Modi does not believe in unity in diversity but divisiveness in diversity

Published: April 13, 2017

The systematic targeting of Muslims in the name of cow protection or love jihad is the new norm in the largest democracy of the world.

Let’s be blunt – India is under the reign of a Hindu extremist government. For the first time in independent India’s history, you have a government which is openly repugnant to the idea of secularism, pluralism and liberalism.

What is happening in India today is not normal. The systematic targeting of Muslims in the name of cow protection or love jihad is the new norm in the largest democracy of the world. This is not happening at one place but all across the country, particularly in the states rules by Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP).

Last week, the news came from a village in Jharkhand, an eastern Indian state, that a Muslim youth was victim to Hindu radicals because of his love for a Hindu girl. The villagers tied the boy to a tree and then beat him to death. In Uttar Pradesh (UP), Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath’s private army, Yuva Vahini, a ransack group of Hindu fanatic youths, are working with renewed vigour to target the interfaith couple.

In Rajasthan, a Muslim man was beaten to death because he was transporting cows. The Hindu vigilante group that attacked the man did not bother to know the purpose of the transportation, they just segregated five Muslim men from the group, leaving behind their Hindu accomplice, and thrashed all of them black and blue. One elderly man lost his life in the hospital.

Poor Muslim families are suffering in UP because of the closure of the slaughter house. The new local government run by a Hindu fanatic argues that they were illegal. If illegality was the parameter then why are so many other shops – sweet shops, grocery outlets and others mostly run by Hindus – allowed to run?

Independent India has a Muslim minority which constitutes around 14% of India’s population and the largest Muslim population in the world, yet it still faces this kind of systematic marginalisation.

The sad part is the silence of the ruling elite. Modi will comment on the attack on Christians in Egypt but maintain a very eerie silence on the killing of Muslims in his own backyard. In fact, his minister, Nirmala Sitharaman justifies the campaign of cow protection by saying that this was part of the freedom movement.

In West Bengal, Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS), the patron of BJP, paraded the Hindu youth carrying weapons on the day of Ramnavami, a very sacred festival for Hindus, last week. They would march through Muslim dominated areas to provoke them and polarise the community, which has been living for centuries together.

There is religious violence in the Bhadrak district of Orissa, a reasonably peaceful state not known for Hindu-Muslim clashes. The BJP registered a significant victory in the local elections recently. Emboldened by the win, the party is trying hard to make its presence felt loud and clear and win next year’s regional election. They are resorting to polarising tactics to expand their base in the state, where they have been at the margin for long.

The plan is simple – turn India into a laboratory of Hindu fundamentalism and majoritarianism. They have already done it to some extent.

Historically, India countered the Two-Nation theory and always believed that both Hindu and Muslims can coexist together. But the way the BJP and its patrons are behaving today, in a way it justifies Partition in the name of religion. It is hell bent on proving Mohammad Ali Jinnah right that Hindu and Muslims constitute of two nations.

The nation-building project India launched after independence involved religious integration. There was a conscious attempt by the government and civil society groups to heal the wounds of the Partition and build a strong secular nation. This was the idea of India.

But the BJP today wants to aggravate the wound and destabilise the nation-building process.

The campaign in the name of cow protection, love jihad, undermining Islamic history, promoting the Hindu way of life are all aimed at creating a majoritarian India, where religious minorities are relegated to second class citizens.

Modi’s talk of development is just a political ruse to appeal to the larger middle class but the agenda is quite different. In the last three years, the government has not done anything extraordinary at the economic front. Except political hyperbole and big words, aimed at grabbing headlines, there is nothing Modi can show to the people as the great achievement. There is no new economic vision. They are, in fact, implementing some of the core economic projects of the previous Congress government, which they used to oppose as an opposition party.

No wonder it suits the political interest of Modi to keep the nation engaged in the name of divisive issues, such as cow protection and all. The media and the masses are animated about the issue and they debate endlessly about it. This serves the larger purpose of communalising the Hindu educated middle class who get swayed by such divisive issues. And Modi gets away without being questioned about his economic development.

Indeed, there is a method in the madness which the ruling party and its fanatic elements are indulging into. The BJP does not believe in unity in diversity but divisiveness in diversity.

sanjay.kumar

Sanjay Kumar

A New Delhi based broadcast journalist who reports on national and international affairs. He is a contributor to the Asia Pacific based magazine, The Diplomat. He tweets as @destinydefier (twitter.com/destinydefier)

The views expressed by the writer and the reader comments do not necessarily reflect the views and policies of The Express Tribune.

  • zoro

    ho ho ho … sad man …Recommend

  • Rajiv

    as if it is our fault that there are too many Muslims in India.Recommend

  • Parvez

    Lets call a spade a spade……at least Modi does not say one thing and do another. He has laid out his agenda and he and his administration are working to fulfill it. The fact that it is a departure from the past is acknowledged. If this does not coincide with your thinking, it coincides with that of many other Indians and only time will tell if you were right or they are.Recommend

  • Patwari

    Sure. Call a spade a spade. In this particular case a
    Brown Asian Hitler The original one, from the German
    Third Reich had an agenda too. A very very bad one.
    And he followed it down to a T He basically wanted to
    exterminate all Jews and the Low Races [meaning Slavic,
    Gypsies, Orientals, Browns and Blacks and people with
    any kind of of mental or physical disabilities]
    The world was to be ruled by a Master Race…Germanic.
    Blonde blue eyed [Northern European] Is this ringing a bell?
    Nobody stood up to Hitler until it was too late. And millions of lives
    were lost because of a sick ideology crafted by a racist and a bigot.
    A man very Much like Modi. Also known as the Butcher of Gujrat or
    No Visa Modi. He was denied entry everywhere except Nepal.
    Actually Modi Sarkar is on par. The Hindu Religion/Master Race and
    Culture are the one and only acceptable norm. The minorities,
    ethnic and religious have no place in Hinduatan. Specially Muslims.
    They are the bogey men. and they have no rights, nor ate they stake
    holders in HIndu Desh. They are non entities with nowhere to go
    Hindustan is for Hindus only. No one else belong there but Hindus.
    That is called Hindutva.
    It is simply shocking.Recommend

  • Parvez

    Comparison with Hitler was a bit dramatic …… the point I was making, which you missed, was that Modi is no hypocrite, he does what he says. Now it is open to debate if what he is doing is good or bad for his country.
    The author has voiced his views and has rung the alarm bell. The good thing is that both are concerned about the wellbeing of their country and as I am a cautious observer…..I say let’s wait an see.Recommend

  • Yogi Berra

    Why is he not talking about status of Hindus in Pakistan or Kashmir? Why he is not talking about Kulabhushan Jadhav? No one believes in his and his rant. Recommend

  • Yogi Berra

    Your rant is amusing.Recommend

  • Yogi Berra

    How do you know Mahatma’s soul is weeping? Are you with him?Recommend

  • Zubair

    Read history better, Most of them migrated to India and majority of Hindus were in East Pakistan. Obviously it would plummet to 4% when East Pakistan gets separated.Recommend

  • Patwari

    Appreciate your comment. Kudos to you.Recommend

  • Patwari

    if you say so. it’s ‘iffy’ though.
    But you can always hope.
    After all Germany rose like a Phoenix
    from the it’s own ashes.Recommend