National and International Issues

Hindutva as a Government

Elections 2019 in India concluded with a landslide victory by the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP). The clear winner being Narendra Modi, often referred to as the “Butcher of Gujarat” because of the 2002 massacre of Muslims in which over 2000 Muslims were slaughtered by Hindu extremists led by their then Chief Minister Modi at the helm of affairs. During the 2014 general elections in India, Modi’s election manifesto was reviving Hindu supremacy, for which he reached out to the Sangh Parivar, which professes extremism, intolerance for non-Hindus and promotes Vishal Bharat (Greater India). Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) the militant arm of the Sangh Parivar, has rabid Muslim baiters like Narendra Modi among its parcharak (activists). RSS ensured electoral victory in 2014 but after Modi took oath as Prime Minister, it demanded its pound of flesh in the shape of senior appointments. Another rabid Muslim baiter Ajit Doval was appointed as the National Security Advisor (NSA) while RSS parcharaks took up the mantle of the heads of RAW and Intelligence Bureau. At the behest of RSS, a reign of terror was unleashed against Indian minorities, especially Muslims.



Led by Modi, the BJP administration had established an ethno-religious and populist style of rule since 2014. Its agenda also extended beyond the formal branches of government, as the new dispensation portrays conventional social hierarchies as intrinsic to Indian culture while condoning communal and caste-and-gender-based violence. With the return of Narendra Modi in the 2019 elections, the same agenda will be pursued with a vengeance.


Hindutva is operating through a well thought out plan to project itself and its propaganda campaign. Indian media strategy presents a formidable presence in Asia with 872 private satellite television channels and 34 Doordarshan (public broadcaster) channels on 10 satellites with over 70 transponders and DTH facility, besides using digital network. The wide broadcast network projecting Hindutva and majoritarianism in a larger than life image and distorting facts and history.


Although Modi failed to live up to his promise of Indian ascendancy to greatness in economics or even in defence, yet most Hindus voted for Modi in 2019 with the satisfaction that he had cut the Muslims down to size. Following electoral victory in 2014, harsh and draconian laws were introduced. Those low-caste Hindus like the Dalits who had converted to Islam or Christianity to escape the brutal treatment of upper caste Hindus were forced to return to their original faith under the Ghar Wapsi (return to origins) law. Cow slaughter became not only prohibitive but also led to lynching and torturing Muslims to death under the pretext of their partaking in slaughtering, consumption or selling of beef.
Modi also has heinous designs for Indian Occupied Kashmir (IOK). He promised Indian masses that if he is elected, Article 370 and 35A of the Indian Constitution, which provide special status to Kashmir, will be rescinded and IOK will become a formal part of India. BJP failed to grab the majority in polls in IOK, but it adopted various other unconstitutional measures to annex IOK. Hindus were resettled in IOK so that the demography of the Valley changes and Muslims are turned into a minority so that whenever the UN sponsored plebiscite does take place for accession to either India or Pakistan, the majority votes will now be cast in favour of India.


The BJP government in the western state of Gujarat is contemplating renaming Ahmedabad to Karnavati. Raja Singh, a BJP state legislator in the southern state of Telangana, recently proposed the name of Bhagyanagar for the state capital Hyderabad. In the northern state of Bihar, BJP lawmaker Giriraj Kishore demanded that Bakhtiyarpur be renamed. There have also been attempts to change the name of Agra, where the famous Taj Mahal is located, to Agravan, or Agarwal. Similarly, Sangeet Som, a BJP lawmaker, wants the name of Muzaffarnagar to be changed to Laxmi Nagar.


