It is a foregone conclusion. Narendra Modi will win the General Elections of 2014, and will become the Prime Minister of India. The man who has led Gujarat since 2001, and has been responsible for the ‘Gujarat Development Model,’ who was also holding a position of responsibility in his State during the communal riots of 2002, and when countless people were killed in fake encounters in his state, is set to become India’s Prime Minister. He will become the first PM of India to be born after Partition.
If the Council of Ministers of Gujarat is anything to go by, then he will perhaps hold quite a few portfolios in the Central Government as well. As Chief Minister, he held 14 portfolios in the previous administration, and currently holds nine, among which are General Administration, Industry, Home, Climate change, Ports, Information and Broadcasting, and Science and Technology – quite a handful for anyone.
His image as the ‘Hindu’ PM has been growing stronger with every passing day. He invoked Ma Ganga when he filed his nomination papers from Varanasi, itself a major Hindu holy city, and one which carries historical significance for the religion. He continues to refer to Rahul Gandhi, the Congress Vice-President, as a Shehzada, and Sonia Gandhi, the Congress President, as Sultana, in a clear reference to India’s historical rule by Muslims, inciting crowds indirectly, in the name of religion. He also has referred to the Congress as having worn the Burqa of secularism, and in the past, has passed derogatory remarks, not worthy of being elaborated on here, against Muslims. His supporters keep backing him up with similar statements, like that of Giriraj Singh in Bihar, who said clearly that there would be ‘no place for Modi critics in India after the elections,’ and that they would have to ‘go to Pakistan.’ Modi has never desisted from calling himself a ‘Hindu Nationalist.’
Statements like these further alienate the already insecure Muslim minority of India. But for Kashmir it brings up a whole new debate.
Kashmir has been declared an ‘integral part of India,’ courtesy some convoluted interpretation of the resolutions of a nominated Constituent Assembly. Pakistan claims Kashmir, the only Muslim majority state in India, in the name of the Partition of 1947, under which all Muslim regions went to Pakistan, but that is common knowledge. What is not so commonly understood, is that India’s perception of itself as being a successful ‘secular, socialist, republic,’ is heavily dependent on the successful, complete and popular integration of Kashmir into India. Kashmir has ‘acceded to India, not merged with it,’ according to the current Chief Minister of the state. Kashmir’s integration will only be possible after the Muslim majority is sufficiently convinced that they will remain safe and be allowed to grow economically within India. This premise will be seriously imperilled by the arrival of Modi and his bandwagon, hell bent on making a Hindu Rashtra out of India. a ‘Hindu Rashtra.’
The question, therefore, is this: Does a Hindu India, led by a Hindu Nationalist have the moral right to rule over a Muslim majority region, which, as yet, has not fully integrated with India? Does India, which is electing the next PM fully aware of his Hindu Nationalist credentials, have any grounds to deny Kashmir its right to secede from the Indian Union, on the premise that the life, liberty and security of Kashmiris remain threatened under such a Prime Minister who makes no bones about his hatred for Muslims?
It brings back to light the resolution that was presented on October 1, 1905, by the ‘Representatives of the Musalmans of India’ to the Viceroy at Shimla, which mentioned, the fear of ‘future … majoritarian rule,’ by an ‘unfriendly majority.’ Has that time come? Or was that time already upon us, just that it took the rise of a right-wing, aggressive and arrogant Narendra Modi for people to realise it?
Kashmir is at the crossroads, but so is India. A step in the direction of ‘Hindu majoritarian rule,’ will lead to serious questioning of the philosophy of a nation that has amongst it 180 million Muslims. Will it lead to a second Partition?