(Left) Funeral of Former President APJ Abdul Kalam;
(Right) Funeral of executed convict Yakub Memon
On Thursday, 30 July, 2015, two high profile burials took place, almost formalizing new stereotypes of Indian Muslims. A former President of India and the other a convicted terrorist, were buried in graveyards as far removed as Rameswaram in Tamil Nadu and Mahim in Mumbai. The President was given a state burial. The “convict” received a popular burial, one befitting an iconic figure.
The old stereotypes showed Muslims as hubble-bubble smoking, paan chewing debauches, reciting Urdu poetry, surrounded by nautch girls. Or, they were “Qasais” or butchers who bathed only on Fridays, married several times and multiplied like rabbits. By now these images had begun to pall. New stereotypes were required for propagation.
President A.P.J. Abdul Kalam received a state funeral. Army, Navy and Air Force saluted someone billed as India’s most popular Head of State. The occasion was given further elevation by the presence of Prime Minister, Narendra Modi and important members of his cabinet.
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