Pew Research: Two-thirds of Hindus Say Only Hindus "Truly Indian"

A recent Pew survey in India has found that 64% of Hindus see their religious identity and Indian national identity as closely intertwined. Most Hindus (59%) also link Indian identity with being able to speak Hindi language. The survey was conducted over two years in 2019 and 2020 by Pew Research Center. It included 29,000 Indians.  

Prime Minister Narendra Modi's Hindu Nationalist BJP party's appeal is the greatest among Hindus who closely associate their religious identity and the Hindi language with being “truly Indian.” The Pew survey found that less than half of Indians (46%) favored democracy as best suited to solve the country’s problems. Two percent more (48%) preferred a strong leader. 

Most Hindus Link Hindu Religion and Hindi Language With Indian National Identity. Source: Pew

The majority of Hindus see themselves as very different from Muslims (66%), and most Muslims return the sentiment, saying they are very different from Hindus (64%). Most Muslims across the country (65%), along with an identical share of Hindus (65%), see communal violence in India as a very big national problem. Like Hindus, Muslims prefer to live religiously segregated lives – not just when it comes to marriage and friendships, but also in some elements of public life. In particular, three-quarters of Muslims in India (74%) support having access to the existing system of Islamic courts, which handle family disputes (such as inheritance or divorce cases), in addition to the secular court system.     

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.    

Prime Minister Narendra Modi's Hindu Nationalist BJP party's appeal is the greatest 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.

The findings of this Pew survey confirm how prescient Pakistan's founder Quaid-e-Azam Mohammad Jinnah was. He saw the coming of Modi's Hindu Rashtra as far back as the mid-1930s. It arose from the majoritarian tyranny of the Hindu-dominated Indian National Congress after 1937 elections in India. Speaking in Lucknow in October 1937, Quaid-e-Azam Mohammad Ali Jinnah said the following: 

"The present leadership of the Congress, especially during the last ten years, has been responsible for alienating the Musalmans of lndia more and more, by pursuing a policy which is exclusively Hindu; and since they have formed the Governments in six provinces where they are in a majority they have by their words, deeds, and programme shown more and more that the Musalmans cannot expect any justice or fair play at their hands. Whenever they are in majority and wherever it suited them, they refused to co-operate with the Muslim League Parties and demanded unconditional surrender and signing of their pledges."

Comments

Riaz Haq said…
Sulli Deals: The #Indian #Muslim women 'up for sale' on an app. The app pretended to offer users the chance to buy a "Sulli" - a derogatory slang term used by right-wing #Hindu trolls for Muslim women. #Hindutva #Islamophobia #Modi #India - BBC News

https://www.bbc.com/news/world-asia-india-57764271

Last Sunday, dozens of Muslim women in India found they had been put up for sale online.

Hana Khan, a commercial pilot whose name was on the list, told the BBC she was alerted to it when a friend sent her a tweet.

The tweet took her to "Sulli Deals", an app and website that had taken publicly available pictures of women and created profiles, describing the women as "deals of the day".

The app's landing page had a photo of an unknown woman. On the next two pages Ms Khan saw photos of her friends. On the page after that she saw herself.

"I counted 83 names. There could be more," she told the BBC. "They'd taken my photo from Twitter and it had my user name. This app was running for 20 days and we didn't even know about it. It sent chills down my spine."

The app pretended to offer users the chance to buy a "Sulli" - a derogatory slang term used by right-wing Hindu trolls for Muslim women. There was no real auction of any kind - the purpose of the app was just to degrade and humiliate.

Ms Khan said she had been targeted was because of her religion. "I'm a Muslim woman who's seen and heard," she said. "And they want to silence us."

GitHub - the web platform that hosted the open source app - shut it down quickly following complaints. "We suspended user accounts following the investigation of reports of such activity, all of which violate our policies," the company said in a statement.

But the experience has left women scarred. Those who featured on the app were all vocal Muslims, including journalists, activists, artists or researchers. A few have since deleted their social media accounts and many others said they were afraid of further harassment.

"No matter how strong you are, but if your picture and other personal information is made public, it scares you, it disturbs you," another woman told the BBC Hindi service.

But several of the women whose details were shared on the app have taken to social media to call out the "perverts", and vowed to fight. A dozen have formed a WhatsApp group to seek - and offer - support and some of them, including Ms Khan, have lodged complaints with the police.
Riaz Haq said…
8 key findings about Christians in India

https://www.pewresearch.org/fact-tank/2021/07/12/8-key-findings-about-christians-in-india/

Indian Christians disproportionally identify with lower castes (74%), including 57% with Scheduled Castes (SC) or Scheduled Tribes (ST). India’s caste system is a social hierarchy that can dictate class and social life, including whom a person can marry. Today, regardless of their religion, Indians nearly universally identify with a caste category. Among Christians, 33% identify as SC, while 24% identify as ST. And Christians are somewhat more likely than the Indian population overall to say there is widespread caste discrimination in India. For example, among Indians overall, 20% say there is widespread discrimination against SCs in India, compared with 31% among Christians who say the same. A smaller share of Christians (18%) say there is a lot of discrimination against Christians in India, and even fewer say they have personally faced recent discrimination based on their caste (11%) or religion (10%).

Lower-caste Indian Christians are much more likely than upper-caste (also called General Category) Christians to hold both Christian and non-Christian beliefs. Indian Christians who belong to SCs, STs and other lower castes tend to believe in angels and demons at significantly higher rates than upper-caste Christians. For example, roughly half of lower-caste Christians (51%) believe in demons or evil spirits, while just 12% of higher-caste Christians hold this belief. Lower-caste Christians also are more likely than General Category Christians to believe in spiritual forces not generally associated with Christianity, like karma (58% vs. 44%) and the evil eye (33% vs. 12%).

Overall, Indian Christians are less prone toward religious segregation than some other groups. For instance, Christians are less likely than other religious groups to say that stopping interreligious marriage is “very important.”Among Christians, 37% say stopping the interreligious marriage of Christian women is very important, while 35% say the same about Christian men. In contrast, roughly two-thirds of Hindus and an even greater share of Muslims say it is crucial to stop such marriages by men and women in their respective communities. In addition, fewer Christians (22%) than Hindus (47%) and Muslims (45%) say all of their close friends share their religion. In part, these attitudes may reflect Christians’ regional concentration in the South, where opposition to interreligious marriage is generally less widespread and religious segregation overall is less pronounced.

