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Islam and Politics (04 Jan 2020 NewAgeIslam.Com)

India Did Not Become Hindu in 2014

By Arshad Alam, New Age Islam

04 January 2020

The agitation over Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) and the impending National Register of Citizens (NRC) has once again forced us to think on the nature of Indian state and polity. The turnaround of the polity is increasingly visible through a certain kind of vocabulary which has the singular focus of alienating Muslims. The political cosmology itself has shifted: ideologues like Savarkar are often quoted in the public domain with respect. People have willingly and overwhelmingly voted for Pragya Singh Thakur whose ideal is Nathuram Godse, the killer of Gandhi. And yet we should never argue that all this is something ‘new’ which is happening only after the BJP government came to power in 2014. While there is some truth in this argument, this attempt to link the impending demise of ‘secular republic’ with the rise of a political party is nothing but shoddy analysis. A dispassionate attempt must be made to understand how we have come to this situation where sections of citizens have turned upon one another.

The genealogy of anti-secular politics in this country runs deep. And the BJP is not the only party which has contributed to it. Even the so called ‘secular’ parties are much responsible for this sorry state of affairs. One can certainly recall numerous events which have squarely pinned the Muslims as the other; when they have been wantonly killed, humiliated, falsely implicated and eventually denied justice. We need to just recall the series of anti-Muslim pogroms which this country witnessed during the 1980s and 1990s. From Maliana to Mumbai, there has been no justice for Muslims. The perpetrators of these crimes are free and some have been even elected to high offices. The supreme irony of all this is of course that some parties which were directly responsible for killing of Muslims are today being toasted as secular.

It appears that there has always been a consensus in this country to put Muslims in their place. This has been done at two levels: the periodic riots against them have reminded them that they are a powerless minority. But at the same time, discriminatory laws and policies have helped to achieve the same purpose. While many in India have raised their voice against anti-Muslim pogroms, there are hardly any voices which have pointed out how certain measures have been discriminating against Muslims since decades. By being silent on such a crucial aspect, they have willingly condoned such discriminatory practices. Today, it is important to call out that the government in power is targeting Muslims. But let us not forget that many of us where silent when previous governments were doing the same.

Let us just understand the whole idea of not extending reservation policy to Dalit Muslims. We know that there are Muslim communities which are comparable at the social and educational level to various scheduled caste communities. We also know that like their Hindu counterparts, they have faced the scourge of untouchability. Changing their religion to Islam did not change the attitude that even fellow Muslims had towards them. And yet, they do not have scheduled caste status. If granted SC status, they would be eligible to certain benefits which might impel them on the path of development. Since 1950 (when we became a republic), the SC category has been solely reserved for Hindus. Sikhs and Buddhists were included in this category later on but Muslims and Christians till today are kept out. And yet, no one saw it fit to critique this blatantly discriminatory law. For decades, Hindu liberals and those on the Left have chosen to remain silent on the issue. For decades, the ‘secular’ principle of this country has not been called into question. Possibly because these so called secularists were calling the shots then. We all know that Sikhism and Buddhism are different religions from Hinduism. Both are in fact a critique against caste system and all that it entailed. And yet, they can be included but not Islam and Christianity. The reason is simple: Islam and Christianity are considered foreign religions even though they have been part of Indian religious cosmology for more than a thousand years. The consensus around this idea is so wide that even those radically wedded to the idea of revolution have never termed this policy as discriminatory.

Our judiciary has not been consistent either. Consider the famous (or infamous) Supreme Court judgment in 1995 which held that Hindutva was a ‘way of life’. This judgment blurred the distinction between Hindutva (as an exclusionary version of Hinduism) and Hinduism (the everyday religion of Hindus). While earlier, people were hesitant to use the word ‘Hindutva’ freely, the judgment gave it a certain legitimacy in the public discourse. With the force of SC judgment behind it, there was nothing to differentiate between Hindutva and Hinduism anymore. And yet, we hardly saw any opposition to this judgment. The fabled secularists were silent then and they are even silent now when it comes to criticising this judgment of the Supreme Court. We must recall in horror that the same judge who delivered this judgment became the toast of liberals later on. Everyone forgot his earlier judgment and what it entailed for the fate of the secular republic. How crass of them that they are now ventilating against the ‘erosion’ of pluralistic values enshrined in the republic.

The brutality of the police, in full display recently in Uttar Pradesh and other places, is also not new. As an arm of the executive, the police have never been neutral since many decades. Anti-Muslim prejudice runs deep and various governments have been reminded to reform the police force. And yet, they chose to remain silent. There has been no justice to Muslims who fell to police violence and brutality from Bhagalpur to Ahmedabad. Why is it that we are crying hoarse when the same police force is running amok and destroying Muslim property in Uttar Pradesh? This certainly is not new for Muslims. What is certainly new is the art of forgetting which is being employed by a section of intellectuals. By linking police brutality with a political party, they are in fact whitewashing the crimes of previous regimes which were as brutal as what we are seeing today.

It is important to call out this government for its treatment of Muslims. It is equally important for Muslims to protest against this oppression. But while doing so, Muslims and others should not forget that anti-Muslim prejudice is a systemic problem and not related to any one political party. A better tomorrow will only come about when we recognise this problem and collectively try to overcome a system which has been loaded against Muslims in many ways.

