12

At its inception, the Indian constitution avoided the word "secular", though the founders of the constitution (and later the indian courts) affirmed that secularism was an inherent part of the indian constitution. In 1976, an amendment was made to include the word "secular" in the preamble of the constitution to remove any ambiguity and affirm that India is a secular nation:

... the Supreme Court of India in the 1994 case S. R. Bommai v. Union of India established the fact that India was secular since the formation of the republic. The judgement established that there is separation of state and religion. It stated, "In matters of State, religion has no place. And if the Constitution requires the State to be secular in thought and action, the same requirement attaches to political parties as well. The Constitution does not recognize, it does not permit, mixing religion and State power. That is the constitutional injunction. None can say otherwise so long as this Constitution governs this country. Politics and religion cannot be mixed. Any State government which pursues nonsecular on policies or nonsecular course of action acts contrary to the constitutional mandate and renders itself amenable to action under Article 356".

Despite this, if we take the incident of demolition of the Islamic Babri Mosque in 1992 by Hindu religious fundamentalists / Hindu nationalists as the starting point, then we can see that India has seen a gradual rise in violent Hindu Nationalism (not effectively prevented by state actions or with their tacit approval) that seeks to convert India into a "Hindu" country:

  1. Demolition of Babri Mosque
  2. Increased popularity of BJP
  3. Forced conversion into Hinduism
  4. Ban on Zakir Naik
  5. Increased activity of previously banned Hindu far right and extremist outfits
  6. Ban on cattle slaughter
  7. Emergence of cattle vigilante
  8. Significant increase in cow-related violence
  9. Significant increase in anti-Muslim hate crime
  10. Muslim lynching

What is the driving factor behind this transformation of India?

9
  • 1
    Comments deleted. Please don't try to answer questions with comments. Write a real answer which adheres to our quality standards instead.
    – Philipp
    Jun 29, 2017 at 9:21
  • 13
    I've thought India has always predominantly been a Hindu country.
    – jjack
    Jan 6, 2018 at 19:10
  • 2
    Not at all convinced that the premise is sound. India has a Hindu Nationalist movement which is becoming more politically powerful, but that is something quite different from becoming a Hindu country. I think one could ask with an accurate premise why is Hindu nationalism becoming more important in India, but that is quite a different question.
    – ohwilleke
    Jun 12, 2018 at 23:46
  • 1
    @ohwilleke Think the question well addresses the impact of some nationalist movement with the clear intent of religious intolerance and visibly a "Hindu State" as goal. May 18, 2022 at 6:58
  • Except point 3 which will probably have little effect they don't seem laws aimed at increasing hindu percentage of the population. They seem laws aimed at divide and rule.
    – FluidCode
    May 18, 2022 at 12:29

4 Answers 4

17

That social change is a sociology question with political ramifications and consequences.

Internet adoption, new video recording and television screens, new populist media channels, social networks and new communication systems, are the new driving force channeling the age old religious fervor of India into organized militant factions and sparking mob violence in India and also pacifying India. The reasons are similar to "The Rise of Populism in Europe and the United States"

How a fake viral extremist video was circulated on WhatsApp despite being blocked by police.

We are more constantly informed about nationalist leaders, riots and mob violence. Actually 20 years ago India was perhaps more extremist and less liberal, e.g. in 2002, 790 Muslims and 290 Hindus were killed in the Gujarat faith-based riots.

Examples of vigilantes informed by the internet:

Twenty years ago, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) already almost won the election and was very passionate, religious and populist, with 180/359 seats in 1996 and 270/359 seats in 1999.

Today's frantic new media systems can generate huge waves of alarmist communications which invade countries and alarm the citizens about two main issues that bypass the logical part of the brain: racial threat and sex... both topics are used by media to command human attention because they bypass conscious brain structures to ensure a fast response, the same as a deja vu is seen before it is noticed, so to speak. Indians are just subjected to confusing news-flashes. people feel threatened and they side with a more radical defender for their country (same as Farage, Erdoğan, Trump, Le Pen). Rural people who have only had internet access for 1-2 years are more confused by fake news and less wary of web message rumors and stories.

Twenty years ago, there were almost no TV's and only about 1-2 public fixed line telephone stalls per village of 2000 people, smaller villages generally didn't have a phone, most Indians were within a few miles of the nearest landline. Mobs couldn't communicate effectively, and radical groups and marches were organized by newspapers, leaflets, radio and by local speakers. Mobile internet in India:  Urban vs. Rural

A city of 20,000 inhabitants would only have a few phone stores in the town center. Shops, train stations, receptions, didn't have phones, and Western commodities such as refrigerators were unreliable outside of the capital due to local and long range electricity issues.

Since 2005, India has seen major technological changes and connected by mobile phones and televisions, phone cameras, digital videos, and Hinduism has undergone some kind of devolution similar to Islam and American southern radicalism: Hindus can find inflammatory sources of information on televisions that they didn't have previously.

Francis Kanoi Marketing Planning Services Private Limited, a Madras-based firm that has been conducting market research, stated that in the year 2000:

"The colour television market grew from 900,000 to 5 million sets from 1993 to 2000" Compare that with 14 million sets per year from 2010 to 2015. TFT overtook CRT in India in 2013.

These days, priests seize on digital media to preach their sermons, stir up fervour, warn of danger, rival religions, groups, races... people can organize themselves into mobs using their mobile phones, send for backup, find like-minded activists in local groups.

