"Howdy Modi" Rally Exposes Indian-Americans to Charge of Hypocrisy

Most Indian-Americans vote for the Democratic Party in American elections. Almost all Indian-Americans in elected offices are Democrats. Notable among them are Ro Khanna, Raja Krishnamoorthi, Pramila Jayapal and Kamala Harris. Many Indian-Americans have been appointed to senior positions in executive and judiciary branches by Democratic administrations.  However, they instinctively agree with Republicans. They share Republicans' racism against African-Americans and Hispanics and support President Trump's religious bigotry against Muslims.

Most India-Americans ardently support Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi whose party is openly hostile to minorities, particularly Muslims, in India. And majority of Indian-Americans are totally unconcerned about the plight of minorities in India.  Modi's declaration “we’ve said goodbye to Article 370" in Indian Occupied Kashmir drew the loudest cheers at Howdy Modi rally which highlighted the hypocrisy of Indian-Americans. The attendees at the Houston rally gave President Donald Trump standing ovation when he said that the United States is "committed to protecting innocent Indian-Americans from the threat of radical Islamic terrorism". Modi effectively endorsed Trump for re-election in 2020 when he declared "Ap ki Bar Trump Sarkar". This essentially turned "Howdy Modi" event in Houston into a Trump election rally organized and paid for by Modi-loving Hindus.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi (L) with President Donald Trump in Houston, Texas

Most Hindu-Americans fail to see the irony that Srinivas Kuchibhotla who was killed by a white nationalist in Kansas in February 2017 was a victim of the same kind of hatred in America that Mr. Modi espouses against minorities in India. Kuchibotla himself was an ardent fan of Mr. Modi’s sweeping Hindutva politics as his wife related after this murder, according to an article published in the Hindu by Indian journalist and writer Varghese K. George.  Here is an excerpt of Mr. George's article:

"The dualism of Indian-American politics has now become unsustainable as Democratic leaders find it increasingly impossible to side with Mr. Modi as he advances the Hindutva agenda. Many of these friends of India were mislead, and had misread Mr. Modi’s politics and they interpreted his success in 2014 as a turn in Indian politics towards more neo-liberal reforms and globalism. Such an image of Mr. Modi was also projected by Indian diplomacy in America. But one American thinker, who interpreted Mr. Modi’s victory as a nativist revolt against a global elite, was none other than Stephen Bannon, the most authentic interpreter of Mr. Trump’s nationalist politics. Mr. Bannon has also been particularly a critic of the H-1B visa and Indian-American immigration. That the Indian Ambassador to the U.S. retweeted a tweet that denounced Mr. Sanders and tweeted about his meeting with Mr. Bannon in glowing terms (he deleted the tweet later) in quick succession bears out the official Indian position on the emerging fault-lines in American politics and the role of Indian Americans in it."

Indian Ambassador Shringle (R) with White Nationalist Steve Bannon

In an opinion piece titled  "“Howdy, Modi” And The Politics Of The Indian American Community" published by ABP LIVE, UCLA Professor Viany Lal captured this reality in the following words:

"..there is absolutely no contradiction between the fact that Indians largely vote Democrat and their instinctive tendency to gravitate towards Republicans. But there is another question that emerges from the comical “Howdy, Modi” show: is this a moment that signifies the “arrival” of the Indian Americans on the national stage and in American consciousness? Many commentators would like to think so: the journalist Sonia Paul, for instance, has characterized the event as a “display of Indian Americans’ Political Power.” It may be that, but such analysis is toothless and uninstructive. Every minority of the size of the Indian American counts, and there are many such communities; but, viewed in relation to Hispanics and African Americans, Indian Americans are still far from being a highly influential voting bloc. Hispanics and especially African Americans are embedded in the history of the nation in vastly different ways; many Indian Americans, even those who have put down roots in the US over two generations, still think of themselves as constituting the vanguard of India and would like to be important players in India itself."

