Shakir Lakhani
April 1, 2019
Indian secularism

We recently saw the hatred spewed by Indian TV anchors towards Muslims after the Pulwama incident (widely suspected to be organized by Indian intelligence). Mind you, they are very careful not to say anything against Islam or Muslims, but knowing that 96% of Pakistanis are Muslims, when they scream that Pakistan should be destroyed once and for all, they mean Muslims.

One of the reasons Nehru and Gandhi opposed the creation of Pakistan was that Indian Hindus are supposed to be secular and so Indian Muslims should not ask for a separate country. Jinnah of course knew that their secularism was a sham and Muslims would never get their political rights in a united India. We have seen this proved many times, particularly when Hindutva extremists go berserk and kill Muslims or ask them to go to Pakistan. In the UP state of India, Muslims are more than twenty percent of the population, yet the Hindutva BJP did not field a single Muslim candidate in the state assembly elections! So much for Indian Hindus being secular! And not a day passes by without the killing of Indian Muslims (particularly those in Indian-occupied Kashmir).

So, when Indian Information Minister Sushma Swaraj asked for a report from her country’s envoy in Pakistan about the forced conversion of two Hindu minor girls in Sindh, she was just doing what naturally comes to Hindutva extremists. She said nothing when a Christian woman was converted recently, nor did she bat an eyelid when a Muslim family was attacked in Gurgaon and asked to leave India and go to live in Pakistan.
The fact is, the Indian Constitution may be secular, but Indian Hindus (particularly those who vote for BJP) are not secular. They cheered the demolition of the Babri Masjid and elected those who were involved in the act. They elected Modi despite the fact that he was allegedly responsible for the massacre of more than a thousand Muslims in his home state of Gujrat (for which he was denied entry into the US and the UK for many years).

In Pakistan, a minister was sacked recently for speaking against the Hindu religion, but in supposedly secular India, no action is taken against those like Yogi Adityanath) who openly call for the extermination of Muslims.

After the recent massacre of fifty Muslims in New Zealand, Modi’s sympathy message to that country’s prime minister did not mention the word “Muslims” or “mosques”. Can a BJP politician ever emulate Jacinda Ardern and go to the houses of murdered Indian Muslims to condole with them? If anyone did so, you can be sure he or she would be shunted out of the party (as Advani was after he praised Mr. Jinnah). Not only BJP politicians, even those in Congress know that they should appear to be good Hindus to win elections. A few years back, Sonia Gandhi had to dip her feet in the Ganges so she could be perceived as a pious Hindu woman. And her son Rahul is careful to daub his forehead with vermillion whenever he speaks in public just to curry favor with Hindu voters.

The antipathy towards Muslims is so great that even judges are not immune from it. A self-confessed terrorist (Swami Aseemanand) was acquitted in the Samjhauta Express train bombing case (in which 68 people, mostly Muslims, were killed). There is of course no such sympathy for Indian Muslims and other non-Hindus, who are invariably convicted and executed. As for the destruction of Babri Masjid, the judges were so scared that they asked Hindus and Muslims to work out a compromise solution, despite all the available evidence proving that Advani incited the mob to demolish the mosque.

If the BJP wins again (which is increasingly likely, as evidenced by Modi's hatred against Pakistan), it is very likely to change the Indian Constitution, as predicted by Shashi Tharoor. When that happens, Muslims and other minorities in India will be second-rate citizens in a fundamentalist Hindu state. Modi and people like Yogi Adityanath will be able to carry out extermination of Hindus, Christians, Sikhs and others. In fact, India will become a very dangerous place, as Hindutva extremists will then be able to control its nuclear arsenal and use it in a so-called “surgical strike” on Pakistan. For this reason alone, we should hope that the BJP does not get to form a majority government after the elections in a couple of months.

The writer is an engineer, a former visiting lecturer at NED Engineering College, an industrialist, and has been associated with the petroleum, chemical industries for many years.