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If BJP Comes To Power In 2019, India Will Be Much Worse Than Becoming A Hindu Pakistan

Shashi Tharoor is wrong in saying that India will become a Hindu Pakistan if BJP wins the elections in 2019.

Congress leader Shashi Tharoor recently made a statement that the BJP winning the 2019 Lok Sabha election will lead to India becoming a Hindu Pakistan. For this, he has been severely criticized by the BJP and even the Congress Party has cautioned him to be careful with his words.  Not only this, someone who claims to be the President of Muslim Youth Association but is a regular at RSS shakhas, has announced a reward to blacken Tharoor’s face. It is surprising that this very politically safe and innocuous statement of Tharoor has led to such hue and cry. Tharoor has said what BJP and RSS leaders have been clamoring openly for years. None other than RSS Chief Mohan Bhagwat, the real power behind Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s throne, has been regularly declaring India as ‘Hindu Rashtra’ since 2014. BJP leaders are objecting to Tharoor’s remark, but they follow Bhagwat’s wishes as divine order.

Not only has Tharoor been extremely cautious and diplomatic (as his long diplomatic career taught him to be) when he says India will become a Hindu Pakistan if the BJP retains power in 2019. His version of Hinduism, that he has described in his new book ‘Why I am a Hindu’, is different from Hindutva politics of the Sangh Parivar. By saying that India will be a Hindu Pakistan, he has been rather generous to BJP. It would have been far more appropriate for him to say Hindutva Pakistan rather than Hindu Pakistan.

There is no doubt that since Narendra Modi became Prime Minister of India in 2014, minorities have been living in a very hostile environment. History books are being rewritten and mythology is being projected as scientific achievements. In the name of cow protection, Muslims are being regularly lynched in different parts of India. It has become a crime for Muslim boys to fall in love with Hindu girls. With state support, not only Muslim, other minority communities and even Dalits and other lower castes are also being regularly victimized. It is also true that General Mohammad Zia ul-Haq had taken a series of measures to Islamize Pakistan in the 1970s and Narendra Modi has been consistently and effectively following Zia’s formula in India to create a fiefdom of Hindutva forces in India.

Modi has not only followed Zia in his domestic politics, he has also adopted a Zia-brand of foreign policy to push India into becoming one of America’s poodles. India under Modi has moved away from its post-independence foreign policy paradigm, which was not to entangle itself with any kind of alliances or commitments that would lead it to fight a war for others. Modi, by signing a military logistics agreements in April 2016, has virtually entered into a military alliance with the USA against China. While the rest of the democratic world is trying to avoid Donald Trump, Modi’s invitation to him to be the Chief Guest in 2019 Republic Day exposes India’s growing dependence on the USA, similar to Zia’s Pakistan.

Shashi Tharoor is wrong in saying that India will become a Hindu Pakistan if BJP wins the elections in 2019. It will be much worse, but it will certainly be the end of a secular, progressive, modern, democratic India. No one knows what that will lead to.

The writer is a professor of Peace and Conflict Research at Uppsala University, Sweden.

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