| Welcome to Global Village Space

Thursday, May 23, 2024

Authoritarianism and the Plight of Minorities

The Modi government of Hindu chauvinists and extremists has taken this repressive front to an even lower level — seeking a Zionist-type fascist solution in Kashmir by a settlement of Hindus in the Muslim majority valley to change its demographic character. He has also increased the number of forces in Indian occupied Kashmir.

Authoritarianism is heavily dependent on nationalism to be effective or for legitimacy. It sometimes leads populist leaders to the path where they end up pushing nationalistic fervor to highly dangerous levels among the populace without them even realizing it. History has proven it time and again that these dangerous levels of nationalistic fervor prove to be quite fertile grounds for spurting of majority’s underlying suspicion and stereotypes against the minorities to come to the fore. This ultimately leads to the majority taking it to next level that of open discrimination against the minorities.

These kinds of discriminations often go unnoticed by authoritarian state machinery-for they by very nature are not receptive of any objection and dissent against state policies- until they get out of control. Often this discrimination pushes minorities into taking up arms. Which sees state trying to quash it with full force that makes the situation even worse because after opting the choice of heavy-handedness, the situation can lead into two scenarios possible- authoritarian states have been observed to be quite ineffective or against the idea of resolving the matter by dialogue by the virtue of their nature that involves handling situation with heavy-handedness- that is uprising (armed or unarmed) proving successful in creating a de facto state for the minority with foreign help obviously or state getting successful in curbing the uprising which than result in intensification of discrimination against the minority now under the state patronage which in the harshest form would lead to the genocide of minorities in these states.

Read more: Will post-Erdogan Turkey move from Islamist to secularist authoritarianism?

Religion has become increasingly politicized in the region

Particularly in India, where the BJP (Ultra-nationalist Hindu party) has been successful in building a government. The Modi government has stepped up its anti-Muslim propaganda against Muslims in the subcontinent by portraying an ominous picture of Islamic history and philosophy. The use of such a narrative has given legitimacy to conservative parties such as the RSS, which had tendencies comparable to those of Nazis and Hitler. Both the Nazis and the Ultra-nationalist Hindus are comparable in that they both seek an authoritarian, if not fascist, nation under the leadership of a strong leader.

Some of the policies of the RSS are also extremely similar to those of the Nazis, in that they attempt to interfere with people’s choices in order to satisfy their own ideological objectives. Both the Republican and Democratic parties have xenophobic and conservative impulses. The existence of understudy organizations serves as a point of convergence between the two. As the area grappled with the worst forms of terrorism, similar organizations gained traction in India, which is considered secular. They believe that Muslims have aggressive impulses and that it is past time for Hindus to adapt and embrace aggression into their religious and philosophical traditions.

The rise of Hindutva and RSS in India has made minorities insecure in India

Muslims are being lynched on accusations of slaughtering cows. Kashmiri students are being scolded and punished in Indian universities. Sixty-seven students were expelled from the university in Uttar Pradesh on cheering for Pakistan in a cricket match against India. Not only Muslims, Dalits and Christians are also facing the same type of discrimination in today’s India. Dalits are considered untouchables (termed coined by Arundhati Roy) and are treated accordingly. Hate crimes against Christian minorities in India increased by 44.5% within two years, from 2016 to 2018.

In May 2018, about 20,000 Christians of various sects in at least 16 towns took to the streets to demonstrate anti-Christian aggression in India. Many companies are being privatized and Dalits are being fired from these companies as they are considered low-level humans. In 2012, 1500 Dalit women were raped by the upper caste men and 651 Dalit men were killed as the caste murder. B.R Ambedkar called Hinduism the ‘chamber of horrors’ for the Dalits (the untouchables).

Read more: India tragically moving towards authoritarianism: Freedom House report

The Modi government of Hindu chauvinists and extremists has taken this repressive front to an even lower level — seeking a Zionist-type fascist solution in Kashmir by a settlement of Hindus in the Muslim majority valley to change its demographic character. He has also increased the number of forces in Indian occupied Kashmir. Pellet guns have been introduced in his tenure which is making hundreds and thousands of unarmed Kashmiris partially and completely blind.

The death toll has also increased in Kashmir significantly in his tenure

His government seems to be the most brutal and violent regime for the Kashmiris in Indian history. Arundhati Roy a famous Indian author says that India has now become a Hindu state, as its army is killing tribal in Kashmir, Muslims in Gujrat and Sikhs in Punjab

In order to prevent minorities from being discriminated against, Indian civil society must rise up against these parties. In order to put pressure on the BJP, the United Nations and other external powers must pressurize BJP to take action against the criminals who are responsible for mob lynching and violence against minorities. The rise of these conservative groups has hampered the political settlement of the Kashmir conflict. The Kashmir issue is a humanitarian crisis that must be resolved as soon as possible, which will only be accomplished if both Pakistan and India sit down at the negotiating table.

The Kashmir problem will never be resolved while the BJP is in power in the country. It is not acceptable for Indians to support these nationalist groups since fascism is a plague on the world and, in the long run, it can result in a war with its neighbors, primarily China and Pakistan. These Hindu nationalists are so prone to conflict and potentially constitute a threat to international peace, as evidenced by the recent surgical strikes on Pakistan (after the Pulwama attack). Liberal powers such as the United States, the United Nations, and the European Union must hold fascist parties accountable since the western world is well aware of the atrocities of fascist rule.


The writer has graduated from NUML, Islamabad, with a bachelor’s in IR.  Currently, he is working as a research associate affiliated with a Professor at NUML. The views expressed in the article are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect the editorial policy of Global Village Space