Do Indians Prefer Bharat Mata or Bharat Ammi ki Jai?

Terror raised its ugly head in Brussels this week. There are a lot of people blaming Islam and Muslims over these attacks. The term ‘Islamic terror’ has started making the rounds again.

In India, the situation is no different. Muslims have to prove that they are patriotic time and again. It doesn’t matter that they have been part of India since independence. They are always looked upon with suspicion.

Last week, Asaduddi Owaisi, the president of the All India Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen Party was in the news because he refused to say Bharat Mata ki Jai. Social media erupted and politicians began issuing the usual chest-thumping statements. Lyricist Javed Akthar also stood up to be counted in the Rajya Sabha but Owaisi was unfazed. He stuck to his guns.

At the Bayside, we decided to take a survey of young Muslims in colleges across three cities: Mumbai, Delhi and Hyderabad to find out their thoughts on Bharat Mata.

This is what we found:

1. Out of the 66 Muslims we surveyed, 62 of them (93%) had no problems at all saying Bharat Mata Ki Jai.

2. 48 (72%) of them think that Owaisi was wrong is refusing to say Bharat Mata Ki Jai.

3. The 28% who feel Owaisi is right believe that it’s his free choice to say Bharat Mata ki Jai.

4. Four Muslims believe that he is right on the basis of religious grounds.

5. One student categorically disassociated himself from Owaisi saying, “He represents the uneducated, illiterate lot of our community and we should not give any importance to his statements.”

We spoke to 18 Hindu college students on the same issue. All students were from Delhi. We also asked them if it’s okay if Muslims say “Bharat Ammi ki Jai.”

1. 50% of them feel that Owaisi is right in his refusal to say Bharat Mata Ki Jai.

2. They believe that you can’t force someone to say or be patriotic.

3. 45% of Hindu students say that they won’t accept Bharat as a Muslim woman.

With inputs from Akshita Rawat.