Hindu fundamentalism — you’d think it’d be an oxymoron: “India’s Opposition Leader Sweeps Into Power”

16 May

The news from everywhere just keeps getting worse — more fundamentalists, reactionaries and racist crazies to deal with.

INDIA_ss-slide-2QNG-superJumboPeople took photographs of a map of India with a portrait of Narendra Modi on Friday in Gandhinagar, in the western Indian state of Gujarat. Saurabh Das/Associated Press (click)

From The New York Times:

“Narendra Modi Prevails in Election”

“The elections came during a period of rapid transition in Indian society, as urbanization and economic growth break down generations-old voting patterns. With his conservative ideology and steely style of leadership, Mr. Modi, who came from a humble background and rose through the ranks of a Hindu nationalist group, will prove a stark departure from his predecessors in that office….

“But his reputation also worries many people. He is blamed by many of India’s Muslims for failing to stop bloody religious riots that raged through his home state in 2002, leaving more than 1,000 people dead. Others fear he will try to quash dissent and centralize authority in a capital that has long been dominated by the Indian National Congress and the liberal internationalists who support it.”

“Some Muslims React Warily to Hindu Party’s Victory in India”

NEW DELHI —

“Like real estate agents the world over, Rahul Rewal asks his clients if they have children or pets, since both limit options. But there is another crucial but often unspoken question: Are they Muslim?”

“I tailor the list of places that I show Muslims because many landlords, even in upper-class neighborhoods, will not rent to them,” Mr. Rewal said. “Most don’t even bother hiding their bigotry.”

“Discrimination against Muslims in India is so rampant that many barely muster outrage when telling of the withdrawn apartment offers, job rejections and turned-down loans that are part of living in India for them. As a group, Muslims have fallen badly behind Hindus in recent decades in education, employment and economic status, with persistent discrimination by a Hindu majority a key reason why. Muslims are more likely to live in villages without schools or medical facilities and less likely to qualify for bank loans.

“Now, in the wake of a landslide electoral triumph Friday by India’s Bharatiya Janata Party, a Hindu nationalist party, some Muslims here said they are worried that their place in India could become even more tenuous…”

“But that is exactly why Mr. Modi is such a poor choice as prime minister, said Siddharth Varadarajan, the former editor of The Hindu, a leading Indian newspaper. Many among India’s liberal intelligentsia see Mr. Modi as a threat to India’s secularism, which is enshrined in its Constitution. It is a defining characteristic that distinguishes India from Pakistan and binds a nation of extraordinary diversity.

“Many of the things that are evil about India are not going to find their solution with Mr. Modi,” Mr. Varadarajan said. “If anything, they’ll get worse.'”

Comment: nikobakos@gmail.com

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