Havoc was wreaked when young and popular Kashmiri leader Burhan Wani was assassinated. The Kashmiri youth came out in the streets in droves to protest, they were showered with pellets from pellet guns of the Indian soldiers. Over 500 were martyred and 3,600 Kashmiri youth were permanently blinded by pellets aimed at their eyes.
The extremist Hindus ruling India currently are hellbent on removing all traces of India’s Islamic heritage as far as their names are concerned. The Subcontinent was ruled by Muslims for over a century. It is true that few of the Muslim rulers were ruthless but unlike the British, who replaced the Muslims as rulers, the Muslims settled down in India and most of the rulers, especially the Mughals, constructed memorable and historical monuments, palaces, forts, universities, and parks, which India otherwise unabashedly showcases as part of its own heritage and culture.
There is a method to this madness. In the 2014 general elections, BJP and its radical leader Narendra Modi, came to power riding on the waves of a manifesto of hate and odium against Muslims and other Indian minorities. He promised to revive Hindu supremacy and subjugate Muslims in direct contravention of the Indian Constitution, which preaches secularism.
During its five years of rule, Modi failed to fulfil his promises of reviving a failing Indian economy and uplifting the quality of life of average Indians. However, he completed his agenda of reviling Muslims and other minorities with a vengeance. Kashmiri Muslims were the direct recipients of Hindu barbarism, a fate they continue to suffer.
The adoption of policy to change the names of cities and locations, which have the faintest semblance to Islam or the Muslim rulers of India, is supposed to remove allusions to the country’s historical Mughal rule. One of the cities which fell victim to the name change is Allahabad, which was originally named by the Muslim emperor, Akbar, in 1583. Uttar Pradesh’s cabinet, which is led by hardline Hindu nationalist preacher Yogi Adityanath, agreed to the proposal in the face of protests from opposition parties and went ahead with his fanatic proposal.


Modi and his goons are desperate to continue their rule and have rejected calls by international academics and littérateurs as well as human rights activists to cease the blood bath by Hindu extremists as well as renaming Muslim names of locations enmasse.


During the parliamentary session deciding the extreme step, health minister of the north Indian state, Siddharth Nath Singh, told local media: “The city used to be known as Prayagraj since the beginning. To those who are opposing the decision, how would you feel if the name your parents gave you was to be changed?”
Yogi Adityanath and the ruling BJP, led by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in the federal capital New Delhi, justified the move by saying they were merely reverting to the cities' historical names, which, according to them, were changed by Muslim emperors that governed the Indian subcontinent prior to British rule, which technically began after 1857.
"Ayodhya is a symbol of our honor, pride and prestige," Adityanath said after announcing the new name for Faizabad. The name change drive is not just restricted to Uttar Pradesh; chief ministers of other BJP-led states are taking similar measures – renaming cities, airports and streets.
The BJP government in the western state of Gujarat is contemplating renaming Ahmedabad to Karnavati. Raja Singh, a BJP state legislator in the southern state of Telangana, recently proposed the name of Bhagyanagar for the state capital Hyderabad. In the northern state of Bihar, BJP lawmaker Giriraj Kishore demanded that Bakhtiyarpur be renamed. There have also been attempts to change the name of Agra, where the famous Taj Mahal is located, to Agravan, or Agarwal. Similarly, Sangeet Som, a BJP lawmaker, wants the name of Muzaffarnagar to be changed to Laxmi Nagar.


Modi had also promised Indian masses that Pakistan will be cut down to size and destabilized till it accepts Indian supremacy. A number of conspiracies were hatched to achieve this odious agenda. False flag operations were launched targeting their own military installations but blaming Pakistan for it. Pathankot, Uri and Pulwama, are the examples of Indian false flag operations.


Besides those named above, these include: Aurangabad to Shambhaji Nagar; Ahmed Nagar to Anand Nagar; Bhopal to Bhojpal; Osmanabad to Dharashiv; Hyderabad to Bhagyanagar; Patna to Patliputra Nizamabad to Indrapuri; Karimnagar to Karimpuram; Adilabad to Edlawada; Mehboobabad to Manukonda; Mehboobnagar to Palamuru.
The justification being provided by the fanatic Hindus is that “Bharat was invaded by many outsiders, the Britishers and the Muslim invaders. They not only ruled over India but looted it, destroyed its heritage and left it with a demolished culture and heritage. Because of their power at that ‘infelicitous’ time in history, they changed the name of the places they ruled to the name of their own choice or even their respective names.”
Some of the rationale being presented is Baktiyarpur, a place in Bihar which was named after the invader Bakhtiyar Khilji who reportedly burned the prodigious Nalanda University out of sheer jealousy. He encamped Bakhtiyarpur and then went to destroy Nalanda. He destroyed it because he was allegedly jealous of all the knowledge and intelligence Indians had that time.
Modi and his goons are desperate to continue their rule and have rejected calls by international academics and littérateurs as well as human rights activists to cease the blood bath by Hindu extremists as well as renaming Muslim names of locations enmasse.
Modi had also promised Indian masses that Pakistan will be cut down to size and destabilized till it accepts Indian supremacy. A number of conspiracies were hatched to achieve this odious agenda. False flag operations were launched targeting their own military installations but blaming Pakistan for it. Pathankot, Uri and Pulwama, are the examples of Indian false flag operations. Pulwama was carefully choreographed and stage-managed in February 2019 to give adequate time to Indian Air Force (IAF) for launching surgical strikes claiming to have vanquished Pakistan to size. Although the airstrike on Balakot failed, yet Indian propaganda built a hype that more than 350 terrorists in a training camp were killed through precision guided munitions launched by IAF. Pakistan Air Force (PAF) launched counterstrikes and in the melee, two IAF fighter aircraft were shot down while the pilot of an IAF MiG-21 Bison, Wing Commander Abhinandan was captured alive. Indian propaganda falsely claimed that before being shot down, Abhinandan shot down a superior PAF fighter aircraft, an F-16. Although the Indian lies were exposed, yet gullible Indian masses accepted the spin doctoring and Modi was acclaimed as a hero who crushed Pakistan.


