Indian diaspora’s communal behaviour under right-wing influence diminish nation's stature
Hindu-Muslim clashes in the UK and the participation of a bulldozer bearing the images of PM Narendra Modi and Yogi Adityanath in a procession in the US have alarmed secular-minded sections of society
Much to India’s disgrace, the politics of hate and communal divisiveness promoted by the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) and the Narendra Modi government is now manifesting itself on foreign soil through public actions by their supporters.
On September 17, Hindu extremists wearing face masks and hoods pulled up terrorised Muslim residents in Leicester, UK, leading to clashes between the two communities. The disturbances first began last month after an India and Pakistan cricket match, as per the local police. On August 28, fans from Hindu and Muslim communities reportedly clashed after India secured a win against Pakistan in the Asia Cup T20 tournament in Dubai.
Trouble flared up on September 17 after an ‘unplanned protest’ was taken out in Leicester. According to a report in the English media, a group of Hindu men were filmed marching through the city’s Green Lane Road, which has many Muslim-owned businesses and a Hindu temple, loudly chanting ‘Jai Shri Ram’. “They were just everywhere, it was like crowds walking away from a football match,” a woman was quoted as saying.
In New Jersey, USA, a huge controversy had erupted after a bulldozer adorned with photographs of PM Narendra Modi and UP CM Yogi Adityanath appeared as a float in a Independence Day rally held by local Hindus on August 14.
Over the last few months, BJP state governments in Uttar Pradesh Gujarat and Madhya Pradesh and civic bodies run by the party in Delhi, have conducted several demolition drives in the name of removing encroachments. Most of these drives were targeted at properties owned by Muslims.
Human rights groups said they were deeply disturbed by the symbolism.
The two incidents show that that the cocktail of hate and bigotry is as lethal and prevalent abroad as it has been in India, and that the right-wing forces have achieved some degree of success in injecting the communal virus into the diaspora for their narrow political gains.
These people are not as affected by the adverse socio-economic conditions as those in India, where the common man now finds earning means for two square meals a day difficult. They migrated to the foreign countries in search of greener pastures, and lie relatively comfortable lives. It is surprising, then, that they fall prey to such regressive political beliefs.
The intensity of Islamophobia among the Indian diaspora was remarkable from the initiative to finance the election campaign of Donald Trump in 2016, and celebrations by fringe Hindu extremist groups in India when he, as US President, announced anti-Muslim immigration restrictions in the country.
In the UK too, they celebrated the triumph of Liz Truss over Rishi Sunak in the prime ministerial election held recently.
What is worrisome is that such developments have been taking place coinciding with the emergence of the Rightist politics in many nations across the globe, under whose impact we are witnessing a growing pattern of intolerance and polarisation.
It is a well-known fact that the RSS survives on feeding misinformation. Obviously, this played a major role in wafting the communal flames in Leicester. They have been using such tactics in India ever since the Modi government came to power.
The Leicester violence has shocked the locals, who say that it was always a peaceful town, where Hindus and Muslims lived side by side.
NRIs and PIOs have long been fertile ground for the Sangh's divisive ideology. Lately, they seem to have been greatly influenced by Modi’s propaganda, which explains the use of the ‘Jai Sri Ram’ chants in Leicester.
There are apprehensions among secular Indians living in the United Kingdom that this may only be the beginning of a wave of tension and violence in other parts of the country due to boorish behaviour by Hindutva goons.
Views are personal
Published: 28 Sep 2022, 9:00 PM