When we look back, since the demolition of the Babri Masjid a quarter of century ago, it seems a well-planned and well-thought act, as it paved the way for the dramatic rise to power of Hindu nationalists. It raises a question: is there really an irreconcilable contradiction between liberal democratic institutions and the takeover of the state by the extreme far right Hindus?
For the last quarter of a century, Indian polity seems to be undergoing a historically unprecedented process of change and the irresistible rise of far right Hindu parties (i.e. BJP, RSS, Shiv Sena also known as Hindutva) to dominate the areas of culture, educational institutions, judiciary and administration. It raises a question: is there really an irreconcilable contradiction between liberal democratic institutions and the takeover of the state by the extreme far right Hindus?
The ascendency of the BJP (Bharatiya Janata Party) in politics has coincided with a sharp rise in sectarian hatred and attacks against Muslims. Then, a number of riots took place in north and west part of India where thousands of Muslim lives were lost and the police was criticised for acting in partisan manner. Jurist B.N. Srikrishna in the Commission on Enquiry Report on 1992 riots in Bombay (now Mumbai) indicted Bal Thackeray, then leader of the Shiv Sena, to incite riots. The Commission also indicted the police who have indulged in violence, looting and attacks against Muslims. Moreover, those responsible of burning properties and killing Muslims in Mumbai who were identified by the Srikrishna judicial commission are now in power and despite the judicial inquiry report, almost no one was punished. This happened despite India being a home to a tenth of the world’s Muslims of around 180 million people, making it the largest Muslim country after Indonesia and Pakistan.
About the Author
Dr. Kalim Siddiqui teaches International Economics at University of Huddersfield, UK. He is an economist, specialising in Development Economics and has written extensively on development economics, economic reforms as well as on the political economy of development. He may be reached at [email protected]
1. Siddiqui, Kalim. 2016. “A Critical Study of Hindu Nationalism in India”, Journal of Business and Economic Policy 3(2):9-28. ISSN 2375-0766. (Print), 2375-0774 (Online) USA. http://jbepnet.com/journals/Vol_3_No_2_June_2016/2.pdf
2. IndiaSpend. 2017. “Dead In Cow-Related Violence Since 2010”, http://www.indiaspend.com/cover-story/86-dead-in-cow-related-violence-since-2010-are-muslim-97-attacks-after-2014-2014
3. Siddiqui, Kalim. 2017. “Hindutva, Neoliberalism and the Reinventing of India”, Journal of Economic and Social Thought, 4(2):142-186, June. ISSN 149-0422