Politically, Christians favor the opposing Indian National Congress (INC) over the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), which is led by Prime Minister Narendra Modi and is often described as promoting a Hindu nationalist ideology. A plurality of Christian voters (30%) say they voted for the INC in the 2019 parliamentary elections, which roughly matches the shares of Muslims and Sikhs who voted for the INC. Just one-in-ten Indian Christian voters say they voted for the BJP in 2019, the lowest share among all of India’s major religious groups. Once again, the voting patterns of Christians in India mirror the political preferences of Southern Indians more generally. In the 2019 parliamentary elections, the BJP received its lowest vote share in the South, including among Hindus; many people in the South, including Christians, voted for regional parties.
Riaz Haq said…
Modi's India: Hindu Nationalism and the Rise of Ethnic Democracy
Christophe Jaffrelot
Translated by Cynthia Schoch
A riveting account of how a popularly elected leader has steered the world's largest democracy toward authoritarianism and intolerance

https://press.princeton.edu/books/hardcover/9780691206806/modis-india

Over the past two decades, thanks to Narendra Modi, Hindu nationalism has been coupled with a form of national-populism that has ensured its success at the polls, first in Gujarat and then in India at large. Modi managed to seduce a substantial number of citizens by promising them development and polarizing the electorate along ethno-religious lines. Both facets of this national-populism found expression in a highly personalized political style as Modi related directly to the voters through all kinds of channels of communication in order to saturate the public space.

Drawing on original interviews conducted across India, Christophe Jaffrelot shows how Modi’s government has moved India toward a new form of democracy, an ethnic democracy that equates the majoritarian community with the nation and relegates Muslims and Christians to second-class citizens who are harassed by vigilante groups. He discusses how the promotion of Hindu nationalism has resulted in attacks against secularists, intellectuals, universities, and NGOs. Jaffrelot explains how the political system of India has acquired authoritarian features for other reasons, too. Eager to govern not only in New Delhi, but also in the states, the government has centralized power at the expense of federalism and undermined institutions that were part of the checks and balances, including India’s Supreme Court.

Modi’s India is a sobering account of how a once-vibrant democracy can go wrong when a government backed by popular consent suppresses dissent while growing increasingly intolerant of ethnic and religious minorities.

Riaz Haq said…
Christophe Jaffrelot on Hindytva, Narendra Modi and Hindu Nationalism:

https://democracyparadox.com/2021/07/13/christophe-jaffrelot-on-narendra-modi-and-hindu-nationalism/

Hindutva is an ideology. And if you want an ethnic religious ideology that will emphasize a dimension of Hinduism that was not very much referred to in the past. The Hindus as a people, as a community, as the descendants of, as they said, the Vedic fathers. This definition of the Hindus as a people has many affinities with Zionism and I would say Hindutva is to Hinduism what Zionism is to Judaism. in many ways the emphasis is on ethnic characteristics rather than belief. So, this idea that you define the citizenship, the nationality, by ethnic characterization and language, that’s a new definition of the identity in India. And that’s largely because of the impact of this ideology.



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we need to go back to Hinduism as a civilization. it’s more than a religion. It’s a full-fledged civilization and it is traditionally admitted that this civilization does not rely on any orthodoxy, but on a strong orthopraxy. And the orthopraxy is enshrined in the caste system, a very rigid and hierarchical social order. That’s one dimension. And the other dimension is this absence of orthodoxy that finds expression in the fact that there is no book, no dogma, no clergy in Hinduism and a great sense of religious liberty. Many different kinds of beliefs co-exist in Hinduism. Gurus were very creative and constantly invented new ways to reach God.

That’s what Hinduism was in terms of spirituality and this is something Hindutva has tried to erase. The sense of spiritual diversity has been certainly the first causality of the rise of Hindutva. One example to illustrate this. Hindus used to worship Sufis, Islamic figures, and therefore, went to pray on their tombs in large numbers. This is what I call the Dargah culture. Dargha is the name we give to these mausoleums of Sufi saints. Well, Hindu nationalists tended to consider that such cults were not recommended. So Hindu nationalists have influenced the Hindu community in different ways. They have codified the Hindu identity along Brahmanical lines mostly, and they have tended to reduce the diversity of Hinduism. So, the difference, if you want, between Hinduism and Hindutva is enshrined in these tendencies.
Riaz Haq said…
Were the 16 charged with plotting to kill #India’s #Modi framed? They had criticized #BJP and #RSS for their promotion of a #Hindu majoritarian state and for their attempts to subvert India’s constitution. #Hindutva #Islamophobia_in_india https://www.theguardian.com/world/2021/aug/12/bhima-koregaon-case-india-conspiracy-modi

In 2018, Indian police claimed to have uncovered a shocking plan to bring down the government. But there is mounting evidence that the initial conspiracy was a fiction – and the accused are victims of an elaborate plot

by Siddhartha Deb

Wilson, who appeared in press photographs with flowing, shoulder-length hair, squeezed between two plainclothes policemen on the backseat of an unmarked van, seems an unlikely candidate for violent conspiracy. A Malayalam-speaking Christian who grew up in the southern state of Kerala, Wilson’s life in Delhi had been wholly devoted to campaigning on behalf of political prisoners. He made visits to inmates in Tihar jail, India’s largest prison, to lawyers’ offices to help with campaigns for their release, and to dozens of media organisations in the centre of New Delhi to raise awareness of the plight of those he believed had been falsely incarcerated.

Just before his arrest, Wilson had applied to the PhD programme in political science at Surrey University, and was hoping to leave for the UK if he managed to get a scholarship. The documentary film-maker Sanjay Kak, who has known Wilson for nearly two decades and worked with him on campaigns for the release of political prisoners, described him as completely devoted to the cause. “Rona in many ways exemplifies an Indian kind of activist – quiet, self-effacing and yet deeply committed to what they do,” he said. “The tragedy of what has happened to him is that he has been drawn in by the very machine he worked so hard to dismantle all his life.”

