Dr Muhammad Khan
The last five years (2014-2019) rule of Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has brought a fundamental change in the mind-set of Indian masses. The majority Hindu masses, constituting 80% of the 1.3 billion total Indian population has changed from the Nehru’s secularism to Hindu Nationalism. This Hindu nationalistic change has brought fundamental changes in the Indian society. The secular character is hardly observable in today’s India, rather a hardliner Militaristic Hindu Nationalism is seen rampant throughout in Indian society. After return to power, the famous Indian New Delhi based journalist Nilanjan Mukhopadhy wrote a worrisome opinion article on Indian Elections-2019. Entitled as, “Should we fear for India’s democracy?” article was published by Aljazeera on May 25, 2019.
Contents of the article points finger over the future of democracy in India. Quoting BJP think tanks, this Indian journalist predict whether there will be a need of elections in India in 2024 and should Indian follow the current western format of democracy? The BJP policy makers are looking forward for an India where militaristic Hindu nationalism under Modi’s BJP rule India, marginalising and forcing the minorities either to behave as subjugated masses or else opt to join Hinduism. Indirectly, the BJP polices originates from the RSS ideology and Prime Minister has been a diehard member of RSS. RSS ideologue Deendayal Upadhyaya, believes in Integral Humanism, clearly demanding Indianising the current format of western democracy, its concepts of the nation and secularism.
The next five years of the BJP rule will be a consolidation phase of the RSS led policies for India where morality, law and equality will have no place, since over 40% MPs in new Indian Parliament are those facing terrorism and criminal charges to the level of planned killings of minorities, mass murders and rapes. According to Association of Democratic Reforms (ADR), a newly elected member of parliament is “battling 204 cases including manslaughter and robbery.” The results of the Indian polls indicate that, at least “233 of the 543 elected members”are facing criminal proceedings. This trend clearly speaks of the new trends in the Indian politics and it’s so called democracy. This criminal charge sheeted MPs are not restricted to BJP but equally valid for the Congress and other political parties in recent Indian elections.
Christophe Jaffrelot, a political scientist from France having specialisation in South Asian politics has written a book entitled, “Majoritarian State: How Hindu Nationalism is changing India” has outlined the future road map of India. This well-known scholar is currently Director of the Centre d’étudeset de recherches internationales (CERI) at Sciences Po and director of research at the Centre national de la recherche scientifique (CNRS). His book was launched on 26 April 2019 at New Delhi have views and analysis from leading scholars of Indian politics and highlights that RSS is violently tearing apart Indian communities and institutions systematically. The book highlights the new formats in the making under RSS and BJP. These formats include; “Hindu Raj”, “Ethnic Democracy” and “Deep State” all projecting the ascendancy of Hindu nationalism in a futuristic India.
The writer assesses the views and analysis of the domestic Indian scholars, politicians and even officials and concludes that, in last few years, Hindutva ideology has permeated the state apparatus and formal institutions with control of Hindutva activists. Apart from the institutions, this Hindutvacontrol has been extended to civil society through vigilante groups, cultural policing and violence, found rampant in last five years of BJP. “As this majoritarian ideology pervades the media and public discourse, it also affects the judiciary, universities and cultural institutions, increasingly captured by Hindu nationalists.”
The Hindutva activist’s hold over Indian society has strengthened to the level where no one can overtly express a dissent or difference, therefore, debate over Militaristic Hindu Nationalism is out of question in contemporary India. Militaristic Hindu Nationlismare silenced and debate increasingly sidelined as the press is muzzled or intimidated in the courts. At the domestic level, Hindutva activist have created an atmosphere of fear and uncertainty among the three main minorities; Muslims, Sikhs and Christians. Even the socially marginalised Hindu, 300 million Dalit population is also facing the terrorism at the hands of Hindutva activists throughout the India. 2011, census indicate, 25% Indian population consists of Dalits; 16.6% Scheduled Castes and 8.6% Scheduled Tribes. There are three manifests of contemporary India; imposition of a hard power with Hindutvadominating domestic character, shrinking space for any diverging ideology. Demonstration of a mix, the hard and soft power, at the regional level, carrot and stick policy for the neighbouring countries.Projection of soft power at the global level, making India as an attractive place for the global investment, trade and commerce. At the same time, projecting and exploiting the security threats and challenges from rising China and Pakistan thus are making grounds for heavy arms imports from all over the world.
This all speaks of a new Indian order with militaristic Hindu nationalism driving the future of India and may be the region. With this new order, India will not be liveable place for those diverging Hindutva ideology. Regionally, only subservient states can continue surviving with Indian domination, creating serious challenges for sovereign states like Pakistan. Internationally India will be most dangerous place for trade, investment and commerce in the coming years.
— The writer is Professor of Politics and International Relations at International Islamic University, Islamabad.
Dr Muhammad Khan