Professor Lal continues his piece to describe the Indian-American hypocrisy as follows:

"...some people may be puzzled about why so many Indians were gathered to hear Modi and Trump when Indians, by a very large majority, are supporters of the Democratic party and certainly vote Democrat in a presidential election...........the majority of Indian Americans have remained wholly indifferent to the plight of minorities in India itself. Though two million Muslims in Assam now risk being rendered stateless, and “lynchings” of Muslims and Dalits over the last few years have unfortunately made India newsworthy, Indian Americans have generally shown themselves remarkably oblivious to the sufferings of minorities while they lose no opportunity to lay claim to rights as members of a minority in the US. They would much rather gravitate towards the Republican party, which is more hospitable to business interests and free enterprise; but the party is also less accommodating to minority interests."

Not only do Indian-Americans strongly support Modi and his Hindutva policies, they demand that elected Indian-American Democrats do the same. This is best illustrated by their pressure on Silicon-Valley's Indian-American Congressman Ro Khanna. Khanna joined US Congress's Pakistan Caucus and rejected Hindutva.  Khanna said in a tweet that "it is the duty of every American politician of Hindu faith to stand for pluralism, reject Hindutva, and speak for equal rights for Hindus, Muslims, Sikhs, Buddhist and Christians". A record 230 Hindu-American organizations wrote an angry letter to Khanna in response. They asked him to withdraw from Pakistan Caucus and to highlight "ethnic cleansing of Kashmiri Pandits".

Hindu organizations conveniently ignore the long history of atrocities committed by Indian military against Kashmiri Muslims. Nearly a million Indian troops are  currently keeping 8 million Kashmiris in a complete lockdown that is about to enter its 3rd month. They also make no mention of what happened to Muslims who constituted a majority in Jammu in 1947. Hundreds of thousands of Muslims were killed or expelled from Jammu in 1947, according to Indian journalist Karan Thapar.  Here is an excerpt of Thapar's Hindustan Times column on this subject:

"Writing in The Spectator in January 1948, Horace Alexander says: “Hindus and Sikhs of the Jammu area … apparently with at least the tacit consent of state authorities, have driven many thousands of their Muslim neighbours from their homes”. Citing Mahatma Gandhi, he asserts “some two hundred thousand are … not accounted for”. Christopher Snedden, in Kashmir: The Unwritten History, estimates between 70,000 and 237,000 Muslims were killed. Arjun Appaduri and Arien Mack in India’s World believe 200,000 could have been killed and a further 500,000 displaced. Last year, the columnist Swaminathan Aiyar wrote: “In sheer scale this far exceeded the ethnic cleansing of Pandits five decades later”."

Related Links:

Haq's Musings

South Asia Investor Review

Silicon Valley's Indian-American Congressman Rejects Hindutva

Sonal Shah to Help Divide the Obama Victory Spoils

Rape of 8-year-old Asifa Bano in Kashmir

Imran Khan in Washington

Modi's Extended Lockdown in Indian Occupied Kashmir

Hinduization of India

Brievik's Hindutva Rhetoric

Indian Textbooks

India's RAW's Successes in Pakistan

Riaz Haq Youtube Channel

VPOS Youtube Channel

Comments

Riaz Haq said…
No #trade deal, no #Kashmir win, no #investment in #India but #BJP celebrating #Modi return from #UnitedStates https://theprint.in/opinion/no-trade-deal-no-kashmir-win-no-investment-but-bjp-celebrating-modi-return-from-us/298552/ via @ThePrintIndia

rime Minister Narendra Modi Saturday returned home to a rousing welcome from BJP party workers and supporters despite not having secured the much-touted trade deal with the US. Also, the issue of Kashmir became further complicated between him and US President Donald Trump despite a massive spectacle of bonhomie between the two leaders at ‘Howdy, Modi!’.

Prime Minister Modi scored clear nil in the most contentious issue of trade during his weeklong trip to America. Trade has undoubtedly become an unavoidable stumbling block in the relationship, even as both sides continue to fiercely fight out trade disputes at the World Trade Organization (WTO).

