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Mother of Democracy, Mangalsutra and Muslims

Liberal democratic media and democracy watchdogs around the world have termed Modi's election speech as low-level 'hate speech'. The opposition and rights activists are worried that this election will be the last in India's democratic history after he returned to power.
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Indian elections are centered around this after the Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi made a passionate statement saying that if the opposition Congress is voted into power, he will take away the Mangalsutra from women and Muslim infiltrators will rule.

Mother of Democracy, Mangalsutra and Muslims

"When the Congressmen come to power, they say that all rights to resources will belong to Muslims. They will distribute all your wealth to those who have more children. They are going to break the mangalsutra of mothers and sisters to distribute wealth to intruders," Modi had expressed his anger in an agitated manner at the Rajasthan election meeting. Our tribal family has silver, it will be accounted for. Those sisters who have gold, whatever wealth they have, will be distributed equally. Do you agree?'' he said (CNN, 23 April 2024). Modi incited Hindus by saying that Muslims are overtaking the Hindu population by having more children. Of India's 1.4 billion people, 80 percent are Hindus, while the country's 200 million Muslims make up just 14 percent. The fertility rate of Muslims has fallen from 4.4 in 1992-94 to 2.3 in 2019-21, which is more than 1.94 percent of Hindus (AP, 23 April 2024).

"This is not just dogwhistle, it is targeted, direct and shameless hate speech against the community," Rana Ayub, an established journalist, expressed outrage. Muslim leader Asaduddin Owaisi hit back at Modi and said, "Modi has maligned Muslims as intruders and people who have many children." Since 2002, Modi's only guarantee has been to get votes by insulting Muslims. Congress President Mallikarjun Khadge has said, "No prime minister in the history of India has ever lost his position as much as Modi." Did – In the last decade, Modi and his BJP have fueled religious polarization with their Hindu nationalist policies. Which has given rise to a wave of Islamophobia and deadly sectarian clashes in the world's largest secular democracy. He is being criticized all over the world, including India, for saying that Modi made an anti-Muslim statement by interpreting a fragment of an old speech made by the then Prime Minister Manmohan Singh at the National Development Council (NDC meeting, 3 November 2006).

Liberal democrat media and democracy watchdog organizations around the world have rated Modi's election speech as a low-level 'hate speech'. According to the latest report by Washington-based research group India Hate Lab, out of 668 incidents of hate speech recorded in 2023, 75 percent of the incidents occurred in BJP-ruled states. India's Penal Code prohibits hate speech, including the criminalization of "willful and malicious acts" intended to offend religious beliefs. But there is a lack of immediate and adequate action against the alleged perpetrators of such acts, who are giving tacit support to the right-wing and extremists.

Prime Minister Modi has deliberately pushed the Indian people into the face of another danger in the name of avoiding one danger, and the news of the mistake accepted by Astragene's vaccine (Covisild in India) has spread wildly. This has made Modi defensive. It is probably because of this fear that the Indian administration has ordered the removal of Modi's speech and photo placed on the Covishield certificate. According to the Indian media, Modi's interest in the promotion of Covishield was to increase the funds of his party rather than to protect the lives of the common people.

Modi has repeatedly referred to India as the 'Mother of Democracy', but in the election outrage, he seems to be ambushing his ambition to become a world guru by using language that seriously insults Indian democratic traditions and mothers themselves. The arrest of opposition leaders, including Kejriwal, seems to have made Modi's electoral ambitions a suicidal move. The opposition and rights activists are expressing concern that if Modi returns to power, this election will be the last in India's democratic history. The Modi era has taught us once again that excessive supremacy of one party or politician is problematic. The monopoly of power has raised suspicions more than ever (Pratik Kanjilal, 5 May 2024). It can be understood that the Indian GOP Congress is making a comeback, which is becoming almost unreasonable when predicting Modi's latest election outrage. . Although the party of Rahul Gandhi, who is called Shahzayed in Modi's language, did not win the election, the opportunity for him to become a leader is increasing this time.

The voter turnout in BJP-ruled states is very low, which clearly shows that the people are fed up with electoral democracy. Modi did not hesitate to call the opposition Congress 'in the clutches of the Left and what it has said in its manifesto is worrisome and serious and is their attempt to bring Naxalite ideology into practice (on the ground)' (Hindustan Times, 22 April 2024). As Nepal is proud to be a leftist, on the contrary, to be called a leftist in India is to be considered as a terrorist. The opposition Congress has been alleging that the Modi administration is trying to divide the pluralistic India by not conducting the periodic census.

The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), America's largest Muslim civil rights advocacy organization, condemned Modi's speech and said, "Despite his role as the leader of a nation with such a diverse religious heritage, Narendra Modi, a radical right-wing Hindu leader, called Indian Muslims hateful and dangerous." Targeting it as a diatribe is unfair, but not surprising. President Joe Biden should declare India a 'country of particular concern' over systematic treatment of Indian Muslims and other minority groups (Time, April 23, 2024).

