India Republic Day: Modi's Hindutva Threatens Secular Constitution and National Unity

India's secular constitution came into effect on January 26, 1950, a day that is celebrated as Republic Day. Today, the national integrity and the secular foundations of the Republic of India are under threat from its current Prime Minister Mr. Narendra Modi whose leader Madhav Golwalkar wrote: “The non-Hindu peoples in Hindusthan must either adopt the Hindu culture and language, must learn to respect and hold in reverence Hindu religion” or “may stay in the country, wholly subordinated to the Hindu nation, claiming nothing, deserving no privileges, far less preferential treatment—not even citizen’s rights.” Recently enacted laws like Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA), National Registration of Citizens (NRC), beef ban and Love Jihad are translating Golwalkar's vision of Hindu Rashtra into reality. 


War on Indian Muslims: 

In a prescient remark back in 1940s, Dr. B.R. Ambedkar, the framer of India's constitution, warned that “…if war comes in this country and if that war has any relation to the issue with which we are confronted today, it will not be a war on the British. It will be a war on the Muslims”. Rising daily violence against Indian Muslims and recently enacted laws like Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA), National Registration of Citizens (NRC), beef ban and Love Jihad confirm what Dr. Ambedkar feared. 

India Leads the World in Internet Shutdowns


Ex PM Manmohan Singh's Fears:

Former India Prime Minister Mr. Manmohan Singh's fears of India's disintegration are much more tangible now than ever before. In an interview on BBC's Hard Talk with Indian journalist Karan Thapar in 1999, Mr. Singh: "Great Nations like the Soviet Union have perished. If we continue to mis-manage our economy and continue to divide our country on the basis of religion, caste or other sectarian issues there is a danger of that sort of thing happening".  

Today, the rise of Hindutva forces is tearing India apart along caste and religious lines as the country celebrates its Republic Day.  Hindu mobs are lynching Muslims and Dalits. A  Pew Research report confirms that the level of hostility against religious minorities in India is "very high", giving India a score of 9.5 on a scale from 0 to 10. Pakistan's score on this scale is 7 while Bangladesh's is 7.5.

Chart Courtesy of Bloomberg

Will India Break Up? 

In a book entitled "The Raisina Model",  British-Indian author Lord Meghnad Desai asks: "A country of many nations, will India break up?" The Hindu Nationalists who are blamed for deepening divisions are themselves divided on the key questions of caste, religion and trade.  Professor Walter Anderson, co-author of "The RSS: The View to the Inside" raises the specter of "a battle between Hindutva and Hinduism".




The Raisina Model:

In "The Raisina Model", Lord Meghand Desai says that India's breakup can not be ruled out. Specifically, he points to three issues that could lead to it:

1.  Cow protection squads are killing Muslims and jeopardizing their livelihoods.  The current agitation about beef eating and gau raksha is in the Hindi belt just an excuse for attacking Muslims blatantly. As most slaughterhouses in UP are Muslim-owned, owners and employees of these places are prime targets.

2. India has still not fashioned a narrative about its nationhood which can satisfy all. The two rival narratives—secular and Hindu nation—are both centred in the Hindi belt extending to Gujarat and Maharashtra at the most. This area comprises 51% of the total population and around 45% of the Muslims in India.

3. India has avoided equal treatment of unequal units. Representation in the Rajya Sabha (Upper House of Parliament) is proportional to population size. If anything, it is the smaller states that may complain about being marginalized, though so far none has. The larger states thus dominate both Houses of Parliament. It would be difficult for small states to object, much less initiate reform. In future, small states could unite to present their case for better treatment. Except for Punjab and Nagaland, there has been no attempt to challenge the status quo.


Map of India(s) on the eve of British conquest in 1764



Hindutva vs Hinduism:

In  "The RSS: The View to the Inside", the author Walter Anderson brings out several areas which could lead to a split within the Hindu Nationalists. These disagreements have to do with low caste Hindus, Muslims and  foreign trade and investment policies.

1. The leadership of the the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) is drawn entirely from the upper caste Brahmins. The RSS founder Golwalkar never spoke against the caste system. The RSS opposes affirmative action, called reservations, to benefit low caste Hindus. At the same time, they want to integrate Dalits and OBCs (Other backward classes of which Prime Minister Modi is a member) into the organization to promote Hindu unity.

Anderson believes that it will be extremely difficult to reconcile Hindutva embrace of lower castes with the entrenched Hindu caste system. He says the following:

"..there will eventually be a battle between Hindutva and Hinduism. Hindutva emphasizes the oneness of Hindus, whereas ground realities are very different. Let me give an example. Following the egalitarian ideology, Tarun Vijay, an RSS ideologue and former editor of Panchjanya and Organiser, once led some Dalits into a temple in central India, where they had not been before. He was beaten up, but few in the RSS family vocally supported him. They kept mostly quiet. As one important RSS functionary put it to me, the key question is: how do we keep our organisation intact if we do move towards an egalitarian Hindu society?"

2. When RSS leader MD Deoras invited Indian Muslims to join the RSS, he argued that Muslims were mostly India-born, and therefore Indian. But he made the Muslim entry into the RSS conditional upon accepting India’s “historic culture”.  RSS leaders argue that South Indian Muslims, or Indonesian Muslims are ideal Muslims. South Indian Muslims speak the regional languages; and Indonesia, a primarily Muslim country, has the Ramayana as its national epic.

3. Many RSS ideologues oppose Prime Minister Modi's policies of promoting foreign trade and investment. They view Modi's economic policies with great skepticism.



Summary:

 Dr. B.R. Ambedkar's fears of War on Indian Muslims are becoming reality. Former India PM Manmohan Singh has warned: "Great Nations like the Soviet Union have perished. If we continue to mis-manage our economy and continue to divide our country on the basis of religion, caste or other sectarian issues there is a danger of that sort of thing happening". The rise of RSS and its affiliates in India is deepening divisions in the country along multiple fault lines, the most important being caste and religion. The RSS leadership itself is not unified on how to deal with the divisions they have created and promoted. This situation has raised the social hostilities in India to very high levels. Pew scores social hostilities against minorities in India at 9.5 on a scale from 0 to 10.  Professor Walter Anderson, co-author of "The RSS: The View to the Inside" has raised the specter of "a battle between Hindutva and Hinduism". And it has caused Lord Meghnad Desai, author of The Raisina Model, to ask the question: Will India break up?


Here's ex PM Manmohan Singh on Hard Talk with Karan Thapar: 



Comments

Riaz Haq said…
What the data were showing us was that the genetic distinctions among jati groups within India were in many cases real, thanks to the long-standing history of endogamy in the subcontinent. People tend to think of India, with its more than 1.3 billion people, as having a tremendously large population, and indeed many Indians as well as foreigners see it this way. But genetically, this is an incorrect way to view the situation. The Han Chinese are truly a large population. They have been mixing freely for thousands of years. In contrast, there are few if any Indian groups that are demographically very large, and the degree of genetic differentiation among Indian jati groups living side by side in the same village is typically two to three times higher than the genetic differentiation between northern and southern Europeans.39 The truth is that India is composed of a large number of small populations.

Reich, David. Who We Are and How We Got Here (p. 170). Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group. Kindle Edition.
Riaz Haq said…
Is #Biden backing away from #Trump policy of confrontation with #China? Where does that leave #Modi's #India? #US President hints at "extreme competition'" with China, says there's no need for conflict. Biden said he and Xi had "a lot to talk about." https://www.newsweek.com/biden-hints-extreme-competition-china-says-theres-no-need-conflict-1567408

resident Joe Biden is aware of the significance of the U.S. relationship with China, but his administration is going to navigate foreign policy on its own terms.

"We need not have a conflict, but there's going to be extreme competition," Biden said to anchor Norah O'Donnell in an interview to air in full Sunday evening on CBS Evening News. Referring to his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping, he said, "I'm not going to do it the way that he knows. And that's because he's sending signals as well. I'm not going to do it the way Trump did."

China's relationship with America "is probably one of the most important in the entire world," O'Donnell said. Xi's growing power will be extremely important to Biden's foreign policy agenda. Most Europeans believe China will surpass the U.S. as the most powerful nation in 10 years. Last year, EU-China trade from January to September surpassed $516 billion, far more than that between Europe and the U.S. during the same period.

When O'Donnell asked why Biden has not yet spoken with Xi since taking office last month, he told the anchor about his past experiences engaging with China's leader during his visits to China in 2011 and 2013, and later when Xi came to Iowa in 2015.

