Book review

Mothering a Muslim by Nazia Erum, Book Review

A non fiction title for you today, my lovely fellow booklovers. The book while, tells you about what is happening in the Indian society, also highlights what’s happening in the world in the current political and religious scene.

Happy Reading and hope it inspires you to be a better human being.

Mothering a Muslim

Book

Title: Mothering a Muslim
Author: Nazia Erum
Publisher: Juggernaut
Published: December 2017
Genre: Non-fiction
Rating: 3/5

About the book

The most hard-hitting book on the state of middle-class Indian Muslims today.
Nazia Erum runs a fashion start-up, and is the mother of an adorable little girl. But from the day Myra was born, she found herself asking questions she didn’t have answers for. It began with her daughter’s name – should Nazia choose a traditional Islamic name or a more non-religious sounding one so that her daughter couldn’t be identified as a Muslim? Nazia was not the only modern middleclass Muslim asking this question. Soon she discovered that finding the right name for Myra was the least of her worries. Talking to over 100 children and their parents across 12 cities, what Nazia uncovers is deeply troubling. She heard stories of rampant bullying of Muslim children in many of the country’s top schools, of six-year-olds being hit by their classmates because of their faith, of religious segregation in classrooms and of anxious Muslim parents across the country who monitor their children’s dress, speech and actions to protect them. InMothering a Muslim a Muslim, she finally lifts the veil on this taboo subject, one that is spoken of only in whispers. Urgent, gripping and heartbreaking, this is essential reading for every Indian.

My thoughts

Mothering a Muslim, is the result of the Author Nazia Erum’s reaction or rather action to the behavior of children towards Muslim children starting in the school. She starts off the books with incidents of how Muslim children are treated, looked upon and bullied in schools due to their religion. The initial few chapters highlight and talk about the years a child spends in the education system, from nursery to completing education.

From things as basic as name calling to outright bullying and harming a person because of their religion, Nazia tells us about incidents she uncovered while interviewing a fair amount of parents who have children in every grade of the school.

After the first couple of chapters the narrative moves from school to general life and how Muslims navigate through life with the added obstacle named religion. The books also has, at the end, transcripts of the conversations Nazia has while researching and interviewing parents, children and friends for this book.

My first thought about the book is, it says, puts into words the realities happening in the school grounds and neighborhoods around us. It is prevalent in every nook and cranny no matter how poor or privileged the corner is. While there is plenty of blame to pass around, I feel it is a basic human failure and a very nasty inheritance of discrimination from out ancestors.

We as a society are still bound in the shackles of past which make us feel safety with its illusions. We have failed to change the basic human nature of petty thinking, bullying and discriminating just for the sake of it. While we have become capable of finding or establishing live on planets other than EARTH we have failed and moved on from being a decent human being.

The issues highlighted in the book are a level up from what children and communities of every faith face around us. I see it as a failure of good human behavior and triumph of the bullies, who even after knowing are just scared but simply a tad more reactionary people in general. They portray their scariness in a violent, hurtful way which creates more divide in an already divided, cracked society.

The book highlights issues and doesn’t really come up with a way to tackle the same except maybe to pray and counsel the hurt parties. I wish there was a list of solutions to pass around or an action plan to change the bullies behavior, alas there isn’t going to be one unless we humans change our behavior for the better.

If you have ever thought of how children harbor so much hatred and are capable le for saying things we would find hard to even think out loud, read this book. If you are a new parent read this to know how it all starts and maybe start keeping a check on your behavior. After all it’s us, the kids imitate and act out as.

To know how Indians are reacting to this book, check out the following Hashtags (#) on Twitter

#MotherAgainstBullying

#NaziaErum

#motheringamuslim

Author

Nazia Erum runs a fashion start-up called The Luxury Label. She lives in Noida.
For more about the author, check out her Twitter.

Reviewed by Bharti

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