‘Those who fail to learn from history are condemned to repeat it.’

–Winston Churchill

 

Hyper-nationalistic, authoritarian, xenophobic, warmongering, racially discriminatory, and policies based on majoritarianism are some of the characteristics used to describe Nazi-Germany under Adolf Hitler. Coincidentally, they are also the terms which can be used to define today’s India, under Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

The 2019 elections in India garnered the Bhartiya Janata Party (BJP) under Modi, a second consecutive term in office. A feature which occurred after 35 years in the Indian political arena. This thumping victory cemented Narenda Modi and BJP’s message of Hindu nationalism, and made it clear that their message of ‘Hindutva’ resonates with todays’ India, now more than ever. Hindutva is defined as an ideology “seeking to establish the hegemony of Hindus and the Hindu way of life.” The Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) which until now was an extremist nationalist organization of the periphery, is now in total control of its political wing i.e. the ruling BJP. Consequently, PM Modi’s Hindutva policies are reflective of Sangh’s ideology since he has been a longtime member of the RSS.

Violent tactics and a particular language of discrimination used by Modi’s government, has already begun to draw parallels in academic circles. These tactics include propaganda, dissemination of fake messages on social media, and a negative portrayal of Muslims in mainstream media. The dehumanization of Muslims taking place in India today, is systematic and troublesome, and warns of greater violence in the months and years to come. It needs to be remembered that the holocaust did not occur in a day, it took years of strategy. The four-pronged strategy comprised of: Promoting prejudice, censuring one community, discrimination, and prosecution. All of these are being employed by the BJP government against Muslims in India in general, and the Occupied Kashmir in specific.

The unilateral Indian decision to revoke the special constitutional status of Indian-Occupied Jammu and Kashmir, and downgrade it into a union territory, are part of a series of steps taken by the rightwing BJP towards a systematic extermination of Muslims from ‘Hindu’ India. Whether it is cow vigilantism, mob lynching, or stripping of about 1.9 million people from citizenship (majority of whom are Muslims) in the Northeastern state of Assam, and terming them as “termites” and “foreign infiltrators”, in the garb of National Register of Citizens list. The current Indian Home Minister Amit Shah, while talking about Muslims before the elections called for the ejection of “termites” and said that it would “run a countrywide campaign to send back the infiltrators”. In January 2019, the Lok Sabha (the lower house of Parliament) passed a legislation ‘to grant citizenship to people who moved to India from Bangladesh, Pakistan and Afghanistan as recently as six years ago — as long as they were not Muslims.’

As the Indian-Occupied Kashmir has crossed a month of complete shutdown, it is fair to say that the valley is the largest concentration camp to exist in the world today. More than seven million Kashmiri Muslims have been virtually cut-off from the world since fourth August. Due to constant curfew and restriction of movement, hospitals in occupied Kashmir have run short of supplies. Over the years, Indian forces have been indiscriminately beating and maiming Kashmiri youth, leading Kashmiris to say, “don’t beat us, just shoot us,” as reported by the BBC.

History is once again repeating itself in the racist India. It is no secret that the RSS-led BJP’s nationalist government wants to erase the historic identity of Kashmiris and Muslims. New Delhi believes it can get away with systematic extermination of Muslims, due to the global apathy towards this humanitarian crisis. However, it is sorely mistaken. It may have clamped down all communication lines, imposed a curfew, placed additional troops, and cut off the Valley of Kashmir from the rest of the world, but it cannot subdue the spirit and resilience of the people of Kashmir who are overwhelmingly against Indian occupation, and want independence.

The inability of the UN to stop these countries from committing illegal actions not only hampers its credibility but also makes a mockery of the organization’s mission statement to ‘maintain international peace and security.’ It is an opportunity for the UN to reinforce its resolutions pertaining to Kashmir and resolve this dispute once and for all according to the wishes and desires of the Kashmiri people.

The recent statement made by the Organization of Islamic Cooperation’s General Secretariat “reaffirming the United Nations Security Council Resolutions on the internationally recognized status of Jammu and Kashmir dispute and its final disposition through a UN-supervised plebiscite,” is indeed encouraging, but more needs to be done.

The onus lies upon the international community, especially the UN, which was created while the world still reeled from the after-effects of the holocaust and the systematic dehumanization of a religious group. Now, the dangerous mindset in India must be checked before it causes irreversible damage and jeopardizes the lives of 1.5 billion people residing in the region.