Yes. Madarasachap. Let us begin by learning what it means.
And oh, before I tell you the meaning, let me tell you that ‘madarasachap’ is a derogatory term.
Etymology: Its etymology lies somewhere in the words ‘anghutachap’ which means ‘illiterate’ and in ‘sadakchaap’ which loosely mean ‘homeless’. Here in India, I have come across many people who think that every Muslim is a madarasachap.
Synonyms: Muzzie, Mullahs, sand/oil nigger, raghead, etc.
Madarasachaps lack intelligence, patriotism and compassion; were born without any useful skills and are basically good for nothings who feed on taxes the Hindus pay.
The term has become so popular, that you can feel it when a non Muslim looks at a Muslim. These days, when I step out of the house I am more socially conscious than ever. I have to make sure that nothing about me would give someone a chance to call me a Madarasachap.
Being a Muslim woman, I wear the abaya. But unlike many non Muslim women who step out in their pajamas and night dress when they take their pets on walk or when they make a quick, short visit to the grocery store, I can’t wear pajamas or maxi under my all-covering abaya lest it shows while I walk the stairs and people point at me and laugh.
I can’t commit little everyday blunders like dropping my keys, mispronouncing a word, feeding the wrong pin to the ATM, taking too long to decide on the flavour of ice cream, spelling a word wrongly, missing the target entirely while playing archery at the sports arena in the mall, taking an extra minute at the billing counter, making a simple grammar mistake, shutting the door too loudly, pushing instead of pulling the door or even taking longer than half a minute to find change in my purse.
Nope, I can’t do all that without being judged. If I do those things it just proves I was born inept. That’s your certification for being a madarasachap. Infact, I turn into a madarasachap the moment I cover myself in the abaya which many people so lovingly call ‘the black tent’. Harsh, but true.
I have to be extra careful and extra generous everywhere. I have to be extra courteous and mind my manners to a T. But sometimes even this fails to make an impression. I then have to showcase my oratory and communication skills and speak in English. Only then people begin to believe that there’s a face behind the veil, a human being inside the abaya and a brain in my skull.
A few months ago, I started disallowing myself a lot of things. Like going to book fairs, cycling, archery or bowling because people look at me funny. They are short of screaming “Look! There’s a Moslem girl reading or playing a sport in an abaya!” I stopped playing in the rain or jumping in the puddles. When I click photos, I can hear someone snorting and I know what they are thinking. They are thinking “what’s the point of clicking pics when you are wearing the same dress every single time?!”
Not just me, my husband had to change several things in his lifestyle to avoid being unfairly judged. In India, every fifth person does something stupid or flouts the rules, for instance- walking on the wrong side of the street, jumping the signal, neglecting the helmet, speaking in the library, trying to sneak food items in the cinema hall, triple riding on a two wheeler, etc. These are normal things in my country. People will see you doing it, laugh or shake their heads and forget about it. But when a Muslim does it, they are hailed as madarasa…wait-for-it…chaap, madarasachap! The prejudice continues.
I am not saying that Muslims never make mistakes. There are dickheads everywhere, in every religion and they come in all colours and sizes and shapes. There are villains too. But very so often you’ll come across good Samaritans also. If I ever get in a debate, I can point out a ton of quirks and flaws and weird rituals in every culture of the world. But that would still not make me judgemental.
My point is, it’s easy to look at people and make quick judgements about them because they dress in a manner unfamiliar to you or they belong to a religion you don’t like. A few bad apples doesn’t make everyone bad. So, stop judging a book by its cover.