Why Blaming Modi Won’t Make India a Better Place for Indian Muslims

Hindu Muslim Unity in India

It’s a trend seen worldwide – to blame the Indian Prime Minister and the country for its alleged mistreatment of Indian Muslims. I say “alleged” because certain journalists present the scenario as such – that all Muslims are being targeted and attacked. This is absurd for someone like me, who stays in the country. I have had NRIs ask me if there are attacks happening 24/7. I had to explain that, no, you won’t see bodies strewn around like in actual war-torn places.

The journalists should stop portraying the situation as such and misleading our diaspora worldwide into believing we are a nation that is constantly rioting.

Yes, some Hindu extremists are attacking Muslims, but then some Muslim extremists are attacking Hindus as well. There is bound to be some form of extremism and violence where there is religion. This is true for all countries. Not everything is Islamophobia. Not everything is Hinduphobia. We should stop flashing our victim cards and start focusing on finding practical solutions to the actual problem India is facing – our disunity.

In India, we have seen religious polarization increasing over the years. Blaming Modi has not made the situation better for Indian Muslims. In fact, the divide has increased. A major culprit is social media. It is now for everyone to see that pointing fingers is not improving the situation. In fact, it ends up agitating the ones who are big supporters of the Prime Minister and may even lead them to become more hostile toward Indian Muslims. These are the people you need to pacify and not agitate further. Similarly, viewing controversial content like the BBC documentary can upset the ones who are not Modi supporters. They will most likely feel more bitterness towards Modi, even if they have never faced discrimination. This, in turn, would make them feel more polarized, distancing themselves further away from fellow citizens who support him. Totally counterproductive. So why are channels like the BBC working so hard to increase this polarization?

Follow Peace, Not Hatred

Modi has been reaching out to Muslim communities to bridge the divide. This is what the country currently needs. All communities should work towards creating a better India. We should hold talks, discussions, and campaigns and use social media to propagate peace, not hatred. We are one, and we should start behaving as one.

Hatemongers on social media are not looking for resolutions, only drama. They use language that is provocative, unfriendly, angry, and violent. Such people are rarely peaceful or solution-oriented. The first thing citizens need to do is unfollow such accounts on social media. Do not share their accusatory content on your feed, either, even if they support your own community. The more hatred you see on your feed and the more you engage with such posts, the more polarized you will feel over time.

Using Nonviolent Communication (NVC)

In my previous post, I talked about Nonviolent Communication (NVC). Wouldn’t the world be better if countries and communities just sat together, lay down their resources, focused on needs, and came to an amicable resolution? But in real life, we resort to violent and judgmental communication like blaming and pointing fingers. No one has become better with violent, critical language. In fact, people become more defensive and non-receptive to what you are saying when you use an accusatory tone.

Focusing on Needs

So, what “needs” should people focus on during conflict resolution? The main thing to understand here is that people who conflict are operating from a place of fear and not anger. People attached to their religion are afraid their community will face discrimination or violence from “others.” When we think about it this way, things make more sense. Fear evokes empathy as opposed to anger. So why not concentrate on talking about that fear and request ways to make each other feel safe? What does the other party want to hear? Listen and give them that assurance. This assurance should be given by authoritative figures. Someone their community will listen to and follow.

How better would the situation be if each warring nation and community acknowledged each other’s fears, empathized, and comforted each other? “You have nothing to fear from us. We treat you as our own.” This phrase can calm the agitated and anxious, provided all communities sincerely work towards it, finding ways to gain each other’s trust.

Avoiding “Us” Vs. “Others” Mentality

It is always “us” vs. “others” instead of “Indians.” This is where the problem lies. To shift our focus outside of the community and to focus on nationality is proving difficult.

If we continue to have this “us” vs. “others” mentality, we will not be able to address our disparities efficiently. For any kind of conflict to be resolved, that feeling of “one” should be inculcated first. Maybe the communities in India should go through counseling sessions like how couples do when they face marital issues. Therapy is the need of the hour. But here, each individual will need to take on the therapist’s role and advise their near and dear ones.

Am I glad the BBC documentary is banned in India? Absolutely. We do not need more agitations or religion-based violence here. We need our people to unite and make India a peaceful place. This cannot be done with hurtful words and allegations from ourselves or the (actual) “others.” We require our communities to actively connect as one. Only then can we work towards building a better India.

An Ode to Nonviolent Communication

Holding Hands - Nonviolent Communication

Happy to announce I am now 100% nonviolent after reading Nonviolent Communication (NVC) by Dr. Marshall Rosenberg.

I am also 100% lying.

Because, like all good things in life, NVC takes effort. And practice. Having just finished the book, I only have an idea of what to say but no practical experience.

Conflict resolution is an interesting topic to me since we have to deal with conflicts in every aspect of our lives. How can we be stern and kind at the same time? How can we get the best out of any situation? Being able to communicate effectively is an art in itself.

I have always taken away something, if not everything, from every book I’ve read – a new kind of awareness. What I took away from this one was to take a moment to step back and focus on needs instead of the more apparent negatives during an argument. It helps with forgiveness. It keeps you calm. So it’s a win-win overall.

What is NVC?

