India- a state known for its diversity and praised for how they have protected their state’s diverse feature since its independence in 1947. A place where all the major religions of the world are found, let it be Buddhism, Christianity, Muslims, Jains, Parsis, a place that is known as “museum of languages” or “as a tower of veritable languages”. Therefore, there is huge diversity of religions, cultures and languages in India. Due to this situation, at the time of independence, India declared itself as “secular state”.
Generally, secularism is described as where there is no amalgamation of religion into politics, where all the religions are free to practice, where no one is killed because of the religion they belong to or the distinct language and culture they follow. Where citizens are given full opportunity without any biases of religion, culture or language.
But the rise of ethnic and religious politics particularly the Hindu nationalism in India, aroused by Narendra Modi has tarnished the secular image of India. Fueling of ethnic and religious politics, marginalization, violence upon the minorities, mob attacks, abuse of basic human rights will create adverse effects for the security situation of the country as well as on its “secular” image at the global stage. The efforts of Bharatiya Jannata Party parties are creating a perception of giving a name to the state religion and that is Hinduism. Eventually these steps will sensitize other communities living within the Indian Territory.
Nationalism always brings pain and division within the society whether its religions, ethnic or state nationalism and the division is visible as Manipur has announced its separation from India based on the reason of violence and discrimination by the Indian government. All thanks to Narednra Modi’s extremist policies and xenophobic mindset. Gradually but surely India is losing its secularism under the nationalistic government of Narendra Modi.
The Hindu nationalism has not erupted in a day. The signs were prominent when the sacred Babri Masjid was demolished by the covert support of the religious parties such as Bharatiya Jannat Party and Rashtriya Sawyamsevak Sangh (RSS). On that day the secular, non-violent and pluralist India of Gandhi came under serious threat. The demolition of Babri Masjid took place on the fabricated historical facts that declare the place of Babri Masjid as the birth place of lord Ram. This place was turned into a Masjid in Mughal era and was demolished by the Hindu extremist mobs in 1992. This resulted in Hindu-Muslim riots that fueled the hatred among two religious groups and killed around 2000 Muslims. The verdict given by Supreme Court shows how strong the BJP party has become in the dying secular India. The verdict compromised the long standing democratic values of the largest democracy of the world. The reconstruction of Ram temple indicates the rise of Hindu Nationalism and increased Hindu supremacy in the state.
The construction of Ram temple on the place of Masjid will create a domino effect in India, where sooner or later the demand for reclaiming of temples will be heard, posing grave threat to the Muslims and their religious heritage.
India has become a place where the minorities are being targeted because they are a minority and they differ from the values and religion that is being practiced in majority, particularly Hinduism. The increased anti-Muslim campaigns are a threat to the minority of Muslims living in India.
The secular image of India has suffered the most under the rule of Bharatiya Jannata Party. The Hindu nationalistic ideology is bringing division and destruction in the secular society of India. Violence, discrimination and targeting of minorities by Hindu nationalistic mobs are results of the words and actions of Prime Minister Modi. He himself is also a Hindu nationalist, focused on creating an India for Hindus removing the white line in the Indian flag. A place where a Dalit groom is killed for sitting on a horse on his wedding, a place where a Dalit man is killed for sitting cross-legged in front of High-caste Hindu, a place where a Muslim is killed for eating beef or even at a doubt of eating beef and a place where 422,799 crimes are recorded each year against Datis or scheduled castes and 81,332 against scheduled tribes then how can Indian still claim itself as a secular state and a state not only for Hindus.
Under the Bharatiya Jannata Party government, a citizenship bill was passed. According to this bill those citizens who has roots with Bangladesh, Myanmar and India’s northeastern states were termed as “illegal” now keep in mind that most strong insurgencies are still going on in the northeastern part of India.
These insurgent groups have been fighting for separation from India and a few for equal representation and protection in the state. If these citizens are termed as illegal by the constitution of India it will defiantly cause serious national security concerns for the Indian state. Though the bill was amended but the point to ponder is that such perceptions and narratives exist in the law-making section of the Indian government. The Hindu nationalistic ideology didn’t stopped here; the revoking of article 370 and article 35(a) is another proof of the making of Hindu state and ending of secular India.
Moreover, creating strict university laws and policies for the lower-caste citizens and making of designing s-uch legislation that suppo-rts and give more benefits to the Hindu citizens and students is building a sense of division in the Indian society. The ethno-religious politics and ideology of Bharatiya Jannat party is bringing a dark future for the pluralistic, democratic and secular India carved by the forefathers.
Such Hindu Nationalistic policies of Prime Minister Modi, is sharpening the ethnic and religious consciousness of the minorities. By creating a sense of “Us and them” the Indian society will be divided into multiple factions. This will give more strength to the insurgents groups and separatist parties to spread their message and in gaining public support. The secular India is already dying a slow death. Now the eyes are on the election results of 2019, the question is what will be the future of secular India? As the representation of Muslims is decreasing, the ethnic and religious politics is creating a sense of political marginalization, communal polarization and sharpening of religious identity in the minorities will cost India a huge price.
In conclusion, Bharatiya Jannata Party is creating a polarized state, where the sense of discrimination, marginalization will prevail. His ideology is creating a sense of fear of life and survival in the hearts of minorities. As Nazia Erum puts it, when Muslims are asked in India, are you a Muslim, the kid replies “Yes I’m a Muslim but I don’t eat Beef”. That’s where we can sketch an image of rise of Hindu Nationalism at the cost communal and religious politics. The reasons of division among the Sri-Lankan society were also the Sinhala Nationalism which gave rise to Tamil Nationalism. The Hindu nationalism in India will sensitize and fuel nationalism among the minorities if the Hindu nationalistic parties kept on marginalizing and dividing the wounded Indian secular society. Now, India is more threatened by its own “elected rulers” instead of outside actors. Not just in SriLanka, Yugoslavia’s breaking and brutal civil war was also a fruit of nationalistic policies of Slobodan Milosevic.
In the current era, PM Narendra Modi is becoming the Milosevic of India. His policies and his party’s policies are dragging the nation into religious based politics creating polarization among Muslim community.