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A map that threatened South Asia



Islamabad (Imran Y. CHOUDHRY) :- Former Press Secretary to the President, Former Press Minister to the Embassy of Pakistan to France, Former MD, SRBC Mr. Qamar Bashir analysis :
While inaugurating the new parliament building on 26 May 2023, Modi unveiled a mural depicting Akhund Baharat, a pillar of Hindutva philosophy. This peculiar mural reflected the desire and intent of the BJP to recreate the ancient Mauryan Empire built by King Ashoka by imposing BJP’s poisonous rule over the same regions that were governed by Ashoka thousands of years ago. This encompasses the contemporary nations of Nepal, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Afghanistan, Myanmar, Sri Lanka, and the Maldives. In spite of India’s assertion that the map depicted ancient history and not contemporary politics, it sparked a dangerous and damaging diplomatic dispute in the region.
In 1923, Vinayak Damodar Savarkar formulated Hindutva, a poisonous ideology that encompasses the cultural justification of Hindu nationalism. The Sangh Parivar consists of the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS), the Vishva Hindu Parishad (VHP), the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), and other organizations. The Hindutva movement is a form of right-wing extremism that adheres to a concept of homogenized majority and cultural hegemony and has been described as “fascist in the classical sense.” Some have also characterized Hindutva as a separatist ideology that fosters religious intolerance and imposes Hindu hegemony on India. Being fascist in nature, it is primarily based on the following five tenets: India is a Hindu nation; all Indians, regardless of their religious beliefs, are Hindus; Hinduism is a superior civilization; other religions, such as Islam and Christianity, are foreign and harmful to India; and Hindus must unite to protect their culture and traditions.
This puritanic philosophy is like racist philosophy of Nazi Germany which in its attempt to purify Germany from racial impurities systematically killed 5 to 6 million Jews during World War II about two-thirds of the Jewish population of Europe and killed between 50 and 85 million people of many nationality both military and civilian. Later this demon of racial superiority killed its own creator, inflicted humiliating defeat to the entire German nation and divided Germany into two blocks and separated them socially, politically, financially and economically for 41 years. India, if not set its course right, it is argued, will face the same fate.
The ideologies of both Nazism and Hindutva are based on the superiority of the race and the religion, and both emphasize the significance of national identity and cultural integrity. They both promote the notion that their respective nations are superior and regard other cultures as a threat. Hindutva is even more pernicious because it is based on religion rather than racism, as Germany was able to rid itself of the curse of racism after a crushing defeat, but religious beliefs are never eradicated because they provide a sense of community and belonging; people who share the same religious beliefs often feel a strong sense of connection with each other, which can make them resistant to changing their religious beliefs. In contrast, racial beliefs do not always foster the same sense of community. Many religious beliefs contain a strong moral component that adherents believe is always correct, making them resistant to altering their religious beliefs, even when confronted with evidence to the contrary. Religious beliefs are revered and should never be questioned. They may become quiescent for a time but will reappear when fertile soil is provided. The BJP has made this fertile territory available to the Hindus of India. They have radicalized all Hindus through the poison of religious superiority and purity, which is rapidly expanding throughout India’s entire social and political fabric. History demonstrates that the philosophy of religious purity has caused countless wars and inflicted unimaginable suffering on humanity. During the Crusades, 1.7 million people perished despite the world’s population being only 300 million at the time. During the inquisition in European history, the Catholic Church persecuted and executed over a million individuals suspected of heresy. Hutu extremists murdered approximately 800,000 Tutsis and moderate Hutus in Rwanda.
