Implications of a saffronized India
India’s BJP government, under the aegis of its mother outfit Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS), has been demonstrating extreme irrationality through its oodles of unjustifiable actions at home and regionally. The US Commission for International Religious Freedom (USCIRF) in its recent report has explained how under the BJP government’s patronage, rapid and extremely alarming saffronization of the Indian state and society is underway. Similarly, the CIA World Fact Book has acknowledged the same by listing RSS, the Bajrang Dal and Vishwa Hindu Parishad as the “Nationalist and militant religious organizations.” Factually, the drive for turning India into a Hindutva theocracy has many facets and one of them is the dominance of ultranationalists through terrorism “the victims [of which] include Muslims, Christians, Sikhs, Buddhists, and Jains, as well as Dalit Hindus, who belong to the lowest rung in the Hindu caste system,” the USCIRF declared in its report.
Can this all happen without the government’s consent? Not really. As the report posits, “At the federal level, Prime Minister Narendra Modi has made statements decrying mob violence, but members of his own political party have affiliations with Hindu extremist groups and many have used discriminatory language about religious minorities.” Despite all that the current developments are part of a well-designed scheme, as the report argues; the world is still a silent spectator and is unwilling to thwart the alarming tendencies. In numerous reprehensible acts, Muslims, Christians and Dalits have been ruthlessly killed, while Churches, Bible and the Holy Quran publically burnt. Hindu extremists in various parts of the country have made the lives of the Muslims miserable. Emboldened by the Modi Government, Muslims are even denied of their daily livelihood. According to another research report, the world’s so-called largest democracy is now counted among the world’s worst countries in terms of religious violence, thanks to RSS-BJP’s leadership.
Even the courts of many Indian states have been forced to give verdicts to ban cow slaughter. The law-enforcement agencies would obviously comply. The bias of the state institutions speaks volumes about how the whole country has been hijacked by these ultranationalist elements. The police would raid the restaurants if there are “risks” of having beef enlisted in their menus. Similarly, the campaign for converting poor Muslims and Christians to Hinduism through campaigns like Ghar Wapsi (Homecoming) is another major component of Hidutva movement. For instance, in Bihar only, over 350 Muslims have been converted to Hinduism. The RSS has planned to convert 4,000 Christians, 1,000 Muslim families to Hinduism by December this year. The RSS’s mission-2025 doesn’t end here.
The swift saffronisation of the Indian education system has also been underway and the whole curricula are poisoned with ‘Hindutva flavour’ and students are taught about Hindu superiority. The looming unsociable cuss invited by the BJP government’s policy of systematic radicalizing the Indian youth will have adverse repercussions.
These are just a few glimpses to provide an insight into how the plans to convert India into a “model” Hindutva nation are being implemented. India is, thus, fast moving towards being an intolerant society. The blight of ultranationalism has seriously impacted India’s foreign policy especially vis-à-vis Pakistan. It is pertinent to mention here that RSS and its political wing BJP are not the only two organizations working in this direction; it’s a ‘coordinated compound’ of various outfits and constitutes the total of over 52 bodies collectively called Sangh Parivar that acts as a platform for the Hindutva-inspired volunteers around the world to contribute for this “noble” cause. The whole state and society are under the siege of the Parivarians who have their presence deep into all the fields.
Admittedly, to work for the spread of any specific religion is in no way condemnable, but the extremism and antagonism this ideology has spread in India over the past few decades is really appalling. The expansionist Parivar is very clear and precise in its objectives. Some of its main doctrinal assumptions are:
- Transform India into a Hindu Rashtra;
- Ban cow slaughter in India;
- Teach Sanskrit compulsorily to all students in India;
- Minority groups, like Muslims and Christians, should be considered non-native
As for their policies towards Pakistan, the designs of RSS in this region are influenced by the teachings of India’s political father and mentor Chanakya and the concept of Akhand Bharat (Undivided India) which RSS still braces is actually part of his lessons. This BJP-RSS nexus has long been pursuing the policy of regional dominance and hegemony. The thing to worry about is that Modi’s policies towards Pakistan and Kashmir are the tuition-lessons taught by the ultranationalist RSS and are clearly directed towards the attainment of Parivar’s broader goals for which Modi is being used as a pawn. Only a cursory glance over these policies may testify the whole notion.
