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HomeOpinionModi’s new citizenship law will rip open the wounds of Partition

Modi’s new citizenship law will rip open the wounds of Partition

Muhammad Ali Jinnah would be proud of Narendra Modi.

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Political language,” said George Orwell, “is designed to make lies sound truthful and murder respectable, and to give an appearance of solidity to pure wind.” That would be a fine description of how the Narendra Modi establishment sells its disastrous policies.

It is certainly the case with the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill, 2019, likely to be a law in a few weeks. According to Prime Minister Modi, “There are many children of Maa Bharti who have faced persecution in Pakistan, Afghanistan and Bangladesh… We will stand with those who were part of India at one time, but got separated from us.”

The claim is that the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill (CAB) will somehow finish the unfinished business of Partition. On the contrary, it will only rip open the wounds of Partition.

Maa Bharti’s disowned children

Partition became necessary because there were two different visions of what India should be like after independence. One vision was based on the two-nation theory, the idea that Hindus and Muslims are two separate “nations”. (Wonder why the two-nation theory never saw the Christians, Parsis, Sikhs, Buddhists, Jains and Bahai as separate “nations”. The logical end should be an eight-nation theory, if not more.)

The other vision was that nationhood is not a religious construct. It is geographical. From Peshawar to Puducherry, we were one people united by shared geography and history. We were united in our diversity.

It was this difference of opinion that led to Partition. Pakistan saw itself as a Muslim nation. It didn’t matter that west and east Pakistanis would be separated by nearly 1,700 kilometres of Indian land mass. India saw itself as a secular country that respected all faiths equally. And the country itself did not have a state religion, unlike Pakistan. This is why Mahatma Gandhi was busy stopping Hindu-Muslim riots that were meant to drive out Muslims into Pakistan on either side. The father of the nation – as also the government of India – was committed to ensuring that Muslims can stay peacefully as equal citizens.

In other words, all the people of this land were the children of “Maa Bharti”, no matter what religion they followed. But Narendra Modi now wants to separate some of “Maa Bharti’s” children from her: Muslims.

If you are a Hindu, Sikh, Buddhist, Jain, Parsi and Christian in present-day Afghanistan, Bangladesh or Pakistan, you will soon be able to walk into India illegally, or overstay your visa, and become an Indian citizen in six years. To exclude Muslims from this privilege, just because they are the “majority” community in these countries, is to say that Muslims are not the children of “Maa Bharti”.

What about Ahmadis whom Pakistan considers part of a separate sect and who are possibly far more persecuted than Christians and Hindus? Given that the founding place of the Ahmadiyya sect is in Indian Punjab, Ahmadis make a good case to be included in CAB.

Also read: Ayodhya & Kashmir done, BJP shifts focus to Bengal — ‘citizenship law a necessity in state’

Making Jinnah proud

Defenders of the CAB say it does not make India a Hindu state, because it also welcomes Sikhs, Buddhists, Jains, Parsis and Christians. Yet, it does exclude the religion of the majority in Afghanistan, Pakistan and Bangladesh. PM Modi must explain why Muslims in these countries are not the children of “Maa Bharti”.

In practice, the new idea of religion-based citizenship will encourage large-scale migration of people from these three countries into India, reminding us of the wounds of Partition. Since the largest religious minority in Pakistan and Bangladesh are Hindus, most beneficiaries of the CAB will be Hindus. Simultaneously, the so-called, pan-India National Register of Citizens will target Muslims who are unable to prove their grandfathers were Indian. They will be stripped off their citizenship and put in detention camps. This is worse than the two-nation theory. This is a systematic legal design for the persecution of just one religious minority in India, Muslims.

Hindus come in, Muslims get out. That is the message of CAB and pan-India NRC, when seen together.

After all the Orwellian trickery, CAB and NRC are basically a way of accepting the two-nation theory. The 150th birth anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi is the perfect time to do this. Muhammad Ali Jinnah would be proud of Narendra Modi. It is as if the Partition is still taking place.

Some more Orwellian trickery

Incidentally, the text of the proposed CAB does not say anything about Partition, persecution, leave alone “Maa Bharti”.

If the idea is that someone should be given citizenship because they are facing religious persecution, then they should be asked to prove they were facing persecution. That is how, often with the help of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, western countries grant citizenship to refugees.

