A response to TIME magazine’s “Can the world’s democracy endure another five years of a Modi Govt”
TIME, NEWSWEEK, ECONOMIST, GUARDIAN, CNN are a cabal of left leaning magazines/ news channels that have been critical of India in normal times, but have gone berserk with the ascendancy of Modi, beginning from the time of Godhra incidents in 2002, and culminating in 2014 when he won elections as Prime Minister.
Forget about the “liberal” voice, even proud rightwing publications like the STANDPOINT of UK is not far behind in its criticism of Hindu organizations. The reason for this is not difficult to understand. A lot of establishments to the right are hands-in-gloves with evangelical Christian organizations, who are seeking a big “harvest of souls” in Asia, especially India, and of course Africa and since the BJP/Sangh Parivar oppose proselytization, they bear the brunt of their attack .
While on the one hand, there has been a following of our spiritual traditions and YOGA, yet to most Westerners the mindset towards India / Hinduism has become conditioned into negative connotations, which includes poverty, fatalism (many erroneously link karma to it) and “worship of cows and thousands of Gods”. Noted scholar Rajiv Malhotra correctly summarizes this perception of India as being a land of “caste, cow and curry”.
Before Modi came on the scene and openly connected YOGA with Hinduism, many of the American practitioners, including the YOGA JOURNAL, had been trying their best to disconnect YOGA from the Dharmic tradition, whereas others have tried their best to appropriate parts of the Indic traditions to fit into their Western/ Christian narrative.
In short, Aatish Tasseer’s “Can the World’s Largest Democracy Endure Another Five Years of a Modi Government” is just one among innumerable such articles that have been published over the past 5 years to create an impression that with the advent of Modi, democracy and toleration are in danger in India. Of course, India’s mainstream media, which is also strongly leftist – dominated exhibits the same problem of seeing their own country through Western lens
Isn’t it amazing that the illegitimate son of the Pakistani politician, the ex-Governor of Punjab (mother: Tavleen Singh) who was assassinated by an Islamist because of being sympathetic to the cause of a Christian lady accused of blasphemy (recently released from prison and flown to Canada), AND a person who is gay and just married to a same-sex person, a crime that would be considered punishable by death in many Islamic countries including Brunei, CAN talk about breakdown of tolerance and rights in India!
This is typical of almost all moderate Muslims. Maybe Aatish has a better track record in that he has criticized hardcore Islam, but yet reading his present article’s bracketing USA, Britain and India with Turkey clearly demonstrates a trait which is pretty typical among such persons. Recently, CPM leader Sitaram Yechury equated Jihad with the Dharmayudha of Ramayan and Mahabharat! And, our leftists and “intellectuals” have often called BJP or RSS as “Hindu Taliban”.
It is not ignorance but deliberate mischief and hate propounded by these people, knowing fully well that such concepts of killing infidels or non-believers, or subjugating women or Dhimmis are completely anathemic to any Dharmic civilization, be it Hinduism, Buddhism, Jainism, or even Shinto, Taoism, etc.
ARTICLE DOES CONTAIN SOME FACTS
….and the ideology Nehru bequeathed to the newly independent nation was secularism. This secularism was more than merely a separation between religion and state; in India, it means the equal treatment of all religions by the state, although to many of its critics, that could translate into Orwell’s maxim of some being more equal than others. Indian Muslims were allowed to keep Shari’a-based family law, while Hindus were subject to the law of the land. Arcane practices–such as the man’s right to divorce a woman by repudiating her three times and paying a minuscule compensation–were allowed for Indian Muslims, while Hindus were bound by reformed family law and often found their places of worship taken over by the Indian state. (Modi made the so-called Triple Talaq instant divorce a punishable offense through an executive order in 2018.)
Nehru’s political heirs, who ruled India for the great majority of those post-independence years, established a feudal dynasty, while outwardly proclaiming democratic norms and principles. India, under their rule, was clubbish, anglicized and fearful of the rabble at the gates. In May 2014 those gates were breached when the BJP, under Modi, won 282 of the 543 available seats in Parliament, reducing the Congress to 44 seats, a number so small that India’s oldest party no longer even had the right to lead the opposition.
