Expansion of Hindutva Ideology Under Modi Regime

The BJP is desroying Indian secularisma

By Asif Khurshid

Religion has played a dominant role in the history of the Subcontinent, but India emerged in the name of secularism at the time of its independence despite its religious legacy. The secular Indian state is based on the principle of separating religion and state, and treating all religious communities equally without any discrimination. The Indian Constitution also provides for the right to freedom of religion, and prohibits the state from establishing or promoting any particular religion.

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The secular nature of the state is enshrined in various laws and policies that prevent discrimination based on religion, and promote equal opportunities for all citizens. Despite of this, shortly after gaining independence, India has been promoting the Hindutva ideology and engaged in acts of aggression and oppression towards the different religions, especially against the Muslim population residing within and around the country.

A non-discriminatory, conciliatory, and tolerant stance towards all sections of Indian society is crucial so the Modi government should take another look at its repressive policies so that the real identity of the state should be restored

Hindutva is an ideology that seeks to unite all people who identify as Hindus, and is associated with the political and cultural movement known as the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) and its political wing, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP). The BJP, under the leadership of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, has been in power in India since 2014, and during this time, the concept of Hindutva has gained greater prominence in Indian politics. This ideology has been at the centre of many controversies in recent years, with some accusing the BJP of promoting a narrow, exclusionary view of Hinduism that is at odds with the country’s secular values.

During the Modi regime, there have been several incidents that have been linked to the ideology of Hindutva. In 2015, a mob of Hindu nationalists beat up a Muslim man in Uttar Pradesh for allegedly eating beef, which is considered sacred by many Hindus. The incident sparked outrage across the country, and there were calls for the government to take action against those responsible. However, some members of the BJP defended the actions of the mob, with one lawmaker stating that “those who eat beef should face such consequences.”

In 2017, a Muslim man was beaten to death by a mob in Rajasthan, again over allegations of cow slaughter. The incident was caught on camera, and the video went viral, sparking outrage across the country. The BJP government initially attempted to downplay the incident, with the state’s home minister stating that “such incidents happen every day.” However, after widespread protests, the government was forced to take action, and several people were arrested in connection with the incident.

In the past several years, there has also been a rise in vigilante groups that are affiliated with the ideology of Hindutva. These groups, known as “cow protection” groups, have been responsible for a number of attacks on Muslims and Dalits who are involved in the meat and leather trade. These attacks have often been carried out in the name of protecting the cow, which is considered sacred by many Hindus.

The rise of Hindutva has also been reflected in the cultural sphere. In 2017, when the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting issued guidelines to the media that called for the promotion of “Indian culture and value systems,” which many saw as an attempt to impose a particular view of Hindu culture on the country.

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One of the primary ways in which Hindutva ideology has expanded under the Modi regime is through the government’s promotion of a Hindu-centric narrative in the country’s history and culture. This has been done through various measures, such as renaming cities and streets after historical figures associated with Hinduism, promoting Sanskrit as the national language, and emphasizing the role of Hinduism in India’s ancient past.

In addition, the government has been accused of targeting universities and educational institutions that promote alternative views of Indian history and culture. The JNU controversy, for instance, involved the government’s attempt to suppress dissent in Jawaharlal Nehru University, which is known for its liberal atmosphere and leftist politics.

Furthermore, under the Modi regime, there has been an increase in the activities of various right-wing organizations that promote Hindutva ideology. These groups include the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS), THE Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP), and Bajrang Dal, among others. These groups have been involved in promoting Hindu nationalism, often at the expense of religious minorities, such as Muslims and Christians.

The abrogation of Articles 35A and 370 of the IndianConstitution, changing the status of Indian-Occupied Kashmir, is also another most significant incident related to the expansion of Hindutva ideology under the Modi regime. This move was seen by the world as an attempt to impose Hindu nationalism on the region. The decision was followed by a clampdown on dissent and a communications blackout, which lasted for several months.

The Modi regime has also been accused of using the state apparatus to suppress dissent and stifle criticism of its policies. This has been done through various measures, such as the arrests of activists, journalists, and political opponents, as well as the use of laws such as the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act (UAPA) to target those who challenge the government’s policies.

Another way in which the Modi regime has expanded Hindutva ideology is through its control of the media. The government has been accused of promoting a pro-Hindu narrative in the media, while also suppressing critical voices.

The controversy over the TRP ratings scandal involving Republic TV, for instance, highlighted the nexus between the government, the media, and Hindutva ideology.

 Although the BJP and its supporters see Hindutva as a unifying force that promotes India’s cultural and religious identity, critics argue that it is leading to grow concerns about the erosion of India’s secular and democratic traditions. As India moves forward, it will be important to find a way to balance the need for cultural and religious preservation with the principles of democracy, pluralism, and human rights.

Hindutva is a radical philosophy rooted in hatred towards minorities in India, and its rise is pushing the country towards a fascist state where only Hindus are granted full rights. If India continues with regressive policies, more than 180 million-strong Muslim population and other religious communities may become dissatisfied, leading to chaos, bloodshed, and even the potential breakup of the country.

A non-discriminatory, conciliatory, and tolerant stance towards all sections of Indian society is crucial so the Modi government should take another look at its repressive policies so that the real identity of the state should be restored.

The writer is a freelance columnist


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