ISLAMISTS’ VIOLENCE AND HINDUS’ DISILLUSIONMENT WITH MODI’S LEADERSHIP IN INDIA
A country of 1.25 billion and 29 states, India seems to be in a state of ferment. Narendra Modi, who came to power in 2014 riding the wave of rising Hindu civilizational aspirations, got another term with increased strength in 2019. However, pretty soon, he appeared to be dwarfing. Modi didn’t match his own image of a stout and upright leader from Gujarat. Roughly, beginning from the 2021 West Bengal elections to the withdrawal of the Farmers’ laws to his recent capitulation to a handful of Arab countries, a large part of Modi’s support-base feels his leadership has been seriously compromised.
The political climate of India is currently saturated with the fall out of the suspension of two media representatives of the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party, Ms Nupur Sharma and Naveen Jindal, by the party leadership. In a television discussion (on Indian TV discussions usually erupt into uncivic shouting matches!), Nupur was accused of insulting Muhammad, the founder of Islam. Although Nupur had referred only to the contents in the Islamic religious texts and later on withdrew her statement, she couldn’t salvage herself from the displeasure of the party bosses (meaning Narendra Modi, the Prime Minister) and the wrath of the Islamists.
Following this disaster, a large part of Modi’s support-base is unhappy with him for not standing by Nupur Sharma. Outspoken among them seem to be complaining: “Whatever the Prime Minister and his trusted Home Minister, Amit Shah do to you and to the nation, being a hostage Hindu voter, you have to support the BJP and the leadership of Narendra Modi.”
Modi and Shah are aided or assisted by J.P.Nadda, the party president and Mohan Bhagwat, the chief of the Rashtriya SwayamSevak Sangh (RSS), the mother organization of the BJP. At one time, the party president and the chief of the RSS used to be the guides or conscience keepers of the Prime Minister and other party officials. Now, everyone knows what Narendra Modi says goes!
In the political setup of India, if the leadership hasn’t established a committed relationship with the Party (its cadre, sympathizers and volunteers) or if it continues to distance itself from the supporters, both the leader and the party will falter.
As a three-term capable Chief Minister in the state of Gujarat, with a Sanatani Hindu Civilizational vision, Narendra Modi came to be elected as the Prime Minister of India in 2014. India celebrated his victory and rallied behind him; some of his policies were controversial, but Indians were, by and large, breathing well. They had a corruption-free Hindu nationalist resolute PM after a long time.
Surprisingly, into his second term, India is not seeing the same resolution and dynamism in NM he had before. He was not expected to cater to all the extreme right-wing demands, but definitely people wanted him to be an upright and fair administrator capable of safeguarding the interests and dignity of the country and its people. Now, the Hindu nationalist base of NM appears to have doubts about his vision and capability, the litany of the failure of his leadership is becoming longer.
For any determined leader, swiftness with efficiency matters. Consider how he fumbled one after another:
1. He allowed the Shaheen Bagh protest against the Citizens’ Amendment Law to fester that gave fuel to the Islamic and anti-India forces all around the world culminating into the Delhi Riots (2020).
2. He let down a vast majority of the country when it rallied behind him on CAA/NRC and then found him developing cold feet in their implementation.
3. India hailed NM’s leadership when Article 370 and 35A of the constitution related to Kashmir were annulled and an Islamist-terrorist free territory was promised. The uprooted Kashmiri Hindus in the 90’s were assured resettlement. However, NM’s half-hearted approach towards eradication of Islamization and his attempt to reconciliation with the Jihadi forces in Kashmir were quite clear: Invitation to the Arab capital for investment in the Kashmir valley was a red signal many Indians must not have noticed.
4. Again, the nation rallied behind NM on the Farm Laws sponsored by his own party, but he let down the people by first allowing the illegal Farmers’ Protest rally to continue for a year and eventually withdrawing the law altogether. The political move that was designed to win votes in Punjab also failed.
5. The cadre and sympathizers/voters of NM complained in West Bengal that the BJP/RSS leadership didn’t come to their aid when they were intimidated or even killed by the criminal forces patronized by Ms Mamata Banerjee and her Trinamool Congress Party.The TMC’s ruthless policy of settling illegal migrants from Bangladesh (for electoral gains) is still continuing.
