Subramanian Swamy is a staunch supporter of BJP, a party which is considered a socially conservative and economically liberal, and is trying to build its image as the rising star of the Indian politics. It is a known fact that BJP is inspired by the ideology “Hindutva” which has a history of bloodletting – from the murder of Mahatma Gandhi to the more than 20,000 lives claimed in communal violence in India since 1950. Hindutva has been brought to the fore front by a group of political organizations called the “Sangh Parivar.” It consists of the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS), BJP and the Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP). Vinayak Damodar Savarkar, a pro-independence Hindu activist, writes in one of his books, “Hindutva embraces all the departments of thought and activity of the whole being of our Hindu race.”
During BJP’s last tenure from 1998-2004, it faced core Hindutva demands, to end the special constitutional status of the Muslim-majority state of Jammu & Kashmir; to do away with the separate personal law that applies to Muslims; and to build a temple in the northern city of Ayodhya over a mosque demolished by Hindus.
Likewise, Mr. Swamy, in a recent interview to a TV channel, propagated the same ideology by saying that the only religion in the world that has practiced “Sarva Dharma Sam-bhava” is Hinduism. Indian Muslims share DNA with the Hindus which makes them Hindus. Kashmir issue can no more be solved by dialogue with Pakistan so India should handle it by force putting behind all the UN Resolutions. Last but not the least he believed that India needs two more years to defeat Pakistan and it should start a nuclear war with Pakistan, not taking into account how many Indians die but all Pakistanis must die. Mr. Swamy also supports the full integration of Jammu and Kashmir into India by revoking its “special status” granted in the Indian constitution.
BJP’s resentment toward Muslim community of India and towards Pakistan remains a significant influence in its ideology. Despite the aggressive appearance of the Indian military, can it afford a nuclear war with Pakistan when Pakistan has lowered its nuclear threshold too? India can try to start a war on its terms, but war will definitely not end at its terms. Unless India overcomes its fear of far-superior Pakistani nuclear arsenal, it will not dare to start a war. Indian economy is too young and still too small to survive through a round of conventional war even. China is India’s largest trading partner but India’s 2013-2014 trade deficits with China represented 55% of total China-India trade.
India needs to put its house in order first. Its major challenges come from within. India’s biggest internal security threat emerges from Naxalites. The Maoists/Naxalites have established a defacto control over a vast territory covering 92,000 sq km area, called the “Red Corridor” by the Indian media from Nepal to Tamil Nadu. Indian army is helpless in fighting with ragged forces there. Indian “Ghar Wapsi” or “homecoming” programme is offensive and rather threatening to Indian Muslims and Christians, and so is highly contentious. Church of North India, the Roman Catholic Church and the Salvation Army Church want Mr. Modi to give a clear-cut statement on the Ghar Wapsi programme and tell the nation why the government has not been able to stop “forcible” conversions. Recently, Aam Aadmi Party’s clean sweep in Delhi state elections is a tight slap to BJP for its silence over religious intolerance.
According to a World Bank reviewed revision in May 2014, the world had 872.3 million people below the new poverty line, of which 179.6 million people lived in India. India also has the largest population of illiterate adults in the world according to the EFA Global Monitoring Report, 2013-14. Hence, in the light of domestic challenges, it is early to say that India can assert its position in the region. It must focus to build peace and security inside the country. The Indian leaderships’ slogans like ‘shining India’ seem to blur in the presence of Hindutva ideology.
“Pakistan Observer” Daily, February 20, 2015
Disclaimer: Views expressed are of the writer and are not necessarily reflective of IPRI policy.