Wilson is one of 16 people arrested since June 2018 for their part in an alleged Maoist conspiracy to foment an uprising against Modi’s government. The origin of this so-called conspiracy was traced to a festival called the Elgaar Parishad (meaning “loud assembly”) held in Pune on 31 December 2017. Organised by two progressive retired judges, the festival was looking ahead to the 200th anniversary of a famous Dalit victory in the nearby village of Bhima Koregaon in 1818, when historically oppressed Dalit soldiers serving in a British regiment defeated an upper-caste Hindu army.
Riaz Haq said…
#Modi opposes #caste census in #India. A caste count could cause fissures in the #Hindu vote, which the #BJP has managed to consolidate in recent years, despite deep divisions that underpin the party's plank of Hindu unity. #Islamophobia_in_india https://www.bbc.com/news/world-asia-india-58141993

Major opposition and regional leaders have met India's Prime Minister Narendra Modi to argue in favour of counting caste in the country's census.

"A caste census will be a historic, pro-poor measure," Tejashwi Yadav, a leader of the regional Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD), was quoted as saying by the Press Trust of India.

Mr Modi's Bharatiya Janata Party's decision not to do so has sparked a political maelstrom.

Hinduism's deeply hierarchical and oppressive caste system, which dates back some 2,000 years, puts Brahmins or priests at the top, and Dalits (formerly untouchables) and Adivasis (tribespeople) at the bottom.

In between are a multitude of castes - it's hard to even say how many because there is no list that has enumerated them all.

But there is a swathe of lower and intermediate castes, which are roughly believed to constitute about 52% of the population, that are recognised as Other Backward Classes or OBCs.

While India's census, which happens every 10 years, has always recorded the population of Dalits and Adivasis, it has never counted OBCs.

Now, several political parties, including BJP's allies, are demanding a caste census - essentially a count of OBCs. However, the government has refused.


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Caste is a crucial factor in every Indian election, from the village council to the parliament. More so in Uttar Pradesh, where the BJP's power and popularity rest on a delicately forged alliance of castes, and especially those in the OBC category.

A caste count could cause fissures in the Hindu vote, which the BJP has managed to consolidate in recent years, despite deep divisions that underpin the party's plank of Hindu unity.

The government has also argued that it would lead to the perpetuation of caste identities - but lower castes say that identity is a reality they grapple with everyday and only the privileged can afford to overlook caste.

Critics say there's another reason for the BJP's reluctance. Counting OBCs would reveal what a large proportion of the population they make up, but how little of it comprises upper castes, who nevertheless dominate politics and bureaucracy, because of centuries of privilege afforded by wealth and education.
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.



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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.

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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…
#Drought-stricken state of #MadhyaPradesh: Minor girls paraded naked in #India 'rain ritual'. "We believe that this will bring rains," #Indian media quoted a women in the procession as saying. #Modi #BJP #Hindutva https://www.bbc.com/news/world-asia-india-58461751


Six minor girls in central India were stripped and paraded naked as part of a village ritual to summon rains.

The incident took place in a drought-parched village in the Bundelkhand region of Madhya Pradesh state.

Videos that went viral on social media reportedly showed young girls walking naked with a wooden shaft on their shoulders which had a frog tied to it.

Locals believe the ritual will appease the rain god and bring rainfall to the region.

India's National Commission for Protection of Child Rights has sought a report from the administration of Damoh district, where the village is located.

The Madhya Pradesh police said they had not received any formal complaint against the event, but added that they had opened an investigation.

"Action will be taken if we find the girls were forced to walk naked," Damoh superintendent of police DR Teniwar told news agency Press Trust of India.

The video shows the girls, some of them reported to be as young as five, walking together in a procession, followed by a group of women singing hymns.

The procession stopped at every house in the village and the children collected foodgrains, which were later donated to the community kitchen of a local temple.

"We believe that this will bring rains," PTI quoted a women in the procession as saying.

Damoh district collector S Krishna Chaitanya said the girls' parents had consented to the ritual and had even participated in it.

"In such cases, the administration can only make the villagers aware about the futility of such superstition and make them understand that such practices don't yield desired results," he added.

Indian agriculture largely depends on monsoon rains and in many regions, there are rituals devoted to rain gods depending upon local customs and traditions.

Some communities hold yagnas (Hindu fire rituals), others marry frogs or donkeys or take out processions singing songs in praise of the rain gods.

Cynics say the rituals merely distract ordinary people from hardship, but cultural experts say the practices are a measure of desperation in those who believe there is nowhere else to turn for help.
Riaz Haq said…
S. K
@SamKhan999
The fact that 14% minority Muslims dominate the mindset & are an object of awe, fear, hatred and obsession of so called great civilization and culture is itself an example of the hollowness and insecurity of the (Hindu) majority.

https://twitter.com/SamKhan999/status/1438870016187797510?s=20
Riaz Haq said…
Little change in #India's religious make-up in 70 years. #Hindus are 79.8% of India's 1.2 billion people in 2021 census. #Muslims comprise 14.2% of #Indians. India is home to one of the world's largest Muslim populations, after #Indonesia.
https://news.yahoo.com/pew-study-little-change-indias-140230204.html?soc_src=social-sh&soc_trk=tw&tsrc=twtr via @YahooNews

All religious groups in India have shown major declines in fertility rates, a study from Pew Research Center has found.

As a result there have been only "modest changes" in the religious make-up of the people since 1951.

The two largest groups, Hindus and Muslims, make up 94% of India's 1.2 billion people.

Christians, Sikhs, Buddhists and Jains together make up the remaining 6% of the population.

Based on data available in India's decennial census and the National Family Health Survey (NFHS), the Pew study examines how the country's religious composition has changed, and the main reasons behind the changes.

India is neither a melting pot nor a salad bowl

India's population has more than trebled following the 1947 division of a colonial state into Hindu-majority India and Muslim-majority Pakistan - from 361 million people in 1951, to more than 1.2 billion people in 2011. (Independent India held its first census in 1951, and the last one was conducted in 2011.)

During this period, every major religion in India saw its numbers rise, the study found.

The number of Hindus increased from 304 million to 966 million; Muslims grew from 35 million to 172 million; and the number of Indians who say they are Christian rose from 8 million to 28 million.

