KARACHI: The Pakistan Institute of International Affairs (PIIA) held a seminar on ‘The Status of Minorities in India’ on Saturday evening. Former Senator Javed Jabbar and academic Prof Dr Mohammad Waseem were two speakers who shed light on the subject.

Speaking on the occasion, Javed Jabbar articulated his thoughts brilliantly by stating at the beginning that in India there’s ‘unclear majority that imperils clear minority’.

He said the three concepts of Hindu, Hinduism and Hindutva are three distinctive, separate concepts. The word Hindu does not occur in any of the three sacred texts of Hinduism. For hundreds of years there was no concept of who is a Hindu because the people living in South Asia were driven by caste.

He argued 1857 is normally considered the tragic end of Muslim rule. “Tragic yes, but it was the end of monarchical Muslim Mughal rule due to the callous murder of the two sons of Bahadur Shah Zafar by a British officer. When that happened, 800 to 900 years of certain conditioning of the Muslim psyche had to begin a new odyssey. ‘How do we now become a minority?’

Javed Jabbar claims Hindutva was fascism before Hitler and Mussolini

“At the same time, another odyssey began, which was the quest for Hindu identity because Hindus now had to decide ‘we have always been a majority, how do we now acquire power and become the ruling majority over the minority that has ruled us for 800 years.’ So out of the two odysseys, the Hindu one took a regressive turn.”

Mr Jabbar said Hindutva is not a belief in Hinduism. It is very specific. You can only be a Hindu if your parents are Hindu or if you’re born in what they consider is Hindustan. “This was fascism before Hitler and Mussolini… Hindutva is not a product of the BJP-RSS extremism alone, it incorporates the latent covert trends running through a certain segment of India’s polity for several decades.”

‘Hidutva is xenophobic’

Dr Mohammad Waseem, Professor of Political Science, Department of Social Sciences, Lahore University of Management Sciences, said elections mean that you count every citizen belonging to multiple cultures. Earlier majoritarianism in India was secular, but now it’s faith-based. The ghettoisation of Muslims has taken place in India because of the BJP. Muslims now tend to live and stick together.

He pointed out that in India, Muslims are now considered internal enemy. As a result the minority is otherised.

Dr Waseem said that all of this has given birth to vigilante culture which is part of the neo-normal politics in India. Gao raksha incidents are an example. All nationalisms invent their sacred points. In India, the force of law has been converted into the law of force. A law enforcement agency like the police takes Hindus’ side, using the law of force against Muslims. “Muslims are labelled Pakistanis and Pakistan is enemy country.”

He said Hindutva is xenophobic in nature. Patterns of resistance have emerged, though, such as new generations of Muslims are now documenting what’s happening. He added Muslim future in India is far from right.

Earlier, Dr Masuma Hasan welcomed the guests to the seminar and introduced the speakers to them.

Published in Dawn, May 29th, 2022

Opinion

Editorial

Avenfield relief
Updated 30 Sep, 2022

Avenfield relief

Accountability cannot continue to be treated like a revolving door in which politicians can be shoved in or pulled out on a whim.
Dar’s plans
Updated 30 Sep, 2022

Dar’s plans

For starters, the country doesn’t have spare dollars to burn.
Another targeted attack
30 Sep, 2022

Another targeted attack

WEDNESDAY’S deadly attack on three Chinese-origin individuals in Karachi’s Saddar area demonstrates the threat...
More leaks
Updated 29 Sep, 2022

More leaks

Recent leaks look more like an inside job than the work of a foreign power.
A depressing winter
29 Sep, 2022

A depressing winter

WINTER is on its way, with a massive gas crunch looming as elevated global LNG prices have eroded the cash-strapped...
Great expectations
29 Sep, 2022

Great expectations

CONSIDERING that the Afghan Taliban have been in the saddle for over a year now, the UN has expressed frustration...