While it is true that Commerce and Industry Minister Piyush Goyal continues to brainstorm along with US Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer in Washington DC, a so-called ‘limited’ trade deal remains as elusive as it was before Modi’s visit.


When the Modi government came back to power for the second time with a landslide victory earlier this year, the US was clearly not amused. Within days of the government settling into office, the Trump administration cracked the whip on India in May and revoked the trade benefits given under the Generalised System of Preferences (GSP) programme. The US was threatening to do so since before the elections. This was an unprecedented act on US’ part because ever since the GSP programme started in 1974, it was never taken away from India.

It is true that previous US administrations, particularly the Barack Obama administration, did threaten to revoke it, but in reality, it never walked the talk much to India’s relief.

India, on the other hand, whether it was under former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh or under Prime Minister Modi, has always claimed, rather arrogantly, that the withdrawal of GSP did not impact India’s foreign trade much. New Delhi’s public posturing has always been that the GSP, or tariff-free access to US markets for Indian goods, is not really needed as India is not an underdeveloped country anymore.

Indian shipments under GSP programme get a benefit of around $6.4 billion, which is now gone. It was widely expected that the GSP would be restored during Prime Minister Modi’s trip, and it seemed all the more plausible after ‘Howdy, Modi!’, but eventually it turned out to be a damp squib.

This despite Trump being a “true, warm, friendly and accessible” friend of Modi’s.

Prime Minister Modi was not even able to restore a waiver from US’ high duties on Indian shipments of steel and aluminium during his mega visit.
Riaz Haq said…
#Modi is damaging #India’s #economy as well as its #democracy. Fear is that, instead of getting to grips with economy, Modi will stop posing as a reformer and fully embrace his alter ego, as chest-thumping #Hindu nationalist. #Kashmir https://www.economist.com/leaders/2019/10/26/narendra-modi-is-damaging-indias-economy-as-well-as-its-democracy via @TheEconomist

Stories of the clampdown in Jammu & Kashmir and the threat to strip millions of poor and mostly Muslim people in Assam of citizenship, a form of ethnic cleansing by bureaucracy, have seeped into the world’s consciousness, but many Western businesspeople are still inclined to defend the Indian prime minister. Even if Narendra Modi is bad for democracy, they say, his pro-business philosophy is good for the economy. But, as our special report this week argues, that argument no longer washes. India’s economy is incompetently managed and doing badly.

Growth fell from 8% in the middle of last year to 5% year-on-year in the most recent quarter. That might not sound too bad, and other emerging economies are also suffering, but India needs to grow fast just to keep its vast workforce fully employed. Worse, the slowdown looks less like a dip than a prolonged cold shower.

Some banks and many other lenders are in crisis, with a $200bn mountain of bad debts. In the six months ending in September, the total flow of financing to businesses fell by 88%. Five successive rate cuts by the Reserve Bank of India, the central bank, have failed to pull down commercial lending rates, and in any case firms are not investing. Consumer demand has levelled off or fallen, too. Sales of cars and motorbikes have tumbled by 20% or more. And with the combined fiscal deficit of the federal government and the states already approaching 9% of gdp, and tax receipts falling well below expectations, there is little scope for stimulus.

When it first took power in 2014 Mr Modi’s government inherited an economy with plenty of problems, but it did too little about them. The latest downturn continues that disappointing pattern. With the exception of a steep cut in corporate taxes earlier this month, to 25%, which brings India into line with other countries in the region, the official response has been scattershot and timid. This, say critics, reflects both an unusual paucity of expertise in Mr Modi’s government and conflicting views in his circle, as competing interest groups vie for his ear. Nevertheless, the outlines of what needs to be done are clear.

To start with, Mr Modi should recruit an economic team that is based on competence and experience rather than affinity for the Bharatiya Janata Party’s Hindu-nationalist ideology. It must tackle both the financial crisis and sagging demand. To fix the banking system, the banks and the lightly regulated shadow banks that have recently been lending heavily need to be stress-tested and, where necessary, the banks recapitalised. Eventually, the state-owned banks could be privatised and the shadow banks put under the same prudential regulations as other lenders.