Arshad Alam is a columnist with NewAgeIslam.com

URL: http://www.newageislam.com/islam-and-politics/arshad-alam,-new-age-islam/india-did-not-become-hindu-in-2014/d/120706

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  • caa और nrc के मौजु से पहले, मुसलमान एक दुसरे के दुश्मन थे, लेकिन अभी सब एक साथ हैं,
    मुस्लिम हिन्दू भी इस मसले पर साथ दिख रहे हैं, unity लाने पर बहुत लोग सोच रहे थे, लेकिन कोई कामयाब न हो सका,
    लेकिन वाह मोदी जी, आपने तो कमाल कर दिया!!!
    लेकिन अब देखते हैं इस unity का फायदा सियासी तौर पर किसको मिलता है, क्योंकि ये unity शायद ना टूट पाए, अब हालात ऐसे हैं कि मज़हब की सियासत कामयाब नहीं होगी
    By GGS - 1/12/2020 11:02:24 PM

  • Your article aptly highlights the state of Muslims who need empathy and a dignified life as basic human rights...
    By Meera - 1/12/2020 9:59:44 AM

  • Hats Off's virulent and all-pervasive hatred of Muslims is well known by readers of NAI, so why is  he acting surprised by what I said?
    By Ghulam Mohiyuddin - 1/6/2020 11:17:39 AM

  • @Apurbajyoti Majumdar Looks like you are a Modi's andha Bhakt..RSS chaddi. Nonsense you wrote which you can't back it up with facts. Must be high school drop out. Why some Bengalis are irresponsible idiots Majumdar.
    By Ash Mehdi - 1/6/2020 10:09:42 AM

  • mr ghulam mohiyuddin projects.
    and that shows.
    he will always encourage others to shoot but will never touch the gun. they call such people psychoatwists.
    we call them shameless.

    By hats off! - 1/6/2020 7:23:56 AM

  • So conveniently, the author forgets the Godhra train burnings, the repeated terrorist attacks by Muslims. Muslims must ask themselves what itit about them that draws the ire of all other people. .even athiests. Think of you history of destroying temples and universities, slaughter of infidels, third class citizenship of non muslims where ever muslims ruled/rule. Think of abductions of girls in Pakistan, love jihad in India. Nothing you do promotes harmony in society. You are just chest thumping savages that have convenient memory lapses when it comes to the behavior of muslims in India and elsewhere. You want secularism in countries  where you are a minority and Islamic countries where you are a majority. Whatever you are getting is karma. The fruit of your actions.
    By Secularlogic - 1/6/2020 1:19:30 AM

  • Which minority do you think Hats Off would like to see slaughtered? One does not have to ask!
    By Ghulam Mohiyuddin - 1/5/2020 11:22:23 AM

  • no sort of any minority is safe in any sort of majority.

    whoever is in the majority will slaughter those of the minority.

    this is the basis of the human civilization.

    By hats off! - 1/5/2020 3:15:37 AM

  • Musalmans who openly supported Pakistani terrorists, and were happy to see the persecution of Kashmir Pandits have done the community much harm. Their opposition to Modi so often was conflated with Pakistani rhetoric.
    By Apurbajyoti Majumdar - 1/5/2020 1:58:44 AM

  • Rather work for 'reforms' within other than blaming others & the whole world ! Introspect, or nothing will change. I might not, but I can't stop the whole world. One can only defend till it's defendable ! Islam's greatest enemy is within Islam itself ! Identify them.
    By Rohit Singh Sikarwar - 1/5/2020 1:57:55 AM

  • Even the mild among them gloat over "sab taz uchhale jayenge". Allah only.
    By Apurbajyoti Majumdar - 1/5/2020 1:56:55 AM

  • Muslims in the meanwhile must take a strong and visible nationalistic and anti-Pakistani stance and must also speak out against the ill-treatment of minorities in Muslim-majority countries.
    Had  Indian Muslims raised their voice in defence of human rights and welfare of Minorities in Pakistan and Bangaladesh , I am sure  the Hindu Minorities in  Pakistan would have lived in peace and prosperity.

    By Dr.A.Anburaj - 1/4/2020 10:34:30 PM

  • Soft Hindutva has been a tangible factor under several Congress administrations but it has now become a malignant conflagration as a result of well-organized and well-financed hate-promotion activities of the RSS for over 70 years. 
    There is no inclination on the part of either the BJP or the RSS to do anything about it except perhaps to keep fanning the flames. Since anti-Muslim hysteria has been very helpful to the BJP in winning elections, it is unlikely that they will stop using it in every upcoming election. 
    The rising resistance to the BJP among liberal/secular Hindus is a good sign but it is too early to say whether it will become a viable force. 
    Muslims in the meanwhile must take a strong and visible nationalistic and anti-Pakistani stance and must also speak out against the ill-treatment of minorities in Muslim-majority countries.

    By Ghulam Mohiyuddin - 1/4/2020 12:04:53 PM

  • Arshad sb, It is equally important to call out what we call the “selective Islamophobia" of the left-liberals. In fact, the ‘left-liberal’ Islamophobia is more insidious. For instance, the left-leaning historian Ramchandra Guha often exhorts Muslims to engage with modernity. That's welcome but at the same time, when Indian Muslims genuinely engage in brainstorming on Islamic reformation, the left-liberals in general discredit those Muslims as 'sarkaari musalmaan' and their narratives as the state’s version of Islam. This is ironic.
    By GRD - 1/4/2020 6:56:14 AM

  • Hindus are banished from Kashmir- this is no news to Indian Muslims. Hindus are banished from Pakistan- this is no news to Indian Muslims.Hindus are banished from Bangaladesh - this is no news to Indian Muslims. Pakistan /Bangaladesh which are  a fragment of Hindustan declared  to be a Arabian Imperialistic-Islamistic state. Every Indian Muslim is rejoices at that point. But the same Muslim demands  secular constitution for India. what a contrdiction. Arshad should deal with this fact.

    By Dr.A.Anburaj - 1/4/2020 5:58:40 AM

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