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.

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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.

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