India is world’s largest democracy and the second-most populous country of the world. Every year, Indians celebrates its Republic Day on January 26. It honours the date on which the Constitution of India came into effect in 1950 replacing the Government of India Act (1935) as the governing document of India. India’s history as a formal democracy and its generally benign image around the world has hidden its fragility elsewhere.
As Mr. Naresndra Modi took over the reins of throne in New Delhi few years back, it was expected that India was about to be transformed from a secular to a highly radicalized society. The fears turned true, however at unexpectedly faster pace than estimated. India has become an extremist society with barely any semblance of secularism and democracy as Hindu supremacist Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) and Bahartiya Janata Party (BJP) tighten control over state organs. The world also links India’s failing on the economic front as being linked to the Hindutva agenda because it is tearing apart the social fabric and thus harming what it sees as the security of Indians.
Since many years, termite fascism is creeping in India in the shape of Hindutva. Hindutva theory does not believe in equality. They discriminate against Muslims and Christians. Private senas are used to unleash terror on minority segments. Because of RSS’s fascists policies, MF Husain had leave India and live in exile, his paintings were burnt, girls were molested in Mangalore pubs, killings in Kandhahar, destruction of the Babri masjid, the massacre of Muslims in the 2002 Gujarat pogrom, the murder of Christian missionaries, burning of the Quran and Bible. Therefore, it will be naïve to trust BJP rulers on their bogus assurances that minorities are safe and intact under their rule. Shamshul Islam’s book Know the RSS rightly depict that, “BJP is not independent of RSS…The RSS leadership keeps on harping that BJP is an independent political organization and does not work under the dictates of the RSS. The BJP as a political organization figures prominently in it, clubbed with the ABVP, Hindu Jagran Manch, Vishva Hindu Parishad, Swadeshi Jagran Manch and Sanskar Bharti.”
As a result of BJP’s policies, the Indian economy has shrunk faster than any other major nation. As many as 200 million people could slip back into poverty, according to some estimates. Moreover, India now has the fastest growing coronavirus crisis, with more than 80,000 new infections reported each day. As a result, a sense of malaise is creeping over the nation. Its economic growth was slowing even before the pandemic. Social divisions are widening. Anti-Muslim feelings are on the rise, partly because of a malicious social media campaign that falsely blamed Muslims for spreading the virus. Many neighborhoods in the capital of New Delhi where low-paid workers used to live are deserted, shell-like, a hot wind blowing through empty, tin-walled shacks.
Rather than guaranteeing minorities their due rights and assurance, the Indian parliament endorsed the communal, majoritarian and intolerant Citizenship Amendment Act – 2019 (CAA) followed by Indian High Court’s dubious decision on Babri Masjid. Through the utilization of the CAA, the aim was to deprive the Muslim community of their basic rights as citizens, which has created more than 1.9 million Muslims stateless and may even create more, which leads to a humanitarian and refugee crisis. In other words, Modi is hell bent on replacing peaceful Hindu values with extremist Hindutva ideology that is promoting a culture of biasness for minorities. Hindutva fanaticism is a significant wellspring of viciousness in contemporary India. The exclusionist and prejudiced CAA have become headache for both Muslims and minorities in India.
Outside India, it has issued 400,000 domicile certificates to non-Kashmiris to permanently settle them in IIOJ&K. The development is indicative of Mr. Modi government’s demographic change and ethnic cleansing project. What it took Israel 50 years to do, India has done in less than a year. BJP governments and RSS activists are acting together to execute their Hindutva plan, which is advancing Modi’s horrendous Gujarat model. In this regard, Indian minorities are bearing the brunt of unending unfair approaches of Mr. Modi as well as the brutalities of Hindu-supremacists. The crowd lynching of Muslims on doubts of eating hamburger and the cruel lockdown of Indian Illegally Occupied Jammu & Kashmir (IIOJ&K) highlight that India is now promoting Hindutva ideology and policy of ‘Akhand Bharat’. In India, Hindutva is winning.
It can be inferred that under Mr. Modi’s government, India has achieved new and irreversible lows in many domains. From denting repute of secularist country to democratic, from largest democracy to largest extremist country. It has also won titles of “rape capital of the world”, “peace spoiler” due to supporting proxies against other states. It is due time that the international community take notice of India’s irrational behaviors. Indians too need to take actions to regain the title of biggest democracy of the globe.
Note: This article appeared in Geopolitica, dated 26 January 2021.
Disclaimer: The views expressed in the article are of the author and do not necessarily represent Institute’s policy.