights Activist, Bangalore
  13. Shraddha Chickerur, Delhi
  14. Girish Pannikkar, Accounts Manager, Kerala
  15. Aruna Ganadason, Christian Feminist, Kerala
  16. Ms Jarjum Ete, activist, Itanagar, Arunachal Pradesh
  17. Navneet Shrivastava, Mumbai
  18. Dr. Shelly Dahiya, New Delhi
  19. Himadri Sekhar Mistri, Research Scholar, Delhi School of Economics
  20. Soma Marik, Visiting Professor, School of Women's Studies, Jadavpur University
  21. Sudipto Muhri, Assistant Professor, Pune University
  22. Kalyani Menon,  Feminist, Gurgaon 



Outlook Newsletters


Read More from Outlook

Lament Of Separation: Songs Of Habba Khatun, Last Queen Of Kashmir, Still Echo In Valley

Lament Of Separation: Songs Of Habba Khatun, Last Queen Of Kashmir, Still Echo In Valley

In happy times and sad, Habba Khatun’s sensuous songs make both young and old emotional. With the never-ending conflict bringing tragedies to every doorstep, Habba’s lyrics of separation amplify their mourning.

How Indian Laws Govern People’s Right To Love And Live

How Indian Laws Govern People’s Right To Love And Live

In India, only those relationships between a man and a woman are considered to be legitimate when there is a marriage between the two.

Kohli Quits Test Captaincy, Leaves Leadership Vacuum

Kohli Quits Test Captaincy, Leaves Leadership Vacuum

Virat Kohli, 33, had recently stepped down as India's T20I captain and was subsequently removed as the ODI captain.

UP Elections 2022: How Congress Is Harnessing Power Of 'Persecuted' Women To Counter BJP

UP Elections 2022: How Congress Is Harnessing Power Of 'Persecuted' Women To Counter BJP

A Mahila Congress leader, who is the face of the ‘Ladki Hoon, Lad Sakti Hoon’ campaign, however, has accused the party of anti-women bias after she was denied a ticket.