CRAP CLAIMS WITHOUT FOUNDATION
(A) Most of all, his ascension showed that beneath the surface of what the elite had believed was a liberal syncretic culture, India was indeed a cauldron of religious nationalism, anti-Muslim sentiment and deep-seated caste bigotry. The country had a long history of politically instigated sectarian riots, most notably the killing of at least 2,733 Sikhs in the streets of Delhi after the 1984 assassination of Indira Gandhi by her Sikh bodyguards. The Congress leadership, though hardly blameless, was able, even through the selective profession of secular ideals, to separate itself from the actions of the mob.
Modi, by his deafening silences after more recent atrocities, such as the killing of more than 1,000 people, mostly Muslims, in his home state of Gujarat in 2002, proved himself a friend of the mob~ Like all so-called intellectuals, Taseer displays “intellectual arrogance” in boasting to know more about history and contemporary events than others. Anyone with an elementary knowledge of events of 1984 post-Indira Gandhi’s assassination would be aware that top Congress leaders of Delhi, many of them confidants of Rajiv and his late brother Sanjay, instigated Congress mobs to massacre innocent Sikhs in Delhi and elsewhere. Rajiv Gandhi made comments like “when a big tree falls, earth shakes….” The Congress was fully complicit in the murders of Sikhs and they can’t escape it. In a span of just few days, thousands of Sikhs lost their lives.
It was nothing short of a pogrom as far as Gujarat is concerned, besides a few instances where some leaders were said to have instigated mobs, by and large it was a series of small-scale events which continued over a period of many months. It was not a one-sided event, as more than 1/4th of the victims were Hindu. It is also common knowledge that the ghastly burning of the train in Godhra by a Muslim mob that resulted in the murder of more than 50 innocent Hindus was what led to the post-Godhra violence. It was the media silence, in fact blaming the victims fro their own deaths that saw people reacting in the most brutal way. But it can’t be compared 1984, as unlike then when the victims were just Sikhs, in the case of Gujarat 2002, there were Muslims and Hindus who both suffered.
Again, the writer deflects on another genocide, ETHNIC CLEANSING that took place in between the two events – the brutal killings and rapes of Hindus, breaking of their temples and their forcible expulsion from Kashmir Valley. Obviously Taseer won’t mention it because in this case, the aggressors were fully Muslim.The extent of that terror can be felt from the fact that 36 years and 17 years after Delhi and Gujarat happened, both these places have thriving populations of Sikhs and Muslims respectively which hasn’t dwindled but rather increased. On the contrary, less than 5,000 of the original 400,000 Kashmiri Pundits live in Kashmir Valley today. From the Jihadic viewpoint, it was a job done perfect!
As is usual with western academics, taking such incidences India is portrayed as being exceptionally intolerant and full of hatred. Some crazy academics have even said that there have been more hate crimes in India post-WW2 than anywhere else. Some chamchas like Harsh Mander say that vigilante mobs outside the US only exist in India. It is a shame that no “intellectual” ever bothers to even cross-examine such claims.
For the record,
(a) Indonesia is probably one of the worst places for hate vigilante mobs, there being 34,000 vigilante attacks involving death or serious injuries between 2005 and 2014. This still continues today. It hasn’t stopped. And if we go a little back earlier to 1998, we find that in just 2 days mobs spread mayhem and hatred, killing 1,000 people and raping 87 women, vast majority of them belonging to the minority Chinese community. Many more mob violence have targeted Christians, Sufis, Ahmeddiyas, and others not deemed Muslim enough
(b) Mob violence is also endemic in Africa and Latin America, especially in Brazil, and even increasing in some countries of Europe.
(c) Even in the “heart of civilization” – Europe – as recent as 1992, more than 8,000 Muslims were massacred in Srebnica, Bosnia, and also Christians were killed by Muslims elsewhere in the ex-Yugoslavia
(d) In Sudan and many other African nations, there were Muslims busy killing Muslims, or Muslims killing Christians, or in Rwanda Christians killing Christians.
(e) Even the troubles in Northern Ireland between Catholics and Protestants, which killed 3,500 people, only ended in the closing years of the 20th century
(f) The US remains a very divisive country, where blacks continue to suffer massive racial abuse at the hands of the police and judicial system
(g) And talking about “deep seated” hatred, what are his comments to the white supremacist killing 50 innocent Muslim worshipers in NZ? Does he consider him to be an aberration? Because if he does, he’s seriously mistaken. White supremacists are here to stay in Europe. Rightly or wrongly, they believe that Muslim immigrants are going to destroy European civilization, which is the reason why openly xenophobic and racist political parties in Europe are commanding support of anywhere between 10% – 50% of the population in several important countries.
