Majoritarian radicalization in post-truth India

By Syed Ali Mujtaba

Hindu radicalization is brimming at its seams but many among the community refuse to acknowledge this growing phenomenon under the Modi rule. The hallmark of the Modi government is the radicalization of the Hindu community and the victimization of Muslims in India. There is no social or institutional opposition to this blatant disregard of the constitutional values that is taking place in the country. It seems there is a conspiracy of silence on the growing Hindu radicalization in India.

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The Hindu society refuses to acknowledge that the victimization of Muslims is taking place due to the radicalization of the Hindus. They see this radicalization as a normal phenomenon and refuse to raise their voices against such open bigotry. The Hindu community fails to recognize that majoritarian communalism is against the spirit of the Indian constitution.

This Hindu radicalization is happening at two levels. First, at the societal level second among those who run the country; politicians, police, judiciary, bureaucracy media, etc.

In a general conversation among families and in private discourse the Hindu bigots justify this trend, citing similar developments in other countries. The Hindu society refuses to accept that constitutional values are being flaunted by maltreating the Muslims in India.

There is a definite conspiracy of silence among the Hindu community towards the growing radicalization within their fold. Their normal response towards the blatant bigotry against the Muslims is; look how Hindus were oppressed during the Muslim rule, then they will turn to the maltreatment of Pandits in Kashmir; after that, they may talk about the activities of the Taliban and ISIS and finally they come to Pakistan and highlight the maltreatment of the Hindus in that country to justify Hindu radicalization in India.

The bigotry within Hindu society is growing since 2014. It is a part of well-crafted state policy. The radicalization of the Hindus is at the expense of the victimization of the Muslims. The Hindu religious extremists have taken the law in their hands and hate crimes that began as a trickle by the fringe Hindu elements have risen under the Modi rule.

There have been several instances where Hindu mob attacked Muslims and took their lives. This is happening in complete disregard to the rule of law and in complete defiance of the constitution. But there is none to uphold the rule of law and protect the oppressed.

Most perpetrators of crime against Muslims get away without any punitive action and some are even felicitated by BJP ministers. The most erroneous part is such hate crimes are slowly slipping from the front pages in the media to inside pages with small headlines to signify that there is nothing unusual in such activity. This new media culture has given a gist to the Hindu radicals to do whatever they like to do, as this is a new normal under Modi rule.

The mass radicalization of Hindus explains Modi’s enduring popularity despite his bad governance, autocratic behavior, and economic disaster. What Modi has been able to succeed in is to instill in Hindu’s minds to believe that a golden era that reflects their glorious, ancient tradition is round the corner. The Hindus will be redeemed of the centuries of Muslim oppression and the pampered Muslim community in India will be shown its place under Modi rule.

The state, the judiciary, and the media are all working in tandem to perpetrate Hindu radicalization. The Hindu radicalization has seeped into the veins of many Indians. The administration, the judiciary, politicians, all echo what Hindu-vigilante boldly profess while showing their hatred against the Muslims.

There are many new laws mainly aimed at cementing Hindu supremacy and restricting social and economic options for the Muslims in India. These laws are meant to send the message to the Muslim community that the constitutional guarantee no more holds true and they have to live under the shadow of the majority community.

There is virtually no criticism from the Hindu community to the laws that are made targeting the Muslim community. Even the political opposition’s do not resist the Hindu radicalization going on under Modi’s rule. They fear the ruling government and try to soft-peddle this phenomenon as if its normal discourse.

This is definitely a disintegration of the rule of law. The state is blatantly aligning with the Hindu religion. The President of India, Mr Ramnath Covind has publically announced making a contribution of Rs 5 lakh for the construction of the Ram temple at Ayodhya. The government of Uttar Pradesh has opened a bank account and has urged the government employees to make a “voluntary donation” to temple construction. It is a clear cut case of the state and the religion getting entwined under the Modi rule, which is against the grain of the constitution.

The government has further spurred Islamophobic instincts with changes in Muslim divorce law and bringing many new laws that are anchored in severing majoritarian interests. These laws are eagerly prosecuted by the police and the courts are allowing such anti-human laws without any legal basis. As Hindu radicalization progresses, Indian Muslims are finding hard to negotiate their life under the Modi rule and there is no sympathy towards their misery by the majority community.

The irony is many Hindus do not acknowledge that there is a mass radicalization of their community taking place at the expense of the Muslims. Even liberals among Hindus who used to go gung-ho at the Muslim radicalization are mute spectators to the radicalization of their own community. They also interpret the new phenomena with the same false equivalence of Islamic intolerance, within or outside India. They fail to bring out much-needed attention to the oppression against the Muslims that is going on in the country and maintain a stoke silence to the phenomena of the Hindu radicalization.

There is no doubt that the national consensus on maintaining religious harmony is falling apart. There are individuals and institutions that are actively engaged in dismantling the concept of peaceful coexistence in India. This is in complete disregard to the constitutional values and the rule of law in the country. Anyone criticizing such activities could be made liable and persecuted under Modi rule.

To say that every Hindu in India is radicalized will be a misnomer. Indeed, the majority are not. The Hindu society is very complex and even if the BJP may be able to consolidate many Hindu caste groups and divisions, it certainly cannot lord over the entire Sanatan-Dharma. This is not to deny the fact that those who defend Hindu bigotry in response to Islamophobia are on the rise in India. They have high-jacked the public discourse and are enjoying their time of fame under Modi rule.

There is little doubt that there is general withering away of the rule of law under the Modi regime. There are also no two opinions that victimization of Muslims has increased many folds under his rule. However, there are too few Hindus to raise a voice against the oppression of the Muslims they are singled out for persecution and this phenomenon is glaringly obvious. What does all this mean?  Well, this is Post-Truth India the Brand New Republic.

Syed Ali Mujtaba is a journalist based in Chennai. His forthcoming book is called Post Truth India – Brand New Republic. He can be contacted at