A broader privatisation programme would give the government the money it needs to succour demand. It should make use of levers such as the national rural-employment scheme to get money to the distressed hinterland. In the longer run, the tax system, labour laws, the regulation of land-ownership and fiddly, protectionist tariffs should all be given a thorough overhaul.

Riaz Haq said…
Narendra Modi’s India
The Prime Minister’s Hindu-nationalist government has cast two hundred million Muslims as internal enemies.
By Dexter Filkins

https://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2019/12/09/blood-and-soil-in-narendra-modis-india


When (Rana) Ayyub and the photographer were detained at the hospital in Srinagar, I found a hiding place across the street, screened by a wall and a fruit vender; Ayyub would have faced serious repercussions if she was found to have snuck in a foreigner. After about an hour, they emerged. Ayyub said that an intelligence officer had questioned them intently, then released them with an admonition: “Don’t come back.”

The next morning, we drove to the village of Parigam, near the site of the suicide attack that prompted Modi’s air strikes against Pakistan. We’d heard that Indian security forces had swept through the town and detained several men. The insurgency has broad support in the villages outside the capital, and the road to Parigam was marked by the sandbags and razor wire of Indian Army checkpoints. For most of the way, the roads were otherwise deserted.

In the village, Ayyub stopped the car to chat with locals. Within a few minutes, she’d figured out whom we should talk to first: Shabbir Ahmed, the proprietor of a local bakery. We found him sitting cross-legged on his porch, shelling almonds into a huge pile. In interviews, Ayyub slows down from her usual debate-team pace; she took a spot on the porch as if she had dropped by for a visit. Ahmed, who is fifty-five, told her that, during the sweeps, an armored vehicle rumbled up to his home just past midnight one night. A dozen soldiers from the Rashtriya Rifles, an √©lite counter-insurgency unit of the Indian Army, rushed out and began smashing his windows. When Ahmed and his two sons came outside, he said, the soldiers hauled the young men into the street and began beating them. “I was screaming for help, but nobody came out,” Ahmed said. “Everyone was too afraid.”

Ahmed’s sons joined us on the porch. One of them, Muzaffar, said that the soldiers had been enraged by young people who throw rocks at their patrols. They dragged Muzaffar down the street toward a mosque. “Throw stones at the mosque like you throw stones at us,” one of the soldiers commanded him.

Muzaffar said that he and his brother, Ali, were taken to a local base, where the soldiers shackled them to chairs and beat them with bamboo rods. “They kept asking me, ‘Do you know any stone throwers?’—and I kept saying I don’t know any, but they kept beating me,” he said. When Muzaffar fainted, he said, a soldier attached electrodes to his legs and stomach and jolted him with an electrical current. Muzaffar rolled up his pants to reveal patches of burned skin on the back of his leg. It went on like that for some time, he said: he would pass out, and when he regained consciousness the beating started again. “My body was going into spasms,” he said, and began to cry.

After Muzaffar and Ali were released, their father took them to the local hospital. “They have broken my bones,” Muzaffar said. “I can no longer prostrate myself before God.”

It was impossible to verify the brothers’ tale, but, as with many accounts that Ayyub and I heard in the valley, the anguish was persuasive. “I am a slightly more civilized version of these people,” Ayyub told me. “I see what’s happening—with the propaganda, with the lies, what the government is doing to people. Their issues are way more extensive—their lives. But I have everything in common with these people. I feel their pain.”
Riaz Haq said…
India's Consul General in New York On "Israel Model" in Kashmir

https://youtu.be/XN2gOL7wp0c

In an hourlong video of an interaction with the “Kashmiri Hindu diaspora” in New York posted on Facebook, Sandeep Chakravorty, India's Consul General in New York, seems to be representing “Hindus” rather than “Indians” and appears to endorse Israel’s illegal policy.

