When I went to the United States for a semester abroad, I was frequently asked a rather bothersome question, “How are you treated, being a minority in your country?” My answer has always been very simply, I am treated just like anyone else; one of their own.
For the last four years, I have been living with a Muslim family as a paying guest and I have never felt discriminated on the basis of my religion, or any other basis for that matter, in their home. The only form of prejudice I have ever faced is when I went to Islamabad for higher education. As I introduced myself in class, the mere mention of my name made the other students and teacher question if I was Indian. I couldn’t understand how they failed to know that the Pakistani population constituted 1.2% Hindus.
However, that wasn’t the last of it. During a cricket match between India and Pakistan, one that we were watching in class, and I was supporting the Pakistani team, much to the astonishment of some of my classmates. In fact, a friend of mine even asked why I was not supporting the Indian team. In that moment, I wish I had a Pakistani copy right patent next to my name, so I didn’t have to give any explanations. Did I have to support the Indian team simply because of my name or religion?
As far as my identity is concerned, there are many times that I have had to show my NADRA identity card to ensure people that I am a Pakistani, be it the local merchant or the traffic police. But I don’t believe a Muslim feels any differently in the US. I am sure s/he has to prove his/her identity as an American-Muslim too.
Unlike what everyone seems to think, for me, it has been a blessing to be born into a Hindu family in a Muslim state; I have been treated with nothing but respect, care and love. From schooling to university, I was always surrounded by Muslim friends. I have studied Islamiat like every other student in Pakistan, and furthermore, I was extremely appreciated by my teachers. I was the first Hindu to get admission in the Army Public School Chhor Cantonment in Mirpur Khas, Sindh. I remember the days when I used to fast during Ramazan as a respectful gesture to my Muslim friends. On the first day of my fast, the warden of the hostel offered me a seat near him and we opened our fast together. I also remember the days when I participated in Muharram procession in the small town of Dhoronaro.
Read the rest of his Blog Post Here: Raj Kumar Gujar