With outright hostility towards Pakistan, the Indian policymakers are constantly in search of ways and means to dent Pakistan’s national interests. In this regard, they have resorted to the ruination of all the regional organizations including SAARC. In today’s interdependent world, especially when destabilization of any regional country has guaranteed spillover effects for the rest, India’s intransigence on Pakistan is far from rational. The Indian PM spares no opportunity to hurl threats at Pakistan be it the issue of Balochistan, water issues or the Kashmir problem. The nocuous ideologues of Hidutva are always there at the back, ‘spiritualizing’ all the evils against Pakistan.
However, the people of valley of Jammu and Kashmir are the ones sinned against the most. Painfully, the use of brute violence against them has been opted for as the only option as recommended in the Doval Doctrine. With no signs of sanity, Indian forces are killing, blinding and abducting the Kashmiri youth to suppress their powerful pine for freedom. India continues to resist its international entreaties and commitments regarding Kashmir. A plethora of UN resolutions favouring Kashmiris’ right to self-determination is the matter India hates to listen about. It has even been a staunch opponent of a third-party involvement for mediation regarding Kashmir dispute.
The fact of the matter is that Sangh Parviar’s volunteers and inspired people have penetrated the Indian military and this nexus is going to be the most serious threat not only for the integrity of India itself but also for the security and stability of the whole region. As it had been observed that in 2014 election, Modi’s BJP tried anti-Pakistan rhetoric to galvanize massive public support. This itself speaks volumes about BJP’s intentions towards Pakistan. Since entering the power corridors, Modi has left no stone unturned in squeezing Pakistan. The Indian military’s frequent doctrinal somersaults, incessant modernization and the resultantly staggering arms race are the outcomes of such a strategic culture owned by India’s incumbent leadership.
In order to allay his RSS pals, Modi has orchestrated the mantra of surgical strikes on Pakistani territory. Pakistan has refuted the claims of any such attempt from the Indian side. However, the ironic fact is that Indian military, without anticipating the grave consequences, is perpetually weighing the so-called limited war options under the nuclear hangover. However, the Hidutva bigots in the Indian military seem not to be ready to abandoning this path of limited war despite knowing the truth that any “Cold Start” possesses all the potentials of getting extremely hot. In addition to that, recent news that BJP activists found recruiting for ISIS in the Kashmir areas must raise eyebrows of Pakistanis and the other regional stakeholders. The issue needs rigorous investigation as the foothold of the group isn’t going to be favourable for any nation.
The penetration of surreal RSS elements in the Indian security establishment is the most serious factor to be addressed without any further delay because of the prospects of getting access to strategic assets. The members of Sangh Parivar are already there deep inside the heart of the Indian military forces and, their daftness needs no further explanation. Even the RSS chief reportedly made fun of India’s mainstream military and humiliatingly compared the national military with his own trained Sangh Parivar militants. He dared to declare the latter far better and professionally more sound than the former. The threat to the regional peace and stability is going to loom large until some RSS hand, such as Modi’s, is on the tiller.
However, the major world players, the US and Europe, seems to have issued India a carte blanche to let it dance whatever way it likes to. Now, this is an extremely dangerous certificate because an ideology The New York Times would dub another face of fascism that is extremely irrational in its policies and actions could only be deterred by some external reasons. But if there is nothing external to contain, the bigots may find no reason to inhibit their vindictive instincts.
Has the world decided to bear the brunt? Has the world community forgotten that this is the same Modi who was once barred from entering Europe and the US until recently? Is the civilized world wrong now or was faulty at that point of time? The immediate demand of rationality is serious introspection.