Researchers are baffled as to why Modi depicted Ashoka’s map, given that Ashoka and Modi are polar opposites. Ashoka was a Buddhist king who adhered to the tenets of nonviolence and compassion. His decrees emphasized the importance of tolerance, understanding, and respect for all individuals, regardless of religion or social standing. Modi, on the other hand, is a Hindu nationalist infamous for his sacrilegious policies against religious minorities, encouraging and protecting the mob to inflict inhuman violence on religious minorities by torching their places of worship, destroying their homes, and killing the adults who were sometimes the only breadwinners in the family. Muslims, India’s greatest religious minority, are the most affected. In recent years, they have been the target of numerous violent assaults. Since the founding of India, more than 150,000 religious minorities have been killed in riots and premeditated attacks. For instance At least 400 incidents of violence against Muslims, including mob lynchings, rapes, and homicides, were reported in 2022 alone. Ashoka believed in opportunity equality, but under Modi’s autocratic rules, minorities confront employment and education discrimination. Dalits (the lowest caste in the Hindu hierarchy) are less likely to be employed than non-Dalits, and they are more likely to be employed in low-paying professions, according to a 2021 study by the Indian Institute of Dalit Studies.
India’s domestic organizations and international human rights organizations, such as Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch, have taken notice of and condemned this offense against humanity. The US Commission on International Religious Freedom categorized India as a Tier-2 persecutor of religious minorities. In a 2018 report, USCIRF accused Hindu nationalist groups of using violence, intimidation, and harassment against non-Hindus as part of a campaign to “Saffronize” India. A third of state governments enforced anti-conversion and/or anti-cow slaughter laws against non-Hindus, and rioters engaged in violence against Muslims whose families have been involved in the dairy, leather, or beef trades for generations and against Christians for proselytizing.
The BJP is replicating what Hitler did to Nazi Germany. It has been injecting the poisonous Hindutva and Akhund Bharat philosophies, which have now attained the status of a cult in which adherents are willing to be slain or kill members of other religions. After the publication of the map, India has shown a malicious intent to export this philosophy of hatred to the neighboring countries, putting the peace in the region and the world in grave danger and provoking a severe response from the affected nations and the international community.
China’s foreign ministry stated, “China is gravely concerned by India’s recent release of a map that violates the status quo and threatens China’s sovereignty and territorial integrity.” – . Pakistan stated, “India’s map is an egregious violation of our territorial integrity and sovereignty.” We strongly condemn this action and demand India withdraw it immediately.” The foreign ministry of Bangladesh stated that the map “seriously violates” Bangladesh’s sovereignty and territorial integrity, and that it represents “a deliberate attempt to undermine Bangladesh’s legitimate interests.”Nepal’s reaction was the most severe. In response, Nepal proclaimed a new ‘Greater Nepal’ that encompasses significant portions of India, including the strip of land connecting the north-eastern states to the rest of the country.The Kathmandu Post newspaper quoted former Nepalese Prime Minister KP Sharma Oli as saying, “It cannot be called fair if a country like India, which sees itself as an ancient and powerful country and a model of democracy, includes Nepali territories on its map and hangs the map in parliament.”
There were reactions from other countries and the international community as well. The United States expressed concern about the map, saying that it “could raise tensions in the region.” The European Union said it “could have a negative impact on regional stability. A UN spokesperson said that the organization was “aware of the concerns” that had been raised and that it was “monitoring the situation.” The U.S.-based non-profit Freedom House downgraded India’s democracy from “free” to “partially free,” while the Sweden-based V-Dem Institute has called India an “electoral autocracy.” India’s position has also slipped on the Democracy Index published by The Economist Intelligence Unit.
Not only neighboring countries and the international community protested but also the nineteen opposition parties of India but on a different note. A joint statement issued by them on 23rd, May, 2023, stated that Modi’s decision to “inaugurate the new parliament building by himself” was “not only a grave insult but a direct assault on our democracy which demands a commensurate response.” The parties collectively boycotted the event, adding that “the soul of democracy has been sucked out from the parliament.”
In recent years, the rise of Hindutva has been a significant factor in India’s political polarization. In addition, it has led to an increase in communal violence and discrimination against minorities. It will continue to gain popularity under Modi, resulting in increased political polarization and violence. Previously, it was confined to India, but India is now poised to spread it to its neighbors. It has neither the capability nor the capacity to treat its neighbors like the Nazi Germany had and it did to its neighbors, and if it attempts to do so, it will suffer the same fate as Nazi Germany. According to history, the demon of religious superiority and sanctity always consumes its creator.

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