6. The attacks on the Delhi Red Fort on 26 January 2021, desecration of the national flag, violence on the Delhi Police by the Sikhs, holding the PM’s cavalcade hostage on a Punjab HighWay and forcing him to take a return flight to Delhi were genuinely seen as a sign of utterly weak leadership.
7. With regard to the Indian sub-continent and NM as the Hindu civilizational leader, just look at the Indian response towards the neighboring countries: In Bangladesh, the declining Hindu population at less than 10% is a victim of ethnic cleansing; in Pakistan, poor Hindus, their remaining places of worship are constantly subjected to forced conversion and demolition. The Modi government doesn’t seem to show any concern about these perpetual problems. Pakistan, on the other hand, keeps India as a target of propaganda war every day internally and on international forums.
It was also reported that the NM’s government was working with the Taliban to have the food supplies sent to Afghanistan. Knowledgeable Indians may ask, why? Did the Indians forget how the Taliban bombed the Bamyan temple, persecuted the Hindu and the Sikh minorities in Afghanistan? Soon after the Taliban’s re-take over, the last contingent of the Sikh population was forced to abandon their Gurdwara and flee the country — they were given a choice either to convert into Sunni Muslims or leave.
One can see how the Islamists were “having the cake and eat it too.” The Taliban were negotiating with the Trump/Biden Administration for a reconciliation with the government of Ashraf Ghani and at the same time killing the Afghani security forces (in alliance with Al-Qaeda and IS) and other minorities including the Shia muslims.
Mohan Bhagwat and the PM, Modi, aided by his foreign minister and national security adviser don’t seem to appreciate the reality that there’s a civilizational existential threat to India posed by the International Islamist forces.
Seen against this backdrop, average Indians, especially the Hindus, feel fear-stricken and outraged at the way the BJP leadership threw their two loyal officials, Ms Nupur Sharma and Naveen Jindal, under the bus. They feel humiliated at the kneeling down of their government before countries like Qatar, the home to the Islamist terrorist organizations like Al-Qaeda.
The Concluding Point
The Islamists all over the world claim: “Islam is a religion of peace.” From any religion of peace, it should be expected that if a person accepts his/her error, withdraws the words and the organization he or she is associated with disowns — the matter should be forgiven or forgotten.
Look at the time-line of the Nupur-Naveen saga: The television debate took place on 26 May 2022; it was made controversial by Mohammed Zubair, co-founder of a media outlet, Alt News, that led to the suspension of Nupur and Naveen from the BJP on 5 June 2022. In the meantime, on 3 June 2022, after Friday Namaz, the Namazis from a Kanpur mosque, pelted stones and indulged in violence in the neighborhood.
Yet again, after a full one week (10 June 2022), on another Friday after the Namaz, the Muslims carried out a spate of one-sided violence in several cities from U.P. to Telangana and from Jharkhand to Karnataka.
In some places, the mob hung Nupur’s effigy from electric wire or set fire to posters with the image of Nupur and Naveen, while in others, properties were damaged, cops and citizens injured with stones. The yelling marauders were baying for the blood of Nupur and Naveen. As if this was not enough, On 8 June 2022, the terrorist network Al-Qaeda in the Indian Subcontinent (AQIS) issued a statement calling for revenge against the BJP officials in India.
Muslims, in general, may see how the image of the “religion of peace” was tarnished by the Islamists!
Not surprising, today, a large part of the BJP’s vote-base is painfully disillusioned with the leadership of Modi.
Originally from Darbhanga, Bihar (India), Dr Binoy Shanker Prasad lives in Dundas, Ontario (Canada). He is a former UGC teacher fellow at JNU in India and a Fulbright Scholar in the USA. Author of scholarly works including a book, “Violence Against Minorities”, “Gandhi in the Age of Globalization” (a monograph) and a collection of poems”, Dr Prasad has taught at Ryerson University, Centennial College and McMaster University. He has also been the president of Hamilton based India-Canada Society (2006-08 and 2018-20).