"We haven't had occasion to talk to him yet," Biden said. "There's no reason not to call him. I probably spent more time with Xi Jinping, I'm told, than any world leader has, because I had 24, 25 hours of private meetings with him when I was vice president. Traveled 17,000 miles with him. I know him pretty well."
Riaz Haq said…
White Tiger Movie Review

https://www.washingtonpost.com/goingoutguide/movies/the-white-tiger-movie-review/2021/01/06/35d7fa02-4d48-11eb-a9d9-1e3ec4a928b9_story.html

There’s a sense of snarling menace implicit in “The White Tiger,” a subversive, sharp-toothed dramedy of upward social mobility by writer-director Ramin Bahrani (“99 Homes”), based on Aravind Adiga’s best-selling 2008 novel, which won the Man Booker Prize. It’s not just in the title, a metaphorical moniker for uniqueness slapped on the film’s ambitious protagonist, a canny but impoverished low-caste Indian named Balram (Adarsh Gourav), as a child. It’s there, lurking in every shadow of this dark rags-to-riches tale itself: a coiled threat to the traditional world order of haves and have-nots, just waiting to pounce.

After the opening scene, set in a car careening through the streets of Delhi at night — a short, alarming prologue that is quickly interrupted by Balram’s narration, framed somewhat preposterously as an email he’s composing to Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao on the eve of his 2010 visit to India — the film gets down to business. Told mostly in flashback, “Tiger” follows Balram’s rise from poverty to become the No. 2 chauffeur for a rich, corrupt landlord known as the Stork (Mahesh Manjrekar) and his son Ashok (Rajkummar Rao).

It isn’t long that he’s No. 2. Balram soon supplants the Stork’s top driver (Girish Pal) when he reveals that the longtime employee — or servant, in the parlance of the film — is a Muslim. (The Stork hates Muslims.) Soon Balram is making money in side hustles that involve submitting fake invoices to his boss for unnecessary repairs, and siphoning gas to sell on the streets, all the while ingratiating himself with the Western-educated Ashok and his American-raised wife, a chiropractor named Pinky (Priyanka Chopra Jonas). Both of them are progressive enough to treat Balram not as their servant but their pal — until it no longer serves them, that is.


Such polarization and inequality — Balram casts it as another dichotomy: an India of darkness, and an India of light — isn’t unique to his country. And as the blithely clueless cheerfulness of film’s antihero gradually curdles to cunning connivance, so does the narrative’s black comedy congeal, taking on a tone that is less jokey than sickening. (Balram cracks wise throughout the film, saying at one point, about the world’s largest democracy: “If I were in charge of India, I’d get the sewage pipes first, then the democracy.”)

Riaz Haq said…
#Biden's #China Policy: #US “should put less focus on trying to slow China down and more emphasis on trying to run faster ourselves”. #America's common anti-China policy with #Japan, #SouthKorea, #India and #Australia #geopolitics #Quad #Asia #IndoPacific https://www.nytimes.com/2021/03/17/us/politics/us-china-relations.html

President Biden is engineering a sharp shift in policy toward China, focused on gathering allies to counter Beijing’s coercive diplomacy around the world and ensuring that China does not gain a permanent advantage in critical technologies.

At first glance, it seems to adopt much of the Trump administration’s conviction that the world’s two biggest powers are veering dangerously toward confrontation, a clear change in tone from the Obama years.

But the emerging strategy more directly repudiates the prevailing view of the last quarter century that deep economic interdependence could be counted on to temper fundamental conflicts on issues like China’s military buildup, its territorial ambitions and human rights.

It focuses anew on competing more aggressively with Beijing on technologies vital to long-term economic and military power, after concluding that President Donald J. Trump’s approach — a mix of expensive tariffs, efforts to ban Huawei and TikTok, and accusations about sending the “China virus” to American shores — had failed to change President Xi Jinping’s course.

The result, as Jake Sullivan, President Biden’s national security adviser, put it during the campaign last year, is an approach that “should put less focus on trying to slow China down and more emphasis on trying to run faster ourselves” through increased government investment in research and technologies like semiconductors, artificial intelligence and energy.

Mr. Sullivan and Secretary of State Antony J. Blinken will road-test the new approach in what promises to be a tense first encounter on Thursday with their Chinese counterparts in Anchorage. It is a meeting they delayed until they could reach the outlines of a common strategy with allies — notably Japan, South Korea, India and Australia — and one they insisted had to take place on American soil.

But it will also be a first demonstration of Beijing’s determination to stand up to the new administration, and a chance for its diplomats to deliver a litany of complaints about Washington’s “evil” interference in China’s affairs, as a Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman put it on Wednesday.

The United States imposed sanctions on 24 Chinese officials on Wednesday for undermining Hong Kong’s democratic freedoms, an action whose timing was pointed and clearly intentional. Mr. Blinken said in Tokyo this week that “we will push back if necessary when China uses coercion or aggression to get its way.”

And that is happening almost daily, he conceded, including Beijing’s efforts to terminate Hong Kong’s autonomy, intimidate Australia and Taiwan, and move ahead, despite international condemnation, with what Mr. Blinken has said is a “genocide” aimed at China’s Uyghur minority.

It is all part of the initial resetting of the relationship that has marked Mr. Biden’s renewed, if now far more tense, encounters with Mr. Xi.

Back when Mr. Biden was vice president and Mr. Xi was consolidating power on his way to becoming China’s most powerful leader in decades, the two men met in China and the United States and offered public assurances that confrontation was not inevitable.

The intelligence assessment inside the American government at the time was that Mr. Xi would proceed cautiously, focus on economic development at home and avoid direct confrontation with the United States.
Riaz Haq said…
Swami Shashi The political Hinduism of Shashi Tharoor – Kancha Ilaiah Shepherd



http://www.kanchailaiah.com/2018/05/28/swami-shashi-the-political-hinduism-of-shashi-tharoor/


Tharoor’s book is the very opposite of mine, and not just in its title. I said I am not a Hindu because of the inequality by birth of different communities within Hinduism, as enshrined in the caste system that pervades Hindu scripture, morality, ritual, social organisation—really the entire Hindu worldview. The very theory of caste goes against the fundamental principle that all humans are created equal. I also criticised Hinduism’s negation of the values and labour that go into productive work, which it stigmatises and reserves for oppressed castes, and the resulting maltreatment of productive communities, including Shudras and Dalits (the book referred to both under the collective term “Dalitbahujans”). Tharoor, by contrast, talks of restoring Hinduism “to its truest essence, which in many ways is that of an almost ideal faith for the twenty-first-century world.” He celebrates it as “a religion that is personal and individualistic, privileges the individual and does not subordinate one to a collectivity; a religion that grants and respects complete freedom to the believer to find his or her own answers to the true meaning of life; a religion that offers a wide range of choice in religious practice, even in regard to the nature and form of the formless God; a religion that places great emphasis on one’s mind, and values one’s capacity for reflection, intellectual enquiry, and selfstudy; a religion that distances itself from dogma and holy writ, that is minimally prescriptive and yet offers an abundance of options, spiritual and philosophical texts and social and cultural practices to choose from.”



Tharoor does not seem to have read my book, despite choosing a title that echoes mine. He does not engage with my arguments anywhere. He also ignores some far more important thinkers on Hinduism. Among Shudra writers alone, the tradition of critiquing the religion goes back at least to Jyotirao Phule, the Maharashtrian social reformer whose 1873 book Gulamgiri, or “Slavery,” was a stinging critique of Hinduism and the caste system. In 1941, Dharma Theertha published The History of Hindu Imperialism, another serious assessment of Hinduism, and came to conclude that it oppresses all Shudras. Although Dharma Theertha was a Nair like Tharoor, he refused to describe himself as a Hindu.


How does Tharoor come to a different view of Hinduism than any Shudra writer of great prominence before him? Simply put, it is by not applying any critical or analytical thinking. His main strategy of persuasion is not argument, but repetition with rhetorical flourishes of a two-in-one premise and conclusion, stated already in the very first paragraph of the book where he describes Hinduism as “that most plural, inclusive, eclectic and expansive of faiths.”