The religious make-up of Indians
Hindus make up 79.8% of India's 1.2 billion people in the 2021 census. 94% of the world's Hindus live in India

Muslims comprise 14.2% of Indians. India is home to one of the world's largest Muslim populations, surpassed only by Indonesia

Christians, Sikhs, Buddhists and Jains together make up 6% of the population

Only about 30,000 Indians described themselves as atheists in 2011

Around 8 million people said that they did not belong to any of the six largest groups

There were 83 smaller religious groups and each had at least 100 adherents

India gains roughly 1 million inhabitants every month, putting it on course to overtake China as the world's most populous country by 2030

(Source: 2011 census, Pew Research Center)
Riaz Haq said…
#US @VP Kamala Harris presses #India's #Modi gently on #HumanRights in historic meeting. "It is imperative that we defend democratic principles and institutions within our respective countries.” #Hindutva #Islamophobia #Kashmir https://www.latimes.com/politics/story/2021-09-23/harris-meets-modi-discuss-human-rights-combating-covid-19-pandemic


Vice President Kamala Harris invoked her familial ties to India as she gently pressed Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi on human rights during a history-making meeting Thursday between America’s first vice president of Indian descent and the leader of a country that has become an increasingly close ally.
Harris, during public remarks at her ceremonial office before the closed-door session, told Modi that as democracies around the world are under threat “it is imperative that we defend democratic principles and institutions within our respective countries.”

“I know from personal experience and from my family of the commitment of the Indian people to democracy,” she said, “and the work that needs to be done [so that] we can begin to imagine, and then actually achieve, our vision for democratic principles and institutions.”

The remarks marked a subtle change from the Trump administration’s unquestioned fidelity to the populist Modi, who has presided over an increase in religious polarization in his country, with more laws targeting religious minorities, including its large Muslim population, as well as attacks on non-Hindus.

Despite the mild pressure, the two leaders shared warm words, including praise from Harris for India’s role in producing COVID-19 vaccines for the world. Modi thanked Harris for offering a “sense of kinship” in a phone call during his country’s deadly coronavirus surge this spring.

He invited Harris to visit his country, telling her that Indians “are waiting to welcome you” and calling her “the source of inspiration for so many people across the world.” Harris, who visited Southeast Asia last month, did not immediately commit to a trip.

The public discussion of about 15 minutes attracted more attention, including a large press contingent from India, than typical meetings between heads of state and vice presidents. Harris’ mother was born in India, and Indian Americans are one of the fastest growing groups in the United States, with a population of more than 4 million.

Modi did not speak publicly about his desire to increase U.S. work visas for Indians, but it is part of his agenda. Harris and Modi also talked about their goals to combat COVID-19 and climate change, and to strengthen the strategic alliance.

India has become a closer ally in recent years as American presidents from both parties have recognized the country’s strategic importance in countering China’s growing military and financial power.

Modi is scheduled to meet with President Biden on Friday and then separately again with Harris and Biden in meetings of the so-called Quad, which also includes Japan and Australia.
Riaz Haq said…
"While the Bidens of this world still talk about Gandhi, India’s role models have changed. ..(Anti-#Muslim) #Genocide is now openly demanded at public rallies. The “need” for ethnic cleansing can pop up in casual conversations" #India #Modi #Hindutva https://time.com/6103284/india-hindu-supremacy-extremism-genocide-bjp-modi/

And it is only the beginning. In neighboring Bihar, the government is asking people to report “suspected illegal migrants” and officials have been ordered to create awareness of the issue on “an urgent basis.” The state’s high court has demanded a detention center to house migrants, reminding the government that “deportation of illegal migrants is of paramount importance and in the national interest.” Bihar’s 17 million Muslims are on edge about their future. In next-door Bengal, which borders Bangladesh and is home to nearly 25 million Muslims, the BJP has been promising an Assam-like citizenship verification drive if it comes to power in the state.

The chief minister of India’s biggest and most politically important state, Uttar Pradesh, recently blamed Muslims for cornering government-subsidized food. Uttar Pradesh, along with Assam, has introduced a two-child policy blaming Muslims for a supposedly runaway population growth that officials say accounts for the backwardness of these states. The claim is not rooted in reality. Fertility rates among Muslims have in fact been falling rapidly.

But reality is no longer important. It bends to the requirements of the ruling party’s dehumanizing narrative against Muslims. As Jews in Nazi Germany were called “rats” and Tutsis in Rwanda in the 1990s were called “cockroaches,” so BJP members now refer to Indian Muslims as “termites” eating away at India’s resources, denying Hindus what is due to them in their own land.

The destruction of Gandhi’s legacy
The foundations of the secular republic that Gandhi died defending are thus being hollowed out ever more frantically. While Modi pays ritualistic homage to Gandhi, BJP leaders openly glorify Gandhi’s killer, who was a Hindu fanatic. Modi’s ministers and legislators freely call on people to shoot “traitors” and start pogroms, and are promoted rather than penalized for their actions. Modi himself partly owes his fan following and ascent to his lack of remorse over the 2002 pogroms in Gujarat in 2002, when he was chief minister. Hundreds of Muslims were killed and thousands rendered homeless.

Noticeably, not only did the current chief minister of Assam not apologize for the police excesses, he in fact trivialized the deaths of Hoque and Farid, calling Hoque’s death “just 30 seconds” of a three minute video. He also carried on with the eviction drive and even proudly tweeted photos of the rubble of the four mosques destroyed in it.

While the Bidens of this world still talk about Gandhi, India’s role models have changed. So have the standards of acceptable discourse in public and social life. Genocide is now openly demanded at public rallies. The “need” for ethnic cleansing can pop up in casual conversations on politics among friends or family. Death threats are used like punctuation marks in debates on social media.

On Oct. 2, Gandhi’s birthday was celebrated with much fanfare as the International Day of Non-Violence. Two new books on his assassination in 1948 were launched. In Karnataka, meanwhile, a 25-year-old Muslim man was found beheaded for his affair with a Hindu girl, allegedly by a local Hindu vigilante group.

Gandhi continues to be killed in a million ways in today’s India. Bijoy Baniya just added a flourish to it.
Riaz Haq said…
Why do young #Indians support #Modi? He has not delivered #employment growth or kept his #economic promises but he speaks the language and aspiration of these #millennials. To many in #India's #Hindu majority, he assures them that the #BJP has their back. https://www.bbc.com/news/world-asia-india-58716947

By Vivan Marwaha
Author

Aspirational young Indians today are looking for role models who they believe will protect them, and they are attracted to politicians with whom they share stories and experiences. Language is a particularly emotional issue.

English has long been a reserve of the Indian elite, and an aspiration of middle-class Indians seeking upward social mobility.

But in the 2019 elections, Hindi-speaking politicians, shattering the last vestiges of these elites, were rewarded by voters, while the opposition Indian National Congress, led by English-speaking dynasts from the Nehru-Gandhi family, was nearly wiped clean from the country's "Hindi belt" - states mainly comprising Hindi-speaking people.