For instance, after CAB becomes law, the Bhandara family in Pakistan, who happen to be Parsis, could walk into India and become Indian citizens. Are they “persecuted” in Pakistan? Not at all. They are part of the Pakistani high society, owners of the Murree Brewery. Wouldn’t they love it if one of their family members could become an Indian citizen and start Murree Brewery’s operations in India?

So, the idea that CAB is for “persecuted” religious minorities in Pakistan, Afghanistan and Bangladesh is media spin meant to fool us. The text of the law says no such thing, because the real intention is perhaps not to help persecuted minorities in the three countries. The real intention is to import lakhs of Hindus so that the BJP may play vote-bank politics with them.

Also read: Ayodhya to Kashmir – Modi is now Mr Closure for all of India’s historical wrongs

From Bamyan to Burma

On another note, can anyone explain what Afghanistan has to do with Partition? It was not a part of India in 1947. It was never a part of British India. We have always been told that Partition divided India into two countries, India and Pakistan, and a part of Pakistan later became a third country, Bangladesh. So, if CAB is about Partition, what is Afghanistan doing here?

And if Afghanistan can randomly qualify, why not Myanmar? Myanmar (then Burma) was a part of British Indian Empire until 1937. How about giving Indian citizenship to persecuted minorities in Myanmar? Over 7 lakh Rohingya Muslims have been forced to flee to Bangladesh due to ethnic and religious persecution. If an Afghan-Christian from Herat is the offspring of “Maa Bharti”, why is a Rohingya Muslim from Arakan not a child of “Maa Bharti”?

If Afghanistan is included because of the RSS’ idea of Akhand Bharat, why not Sri Lanka? Just because Tamil-speaking Hindus from Sri Lanka aren’t really going to help the BJP win elections in Tamil Nadu?

There are other issues with CAB. Does India really need more people, given it is already one of the world’s most populous countries? And what about security issues? CAB offers a very convenient route for agencies to send spies to India and get them Indian citizenship in just six years.

None of this means India should not give citizenship to refugees. What we need is a comprehensive refugee law that determines how many refugees India can absorb as citizens every year, and the basis for such citizenship should not be religion or nationality. It should be humanity, in keeping with the spirit of the Indian Constitution.

Also read: Assam NRC a tool for targeting religious minorities: US commission on religious freedom

Views are personal.

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  1. The Print has written a very wrong logic. I feel it has drawn funding from muslim brother hood. The Parliament is taking most genuin issue and should be implemented.

    • Look at the Assam how NRC has created a mess.
      Genuine people are also being kept in detention they don’t have money to fight there cases.
      and how would you prove the people of Pakistan are real hindus. They can easily make a Hindu identity and infiltrate in India .

  2. We need to understand moves like CAB are foolhardy missions of inept leadership. They realise that real problems of this country are beyond their calibre to resolve therefore they return with policies that appear to set right the wrongs of the past. Digging into history is easier than securing the future of a country as vast and diverse as India. They have ideas and notions instead of knowledge and facts. They ridicule scholars, historians and economists instead of conducting saneful discussions to prove the sense of their policies. Such moves help divert the national attention away from the real concerns of economy, education and healthcare. ( wp_is_json_request() ) {

    • CAB is a part of the well orchestrated part of Hindutva hegemony project. Today, Nationalism equals Hindutva is fairly well-established, thanks to Modi regime. It is the third aspect – Development – that is posing a bit of a problem to Mr Modi in spite of many catch slogans spun during his tenure in power. We all know it is economic development which powers a nation but if that engine stalls what does the Modi regime do? Simple, use Hindutva to detract people’s attention from bread & butter issues. Make the minorities scapegoat for all ills. Blame global economy for our mismanagement Use supine media to rake up non-issues. When was the last time we heard the present dispensation explaining the downward spiral that all economic indices amply show?
      To my mind it is the opposition parties who are to blame for not raising issues and reminding the public about the pathetic state of our economy, education, health, etc. We have opposition parties who are practically comatose or worse chasing the Rafale mirage instead of putting the ruling party on the mat on substantive issues. One cannot really blame BJP-RSS for following their ideology even though it is at the cost of tearing asunder the social fabric of the nation.

  3. No one knows what sort of influx of Hindus and fake Hindus this may result in. Plus who will know if the incoming guys have a potential to sustain themselves. Will the State provide them sustenance? If India is not a Welfare State for Indian Hindus, how can it be so for outsider Hindus?

    Best is, no LAW should be enacted which can become an albatross around one’s neck. Hindus and others who seek asylum should be reviewed on case to case basis.