The book’s first section, largely autobiographical and titled “My Hinduism,” is strangely silent on aspects of Tharoor’s own background, including his caste. It is also very selective in its citation of holy texts, while whitewashing Hindu history and sidestepping many of Hinduism’s sharpest critics. The second section, “Political Hinduism,” blames only Hindutva groups for mixing Hinduism with politics, pretending that Tharoor’s own Congress party has never had anything to do with that kind of politicisation. The third section, “Taking Back Hinduism,” disguises a proposed return to Tharoor’s “essence” of Hinduism as a step forward rather than back.



Tharoor admits that he does not write as a scholar of Hinduism, but it is obvious that he does not even write as a sincere autobiographer. That leaves him writing as a politician—a politician who wants to keep one foot each in two camps, the Congress and the Bharatiya Janata Party.



“why am i a hindu?” Tharoor asks. Because, he answers, “I was born one.” This raises the question: with what status was he born into Hinduism?
Riaz Haq said…
California student body demands ban on caste-based discrimination
‘Historic’ resolution passed by student association at California State University calls for adding caste in school’s anti-discrimination policy.

https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2021/4/16/california-student-body-demands-ban-on-caste-based-discrimination

While taking cognisance of incidents of discrimination faced by Dalits on campuses, the student association said the addition of caste within CSU’s anti-discrimination policy would further reiterate the school’s “commitment to diversity, equity, and support for those most systemically marginalised”.

Interestingly, the resolution was authored by a higher caste student and backed by three other students from different racial and religious groups.

“This was a joint inter-caste, inter-faith and multiracial coalitional work,” Manmit Singh Chahal, 20, a California Polytechnic State University student and lead author of the resolution, told Al Jazeera.

-----------

An association representing nearly half a million university students in California, United States has passed a resolution seeking a ban on caste-based discrimination faced mainly by the Dalit students, with rights groups calling the move “historic”.

Formerly referred to as “untouchables”, Dalits lie at the bottom of the complex Hindu caste hierarchy and have faced socio-economic oppression for decades. India officially banned untouchability when it adopted its constitution in 1950, but the practice continues among the South Asian communities, mainly Hindus.

Last week, the Cal State Student Association (CSSA), the country’s largest four-year public university system representing 23 campuses of the California State University (CSU) system, passed the resolution with 22-0 vote in an online meeting, supporting the addition of caste as a protected category against discrimination.

The students’ body directed the University Board of Trustees to add caste in the system’s anti-discrimination policy and provide resources to its staff members to better their understanding of caste.

“Current CSU policy prohibiting discrimination includes many of the identities intertwined with caste but does not protect from caste-based discrimination specifically,” the resolution said.

The resolution cited a survey by Equality Labs which said 25 percent of Dalits reported facing verbal or physical assault based on their caste in the US.


“One in three Dalit students report being discriminated against during their education in the US, two out of three Dalits surveyed reported being treated unfairly at their workplace in the US,” the resolution said, adding that 60 percent of Dalits reported experiencing caste-based derogatory jokes or comments in the country.

“All of these inequalities associated with caste status have become embedded in all of the leading South Asian American institutions and they extend into American mainstream institutions that have significant South Asian immigrant populations,” it said, noting that such discrimination “has long been overlooked by American institutions”.
Riaz Haq said…
#India’s #Modi’s rise and failures as seen through Time Magazine Covers 2014-2021. #BJP #Hindutva #India #COVID

https://twitter.com/haqsmusings/status/1388705221921034243?s=20
Riaz Haq said…
Pew survey finds that #Hindus tend to see their religious identity and #Indian national identity as closely intertwined: Nearly two-thirds of Hindus (64%) say it is very important to be #Hindu to be “truly” Indian. #HinduRashtra #Modi #HIndutva #BJP #India https://www.pewforum.org/2021/06/29/religion-in-india-tolerance-and-segregation/

Most Hindus (59%) also link Indian identity with being able to speak Hindi – one of dozens of languages that are widely spoken in India. And these two dimensions of national identity – being able to speak Hindi and being a Hindu – are closely connected. Among Hindus who say it is very important to be Hindu to be truly Indian, fully 80% also say it is very important to speak Hindi to be truly Indian.

The BJP’s appeal is greater among Hindus who closely associate their religious identity and the Hindi language with being “truly Indian.” In the 2019 national elections, 60% of Hindu voters who think it is very important to be Hindu and to speak Hindi to be truly Indian cast their vote for the BJP, compared with only a third among Hindu voters who feel less strongly about both these aspects of national identity.

Overall, among those who voted in the 2019 elections, three-in-ten Hindus take all three positions: saying it is very important to be Hindu to be truly Indian; saying the same about speaking Hindi; and casting their ballot for the BJP.

These views are considerably more common among Hindus in the largely Hindi-speaking Northern and Central regions of the country, where roughly half of all Hindu voters fall into this category, compared with just 5% in the South.

———————

Among Southern Indians, for example, 30% see widespread discrimination against Dalits, compared with 13% in the Central part of the country. And among the Dalit community in the South, even more (43%) say their community faces a lot of discrimination, compared with 27% among Southern Indians in the General Category who say the Dalit community faces widespread discrimination in India.

A higher share of Dalits in the South and Northeast than elsewhere in the country say they, personally, have faced discrimination in the last 12 months because of their caste: 30% of Dalits in the South say this, as do 38% in the Northeast.

Riaz Haq said…
Why is "Dismantling Global #Hindutva" Conference not ‘Hindu-phobic’: Oppression in #Kashmir, destruction of #BabriMasjid for Ram Temple in #Ayodhya, #CAA, green signal to #Hindu #terrorist groups & lynchings of #Muslims are all manifestations of Hindutva https://scroll.in/global/1003682/opinion-why-the-dismantling-global-hindutva-conference-is-urgent-necessary-and-long-overdue


Hindutva, as described by Vinayak Damodar Savarkar in a publication in 1923, is an ethno-nationalist majoritarian ideological project. The ideology of Hindutva proposes that India is essentially a Hindu country defined by a Hindu cultural ethos, Hindus are the true and authentic inhabitants of the land and religious minorities, especially Muslims and Christians, are outsiders who are allowed to live in the country by the grace and willingness of the Hindu majority.

The organisers of the conference are understandably keeping their identities private for reasons of safety and security, given the long history of the global Hindu Right of threatening scholars, whether Romila Thapar, Wendy Doniger, Paul Courtright or Audrey Truschke. By way of disclosure, I should mention that my institution is not involved in any way in organising the event.



--------------

The event seeks to bring a long-delayed global awareness about the operations of an exclusionary and discriminatory ideology.


The Dismantling Global Hindutva Conference – scheduled for September 10 and featuring a number of reputed scholars, activists and journalists who are intimately acquainted with different aspects of Hindu nationalism – is a long overdue, important and necessary initiative.

The conference is jointly sponsored by over 40 departments in major American universities and colleges.

--------------------


Hindutva versus Hinduism
Predictably, the global Hindu Right, in a near-perfect illustration of some of the themes of the conference, has its knickers in a twist and is trying its best to shut down the event through an arsenal of desperate tactics. A somewhat hysterical petition on Change.org accuses the conference of promoting “genocide” against Hindus.

A range of Hindu-American organisations, like the Hindu American Foundation, for all their rhetoric of supporting liberal values, have written to participating academic institutions urging them to withdraw their support for the conference. Aside from an utter lack of understanding of how academia works and of the concept of academic autonomy, Hindu American Foundation’s stance also reveals a bewildering ignorance of the principles of freedom of speech and inquiry.


Cynically and mendaciously, the individuals and organisations that are opposing the conference are conflating Hinduism and Hindutva, although the title and focus of the conference make it amply clear that the conference is centred on the latter.

This fact has also been reiterated by Hindu groups, like Hindus for Human Rights, which support the conference. It may be an innocent coincidence, but a few days ago, Taranjit Singh Sandhu, the Indian ambassador to the US, organised an event with the heads of US universities, many (if not all) of whom appear to be of Indian origin.

Perhaps, this was intended as a subtle message to them to abstain from supporting the conference. In any case, given the timing, it is hard not to see the event as an attempt at damage control by the Bharatiya Janata Party government.

Reshaping India
As the formal political wing of the Hindu Right, the BJP, it is worth stressing here, endorses the ideology of Hindutva and has left no stone unturned in the last few years to realise its agenda of reshaping India as a Hindu religious state.


