Hindutva-fuelled hate is tearing India internally apart again, just as it did in 1947. Though a Muslim actor not being allowed to take part in a play may seem like a small issue, India’s film and entertainment industry is a massive undertaking, and a key source of economic growth. Bollywood culture permeates all classes and all states, and if there is a problem here, it is safe to say that the problem is national one.

After banning Pakistani artistes in India, Muslim actor Nawazuddin Siddiqui faced the brunt of Shiv Sena’s outrage when forced to leave a play in his hometown village minutes before his performance. Banning Pakistani artistes is one thing, a nationalist reaction, but banning Indian citizens because they are Muslim is quite another and will allow religious strife to widen. While Siddiqui is a known face and his story can make it to the headlines, there will be many Muslims of poorer socio-economic classes that are being discriminated against and persecuted in other Muslim states and in other fields.

PM Modi’s election has set the ball in motion and if he does not reel in thugs like the RSS and Shiv Sena, Hindu-centricism will inevitably create a fascist state to cleanse itself of Muslims. While many Indian pundits over the years have denied the need for a separate homeland for Muslims that found its realisation in Pakistan, what is happening today in India in general and in Kashmir in particular, just goes on to affirm the truth of Two-Nation Theory and the undeniable need for Pakistan.

While it can be accepted that people of religious minorities playing roles of revered Hindu gods may have hurt the Shiv Sena’s sensibilities, however, there have been countless Muslim actors who have played the roles of Hindu mythological gods and heroes for decades. This stand by the Shiv Sena creates precedent for the further alienation of Muslims actors, as well as communal division.

The sad part is that this conflict will not remain in India. The anger is being exported to Kashmir, and to Pakistan via Kashmir. It’s as if Indian conservatives are still so upset over the events of nearly 70 years ago, that they are willing to alienate their own citizens, and fight with and over Kashmir till there are no Kahmiris left. It is an escalating situation and an important one to be noted by the international community that has been punishing Pakistan for suffering from the scourge of terrorism while being blind to terrorism on the other side.