Chakravorty said, “We have never used our strength as majority community…. we have never [made] use of our Hindu culture… ancient civilization in diplomacy. Now that we are using it, people are having problems”.
Riaz Haq said…
#Trump told #Bolton in August 201 he wanted to continue freezing $391 million in security assistance to #Ukraine until officials there helped with investigations into #Bidens, according to an unpublished manuscript of #BoltonBook. #ImpeachmentTrial https://www.nytimes.com/2020/01/26/us/politics/trump-bolton-book-ukraine.html

President Trump told his national security adviser in August that he wanted to continue freezing $391 million in security assistance to Ukraine until officials there helped with investigations into Democrats including the Bidens, according to an unpublished manuscript by the former adviser, John R. Bolton.

The president’s statement as described by Mr. Bolton could undercut a key element of his impeachment defense: that the holdup in aid was separate from Mr. Trump’s requests that Ukraine announce investigations into his perceived enemies, including former Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. and his son Hunter Biden, who had worked for a Ukrainian energy firm while his father was in office.

Mr. Bolton’s explosive account of the matter at the center of Mr. Trump’s impeachment trial, the third in American history, was included in drafts of a manuscript he has circulated in recent weeks to close associates. He also sent a draft to the White House for a standard review process for some current and former administration officials who write books.
Riaz Haq said…
As India’s #Economy Sags With Country's Worst Slump in Years, Even the #Trump Brand Is Struggling. #India has the largest number of Trump Towers outside North America, but sales are cool in an ailing market for luxury real estate. #Modi #BJP https://nyti.ms/37PJbih

According to its most recent annual financial disclosure, for 2018, the company earned perhaps as little as $200,000 last year on all four of its projects in India. The maximum revenue reported at Trump Organization from the four India projects dropped from $6 million in 2017 to $2 million in 2018, although some income from India might be counted as contributing to other accounts.

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As Donald J. Trump prepared to run for president, Indian real estate magnates made a bet that licensing his name would sell apartments. Now India has more Trump-branded projects than any country except the United States — six residential towers in four locations, including Pune, a quiet industrial city of more than 3 million people.

But when Mr. Trump touches down in India on Monday to meet Prime Minister Narendra Modi, his first official visit as president, he will enter a country caught in a grave slowdown. As the Indian economy faces its lowest growth rate in more than a decade, developers have abandoned residential projects and slashed prices to attract buyers.

It is not just the Trump brand that is suffering from weak demand. Thousands of apartments are vacant nationwide or trapped in construction delays and prices have stagnated. Debt-strapped builders cannot secure loans.

Real estate agents and developers sold about 40 percent less square footage last year than in 2014, according to Prashant Thakur, the head of research at Anarock Property Consultants, a real estate research firm.

At Trump Towers Pune, which were completed a few years ago as the first project in India to bear the Trump name, only seven of 46 units are occupied, according to building employees and others with knowledge of occupancy and sales.

The real estate market is now so weak, the Trump family’s partners in Pune decided to not even attempt — at least for now — to sell half of the luxury apartments in the complex, which retail for about 35 percent more than comparable properties.

Pune, Mumbai, Kolkata and Gurugram, a tech hub near New Delhi, all have Trump-branded projects. The deals in India were negotiated before Mr. Trump was elected, and the Trump family said they were contractually obligated to see them through. But the decision to push ahead has generated conflict-of-interest questions about the mixing of presidential duties with family business.

Panchshil Realty, which built the towers in Pune, did not answer emailed questions. Through a spokesman, the company’s chairman, Atul Chordia, declined to comment.

Asked to comment on its projects in India, the Trump organization and one of its India-based partners did not dispute that their real estate projects in India, particularly in Pune and Mumbai, have faced challenges because of the downturn in the luxury real-estate market.

But they argued that while they are suffering too, their sales are still better than others in the market.

“Despite the slowdown in India, Trump is still the most sought after luxury residential brand in the country,” Kalpesh Mehta, the developer of unfinished projects in Kolkata and Gurugram, said in a statement.