The suspension of Kashmiri autonomy, the endorsement for building the Ram Janmabhoomi temple, the Citizenship Amendment Act and the green signal to vigilante and militant Hindu groups to take the law into their hands are all manifestations of this goal.
Riaz Haq said…
It Is No Longer ‘Incredible India’ But ‘Intolerant India’.
#Modi's #Hindutva activists are seeking to enforce rigid codes of normative #Hindu culture and #Islamophobia by forcing the withdrawal of progressive advertisements. #India @Diplomat_APAC https://thediplomat.com/2021/11/it-is-no-longer-incredible-india-but-intolerant-india/


The BJP’s troll army soon took to Twitter, with #BanFabIndia trending and some even demanding that models in advertisements should have “Hindu appropriate dressing” with women sporting a bindi, a traditional dot on the forehead of Indian women. A right-wing influencer lashed out at the “secularization” of Hindu festivals, tweeting #NoBindiNoBusiness and calling for a boycott of brands that did not comply with the sentiments of Hindu culture. Consequently, Fab India not only withdrew its promo advertisement but tried to mollify the right-wing by stating that its soon-to-be launched Diwali campaign was titled an innocuous “Jhilmil Si Diwali” (Sparkling Diwali).

While the targeting of the skin bleach advertisement is an attempt to enforce rigid codes of normative Hindu culture with a homophobic worldview, the Fab India advertisement controversy is an attempt to entrench Islamophobia in the masses. The saffron brigade and its votaries, namely the BJP politicians, assign themselves the role of custodians of Indian culture. In their myopic view, recognition of the LGBTQ community and its rights is anathema and they are highly intolerant of introduction of any progressive ideas into Hindu festivals and traditions. Highlighting India’s cultural and religious diversity, especially Hindu-Muslim brotherhood, angers the right wing.

Significantly, the increasing attacks on advertisements have coincided with the mainstreaming of hate politics championed by the BJP under Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

Islamophobia in India has escalated to ridiculous heights. Linguists point out that the language Urdu is not the sole preserve of Muslims in the country, but Urdu words are widely used in everyday speech and literary texts of Hindustani language.

Incidentally, these were not the only advertisements that were targeted by the Hindutva brigade this festive season. CEAT Tyres was viciously trolled and faced an onslaught of online abuse after its Diwali advertisement featured Bollywood actor Aamir Khan advising children not to burst firecrackers on the streets but within the apartment complex.

BJP Member of Parliament Ananth Kumar Hegde, who habitually spews communal venom, wrote to the CEO of CEAT Tyres accusing the company of “creating unrest among Hindus.” In his letter which he made public on Facebook, Hegde also attacked the actor Khan, who is a Muslim. “Nowadays, a group of anti-Hindu actors always hurt the Hindu sentiments whereas they never try to expose the wrong doings of their community.”

In a long rant, Hegde lashed out at Muslims in general for offering namaaz (prayers) on the roads, which he said was public property. He described the Azaan, the muezzin’s call to prayer, as noise pollution. He issued a dire warning to the CEAT Tyres company to “not hurt Hindu sentiments” in future.

Hindutva leaders are now turning Hindu festivals into a weapon against Muslims, says Apoorvanand, a professor at Delhi University. The backlash against these recent advertisements is certainly an indicator of this trend.
Riaz Haq said…
Book Excerpt (Aakar Patel's Price of the Modi Years): The Many Anti-Muslim Laws Brought in By the Modi Government
While the Citizenship Amendment Act rightly was criticised around the world for specifically targeting Muslims along with the NRC pincer, other laws India has passed since 2014 have not received as much notice.

https://thewire.in/politics/price-of-the-modi-years-book-excerpt


These are those laws the Modi years have given us:

1. The Maharashtra Animal Preservation (Amendment) Act, 2015


Under this law anyone found in possession of beef would be jailed for up to five years. It also banned the slaughter of bulls, bullocks and calves in addition to the existing ban on cow slaughter.

2. The Haryana Gauvansh Sanrakshan and Gausamvardhan Act, 2015

Possession of beef punishable by up to five years in jail. Sale of cows for slaughter to another state punishable by seven years in jail. Cow slaughter would attract jail of up to 10 years. The burden of proof would be on the accused.

3. The Gujarat Animal Preservation (Amendment) Bill, 2017

This law extended the punishment for cow slaughter from seven years to life. It allows permanent forfeiture of vehicles transporting animals except under prescribed conditions. It also increased the fine from Rs 1 lakh to Rs 5 lakh. Minister of state for home Pradipsinh Jadeja said the logic was to equal cow slaughter with murder.

4. The Karnataka Prevention of Slaughter and Preservation of Cattle Ordinance, 2020 repealed the 1964 law which allowed the slaughter of bullocks.

It made cow slaughter punishable by up to seven years. Purchase, sale, disposal or transport of cattle outside the state except in prescribed manner would be punishable by five years in jail. Fines of up to Rs 10 lakh are also imposed.

The Maharashtra law has this clause: “9B. Burden of proof on accused. In any trial … the burden of proving that the slaughter, transport, export outside the State, sale, purchase or possession of flesh of cow, bull or bullock was not in contravention of the provisions of this Act shall be on the accused.”

Meaning that you are guilty unless you can prove yourself innocent. If you are found with a bloody knife next to a corpse, you are presumed innocent. It is the State that has to demonstrate that you committed murder. But if you are found with or found near meat and accused of possessing beef you are presumed guilty of possessing beef till you disprove this to the satisfaction of the State. This is an invitation to violence. Two weeks after Maharashtra, on 17 March 2015, Haryana under the BJP passed its law criminalising possession of beef. The law has this section: ‘No person shall directly or indirectly sell, keep, store, transport or offer for sale or cause to be sold beef or beef products.’ Burden of proof was reversed here also. Punishment is up to five years.

While the Citizenship Amendment Act rightly was criticised around the world for specifically targeting Muslims along with the NRC pincer, other laws India has passed since 2014 have not received as much notice. The judiciary has been supine and allowed a de facto Hindu Rashtra to emerge through legislation. These laws have been written and passed and are being applied across India, targeting Indian Muslims, brutalising them constantly, while a demented media and a bored public have looked away.

Aakar Patel is Chair of Amnesty International India and author of Our Hindu Rashtra. His Price of the Modi Years will be released on November 14.

Riaz Haq said…
The Indian economy is being rewired. The opportunity is immense And so are the stakes

https://www.economist.com/leaders/2022/05/13/the-indian-economy-is-being-rewired-the-opportunity-is-immense

Who deserves the credit? Chance has played a big role: India did not create the Sino-American split or the cloud, but benefits from both. So has the steady accumulation of piecemeal reform over many governments. The digital-identity scheme and new national tax system were dreamed up a decade or more ago.

Mr Modi’s government has also got a lot right. It has backed the tech stack and direct welfare, and persevered with the painful task of shrinking the informal economy. It has found pragmatic fixes. Central-government purchases of solar power have kick-started renewables. Financial reforms have made it easier to float young firms and bankrupt bad ones. Mr Modi’s electoral prowess provides economic continuity. Even the opposition expects him to be in power well after the election in 2024.

The danger is that over the next decade this dominance hardens into autocracy. One risk is the bjp’s abhorrent hostility towards Muslims, which it uses to rally its political base. Companies tend to shrug this off, judging that Mr Modi can keep tensions under control and that capital flight will be limited. Yet violence and deteriorating human rights could lead to stigma that impairs India’s access to Western markets. The bjp’s desire for religious and linguistic conformity in a huge, diverse country could be destabilising. Were the party to impose Hindi as the national language, secessionist pressures would grow in some wealthy states that pay much of the taxes.

The quality of decision-making could also deteriorate. Prickly and vindictive, the government has co-opted the bureaucracy to bully the press and the courts. A botched decision to abolish bank notes in 2016 showed Mr Modi’s impulsive side. A strongman lacking checks and balances can eventually endanger not just demo cracy, but also the economy: think of President Recep Tayyip Erdogan in Turkey, whose bizarre views on inflation have caused a currency crisis. And, given the bjp’s ambivalence towards foreign capital, the campaign for national renewal risks regressing into protectionism. The party loves blank cheques from Silicon Valley but is wary of foreign firms competing in India. Today’s targeted subsidies could degenerate into autarky and cronyism—the tendencies that have long held India back.