Modi was banned from entering the US in 2005 due to his proximity to the 2002 Gujarat massacre during his tenure as the state's chief minister (2001–2014). More than 1,000 people were killed in religious riots allegedly involving Modi, most of whom were Muslims. But this brazenness makes it clear that Modi sees few checks on his enormous power. Watchdog institutions in the country are largely bowing to the whims of his Bharatiya Janata Party. Partners in the outside world increasingly turn a blind eye to what Modi is doing in India, as they see India as a democratic counterweight to China (New York Times, 23 April 2024). Indeed, Modi is running the regime he wants in the country by catching this weakness of the outside world.

'New Delhi's growing foreign-policy assertiveness stems from its growing awareness that other countries need it.' Limits to paper. For other countries, access to India's growing market is of paramount importance. Despite BJP's animosity towards Muslims, Modi receives red carpet welcome from Persian Gulf countries (Foreign Policy, 2024).

This time BJP has named the election manifesto as 'Modi's guarantee'. In another sense, for the first time in Indian electoral history, BJP has announced the Prime Minister's guarantee in return for the election manifesto. Modi is now ahead of the ruling party BJP in India. Now he wants to stand as world guru above the country. Various media watchdog organizations have been publishing periodical reports on Modi calling his name the most during election rallies and meetings. In this way, the mother of democracy, her mangalsutra and Muslim chiefs became the subject of propaganda and misinformation in the world's largest democratically campaigned election, and there is no need to hesitate to say that it indicates the decline of Indian democracy.

father's 'power'

In response to the attack by Hamas on October 7, the US leadership and Israeli forces completely destroyed the Gaza Strip. More than 35,000 people, including more than 24,000 children and women, have been buried in Gaza. More than 2 million Palestinians have not only been left homeless, but their sense of identity has been erased to the point where they belong on earth, and the sounds of the Gaza attack have echoed across America's universities. War cries have been heard on the world stage only after violent demonstrations by students at American universities against the open bombing of schools, hospitals and refugee camps and the massacre of Palestinians.

Not only this, the US presidential election, which is called the father of democracy, has shown the danger of dividing the Gaza massacre again into Muslim and non-Muslim poles. Just as Modi in India is calling everyone as much as the opposition a Naxalite, Trumpist and Republican leaders are dismissing the fire under the carpet by labeling the protests at American universities as extremism incitement. The American student movement in 1968 forced the White House to back down against the US-imposed Vietnam War, the tragedy of the 20th century. This time, such a positive sign is beginning to be seen in the Gaza massacre.

South Africa, the country of the world famous Nelson Mandela, who has been practicing elections since 1994, is holding elections on May 29. But most South Africans are dissatisfied with democracy, and will abandon elected governments if an autocrat can do a better job. There is more socialization across racial lines, but the share of South Africans who say race relations have improved since 1994 has fallen sharply since 2010 (Economist, 2024).

As seen in the case of Nehru in India, in South Africa, all the democratic institutions created by Mandela have become a corrupt base of political elites. This travesty is not only a blow to the African continent, but to liberal democracy in the world. This week, the shameful defeat of the ruling Tory party and the surprising victory of the liberal left-wing party Labor in the local elections in the UK, which is considered to be another mother of parliamentary democracy, has brought a new wave. Analysis of how the Conservative Party will grow in the parliamentary elections early next year has already begun. In the recently concluded South Korean parliamentary elections, President Yoo-un's party, which is considered pro-Trump, has been defeated. With his defeat, it has been said that the danger of the conflict over the island of Taiwan has increased as he has shifted from domestic affairs to global radical policy.

Nepali silence

The elections taking place in India, a neighboring country, have excited the world. Our entire community is silent about the Indian elections taking place in Nepal. Just as India's minorities have been silenced from voicing their dissent, similarly Modi's guarantee seems to have silenced the policy makers, thinkers, analysts and journalists of Kathmandu. But Foreign Policy, which is read in foreign policy matters all over the world, has X-rayed Indian democracy by publishing 'The New Idea of ​​India' as an Indian special issue this month.

Perhaps the intellectuals of Nepal may be reading that dose secretly. Between the world-famous Indian elections, the two federal and state assembly elections in Nepal have given 'populism' a bad blow. On the other hand, this election has reaffirmed the attraction of the left-wing coalition for Nepali voters. In addition to that, it has clearly shown the fact that Prime Minister Prachanda's party, Congress and UML, will dominate. Among them, the unity between UML-Maoist has given them a long-term signal of good electoral gains.

Foreign Policy's India Elections Special recommends four books for understanding India: India is Broken (Ashok Modi, 2023), Price of the Modi Year (Ashakar Patel, 2022), City on Fire (Zayad Masroor Khan, 2023) , Midnight's Borders (Suchitra Vijayan, 2021). This book has done an MRI of electoral dictatorship and caste and religious extremism. In the context of

, left-wing writer Yannis Varoukofakis's Technofeudalism (2024), a former finance minister of Greece, and Kathmandu Chronicle (2024) by KV Rajan and Atul K Thakur, ambassadors to Nepal following Jaishankar's India Matters book, may be useful for us.

प्रकाशित : वैशाख २६, २०८१ ०७:५२
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