With less than seven months of the BJP-led NDA government’s term remaining, it’s time to do a holistic assessment of its performance. Social cohesion has undeniably been the principal casualty. The Indian Right’s collective DNA is yet to reconcile with why India’s religious division never reached its rational climax—if an Islamic Pakistan was born out of that blood-stained Partition, why not a Hindu Hindustan? In 2014, riding on the boniest electoral mooring any majority government has had since 1952, the right-wingers set out to rewrite the fundamental compact underpinning the Indian Republic.
Deploying a toxic cocktail of hyper-nationalism and totalitarianism reminiscent of the ‘Night of the Long Knives’ and the ‘Night of the Broken Glass’ in Nazi Germany, a spectre of terror has been unleashed to convert India from a secular to a theocratic nation. A new language was invented that makes critiquing the BJP tantamount to treason, criticising the government equivalent to sedition and questioning the establishment downright blasphemous. Prestigious institutions were labelled anti-national because some students allegedly shouted imbecile slogans that were never dignified with a response earlier. Lynchings in the name of cow-protection, an oxymoron called ‘love jihad’, a reconversion programme labelled ‘ghar wapsi’, and constriction of liberal spaces have been clinically deployed to send out a message to all minorities as well as recalcitrant liberals among the majority that a de-facto majoritarian state is in place.