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

Prasad Joshi 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

Hindus to be 'sent' to Kashmir? Despite Israeli settlements, peace eludes the region

By Anand K Sahay*
Curfew, news and communications blackout, transportation shut-down... News reports from Kashmir are worrying. So are the views relayed through the media, especially television. Old-fashioned repression seems to be consorting comfortably with expressions of concern “for our Kashmiri brethren”. We are looking at Orwell’s 1984 in the making.

Impact of state repression? Kashmir's 65% people prefer independence: Cambridge study

By Rajiv Shah 
Even as the Government of India’s controversial move to abrogate Article 370 of the Constitution and bifurcate Jammu and Kashmir (J&K) into two union territories is not only refusing to down die but has acquired international dimensions, a recent study, published by the Cambridge University Press, has claimed “pro-independence attitudes” among that 65% of Kashmiris, warning, this sentiment worsens when the state machinery resorts “repressive violence”.

Congress' anti-democratic laws led to Modi govt's 'Constitutional' changes: Scholars

Counterview Desk
A large number of academics* said to be belonging to several Indian and international institutions, even as taking strong exception to the Narendra Modi government's alleged move to amend the Constitution through "illegitimate" means, have taken strong exception to their colleagues in academia who we have become "all too accustomed to adopting a calculated silence in the face of such indignities."

Dholera 'inundated': Gujarat govt tries selling low lying area as top smart city site

Counterview Desk
Even as the Dholera Special Investment Region Regional Development Authority (DSIRDA) of the Gujarat government was busy organising a junket for Gujarat-based journalists for the area sought to be sold as an ideal special investment region (SIR) for industrialists, well-known farmers' activist Sagar Rabari has wondered why no investor has so far agreed to put in money in an area situated in Ahmedabad district along the Gulf of Khambhat.

Kashmir normal? Schoolboys, teenagers being arbitrarily picked up, detained: Report

Counterview Desk
A four-person team, consisting of Jean Dr├Ęze, well-known development economist; Kavita Krishnan, who is with the Communist Party of India (Marxist-Leninist); Maimoona Mollah of the All India Democratic Women's Association (AIDWA); and Vimal Bhai of the National Alliance of People's Movements (NAPM), back from a five-day fact-finding mission (August 9-13) from Kashmir, has said that people they spoke to “expressed their pain, anger, and sense of betrayal against the Government of India.”
In a report, “Kashmir Caged”, released along with a short eight-minute film, they said, the abrogation of Articles 370 and 35A, dissolution of the state of Jammu and Kashmir (J&K), and bifurcating it into two Union Territories, is not being supported by anyone they met, except for BJP spokesperson on Kashmir affairs Ashwani Kumar Chrungoo, who claimed 46% vote share in J&K.
Excerpts from the report: When our flight landed, and the airlines staff announced that passeng…

Modi's Gujarati mind? Why govt move to 'sell-off' defence PSUs isn't in national interest

By Sandeep Pandey*
The Standing Committee on Defence, 2017-18, of the 16th Lok Sabha highlights the idea of Buy Indian-IDDM (Indigenously Designed Developed and Manufactured). The Committee expressed concern over the import content of equipments produced and developed by Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO), Ordnance Factories (OFs) and defence Public Sector Undertakings (PSUs) because of the dependence it creates for military hardware on foreign suppliers.

Central Gujarat effluent channel 'releasing' highly polluted industrial wastewater: PM told

Counterview Desk
Senior environmentalists of the Paryavaran Suraksha Samiti (PSS), Vadodara, Rohit Prajapati and Krishnakant, in an open letter to the Prime Minister, the Gujarat chief minister, the Gujarat chief secretary, and senior Government of India and Gujarat government officials dealing with environment, pollution and climate change have said that the authorities’ response their pleas to take action against the leakages and flow of polluted wastewater from the effluent channels of Central Gujarat industrial areas has met with complete inertia.

Can't go to court with RTI information, rule Ahmedabad authorities: Kankaria accident

By Pankti Jog*
In a shocking reply to an application filed by me, the Ahmedabad Municipal Corporation (AMC) authorities have said that the information provided under the Right to Information (RT) Act should be used in court or in a judicial process. The Act is known to be a major tool that enables citizens to seek certified copies of documents, records from any public authority of state and Central government within 30 days, as per provisions of the Act.

Quit India Movement 'betrayal' and dubious role of Hindu Mahasabha, RSS leaders

By Shamsul Islam*
After the recent guillotine of Article 370, Hindutva ideologue Ram Madhav, while celebrating the occasion stated that it was honouring of the sacrifices of Dr Shyam Prasad Mukherjee and thousands others who laid down their lives for its removal. It is to be noted that Dr Mukherjee was a cadre of RSS and was groomed into a Hindutva leader by another Hindutva icon, VD Savarkar.

Strategy for united struggle against Hindutva 'fascism': Ideological silence is 'no option'

By Dr Bhabani Shankar Nayak*
Electoral alliance and opportunism of national and regional political parties, neoliberal economic marginalisation and soft secular Hindutva line pandering to Hindu majoritarianism laid the foundation of Hindutva fascism in post-colonial India.