Failed economic plans behind BJP pressure on religious minorities

TEHRAN (IQNA) – A political science professor believes that the failure of the Indian government’s economic plans has forced the ruling BJP party to increase pressure on religious minorities, including Muslims.

“The BJP seeks to limit the rights and resources of religious minorities regardless of the extent of success in promoting economic development and providing effective governance. His economic strategies have been particularly unsuccessful over the past five years, which has heightened his propensity to emphasize Hindu cultural and political hegemony,” Narendra Subramanian, a professor of political science at McGill University, told IQNA in an exclusive interview.

Right-wing activists in India have warned of discrimination and pressure by Hindu nationalists against Muslims and the BJP’s support for this over the past two years. To shed some light on the matter, IQNA reached out to Indian-born Subramanian to discuss the roots of these pressures.

Narendra Subramanian is a professor of political science at McGill University. It studies the politics of nationalism, ethnicity, religion, gender and race from a comparative perspective, focusing primarily on India. Subramanian’s first book Ethnicity and Populist Mobilization: Political Parties, Citizens and Democracy in South India, Oxford University Press, 1999, examined why mobilizing middle and lower status groups through discourses on language and caste enhanced the democracy and tolerance in southern India.

Her second book Nation and Family: Personal Law, Cultural Pluralism, and Gendered Citizenship in India, Stanford University Press, 2014, traced the course of personal laws that govern family life among major Indian religious groups.

Here is the full text of the interview:

IQNA: Since Narendra Modi came to power in India, we have seen growing pressure on the country’s religious and ethnic minorities, especially Muslims. What is the reason for these pressures?

Subramanian: Pressure was exerted on religious minorities, mainly Muslims and Christians. The Hindu nationalist movement from which the ruling Bharatiya Janata party emerged has always defined India as a predominantly/exclusively Hindu nation and marginalized followers of religions originating outside of South Asia.

While the BJP was the largest party in parliament between 1998 and 2004, it was then forced to govern in alliance with other parties. Since 2014, when Modi became prime minister, the BJP has won an absolute majority of parliamentary seats, enabling it to act on its exclusionary inclinations towards Muslims and Christians in particular.

IQNA: Why does the BJP insist on extremist Hindu nationalism in a country known for the peaceful coexistence of followers of different religions?

Subramanian: India, like most other countries, comprises forces of different social and political orientations. Some movements and parties have emphasized the coexistence of different religious groups.

This was largely the case with the Indian National Congress (Congress Party) which ruled India alone or in alliance with other parties for much of the post-colonial era, although the party occasionally marginalized some religious minorities.

The BJP and its predecessor organizations have always given Hindus social and political prominence and sought to marginalize especially Muslims and Christians, while being more willing to accept followers of non-Hindu religions originating from South Asia – the Sikhism, Buddhism and Jainism.

IQNA: What was the main reason the BJP came to power in India?

Subramanian: The main reason is its effective cultural and political mobilization of various Hindu groups, which has been successful among more linguistic and caste groups over the past decade. Other reasons include its organizational strength, the decline of the previously dominant Congress party, and the restriction of most other parties to certain parts of India.

IQNA: Some believe that the BJP’s actions against Muslims and other religious minorities in India are due to the party’s inability to solve India’s economic and political problems. How true is this opinion?

Subramanian: The BJP seeks to limit the rights and resources of religious minorities regardless of the extent of success in promoting economic development and providing effective governance. His economic strategies have particularly failed over the past five years, which has increased his propensity to emphasize Hindu cultural and political hegemony.

IQNA: What is the ideological basis of the Hindutva movement in India and why is it so popular in India?

Subramanian: The Hindutva or ideology of Hinduism is built around the vision of India as a predominantly or exclusively Hindu nation. It is both a cultural and a political vision. VD Savarkar, one of the first influential Hindu nationalist leaders, defined Hindu in reference to cultural and territorial affiliation – a view of India as a homeland and sacred land – rather than faith and religious practice.

While this view theoretically includes non-Hindus who share this view, it actually suspects the national loyalties of those whose religious sentiments bind them to events and stories outside India. Some Hindu nationalists such as Golwalkar, who led the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh for more than three decades, have openly stated that they want Muslims to always be second-class citizens whose status would be similar to that of Jews in Germany. Nazi.

IQNA: How do you see India’s future given the actions of the BJP?

Subramanian: The BJP is giving effect to its vision of India as a predominantly Hindu nation. He garnered only 37.4% of the vote in the last national elections in 2019, but secured an absolute majority of parliamentary seats as the rest of the votes were split among various parties.

The BJP remains the most effective party in mobilizing voters across India. The other parties either have more limited pockets of support or are organizationally weak, and have not effectively coordinated with each other to oppose the BJP. These circumstances make it likely that the BJP will remain in power although it has not effectively governed the country and development has declined over the past decade.

Interview with Mohammad Hassan Goodarzi

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