In an appalling display of religious fanaticism, the outreach of Hindutva extremism has reached beyond borders. This time British city of Leicester witnessed the ugly episodes of community violence following a cricket match between Pakistan and India late last month. In the wake of protest rallies staged by both Hindu and Muslim participants and subsequent quarrels and damages, 47 people have been arrested so far. Social media misinformation played further havoc during the conflict. The triggering of violence is condemnable while the response from hate mongers has further deepened the rift. After the violence, one sided condemnation by the Indian government fueled further anger. A selective one sided condemnation where only the Muslim community was held responsible for igniting violence did not help meet the real objective of co-existence of various communities in any part of the world.
In fact the community violence is the result of deep seated nationalism and extremist ideology, which have long been the obsession of the BJP-led Modi government. Ever since the election of Narendra Modi, the political climate of India has taken a hard turn to the right. His espousal of the exclusionary ideology of Hindutva has greatly empowered religious hardliners to act out against minorities with impunity. Over the years, political discussions and analysis about India have come to be characterised by a series of clichés. It is hailed as the world’s ‘largest democracy’, a shining example of ‘secularism’ and ‘cosmopolitanism’ in a region marred by religious conflict, and an emerging great power brimming with potential set to dominate the 21st century.
Over the years, India under the government of Narendra Modi, has virtually imploded into a cesspool of bigotry and intolerance. One can list a litany of calamities taking place on a daily basis and still not cover the depth of chaos engulfing India: emboldening of Shiv Sena and the RSS. Now, the ill-conceived ideology has been further expanded and started marring the atmosphere of civilized societies. Amidst all this, Indian government’s curt response to such episodes of fanaticism can be interpreted as a fundamental failure of diplomacy at best and a tacit endorsement at worst. This latest international conflict may lead to a fissure developing between Pakistan and Indian governments. If this trend is not stopped, a fearful possibility of large scale communal riots looms on the horizon. One hopes so, because India’s embryonic fascism needs to be curbed otherwise India is headed in an explosive direction — an outcome surely not desired by the masses of India who voted Modi into power.