Refugees on a train during Partition of India, 1947 | Wikimedia Commons
Refugees on a train during Partition of India, 1947 | Wikimedia Commons
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Ishtiaq Ahmed’s voluminous book The Punjab Bloodied, Partitioned and Cleansed is an underrated study of Partition violence in Punjab, which killed lakhs and displaced many more. Ahmed interviewed people in both India and Pakistan, and looked at the archives to reconstruct the big incidents of violence. He considers whether Partition violence could be called genocidal. It is in vogue to describe every incident of mass violence as genocide or at least genocidal.

The idea of genocide is to completely exterminate a community, such as the Holocaust. But Partition violence was not seeking to do that. Ahmed comes to the conclusion that the aim of Partition violence was ethnic cleansing. As confusion raged over which place would be in India and which place would be in Pakistan, people took to violence to drive out the other community from their area. Everyone wanted to be part of a majority — in their village, in their country.

You will agree with Ishtiaq Ahmed’s findings if you ask a follower of the RSS brand of majoritarianism what they think of Partition. It was good, they will reply, because it reduced Muslims in India in both absolute numbers and percentage. They dream of Akhand Bharat, but never of undoing Partition. That fantasy belongs to hoary secular nationalists alone.


Also read: On Citizenship Bill, Modi and Amit Shah don’t really care what Supreme Court will say


The concentration, not the numbers 

Yet, it is not enough for the RSS that 4 out of every 5 Indians are Hindu.

B.L. Santhosh of the RSS, currently general secretary in the BJP, recently said the “concentration, not the numbers, of minority population in certain parts of the country was a cause for concern and needed attention.”

He explained: “While south India forms less than 30% of India’s total geographic area, more than 50% of Christian population was concentrated in four states — Kerala, Tamil Nadu, Karnataka, and Andhra Pradesh; another 37% in the northeast… Similarly, Muslim population in Karnataka and Kerala was concentrated from Mangaluru to north Kerala (Malabar) unlike in the rest of the areas of these States… 81% of Tamil Nadu’s Christian population was concentrated in Kanyakumari, Nagapattinam, and Cuddalore districts.”

Santhosh also reportedly said the Narendra Modi government will come up with a plan to “deal with the situation” since “concentration of minorities” posed a “threat”.

This obsession with “areas” of “minority concentration” isn’t new. You can talk to an average RSS activist and hear him complain about Muslim concentration in west UP, parts of Assam, West Bengal and Kerala, and Christian concentration in parts of the northeast. And then there is the Kashmir Valley. Hindutva supporters call Muslim pockets in old cities ‘mini-Pakistan’. When Rahul Gandhi contested from and rallied in Wayanad, Amit Shah said he couldn’t make out if it was “India or Pakistan”.

Such “concentration” gives communities cultural agency and autonomy. It also makes it difficult for the BJP to win elections in these areas, given its Hindutva politics. Kashmir has never had a Hindu chief minister, but BJP wants to make sure it does.


Also read: Congress wore 1971 war trophy, but left an unfinished business. CAB came out of that


Demographic engineering 

The recent change in the constitutional status of the state of Jammu and Kashmir through article 370 now allows any Indian to directly buy land in J&K. This is what Kashmiris fear the most. There are provisions to prevent outsiders from buying land in Himachal Pradesh, Uttarakhand and much of the northeast. But in Kashmir, the Modi government hasn’t yet said a word about whether it would reconsider such provisions. Changing the demography of the Kashmir Valley seems to be part of the project.

Once the amendments to the Citizenship Act are in force, it will attract non-Muslims from Pakistan and Bangladesh and Afghanistan. These ‘refugees’ will all be presumed to have been victims of religious persecution even if they weren’t persecuted. They could then be settled in areas of minority “concentration”. This would bring down the “concentration” of Muslims in these areas. Simultaneously, updating the National Register of Citizens (NRC) pan-India will subtract some Muslims (non-Muslims who can’t prove their citizenship will be covered by the Citizenship Act). Muslims excluded by the NRC won’t be deported, because the Modi government won’t even be able to prove that they belong to another country. They might be put in detention centres but after some years they may be allowed to live in India as stateless people, importantly with no voting rights.

This is how the BJP-RSS is planning to “deal” with the “threat” of minority “concentration”, apart from bringing down the percentage of Muslims in India over-all. Do note that we might still hear something about how many children we are allowed to produce, since the Prime Minister did mention his Sanjay Gandhi-like concern about population this 15 August.


