November 26, 2002
INDIA ON THE BRINK:The Struggle for India's Soul (Mira Kamdar, Fall 2002, WORLD POLICY JOURNAL)
Until quite recently, I believed my father's hatred of Muslims to be a particular affliction, the result of an attack whose emotional scars go far deeper than the physical ones. I realized in 1992-93, when Hindu-Muslim riots raged throughout India in the wake of the destruction of the Babri Masjid (mosque) in Ayodhya by Hindu militants, that my father's views were, if not a universal plague, at least a widespread distemper.
A decade later in 2002, it has become chillingly clear that Hindu-Muslim conflict in India is no longer-if it ever was-a natural malady, the unfortunate inheritance of an ancient people beset by too much history and too many conquerors: it has become a weapon of political engineering wielded by Hindu militant leaders bent on transforming India from the secular democracy its founders envisioned 55 years ago into a Hindu religious state, sanitized of Muslims and other minority groups. This, grossly stated, is the core ideology of Hindutva: to unify India's Hindus-otherwise divided by caste, class, region, language, and sect-into a dominant political force that can restore modern India to an essentially Hindu past from which it has been severed.
Long and rather depressing look at India's Hindu nationalist movement. Posted by Orrin Judd at November 26, 2002 11:16 PM