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A Death Knell for This Democracy

The elections are approaching, and our country is sinking deeper into the swamp of hatred and communalism. Since the conference in Haridwar, where hundreds of Hindu religious leaders and political activists clad in saffron robes took an oath to turn India into a Hindu nation, there has been havoc in the entire nation. In the wake of the growing culture of hate and bigotry the question arises, how far does India do justice to the new sobriquet coined by PM Modi for India i.e., “the mother of all democracies”? Sadly, India is far from being a democracy. So what has India become?

The calls for massacre of Muslims isn’t the most terrifying thing about contemporary India, but it is the formalizing and rationalizing of these actions and the total passivity on the part of law and order machinery in the face of such threats. India has long been flirting with the global swing towards the authoritarian-right and in recent years went a step ahead, innovating ways to make it a reality. The culture of impunity for peddling hate and India’s tryst with modern majoritarianism is nothing but a death knell for its minorities.

Modern majoritarianism is not covert; it is explicit and performative. It singles out a particular community, demonizes it as an alien, and then publicly makes an example of it. Majoritarianism follows the same precedent globally and can be seen in Swami Prabodhanand Giri‘s speech when he uses Myanmar as an inspirational example for the systematic ethnic cleansing of Muslims. There’s a brotherhood in bigotry and has nothing to do with reasons or logic; the only requirement is the existence of a minority, to hate.

Credits: National Herald

Now, the question arises, is it a recent trend? Well, the answer to this is an unequivocal ‘No‘. The liberal elite is wrong to find themselves surprised at these ‘recent‘ increase in hatred and at the change in the ideology of the majority. This change is not an overnight one, but has its roots in the networks of Hindutva that were constructed silently and efficiently for over a century now. It is the result of decades of dehumanization of Muslims by the biased police, who worked hard to paint a picture in the minds of the majority that Muslims are criminals and they need to be disciplined.

Let’s look at some recent examples. Umar Khalid and Sharjeel Imam remain behind bars for their speeches, one advocating Gandhian ways of protest and the latter calling for a chakka jam. On the other hand, Gopal, the shooter who opened fire in front of Jamia Millia Islamia and also openly called for the abduction of Muslim women, is out on bail. Narsinghanand, who delivered derogatory remarks on Prophet Muhammad and also called for genocide didn’t face any charges; whilst on the other hand, student activists such as Meeran Haider, despite the absence of evidence against him, remains behind the bars under the charges of the draconian UAPA.

Credits: The Wire

RSS campaign tactics have long focused on portraying Muslims as a threat to the future of Hindus and by extension to the nation, forcing Muslims to prove their patriotism. Muslims are not only being discriminated against, attacked violently and denied justice but are also continually being reduced to second class citizens. The prominent rise in religiously inspired nationalism and the growing hatred among the masses have led to a significant rise in majoritarian communalism which enjoys the support of the State. This is a dangerous trend which would lead to further ghettoization, disenfranchisement and marginalization of the minority community, creating fissures in the secular fabric of India and thereby leading to the establishment of a blood-thirsty majoritarian state.

It is just a matter of time when India’s majority community will see hundreds of Otto Hahn, the German physicist who was distraught and helpless when his close Jewish friend and co-worker of three decades, Lise Meitner, was eventually forced to flee Nazi Germany through the Netherlands. There will be hundreds like Otto Hahn, who will witness their friends and neighbours being prosecuted in front of their eyes. History will not be kind to all these people, as they will become enablers of this new Nazi state, they will become the facilitators of a massive genocide that is yet to come.

Credits: Twitter

If there was ever a moment for India’s Opposition and its citizens to rally against this culture of hate, it is now. It becomes the responsibility of the majority to be an ally of the minority and raise their voices against the forces of hate and bigotry. It becomes their responsibility to assert and express that there’s no place for hatred and Islamophobia in India; only then can we achieve the idea of India which stood for democracy, co-existence and love.

Until then, we are witnessing the beginning of an end.

Sadaf Jawed is a PhD scholar pursuing Modern Indian History from Jamia Millia Islamia.

Edited by: Zaina Shahid Khan

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Written by Sadaf Jawed

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