What lies on the other side of ‘Amrit Kaal’?

All Indians besotted with the idea of a Hindu Rashtra must ask themselves if that is all they need or want of this government

The end-state of Hindutva is not concerned with either nation or Hindus, it is preoccupied with what can be done to minorities.
The end-state of Hindutva is not concerned with either nation or Hindus, it is preoccupied with what can be done to minorities.

Aakar Patel

Ideologies usually have an end-state or a desired place they want to arrive at. Marxists think the State will vanish and the community will replace it.

In South Asia, an attempt was made to align mankind spiritually to modernity through the State. This is what Liaquat Ali Khan, the first prime minister of Pakistan, said was the purpose of introducing religion into the constitution and making God sovereign instead of parliament.

The experiment did not succeed because there was no obvious path to the final destination, which in this case was a Pakistani both spiritually superior and scientifically modern.

In Europe, the focus of government is on creating welfare States, where the population is given access to quality healthcare, education and pensions and the poor and unemployed are taken care of. This in itself is the end-state these nations seek to achieve.

Many of them have given up the idea of military greatness and they do not chase the dominance of any religion. Often large numbers of their voters are inclined towards diversity and we can see that in the Europe of our time. Today the elected leaders of the United Kingdom (a Hindu of Indian origin), Scotland (a Muslim of Pakistani origin), Ireland (a Christian of Indian origin) and Portugal (a Christian of Indian origin) show us that.

We take pride in this, but if we looked at it from the perspective of the European voters, we would be baffled. It is unthinkable to us in the India of 2023 that the majority of us would elect an ethnic Indian minority as our popular leader. But much of the rest of the world is modern in the real sense and does not vote on confessional lines alone.

To repeat, these desi leaders in Europe are popular with voters despite, and to some extent even because they are from another community, another race. Perhaps it is this religious/ ethnic difference that is key because for many voters in these countries diversity is not just important but attractive, it is something to aspire to.


Let us now turn to the ‘mother of democracy’. To the outsider, India’s politics is vibrant but tribal in nature. There is strong group loyalty and suspicion and often outright hatred of the other community. This instinct is visceral and primitive and exists in all cultures and nations, but modern nations are able to grow out of it. In primitive societies, it remains. In some of the more backward ones, this instinct is often quickened.

Tribalism has always defined Indian democracy through caste or jati, which is the way in which ticket distribution was done and continues to be done. The creation of linguistic states, which was a wise move, meant that linguistic group loyalty became neutralised as a political tool, except when conflict was deliberately created, through imposition.

The rise and dominance of Hindutva has reintroduced to Indian democracy religious tribalism. Reintroduced because it existed before Partition and was at the root of division. Jinnah’s complaint against Gandhi was that he only had one vote for every three of Gandhi’s and the assumption, which was correct, was that all votes would be cast for religion and not policy.

Post-Partition politics in India remained communal and the marginalisation and exclusion of minorities was as real as it is today, but the language of the State, meaning the Congress governments under Nehru and Indira, was inclusive. Because of this, social divisions were not exacerbated though they existed.

Hindutva has changed that and Indians have been divided along religious lines by the State and its policies, its language and its behaviour. We have to consider what that means for India. Our end-state is different from that of Nepal, which was the only Hindu Rashtra of modern times.

Nepal was ruled by a kshatriya king as prescribed by Manusmriti, but in other ways it was not especially different. Hindu Nepal did not have a focus on minorities and on persecution as New India does. The end-state of Hindutva is not concerned with either nation or Hindus, as such, it is preoccupied with what can be done to minorities.

The Hindutva State has introduced discriminatory and exclusionary laws and policies on citizenship, food, divorce, marriage, segregation, prayer and clothing. Existing laws already targeting minorities have been tightened. Indians are doing in India the opposite of what voters in those European nations have done with Indian-origin leaders.

This persecution of other Indians has some utility because otherwise it would not be popular and these benefits are likely satisfaction and contentment at putting others through misery. However it is hard to understand how this benefits the nation and particularly how it improves India's future.

It is a question that his supporters must ask of the prime minister. It may be enjoyable for them to pass through this phase of going after other Indians. But once this has been achieved to their satisfaction, then what?

The answer is known to those who oppose persecution, because it is clear to them that after this will come be more of the same. But it will be good to hear it from people who are driving New India deep into this ‘Amrit Kaal’.

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