SAFFRON POSTURE, ANTI-MINORITY POLICIES AND FASCIST APPROACH; IS INDIA STILL ABLE TO CALL HER A DEMOCRACY?

The once pluralistic India following the Nehruvian doctrine of homogeneity and plurality has now become a radical country chanting the slogans of Hindu nationalism. Gone are the days when Indian government used to walk on the secular footsteps of Gandhi. India has gradually gone under saffronisation process under the BJP regime. Ruling Hindu factions working on the Hindutva policies of Hindu nationalism show no respect towards the notions of humanity.

The Hindutva posture of government haunts the opposition parties and the intellectuals believing in the principles penned down and enunciated by their visionary leader Gandhi. This Hindu nationalism fostered and promoted by the Indian government has not only challenged rather threatened Indian pluralistic traditions but has also set 1.3 billion people residing in India astray.

The saffron politics has helped in the re-election of Narendra Modi but it has also critically exploited the ethnic and religious fault lines pre-existing in India.  After the re-election victory, the PM Modi has been following the footprints of a fascist leader and BJP seems to preach the lessons of fascism to the general Hindu public.

The world has already witnessed the Gujarat massacre -a byproduct of Hindutva politics. The seeds of mob politics, lynching of minorities and inter-faith animosity have been sown by the militant parties ruling India. The saffron politics has helped in the re-election of Narendra Modi but it has also critically exploited the ethnic and religious fault lines pre-existing in India. After the re-election victory, the PM Modi has been following the footprints of a fascist leader and BJP seems to preach the lessons of fascism to the general Hindu public. But, they seem to have forgotten the fact that in the longer term fascism is ultimately a self-destructive phenomenon. By preaching such teachings, government and the top leadership are destroying the social fabric of India. The BJP regime has set the criteria for an Indian national and has redefined an Indian citizen by simply demanding one to be a Hindu.  

More than four million people in India, mostly Muslims, are at risk of being declared foreign migrants as the government pushes a hard-line Hindu nationalist agenda.Their forefathers used to chant the slogans of Jai Hind, but their religion made the government to categorize them as immigrants.

Modi government has marked a history of suppressing minorities and dealing them iron-handed. From religious minorities to ethnic ones, none has been spared by the deadly spade of Hindutva fascism. The government-after violating the basic rights of minorities- went a step forward by categorically labeling religious minorities in general and Muslims in specific as immigrants i.e. stripping away the Indian citizenship of people living there for generations.  The ongoing hullabaloo in Assam -a hilly state near Myanmar and Bangladesh- exemplifies the government’s anti-minority and anti-Muslim approach. Millions of Muslims residing in Assam state have been labeled as immigrants. Those Muslims have been living there for decades. Their forefathers used to chant the slogans of Jai Hind, but their religion made the government to categorize them as immigrants. According to a report published in New York Times by Jeffrey Gettleman and Hari Kumar, “More than four million people in India, mostly Muslims, are at risk of being declared foreign migrants as the government pushes a hard-line Hindu nationalist agenda. State authorities are rapidly expanding foreigner tribunals and planning to build huge new detention camps. Hundreds of people have been arrested on suspicion of being a foreign migrant.”

Assam’s story appears to be the continuation of what Indian government has done in Kashmir. The revocation of Article 370 regarding the special status of Kashmir has stripped off Kashmir’s legal right of enjoying a special status and it has now forcefully been made a federal territory. This unconstitutional step of BJP regime has not only violated basic rights of people of Kashmir but has also mocked the UN resolutions and the essence of democracy. According to the Annual report of United States’ Commission on International Religious Freedom 2019, the sectarian violence has increased under Mr. Modi, who has been re-elected in May 2019.It appears that Indian leadership is fiercely working to suppress and to marginalize the minorities inhabiting India. To realize its dreams of a saffron India, PM Modi via his policies has made the survival of Indian Muslims in their own homeland a thing next to impossible.

The question that often haunts the statesmen and the other visionary leaders is that with this saffronisation posture, anti-minority policies and fascist approach is India still able to call her a democracy? This question not only challenges the doctrine of Indian democracy but also poses an existential threat to the historic Ideology of India

The radicalism and inter-faith animosity bred by BJP and Mr. Modi has been staunchly criticized by the opposition and left wing parties. Harsh Mander, a former civil servant turned human rights activist stated, “What is happening in Assam and Kashmir is an assault on the very imagination of India, of the freedom struggle, of the Constitution, of the idea of a country in which everyone belongs equally.” While pointing towards anti-Muslim drive of government, he said that calling Muslims enemy is a war on the Indian constitution. Most of the Critics maintain the view that the events happening in Assam and Kashmir are the attempts to change the demography and demographic factors of these areas in the favor of Hindus.

The point to ponder is what BJP government is up to and why PM Modi is setting his own house on fire? Why the Indian leadership is adamant at making India bleed from Kashmir to Assam? Why the rights of minorities are being suppressed in one of the biggest democracies of the world? The question that often haunts the statesmen and the other visionary people is that with this saffronize posture, anti-minority policies and fascist approach is India still able to call her a democracy? This question not only challenges the doctrine of Indian democracy but also poses an existential threat to the historic Ideology of India.

About the Author: Miss Merwah Hamid Qureshi holds an M. Phil Degree in Biochemistry from QAU, Islamabad and also a visiting lecturer for International Relations at National Officers Academy, Rawalpindi. She is a freelance content writer for online portals like Amazon.

Disclaimer: The views expressed in this article are authors own and do not necessarily reflect the editorial policy of The Reader’s Review.

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