Seizing the moment
For India to grow at 7% or 8% for years to come would be momentous. It would lift huge numbers of people out of poverty. It would generate a vast new market and manufacturing base for global business, and it would change the global balance of power by creating a bigger counterweight to China in Asia. Fate, inheritance and pragmatic decisions have created a new opportunity in the next decade. It is India’s and Mr Modi’s to squander. ■
Riaz Haq said…
The Indian economy is being rewired. The opportunity is immense And so are the stakes

https://www.economist.com/leaders/2022/05/13/the-indian-economy-is-being-rewired-the-opportunity-is-immense

Who deserves the credit? Chance has played a big role: India did not create the Sino-American split or the cloud, but benefits from both. So has the steady accumulation of piecemeal reform over many governments. The digital-identity scheme and new national tax system were dreamed up a decade or more ago.

Mr Modi’s government has also got a lot right. It has backed the tech stack and direct welfare, and persevered with the painful task of shrinking the informal economy. It has found pragmatic fixes. Central-government purchases of solar power have kick-started renewables. Financial reforms have made it easier to float young firms and bankrupt bad ones. Mr Modi’s electoral prowess provides economic continuity. Even the opposition expects him to be in power well after the election in 2024.

The danger is that over the next decade this dominance hardens into autocracy. One risk is the bjp’s abhorrent hostility towards Muslims, which it uses to rally its political base. Companies tend to shrug this off, judging that Mr Modi can keep tensions under control and that capital flight will be limited. Yet violence and deteriorating human rights could lead to stigma that impairs India’s access to Western markets. The bjp’s desire for religious and linguistic conformity in a huge, diverse country could be destabilising. Were the party to impose Hindi as the national language, secessionist pressures would grow in some wealthy states that pay much of the taxes.

The quality of decision-making could also deteriorate. Prickly and vindictive, the government has co-opted the bureaucracy to bully the press and the courts. A botched decision to abolish bank notes in 2016 showed Mr Modi’s impulsive side. A strongman lacking checks and balances can eventually endanger not just demo cracy, but also the economy: think of President Recep Tayyip Erdogan in Turkey, whose bizarre views on inflation have caused a currency crisis. And, given the bjp’s ambivalence towards foreign capital, the campaign for national renewal risks regressing into protectionism. The party loves blank cheques from Silicon Valley but is wary of foreign firms competing in India. Today’s targeted subsidies could degenerate into autarky and cronyism—the tendencies that have long held India back.

Seizing the moment
For India to grow at 7% or 8% for years to come would be momentous. It would lift huge numbers of people out of poverty. It would generate a vast new market and manufacturing base for global business, and it would change the global balance of power by creating a bigger counterweight to China in Asia. Fate, inheritance and pragmatic decisions have created a new opportunity in the next decade. It is India’s and Mr Modi’s to squander. ■
Riaz Haq said…
The biggest crisis that India is facing today is the “possible collapse of the Indian nation”, Nobel laureate and renowned economist Amartya Sen said recently in Kolkata. https://youtu.be/IqKVHVpgXJI

He paraphrased American poet Ogden Nash who said any schoolboy can love like a fool but hate is an art that has to be cultivated. Without naming Modi or BJP, he said some people have cultivated hate in India to serve their own interests.

"I think if someone asks me if I'm scared of something, I would say ‘yes’. There is a reason to be afraid now. The current situation in the country has become a cause for fear," the well-known economist said.

"I want the country to be united. I don't want division in a country that was historically liberal. We have to work together," Sen added.

“The world came to know of Upanishads because of a Muslim Prince. Dara Sikhoh, Shah Jahan's son, learnt Sanskrit and translated some of the Upanishads into Persian", he added.

Asserting that India cannot belong only to the Hindus or to the Muslims, Sen stressed on the need to stay united in line with the country’s traditions.

"India cannot be (a country) of Hindus only. Again, Muslims alone cannot make India. Everyone has to work together," Sen added.
Riaz Haq said…
Former Indian Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh's Tweet on Hindu Nationalists' reaction to India's loss to Pakistan in Asia Cup 2022:

Dr Manamohan Singh 💙
@Mr_ManmohanSing
·
12h
Muslim player's bad_day = gaddar deshdrohi

Sikh player's bad_day = #khalistani

Hindu player's bad_day = out of form today.
It is a mistake that's it,

How long is the discrimination?

https://twitter.com/Mr_ManmohanSing/status/1566634780443156480?s=20&t=Cx2gHLz30PVFMD-yv37RRw
Riaz Haq said…
#Meta execs told #HumanRights groups they wouldn’t release full #India #HateSpeech study for their own security. An earlier 2020 study concluded that #Hindutva groups support violence against #Muslims, #minorities & should be banned from #Facebook https://www.wsj.com/articles/meta-officials-cite-security-concerns-for-failing-to-release-details-of-india-hate-speech-study-11664370857?st=h010tutay1jsf5g via @WSJ

Executives at Meta Platforms Inc. META 5.36%▲ privately told rights groups that security concerns prevented them from releasing details of its investigation into hate speech on its services in India, according to audio recordings heard by The Wall Street Journal.

Meta, the parent company of Facebook, in July released a four-page summary of a human-rights impact assessment on India, its biggest market by users, where it has faced accusations of failing to adequately police hate speech against religious minorities. The India summary was part of the company’s first global human-rights report. The 83-page global report offers detailed findings of some previous investigations; it included only general descriptions of its India assessment, which disappointed some rights advocates.

“This is not the report that the human-rights team at Meta wanted to publish, we wanted to be able to publish more,” Iain Levine, a Meta senior human-rights adviser, said during private online briefings with rights groups in late July after the summary was released, according to the recordings.

“A decision was made at the highest levels of the company based upon both internal and external advice that it was not possible to do so for security reasons,” he said.

The company said at the time of the report’s release that it wouldn’t publish the full India assessment. It also said United Nations guidelines for companies reporting on human-rights issues caution against releasing details that could imperil stakeholders, a term that generally refers to people such as staff and external researchers involved in the reporting process.

Representatives from the rights groups contended in their meeting with Meta executives that the company wasn’t being transparent in its human-rights efforts, that it appeared not to take the undertaking seriously and that the groups had participated in good faith only to see Meta bury the findings, according to the recordings.

The fact that Meta isn’t releasing the full assessment is “a slap in my face and my people’s face who have endured so much hate speech on this platform,” said a person in the briefing who identified herself as an Indian Muslim researcher, according to the recordings. “We want a release of this report—now,” she said.

Mr. Levine and Miranda Sissons, Meta’s human-rights director, said they understood those complaints and wished they had been able to release more details, according to the recordings.

The executives said during the briefings that the effort represented an important first step in Meta addressing human-rights concerns. They said the summary was written after consulting the guidance on human-rights impact assessments for digital companies from the Danish Institute for Human Rights.

“This is the beginning of a reporting process where I think no activist, no human-rights defender of any kind would ever think that any of the work any company, or probably any entity, that is done is good enough and this team would agree,” Ms. Sissons said in one briefing, the recordings show.

Mr. Levine, who worked for more than three decades for global human-rights groups before joining Meta in 2020, told attendees of the briefings that 120 people at Meta reviewed the report, and that it was approved by president of global affairs Nick Clegg and chief legal officer Jennifer Newstead.
Riaz Haq said…
Tensions That Roiled English City Have Roots in #India. #LeicesterCity clashes reflect a spread of sometimes violent extremism across the broader Indian #diaspora driven by #Hindutva, the divisive political ideology supported by #Modi & #BJP. #Islamophobia https://www.nytimes.com/2022/10/02/world/europe/leicester-violence-uk.html?smid=tw-share

Experts say it is only the latest example of how the toxic politics that are roiling India — and leading to the persecution of Muslims, Christians and other religious minorities — have migrated to other parts of the globe.

Across the Indian diaspora, ugly divisions are emerging. A bulldozer, which has become a symbol of oppression against India’s Muslim minority, was rolled down a street in a New Jersey town during a parade this summer, offending many people. Last year, attacks on Sikh men in Australia were linked to extremist nationalist ideology. In April, Canadian academics told CBC News that they faced death threats over their criticism of growing Hindu nationalism and violence against minorities in India.

Since India’s independence struggle, Hindu nationalists have espoused a vision that places Hindu culture and religious worship at the center of Indian identity. That view, once fringe, was made mainstream when Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s party came to power.


Human rights observers have since documented a sharp rise in violence against minorities in India, particularly targeting Muslims, but also Christians. Activists and journalists, including many Muslims, have been jailed or threatened with prosecution under an antiterrorism law that has received scrutiny from India’s highest court.


