Secular India: Muslims Are Not Equal to Hindus
posted by Zaheerul Hassan
Dr Subramanian Swamy, a senior leader of the ruling party, Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), and a member of India’s parliament, has said that Muslims are not equal citizens since they pose a threat to the world. He was speaking to journalist Isobel Yeung when he slammed over 200 million people of his own country; Muslims.
He was supposed to justify an ongoing human rights crisis in India, where Muslims are treated like second-class citizens. “On this issue, the country is with us,” he told Yeung. “Most people like our hard-line approach to solving pending problems.”
He went on to say that “where the Muslim population is large, there is always trouble,” which Yeung countered by pointing out that with 200 million Muslim residents, India has the second-largest Islamic population in the world. When Swamy stuck to his position, she told him his comments sounded “like hatred,” but he said he was being “kind.”
Once Yeung cited Article 14 of India’s constitution — “The State shall not deny any person’s equality before the law or the equal protection of the laws within the territory of India” — he told her she was misinterpreting it and, in fact, Muslims are “not in an equal category” to non-Muslims.
Prime Minister Imran Khan once again reminded the world that “The RSS inspired BJP leadership in the 21st century openly speaks about the 200 million Muslims just as the Nazis spoke about the Jews.”
Pakistani actress Mehwish Hayat also condemned India’s ruling party leader Swamy for spewing hatred against Muslims. She questioned the international community’s silence over the remarks made by the Bharatiya Janata Party’s (BJP) lawmaker. “Why is the world closing its eyes to what is happening in India? This is exactly what Nazi Germany did. So what’s next for Muslims…extermination camps?” she wrote on Twitter.
BJP is homogenizing India’s diversity?
Analysts believe that the current Indian government is pursuing a policy of appeasement since it has failed to perform on economic fronts. Saleha Anwar, a Lahore-based political analyst, believes that “India under Modi has become a battlefield between Muslims and Hindus sending economy on second in the list of priorities”.
Indian politics is being shaped by the extremist politicians and strategists who intend to wipe out the Muslim minority from India. Dr Moeed Pirzada, a prominent political commentator and columnist, recently noted that “Ram Rath Yatra, Mandal Commission, Ram Janma Bhoni movement, Attack on Babri Mosque, demolition of Babri Mosque, Bombay riots, nuclear explosions of 1997, Kargil Conflict, attack on Indian Parliament, mobilization against Pakistan, Gujrat Pogroms and Mumbai terrorism everything in one or the other was skillfully utilized in redefining Indian narrative and politics moving it ever closer to the realization of a Hindu Rashtra which now exists in reality though it still needs a legal and constitutional cover”.
The emerging trends in India offer us a sufficient amount of evidence that the rise of identity politics in India is to overshadow Modi’s dismaying economic performance. This is wrong with identitarian politics in the age of populism.”
Similarly, while commenting on the state of the economy, Indian writer and human rights activist, Arundhati Roy notes that “while Modi has delivered on Hindu nationalism, he has stumbled badly on the free-market front. Through a series of blunders, he has brought India’s economy to its knees.
Apoorvanand, who teaches Hindi at the University of Delhi, believes that the BJP is attempting to homogenize the diverse India which is likely to backfire. He opines that “the BJP and the RSS are trying to homogenize diverse, regional and cultural spaces and paint them with a broad Hindu brush. Slowly and gradually, they are trying to gain control over institutions – religious and cultural – by putting their people there”.
He further notes that “they are trying to create a Hindu umbrella, which will shelter all these diverse traditions and give people a feeling of being part of a unified whole called Hinduism. They are also eyeing the tribal traditions. This entry into their holy and cultural spaces is now conspicuous”.