Home Today's Paper Most Popular Video Gallery Photo Gallery
Subscription Blog Signin Register
Logo
Tuesday, July 23, 2019 10:45:25 PM
Follow Us On: Facebook Twitter Twitter Twitter Twitter

India's election a showdown on rising nationalism

photo by AP photo

Hindu hardliners, one holding a sword, chant slogans against Muslim communities during a rally demanding a Hindu temple be built on a site in northern India where hardliners in 1992 had attacked and demolished a 16th century mosque in Ayodhya Uttar Prades

By
09th-Apr-2019       
Comments
Share your thought
Post a comment »
Read all () »

AP, New Delhi :
As she patrols for cow smugglers, Sadhvi Kamal, a Hindu holy woman in a saffron robe, rides in a white SUV with a sticker on the rear window displaying a cow framed by swords and rifles. The words in the sticker's logo say, "The cow is the mother of the world."
Kamal leads a vigilante force of thousands of volunteers, mostly young Hindu men. Such vigilante forces have emerged after several Indian states banned the slaughter of cows, sacred to Hindus, in recent years. Mobs have lynched three dozen Muslims, who traditionally run meat shops and slaughterhouses.
As India heads toward a general election that begins this week, taking up arms for "mother cow" is part of a broader campaign to impose ancient Hindu religious values across a multicultural country. As with similar movements across the world, Hindu nationalism, once fringe, has now taken a central place in India's politics.
The movement is led by the party of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who grew up chanting slogans and practicing maneuvers at nationalist training camps. Modi and his Bharatiya Janata Party seek to retain power in the elections by promoting Hindutva - a Hindu way of life - instead of secular pluralism. A fresh mandate for Modi could embolden efforts to mold the world's largest democracy of 1.3 billion people into a stringently Hindu nation.
"I think what Modi has successfully done is just to normalize bigotry," said writer and historian Mukul Kesavan. "What we have already seen is a shift of the common sense of the republic way to the right."
Scenes of religious nationalism are now common in India.
In New Delhi and Ayodhya, a city in Uttar Pradesh state, tens of thousands of men in saffron armed with swords and the name of the Hindu Lord Ram painted on their foreheads shouted anti-Muslim epithets. They demanded a temple to Ram at a site where Hindu hardliners tore down a 16th century mosque in 1992, sparking riots that left about 2,000 people dead. Hindu groups say the mosque was only built after Muslim invaders destroyed a temple dedicated to Ram.
Elsewhere in Uttar Pradesh, the government spent unprecedented sums on the Hindu Kumbh Mela festival that ended last month, with Modi and the chief minister, Yogi Adityanath, himself a Hindu monk, appearing in countless posters. Three months earlier, Adityanath's state government replaced the Muslim name of the host city, Allahabad, with Prayagraj, a Sanskrit word from Hindu religious texts. The name change from Muslim to Hindu is one of many in recent months.
A Modi-appointed committee of scholars is also studying DNA samples to prove that today's Hindus are descendants of India's first inhabitants, and to establish that Hindu scriptures are fact and not myth.
Asked whether the Modi government is forcing Hinduism on its people, Abinav Prasoon, a spokesman for India's information ministry, said that "this is a political thing, and we cannot comment on it."
Even the Taj Mahal has not escaped the Hindu political agenda. Despite being a UNESCO world heritage site, the mausoleum built by Muslim Mughal emperor Shah Jahan was not included as a listed attraction by the Uttar Pradesh tourism ministry in 2017. Chief Minister Adityanath said foreign dignitaries should be gifted with the Bhagavad Gita, a Hindu religious text, instead of a replica of the monument.
The cow has become a symbol of this growing nationalism.
About 280 people were injured in more than 100 attacks by vigilantes between May 2015 and December 2018, Human Rights Watch said in a recent report. Kamal's group has been involved in some of the most gruesome assaults on suspected cow smugglers.
"Violence is wrong but if the matter involves protecting a mother, all is fair," Kamal said.
At least two men involved in assaulting suspected cow smugglers are also candidates in the upcoming parliamentary polls. Even the opposition Congress party, long associated with the secularism of its co-founder and India's first prime minister Jawaharlal Nehru, has pushed to protect cows. In Congress-controlled Madhya Pradesh state, authorities jailed two men suspected of illegally transporting cows under the National Security Act, which allows for detention in cases of threats to state security.
As Brahma Chellaney, a professor of strategic studies at the New Delhi-based Center for Policy Research, put it: "While the U.S. is ruled by cowboys, India is ruled by cowmen."

Tariff
Add Rate

News Archive

Inside The New Nation

Editorial »

Stand beside flood-hit people


DIFFERENT kinds of waterborne diseases have begun spreading as floodwater started receding across the country. But in the post-flood scenario, many people are suffering from diarrhoea, skin diseases, dysentery, cholera and other waterborne diseases. Officials of the Flood Forecasting and Warning Centre said the flood situation may continue improving in ...

