India Hindut(vised)?

India Hindut(vised)?

Two parallel trends or even movements co-existed and jostled for the imagination of India during the country’s independence movement. One was led by a vanguard and a quasi westernized elite which sought to integrate the Western notion of nationalism and employ it as an instrument to rid India of British rule. The other sought to “revert” India to its “essence” to rid India of all foreign influence. The latter’s idea and concept of India’s essence was that India was basically “Hindu” and that foreign influence- especially that of Muslims- had corrupted this essence. So for India to attain freedom or more accurately “ swaraj” , India had to rid itself of all foreign influences. Islam and Muslims were held to be India’s “Other” in this ideology which came to be known as Hindutva. For a variety of reasons, the ideology of Hindutva and its proponents could not make much ground when India became independent. It was the Congress’ “Idea of India” and Congress hegemony of Indian politics that ruled the roost for many decades in India. But this did not mean that Hindutva had died; the ideology was incubating and it was gradually on the ascendant as Congress began to decline. After ups and downs, the Hindutva ideology gained political traction and momentum and ultimately attained a resounding political mandate and power in 2014. The party that carried forward the Hindutva agenda, is , as is well known, the BJP. Now, with Uttar Pradesh, comprehensively in the BJP’s pocket, it can be said that Hindutva and its “Idea of India” is the dominant ideational and ideological rubric of India. Given that, Islam and Muslims were always Hindutva’s “Other”, what would the ideology’s ascendance to power and as the dominant political imaginary of India mean for Muslims? It may be pertinent to note here that while Congress’ “ Idea of India” touted itself to be inclusive and secular but both these were, in practice, observed in the breach. That is, while notionally Muslims had space and were held to be full citizens of India, but in reality, Muslims in India were a deprived lot-politically, socially and economically. Now with the BJP and its allied organizations in power and the Indian political imaginary firmly in thrall to Hindutva, even the notional fidelity to inclusiveness does not hold. This might mean that Muslims in India would be further ghettoized and their overall condition could regress. They could become more fearful, more insecure and retreat into an existence that would be insalubrious. There might, given that a vital prong of HIndutva and the BJP’s agenda, is assimilation of Kashmir, more comprehensively into the Indian Union, be consequences and implications on Kashmir too. All in all then a period of deep uncertainty and even turbulence lurks on the horizon. The BJP’s landslide electoral victory in Uttar Pradesh hastens this turbulence.

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