Mr. Modi has largely responded to this violence with silence, which experts say his most extreme supporters interpret as a tacit sign of approval. Pratap Bhanu Mehta, a prominent Indian public intellectual, last month wrote that the Leicester episode followed a playbook “familiar for anyone who knows Indian riots: The use of rumors, groups from outside the local community, and marches to create polarization in otherwise peaceful communities.”

The tensions that spilled onto the streets last month have prompted soul searching among the different religious communities in Leicester, a city of about 368,000 in England’s Midlands. Leicester has one of Britain’s highest proportions of South Asians, a vast majority of them people of Indian heritage, who make up some 22.3 percent of the city’s overall population, according to the most recent government statistics.

Leicester is 13 percent Muslim and 12.3 percent Hindu, and most of the people from both religious groups are ethnically Indian.

After British rule ended with the partition of India in 1947, creating a separate state of Pakistan, subsequent legislation allowed citizens from across the Commonwealth to move to Britain. Another wave of South Asians arrived in the 1970s after Uganda’s dictator, Idi Amin, suddenly expelled thousands of people of mostly Indian origin from Uganda. By then, Leicester had gained a reputation as a city that was generally welcoming to immigrants.

“Leicester has always been proud of the fact that we have new people coming from all parts of the world,” said Rita Patel, a local councilor and member of a South Asian women’s collective working toward peacebuilding.


Riaz Haq said…
ANI
@ANI
#WATCH | It's said there's a lot of discussion on Jihad in Islam... Even after all efforts, if someone doesn't understand clean idea, power can be used, it's mentioned in Quran & Gita... Shri Krishna taught lessons of Jihad to Arjun in a part of Gita in Mahabharat: S Patil, ex-HM

https://twitter.com/ANI/status/1583132551056457735?s=20&t=BUqdkBb_-4-xkSKBG5PdYg

-------------------------


S. Patil in the tweeted video: "Krishna said he has come here not to establish peace, he has come with a sword"
Riaz Haq said…
As Gail Omvedt details in her classic study Buddhism in India, Brahmins used Vedic scripture to award themselves high status, sanctity, and power while circumscribing other communities in lower classes based on social function. Among the first scriptures to do this is the Rig Veda, in the Purusha Sukta, a hymn that introduces the concept of varna as part of the divine order.13 The Purusha is described as the first being from whom all other creation is derived. His sacrifice creates all life forms, including human beings, as his parts make up the origins of the universe, the elements, all the worlds, and everything in creation. The text says:

Soundararajan, Thenmozhi. The Trauma of Caste (p. 55). North Atlantic Books. Kindle Edition.

When they divided Puruṣha how many portions did they make? What do they call his mouth, his arms? What do they call his thighs and feet? The Brahman was his mouth, of both his arms was the Rājanya made. His thighs became the Vaiśya, from his feet the Śūdra was produced. The Moon was gendered from his mind, and from his eye the Sun had birth; Indra and Agni from his mouth were born, and Vāyu from his breath. Forth from his navel came mid-air; the sky was fashioned from his head, Earth from his feet, and from his ear the regions. Thus they formed the worlds.14

Soundararajan, Thenmozhi. The Trauma of Caste (p. 55). North Atlantic Books. Kindle Edition.

These verses describe a world in which all humans originate from the varnas, or social classes, that sprung from the body of Purusha. His mouth or his head was the origin of the priestly class, the Brahmins. Then the Rajanyas, or the varna that would come to be known as Kshatriyas—the rulers and warriors—were supposed to come from his arms and chest. The Vaishyas came from his abdomen and thighs; they were the merchants, artisans, and traders—tasked with being responsible for the external dealings in the world. The Shudras were the servant class, and they were his feet.

Soundararajan, Thenmozhi. The Trauma of Caste (pp. 55-56). North Atlantic Books. Kindle Edition.



Riaz Haq said…
AT 9.4 out of a maximum possible score of 10, India’s Social Hostilities Index (SHI) in 2020 was worse than neighbouring Pakistan and Afghanistan, and a further increase in its own index value for 2019, the Pew data showed. A higher score is worse. The report covered 198 countries.

https://www.livemint.com/news/india/communal-rift-highest-in-india-says-pew-study/amp-11669743517440.html


-------------


Indian American Muslim Council
@IAMCouncil
A latest
@pewresearch
report notes that India’s Social Hostilities Index (SHI) in 2020 was worse than Afghanistan, Syria & Mali.


https://twitter.com/IAMCouncil/status/1598143658796412928?s=20&t=rRgJr5qTL0sB-p9yW014gw

--------

In India, the Ministry of Home Affairs announced in April 2020 that more than 900 members of the Islamic group Tablighi Jamaat and other foreign nationals (most of whom were Muslim) had been placed “in quarantine” after participating in a conference in New Delhi allegedly linked to the spread of early cases of coronavirus. (Many of those detained were released or granted bail by July 2020.)

Pandemic-related killings of religious minorities were reported in three countries in 2020, according to the sources analyzed in the study. In India, two Christians died after they were beaten in police custody for violating COVID-19 curfews in the state of Tamil Nadu.

In India, there were multiple reports of Muslims being attacked after being accused of spreading the coronavirus. In Argentina and Italy, properties were vandalized with antisemitic posters and graffiti that linked Jews to COVID-19. In Italy, for example, authorities found graffiti of a Star of David with the words “equal to virus.” And in the U.S., a Mississippi church burned down in an arson attack about a month after its pastor sued the city over public health restrictions on large gatherings. Investigators found graffiti in the church parking lot that said, “Bet you stay home now you hypokrits.”

https://www.pewresearch.org/religion/2022/11/29/how-covid-19-restrictions-affected-religious-groups-around-the-world-in-2020/
Riaz Haq said…
Foreign Minister Bilawal Bhutto Zardari took India to task on Thursday for calling Pakistan “the epicentre of terrorism”, saying India “demonises the people of Pakistan” to hide its Hindu-supremacist ideas.

https://tribune.com.pk/story/2391342/bilawal-hits-back-at-india-for-calling-pakistan-epicenter-of-terrorism

The FM’s comments came minutes after his Indian counterpart had accused Pakistan of harbouring terrorists, including Osama bin Laden.


In his speech at the Security Council, the Indian minister had said that “India faced the horrors of cross-border terrorism long before the world took serious note of it” and has “fought terrorism resolutely, bravely and with a zero-tolerance approach".

Bilawal hit back at the comments saying “I am the foreign minister of Pakistan and Pakistan’s foreign minister is a victim of terrorism as the son of Shaheed Benazir Bhutto. The Prime Minister of Pakistan Shehbaz Sharif when he was chief minister of Punjab, his home minister was assassinated by a terrorist. Political parties, civil society, the average people in Pakistan across the board have been the victims of perpetrators of terrorism.”

“We have lost far more lives to terrorism than India has,” he added questioning why Pakistan would ever want to perpetuate terrorism and make “our own people suffer”.

“Unfortunately, India has been playing in that space […] where it is very easy to say ‘Muslim’ and ‘terrorist’ together and get the world to agree and they very skilfully blur this line where people like myself are associated with terrorists rather than those that have been and to this day are fighting terrorism,” he continued.

The FM then went on to say that New Delhi perpetuated this narrative not just against India but also Muslims in that country. “We are terrorists whether we’re Muslims in Pakistan and we’re terrorists whether we’re Muslims in India.”

“Osama bin Laden is dead,” said Bilawal, “but the butcher of Gujarat lives and he is the prime minister of India”.

“He [Narendra Modi] was banned from entering this country [the United States],” he continued, “these are the prime minister and foreign minister of the RSS [a right-wing Hindu nationalist organisation]”.

“The RSS draws its inspiration from Hitler’s SS [the Nazi Party’s combat branch, Schutzstaffel],” Bilawal added.

The FM went on to point out the irony in the inauguration of Gandhi’s bust at UN headquarters by the Indian FM and the UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres. “If the FM of India was being honest, then he knows as well as I, that the RSS does not believe in Gandhi, in his ideology. They do not see this individual as the founder of India, they hero-worship the terrorist that assassinated Gandhi.”

“They are not even attempting to wash the blood of the people of Gujarat off their hands,” said Bilawal, lamenting that the “Butcher of Gujarat” was now the “Butcher of Kashmir”.

