Unless you have been living under a rock for the past few years you must be well aware of the ongoing ‘Hindu Rashtra’ propaganda of the current central government in India. The natural consequence of this has been the continuous degradation and vilification of religious minorities in the country. The politicians who spout extreme rhetorics were always glorified, so much so that religious riot monger were garlanded and included in the ruling BJP.
But what has been the election-winning strategy for the ruling party in India has finally backfired, that too on a global scale. The so-called ‘fringe elements’ (previously considered as favorite pets) and spokespersons of the party recently made derogatory comments on Prophet Muhammad during a news channel debate. The uproar of the Indian Muslims over the issue was as usual conveniently ignored by the government.
However, thanks to social media, the news reached everywhere and all the Islamic countries of the world united in their outrage against the issue. The Indian government was left hankering to give explanations that sound hollow to even their ardent followers. The governments of Qatar, Kuwait, Iran, Saudi Arabia, Oman, Afghanistan, and Pakistan described the comments on Prophet Muhammad as “insulting” and in some places, official protests were filed with the Indian Ambassadors. The final recourse left with the Indian government was to suspend the two party members who were at fault.
— Satish Acharya (@satishacharya) June 6, 2022
Naturally, the next steps were also to condemn the actions of Pakistan to have raised the issue of remarks about the Prophet Muhammad to disproportionate levels. But the Indian government very well understands that once an arrow has been shot, it cannot be recalled and has to pull out all firefighting equipment to douse this matter.
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The comments made by the spokesperson of the government reflect the deep religious polarisation that India has been witnessing over the past few years. Hate speech and attacks against Muslims have risen sharply since the BJP came to power in 2014.
The Indian government now stands at a critical point in its relationship with Arab nations. On the one hand, India wants to protect its trade with the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC), which includes Kuwait, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Oman, and the UAE, which stood at $87 billion in 2020-21. Millions of Indians live and work in these countries and send millions of dollars in remittances back home. The region is also the top source of India’s energy imports. India also sees Iran as an ally and cannot risk being painted in a negative light at this point.
One can only hope that the grand scale of polarization that afflicts the country right now will in some ways slow down owing to the global outrage that the top leaders are facing. Only time will tell.
Not competent enough to sit idle and stare as the world goes by, Pallavi is optimistic to a fault and believes in building her world on her own rather than depending on others to make things right.