India Is Moving Unabashedly Towards Majoritarian Rule
Majoritarian rule can be put mildly as majoritarian democracy or emphatically as majoritarian tyranny/ brute majoritarianism.
Yesterday, I heard Indian Home Minister Amit Shah say openly that Christians, Sikhs, Hindus, Jains and Buddhists seeking refuge from persecution would find safe haven in India. The only notable community not mentioned was the Muslim community. In fact he threatened to expel all Muslim infiltrators. That is how the RSS has always looked at the Muslims. Earlier even Christians were considered aliens.
Today I read that an FIR has been lodged with the police against 49 leading Indian intellectuals, artistes, academics and others who wrote a letter to PM Modi against lynching of Muslims and Dalits. It is now true that the abrogation of Article 370 and 35A was essentially undertaken because the Kashmir Valley is overwhelmingly Muslim.
So, when we speak in Pakistan of the Unfinished Agenda of the Partition as our right to Kashmir which overall in 1947 had a Muslim majority of some 78-80% the RSS considers the same unfinished agenda as the presence of the Muslims in India as such.
In 1947, the RSS wanted all Muslims to be expelled to Pakistan to make India truly Hindu India and Pakistan truly Muslim Pakistan – the logic on which Jinnah demanded Pakistan, that is, a separate state for Muslims where they were in a majority.
It was Gandhi and Nehru who prevented the mass expulsion of Muslims. The Nehru Government was accused of being pro-Muslim. These days Jawaharlal Nehru is the most hated man in the RSS propaganda.
Some 20% of the Hindu-Sikh population of West Pakistan was reduced to 1.6% by the time the partition riots ended. It has remained 1.6% since then.
The Question is: is Pakistan willing to open its borders to Indian Muslims who are some 200 million if they seek refuge from RSS intimidation? I don’t think so. How the Mohajirs have fared in Pakistan is no secret. In 1947 they were the ones who drew most benefit from the partition in terms of jobs, getting hold of Hindu-Sikh property and so on.
From the 1970s onwards that trend began to be challenged and then came the MQM phenomenon with its terrorism and then counter-terrorism of Sindhis, followed by the Afghan-Pukhtun group terrorism and so on.
That is the situation today. Did the Partition solve the so-called Hindu-Muslim problem? The answer has to be: No.
The writer is Professor Emeritus of Political Science, Stockholm University; Visiting Professor Government College University; and, Honorary Senior Fellow, Institute of South Asian Studies, National University of Singapore. He has written a number of books and won many awards, he can be reached on [email protected]