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Religion Has Overtaken Caste In Indian Politics And The Result Could Be Dire

It could snowball into heightened Indo-Pak conflict.

13/04/2017 11:05 AM IST | Updated 13/04/2017 3:10 PM IST
Adnan Abidi / Reuters

"Aata hai abhi dekhiye kya kya mere aage."—Mirza Ghalib

Everyone knows that Indian politics runs largely on caste and religion.

Before the advent of Modi, caste was more important than religion since Independence in 1947. While Muslims were usually united when it came to voting, Hindus were divided on caste lines, usually voting for parties representing their castes.

Since no single caste was usually above 15% of the population in a state, you had to get your caste combination correct to win an election (also treating the Muslims as a caste).
But now a radical change has taken place. Though caste is still important, religion has overtaken it in importance.

If the bulk of Hindus vote for the BJP it will keep winning elections. For this, it is necessary for the BJP to keep the communal heat on.

Almost 80% of India is Hindu. So if the bulk of Hindus vote for the BJP it will keep winning elections. For this, it is necessary for the BJP to keep the communal heat on. Which means communal riots and communal incidents—such as over alleged cow slaughter by Muslims— must be instigated by the BJP through agent provocateurs all over India, while the party will claim it had nothing to do with such "spontaneous" incidents.

This means that bad days have come for Muslims in India. They will be demonised, branded as terrorists, and they and their properties and places of worship often attacked on various pretexts.
The inevitable consequence of this will be "spontaneous" retaliatory attacks on the Hindu minorities in Pakistan and Bangladesh. Also, many Indian Muslims, who were earlier good and peace-loving, will be turned into terrorists by such attacks. A chain reaction may well ensue, which may even result in war.

A new event in this connection is the death sentence on an Indian, Kulbhushan Jadhav, by the Pakistan army authorities on charges of spying and sabotage.

The decision to hang Kulbhushan Jadhav was clearly taken by the Pakistan authorities after cool deliberation since executing him is bound to considerably increase hatred of Muslims in India; there may then soon be attacks on Muslims and mosques in many parts of India. These will of course be described as "spontaneous" by the Indian government, just as attacks on Jews during Kristallnacht in November 1938 in Germany were described as "spontaneous" by the Nazis.

These attacks on Muslims and mosques in India will inevitably result in attacks on the small Hindu community in Pakistan (and possibly even Bangladesh ) and on Hindu temples.
There will then be further attacks on Muslims and mosques in India, and retaliatory attacks on Hindus and their temples in Pakistan.

Whether this sequence of events will at all happen, and if it does for how long will this see saw go on, and whether this heightened tension will escalate into a war between India and Pakistan, is yet to be seen

And, of course, vested interests in both India and Pakistan, who thrive on communal hatred, will gloat over this scenario.

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