In an India where Muslims are attacked every day, it’s time to test our Islamophobia Quotient (IQ). Here is my counter ready. The higher your score, the easier it will be for you to thrive in the years to come. Just choose the category that suits you best – no cheating, please. If you’ve performed poorly like me, there’s unlikely to be room or sympathy for your views in a nation that’s being remade at breakneck speed. You can go to jail for a variety of reasons if your score is below 15. I used the Wechsler Adult Intelligence Scale classification to assess IQ. I felt the high score needed two categories. Although 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 were born a decade or two earlier so you could bring 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 markets and watch these videos with your like-minded friends. You pull barbs and travel in motorcycle packs. You’ve looted and destroyed Muslim-owned businesses and enjoy beating up (or worse) bracelet sellers and interfaith couples. You are the person that Muslim mothers worry about every time their sons get on a train. You’re proud of yourself because you did all of this and more while managing to stay out of jail. You are an arsonist and Tripura is your favorite Indian state. You also dream of following this playbook in other Indian states.
130 and over (very higher) – bigot-in-charge
You are an official of an organization that spreads hatred. You’re a certified hate speech expert, but sometimes – and only because it invariably makes a good headline – you’ll synch words like brotherhood, democracy, equality. Under your watch, victims of hate crimes are arrested while perpetrators are released; and minorities are charged with sedition and the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act. You introduce communal laws. You ignore the deplorable living conditions of the Rohingya refugees and think that they should be deported. The infiltrators are the termites.
120-129 (Superior) – The Islamophobic Benefactor
You’re a fan of the man who recorded and distributed a clip of himself killing someone. You sent him money. You fund hate. You believe that Muslims should be ‘beggars and not landlords’ and that it is a sin to even ‘see’ someone from the community. You can’t kill or hurt anyone yourself, but you are happy to join a march sprinkling holy water and demanding that Muslims leave your neighborhood.
You are leading the charge of the economic boycott of Muslims. In your world, Halal is a weapon of mass destruction, a clear sign that we are on the way to becoming an Islamic state. Looking for opportunities to disrupt harmony. If it’s Friday, it must be Gurugram. You disturbed the opening namaz on government-designated spots for weeks.
110-119 (average high) – The Post-Fact Fanatic
You are the administrator of a hateful Facebook group where Muslims = terrorists. You think the Hindus must “wake up” before all 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, would you believe, their lives would improve. You don’t believe the facts that show your “theories” are in fact bigotry.
You would never rent your house to a Muslim or let your child marry a Muslim. You believe in the false construction of the “jihad of love” and think that it is a bigger problem than unemployment and hunger. You are an active lieutenant in the troll army.
There have been times over the past few years when you would have gone from a mere ‘high average’ to ‘superior’ on this quiz. Like the time Article 370 was repealed in Kashmir and you celebrated with enthusiasm. Kashmiris have always gotten an unfair advantage from the state, you have told everyone you know that.
90–109 (Medium) – The Positive Spin Fanatic
“Yes, attacking Muslims is wrong, but Aurangzeb also killed people. Did you write such a chronicle when Aurangzeb was murdering people?
“Patriotism has become widespread in recent years. Religious freedom is a foreign issue.
“Yes, Muslims are under attack, but have you seen the increase in our solar panel capacity? »
You think Virat Kohli’s statement defending his Muslim colleague was “humiliating” for all Hindus. You are convinced that Kohli is “controversial”. In your reality, it was the Pakistani Twitter accounts that abused bowler Mohammed Shami after India lost to Pakistan. You may not be the admin of your own hateful Facebook group, but you happily spread all the Islamophobic forwards you receive on WhatsApp.
You want a Hindu Rashtra – ten years ago you kept your opinion to yourself, but now you confidently announce it as if it were a constitutional right at every family gathering. You may not be on a march, but you like to say things like, “We’ve been quiet too long. You think Arnab Goswami is journalism’s only saving grace.
80–89 (low mid) – “You don’t look like a Muslim” Islamophobe
You distrust all communities other than your own. Yes, your helpful childhood friend is a Muslim but that doesn’t matter, he’s not like the others. “You don’t look like a Muslim,” you told him repeatedly. According to you, he is a “moderate” Muslim unlike the other members of his community.
India is a mixture of different cultures and you don’t think they should be mixed. You want to live next door, separately. And please, companies should stop provoking Hindus by advertising cross-community Diwali celebrations or lesbian Karva Chauth.
Some Muslim acquaintances have been known to nod their heads and agree with your opinions. In a way, they have also reached this level, but they cannot go beyond it because the over 90s are looking for purity, exclusivity.
70–79 (Borderline) – The Ostrich Indian
In the past, you have supported hatred electorally. There was no alternative. Now you’re not so sure. But you try not to think about those things. You want to fill your mind with positive thoughts. You don’t like your bubble to be disturbed by daily episodes of hate. Let the people around you speak a vitriolic new 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 keep making lots of new friends mainly because you don’t discuss politics or religion with anyone. You post about new restaurants, your kids’ accomplishments, and places you dream of visiting. Positive vibes only.
69 and under (extremely low) – The member of the Sahir Club
You alternate between despair and hanging on to a thread of hope. Your heart leaps when someone takes a stand against Islamophobia. Or when someone is brave enough to stand up to enemies. “This is the real India,” you say to everyone when you hear about the policeman who stopped a mob from attacking a Muslim boy or the Hindus who saved their Muslim neighbors. Everything is cyclical, we are just living in an extraordinary period, we say to ourselves.
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 dilemma, so how can it be our response? The fire and blood it bestows today, hunger and scarcity tomorrow).
Priya Ramani is a journalist based in Bengaluru and serves 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.