Previously all the international and local news was printed in newspapers and transmitted on the radios; there were editors and DJ's who knew better than to provoke riots in India. Today, India is subjected to the same alarmist media confusion and decentralization that exists in more developed nations.

0
4

I agree there's been an uptick of Hindu extremist politics. If you are asking why that is happening, to be honest, nobody knows an exact reason.

A few relevant reasons could be that

  • There's no other option. It used to be a bipolar polity while the Congress party held influence but now they are being increasingly seen as ineffective thus leading to BJP, the Hindu extremist party, accumulating those swing votes.
  • Changing social realities. Caste used to be a major deal in Indian politics but ultimately the lower castes weren't represented much in the parliament. This changed in the beginning of the 90s with the number of lower caste legislators increasing and there has been a pushback since 2004 or so with reduction in the number of middle caste legislators and an increase in upper caste legislators. See Christophe Jafferlot's writings to see more of this.
  • The BJP had a first mover advantage on social media and this gave them a huge advantage similar to how Obama's first campaign used social media but lately it's been getting equalized.
  • Once in power, the BJP has been aggressively using state power to influence elections through their Governors, electoral bonds etc.
  • The media is being choked. Media houses critical of the government are targeted under the guise of income tax raids and such. NDTV was one example.
2
  • Could you elaborate why the presence of lower/middle/higher casts in Parliament influences Hindu nationalism? Jan 31, 2023 at 19:14
  • This article explains the background. It has led to the status of OBCs improving, economically, politically and socially. The reason for this leading to the growth of Hindu nationalist politics is mainly 1) Previously elite upper castes who are losing their previous status are consolidating under Hindu nationalist politics against OBC politics 2) The OBCs aren't voting voting cohesively as they used to, mainly because their economic situation is changing, there are more class differences within the OBCs
    – dmigod
    Feb 4, 2023 at 17:05
3

Not sure I agree with the premise of the question. The Muslim percentage of the population of India has been growing; according to the article, it was 10% after the Partition and is 14% today. While there are problems, as the question demonstrates, obviously Muslims in India are in the main doing just fine.

By contrast, the Hindu percentage of the population of Pakistan has been more or less constant at 1.6%. According to the same link, the Hindu percentage of the population in Bangladesh has fallen dramatically, from 22% at the time of the Partition of India to roughly 10% as of 1997. According to this article, it fell further to 9% as of 2011, but a different agency gave an estimate of 10.7% as of 2015. The increase could represent an actual recovery, or it could represent different methodologies by the different people doing the counting.

9
  • 2
    The increasing muslim population is generally attributed to low levels of education, poverty and ghettoization of the Muslim population. It may not be very related with what OP is asking, and in fact corroborates the poor state of Muslims in India. See en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sachar_Committee Jan 14, 2019 at 10:56
  • 4
    I'm not sure what the Hindu populations of Bangladesh or Pakistan have to do with a question about the government of India and its approach to religion. It feels like a What-about-ism, "India's fine, just look at these other countries". Equally the raw percentage of a population increasing doesn't say anything for certain about how the government of the country treats that population, other than they're not rounding them up and kicking them out.
    – Jontia
    May 18, 2022 at 8:31
  • 2
    "obviously Muslims in India are in the main doing just fine." ? What is your answer based on, your own assumption is not a very good source of information. Also this answer should be downvoted as instead of answering the OP's question it seem to bring another different question
    – almaruf
    May 18, 2022 at 10:09
  • Are you saying population growth is an indicator of inclusiveness or well-being of a community?
    – sfxedit
    Jan 31, 2023 at 19:05
  • @sfxedit population growth suggests at least a certain level of well-being and toleration by the majority, yes. Feb 1, 2023 at 3:06
-3

India, a nation which became secular only in 1976.

  • History This civilization is almost 10,000 years old and has already gone through so much of reforms in society, geographical changes of land due to partitions. It still stood firm. And it is firm, after a capital loot, social loot, phycological loot, loots which were done by the goons who belonged to Hindus, Islams, Christians or an atheist. A land is divine and it is to be served and not exploit :Lord Rama (Ramayana). But, no one even tried to remain on his words and works. This civilization and its existence was based on Vedas and Philosophical aspects of life through none other than nature. But, regime changed. Now the ideologies of Lord Rama is in books and speeches, not in the karma.

  • Role of Media India has been ruled by Christians, Muslims, Hindus, etc. Britishers being Christians and few of them led to a series of conversion of lower as well as sub-lower sects of Hindu society by offering money and power. It was termed as "Divide-and-rule" policy, which also is one the major factor of social differences in India. Media are still under influence of some of these people who really don't believe in Humanism, and has only target for "Profit and Power". More of the negativities being covered and shown by them, and also in India there are few of such Media groups.

4
  • 7
    "Britishers being Christians and close to Vatican" the British* state and imperial establishment was always unashamedly protestant, not Catholic. So I don't know when you've got that idea from, but as it is written this is incorrect.
    – user8398
    Jan 5, 2018 at 16:45
  • 2
    I am not sure if this could even be considered as an answer.
    – user17569
    Jan 6, 2018 at 14:41
  • Pretty sure the majority of Christians in India is not British., May 18, 2022 at 6:52
  • 1
    The Indus civilization was founded more like 4,500 years ago. 10k years old is quite a stretch and coincides with the end of the last ice age and the domestication of cattle, wheat, and cats. Not really an indication of civilization.
    – doneal24
    May 18, 2022 at 20:11

You must log in to answer this question.