India’s Hijab Ban, Part II: Defining Islamic Identity

In the previous section we explored a general trend in contemporary thinkers who — while recognizing the flaws in the existing democratic-constitutional-secular-liberal regime (the ideal in international politics) — locate these flaws in something external to the regime as a kind of consequence of history. Legal scholar Faizan Mustafa and historian Irfan Habib are two prominent examples from the legal and political theory fields who have strong commitments to secular democratic projects. They view the existing BJP government as simply having violated the basic social-contract which underlies constitutional rule (namely,  adhering to the rule of law). Continue reading India’s Hijab Ban, Part II: Defining Islamic Identity

Should Labour be Chasing Hindu Fascist Votes?

In the most recent local elections in the UK, Labour gained a couple of flagship councils from the Tories, including Wandsworth, which had been in Tory hands since the 1970s (including through the Blair years).  However, it lost two councils it had held for some years to the Tories, namely Croydon in the south and Harrow in the north-west. In Croydon, the Labour council has had to make major public service cuts as a result of a financial crisis; in Harrow, the loss has been attributed to losing the local Indian vote. While this was in part due to a crisis involving bin collection, it was also because the local Hindu community considers the Labour party as patronising and too close to Muslims. Writing in the New Statesman,  Kavya Kaushik, noted that the party loses Asian votes once Asians become wealthier (both in Harrow and in other areas with a large Asian vote such as Southall). As one constituent told Kaushik when campaigning there, “you vote Labour in Southall but then you make money, move to Isleworth and buy a Mercedes” then you vote Tory. (The author calls Pinner “Harrow’s Isleworth,” popular with Harrow Hindus who have “made it,” but Isleworth is in a different borough to Southall.) Continue reading Should Labour be Chasing Hindu Fascist Votes?

Muslim Women vs. the Hindutva Project

eveloped in light of various Dharm Sansads (religious conferences) organized in several Indian cities by Hindu religious leaders, who called upon Hindus to arm themselves for the wholesale massacre of Muslims. This is no recent development: the agenda for genocide has been gaining traction for a long time now. Most people mistakenly believe Hindu nationalism is the sole proprietorship of India’s ruling party, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), and its ideological parent Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS). In reality, however, Islamophobia is embedded within India’s dominant political lingua franca, including the nation’s opposition parties. Hence, it is not surprising that in the latest attack against Muslims (regarding hijab and niqab in colleges and educational institutions) not a single united front of support has emerged from the majority community.  Continue reading Muslim Women vs. the Hindutva Project

Why the Likes of Naseeruddin Shah Are in the Wrong

Muslims under the rule of the Indian state are perhaps facing their worst crisis in the seven decades of the country’s existence. India has not only failed to put an end to massacres of it’s religious minorities, it has doubled down and democratically awarded a pogromist with the most powerful office in the land. Since Prime Minister Narendra Modi took power in the summer of 2014, dozens of Muslim men have been lynched. Laws and policies that threaten the statehood of Muslims have been enacted (National Register of Citizens and Citizenship Amendment Act). In addition, abolition of article 35 (a) has enabled settler-colonialism in the Muslim-majority Kashmir, part of a UN-recognized disputed region. Continue reading Why the Likes of Naseeruddin Shah Are in the Wrong

Will ‘Hindutva’ Only Yield Oppression and Genocide?

India has witnessed another two  murders of Muslim men in a week. Asif Khan, a gym trainer from India’s Haryana state was lynched by a Hindutva mob while returning home after buying medicine. A week later, 17-year-old Mohammad Faisal died in police custody, sustaining heavy injuries after he was arrested for allegedly violating coronavirus restrictions. The incident took place while he was selling vegetables outside his home in the Uttar Pradesh district. These men are some of the hundreds of innocent men lynched or burned to death by a Hindu mob. As a victim of this hate, Faisal is the face of Hindutva state violence on Muslims. These killings have become normalized in a highly radicalized society, which often hails the murderers as “heroes.” [1] Continue reading Will ‘Hindutva’ Only Yield Oppression and Genocide?