FacebookTwitterRedditEmail

Homogenizing India: the Citizenship Debate

The federal government of India has yet to realize its obligations toward minorities.

India’s progress will be greatly hindered unless the federal government as well as the majority community assure minorities that their honor, liberty, and rights will be fully protected.

In a diverse country, it is not only for the majority community to approve laws, but the minority community should also feel that constitutional amendments and laws will bring peace, security, and honor to them as well.

The Citizenship Amendment Bill (CAB), which has been ratified by the Lower House of the Indian Parliament (Lok Sabha), but has yet to be ratified by the Upper House of the Parliament (Rajya Sabha), brings to the fore forces of fundamentalism with unabated vigor.

The CAB seeks to give citizenship to only non-Muslim religious minorities from Pakistan, Bangladesh, and Afghanistan, who are supposedly fleeing persecution. It does not accord the same privilege to Muslim minorities, who might be fleeing religious persecution as well.

In effect, the Citizenship Amendment Bill flouts the principle of secularism and rights relating to life, liberty, and freedom of expression guaranteed by the Constitution for non-Muslims and Muslims alike.

In the aftermath of Independence and Partition in 1947, administrative decrees exacerbated the religious divide. For instance, in September 1947, the government of India established the Military Evacuation Organization to get Hindus and Sikhs out of Pakistan in an organized and efficient fashion. This severance politicized not just religious identities but linguistic identities as well.

As Chandra Chatterjee points out in Surviving Colonialism (2002), “Democracy is India is itself protest-ridden. Ethnic and religious minorities protest against the singular definition of ‘nation.’ The politically marginalized groups protest against inadequate representation in government policies” (7-8).For instance, in both Kashmir and Tamil Nadu the issue of a separate identity to counter internal authoritarianism has resurfaced in contemporary times with an unparalleled ferocity.

In 2019, Prime Minister Modi’s government is deliberately fostering religious and cultural differences in its efforts to create homogeneous subjects of state.

The politics practiced by the BJP, which necessitates a rejection of pluralism and a rich cultural heritage, needs to be challenged. The diversity of India is in danger of being neutralized within a nationalist polity that destroys the nuances woven by religious, cultural, and linguistic differences.

 

More articles by:

Nyla Ali Khan is the author of Fiction of Nationality in an Era of Transnationalism, Islam, Women, and Violence in Kashmir, The Life of a Kashmiri Woman, and the editor of The Parchment of Kashmir. Nyla Ali Khan has also served as an guest editor working on articles from the Jammu and Kashmir region for Oxford University Press (New York), helping to identify, commission, and review articles. She can be reached at nylakhan@aol.com.

bernie-the-sandernistas-cover-344x550
February 24, 2020
Peter Harrison
Is It as Impossible to Build Jerusalem as It is to Escape Babylon?
Weekend Edition
February 21, 2020
Friday - Sunday
Anthony DiMaggio
Election Con 2020: Exposing Trump’s Deception on the Opioid Epidemic
Joshua Frank
Bloomberg is a Climate Change Con Man
Jeffrey St. Clair
Roaming Charges: Billion Dollar Babies
Paul Street
More Real-Time Reflections from Your Friendly South Loop Marxist
Jonathan Latham
Extensive Chemical Safety Fraud Uncovered at German Testing Laboratory
Ramzy Baroud
‘The Donald Trump I know’: Abbas’ UN Speech and the Breakdown of Palestinian Politics
Martha Rosenberg
A Trump Sentence Commutation Attorneys Generals Liked
Ted Rall
Bernie Should Own the Socialist Label
Louis Proyect
Encountering Malcolm X
Kathleen Wallace
The Debate Question That Really Mattered
Jonathan Cook
UN List of Firms Aiding Israel’s Settlements was Dead on Arrival
George Wuerthner
‘Extremists,’ Not Collaborators, Have Kept Wilderness Whole
Colin Todhunter
Apocalypse Now! Insects, Pesticide and a Public Health Crisis  
Stephen Reyna
A Paradoxical Colonel: He Doesn’t Know What He is Talking About, Because He Knows What He is Talking About.
Evaggelos Vallianatos
A New Solar Power Deal From California
Richard Moser
One Winning Way to Build the Peace Movement and One Losing Way
Laiken Jordahl
Trump’s Wall is Destroying the Environment We Worked to Protect
Walden Bello
Duterte Does the Right Thing for a Change
Jefferson Morley
On JFK, Tulsi Gabbard Keeps Very Respectable Company
Vijay Prashad
Standing Up for Left Literature: In India, It Can Cost You Your Life
Gary Leupp
Bloomberg Versus Bernie: The Upcoming Battle?
Ron Jacobs
The Young Lords: Luchadores Para La Gente
Richard Klin
Loss Leaders
Gaither Stewart
Roma: How Romans Differ From Europeans
Kerron Ó Luain
The Soviet Century
Mike Garrity
We Can Fireproof Homes But Not Forests
Fred Baumgarten
Gaslighting Bernie and His Supporters
Joseph Essertier
Our First Amendment or Our Empire, But Not Both
Peter Linebaugh
A Story for the Anthropocene
Danny Sjursen
Where Have You Gone Smedley Butler?
Jill Richardson
A Broken Promise to Teachers and Nonprofit Workers
Binoy Kampmark
“Leave Our Bloke Alone”: A Little Mission for Julian Assange
Wade Sikorski
Oil or Food? Notes From a Farmer Who Doesn’t Think Pipelines are Worth It
Christopher Brauchli
The Politics of Vengeance
Hilary Moore – James Tracy
No Fascist USA! Lessons From a History of Anti-Klan Organizing
Linn Washington Jr.
Ridiculing MLK’s Historic Garden State ‘Firsts’
L. Michael Hager
Evaluating the Democratic Candidates: the Importance of Integrity
Jim Goodman
Bloomberg Won’t, as They Say, Play Well in Peoria, But Then Neither Should Trump
Olivia Alperstein
We Need to Treat Nuclear War Like the Emergency It Is
Jesse Jackson
Kerner Report Set Standard for What a Serious Presidential Candidate Should Champion
ADRIAN KUZMINSKI
Home Sweet Home: District Campaign Financing
Kollibri terre Sonnenblume
The Latest BLM Hoodwinkery: “Fuel Breaks” in the Great Basin
Wendell Griffen
Grace and Gullibility
Nicky Reid
Hillary, Donald & Bernie: Three Who Would Make a Catastrophe
FacebookTwitterRedditEmail