Ansar Ahmed Ullah
Contributing Editor, Shottobani
London: A Bengali American writer has been a hate target of Hindu fundamentalist according to a BBC report. The report states that a Bangladeshi American script writer of US TV serial Quantico has been the target of vicious attacks, including threats of rape and violence, on social media platforms. The Bengali writer Sharbari Zohra Ahmed was on TV serial Quantico’s writing team for just the first season and directly involved in scripting only two episodes, one independently and the other as a co-author.
Despite pointing this out repeatedly on her timeline, Hindu fundamentalists have trolled her relentlessly, many accusing her of being part of an Islamist propaganda against “peace-loving” Hindus said the BBC report. One comment on Twitter said, ‘Care to explain your wildest fantasy while you wrote Quantico with Indians being masterminds of an attack? Does this stem from a deep-rooted bias, hate, anti-Hindu, pro-Islam conditioning of your fragile mind?’ Hyper-nationalist TV news anchors first accused the lead actor, Bollywood’s Priyanka Chopra, of insulting India while also pointing fingers at a Bangladeshi American with “vested interests”.
Sharbari Zohra Ahmed said she had hoped that once they realised she had nothing to do with the episode, the fury would die down. But it did not. ‘The level of hysterics crescendo very quickly,’ adding, ‘It has grown really vitriolic with threats of rape and violence even toward people supporting me.’ She says the angry voices has cast her as the Muslim agent of a “diabolical anti-Indian and anti-Hindu propaganda machine that is deliberately spreading hate through this show”.
The episode, The Blood of Romeo, aired on 1 June in season 3, and showed the main character, Alex Parrish played by Priyanka Chopra, stopping an attempted terror attack. Though ostensibly planned by Pakistanis ahead of a summit about Kashmir, Chopra’s character discovers it is in fact Hindu nationalists trying to frame the Pakistanis.
The strong reaction forced ABC, producers of the crime drama, and later Priyanka Chopra to tender an apology. The Network also strongly defended Priyanka Chopra but no such statement was issued for Sharbari Zohra Ahmed. Even though she had nothing to do with the scripting, the apologies came as a disappointment for Sharbari Zohra Ahmed, who has previously also written strongly against the rise of radical Islam and raised her voice against atrocities on Hindu minorities in Bangladesh. ‘I felt like they (ABC and Chopra) were capitulating to bullies. That’s how fascism takes hold,’ she said.
Hindu-majority India and a predominantly Muslim Pakistan have fought several wars over the disputed territory of Kashmir, and India holds Pakistan responsible for all major terror attacks on its soil. But in the last few years the country has also witnessed a growing polarisation between Hindus and Muslims, who feel the Hindu nationalist BJP government of Narendra Modi does not speak for them. Many Hindu fundamentalists have used social media platforms aggressively to intimidate voices that they feel show the country or Hindus in a poor light.