Right-wing parties all over the world exploit the majority population’s inherent intolerance for religious, racial and other minorities. Indian politicians are no different, except we live with the false sense of security that India is more unicultural than new world countries or we feel that those different from mainstream/mainland Indians will ultimately toe the line. First of all, we must come to terms with the fact that India is not and cannot be unicultural. It is this conflict that creates greater tension and violence, creating chasms rather than self-identified boundaries. There are already so many divisions in society and, as a result, we have a history of representational politics. At the local level, there is caste-based politics. At the state level, there is community-based politics. And now as a nation, we are drifting further into community-based politics. This will create greater social fragmentation and destroy whatever chance we have of achieving social equity and a sense of pride in our diverse cultures.
What’s scary is not Modi as PM, but the grounds on which he is being chosen as our leader. We are getting deeper into the politics of segregation. Segregation breeds even more segregation. Is this the oppressive society we want to live in? Modi is also offering economic development as a campaign promise, but that can never be achieved without social development. Modi is explicitly offering regression in our social evolution. What is frightening is that this seems acceptable to a majority of Indians. This can have serious consequences, which will affect even our economic growth. We are looking at a possible civil war, or social anarchy. Ultimately, the majority will suffer as severely as the minorities are suffering today.
I had written Final Solutions in the early ’90s, a play about the brewing pogrom of ethnic cleansing by right-wing parties. Perhaps it’s time to revive those themes. I feel the issue of censorship will only get worse under a right-wing government. It begins with the arts; the next stop, as we have already seen, is education. And when we censor education, we are breeding segregation in young people’s minds, lying to them, taking away their compassion and creative faculties. As an artist, I’m not going to let what I see as a possible cultural lobotomy happen and will continue to focus on this issue.
The problem is, as a nation, we don’t see these signs of cultural annihilation early enough, we only react when there is a crisis. Also, our conscience can be easily bought by a broad road and a dam; we forget humanity too easily. I’m a proud Hindu and will continue to oppose anti-Hindu values such as violence and antipathy.
The issue I foresee is more than just about one person, one Modi—it’s going to be about all those people who are anti-humanity, those who have been singing to the tune of “we can now put Muslims in their place”.
As told to Neha Bhatt
Thank you to all those who have taken the trouble to read the article and share their thoughts. Out of the arguments made here, there are two that perhaps need answering. So here they go.
1. The first part of the article compares outcomes (relative percentages of population of the religions concerned) irrespective of the process that led to those outcomes - whether immigration, relatively faster population growth or conversions. This was for two reasons. One, to put the figure of 2.3 per cent in "numerical perspective", as the article itself explained. The second reason was that outcomes are ultimately what the crux of debate is about. The rest of the article in any case dealt with process - or conversions in this case, from both a contemporary and historical perspective.
2. Some commenters have tried to cast doubts on the reliability of Census 2001. Those who do this should bear in mind that Census 2001 was conducted by a BJP government. Considering the extreme importance that BJP gives to this issue, it would be reasonable to expect that IF it had perceived a problem with the methodology that was distorting the numbers, it would have fixed it. As the article mentioned, BJP or BJP-supported governments have been in power for 10 of the last 40 years, or about a quarter of the time, and the only reasonable conclusion one can arrive at is that any misreporting of numbers, real or perceived, would be marginal and hence, not of importance.
To all other arguments made, my answer is the following: Please read the article again, with particular focus on the quotations of Vivekananda and Monier Williams, and the history of the missionary efforts in Bengal and their outcome.
@ Rajesh Chary - "I feel really insulted as a Hindu having to read this fear mongering"
Insulting Hindus and Hinduism is the best way of establishing one's secular credentials in India. It also helps academics of dubious credentials to build up a reputations. The names of Wendi Doniger and Richard Eaton, come readily to mind.
People who really deserve a lot of respect, people like Dr. S L Bhyrappa, Konrad Elst and Sitaram Goel, have been vilified because they are honest and do not denigrate Hinduism and refuse to whitewash history.
Pogroms? ethnic cleansing? uniculturism? putting Muslims in their place? .... these guys almost sound like they want all this to happen! Goa, Madhya Pradesh, Gujarat, Rajasthan - 3 times BJP governments - did all this happen? so why will it happen now?!
I feel really insulted as a Hindu having to read this fear mongering :-(
"We are getting deeper into the politics of segregation. Segregation breeds even more segregation. Is this the oppressive society we want to live in? "
Segregation is caused by policies of congis and Mulayam who create vote bank of minorities. I think this script was written by outlook and you allowed your name to be put on top just like other interviews of pseudo intellectuals in this series. This makes all of you look like idiots.
"I had written Final Solutions in the early ’90s, a play about the brewing pogrom of ethnic cleansing by right-wing parties."
Do you mean to say congis is a right wing party because it was involved in 1984 POGROM which resulted in killing of 3000 sikhs. Or you are another stupid congi who believws that secularism means anti hindu and muslim appeasement rather then being fair to both.
And how precisely will India become "unicultural" under Modi and the BJP? India has lots of languages and several religions, also the freedom not to belong to any religion.
Apart from a question of emphasis, how will any of this change?
are u a jolt mahesh dattani. morons like you are responsible for disrputing communal harmony , trying to instill fire in minorities. Can a prime minister of a country with 30+ states give orders to kill people of particular community. Law and order is state subject and how many governments are ruled by BJP ?? your language is uncouth , wonder how people manage to hear you out
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