ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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Resisting 'Sustainable' Communalism

The normalising of communal prejudices and discriminations is a real threat to our republic.

Addressing the nation on 15 August 2014, Prime MinisterNarendra Modi appealed for a 10-year moratorium on several social evils, including communalism. At that time his regime was barely three months old, and some obstinate optimists may have harboured hopes that he would act on his appeal, especially since he had won a landslide verdict. Less than a year later, it is clear that there are no grounds for hope on this front. With the dwindling of hope comes the need to re-evaluate predicaments. Let us begin by noting that ours is without precedent—this is the first time in the history of our republic that an avowedly Hindu-chauvinist party has captured power with a single supremo and a brute majority. In other words, we are now on the uncharted terrain of an uninhibited majoritarian communalism backed by state power. What exactly has changed because of this event?

If we look at acts directly involving state institutions, there are some significant departures from prior practice that seem designed to stoke communal tensions. An early example was the petty attempt to revoke the national holiday for Christmas by declaring 25 December as “Good Governance” Day and dedicating it to Atal Bihari Vajpayee, since it happens to be his birthday. A more recent and more sinister instance is the alleged attempt to influence the prosecutor in the National Investigation Agency’s cases against Hindu terrorists. If proven, these allegations reveal a readiness to use the state machinery to forcibly fabricate as fact the communal fantasy that only Muslims can be terrorists—even at the cost of subverting the law and exonerating cold-blooded murderers.

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