As I spoke to Indian millennials, they told me about how Mr Modi delivered speeches in Hindi to audiences in New York, London, and Sydney, and how proud that made them. The thinking went: "if he can make it there, so can we".


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According to conventional wisdom, incumbent Prime Minister Narendra Modi was in trouble: the country was experiencing a 45-year high unemployment, disproportionately impacting India's youth, the world's single-largest labour force.

The economy had come to a crawl and a sense of malaise prevailed everywhere I went. Many of the millennials I was interviewing, including those in their 30s, were living at home with parents, reliant on their families for basic purchases.

Most of these people had voted for Mr Modi and his ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) five years earlier, in 2014, buying their promises of wide-scale development and hundreds of millions of new jobs for India's booming population of young people.

But conventional wisdom was turned on its head when the prime minister and the BJP were re-elected with an even bigger majority than the 2014 election, shattering decades-old political dynasties in their family fiefdoms.

The writing was on the wall: young Indians had firmly consolidated behind Mr Modi. Post-poll data confirmed this, with nearly 40% of those aged 18-35 voting for the BJP.

In many other countries, this may not make sense: why would young voters, who hadn't advanced much, seen their trust broken, and had arguably been set back by years under this regime, return the incumbent to power?

The answer to this question also defied conventional wisdom on Indian elections, given that India has a long record of voting out incumbent politicians.


But with millennials leading the charge, Indian politics has gone through a fundamental reordering: young voters want leaders who speak, pray, and look like them.

For decades, India was governed by English-speaking, Western-educated technocrats who shared little in common with the country's largely-agrarian and vernacular-speaking population.

Although many members of parliament and state assemblies came from the grassroots, those who wielded cultural and political power in Delhi did not.

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

In an unstable and volatile economy, Indian millennials seek leaders who promise stability and security, and Mr Modi and his party's messaging captured this sentiment to impressive results.

Shortly after the 2019 Pulwama bombings in Kashmir - and the subsequent air strike in Balakot in Pakistan - every BJP leader added the designation of "chowkidar" (watchman) to their Twitter handle, signalling their promise to Indians to protect them from all enemies - foreign and domestic.

Riaz Haq said…
Why does India’s Hindu right-wing hate the Urdu language so much?


https://qz.com/india/2079526/explaining-indian-hindu-right-wings-hate-for-the-urdu-language/

so complete was the communal association of Hindi and Urdu by that time, Rai recounts that “a Hindi friend” asked Nehru whose language Urdu was. “Yeh meri aur mere bap-dada’on ki bhasha hai,” Nehru replied. This is my language, the language of my ancestors. Thereupon the “Hindi friend” retorted: Brahman hote hue Urdu ko apni bhasha kehte ho, sharam nahin ati? (Aren’t you ashamed, being a Brahmin, to claim Urdu as your language?)

Uttar Pradesh, the heartland of the Hindi-Urdu fight, went even further, banning Urdu-medium schooling altogether. As Urdu writer and critic Shamsur Rahman Faruqi put it, there was an effort to “wipe out Urdu” in Uttar Pradesh after independence.



Sanskritised Hindi—which Alok Rai pointedly calls “Hindi” in scare quotes to differentiate it from its spoken forms—has a fairly restricted life outside government and is practically absent from Bollywood, by some distance the largest producer of Hindi-Urdu content in the world.

Of course, Hindutva is ascendantly militant right now and is unafraid to use intimidation to try and resurrect colonial-era Hindi-Urdu debates. However, even as these political controversies break, one must keep in mind that changing language habits— especially the natural spoken tongue—of millions is a tough feat to pull off.


In fact, ironically, the Bharatiya Janata Party uses what could be called “Urdu” too in slogans such as “Modi hai to mumkin hai” (mumkin is from Arabic via Persian) or “azadi kā amrit mahotsav” (azadi is a Persian loan). Even words as basic as “Hindu” and “Hindi” are loans from Persian, being taken up by Indian languages in the medieval period. Hence, in the reductive lens of (Sanskritised) Hindi versus (Persianised) Urdu, they fit into the latter silo.

This, of course, does not mean language change cannot occur. In fact, like medieval Khari Boli absorbed Persian words as part of its everyday lexicon, much the same is happening with English today, which given its linguistic prestige and power exerts a significant influence even on non-Anglophones. Open any Hindi newspaper, for example, and it is suffused with English loan words. Informal, spoken speech will probably have even more.
Riaz Haq said…
#Hate campaign in #India against #Urdu for being a ‘Muslim’ language. #Hindu nationalist groups target #Indian-born language after clothing brand comes up with a #Diwali advertisement with Urdu words. #HindutvaTerror #Islamophibia_in_india https://aje.io/h6frnb via @AJEnglish

Last week, Hindu right-wing forces in India forced a leading firm to withdraw its festive season advertisement after it featured a couple of words from the Urdu language, which in the popular imagination in the country is a “Muslim language”.

The company, FabIndia, issued an advertisement for Diwali – a significant Hindu festival that falls next month – showcasing its latest collection of clothes. The text at the top read: “Jashn-e-Rivaaz”.

“Jashn” in Urdu means a celebration while “Riwaaz”, which is actually “Riwaaj”, means tradition. The title translated to “A Celebration of Tradition”.

But a young parliamentarian belonging to Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), who often makes headlines for his Islamophobic remarks, was not happy.

“Deepavali is not Jashn-e-Riwaaz,” 30-year-old Tejasvi Surya posted on Twitter, calling Diwali by its more traditional name.

“This deliberate attempt of Abrahamisation of Hindu festivals, depicting models without traditional Hindu attires, must be called out.”


FabIndia is a household name in India and sells clothes, furniture, home furnishings and food items. It has hundreds of showrooms across the vast country and abroad.

Surya said the company “must face economic costs for such deliberate misadventures”.


Soon, other members of the BJP and other Hindu nationalist groups started attacking FabIndia on social media, accusing the brand of “hurting” the religious sentiments of Hindus.

“The Hindutva project sees Urdu as a ‘Muslim’ language. And invisibilising Urdu is part of the larger project of marginalising the Muslim community, in fact, physically eliminating it,” Nivedita Menon, professor at the Centre for Political Studies at New Delhi’s Jawaharlal Nehru University, told Al Jazeera.

“Hindutva” refers to a century-old Hindu supremacist movement which seeks to convert India into an ethnic Hindu state.

