Growing intolerance

Reports about vandalising of Muslim houses and mosques located in north-eastern state of Tripura, speak volume about growing intolerance in India. It is lamentable that a well-planned series of attacks are being carried out by Hindutva mobs under this fresh spat of anti-Muslim violence. India 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. This image of a “Shining India” has been built up over the past few decades. The stability enjoyed by India’s parliamentary democracy is certainly enviable but this supremely upbeat representation of India comes crashing down upon closer inspection.

Under the government of Narendra Modi, India has virtually imploded into a cesspool of bigotry and intolerance. While the injustice is in progress, condemnation is pouring in by media persons, writers and scholars. Modi, as a product of the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS), is directly responsible for enabling a distinctly anti-democratic and fascist climate in which extremist hardliners flourish. The culture of radicalisation is horrifying. It is very unfortunate that the culture of radicalisation has slowly but steadily become entrenched in Indian and Pakistani societies but people have been living in ignorance for decades now. A culture of intolerance has instilled fear in society, fear that allows hate-mongers to spread intolerance and bigotry without any consequences. It is this fear due to which countries like India and Pakistan have lost space to religious fanatics and corrupt politicians. There is a need to counter the narrative of right wing groups who use utter violence to propagate their extremist views.

India is home to a number of communities, defining its cultural diversity and pluralism. By imposing its agenda, the Modi government is posing a serious threat to the secular status of India. This growing intolerance can lead to communal and even caste riots. It is high time the Modi government senses the danger involved in such violent incidents. By remaining silent over attacks on Muslims, the Indian government is paving the way for civil strife of greater magnitude. The state needs to intervene and control the incidents of intolerance against its minorities.