“For their electoral campaign, Prime Minister Modi’s government has used their authority to pardon the men who perpetuated rape against Muslims in Gujarat. Those terrorists were freed by the prime minister of India,” said Bilawal.

“In order to perpetuate their politics of hate, their transition from a secular India to a Hindu supremacist India, this narrative is very important,” said Bilawal, claiming Pakistan had “proof” that Modi’s government had facilitated a terrorist attack in Pakistan.

The minister was referring to the “irrefutable evidence” Pakistan had of the involvement of Indian intelligence agency Research and Analysis Wing (RAW) in the blast at Johar Town, Lahore last year as three terrorists had been arrested.
Riaz Haq said…
A Hindutva politician talking caste might sound paradoxical. After all, isn’t the RSS vision all about papering over fraternal caste faultlines to forge a monolithic Hindutva identity? Well, annihilation of caste is not a Hindutva identity project.


https://economictimes.indiatimes.com/opinion/et-commentary/narendra-modis-caste-makes-sense-in-heartland-politics/articleshow/29136565.cms?from=mdr

Caste is an Indian reality and the assertion of Hindu identity is always a confirmation of caste pride too. In the Hindu pyramidal caste hierarchy, the top Brahminical cone exists only because of the large Shudra and the other backward caste base. If the base goes, the pyramid collapses. So, the Brahminical hierarchy depends primarily on the assertion of allegiance of the backward castes.

The more the backward castes become assertive Hindus, the stronger the Hindu hierarchy and Hindutva identity. Thus, Narendra Modi is a godsend to upper-caste voters of the Gangetic plains. The moment he underscores his backward caste identity within the larger Hindutva fold, the bigger “Hindu hridaya samrat” he becomes.

Afeudal Brahmin or Rajput or Vaishya of Uttar Pradesh gets socially reassured when a backward-caste person acknowledges the relative Hindu hierarchical positions and upholds the Hindutva model. The greatest upper-caste political push for the RSS happened when Kalyan Singh, a backward caste, led the BJP in UP.


Kalyan Singh, Uma Bharti and Vinay Katiyar, three leaders from the Lodh Rajput community, were the most visible faces of the Ram Janmabhoomi movement. Like the loyal monkey army of the ideal Kshatriya, leaders of the backward castes gave the greatest legitimacy for the Ram temple political programme.


It was this felt need of the cadre that Modi addressed on Sunday in Delhi’s Ramlila Maidan as he flaunted his backward caste and working class origins. And the timing was perfect. He was responding to the attack on him by a liberal, upper-class, Brahmin Mani Shankar Iyer. Though the Gandhi-Nehru family retains some status of the prime Brahmin political family it used to be and the Congress still partakes of the dwindling dividends of Panditji’s legacy, the family and leaders like Iyer are seen a ..

Modi’s chaiwala challenge, hence, is a call to all the backward-caste voters of the heartland, while reassuring the core Sangh upper-caste constituency. This tactic, Sangh insiders hope, will add to the BJP kitty just as Kalyan Singh could rally the backward castes for the Parviar during the 1990s. Then, the Kalyan magic had worked. He won the party 52 seats in 1991, 51 in 1996 and 57 in 1998 from undivided Uttar Pradesh.


Former chief of Jan Sangh, Balraj Madhok, always used to point out that even a western-educated liberal like Jawaharlal Nehru allowed himself to be referred to as Panditji because the Congress party wanted to tell the heartland masses, in no uncertain terms, that Nehru was a Brahmin.

Similarly, nothing can enthuse the Sangh Parivar cadre more than the assertion of Modi’s caste identity. The Modi surname is largely associated with the uppercaste Vaishya community from Rajasthan and elsewhere. So, till it is spelt out, the backward class or caste origins of the BJP’s PM candidate remain obscure.

Riaz Haq said…
Three decades ago, the razing by a Hindu mob of a 16th-century mosque in the northern Indian city of Ayodhya, which Hindus believe is the birthplace of the god Ram, led to the death of 2,000 people and propelled the rise of Mr. Modi’s party.

https://www.nytimes.com/2022/12/31/world/asia/india-ukraine-russia.html

A temple is now being built there. Mr. Modi, who presided over the groundbreaking in 2020, has called it “the modern symbol of our traditions.”

Faced by such moves, Ms. Roy, the novelist, voiced a common concern. “You know, the Varanasi sari, worn by Hindus, woven by Muslims, was a symbol of everything that was so interwoven and is now being ripped apart,” she said. “A threat of violence hangs over the city.”

I found Syed Mohammed Yaseen, a leader of the Varanasi Muslim community, which makes up close to a third of the city’s population of roughly 1.2 million, at his timber store. “The situation is not good,” Mr. Yaseen, 75, said. “We are dealing with 18 lawsuits relating to the old mosque. The Hindus want to demolish it indirectly by starting their own worship there.” Increasingly, he said, Muslims felt like second-class citizens.

“Every day, we are feeling all kinds of attacks, and our identity is being diminished,” he said. “India’s secular character is being dented. It still exists in our Constitution, but in practice, it is dented, and the government is silent.”

This denting has taken several forms under Mr. Modi. Shashi Tharoor, a leading member of the opposition Congress Party that ruled India for most of the time since independence, suggested to me that “institutionalized bigotry” had taken hold.

A number of lynchings and demolitions of Muslim homes, the imprisonment of Muslim and other journalists critical of Mr. Modi, and the emasculation of independent courts have fanned fears of what Mr. Raghavan, the historian, called “a truly discriminatory regime, with its risk of radicalization.”

--------------

With inequality worsening, food security worsening, energy security worsening, and climate change accelerating, more countries are asking what answers the post-1945 Western-dominated order can provide. India, it seems, believes it can be a broker, bridging East-West and North-South divisions.

----------

At the end of my stay, I traveled down to Chennai on the southeastern coast.

The atmosphere is softer there. The economy is booming. The electronics manufacturer Foxconn is rapidly expanding production capacity for Apple devices, building a hostel for 60,000 workers on a 20-acre site near the city.

“The great mass of Indians are awakening to the fact that they don’t need the ideology of the West and that we can set our own path — and Modi deserves credit for that,” Venky Naik, a retired businessman, said.

I went to a concert where a musician played haunting songs and spoke of “renewing your auspiciousness every day.” There I ran into Mukund Padmanabhan, a former editor of The Hindu newspaper and now a professor of public practice at the newly established Krea University, north of Chennai.

“I do not believe Modi can marshal Hinduism into a monolithic nationalist force,” he said. “There are thousands of Gods, and you don’t have to believe in any of them. There is no single or unique way.”

He gestured toward the mixed crowd of Hindus and Muslims at the concert. “People don’t like to talk about the project of Gandhi and Nehru, which was to bring everyone along and go forward, but it happened, and it is part of our truth, part of the indelible Indian palimpsest.”
Riaz Haq said…
#Modi-loving #Hindu Nationalists spew the usual Hindutva #Islamophobic tropes about #India's #Muslims. Here's the growing gap between Hindus and Muslim populations: 1951 Census: 269 million more Hindus than Muslims. 2011 Census: 794 million more Hindus https://www.pewresearch.org/religion/2021/09/21/population-growth-and-religious-composition/

https://twitter.com/haqsmusings/status/1612881554174529537?s=20&t=3DgccaesALoJlvs2903mhg

1. Population growth and religious composition
BY STEPHANIE KRAMER
India’s population has more than tripled in the six decades following Partition, from 361 million (36.1 crore) people in the 1951 census to more than 1.2 billion (120 crore) in 2011. As of 2020, India gains roughly 1 million (10 lakh) inhabitants each month, putting it on course to surpass China as the world’s most populous country by 2030, according to the United Nations Population Division.
Though religious groups grew at uneven rates between 1951 and 2011, every major religion in India saw its numbers rise. For example, Hindus increased from 304 million (30.4 crore) to 966 million (96.6 crore), Muslims grew from 35 million (3.5 crore) to 172 million (17.2 crore), and the number of Indians who say they are Christian rose from 8 million (0.8 crore) to 28 million (2.8 crore).