In places like Poland, Hungary, Denmark, they are in power and are unashamed in using language that would never be condoned in India. Even in liberal Germany, a poll conducted last year by Leipzig-based Competence Center for Right-wing extremism and Democracy research found that up to 56% Germans felt that the number of Muslims in Germany made them feel like strangers in their own country; up to 44% felt that just Muslims should be banned from immigrating to Germany.
(h) To further illustrate that its not just about the Muslim immigrants, but instead a profound disdain if not hatred for “all others” in European psyche can be gouged from the treatment meted out to Gypsies who have been an integral part of the European scene since the 12th century. Yet today, they continue suffering massive discrimination and are often targeted for their race, leading to violence and even murders.
Its amazing how superior sounding human rights activists in Europe who have taken it upon themselves to lecture the whole world on such issues have simply glossed over the 2nd or 3rd class status that their own Gypsy nationals are subjugated to in Europe, especially eastern Europe.
(B) India’s Muslims, who make up some 14% of the population, have been subjected to episode after violent episode, in which Hindu mobs, often with what seems to be the state’s tacit support, have carried out a series of public lynchings in the name of the holy cow, that ready symbol of Hindu piety. Hardly a month goes by without the nation watching agog on their smartphones as yet another enraged Hindu mob falls upon a defenseless Muslim. The most enduring image of Modi’s tenure is the sight of Mohammad Naeem in a blood-soaked undershirt in 2017, eyes white and enlarged, begging the mob for his life before he is beaten to death. The response of leadership in every instance is the same: virtual silence. Basic norms and civility have been so completely vitiated that Modi can no longer control the direction of the violence.
Once hatred has been sanctioned, it is not always easy to isolate its target, and what the BJP has discovered to its dismay is that the same people who are willing to attack Muslims are only too willing to attack lower-caste Hindus as well. The party cannot afford to lose the lower-caste vote, but one of the ugliest incidents occurred in Modi’s home state of Gujarat, in July 2016, when upper-caste men stripped four lower-caste tanners, paraded them in the streets and beat them with iron rods for allegedly skinning a cow.
The exaggerated claims are based on absolutely faulty and lie-peddling sites, those who’ve done no ground reporting but have simply relied on English-language publications for their information. One ought to read such sites which have fully silenced their nonsense.
Even those who were making unfounded claims said that the total number of people lynched by vigilante mobs in India in 3 years had been 36; if so, still nothing to be proud of BUT this is how people with biased propaganda operate. 36 people killed in a span of 3 years makes India intolerant but 50 Muslims killed by a white supremacist in a matter of 30 minutes continues to make NZ a tolerant country! Besides, out of the men who stripped the tanners, not all were upper caste. At least 1 was Muslim.
(C) He appointed Swaminathan Gurumurthy, Hindu nationalist ideologue, to the board of the Reserve Bank of India–a man of whom the renowned Columbia economist Jagdish Bhagwati said, “If he’s an economist, I’m a Bharatanatyam dancer.” It was Gurumurthy who, in a quest to deal with the menace of “black money,” is thought to have advised Modi to put 86% of India’s banknotes out of commission overnight in 2016, causing huge economic havoc from which the country is yet to recover.
Taseer doesn’t forget to quote Bhagwati’s views on Gurumurthy from the 1990s, but when it comes to demonetization, like all good liars he deliberately IGNORES the views of the same Professor Bhagwati on this subject. In fact, Bhagwati came out in open defense of demonetization and remains firm on it. He’s not alone. Another renowned economist with which he has always collaborated with, Aravind Panagariya also wrote a powerful piece in FOREIGN AFFAIRS last June in which he praised Modi’s economic policies.
(D) If he was known at all, it was for vile rhetoric, here imploring crowds to kill a hundred Muslims for every Hindu killed, there sharing the stage with a man who wanted to dig up the bodies of Muslim women and rape them. Another vile leftist myth. Yogi Adityanath never made such a claim. Of course people like Taseer know this as supposedly he’s been travelling a lot to Varanasi but its his mission to keep on fooling gullible readers in the West.