Nonviolent Communication (NVC) is a practice that must be consciously ingrained in our daily interactions to see results. It includes letting go of your judgments and interacting with the other person to focus on each other’s needs instead of playing the blame game. We attribute violence to physical and mental abuse. But here, the author talks about negative communication as violence too. Things like incessant blaming, judging, silent treatment, and mocking all form a part of violent communication.

So here are some of the key takeaways from the book:

Focusing on needs

The four components of NVC include: what we are observing, feeling, and needing, and what we would like to request to enrich our lives. To summarize, the two parts of NVC are 1) expressing honestly 2) receiving empathically.

Connect your feeling with your need: “I feel.. because I need..”

Something you need to keep repeating to yourself whenever you are agitated. What is it that you need? Focus on each other’s primary emotion (need) instead of lashing out at each other.

Avoiding blame and judgment

Why would people want to tell the truth, knowing they will be judged and punished for doing so?

The more people hear blame and judgment, the more defensive and aggressive they become and the less they will care about our needs in the future. So even if our present need is met in the sense that people do what we want, we will pay for it later.

Makes you think, doesn’t it? Why would someone tell you the truth if they knew they would be misunderstood or shouted at? I feel the more we make someone feel uncomfortable and “dirty” for telling us the truth, the more they will hide it the next time.

Being empathic even with people who hurt you

Blaming is easy. People are used to hearing blame; sometimes they agree with it and hate themselves – which doesn’t stop them from behaving the same way – and sometimes they hate us for calling them names – which also doesn’t stop their behavior. If we sense blame entering their mind, we may need to slow down, go back, and hear their pain for a while more.

NVC stresses hearing the other person a while longer and understanding their feelings before we put forward our requests. Such a method lets the other person relax and be in a proper frame of mind to receive and reciprocate.

Conflict Resolution

The more experience I have gained in mediating conflicts over the years and the more I’ve seen what leads families to argue and nations to go to war, the more convinced I am that most schoolchildren could solve these conflicts. If we could just say, “Here are the needs of both sides. Here are the resources. What can be done to meet these needs?,” conflicts would be easily resolved. But instead, our thinking is focused on dehumanizing one another with labels and judgments until even the simplest of conflicts becomes very difficult to solve. NVC helps us avoid that trap, thereby enhancing the chances of reaching a satisfying resolution.

Why can’t warring countries adopt this methodology, sit together, and discuss resolutions in a non-confrontational way? The world would be a more peaceful place to live in.

4 Tips for NRIs on How to Effectively Prepare for Paperwork in India and Avoid Multiple Trips

NRI waiting at bank

I have seen a lot of NRIs (non-resident Indians) struggling with paperwork once they land in India. They get frustrated and intimidated. It was during that point I realized I (an ex-NRI) have become accustomed to the system. Probably, because I now have a way to go about it.  

This page aims to provide helpful tips for NRIs planning to do paperwork in India. It could be any paperwork or personal work related to banking, property, tax, applying for Aadhaar, PAN, etc. If you haven’t done it before or do it only once in a blue moon when you land in India, the tips provided will help.

Check if the service is available online

India is turning more digital by the day. Many services can be availed online, including opening a bank account.

By checking the availability of the service online, you can save time and avoid the frustration of the long queues at the establishment. Or even worse – finding out the service is unavailable when you arrive at the location.

Here’s how you can go about it. Before visiting a government office or bank branch, check their website or social media for information on their services. A quick Google search will lead you to the concerned site easily. India has a website for every government-related process, including property tax payments. Once you land on the website, check if they offer the service you’re looking for. Some establishments even allow you to schedule an appointment online or check the status of your applications online.

Call and enquire

If the service is unavailable online, the next step is to call the branch and ask for details. If you skip this step and land directly at the unit, be ready for multiple visits.

Preparing and having all the necessary documents and information ready before heading out to the bank or establishment is mandatory in India to avoid wasting time. By making a call beforehand, you can better understand what documents will be required, what the work timings are, and whether or not the service will be available at the time you plan to visit. This can help you avoid multiple trips and save you time and hassle.

While you call the concerned official, it’s important to remember that the employees you speak with on the phone may be busy and unable to provide all the information you need. It’s important to be persistent and ask the right questions to ensure you have all the necessary information.

Some questions to ask:

  1. What are your work timings?
  2. I am planning to arrive at this time tomorrow. Will the service be available then?
  3. What documents should I carry?

Reach out to customer care

Unable to reach the branch by phone or email? The next option is to contact the organization’s official customer care through email or the phone number provided on their website.

Many establishments, like banks, have dedicated customer care teams that can provide information and assistance over the phone or through email. You can get answers to your questions or resolve issues by contacting customer care without having to visit the branch in person. I make it a point to express my displeasure about not being able to reach the local department while I contact customer care.

When you contact customer service, make sure to have your account number or other relevant information handy so that the representative can quickly find your account and assist you. Also, it is good to note the time and date of the call, the name of the representative you spoke with, and any reference number they might have given you. That way, if you need to follow up, you have all information required.

It’s also good to check with the organization’s website or social media page to see if they have any FAQ sections or chatbots that might help answer your questions.

Understand that processing will take time

India’s system is different than other places, so taking note of that will help to deal with the entire process. Sometimes, things might take longer than expected, and it’s better to be prepared mentally for such scenarios.


Following these steps and being prepared can help you navigate the system more efficiently and effectively. Eventually, you will become more familiar with the process, making things much easier for you in the long run. Hope this helps!