Growing Insecurity

Growing Insecurity

The intensity and volume of lynching incidents directed against Muslims in India have increased. This development has crystallized during and after the BJP assumed power. Obviously, given the frequency of these incidents, one inference that can drawn is that the vigilantes who resort to lynching feel emboldened to do so because of a rather permissive environment. This is discounting the possibility that cow vigilantes are not operating under patronage.( By and large, vigilantism of this nature does not happen in a vacuum; there usually is an element of patronage involved). Two other or major extrapolations flow from cow vigilante inspired vigilantism. One is that India is becoming a majoritarian nation. The second flows from this: majoritarianism means and implies of review of the nature of citizenship in India. Both these , in turn, flow from the ideology of Hindutva, or political Hinduism, which constitutes the ideological and ideational rubric of the BJP and its allied, sister organizations, or the Sangh Parivar. The grist to the mill of Hindutva is that India is “organically” Hindu and that alien(read Muslim) invasions of the country had a searing and corrupting influence on its Hindu nature. In this schema, Muslims are held to be irredeemable outsiders to India who then are held to be second class citizens. Minority rights, in this formulation, are held to be a chimera and a form of “appeasement”. Whilst this understanding changes or questions the notion of citizenship in a polity for Muslims and demeans their status in India, the violent consequences that flow from this are cow vigilante inspired vigilante violence. Already a community under siege, the sense of insecurity for Muslims gets more intense and heightened. More or less an underclass of India, Muslims here have been let down by its politics. The erstwhile ruling party of India, the Congress party, merely accorded lip service to Indian Muslims and largely instrumentalized them as a vote bank. Vote bank politics appears to be now supplanted or replaces by overt majoritarianism. The consequence(s of) both bank politics and majoritarianism has led to a community under siege – psychologically and practically. The height of the matter is that no clear cut condemnations of lynching incidents have come from the higher echelons of power in India. This can only embolden future perpetrators and add to the intensity of insecurity that Muslims in India face.

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