Skip to main content

Modi's silence on attack on secular liberals "ominous", India turning into Hindu Pakistan: New York Times

Kalburgi
By Our Representative
In a hard-hitting opinion piece following Prime Minister Narendra Modi's return from the US, "The New York Times" (NYT) has termed Modi's silence on recent killings of some well-known activists and experts in India as "ominous". Titled "India’s Attack on Free Speech" and authored by Sonia Faleiro, based in London, the article says, "In today’s India, secular liberals face a challenge: how to stay alive."
Author of “Beautiful Thing: Inside the Secret World of Bombay’s Dance Bars” and co-founder of the writers’ cooperative Deca, Faleiro gives several examples of killings which recently took place, especially focussing on the murder of 77-year-old scholar MM Kalburgi, an outspoken critic of Hindu idol worship, who was gunned down on his own doorstep.
"The murders in India share striking similarities with the killings of four Bangladeshi bloggers this year", the NYT says, adding, "But while there was a global outcry over what happened in Bangladesh, India is hiding behind its patina of legitimacy granted by being the world’s largest democracy."
"Like the murdered bloggers, the Indian victims held liberal views but were not famous or powerful. Kalburgi had publicly expressed skepticism toward idol worship in Hinduism, but he didn’t pose a threat to anyone", the writer says.
The NYT article says, the message is loud and clear: "Secular voices are being censored and others will follow." Not sparing the previous UPA government by saying that there were "episodic attacks on free speech in India" earlier too, the NYT believes, "This time feels different. The harassment is front-page news, but the government refuses to acknowledge it."
It underlines, "Indeed, Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s silence is being interpreted by many people as tacit approval, given that the attacks have gained momentum since he took office in 2014 and are linked to Hindutva groups whose far-right ideology he shares."
Pointing fingers at Modi, the NYT says, "Earlier this month, a leader of the Sri Ram Sene, a Hindu extremist group with a history of violence including raiding pubs and beating women they find inside, ratcheted up the tensions. He warned that writers who insulted Hindu gods were in danger of having their tongues sliced off. For those who don’t support the ultimate goal of these extremists — a Hindu nation — Modi’s silence is ominous."
Insisting that it it sime one worried about "what’s happening in India, and recognize that it could go the way of the very neighbors it criticizes", the NYT quotes Nikhil Wagle, prominent liberal journalist and rationalist based in Mumbai, who said, 'Without secularism, India is a Hindu Pakistan'.”
Coming down heavily on the authorities for dealing with each of the killings no a "case-by-case basis", the article says, "The overarching attack on free speech has not been addressed. The threats and killings have created an atmosphere of self-censorship and fear."
"Some of the killers are still on the loose, and while in one hand they wield a gun, in the other they wave a list", it says, adding, on September 20, Wagle himself learned from a source that intercepted phone calls had "revealed that members of yet another right-wing Hindu group, Sanatan Sanstha, had marked him as their next victim."
"The extremists who celebrated the August murder of Kalburgi were more direct: They used Twitter to warn KS Bhagwan, a retired university professor who is critical of the Hindu caste system, that he would be next", the writer underlines.
"The goal of transforming India from a secular state to a Hindu nation, which seems to be behind the murders, is abetted not just by the silence of politicians, but also by the Hindu nationalist policies of the ruling BJP", the writer says, adding, all this has accompanied with the way in which, over the past few months, the "government has purged secular voices from high-profile institutions including the National Book Trust and the independent board of Nalanda University." "The government is not replacing mediocre individuals: The chancellor of Nalanda was the Nobel laureate Amartya Sen. It is replacing luminaries with people whose greatest qualification is faith in Hindutva ideology. The new appointees are rejecting scientific thought in favor of religious ideas that have no place in secular institutions", the article comments.
Pointing out that one of the government’s chief targets is the legacy of India’s first prime minister, Jawaharlal Nehru, who laid the foundation for a secular nation, the article recalls how "last month, having nudged out the director of the Nehru Museum and Library in New Delhi, the government announced plans to rename the museum and change its focus to highlight the achievements of Modi. This is akin to repurposing the Washington Monument as an Obama museum."

Comments

Unknown said…
THIS IS ABSOLUTELY CRAP NEWS...NYTIMES STOP BEING A PRESSTITUTE! IN INDIA WHEN CONGRESS WAS IN POWER M F HUSSEIN HAD TO LEAVE INDIA BECAUSE OF THE NAKED DEAWING HE DREW OF HINDU DEITY...WHY YOU WANT TO BLAME MODI FOR THESE INCIDENTS? ARE YOU GETTING MONEY FROM INDIAN NATIONAL CONGRESS PARTY? STOP BEING BIASED. MODI HAS NOTHING TO DO WHTH ANY OF THOSE INCIDENTS..HE NEVER SPEAK ON THE ISSUES THAT INDIAN POLITICAL PARTIES ARE CUNNINGLY FORCING TO DRAG HIM INTO COMMUNAL CONTROVERSIES... ITS BEEN HAPPENING SINCE LAST 12+ YEARS WITH THE SUPPORT OF AMERICAN MEDIA & US GOVT! STOP THIS NONSENSE!

