Region/New Delhi

Land of Hate Crimes

India has been put through a process of saffronisation under Hindutva.

By Shahrukh Mehboob | June 2020

Hindutva bared its fangs in its first mass display of power during the Babri Masjid’s demolition in 1992 but ever since Narendra Modi came to power in 2014, the Hindutva brigade has been given a shot in the arm. Many high-ranking officials in the Indian state machinery, starting from the prime minister, belong to the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS), while some are notoriously communal characters now in positions of power, such as Yogi Adityanath, the serving chief minister of Uttar Pradesh. The latter is known for his frequent anti-Muslim rants.

Having such individuals in the corridors of power has had a trickle-down effect on the masses. The result has been lynching of Muslims over suspicions of eating or transporting beef, cracking down on ‘love jihad’ and a general tilt of the Indian society towards the right. The political resurgence of Hindu nationalism on the basis of Hindutva constitutes a potential ideology of “Politics of supremacy through maximization and manifestation of power”. Hindutva followers believe in Chanakya’s philosophy and practical application of ‘Offensive Realism’. It strives for construction of an exclusive society through religio-political and socio-economic polarization. The violent Hindutva ideology symbolizes Indian colonialism and manifests the Indian ideology of Hindu supremacy. The march to the right is not a phenomenon limited to India; across the world, hard-right movements are gaining power and finding their way into legislatures.

Under Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Muslims have been facing mounting threats to their status in the Hindu-majority country. A couple of months ago, they were walloped by a new worrisome development. The upper house of India’s Parliament passed the “Citizenship Amendment Bill” (CAB). The legislation turns religion into a means of deciding whom to treat as an illegal immigrant and whom to fast-track for citizenship. The Bill was sent to President Ram Nath Kovind for his approval and now it has become law.

At first glance, the Bill may seem like a laudable effort to protect persecuted minorities. It says Hindus, Sikhs, Buddhists, Jains, Parsis, and Christians who came to India from Afghanistan, Bangladesh and Pakistan won’t be treated as illegal. They’ll have a clear path to citizenship. But one major community has been left out and they are the Muslims. This is not a coincident but a conspiracy which has become an alarming threat to Muslims. The CAB is closely linked with another contentious document “India’s National Register of Citizens” (NRC). The citizenship list is part of the government’s effort to identify and weed out people it claims are illegal immigrants in the northeastern state of Assam. India says many Muslims whose families originally came from neighbouring Bangladesh are not rightful citizens, even though they’ve lived in Assam for decades.

Read More