The Urdu language was born in northern India during the Mughal rule. Linguists and historians say Urdu and Hindi originally developed from Khadi Boli, a dialect of the Delhi region, and Prakrit. It also borrowed heavily from Persian, Turkish and Arabic languages.

Until the British colonised the subcontinent, Urdu and Hindu languages were collectively referred to as Hindustani. It was British linguist John Gilchrist who for the first time classified and defined Hindustani into two broad categories – words inspired largely by Persian and Arabic were identified as Urdu, and those inspired by Sanskrit became Hindi.


However, spoken Urdu is similar to Hindi and the two share a common grammar and a large percentage of their vocabulary.
Riaz Haq said…
From Modi to #Yogi: The #Militant Monk Who Could Lead #India to #HinduRashtra. #YogiAdityanath, the diminutive 49 year-old saffron-clad fire-breathing monk and chief minister of the most populous #Indian state of Uttar Pradesh, is political heir to #Modi. https://www.haaretz.com/world-news/.premium-modi-to-yogi-the-militant-monk-who-could-lead-india-to-full-hindu-theocracy-1.10385471

And if the BJP wins the crucial state elections that are just four months away, Yogi, who is universally addressed (according to his own request) as Maharaj (King) will be the front runner to be the heir and successor to Narendra Modi, the hardline Hindutva prime minister of India.



Yogi Adityanath is sui generis in the Hindu nationalist ecosystem, known as the Sangh, as unlike the Modi and other current BJP government ministers, he has no current connection to or background in the secretive and militant Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS), the mothership of the BJP and source of its Hindus First vision for India. The RSS has been banned multiple times, most notoriously for its involvement in Gandhi's assassination. And yet Yogi is today a contender for the party's top job.

------------
So what explains the rise and rise of Yogi as the new Hindu Hriday Samrat (Emperor of Hindu Hearts), an obsequious piece of puffery over which, until recently, was Modi's favored epithet? In two words: Muslim hate.



The RSS and its creature, the BJP, are excited by the idea that Yogi gives voice to a brand of maximalist majoritarian politics without the filters to which Modi is subjected and thus does not dare to say, hemmed in as he is (so far) by India's Constitution and the office of the prime minister.



Yogi Adityanath, originally called Ajay Mohan Bhist, was born into the family of a forest ranger. Having obtained a bachelor’s degree in mathematics, he apparently became disenchanted with routine life and first joined the same temple movement in Goraknath Mutt that eventually led Hindu nationalist mobs in 1992 to tear down the Babri Masjid, an act that triggered nationwide intercommunal violence and which Yogi has publicly praised. He took diksha, or ordination, as a monk disciple of his spiritual father Mahant Avaidyanth and was named his successor.



Yogi has always mixed realpolitik with Hindutva. He has won five parliamentary elections, representing the constituency of Gorakhpur. From the start, he's recognized the power of a cult of personality, absolute loyalty backed up by physical coercion.



After his first win, he established a vigilante force called the Hindu Yuva Vahini, which was often accused of violence and extortion. His vigilantes would roar around in cars and motorbikes with only Yogi’s image emblazoned where the license plates were supposed to be. A popular slogan in his state amongst his supporters goes: UP mein rehna hoga Yogi Yogi kehna hoga, if you want to live in UP, chant Yogi’s name.

Till Modi and the RSS gave him his dream job ruling Uttar Pradesh, Yogi Adityanath was, together with his band of vigilantes, set on an adversarial course against them. The Sangh, though, sensed his potential as the ultimate instrument of Hindutva, finally gave him the prize in 2017.

Riaz Haq said…
From Modi to #Yogi: The #Militant Monk Who Could Lead #India to #HinduRashtra. https://www.haaretz.com/world-news/.premium-modi-to-yogi-the-militant-monk-who-could-lead-india-to-full-hindu-theocracy-1.10385471




Yogi Adityanath has singlehandedly brought the term "love jihad" into both common use and has even criminalized it in Uttar Pradesh (a move several other BJP-ruled states then followed). "Love jihad" is a baseless conspiracy theory attacking interfaith relationships by accusing Muslim men of seducing and Hindu women and then forcing them to convert to Islam.

He has closed down slaughterhouses and abattoirs using cows which were mainly run by poor Muslims and Dalits, and has banned the sale of beef: killing a cow or its progeny now incurs a ten-year jail sentence.



If this legislative agenda wasn’t bad enough, Yogi Adityanath routinely incites against Muslims and other non-Hindus. He declares his state government is focusing on building (Hindu) temples while non-Hindus are focused on filling burial grounds. In the run up to the UP elections he has oddly promised a "surgical strike" against the Taliban. He once launched series of attacks on Mother Teresa, accusing her of being part of a conspiracy to Christianize India.

He has compared Bollywood superstar Shah Rukh Khan to the Pakistani arch-terrorist Hafiz Sayeed, mastermind of the 2008 Mumbai attacks that killed 166 civilians, and after Khan spoke about growing intolerance in India, proposed he go live in Pakistan. He told Indian Muslims suspicious of increasingly coercive efforts to institute yoga in schools they should either leave the country or drown themselves in the sea.

Women are not spared Yogi Adityanath’s Stone Age views. On his website, the monk writes that, "Women always need to be protected lest their energy go waste." He adds that the patriarchal protection accorded to a woman by her father, husband and brother is only to "channel" her energy and her power – for the good of perfect procreation.

It is only a "controlled woman" who will give birth to mahapurush (great men). Yogi Adityanath warns that women who acquire "masculine traits" turn into demons and need to controlled for the good of society.



He once sat silent on the stage during an election rally when a fellow speaker called for Muslim women’s bodies to be dragged out of their graves and raped. Yogi did not utter a word of condemnation.

Yogi’s government routinely files cases against journalists for simply doing their job under a terror law called the Unlawful Activities Prevention Act and the Sedition Act. In one case, the journalist Siddique Kappan was on his way to report a rape case and was booked before he even filed a single report. Because of the stringent provisions of the Act, Kappan is still in jail for an imaginary crime.

The idea is to sufficiently intimate the independent press that they give up trying to cover his tenure as chief minister, and any future national-level campaigns, leaving the field to obedient pro-Hindutva shills.



Parts of India’s cheerleader media love to gush about Yogi Adityanath’s love for animals. The dairy he maintains, his loving dogs and pet monkeys, are all parts of a deliberate makeover to present India with an image of a kindler, gentler Yogi.