It is ironic that the assassin of Mahatma Gandhi, Nathuram Godse, a member of the fanatical group RSS to which Modi too owes allegiance, is now being revered as a hero by the majoritarian protagonists of Hindutva. After ascending to power in 2014, BJP created a documentary film Desh Bhakt Nathuram Godse (Patriot Nathuram Godse) for release on the death anniversary of Gandhi on January 30, 2015. There were attempts to build a temple for Godse and to celebrate January 30 as a Shaurya Diwas ("Bravery Day").


Modi also inculcated contacts with the Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) and financed, armed and motivated them to carry out terror attacks in Pakistan to destabilize it. RAW operatives of the ilk of Commander Kulbhushan Jadhav were launched to foment unrest and create insurgency in Balochistan and Sindh. Although Kulbhushan was apprehended and he confessed to the heinous Indian agenda but efforts to create mayhem and bloodshed continues. Baloch separatists like Brahumdagh Bugti have been sponsored to badmouth Pakistan.  
My book Rising Hindutva and its Impact on the Region that was published on February 22, 2019, is timely as it comes on the eve of the second term of BJP led by Narendra Modi. It explores how Hindutva ideology has permeated the state apparatus and formal institutions, and how Hindutva activists exert control over civil society via vigilante groups, cultural policing and violence. Groups and regions portrayed as ‘enemies’ of the Indian state are the losers in a new order promoting the interests of the urban middle class and business elites. As this majoritarian ideology pervades the media and public discourse, it also affects the judiciary, educational and cultural institutions, increasingly captured by Hindu nationalists. Dissent and difference is silenced, and debate increasingly sidelined as the press is muzzled or intimidated in the courts. Internationally, the BJP government has emphasized hard power and a fast-expanding security state.
Rising Hindutva offers rich empirical analysis and documentation to investigate the causes and consequences of the illiberal turn taken by the so-called world’s largest democracy. The oppressive traits of Hindutva and its implementation by the radical adherents have evoked profound anxiety in the saner elements in India and the rest of the world. An endeavour has been made to fathom the true nature of Hindutva’s majoritarian fascist ideology, its impact on the Indian socio-cultural environment and internal dynamics, which caused irreparable damage in Modi’s previous rule (2014-2019) and spells gloom and doom in the next one too since the same demagogue has been voted to power.
With the veneer of Gandhian non-violence and Nehru’s secularist façade cast aside, New Delhi’s belligerent quest for regional hegemony and global power ambitions in this extremist ideological frame, has ominous geo-political implications, particularly for South Asia. It is ironic that the assassin of Mahatma Gandhi, Nathuram Godse, a member of the fanatical group RSS to which Modi too owes allegiance, is now being revered as a hero by the majoritarian protagonists of Hindutva. After ascending to power in 2014, BJP created a documentary film Desh Bhakt Nathuram Godse (Patriot Nathuram Godse) for release on the death anniversary of Gandhi on January 30, 2015. There were attempts to build a temple for Godse and to celebrate January 30 as a Shaurya Diwas ("Bravery Day").
Having well assimilated the lesson that future wars would be fought not just for territory but for the minds of the people, Hindutva is operating through a well thought out plan to project itself and its propaganda campaign. Indian media strategy presents a formidable presence in Asia with 872 private satellite television channels and 34 Doordarshan (public broadcaster) channels on 10 satellites with over 70 transponders and DTH facility, besides using digital network. The wide broadcast network projecting Hindutva and majoritarianism in a larger than life image and distorting facts and history, the victory of Modi in the 2019 polls became a foregone conclusion.


The writer is a former Group Captain from Pakistan Air Force who also served as Air and Naval Attaché at Riyadh (KSA).
E-mail: [email protected]
 

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