However, there is some evidence that Christians may be undercounted. People who indicate that they are Christian on the census are not able to also identify as belonging to Scheduled Castes (historically known as Dalits, or by the pejorative term “untouchables”). Members of Scheduled Castes are eligible for government benefits, reportedly prompting some people in that category to identify as Hindu when completing official forms such as the census.4 In the 2015 National Family Health Survey – a large, high-quality household survey that does not exclude Christians from Scheduled Castes – 21% of Christians interviewed said that they belonged to Scheduled Castes.
Riaz Haq said…
"If you repeat a lie a hundred times, it becomes the truth," Mr. S.Y. Quraishi added in an interview to PTI on his book.
The propaganda, he said, has become “very blatant” and gained traction, and it’s time to challenge the narrative perpetuated against the community over the years.

https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/time-to-call-the-bluff-bust-myths-created-by-hindutva-groups-to-demonise-muslims-sy-quraishi/article34011389.ece

India continues to add a lot more millions of Hindus each year than Muslims.

India's Hindi belt is the biggest contributor to India's population:

https://scroll.in/article/865569/indian-population-is-growing-much-faster-in-the-north-and-the-south-is-paying-the-price

Clearly, then, it makes little sense to talk of India’s population problem without discussing the vast disparities that characterise how the population is growing across states. Have a look at this map:

Most news about fertility rates tends to separate the data by religion. But given that states and not religious communities make up India’s constituent units, significant differences in population growth rates among states will affect Indian politics far more explicitly. As the map shows, there is a clear cleavage between South India and North India. The south is blue, with fertility rates lower than the replacement rate, meaning that fewer babies are being born than people are dying – a trend that would eventually result in a declining population. The north is mostly orange or red with Uttar Pradesh and Bihar – two states that together make up a quarter of India’s population – recording very high fertility rates of 2.74 and 3.41, respectively. The result: in 1951, Tamil Nadu’s population was slightly higher than Bihar’s. Six decades later, Bihar’s population is nearly 1.5 times Tamil Nadu’s. Madhya Pradesh in 1951 had 37% more people than Kerala; in 2011, it had 217% as many.

Riaz Haq said…
Ghanznavi's Destruction of Somnath Was Not a Hindu-Muslim Issue When it Happened

It was deliberately distorted by the British colonial rulers to divide and conquer India, according to Indian historian Romila Thapar.
British distortions of history have since been exploited by Hindu Nationalists to pursue divisive policies. 
https://books.google.com/books/about/Somanatha.html?id=4-NxAAAAMAAJ

In 1026, Sultan Mahmud of Ghazni raided the Hindu temple of Somanatha (Somnath in textbooks of the colonial period). The story of the raid has reverberated in Indian history, but largely during the  (British) raj. It was first depicted as a trauma for the Hindu population not in India, but in the House of Commons. The triumphalist accounts of the event in Turko-Persian chronicles became the main source for most eighteenth-century historians. It suited everyone and helped the British to divide and rule a multi-millioned subcontinent.
In her new book, Romila Thapar, the doyenne of Indian historians, reconstructs what took place by studying other sources, including local Sanskrit inscriptions, biographies of kings and merchants of the period, court epics and popular narratives that have survived. The result is astounding and undermines the traditional version of what took place. These findings also contest the current Hindu religious nationalism that constantly utilises the conventional version of this history.
Riaz Haq said…
How India’s caste system limits diversity in science — in six charts

https://www.nature.com/immersive/d41586-023-00015-2/index.html

Data show how privileged groups still dominate many of the country’s elite research institutes.

This article is part of a Nature series examining data on ethnic or racial diversity in science in different countries. See also: How UK science is failing Black researchers — in nine stark charts.

Samadhan is an outlier in his home village in western India. Last year, he became the first person from there to start a science PhD. Samadhan, a student in Maharashtra state, is an Adivasi or indigenous person — a member of one of the most marginalized and poorest communities in India.

For that reason, he doesn’t want to publicize his last name or institution, partly because he fears that doing so would bring his social status to the attention of a wider group of Indian scientists. “They’d know that I am from a lower category and will think that I have progressed because of [the] quota,” he says.

The quota Samadhan refers to is also known as a reservation policy: a form of affirmative action that was written into India’s constitution in 1950. Reservation policies aimed to uplift marginalized communities by allocating quotas for them in public-sector jobs and in education. Mirroring India’s caste system of social hierarchy, the most privileged castes dominated white-collar professions, including roles in science and technology. After many years, the Indian government settled on a 7.5% quota for Adivasis (referred to as ‘Scheduled Tribes’ in official records) and a 15% quota for another marginalized group, the Dalits (referred to in government records as ‘Scheduled Castes’, and formerly known by the dehumanizing term ‘untouchables’). These quotas — which apply to almost all Indian research institutes — roughly correspond to these communities’ representation in the population, according to the most recent census of 2011.

But the historically privileged castes — the ‘General’ category in government records — still dominate many of India’s elite research institutions. Above the level of PhD students, the representation of Adivasis and Dalits falls off a cliff. Less than 1% of professors come from these communities at the top-ranked institutes among the 23 that together are known as the Indian Institutes of Technology (IITs), according to data provided to Nature under right-to-information requests (see ‘Diversity at top Indian institutions’; the figures are for 2020, the latest available at time of collection).

“This is deliberate” on the part of institutes that “don’t want us to succeed”, says Ramesh Chandra, a Dalit, who retired as a senior professor at the University of Delhi last June. Researchers blame institute heads for not following the reservation policies, and the government for letting them off the hook.

Diversity gaps are common in science in many countries but they take different forms in each nation. The situation in India highlights how its caste system limits scientific opportunities for certain groups in a nation striving to become a global research leader.

India’s government publishes summary student data, but its figures for academic levels beyond this don’t allow analyses of scientists by caste and academic position, and most universities do not publish these data. In the past few years, however, journalists, student groups and researchers have been gathering diversity data using public-information laws, and arguing for change. Nature has used some of these figures, and its own information requests, to examine the diversity picture. Together, these data show that there are major gaps in diversity in Indian science institutions.
Riaz Haq said…
Hindutva Hate Crimes against Muslims, Christians and members of the lower-ranked castes

By Pranshu Verma

https://www.washingtonpost.com/technology/2023/01/16/hindu-hate-crimes-raqib-hameed-naik/

Raqib Hameed Naik, 29, is the founder of HindutvaWatch.org, one of the most robust real-time data sets of human rights abuses in the world’s largest democracy. Using video and picture evidence submitted by a network of Indian activists, along with news aggregation, the site tracks hate crimes by Hindus against Muslims, Christians and members of the lower-ranked castes. Since its founding in April 2021, it has catalogued more than 1,000 instances of violent attacks and rhetoric. (Hindutva refers to political ideology that advocates for Hindu supremacy.)
It is likely an undercount, Indian political experts said. Still, the website has angered the increasingly authoritarian government of right-wing Prime Minister Narendra Modi, which critics charge promotes the idea that the Hindu majority is superior and tolerates deadly crimes against Muslims and Christians.
At least 11 times, Naik said, the government or Indian law enforcement have petitioned Twitter to suspend its account or take down some of its content, one of its most important venues for publicizing its findings. As of Sunday, its Twitter account remains active.Until he agreed to an interview with The Washington Post, Naik, who is Muslim, ran both the site and its Twitter account anonymously from Cambridge, Mass., where he settled after fleeing India in 2020.
With Twitter now in the hands of Elon Musk, his work has become more complicated. In India, the third-largest market for Twitter, Musk has fired nearly 90 percent of the staff, according to news reports. Hindu extremists have been allowed back onto the site, and hate speech has soared. Naik worries that Musk might acquiesce to the Modi administration’s attempts to stifle Hindutvawatch.

Twitter did not immediately respond to a request for comment.Despite that, he has decided to make his work public, hoping to build his homegrown site into a major operation aimed at warning the Indian government that its human rights violations are being catalogued.“At some point, it becomes very important for you to come out in the public and look into the eye of your oppressor,” Naik said in an interview with The Post. To say: “I’m watching you, whatever you’re doing. And preserving evidence.”Preserving evidence of hate crimesAfter gaining independence from the British Empire in 1947, India aspired to be a secular nation where people of all faiths could live in peace. But religious tensions have repeatedly flared rarely with as much vitriol as under Modi.Since Modi took control in 2014, hate crimes against minorities in India have skyrocketed by 300 percent, according to a 2019 study by Deepankar Basu, an economics professor who studies South Asian politics at the University of Massachusetts in Amherst.

Popular posts from this blog

Olive Revolution: Pakistan Joins International Olive Council

Pakistani Women's Growing Particpation in Workforce

Pakistani-American Banker Heads SWIFT, The World's Biggest InterBank Payments System