Modi and the merchants of Untermensch

G-20 membership does not make you kosher. But what should we make of India which draws oxygen from such alliances to metaphorically replenish its ever-starved sense of justice towards minorities? It is not only the Indian Occupied Kashmir where Muslims are treated like trash. It is all over India. Not only has the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) rolled out the project of ‘Hinduisation’ of India, it has also embarked on the process of ‘otherisation’ of minorities, to mark them all as separate species from the original inhabitants, ‘the Hindus’ of the so-called Baharat Mata(Mother India).

While the Prime Minister of India, Narendra Modi promotes himself as a man who has considerably lowered the practice of open defecation in India, he does not mind putrefying the political ambience by giving the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS)---the nationalist militant arm of the BJP---a free hand to indulge in hate-mongering against the Muslims. This atmosphere is further corroded when Christians are forced to become Hindus in what has been called the Ghar Wapsi campaign.

Then India has the guts to blow the trumpet of democracy. Not too difficult a task, though, when the G-20 or the G-7 countries find it difficult to take their gaze away from the ever-expanding consumer base of the Indian market to see the human rights violations.

The United Nations has for the last two years broken its silence on the issue of Kashmir. This year another report has been released sighting startling figures of civilian killing in Kashmir at the hands of an exhaustive Indian armed force dispensed with repressive legal permissions to suppress the insurgency. Modi has been using as a policy tool the political strategy of blinding Kashmiris with pellet gunshots, raping innocent girls, killing at point-blank young Kashmiri boys, not before humiliating them to bruise their ‘Kashmiri ego.’

Of other resentments that instigated the Kashmiri boy, Adil Ahmed Dar, to kill in a suicide attack 40 Indian paramilitary soldiers in Pulwama, was the humiliation he faced when the Special Task Force, which had come to detain him, made him rub his nose on the ground. According to his family, this disgrace proved a catalyst. Onward, he was a sworn insurgent unmistakably drawn to the belief that Kashmir is an occupied state within the Union of India.

No one from the Indian law enforcement has ever been punished for using extraordinary force to subjugate the Kashmiris.

According to the Jammu and Kashmir Coalition of Civil Society (JKCCS), 586 people, including 160 civilians, 267 rebels and 159 Indian security personnel had been killed last year - the highest since 2008. The UN report recommended the formation of a commission of inquiry to conduct a “comprehensive, independent, international investigation” into allegations of human rights violations in Kashmir.

Though Kashmir is at the core of India-Pakistan tension, it is India’s desire to outsize Pakistan in power and strength that makes the problem more complex. India harbours this attitude with almost every neighbouring country; Pakistan being a bigger problem.

During his entire election campaign, Modi painted Pakistan as a villain next door and India itself as a country that no one in the region has the muscle to match. To texturize nationalism, a story was concocted of a Pakistan Air Force plane shot down in the vicinity of the Indian side of the LoC.

As elections drew to an end the original version of the event was released which read that it was not Pakistan’s but the Indian Air force plan, which was blown out.

The further Modi embarks on his right-wing nationalistic narrative the greater are the repercussions in the form of lynching of Muslims all over India. This spillover is not even gender bias. Women and men are treated alike.

In the immediate aftermath of Modi’s re-election five incidences of hate crime were reported. In Madhya Pradesh state, three Muslims, including a woman, were attacked on the suspicion of carrying beef. In Gurugram, a man was beaten and his prayer cap taken off before asking him to praise Hindu gods. The Human Rights Watch report this year stated that in the first BJP tenure, cow vigilantes caused the lynching of over 44 people. The climax to this hatred for minorities was BJP’s Amit Shah’s statement in which he called the migrants ‘termites’ that had to be got rid of. Since there is not a single Muslim Member of Parliament among BJPs 303 lawmakers, therefore, there has been no denouncement of the diatribe from within the party.

How does Modi justify his presence in the G-20 meeting when back home unemployment has reached the highest percentage point in 45 years? This idle youth, infested with the worst form of hate-mongering against minorities, could prove lethal---adding to the brigade bent on making India an all-Hindu country.

Similar is the case with the ease of doing business in India. Investing in India has become extremely difficult. Those who are already engaged are finding it hard to negotiate the protectionist laws. Pulling India out of the General Preferential List was the US response to this unfair rule of doing business. China’s model of doing business is unique in the sense that it is growing from regional to the international sphere. Built on the concept of friendly and brotherly relations with the neighbouring countries, China’s investment is now found in almost every country in Asia. And with the Belt and Road (BRI) initiative, the sphere of China’s economic influence has begun to reach out to other continents.

For the countries in South Asia built mostly on the colonial culture of subjugation and a political narrative of divisiveness, there cannot be any better model of governance than the one which brings economic emancipation through mass development in peripheries where the population is marginalized and left out. The BRI model can lift millions of Indians out of poverty. It even has the solution to the Kashmir problem since CPEC crosses that strategic state. But India does not want this to happen. It is deadly against the CPEC project and has no intention to even join the BRI.

In fact, India has increased its presence in the Maldives to check Pakistan-China nexus in the Indian Ocean while efforts are afoot to bring Maldives and China at loggerheads in spite of the heavy Chinese investment there.

All this is being done under the supervision of Ajit Dovel, the security advisor to the Prime Minister of India. He has also masterminded strategic differences between India and Pakistan and is following the tacit mission of making India a Hindu state.

India would have to justify in the long run its presence and membership in the G-20---not through sham acrobatics but from a real portrayal of a nation that does not thrive on jingoistic politics both at home and abroad.

ePaper - Nawaiwaqt