TRENDING

Nobel laureates join international figures, seek release of Bhima Koregaon accused activists

Nobel laureates Olga Tokarczuk,  Wole Soyinka Counterview Desk  As many as 57 top international personalities, including Nobel laureates, academics, human rights defenders, lawyers cultural personalities, and members of Parliament of European countries, have urged the Prime Minister and the Chief Justice of India to ensure immediate release of human rights defenders in India “into safe conditions”.

Buddhist shrines massively destroyed by Brahmanical rulers in "pre-Islamic" era: Historian DN Jha's survey

Nalanda mahavihara By Our Representative Prominent historian DN Jha, an expert in India's ancient and medieval past, in his new book , "Against the Grain: Notes on Identity, Intolerance and History", in a sharp critique of "Hindutva ideologues", who look at the ancient period of Indian history as "a golden age marked by social harmony, devoid of any religious violence", has said, "Demolition and desecration of rival religious establishments, and the appropriation of their idols, was not uncommon in India before the advent of Islam".

Swami Vivekananda's views on caste and sexuality were 'painfully' regressive

By Bhaskar Sur* Swami Vivekananda now belongs more to the modern Hindu mythology than reality. It makes a daunting job to discover the real human being who knew unemployment, humiliation of losing a teaching job for 'incompetence', longed in vain for the bliss of a happy conjugal life only to suffer the consequent frustration.

Russia, China to call the shots in Middle East, as Muslim nations turn into house of cards

By Haider Abbas* Only a naive would buy that the ‘situation of ceasefire’ between the State of Israel and Hamas would continue, as if the foiled attempt to demolish Al Aqsa this time, is not be repeated, if not in any near future then in sometime to come. Israel already has spurned the ‘ceasefire’ by storming Al Aqsa after the Friday prayers on May 21.

Collapse of healthcare system? Why 90% of Covid patients treated at home survived

By Bobby Ramakant, Sandeep Pandey* Well known Hindustani classical singer Padma Vibhu shan Channulal Mishra, chosen as one of the proposers of Narendra Modi in Lok Sabha elections, lost his wife and elder daughter to Covid in private hospitals in Varanasi. Younger daughter has accused Medwin Hospital of charging Rs 1.5 lakh for treatement of her sister and not being able to explain the cause of death. Pandit Channulal Mishra has asked for a probe into his daughter’s death from the Chief Minister. The family has also asked for the CCTV footage of the ward where deceased daughter was admitted for a week.

Hunger, lack of food security behind India's 'slip' in UN's sustainable development rank

By Dr Gian Singh*  According to a report released by the United Nations on June 6, 2021, India's ranking of achieving Sustainable Development based on the 17 Social Development Goals (SDGs) set by the 193 countries in the 2003 agenda, which was 115th last year, has slipped to 117th position this year. India ranks not only the lowest among the BRICS countries -- Brazil, the Russian Federation, India, China, and South Africa but also below the four South Asian countries -- Bhutan, Sri Lanka, Nepal, and Bangladesh.

Modi-led regime 'contributed' 60% to rise of global poverty, yet Hindutva is intact

By Bhabani Shankar Nayak* In recent years, the Hindutva politics has caused long term damage to India and Indians. The so called 56-inch macho PM, the propaganda master manufactures and survives all political crisis including the current mismanagement of the Coronavirus pandemic in India. In spite of deaths and destitutions, the social, cultural, economic and religious base of Hindutva is intact.

Rooted in mistrust? Covid-19’s march into rural India is a very different ball game

By Sudhir Katiyar* As the Covid-19 virus penetrates rural India, the rural communities are responding very differently from their urban counterparts who rushed to the hospitals. The rural communities are avoiding the public health facilities and any mention of the disease. The note argues that this supposedly irrational response is based on a deep-seated mistrust of the state by the rural communities. It can not be resolved with routine Information, Education and Communication (IEC) measures suggested in the Government of India SOP for tackling Covid-19 in rural areas.

Courageous, in-depth attempt to confirm common spiritual values of Christ, Buddha

By RB Sreekumar, IPS*  All religions, both theistic and atheistic designed conceptual and practical architecture, for holistic and comprehensive elevation and enlightenment of humanity. PK Vijayan, in his novel “Nirvana of Jesus Christ” (Notion Press, 2020) through creative imagination portrayed personality evolution of the two progenitors of God-centric and sagaciously logical major religions – Jesus Christ of Christianity and Gautama Buddha of Buddhism.

Why hasn't Govt of India responded to US critique of freedom of religion under Modi?

By Fr Cedric Prakash SJ* About two weeks ago, on May 12, 2021, the US Secretary of State Antony J Blinken released in Washington the ‘2020 International Religious Freedom Report.’ This official annual report of the US Government details the status of religious freedom in nearly 200 foreign countries and territories and describes US actions to support religious freedom worldwide. Mandated by the International Religious Freedom Act of 1998, this report highlights the fact that ‘religious freedom is both a core American value and a universal human right’.