Also read: Can India be a Hindu Rashtra—and Hindus a minority—at the same time?


One India in the northeast

The northeast is, therefore, justified in its apprehension that the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill or CAB opens doors to demographic change in the region. There are people protesting against CAB in Manipur even though Amit Shah has announced Manipur will be given the Inner Line Permit (ILP) status. Those given citizenship under the new Citizenship Act won’t be able to settle in ILP areas. And yet, there are protests in Manipur because people don’t trust the BJP’s intentions.

A party committed to destroying diversity in the name of “ek desh, ek vidhan, ek nishan” (one country, one system, one symbol) will come for demographic change in the northeast, no matter what assurances it gives to the contrary. The Christian “concentration” in parts of the northeast is, after all, a matter of “concern” and a “threat”.

This is how India will be remade, state by state, street by street, into a Hindu Rashtra. What we are seeing today is the beginning of a neat, state-driven effort at ‘ethnic cleansing’. It might even be bloodless.

Views are personal.

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38 Comments Share Your Views

38 COMMENTS

  1. Which side are you on? One day, you write an article wholeheartedly supporting Amit Shah. Another day, you dispense some garbage like this. Do you think it is so easy to displace people? Get out of arm chair and think in the real world! Some changes in laws won’t persuade people to go to Godforesaken Kashmir or North East and start life anew. What future do these regions offer, when natives of these places are migrating as far away as Bengaluru or Chennai and finding new life?

  2. Crain issues are to be decided by a refrendum and not by some cuckoo in Nagpur.. Since this distinction seems to have escaped the ruling troika, confusion prevails. Sooner it is clarified, better for India.

  3. India and current politicians are smarter!!! They learn from mistakes made by other countries. It is un-believable the countries like England, Germany, France and some European countries headed due to accepting a particular community. Democratic country doesn’t mean a headless chicken where anybody come and live without any rules and classifications. The states like kerala, assam, bengal…are prime example of such headless illegal migrations!!!

    • Whatever it is, both Bngal and Kerala outsmarts rest of India and are twice as smart as the UP Yogi North Indian crowd. If whole of India was as smart or if UP goes to Pakistan, India will be great!!!

  4. Very shallow arguments from the writer. There is no study on how the concentration of certain minorities in some areas is of deep concern and a ground for militancy. See what is happening in many pockets of Kerala which is a fertile womb for islamic terror.

    • why do you believe the false propaganda about Islamic militancy? Compared to the rest of the world, India has produced very very few jihadis.

    • Which side are you on? One day, you write an article wholeheartedly supporting Amit Shah. Another day, you dispense some garbage like this. Do you think it is so easy to displace people? Get out of arm chair and think in the real world! Some changes in laws won’t persuade people to go to Godforesaken Kashmir or North East and start life anew. What future do these regions offer, when natives of these places are migrating as far away as Bengaluru or Chennai and finding new life?

  5. Bhrata, I believe demographic change will happen. But I don’t get how you can be against Hindus coming to India if not India where should they go? Why should I let a religion born in Jerusalem, which many countries adhere to be made the religion of Hindu nation. We have a lot of religion that were born in our mother land whether it is Sanatan dharma, Sikh Dharm, Bodh ,Jain or any other culture and religion. I only ask if real people of India ever became minority the invaders will let us keep our religion any of our neighborhood countries help us? Will China let us be Hindu , will Pakistan let us be Sikh, will Bangladesh tolerate Jains will Afghanistan let us remember Lord Buddha in our homes? You know the answer. It’s not about changing demographics it’s about preserving what we have because when time comes no one else will.

    • India is 80% Hindu. How will Hindu culture not be the most prominent here?! But is it necessary to trample on other cultures and regions?!

      Are you okay with lakhs moving into your place?!

      • The lakhs already moved in our country and trampled our temples a long time ago. India has a history of Muslim invaders. They did not come here as peaceful men of peace but as scavengers of war.

        And I said cultures and religions which were born in India are always s respected. And as for 80% Hindu population, I am sure it was higher a few decades ago. While Afghanistan Bangladesh Pakistan have been persecuting their minorities, reducing Hindus Sikhs in numbers we have been feeding these invaders with Hindu’s tax money.

        • Yes, the Hindu population has declined, while that of the Muslim population has increased. From 1991 to 2011 census, Muslims grew by 2.5% while Hindus decreased by 2.6%.

