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Indian secularism and Islamophobia

India pretends to the world that it is a socialist, secular and democratic republic. These great but equally elusive ideals were added to the preamble of the Constitution of India in January 1977 without making any substantial changes in the body of the Constitution to hide the embarrassment of infamous emergency imposed by Indira Gandhi in 1975. It was however certain that India could never be a socialist country due to the historical reasons and despite Nehru’s and his daughter’s overt postures and writings. Money-lending, usury and accumulation of wealth were permissible in ancient India that had been the main business of its upper ruling classes. After the independence, agrarian reforms of 1950s undertaken by Nehru were essentially meant to convert landowners into a lower-middle class and make them subservient to the newly emerging industrial and commercial classes that were later on joined by the new magnates borne from the boom in information technology. Similarly, the façade of secularism, in a predominantly class oriented Hindu society, whose social and political orders were based upon a caste system had the approval of faith that had history of two thousand years could hardly hide the inherent contradictions in fancy words and reality.

Islam is now the only religion whose followers still define their life in all its shades in the light of their beliefs. Unlike rest of world where faith has become irrelevant, new global order demands discrediting Islam as its universal message of peace and humanity remains a threat to the kingdom of the devil. Islamophobia is the phenomenon that is a counter-narrative to Islam and its value system. In an excellent exposition by Professor Zafar Iqbal, in his book Islamophobia: History, Context and Deconstruction states that amongst the varying definitions of Islamophobia, there is a common theme. It has to do with something negative about Islam.

The tornado of Islamophpbia with its apparent thunderclouds in Europe and Christian world has reached the shores of India and it is going to destroy the pretentious façade of secularism. Violent acts of terror seen during recent times all across India threaten a large Muslim population that may be exterminated by these fearsome swarms of religious zealots laced with tridents instigated by their partners in crime, insatiable breed of politicians led by Narendra Modi and his cult. This saffron-clad army that has got access to the coercive apparatus of the state and its resources and marginalized Nehru’s Indian Congress that was the last hope of Indian Muslims are now the universal soldiers against Islam. History is being re-written to support this ideology hate and all monuments and foot-prints of Muslim rule in India are being removed to promote these rulers of India. India has been emboldened by getting away with these uncivilized, barbaric and terroristic acts against Muslims especially of its genocide in Kashmir and other places mainly for the reason that it has been able to gain a greater influence amongst the key countries and capitals of Europe, Americas and the Middle East and their markets and services industry that is dominated by the Indians. With the rise in its economic status and financial power, world community has been condoning its crimes against humanity. It is now aspiring to become a permanent member of the UN Security Council. Its increasing military power with its access to modern weapon systems supplied by its western allies and Russia and its recent hostile acts against Pakistan may once again make this region a flash-point.

India had a huge Muslim population in 1947 despite a large migration to Pakistan. It was agreed at the summit level that religious minorities in Pakistan and India would be protected by both states. India has forgotten that solemn undertaking given in the Liaqat-Nehru/Delhi Pact (1950) whereunder both countries would be accountable to each other for their minorities. Recent trends show that Muslims and their religious places are under a tremendous existential threat. Despite their avowed denials, their secular pretensions (inter-marriages of celebrities) and misplaced criticism of MA Jinnah (Rafiq Zakria’s book and more recent book Muslims against Muslim League published by the Cambridge University Press), Indian Muslims are under a serious existential threat as indicted by Noam Chomsky and many other good-hearted intellectuals around the world. India is now in the big league as it is willing to act as a bulwark against China and universal project that intend to connect countries in the Eastern hemisphere to Europe that threatens the old global economic powers of the West and the economic order. It is therefore very natural for India to imitate and pursue the western ideals that include Islamophobia. Indian courts are also following in the footsteps of politicians by delivering judgments on controversial issues. Indian Supreme Court’s judgement in the Babri Masjid’s case betrays Nehru’s huge claims and India’s socialistic and secularist character and Justice Krishna Ayer’s verbose gloss put on the India’s constitution and its charter of fundamental rights. Humane Markhinda Katju and his ilk were succeeded by Ranajan Gogois. By upholding ban on Hijab, now even the High Courts are following this national trend that further bares the corpse of Indian polity covered under the artificial fig-leaf of secularism. Ugliness of religious extremism fueled by the Hindutva ideology has taken over Gandhi’s’ India. MK Gandhi brought religion to mainstream politics but he was still willing to tolerate Muslims. Azad, Dr. Ansari, Dr. Zakir Hussain and Hussain Ahmed Madani were in his political fold. But despite Gandhi’s pretensions it became clear that Muslims of India were unwilling to trust a Hindu majority India after the departure of the British. The foresight of Jinnah and Muslim League’s leadership has proven right with the passage of time particularly after the ideology of Hindutva has resurfaced and resurged during the last two decades in the form of BJP that had temporarily subsided due to the guilt of Gandhi’s assassination by RSS activist Nathuram Godse.

Islamophobia in India is being used as a political tool. It may have increased due to some local factors and re-writing of Indian history by a generation of rented historians who learnt the art of faking the truth but it shares one common feature with Islamophpbia in Europe and other parts of the Western world. It has to do with the tremendous increase of numbers of Muslims in the world. It is mainly for the reason that only Muslims are producing children while others are not. Secondly, despite an ugly propaganda against Islam and genocide of Muslim, population all across the land of the Crescent, conversions to Islam have been a constant phenomenon. Research on demographic figures and a survey of fast growing religions in the world show that Islam is the only religion that is growing at a fast speed while other religions are in decay. Europe’s real fear is that Muslim population might outnumber Christians. What the Ottomans could not do in four hundred years may happen simply with the growth of European Muslim population. India shares this common fear. Today, Muslim population in the subcontinent is close to outnumbering other religions and by 2050, with the growth at this rate might outnumber other religions. Islam is a religion of peace and love. The dream of Hindutva to exterminate Muslims from India and the Subcontinent will never be realized. It is time for Congress Party to revive Gandhism and promised secularism to save India from being condemned in history.

Muhammad Waqar Rana, "Indian secularism and Islamophobia," Business recorder. 2022-03-20.
Keywords: Political sciences , Political issue , Political order , Hindu society , Security Council , Military power , Islamophobia , Zafar Iqbal , Indira Gandhi , India Europe , Chania

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