The Case of Hindu India

The recent, obviously deliberate, omission of the words ‘socialist, secular’ from the Preamble of the Constitution of India cast in an official advertisement on India’s Republic Day should have caused no surprise.

From the very outset, the BJP-led government at the Centre has been playing the role of a two-faced street politician, harping on ‘Development’ when the Prime Minister addresses thousands of adoring supporters in New York and Sydney, and piping on ‘Nuclear Parity’ when ‘Barack’ comes avisiting to make up for the Prime Minister’s years of proscription from US shores. Or, just before legislative elections in Maharashtra and J and K, giving Pakistan a Munh Tod Jawaab, without a thought for the losses to ‘Indians’ living along the Line of Control. And allowing a Central Minister to publicly ask crowds to choose between ‘Ramzaade’ and ‘Haraamzade,’ or turning a blind eye to ‘Ghar Wapsi’ movements held throughout the country to convert people ‘back’ to Hinduism.

A parent organisation of the BJP was also seen actively encouraging Hindu families to have five children, in contrast to the ‘development’ agenda that focuses on more jobs for the youth. At a National Science Congress, a prominent scholar talks about ‘planes’ in the Vedic Era, around six thousand years ago. For an India that believes in instilling amongst its people a ‘Scientific Temperament’ this was nothing short of heresy.

Rather than focus on development, the BJP-led Government has launched a no-holds-barred attack on all other political parties in a bid to become the country’s ‘natural party of governance.’ Sadly, few have been able to look through its nefarious design, at the heart of which is the quest for ‘Hindu dominance,’ as though people of other faiths were ruling the roost in every possible way.

It is sad that the party that governs India, a country for so long an enigma in the developing world by virtue of its stable democracy, lack of military interference in politics, and relative tolerance amongst its population, is now readjusting its course to make it a ‘Hindu’ land, as eloquently summed up by a Shiv Sena MP, an ally of the BJP:  “For Muslims, there is Pakistan. India is for Hindus. Others are welcome to stay, but Hindus should dominate.”

The PM has been conspicuously silent on all these issues, stepping up only once, to ask people to ‘understand’ that the Minister with ‘Ramzaada – Haramzada’ concerns came from a ‘village.’ It is no secret that the BJP is keeping all its cards close to its chest. The Uniform Civil Code and the Babri Masjid issues are all held in reserve, to be used when all else has failed – a plan of last resort. If the economy does not grow as much as the BJP voters would like, we could easily see identity politics coming to the fore sometime in 2017-2018, just before the General Elections of 2019.

The fears of a ‘Hindu’ India were what drove the conveners of the Muslim League to the idea of Pakistan in the first place. It is a testament to the patience, resilience, and steadfastness of the leaders at that time that Pakistan was carved out of British India without civil war. Civil strife, no doubt, and the mass displacement of population, but no war, and the territory carved out was based on the principles of democracy, guaranteed by the British. What is happening today had been predicted many decades ago – that an extremist fringe among the Hindu majority would inevitably drive the nation towards Partition at some point of time, just as a lunatic extremist fringe amongst Muslims in the Middle East believes that televised beheadings would bring back the glorious past that Muslims lost because of their ignorance.

And therein lies the case of Hindu India – the majority prevails. But at what cost? At its peripheries, India has sizeable Muslim populations.  J&K, Assam, West Bengal, and Kerala, all have Muslim populations in excess of 25 per cent.  Throw in Metropolitan Mumbai, which has a Muslim population of over 30 per cent, and one can see that India is not as homogenous as the Right-Wing would like us believe. So the risk of a ‘Hindu’ India is a second Partition, along socio-economic and religious lines. Also, no matter how much the BJP would like to project otherwise, the Hindu fold has innumerable sects and divisions with many regional, ethnic, and linguistic distinctions. Hence, if India does ‘become Hindu,’ which exact ‘Hindu’ are we talking about? The same question Pakistan’s thinkers and constitutionalists asked its ‘Islamic’ leaders decades after its creation, the question that haunts it even today, and leads to so much bloodshed.

The path to ‘Hindu India’ is fraught with danger. Its proponents think that it would be too big to fail, precisely as the Communists thought of the Soviet Union before it disintegrated in 1991.