  4. Mr.SV are u an Indian or Pakistani ? If u are an Indian I pity u for having such mean thoughts ! Pl answer me a simple question.WHY MUSLIMS STAYED BACK IN INDIA AFTER CARVING OUT A SEPARATE LAND FOR THEMSELVES ! Not only stayed back but earned all rights and privileges which other religions are not entitled !! Was it the doing of Modi ??

  5. This way population will double fold in India in no time… As it is no jobs for us .. now getting outside people’ in… No country does this.. it’s rediculous… Where they wil live .. they will take jobs from Indians… Wot a shame

  6. Barbaad-e-gulistan karne ko bas ek hi ulloo kaafi tha, anjaam e gulistan kya hoga jab har shaakh pe ulloo bathein hain. It is incompetence and stupidity not just malice behind this government’s disasters.

  7. Pakistan was formed on the basis of religion — and I repeat — ON THE BASIS OF RELIGION ALONE. Th few Hindus still existing in Pakistan, Bangladesh, Afghanistan who have still not been forcibly converted should be granted automatic asylum in India. Period.

  8. I am not sure what Shivam is complaining about. Two simple points: (i) Whether we accept the two nation theory or not, the reality is that Muslims got Pakistan and Bangladesh, so naturally, India is for the other religions. The fast declining numbers of the minorities in Pakistan and Bangladesh demonstrates that they are being persecuted; they have to be given asylum in India based on religious grounds. If some muslim sects are being persecuted there, that is their internal problem, after all, they are all muslims and they got their land. (ii) Illegal immigrants in West Bengal have been changing the demographics of the state. It is only natural that we need to ascertain who is an illegal immigrant and deport them back to their country of origin. Every country does this., so should we. So, both moves are perfectly reasonable.

    • Yes indic religions have only India as a place to come in
      Why muslims are suddenly the pet poodle
      They have their own islamic republics
      We Hindus will decide who will come in and who will be kept out
      History says wherever the peaceful people went as refugees they create havoc
      England sweden Norway Netherlands and do on
      Why should we invite trouble

  9. We’re being trolled. Regardless of the intention to pass the law or not, it’s mere discussion is designed to troll minorities and those that advocate for minorities; everyone conveniently forgetting that the constitution defines religious and linguistic minorities at the state level.

    The author makes some assumptions that look good on paper but don’t bare witness in fact. The wounds of partition have not healed, at least not in those that were affected by it. And certainly not for those that were displaced during partition, and then got displaced in the 80’s and 90’s once again.

    India is a secular country on paper only. Indian minorities are ok with minority rights as long as their identity and their culture is preserved. Ask them to adopt a bit of secularism at home and watch the riots, ethnic cleansing and protests take place. The NE being a case in point.

    Finally, as some observers have pointed out already, the central government will argue to great effect, that the sub continent was divided based on religion, but more importantly use this fact to highlight, minority rights issues in neighbouring countries.

    The author thinks this is about Hindus; at face value it may appear to be. However, I suspect the BJP is setting a trap. Watch as we walk into it with our righteousness.

  10. Please note The RSS organisation which figures in US Intilligence as a notorious terrorist organisation will assume power in New Delhi/India ,and narendra Modi will be its chieftian. Alas, the poor man does not know ABCD of administration of a country and has embarked on foolhardy excercises, leaving away main problems galore of this country.In fact he has escaped from performing main taska and majpr problems and sought asylum in Hindutva or a hindu hindustan thinking that Hindus will like him. But the reality is alltogether different, as no hindu likes narendra modi after the demonisation.In fact nobel Prize winner Abhijit bannerjee clearly told modi that he is at a loss to understand the Rationale behind Demonisation even till today.So, we go to another chapter and my opinion is Tihar waits Modi.

  11. What a garbage useless article. Even according to JP Narayan India is natural home to persecuted Hindus (all members of Indic faiths) around the world.
    Ahmadiyas were on forefront of Pakistan movement and even were a part of militia that was sent to kill and rape Hindus in Kashmir by Pakistan in 1947-48.

      • Do read up the meaning of secular. Christians, Muslims or Hindus can’t be secular if the believe in their faith. It is a nation that is secular – where the government is separate and above religious practices, and therefore neutral to all religions.
        So far we do not consider ourselves as a HIndu nation even though Hindus are in majority. For instance, the UK is not a secular state because it is part of Christendom even though it practices secular policies, on the other hand, France is a secular country which does not have a state religion though majority of French people are Christian. Hope this clarifies your muddles idea of secularism and secular state.

