Hate in Modi’s India

Published March 5, 2024

AFTER a decade of BJP rule, communal forces in India are in the ascendant, making life for the country’s minorities, particularly its Muslims, very difficult. According to a recently released report by India Hate Lab, a US-based research outfit, anti-Muslim hate speech has become commonplace in India. As per its data, 668 hate speech incidents were logged in the country last year. Not surprisingly, the advocacy group notes, 75pc of these incidents were reported from BJP-ruled states, while the incidents peaked during campaigning for state elections. This should send alarm bells ringing where the safety of India’s minorities is concerned, as general elections in that country are due in April-May, and extremists are likely to light more communal fires to grab votes.

Sadly, this trend of anti-Muslim violence is likely to continue as the Sangh Parivar unleashes its shock troops to ensure another electoral victory for the BJP, its political wing. Moreover, if the BJP manages to form the next government, will it continue the politics of polarisation and hatred, painting Indian Muslims as the eternal ‘other’, to either be converted to Hinduism or live as second-class citizens in the rashtra? The evidence, unfortunately, supports this likelihood. Meanwhile, India’s avowedly secular parties have not done enough to condemn anti-Muslim hate. Brick by brick, the Sangh is seeking to destroy the edifice of Muslim civilisation in India that goes back a millennium. Of course, this civilisational project will not be possible without erasing all signs of Muslim culture from India’s milieu. Though this is a tall ask, the Sangh’s troops are committed to the cause. Vilifying Indian Muslims is just one chilling part of this grand crusade. This devious scheme also envisages the destruction of mosques and their replacement with temples, while the Sangh endorses violence against Indian Muslims, in an apparent move to ‘punish’ them for the sins — real or perceived — of mediaeval Muslim rulers.

Published in Dawn, March 5th, 2024

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