Riaz Haq said…
For #Trump and #Modi, ethnic purity is the purpose of power. Both strongmen favor immigration & citizenship policies designed to demonize minority groups. Top #Hindu Nationalist leaders like Golwalkar were influenced by #Mussolini & #Hitler | Jason Stanley https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2020/feb/24/trump-modi-citizenship-politics-fascism?CMP=share_btn_tw

The European-American concept of a national state had influence outside Europe. VD Savarkar, the Indian political theorist who ushered in Hindu nationalist ideology, was influenced by European ethno-nationalism. He took the Nazi treatment of German Jews to be a model for eventual Hindutva policy towards India’s Muslim residents. Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh is a Hindu nationalist movement dating back to the mid-1920s, many of whose members venerated Savarkar. Senior leaders, such as MS Golwalkar, were influenced by Mussolini and Hitler. The Bharatiya Janata party, the political wing of RSS and now India’s ruling party, has begun to implement changes in citizenship laws that echo the Nuremberg Laws.

India’s new Citizenship Amendment Act allows for a fast-track to citizenship for non-Muslim migrants, thereby discriminating against Muslims. The proposed national register requires residents to prove their citizenship with documentation – which many in India lack. Together, these laws place Muslims without documentation in a quandary. Large detention centres are being built to house India’s Muslim residents who are declared ineligible for citizenship. Like the US immigration policy so admired by Hitler, these laws are a mask: they are designed to privilege Hindus in the citizenship laws of the world’s largest democracy.

Trump leads an administration that seeks to return the US to the national state of Hitler’s adulation. In many respects, Modi’s India is considerably further along this path. The student has become the teacher.

There is more to fascism than changing citizenship laws. Fascist movements seek one-party rule: over the courts, the police, the military and the press. They involve a cult of loyalty to a single leader and nostalgia for a mythic past when the nation was dominated by the privileged group. But the core of fascist ideology is realised in changing citizenship laws to privilege a single ethnic group. This is why we regard the Nuremberg Laws as a defining moment in German history, and the concentration camp as the defining Nazi institution.

History has been rightly horrified by the Nuremberg Laws and their consequences. Why, then, are so many countries going down this path?
Riaz Haq said…
#Trump is enabling #Modi’s #Islamophobia in #India . But so are many #Indian #Americans . It is not right to support Modi simply out of a sense of Indian solidarity.

https://news.yahoo.com/trump-enabling-modis-islamophobia-india-191500320.html

The violence was spurred by different perspectives: nationalists supporting the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA), and anti-CAA protesters. The CAA was passed in December, granting a track to Indian citizenship for undocumented immigrants from Hindu, Sikh, Buddhist, Christian, Jain and Parsi backgrounds. The stated goal was to protect refugees coming from neighboring countries such as Pakistan, Bangladesh and Afghanistan. That is, refugees who are not Muslim. Muslim identities were conveniently left out of the amendment, but these three countries are Muslim majority nations. These same Muslim identities are also some of the most persecuted in the world, notably the Rohingya, who are fleeing to Bangladesh following ethnic cleansing in Myanmar.


Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi has not helped matters very much, brashly throwing around anti-Muslim rhetoric. From potentially gaslighting millions of citizens, assuring them of no religious bias, to revoking the special status of Jammu and Kashmir, another Muslim-majority state, Modi is clearly promoting a Hindu nationalist agenda. He, like Trump, is also the victor in an election campaign that has used fearmongering and anti-Muslim rhetoric to consolidate support.


Modi's and Trump’s kinship makes sense in this context. During a Houston rally in the fall, Modi said he supports Trump's efforts to "Make America Great Again." Trump and Modi pledged to support each other's efforts to “protect innocent civilians from radical Islamic terrorism.” From enacting a “Muslim ban” during his first days in office to speech that far too often denigrates minorities, Trump has encouraged the kind of anti-Muslim sentiment that dovetails with the Islamophobic atmosphere in India right now — and indeed is increasingly spreading around the world.

The consequences of this atmosphere can be seen in the language used by Modi’s Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), which threatens to denaturalize Muslims across the country. As Ravi Kishan, a prominent member of Parliament and supporter of the CAA, said recently, “India has always been a Hindu nation.”