(E) Last month, Amit Shah compared Muslim immigrants to “termites,” and the BJP’s official Twitter handle no longer bothers with dog whistles: “We will remove every single infiltrator from the country, except Buddha [sic], Hindus and Sikhs.” If this wasn’t bad enough, the BJP’s candidate for the central Indian city of Bhopal, with its rich Muslim history and a Muslim population of over 25%, is a saffron-clad female saint, who stands accused of masterminding a terrorist attack in which six people were killed near a mosque. Currently out on bail, Sadhvi Pragya Thakur’s candidacy marks that all-too-familiar turn when the specter of extreme nationalism and criminality become inseparable.
YES it must be done. Every single illegal Muslim immigrant in this country must be thrown out. While Pakistan and Bangladesh treat its Hindu population badly, by discriminating against them, breaking their temples forcing them to flee to India, which can be their only place of refuge, what business is it of Pakistani or Bangladeshi or Rohingya Muslims to come to India? It is important to note that in 1946 elections, Muslim League announced that it would fight the elections on the issue of Pakistan and In the Constituent Assembly elections of that year, the League won 425 out of 496 seats reserved for Muslims (and about 89.2% of Muslim votes) on a policy of creating an independent state of Pakistan. It is interesting to know that more people in the present day India voted for Muslim League and for Pakistan as compared to those regions which are today Pakistan and Bangladesh. Yet, the vast majority DID NOT move to Pakistan. That means the forefathers of the present day Muslims DID VOTE for Pakistan. Yet stayed back.
If that wasn’t bad enough, even today those from Pakistan and Bangladesh want to move here.This kind of Gandhian polices are SUICIDAL to any nationF) Other comments made by Taseer on women’s safety in India, quoting the RUBBISH Reuters report which was just based on perception, not facts, is just too stale and I don’t want to sound repetitive in answering that. However, I would suggest Taseer to look for rape statistics numbers in Brazil, UK, USA, Sweden, South Africa and of course his beloved Pakistan, in short most major countries, and he would find India is a paradise for women. Gujarat, Modi’s home state, has such low rates of crimes against women that would even make Canadians envious
(G) Academia in India was dogmatically left-wing, but rather than change its politics, Modi attacked the idea of qualification itself. From the Indian Council of Historical Research (ICHR) to Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU), which produced a roll call of politicians and intellectuals, India’s places of learning have been hollowed out, the administration and professors chosen for their political ideology rather than basic levels of proficiency. This is the most ridiculous part. Many of us supporters are in fact angry that the Modi government did nothing to throw out the openly Marxist and secessionist professors of JNU, Jadavpur Univerity among others and instead just went for the foot soldiers like Kanhaiya Kumar and Umar Khalid. It is an “open and shut case” that these academics are the main brains of Naxals, called as “Urban Naxals’ by Vivek Agnihotri and are extremely dangerous.
Yet despite 5 years of BJP rule, the government did nothingOur history syllabuses continues teaching nonsense Aryan-Dravidian theories, treating our Ramayan and Mahabharat as mythologies, concentrating on Mughals and other Muslim rulers and completely ignoring ancient Bharat or the pre-Islamic India. By the time students leave schools, it is deeply ingrained in their minds that Hinduism is full of casteism and superstition, subjugation to women, etc and it has nothing to offer for the present times. Whereas the impression of Islam and Christianity is that they are progressive religions which preach equality and peace. This is the sum total of most of our history and social sciences curriculumThe BJP is worried about losing the Dalit and tribal vote bank, but how much time and effort was put in by the BJP to explain a correct narrative, the fact that Veda Vyas and Valmiki, authors of Mahabharat and Ramayan respectively were also what would be considered as Dalits today, yet were considered as the greatest saints in Hindu Dharma. Or that tribals like Guha, Shabari, etc.. have been integral parts and parcels of Hindu Samaj.
Besides, there have been a galaxy of reformers who have fought against caste discrimination right from Ramanujacharya up to Gandhi in the present times. But nothing was done, and that’s why the leftist mafia which controls all these institutions continue in preaching their nonsense.
In conclusion, Taseer’s article fails to present any conclusive facts why Modi’s rule has been any danger to democracy or minorities.
Written by Nirmal Laungani, Hong Kong