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Will Parliament be used for Hindu Rashtra in Modi’s India?

– Md Sami Ahmad

While the Opposition alliance INDIA is trying hard to dislodge Prime Minister Narendra Modi in 2024, the central government led by the BJP has chosen to call the country itself Bharat on international platforms. While INDIA talks about inclusive India, there are more and more indications that Modi’s Bharat is becoming less inclusive. It is apprehended that if Modi continues to be India’s Prime Minister 2024 onwards, there will be an attempt to take decisive sets towards Hindu Rashtra.

In a recent interview with The Wire, noted academic Ashutosh Varshney expressed similar views. He is the author of books like Ethnic Conflict and Civic Life: Hindus and Muslims in India, and Battles Half Won: India’s Improbable Democracy.

He teaches social sciences and political sciences at Brown University where he also directs the Centre for Contemporary South Asia. Previously he taught at Harvard and the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor.

Professor Varshney said that if Modi comes to power for the third time in 2024, India will have a Hindu Political Order. He said there will be some measures through the Parliament for taking decisive steps towards a Hindu Rashtra. There could be some big legislation which will be bigger than the CAA.

He explained that the Constitution will be changed in a way that will put a clear and effective challenge to the concept of equality.

“There will be attempts to reduce Muslims in particular and minorities in general to second-class citizens. But it is not an elimination project like they did in Germany. It will not be a physical elimination but they will be eliminated in their rights like the American South where the Blacks were not eliminated but virtually denied the rights,” concluded the veteran academician.

Winner of several academic awards, Professor Varshney said that the environment in India forces us to think that what it the reason for such an environment. Without understanding this, he says, “We cannot explain the incident like the RPF constable killing Muslim travelers in the running train.”

He said in the current political environment, there is legitimacy to anti-Muslim actions. He added, “Anti-Muslim in particular and anti-minority in general such action has legitimacy.”

He said small incidents against a particular group are the result of the environment against that group. Such actions are connected to the macro-level environment.

Professor Varshney draws a distinction between the 1947 riots and today’s environment. He says that even after 1947, one cannot imagine the murder by a constable in a running train. But “now the things have changed.”

He said that post-1947 the state had a project to stop riots but “now the project is just opposite.”

He calls the BJP an anti-system party. He accuses the BJP of acting against constitutional morality and constitutional spirit. He says that when the state project is such, the impulse of such national building will be violent.

He also points out that there is a tendency of the secular political parties to try hard to not look like Pro-Muslim. “Hindu Majoritarianism is becoming the dominant culture and if the BJP is not defeated electorally, such culture will continue and expand,” says the professor.

Professor Varshney reminds us that BJP still has less than 50 percent support among the Hindus and hopes that if all the secular political parties come together, BJP may be defeated electorally.

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