Sunday, May 18, 2014

Random Thoughts - Communalism in India

India's new prime minister, Narendra Modi, is seen as a reincarnation of Adolf Hitler both by his admirers and detractors. I don't have any opinion on his supporters' view but I believe his opponents' views are irrational and trivialization. In my opinion, this deviates from the discussion of his actual faults. There are too many contradictions in seeing Modi as another Hitler.

1. Race superiority: 
Modi comes from a lower caste and any claim of Hindu superiority has to transcend many levels obvious contradictions. Also, Nazi Aryan supremacy stems from pseudo-science whereas Hindu supremacy is dependent upon pseudo-history.  At least, pseudo-science is falsifiable. Also, only Brahmins can be the proponents of this drivel. They have succeeded to a large extent by masking Brahmin face of cultural attributes(eg. Gurukul system) as Hindu face. But as lower castes become educated, they are able to question many of them (or at least that's my observation). However, they may still suppress these thoughts because of their hatred against the Muslims.

2. Muslim suppression: 
Will Muslims be the Jews of India? Not just Tamil Brahmins even I have my own reservations on this. There are many aspects of suppression if you go by many Muslims.
- Implementation of Uniform Civil Code(UCC)
- Banning Muslim centric parties like AIMIM and IUML
- Scrapping article 370
- Mob violence against them
The first two are steps in the right direction and the last one is the only true act of suppression. Third point is only restricted to one state thus not really a concern of majority Muslims.

It's a big surprise why male Hindutvites are hardcore supporters of UCC than Muslim women. It's more like they are jealous of Muslim male privilege. I believe that jealousy is valid. Curiously, it doesn't require Central Government ordinance to effect UCC in India. The state governments have full power to enact the law. It's unclear why BJP ruled states haven't done so until now. Since now they have  majority on their own in the central, they are probably in a good position to pass the law. This is probably the easiest one to do as opposing this would be a tall task.

Banning Muslim parties would be another step in the right direction.  Though I believe no such measures would be taken as that could be an existential question for the BJP itself.

Instead of scrapping article 370, I feel similar rights should be extended to all the states of India. I'm for turning India into an entity similar to European Union. Will it have any negative repercussions in Kashmir if the article is scrapped? I don't think so. The situation is already bad, so it can't get worse any further. Also, the two nation theory itself was absurd so any laws built upon it were equally untenable.

That leaves with the only true suppression that is instigating or turning blind eye on mob violence against the Muslims. I assume it could be the case occasionally. However, that would be a far cry from the final solution that the Nazis envisioned. Even though many Hindutvites have that kind of fantasy, they all know it's completely impractical. Thus while the leaders want to derive political mileage, the minions on the ground at the best have the desire for 'showing them their place'. This will become vicious cycle with the Muslims retaliating. Even though Muslim loss would be greater, I would think majority Hindus would soon get tired of these things and any party can't bank on this to rule or gain votes very long.

3. Military adventurism
Continuing with Hitler analogy, let's expect Modi to attack Pakistan. However, whereas for Nazis it was their birthright to rule over others, in case of India, it's just a measure for completing an unfinished job of nation building. I do think attacking Pakistan could be a noble cause. Even if that involves either annihilation of either of them or merging the region of Pakistan back to the Indian union, it should be welcomed. India didn't have its civil war like the one that the USA had. While Americans could kill identity based on slavery, Indians failed to kill religion based identity. But it will be a paradigm shift for the BJP from endorsing mob violence against unarmed minorities to sending an army against a country.

So in my opinion, the Hitler type of actions by Modi can in fact reverse Nazi like conditions in India. The real issues to be addressed are, the danger of anti-intellectualism becoming mainstream, casteist purity and pollution rules like vegetarian bigotism gaining momentum, lower castes being humiliated with goondas as their community leaders and spokespersons etc..