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The Indian Subcontinent’s Third Partition

The First partition (1947)

The Indian subcontinent got partitioned in 1947 when the British colonial rule came to an end. India was divided into two new independent states: India and Pakistan. The reason for the division was the Indian National Congress’ (INC’s) adamant refusal to share power with the Indian Muslim League (IML) headed by Muhammad Ali Jinnah who was himself a non-practicing Muslim with a secular vision. Muslims represented over 25% of the then total Indian population.

The partition was gory and bloody; in excess of a million people were killed. Also, millions of Hindus and Sikhs in Pakistan and Muslims in India, migrated to areas cohabited by their coreligionists.

The Second partition (1971)

Jinnah died within thirteen months after the formation of Pakistan. In the late 1950s, power in Pakistan was gradually usurped by it’s military, with strong encouragement from the United States and Britain. British trained and labelled “martial race” the West Pakistan based army mainly comprising Punjabis and some Pashtuns.

The majority wing, East Pakistan with 54% of Pakistan’s population, consisted mostly of Bengalis, the “non-martial race.” The outright racism by the Punjabis (27 % of total population), the West Pakistan-based elite, and the economic exploitation of West Pakistan-based businesses resulted in a revolt by the Bengalis and culminated in a war in East Pakistan which then became Bangladesh in 1971.

Over a million people died and hundreds of thousands of Bengali women were raped by the Pakistani soldiers.

The Third partition (2019)

The third partition took place on May 23, 2019 when the Indian general election results were announced. Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Bhartiya Janata Party (BJP) won a decisive victory with 303 seats in a 543 national Assembly, the lower house. With coalition support, BJP now controls 353 seats.)

One of the major reasons Modi won the election was by uniting as many Hindus as possible by instilling the fear of Pakistan.

Pakistan with less than 1/6th of India’s population is an economically weak almost bankrupt smaller neighbor who has borrowed money from Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates, and is in discussion with the International Monetary Fund or IMF to borrow more money to run the country.

The 2019 partition of India is not physical; it is a partition of people based on their religion: Hindus and Muslims. The Jains, Buddhists, and Sikhs are accepted as their own by the ruling Hindus, only Christians and Muslims are made to feel as outsiders. (Muslims make up 14% of India’s population and is often perceived as being complicit with Pakistan.)

Narendra Damodardas Modi

Under Modi’s watch in 2002, while he was Gujarat’s Chief Minister (2001-2014), over two thousand people, mostly Muslims, were brutally massacred.

Modi never expressed any remorse over the murderous rampage. In an interview to the news agency Reuters, he compared Muslim victims to puppies :

[If] someone else is driving a car and we’re sitting behind, even then if a puppy comes under the wheel, will it be painful or not? Of course it is. If I’m a chief minister or not, I’m a human being. If something bad happens anywhere, it is natural to be sad.

Such vitriolic language with no trace of the enormity and gravity of the senseless loss of life coming from the head of the central government signaled an open invitation to his followers to attack, discriminate, misbehave and even kill minorities not to their liking.

Modi is an authoritarian leader, in the mold of US President Donald Trump but much more shrewd, cunning and cruel; but, unlike Trump, Modi has total control over his oral member. He only speaks when he wants to and what he calculatingly decides.

So many Muslims have been lynched by extremist Hindus but Modi rarely opens his mouth to criticize them. He is waiting for an opportunity to become the Duce of Hindu Fascism; this is no exaggeration. He’s very accommodating to the corporate class and it, in turn, provides him a continous platform on its TV channels. Modi and the corporate class will turn India into Corporate Ramrajya.

Modi will undoubtedly succeed if whatever little disunited opposition there is left in India doesn’t find a way to get together in opposition to him, and give leadership to people who still want to see India a secular nation.

Modi once said:

I’m nationalist. I’m patriotic. Nothing is wrong. I’m a born Hindu. Nothing is wrong. So, I’m a Hindu nationalist so yes, you can say I’m a Hindu nationalist because I’m a born Hindu.

Most of us belong to some religion, ideology etc. But the problem with the above reasoning is that when a leader declares this so empathically and openly, the question arises as to whether he is capable to work for the entire country in a secular manner or states openly to pursue, promote and impose his religion and ideology on the entire country. Looking at Modi’s, record, one can be sure that Modi wants to see India as the Hindu Rashtra (Nation).

Modi is regarded a hero to the Hindu extremists because he is the first most powerful Hindu nationalist leader to openly use such rhetoric, score such a huge victory and make the dream of so many extremist Hindus come true.

Back in 1938, Vinayak Damodar Savarkar had compared India’s Muslims to Germany’s Jews:

“If we Hindus in India grow stronger in time, these Moslem friends of the league type will have to play the part of German Jews.”

Nehru’s fear

India’s first Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru was an atheist and tried hard to maintain India as a secular nation. Under his rule, minorities felt secure. Nehru was well aware of the problem that the religious majority Hindus could pose in India. Even prior to 1947, Nehru had been thinking about the communalism of the majority Hindus. He reiterated his warnings in 1958 and then again in 1961:

Communalism of the majority is far more dangerous than the communalism of the minority.”

“Communalism is a part of our society.” “When the minority communities are communal, you can see that and understand it. But the communalism of a majority community is apt to be taken for nationalism.”

When democracy works

For a democracy to function and flourish in a healthy manner certain requirements are essential, the three most important:

+ bribes (under whatever name) should have no place in politics: the corporate, business, landlord and feudal classes should be checked from influencing politicians;

+ the prime minister, president, chancellor, etc. should have a secular outlook, i.e., religion should have no role in politics; and,

+ the leaders’ goal should be inclusivity, that makes the country a pluralistic one, which accepts everyone irrespective of religion, caste, creed, sexual orientation, color, ideology, disability, or any other difference.

The Hindu majority and Gandhi’s constant invoking of Hindu symbols had scared most Muslims, that made up 25% of population.

Jinnah, who represented Muslims tried to negotiate for some sort of parity between Hindus and Muslims in the government but he could not succeed with the hard-liners.

In this case, democracy was useless for Muslims in India dominated by the Hindu majority, unless they accepted to live as second class citizens. Jinnah explained the dilemma aptly:

“The only difference is this that brother Gandhi has three votes and I have only one vote.”

Jinnah was responding to Gandhi’s statement

“To me,  Hindus, Muslims, Parsis [Zoroastrians], Harijans , are all alike. I cannot be frivolous.” “I cannot be frivolous when I talk of Quaid-i-Azam [Great Leader] Jinnah. He is my brother.”

(Harijan was Gandhi’s term which meant children of God, a term he used for the untouchables. Their leader B. R. Ambedkar preferred and popularized the term “Dalits” instead to identify themselves.)

The outlook in India for Muslims is bleak because the leadership does not encourage or support Hindu-Muslim parity. A new class of under-privileged population will be subject to harsh, murderous treatment without any consequences and with support of the thugs in charge.

 

More articles by:

B. R. Gowani can be reached at brgowani@hotmail.com

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