September 11, 2023


India's descent into communal hatred (Joseph D'Souza, 11 September 2023, Christianity Today)

The cracks in our pluralistic society spread from hateful, bigoted language spewed by religious leaders, politicians, and even the mainstream media across India. How will we ever return to the India I once knew, where a diverse nation grew in harmony despite cultural, ideological, and religious differences? Is a majoritarian Hindu nation possible without destroying profoundly complex and varied roots in prominent ethnicities and religions?

Religious, political, and caste leaders have engaged in hate speech and persecution for narrow political ends, or revenge for perceived victimhood. How are Indian Muslims of today responsible for the acts of invading Mughal rulers of the past? With this sort of mindset, the next step for India would be protracted caste warfare for reparations due to oppression and exploitation of the Dalits and tribals by the upper castes for centuries. This would certainly not help India mature to its full potential economically and culturally.

The undoing of widespread hatred for minorities and Dalits will take decades and require wise, patriotic leaders who value peace and pluralism. These leaders must find the strength to struggle for one united India, a nation of equal rights for all citizens where the rule of law always prevails over mob mentality.

When officers of the law -- sworn to protect and defend all Indians -- instead participate in hate speech and violence themselves, citizens are left powerless. As bulldozers raze homes and places of worship for minorities, without legal sanction, our hope in the rule of law is lost.

Violent anger is quickly becoming the common currency in civil society. This is true in India and around the globe, as we recently witnessed in the French riots.

We have watched the fallout from this unfold in Manipur, and if the status quo continues, it will happen elsewhere in India. There are two distinct Manipurs now -- one Kuki and one Meitei. Any social union between the two will take decades of diligent peace-making efforts. The terrible suffering that comes from this religious and ethnic divide cannot be ignored.

The call to violence by prominent religious and political leaders -- the ones we should be able to look to in times of turmoil -- must be dealt with quickly. This issue is so severe that the Supreme Court now insists that individual states craft laws for dealing with hate speech.

These developments are deeply frustrating as they come in the wake of precisely the time when India is poised to become a major global economic and scientific power. But this will only happen with social cohesion.

Identity is a cancer.

Posted by at September 11, 2023 12:00 AM