Soft-focus snaps of him sitting with his monkey on his lap are duly circulated in the mainstream media, but in that same media safe space, no one dares question his divisive and bigoted takes.

Despite lethal missteps in the handling of the vicious second wave of COVID which saw bodies floating on the sacred Ganges river, Yogi Adityanath has nonetheless managed to move political debate in UP back to the usual polarizing issues of Hindus versus Muslims, where he is most comfortable. A lacklustre opposition has not been able to pin down his terrible governance record.

Riaz Haq said…
Power will be more concentrated in #India’s Hindi belt where #Modi is popular. “The large, poor tracts that line the northern Ganges River continue to show high fertility rates”. Already, 69% of #Indians say only #Hindi speaking #Hindu are truly Indian

https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/2021/11/25/india-birth-rate-replacement-population/

India’s population growth is losing steam as the average number of children born crossed below a key threshold, according to newly released data from a government survey.

India’s most recent National Family Health Survey, which is conducted every five years by the Health Ministry, was released Wednesday and showed the total fertility rate (TFR) across India dropping to 2.0 in 2019-2021, compared with 2.2 in 2015-2016. A country with a TFR of 2.1, known as the replacement rate, would maintain a stable population over time; a lower TFR means the population would decrease in the absence of other factors, such as immigration.

The figures were hailed as a heartening signal by government officials and researchers in a country that is expected to overtake China to become the world’s most populous sometime this decade. Since the mid-20th century, Indian leaders have tried to curb high birthrates, which are often reversely correlated with women’s welfare metrics and economic progress. A burgeoning population is seen, in the longer term, as a hurdle to development and a driver of environmental degradation and greenhouse gas emissions.

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Heartland misery: Four states hosting 30% of Lok Sabha seats are among the poorest. That’s a message for India

The South appears better placed. In 1991, on economic reform-eve, Bihar and Tamil Nadu were nearly at par in per capita GDP. Three decades later, TN has whittled down its multidimensionally poor to 4.9% of population while Bihar languishes at 51.9%. Jharkhand follows with 42%, UP 38% and MP 37%. The cruel governance irony of these numbers is that the four laggard states cumulatively account for 30% of seats in Lok Sabha and their electoral outcomes play a decisive role in national government formation. https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/blogs/toi-editorials/heartland-misery-four-states-hosting-30-of-lok-sabha-seats-are-among-the-poorest-thats-a-message-for-india/


The heavy poverty burden, despite tremendous political heft and massive welfare funding, indicts heartland netas. Poor states cannot afford their enduring obsession with identity politics, but a shift in discourse towards economic development looks unlikely. Meanwhile, farm laws’ reversal makes poverty eradication in villages harder. Accounting for nearly 5 crore of India’s 12.5 crore unviable agricultural land holdings under 2 hectares, the failure of these four states to call out the subsidised big farmers and lead the clarion call for agri-reforms was another missed opportunity for their political economy.

The multidimensional poverty index constructed on health, education, and standard of living indicators like nutrition, years of schooling, and amenities like cooking fuel, electricity, pucca housing, sanitation, household assets etc, claims to better the erstwhile methodology of pegging a poverty baseline in monetary terms. Performance here depends to an extent on India’s sprawling welfare state, which has admittedly gained more mastery in delivering household amenities to the poor. But NFHS-5 findings of 60% women and young children facing malnutrition uncovers the limitations of welfarism, and conversely, the importance of economic growth to create enough jobs. Over to Nitish, Soren, Yogi, Shivraj, Akhilesh, Tejashwi and Kamal Nath.
Riaz Haq said…
‘Modi’s India: Hindu Nationalism and the Rise of Ethnic Democracy’ review: The collapse of democracy

https://www.thehindu.com/books/books-reviews/modis-india-hindu-nationalism-and-the-rise-of-ethnic-democracy-review-the-collapse-of-democracy/article37923912.ece

Christophe Jaffrelot, who has caught every wave in India, says the country has changed, perhaps irreversibly, from a liberal secular polity a decade ago to a majoritarian ‘ethnic democracy’ today

Jaffrelot tracks the continually expanding catalogue of body blows that have assailed the founding ideals of the Indian republic from the time Modi announced his candidature in the fall of 2013. Those of us who have lived through the lynching of Muslims and Dalits, the assassination of rationalist intellectuals, the trolling of scholars, the detention of activists, the harassment of movie stars, the evisceration of the media, universities and courts, the decimation of the opposition, the destruction of the economy, the persecution of the minorities, the erosion of fundamental rights, the gutting of the public sector, the targeting of NGOs, the silencing of civil society, the distortion of history, the usurpation of social media by hate speech, fake news and propaganda, the defiance and denigration of Parliamentary procedure by the ruling party, the demonisation of dissent, the encouragement of vigilantism, the garrisoning of the Kashmir Valley, the battering of the Constitution, and the forsaking of truth — having borne witness, we understand why compiling this gruesome list requires nearly 700 pages.

But the book is not just an act of meticulous, unsparing documentation, though it is that too. It will prove an invaluable record of our time when future generations struggle to explain the swift collapse of Indian democracy. Once the world’s largest, liveliest and most interesting experiment in equal citizenship, universal adult franchise, regular elections, representative government, minority protection, a free press, and popular self-rule, India always had problematic enclaves of exception like Kashmir and the Northeast. But before Modi, its basic commitment to diversity and pluralism seemed genuine.

Jaffrelot doesn’t just remind us of what has been happening to unravel the liberal consensus in the past 7-8 years. He also brings to bear on these data an enormous scholarly literature and theoretical toolkit about ethnic democracy, populist strongmen, rightwing nationalism, charismatic leadership, the deinstitutionalisation of the state, creeping authoritarianism that appears electorally mandated, the relentless reduction of minorities to second-class citizenship, and the mobilisation of identities in new patterns of conflict, domination and exclusion, jettisoning tolerance, equality and inclusion.