As a first-generation, Indian American immigrant myself, I watch what is happening both in my home and the homes of many of my family members with frustration — and yet the Indian diaspora remains largely silent. Where is the outrage? I recognize the struggle and the fear of appearing “too American” or “too Westernized.” And I recognize the desire to want to connect with our homeland and its heritage. We, as immigrants, hold a double identity that we constantly battle to balance.
------------------

It is not right to support Modi simply out of a sense of Indian solidarity. We need to stand in solidarity with those working for the betterment of India. We must call out those who don’t dare decry Modi’s actions, those who are so easily seduced by Trump’s saccharine tweets in Hindi; tweets which ignore the crippling afflictions in India. We cannot let Trump’s deceptive techniques fool us into believing he has our interests at heart, as he has apparently fooled both Indians and Indian American immigrants alike.

Indian American immigrants might rather avoid this messy topic. But we cannot settle for an authoritarian government — neither in America nor in India. We must confront the discomfort on social media and in WhatsApp chats. If we sit idly by, we are complicit.

The heart of India is burning. Pointing out the flaws is the only path toward a better India — an India we can all be proud of.
Riaz Haq said…
Loud #bigotry of our times under #Modi is no great break from the past. #Indian “liberalism” had to do with #Muslims “knowing their place”. Muslims were to act as mascots of #Hindu #India’s tolerant culture, not assert #equality with majority #Hindus by Sanjay Srivastava

https://scroll.in/article/955374/indian-liberalism-is-a-historical-myth-that-must-be-countered-if-we-escape-our-current-nightmare

The good Muslim syndrome
The most fundamental aspect of our recent past is that our parents were not particularly committed to the values of religious tolerance that they are frequently credited with as a pre-Modi phenomenon. Their relationship with their Muslim co-citizens was premised on a specific set of circumstances.

Firstly, it had to do with Muslims “knowing their place”. Muslims were to act as mascots of Hindu India’s tolerant culture, rather than exercise an identity that might assert equality with members of the majority community. This was the condition of Hindu contextualism where “secular India” was deeply rooted in the values and public symbolism of Hinduism. Our public functions began (and still begin) with lighting lamps, ships were launched by breaking coconuts and we sang (and now sing with greater fervour) Sanskrit hymns at various national occasions as if these were areligious markers of post-colonial identity.

That is the world our parents grew up in and subscribed to: the “good Muslim” was the one who knew his or her place in a society marked by Hindu contextualism. Even Nehru, perhaps one of the very few who might have understood the meaning of genuine multiculturalism, was not able to counter these tendencies.

Eliding caste
Secondly, there was no India of our parent’s generation that seriously engaged with the caste question. Rather, if we have now come to believe that our parents decried casteism – and that its resurgence is linked to the break-down of their culture of liberalism – this is an entirely spurious view, nurtured by a very Indian culture of filial obligation.

Men and women of an earlier generation – the first and second generation of post-Independence parents – were as deeply casteist as their apparent antithetical contemporary counterparts. What was true of the earlier generation was that – like the Left parties – they pronounced that “in their circles” caste was not a problem.

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A soft bigotry

The fact of the matter is that neither was our parents’ time one of a golden age of tolerance and constitutional morality nor is it the case that we have now – in a space of six years! – dramatically changed. The first perspective is misplaced filial obligation and the second is a simplistic understanding of social and cultural change.

Our parents practised bigotry of a quiet sort, one that did not require the loud proclamations that are the norm now. Muslims and the lower castes knew their place and the structures of social and economic authority were not under threat. This does not necessarily translate into a tolerant generation. Rather, it was a generation whose attitudes towards religion and caste was never really tested.

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The great problem with all this is that we continue to believe that what is happening today is simply an aberration and that we will, when the nightmare is over, return to the Utopia that was once ours. However, it isn’t possible to return to the past that was never there. It will only lead to an even darker future. And, filial affection is no antidote for it.

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