Partition saga | By Asad Ali

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Partition saga 

AUGUST is memorable month for both India and Pakistan as they got independence from British Empire back in 1947.

Thousands of people laid their life for this noble cause to get separate homeland, seeking a bright future for their next generations.

The birth of India and Pakistan as independent states in 1947 was a key moment in the history of Britain’s Empire and its army.

But the process of partition was attended by mass migration and ethnic violence that has left a bitter legacy to this day.

Unfortunately with the passage of time, the concept of secular India has been vanishing under the successive Indian governments particularly incumbent led by nationalist Modi.

Non-Hindus are no more secure in the country and they are struggling for their survival. The safforanisation of Indian society has been replacing Nehruvian concept of secular India gradually.

Since the partition of the sub-continent back in 1947, the elite Hindus have been enjoying more perks in India.

Minorities are still struggling to find space in Modi’s India and to prove their patriotism, while all the communities in Pakistan are enjoying their life and rights without facing any discrimination.

BJP-led states are proactively promoting Hindutva-driven policies to praise their Hindu pundits and make the country Hindu Rashtra for elite Hindus.

BJP’s state governments have been making life of non-Hindus miserable. They are introducing the policies which are favourable to few elite groups only.

At the time of partition, pressure of circumstances led Nehru not to throw his full weight on the side of secularism.

In 1948, he committed support of government to ban communal political parties but did not implement the resolution.

He agreed with Gandhi that compulsory stoppage of cow-slaughter, taken as an isolated decision, would appear as a concession to Hindu bigotry and was, therefore, to be avoided; yet he did not oppose the listing of the banning of cow-slaughter as one of the directive principles of state policy in the constitution and was content to see that nothing came of it in practice.

An even greater deficiency in his policy of merging religious communities in a general citizenship was the restriction of the insistence on monogamy to Hindu men and grant of rights of divorce and inheritance only to Hindu women.

Recently, The BJP is appointing ultranationalist Hindu as head of state governments. Hindu monk Yogi Aditiyanath’s appointment as CM of UP proved Hindutva ideology and approach of Modi.

BJP’s policies shouldn’t surprise us, since after appointment of a rabid anti-Muslim like Yogi as CM, killings of Muslims suspected to have eaten beef have increased.

Now, to be a Muslim in UP is like being a Jew in Hitler’s Germany. Why is this being done?

Why aren’t students of other religious schools being asked to prove that they are patriotic Indians?

Why are Sikhs, Christians and Buddhists in India not being compelled to videotape how they celebrate Independence Day?

Is it because all Indian Muslims are considered to be ISI agents? What makes Modi think that by forcing Indian Muslims to prove that they are good Indians (while carrying out mass killing of Muslims in Kashmir), his party will get Muslim vote?

Of course, Indian Muslims have been subjected to persecution ever since 1947, when shock of seeing India divided made RSS and its virulent activists even more determined to rid India of Muslims.

In fact, as recently as 2002, more than a thousand Muslims were butchered under the supervision of Modi himself.

Because he was suspected to be directly responsible for killings, Modi was denied visa to visit US for many years, until he became PM.

Then there is recent decision of Maharashtra government to remove all references to India’s Muslim past.

They have even removed pictures of Mughal monuments like Taj Mahal from text books to make impressionable Indian children believe that Muslims made no contribution to arts, culture and architecture of India.

There have even been claims by Hinduvta fanatics that Taj Mahal was built by Hindus and not by Shah Jahan.

It shouldn’t surprise us if one day they decide to demolish Taj Mahal on grounds that it has been built over ruins of a Hindu temple, as they did with Babri Masjid.

Hindutva inspired Indian repressive policies, targeting minorities across the board, is a stark reminder that Independence Day for Indian minorities is merely a day of change of Masters.

Modi and his BJP Hinduvta allies know that they can never have a Hindu Rashtraunless they are able to significantly reduce population of its Muslim minority (comprising of 14.23% of population).

They will try every means to achieve their goal, even if it means killing as many Muslims as possible (if they are not able to convert them to Hinduism).

Modi should ponder what ex-VP Hamid Ansari said about a lot of unease, a sense of insecurity creeping in among minorities in India.

He meant that minorities in India, particularly the Muslims, do not feel safe in India.

If Indian leaders genuinely care about agony, suffering and pain, they must work to improve conditions of Muslims and other minorities in India.

The last seven decades have been replete with undeniable proof that India’s espousal of secularism was a sham.

The fact is that today’s India is an undeclared Hindu Rashtra that has no place or tolerance for other religious minorities.

—The writer is Islamabad based expert of Indian Affairs.

 

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