          But the growth rates of the Muslim population has been decreasing or constant since 1971. It means that while both Hindu and Muslim populations are increasing over the years, the rate of this increase has been coming down for Muslims. While the growth of both Hindu and Muslim populations have been slowing down, Muslim growth has been slowing much more. This has been attributed to rising education among Muslim women.

          One can be optimistic or pessimistic about it. You could hope that in time the population of both communities will stabilise. But its definitely exaggeration to say that the majority of
          the Hindus will be threatened anytime.

          Yes, the past has seen Muslim brutality especially on Hindus and temples. It can never be justified, but even Hindu kings were brutal in the past. Caste violence and wars happened. And Hindu kings were known to loot deities from the conquered. The past in general was violent and repulsive. But the thing is, why let the past mess up the future. Maturity is moving on. We are now 70+. Let’s look to make tomorrow better.

          Even Muslim sects like Hazaras and Shias are persecuted in those countries. There are a lot of Tamil refugees from Sri Lanka. Why not include them?! Don’t you think BJP is playing vote bank politics here, and forcing demographic change to ensure they can stay in power irrespective of how they perform, like in Gujarat?!

  6. Demographic change in Kashmir sounds good to me, that can potentially solve the Kashmir problem. Besides, demographic change happened once already, in the early 1990s. You didn’t have a problem with it then, but are complaining now on an imaginary possibility? By the way, what is this “majoritarianism” that you and your ilk keep mouthing? We are a democratic constitutional republic. The majority of the day gets to decide the policy – within the constitutional framework. You were fine with it when it suited you, but crying hoarse when you don’t like it?

    • Absolutely. The Lutyens mafia just cannot stomach the fact that Hindus are in majority. When the Hindus were divided by caste and Muslims had a virtual veto on everything, this same deceitful gang sang the virtues of democracy. When the Hindus now have some semblance of unity, out comes words like “majoritarianism” , to be used as a pejorative.

      Btw, this word is uniquely Indian. Nowhere else you will find constant mention of it it public discourse ad nauseam (and here again used by the same gang of illiberals).

      Which makes me repeat my central point:
      Leftists illiberal pseuds just do not believe in democracy.

      • Bravo! Such deep anysis. You’re the true face of Hindutva. And I refuse to let idiots like you speak in my name. We will fight you to the end to cure you if your janoon.

        Let the civil war among Hindus begin.

    • You should read Plato’s “Republic” my friend. “Democracy then degenerates into tyranny”… Plato and Socrates worried about this already long time ago. And founding fathers of modern democracy – be it USA or India, worried about this also and therefore made the constitution to guard agaist the tyrany of the majority. Democracy never was, nor is meant to be, majoritarianism.

      • Don’t need to to read Plato or Socrates to understand that a pure democracy without constitutional safeguards will quickly degenerate into tyranny of the majority. Nobody wants that. Have you missed the part in my comment about policy being made within the constitutional framework?

        • you cant read Socrates any way – he wrote nothing 🙂 Anyway, if we stay within constitutional limits, we cannot allow CAB.

  7. India has the third largest muslim population in the world, it has more christians than in Spain, it has numerous other religions, countless variations of Hinduim and even 1% who identify as athiests. An attempt at Israel style repression of all those who are deemed to be non-standard/non-hindu by Shah will lead to unrest and resistance – I cant believe that the demographic change will be bloodless – repression never is.

    • Well said. Prepare for India breaking up. If it doesn’t, then you’ll have a sullen population living under authoritanism.

      All this is being done to what purpose?

      Has anyone thought what this will do to India’s reputation abroad? We need a lot of investors in industry to give work to the young people.

  8. BJP’s CAB is nothing but stab on the makers of Indian Constitution. We should pray that people don’t carried away by the BJP leaders and stab each other in name of for and against CAB

  9. what is this bull shit idea of India??few west influenced people like Nehru,Gandhi & others coined the word secularism. Bharat has never been a secular State. In our culture people are so divided that they don’t even allow other caste people to sit at their level , do u think they will ever allow a muslim to sit at their level??. All claiming that muslims are secular let me ask them if is so why had they converted so many hindus to muslims in their regime?? why is it that all 52 muslim majority nation are Islamic countries. Why Nehru,Gandhi burdened us with the word secularism when its non existent in our culture??there should be a referendum on secularism just like Brexit. Lets just get rid of this fassaad called secularism

  10. Being a Kashmiri. Yes, you are right Modi has planned to change the demography of the Kashmir Valley. It will backfire without any doubt. I believe the real Guerilla war will be started after Winter. If Taliban came in power in Afghanistan, Kashmir would be the next center for Jihadis around the globe.