--------
He examines how Yogi Adityanath communalises governance, runs a militia State, and makes Islamophobia an item of official policy. Campaigns of “gauraksha”, “love jihad” and “gharwapsi” make for a deadly cocktail of privileged caste orthopraxy and social conservatism, reinforce patriarchy, and continually bully, shame and terrorise Muslims and Christians. The cow belt and Hindi heartland, including Rajasthan, Haryana and Madhya Pradesh along with Uttar Pradesh, spilling south into Karnataka and east into Assam, are now thoroughly saffronised.
Riaz Haq said…
Hindu bigots are openly urging Indians to murder Muslims
And the ruling party does nothing to stop them

https://www.economist.com/leaders/2022/01/15/hindu-bigots-are-openly-urging-indians-to-murder-muslims


“All Hindus must pick up weapons and conduct a cleanliness drive,” bellowed a Hindu priest at a three-day “religious parliament” in north India last month. Another speaker fired up the large crowd even more crudely: “If a hundred of us become soldiers and kill two million of them, we will be victorious.” By “them”, she meant India’s 200m Muslims.

Those priests baying for blood are not isolated bigots. Under the Hindu-nationalist government of Narendra Modi, the world’s most populous democracy has seen a growing wave of intolerance. In Gurgaon, a satellite city of Delhi, Muslims have been denied the use of open space to pray because it “offends sentiments”. They have also been denied permission to build mosques. Elsewhere Muslims accused of transporting cattle for slaughter, or of being in possession of beef, are sometimes lynched. Muslim businesses are boycotted. In recent months young Hindu radicals have persecuted high-profile Muslim women by creating apps to “auction” them off.

Muslims are not the only target of Hindu chauvinism. In Varanasi, a Hindu temple town, posters warn non-Hindus to stay away. Attacks on Christians, a tiny minority, have risen in recent years. Last week, after Mr Modi, the prime minister, was briefly delayed on an overpass in Sikh-majority Punjab, people associated with his ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (bjp) warned darkly of a repeat of 1984, when thousands of Sikhs were killed in pogroms after the assassination of Indira Gandhi by her Sikh bodyguards. In an index of societal discrimination against minorities compiled by Bar Ilan University in Israel, India scores worse than Saudi Arabia and no better than Iran. It is impossible to know the number of hate crimes in the country: independent trackers were shut down in 2017 and 2019, and the government stopped collecting data in 2017.

Another reason to worry is the silence of the government. From the prime minister downwards, no senior figure has condemned the drumbeat of incitement. When asked about it by the bbc, one bjp politician ripped off his microphone and stomped off. Academics, bureaucrats and retired army officers have sent anxious pleas to Mr Modi to appeal for calm. Yet only one unimportant official—the vice-president—has spoken up.

With big elections due next month, the mood could grow even more fissile. Senior bjp officials stop short of urging people to kill minorities, but they do incite hatred. Yogi Adityanath, the Hindu-nationalist chief minister of Uttar Pradesh, India’s biggest state, declared that the vote was about the 80% against the 20%—that is, Hindus against Muslims.

Some pundits fear the bjp is resorting to divisive rhetoric because it can no longer rely on divisive promises, such as stripping the Muslim-majority former state of Jammu and Kashmir of its special status and starting work on a temple where a mosque once stood in the holy city of Ayodhya. Having honoured those commitments, it needs something new. And with the economy battered by the pandemic, a hostile China poking at the border and slim prospects for the millions who join the labour force every year, it is succumbing to its worst instincts.
Riaz Haq said…
Hindu bigots are openly urging Indians to murder Muslims
And the ruling party does nothing to stop them

https://www.economist.com/leaders/2022/01/15/hindu-bigots-are-openly-urging-indians-to-murder-muslims

The Indian government should realise that by pumping up the ridiculous notion that India’s 300m or so non-Hindus represent a threat to the 1.1bn majority, it is unleashing forces that may become uncontrollable. Sectarian bloodshed can generate a momentum of its own. India has suffered enough in the past for the risks to be obvious: hundreds of thousands died during its post-colonial partition, possibly more. Subsequent decades have seen episodic pogroms. But until recently, although rogue politicians often stirred up hatred for electoral advantage, the secular state mostly acted as a restraint. No longer.

The West, distracted by Russia and China, has paid little attention. Yet a stable, democratic India would be a counterweight to authoritarian China. A Hindu chauvinist India would not only be nastier for its inhabitants; it could also spread instability, prone to even worse relations with its Muslim neighbours. India’s friends, starting with America, should use their influence to persuade Mr Modi and his acolytes to check the spread of hate before it explodes into widespread violence. Mr Modi should want to prevent such a calamity, too. Does he? ■
Riaz Haq said…
"People of different states should communicate with each other in Hindi". Amit Shah’s ‘shocking’ statement on #Hindi will split, not unite, #India: #TamilNadu leaders. #AmitShah #Modi #Hindutva #BJP https://indianexpress.com/article/cities/chennai/amit-shah-hindi-statement-tamil-nadu-leaders-7860467/


S Ramadoss, chief of the NDA ally Pattali Makkal Katchi, says English should remain as the link language and all the 22 languages in the Constitution’s eighth schedule should be declared official languages.


Union Home Minister Amit Shah’s statement that people of different states should communicate with each other in Hindi was strongly condemned by political parties in Tamil Nadu on Friday. DMK MP Kanimozhi and S Ramadoss, founder of the NDA ally Pattali Makkal Katchi (PMK), were among those who took exception to the BJP leader’s remark.


At the 37th meeting of the Committee of Parliament on Official Language on Thursday, Shah said Prime Minister Narendra Modi had decided that the medium of running the government should be the official language, and that this would increase the importance of Hindi. “Now the time has come to make the official language an important part of the unity of the country. When citizens of states who speak other languages communicate with each other, it should be in the language of India,” Shah was quoted by the Ministry of Home Affairs as having said.

Reacting to Shah’s statement, Kanimozhi, Lok Sabha MP from Thoothukudi, said, “Bringing the idea of one language will not help unite the nation but to split it. The Union government and ministers should be aware of the history of anti-Hindi agitations and the sacrifices made for that,” she said.

PMK leader Ramadoss said Shah’s statement was “shocking.” “It means nothing but Hindi imposition,” Ramadoss said. “Even as Hindi may be the language of majority states, Jawaharlal Nehru accepted the demands of the non-Hindi speaking states and allowed English to continue as the link language.”

If an Indian language should be the country’s official language, Tamil may be qualified for that position as it is the oldest language, he said. “However, Tamils do not believe in the imposition of one language, so political parties here demand all languages listed under the eighth schedule of the Constitution be declared official languages,” Ramadoss said. “English should remain as the link language, 22 languages including Tamil should be declared official languages, and people speaking different languages and their sentiments should be respected,” he said.
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. ■

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