Has Narendra Modi’s Hindutva ideology destroyed India’s secular image across the globe?

PM Narendra Modi’s Hindutva ideology that is based on hatred and racial superiority against minorities has destroyed the country’s secular image across the globe, says Pakistan’s FM. What scholars and researchers have to say on the same? Read this detailed report here.

Modi’s Hindutva ideology

Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi on Thursday said that Indian premier Narendra Modi’s Hindutva ideology that is based on hatred and racial superiority against minorities has destroyed the country’s secular image across the globe.

Addresses joint session of the Parliament, FM Qureshi maintained that Modi’s ideology has brought Indian to the brink of disaster and added that international media was also observing the Indian government’s Hindutva ideology. “We cannot keep mum over the construction of a temple at Babri Masjid site,” the foreign minister said and added that the government will continue to raise the Kashmir issue at all international forums. He said that Pakistan will continue to sensitize the world about the Indian atrocities in occupied Kashmir.

FM Qureshi said that the entire nation is on the same page over Kashmir issue and added that they have invited Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) President Shehbaz Sharif and Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) Chairman Bilawal Bhutto Zardari to attend Kashmir Conference.

Read more: OIC fails Kashmir: Can Pakistan and Turkey create an alternative bloc?

Notably, due to Modi’s Hindutva ideology, India slipped 10 places to 51st position in the 2019 Democracy Index’s global ranking, according to The Economist Intelligence Unit which cited “erosion of civil liberties” in the country as the primary cause for the downtrend.

According to The Economic Times report, India’s overall score fell from 7.23 in 2018 to 6.90 in the index that provides a snapshot of the current state of democracy worldwide for 165 independent states and two territories.

India was included in the “flawed democracy” category. Meanwhile, China’s score fell to 2.26 in the 2019 index, and the country is now ranked 153rd, close to the bottom of the global rankings.  “Over the past year discrimination against minorities, especially in the north-western region of Xinjiang, has intensified. Digital surveillance of the population continued apace in 2019, representing a further constraint on individual freedoms,” the report said.

Indian politics being shaped by extremists

It is important to note that Indian politics is being shaped by Modi’s Hindutva ideology that intends to wipe out the Muslim minority from India. Dr. Moeed Pirzada, a prominent political commentator and columnist, recently noted that “Ram Rath Yatra, Mandal Commission, Ram Janma Bhoni movement, Attack on Babri Mosque, Demolition of Babri Mosque, Bombay riots, Nuclear Explosions of 1997, Kargil Conflict, Attack on Indian Parliament, Mobilization against Pakistan, Gujrat Pogroms, Mumbai terrorism everything in one or the other was skilfully utilized in redefining Indian narrative and politics moving it ever closer to the realization of a Hindu Rashtra which now exists in reality though it still needs a legal and constitutional cover”.

Apoorvanand, who teaches Hindi at the University of Delhi, believes that the BJP is attempting to hegemonize the diverse India which is likely to backfire. He opines that “the BJP and the RSS are trying to hegemonize diverse, regional and cultural spaces and paint them with a broad Hindu brush. Slowly and gradually, they are trying to gain control over institutions – religious and cultural – by putting their people there”.

He further notes that “they are trying to create a Hindu umbrella, which will shelter all these diverse traditions and give people a feeling of being part of a unified whole called Hinduism. They are also eyeing the tribal traditions. This entry into their holy and cultural spaces is now conspicuous”

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Saleha Anwar, a Lahore-based political analyst, opines while talking about Modi’s Hindutva ideology that “India under Modi has become a battlefield between Muslims and Hindus placing the economy second in the list of priorities. This is likely to be the biggest challenge for the Indian liberal and secular voices to maintain order in a highly diverse and complex society. Treating 200 million people as minority, that too vulnerable, may adversely impact India’s current political settings. The emerging trends in India offer us sufficient amount of evidence that the rise of identity politics in India is to overshadow Modi’s dismaying economic performance. This is wrong with identitarian politics in the age populism”.

Priyamvada Gopal, who teaches in the Faculty of English at Cambridge University, urged the world to think about India and play its part to deal with what is going on in the so-called largest democracy of the world. She noted that “the world must worry. What happens in India happens to nearly one-fifth of the world’s population. And particularly in the context of the global rise of authoritarian ethnonationalism, the undermining and eventual abrogation of democracy in India will not be contained within the borders of that nation-state”.

Read More: Comment: How has PM Modi crushed the idea of secular India?

Moreover, she lamented that the world was not doing enough to stop Modi’s Hindutva ideology. She said; “with a few exceptions, Western and other governments have been shamefully silent on the ongoing assault on democracy and constitutional rights in India. It may suit them to keep quiet but across the world, we must now form people’s alliances to resist what will almost certainly become a global assault on the very idea of democracy itself. Speak up for India, for you speak up for yourself”.

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