Sports »

Lowry weathers storm to win British Open and first major


Ireland's Shane Lowry withstood howling wind and rain to win his first major at the British Open by six shots from Tommy Fleetwood on Sunday, describing the achievement as "an out-of-body experience".In desperately difficult conditions, Lowry's one-over par final round was still more than enough as he finished on 15-under ...

International »

UK leadership favourite Johnson hits more turmoil on last voting day


AFP :Britain's leadership contest entered its finale Monday with the favourite Boris Johnson facing more defections from ministers over his Brexit plan.The month-long contest between former London mayor Johnson and Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt is being decided by fewer than 200,000 grassroots members of the governing Conservative Party.The winner will ...

International »

Zelensky party heads for absolute majority in Ukraine


AFP :Ukraine's comedian-turned-president Volodymyr Zelensky is set to control an absolute majority in parliament, ushering in a generational shift in the ex-Soviet country's political arena.The 41-year-old became Ukraine's youngest ever post-Soviet leader when he took office two months ago and has promised to stamp out corruption and end a separatist ...

City »

Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina presenting National Fisheries Award to Mostofa Al Rajib, Upazila Fisheries Officer, Betagi , Barguna for the latter's contribution in Fisheries Sector at a ceremony held recently in the auditorium of Krishibid Institution, Bangladesh in the city on the occasion of National Fisheries Week.


Entertainment »

Mamo under Tauquir’s direction, Bipasha’s story


Sheikh Arif Bulbon :As an actress, in the beginning of her career, Zakia Bari Mamo got the National Film Award to act in Tauquir Ahmed-directed movie Daruchini Dwip. For this reason, Mamo always respects to Tauquir Ahmed. Now she is a matured actress who always wants to work in challenging ...

Editorial »

Taking law in own hand is an ominous sign


MOBS beat to death five people, including two women, and injured 10 others on suspicion of being child kidnappers across the country on Saturday. The incidents happened just a day after three people were beaten by a mob in Thakurgaon. Incidents of mob beating have increased even after the Bridges ...

International »

Abe on course to retain majority in upper house election


AFP, Tokyo :Japanese voters cast ballots Sunday in an upper house election, with Shinzo Abe's ruling bloc looking to protect its majority and keep on track plans to amend the country's pacifist constitution.The 64-year-old Abe, who is on course to become Japan's longest-serving prime minister, is also hoping to shore ...

Entertainment »

Mehazabien, Tawsif, Sabila Nur’s Eid drama Better half


Entertainment Report :Few days ago, a drama titled Swapno Dekhi Abaro, directed by Mahmudur Rahman Himi, was made with theme given by popular TV actress Mehazabien Chowdhury. Mehazabien also acted in this play against Shamol Mawla which will be telecasted in upcoming Eid. This time Imraul Rafat has made an ...

Editorial »

Administrative control over ACC only to happy the corrupts


ANTI-GRAFT campaigner Transparency International Bangladesh (TIB) has expressed deep concern and extreme disappointment over the government's decision for making Deputy Commissioners as authorised officers to oversee the Anti-Corruption Commission's work in the districts. The move will undoubtedly restrict the ACC's ability to fight graft and proper investigation into allegations of ...

Sports »

Penny drops for Canada's teen swim queen Oleksiak


Canada's Penny Oleksiak insists she has finally left the "weirdness" of capturing Olympic swimming gold at the tender age of 16 after finally recovering from a lengthy Rio hangover. Oleksiak, who is preparing for the world championships which begin in South Korea this weekend, stunned the sport when she dead-heated ...

International »

Thousands rally in support of Hong Kong police


AP, Hong Kong :Tens of thousands of people rallied in support of Hong Kong's police and pro-Beijing leadership on Saturday, a vivid illustration of the polarisation coursing through the city after weeks of anti-government demonstrations.Hong Kong has been rocked by more than a month of huge and largely peaceful protests-as ...

International »

US offers $7m to find Hezbollah agent as Pompeo visits Argentina


AFP, Buenos Aires :The United States on Friday offered a $7 million reward to find a Hezbollah operative accused of masterminding a deadly 1994 attack on a Jewish center in Buenos Aires, as Secretary of State Mike Pompeo sought to unite Latin American nations against the militants.Pompeo visited to mark ...

Entertainment »

Shilpa Shetty to return to the big screen after twelve years


Shilpa Shetty is all set to make a comeback on the big screen after a gap of twelve years. The actress was last seen in Dharmendra, Sunny and Bobby Deol starrer Apne (2007). Before jetting off on a holiday with family, Shilpa has green lit filmmaker Aziz Mirza's son Haroon ...

Editorial »

Corruption in WASA crosses all limits


THE Anti Corruption Commission has identified eight projects and three areas in Dhaka WASA where corruption takes place. The State enterprise keeps extending deadlines and increasing the costs of its projects to create room for corruption. In many cases, WASA did not carry out its work as per project designs ...

 
Items that you save may be read at any time on your computer, iPad, iPhone or Android devices.
 
Are you new to our website? Do you have already an account at our website?
Create An Account Log in here
Email this news to a friend or like someone
Email:
Write a comment to this news