  11. The article is a surgical dissection of the BJP government’s agenda. Seeds are all ready sown. Now the secular Indian
    has to express himself clearly, before the destruction of the secular fabric of the country.

    • This is the misconception that these ill-educated lot has. Secularism, even if destroyed, will not lead to a theocratic state or suppression of minorities & their practices. We were never secular in our civilizational history. Never. Yet, we had a rich culture where we welcomed all. We may have waged wars but we never waged religious wars. We were too busy practicing our culture & refining our practices. We welcomed Jesuits, Muslims, Jews. Travelers gave us a rich account of our past. But did they ever mentioned that we were a theocratic state? Nope. Sure, the kings followed a particular religion or belonged to a different caste than the ruled population but there was never any imposition of religion. To say, that we will turn into a Hindu Pakistan is just an exaggeration. The kind of religion that they practice is barbaric & not rich enough. Moreover, they have subverted the tenets to suit their own interests to justify their existence. Comparing Hindusim w/ the religion & culture of Pakistan reeks of ignorance and ill-intellectualism. We are qualitatively different from Pakistan & ours is a religion that has transformed into a culture in the past 2500-3000 years. We are still embracing of different identities as long as there is no threat to our own. Muslims of India need to worry only if they don’t feel Indian enough & try to identify themselves more w/ deranged Pakistanis or refined Arabs. You are not either of them. Learn from Indonesian/Egyptian Muslims who have embraced their civilizational roots & have no qualms about their identity of Muslimhood unlike Pakistanis who are perpetually condemned to lead a delusional life in the absence of acceptability of their REAL past. If you truly are Indian, you will feel it in your heart even if you are a pakistani Muslim.

      • Great reply. While Pakistan, Turkey and Malyasia claim to be true defendants of the rights of Muslim Umma globally, they must also take the responsibility of accepting Muslim migrants who feel persecuted in other countries.

      • You have well described Hinduism of yore. It’s what made India such an incredibly diverse place. But it’s changing, and is all for the sake of votes! The CAB itself does not follow the millennia old Indian ethos. It not just discriminates, it is also designed to eventually change the religious composition of populations where BJP does not win elections.

        BJP is reducing diversity even within Hinduism. In Bengal, where Lord Ram wasn’t worshipped, they are pumping money to change this. They just want votes irrespective of how they perform. They want only one narrative – be it religion, or politics.

        Like it is in Pakistan. Where people have been so completely radicalized, that even minority Muslim sects are persecuted beyond belief. It did not happen in one day, but over time. The mullahs and the politicians did it so that they could hold power over the people. Thats why it’s not developing as a country. When the people ask the government about the bad governance, they are told about Kashmir, India, Palestine and other such irrelevant crap.

        It’s the same in India today. You ask about jobs – they tell you about Pakistan, Muslims, Ram temple, etc.

        In Pakistan, they have blasphemy. In India, we now have sedition and mob lynching. Before 2014, we considered ourselves as Indian first. Now one judges you by your religion!

        All of this has the singular aim and purpose of building vote banks for the ruling party. They want Hindus to behave like Muslims. Vote on religious lines. They want India to become a Hindu version of Pakistan – where, simply opposing Modi-Shah means your an anti-national, and deserve to be in jail.

        It has nothing to do with true Hindu beliefs. In case you had any doubts, India is the world’s largest exporter of beef, and there is even a minister who eats beef!

        • Wo told you India is the largest exporter of beef….. India doesn’t export even 1 gm of beef… only Buffalo meat is exported from india… And meat of buffalo is called buffen not beef… Get you stat corrected before commenting anything…. Don’t start parwachan anywhere….

          • Good to know the technical terms! 🙂 Even better that Hindutva proponents don’t have any objection to people eating buffalo meat. 🙂 🙂 Hope I’m not mistaken on this!

            I accept that I was mislead by newspaper headlines.

  12. Why print has hired this joker along with Zainab? They have nothing to add substantial to The print. Better hire a 12th pass student then these two.

  13. This reads like a Tom Clancy novel. I am old fashioned enough to believe that encashing the demographic dividend cheque would be better for all Indians.

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