An IQ Test For All Indians
In an India where Muslims are under attack every day, it’s time we tested our Islamophobia Quotient (IQ). Here’s my ready reckoner. The higher your score, the easier it will be for you to thrive in the coming years. Just pick the category that fits you best – no cheating, please. If you scored poorly as I did, there is unlikely to be any space or sympathy for your views in a nation that is remaking itself at breakneck speed. You can go to jail for a variety of reasons if your score is less than 15. I’ve used the Wechsler Adult Intelligence Scale classification for evaluating IQ. I felt the top score needed two categories. While this piece is a dark parody, the events on which it is based are real.
130 And Above (Very Superior) – Burn It Down Bigot
You wish you had been born a decade or two earlier so you could have brought back a brick souvenir from the demolition of the Babri Masjid. But you’ve more than made up for that missed opportunity. You participate in and live stream lynchings in crowded marketplaces and watch these videos with your like-minded friends. You pull beards and travel in motorcycle packs. You have looted and destroyed Muslim-owned businesses, and enjoy beating up (or even worse) bangle sellers and interfaith couples. You’re the person Muslim mothers worry about every time their sons board a train. You’re proud of yourself because you’ve done all this and more while managing to stay out of jail. You’re a pyromaniac and Tripura is your favourite Indian state. You dream of following that playbook in other Indian states too.
130 And Above (Very Superior) – Bigot-In-Charge
You are an office-bearer of an organisation that spreads hatred. You are a certified hate speech expert though sometimes—and only because it invariably makes a good headline—you will lip-synch words like fraternity, democracy, equality. Under your watch, victims of hate crimes are arrested while perpetrators go free; and minorities are charged with sedition and the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act. You introduce communal laws. You ignore the deplorable living conditions of Rohingya refugees and believe they should be deported. Infiltrators are termites.
120–129 (Superior) – The Do-Gooder Islamophobe
You are a fan of the man who recorded and distributed a clip of himself murdering someone. You sent him money. You fund hate. You believe Muslims should be “beggars not owners” and that it’s a sin to even “see” anyone from the community. You may not kill or injure anyone yourself, but you’re happy to take out a march sprinkling holy water and demanding that Muslims leave your neighbourhood.
You don’t want Muslims at any garba bash. You’re a Residents Welfare Association committee member.
You lead the charge for the economic boycott of Muslims. In your world, Halal is a weapon of mass destruction, a clear sign that we are on our way to becoming an Islamic state. You look for opportunities to disrupt harmony. If it’s Friday it must be Gurugram. You’ve been disrupting open namaz on government-designated spots for weeks now.
110–119 (High Average) – The Post-Fact Bigot
You are the admin of a hateful Facebook group where Muslims = terrorists. You believe Hindus need to ‘wake up’ before everything is lost. Your earworm is ‘Hindu Khatre Main Hai’. You think Muslims should stay in their ghettos and how dare they complain about the poor infrastructure there. If only they would stop producing babies, you believe, their lives would improve. You don’t believe in facts that show your ‘theories’ are actually just bigotry.
You would never-ever rent your house to a Muslim or let your child marry a Muslim. You believe in the fake construct of ‘love jihad’ and think it is a more serious problem than unemployment and hunger. You're an active lieutenant of the troll army.
There have been moments in these past few years when you would have gone from a mere ‘High Average’ to ‘Superior’ on this quiz. Like the time Article 370 was abrogated in Kashmir and you celebrated enthusiastically. Kashmiris have always gotten unfair advantage from the state, you told everyone you know.
90–109 (Average) – The Positive Spin Bigot
“Yes, attacking Muslims is bad, but Aurangzeb also killed people. Did you write such a column when Aurangzeb was murdering people?”
“Patriotism has been mainstreamed in recent years. Religious freedom is an extraneous issue.”
“Yes, Muslims are under attack but have you seen the jump in our solar panel capacity?”
You think Virat Kohli’s statement standing up for his Muslim colleague was ‘demeaning’ to all Hindus. You’re convinced Kohli is ‘manufacturing controversies’. In your reality, Pakistani Twitter accounts were the ones who abused bowler Mohammed Shami after India lost to Pakistan. You may not be the admin of your very own hateful Facebook group but you happily circulate all the Islamophobic forwards you receive on WhatsApp.
You want a Hindu Rashtra – a decade ago you kept your opinion to yourself but now you confidently announce it as if it’s a constitutional right at every family gathering. You may not actually participate in a march but you love to say things like, “We have been silent for too long.” You think Arnab Goswami is the only saving grace in journalism.
80–89 (Low Average) – ‘You Don’t Look Like A Muslim’ Islamophobe
You are distrustful of all communities other than yours. Yes, your helpful childhood friend is a Muslim but that doesn’t count, he’s not like the rest. “You don't look like a Muslim,” you have told him on more than one occasion. In your view, he’s a “moderate" Muslim unlike other members of his community.
India is a mix of different cultures and you don’t believe they should be mixed. You want to live alongside, separately. And please, companies should stop provoking Hindus by making ads about inter-community Diwali celebrations or lesbian Karva Chauth.
Some Muslim acquaintances have been known to nod their heads and agree with your views. Somehow, they have also risen to this level, but they can’t go beyond because the 90+ folks seek purity, exclusivity.
70–79 (Borderline) – The Ostrich Indian
In the past, you have backed hate electorally. There was no alternative. Now you’re not so sure. But you try not to think about these things. You want to fill your mind with positive thoughts. You don’t like that your bubble is disrupted by daily episodes of hate. That people around you are talking a new, vitriolic language. Your response to the contagion of hate? Stop following the news. “I don't like to read negative things first thing in the morning.” You continue to make lots of new friends mainly because you don’t discuss politics or religion with anyone. You post about new restaurants, your children’s achievements, and places you dream of visiting. Positive vibes only.
69 And Below (Extremely Low) – The Sahir Club Member
You alternate between despair and clinging on to a thread of hope. Your heart leaps when anyone takes a stand against Islamophobia. Or when anyone is brave enough to stand up to the haters. “This is the real India,” you tell everyone when you hear of the policeman who stopped a mob from attacking a Muslim boy or the Hindus who saved their Muslim neighbours. Everything is cyclical, we are just living through an extraordinary time, you tell yourself.
Sahir Ludhianvi understands your pain. You regularly post his poetry on Twitter. Jung toh khud hi ek masla hai, jung kya maslon ka hal degi, aag aur khoon aaj bakhshegi, bhook aur ehtiyaj kal degi (war itself is a quandry, how can it then be our answer? Fire and blood it bestows today, hunger and scarcity tomorrow).
Priya Ramani is a Bengaluru-based journalist and is on the editorial board of Article-14.com.
The views expressed here are those of the author, and do not necessarily represent the views of BloombergQuint or its editorial team.