  12. Congratulate Modi and BJP on this humanitarian law, designed to protect the minorities fleeing Pakistan, Bangladesh, Afganistan.

  13. Grouping citizens on the basis of religion is a very explosive idea. Then what about Hindus migrated to US and so many other countries in Europe, Australia and Africa. If they are kicked out on similar pleas we cannot fathom the consequences. Religion is personal. Building countries on that basis is not at all safe. It will be a recipe for war and disaster. It is a failed idea in Europe in the 19th and early part of 20th centuries under the leadership and Hitler and Mussolini. Hope India will not become victim of this idea of fascism.

      • No sir. Now they might not be engaged with religious identity as such. A little earlier, around half-a-century back they were very much obsessed with racism. Under that yardstick “brown” would become handy for them.

  14. The author should know that country called India came into existence because of religion. So whag is wronb if all hindus get citizenship. All the rich muslims chose pakistan, the leftover muslims in india were forced to be in india not as a matter of choice, if i remember voting those days was for rich elite and rich elite muslims chose pakistan. Yes why would a nation invite poor unwanted citizens to our country? Should we invite the best enterprising citizens to improve the country or get the bottom of the lot from neighbouring countries be it rohingya etc? why so much love for the rohingyas, maybd the author can keep them in his house?

    • “The author should know that country called India came into existence because of religion. ” – Not true!

      • So why was Pakistan formed? If Pakistan was formed on religion basis for muslims, with Hindus in India, is it not division based on religion.

        • Pakistan was formed on the basis of religion, true. But that doesn’t automatically imply that INDIA was formed on the basis of religion too. The founding fathers of the Indian Constitution deliberately chose a secular democratic model which consciously admitted Indian people of diverse faiths, cultures and traditions into the polity.

  15. India should have automatic citizens to all Hindus from anywhere in the world, not just from Muslim countries. like a right to return.

  16. The title assumed the wounds of the Partition are healed!!! who told you so ?? are you a victim of partition?? And even if you are one, are you the representative of the people whose lives were destroyed following the partition.

    The wound is still there, suppressed, pushed under the carpet, they are not healed. Period.
    Instead of realism, this narrative is based on foolish and meaningless idealism.

    If you think what the partition was all about – it was the assumed superiority complex of the pureblood Ashrafs of UP/Bihar/MP – the ruling Turkic clan – speaking mostly Urdu (the language of UP) – that ruled Indian subcontinent (northern) for close to 600 years. It was a partition of “Indic” and Arabic/Persian cultures. Naturally, Pakistan is – land-of-the-pure. The remaining believers of the Arabic tradition, who were left behind in India – being “lower class” native converts – mainly dark skin people, speaking indic languages – were immaterial – “bhar-me-jaye”. Mr Jinnah, pork eating and whiskey drinking – half Englishman was just an instrument used by these medieval feudal lords. Naturally, Urdu became the national language of Pakistan – an alien language for that geography. The local languages of Pakistan were Punjabi, Bengali, Sindhi and NOT Urdu. Even today only 8% people in today’s Pakistan consider Urdu as their mother tongue.

    Remember the word “Hindu” is an alien term – local indic people never called themselves as “Hindu” – the word is NOT there in their scriptures. What the CAB is trying to do is – trying to do what Israel did – the natural homeland of “indic” people – people of different indic cultures, indic languages.

    Hinduism is essentially an umbrella term for 1000s of such indic cultures and people, coined and used by the British Raj. And once the “majority” (believing in Arabic way of life) had carved out a special land for themselves….all the minority indic traditions, collectively a majority – and labelled as Hindus, may not want to repeat such divisions in future. And may want to ensure – all such indic people left behind in the carved out territories – are welcome back in their civilizational land.

    Adding Christianity into the list is just for optics – for the world and for Indic hypocrites. And fire-worshipping Persians, cousins of Indic people – stateless – surely welcome in this ancient land. As will be beef-eating Tibetians Buddhist, as will be Yazidis from distant Iraq.

    • My dear Ghosh Babu,
      you are welcome to visit Punjab and Delhi where most of the refugees are staying… they have moved on… even our grandparents who saw murders, rapes and much more have forgotten about it… the only wish they have is of peace… By bringing this law you are gonna scarp the wound more…

    • I think this is a cogent response to Shivam. The Print should seriously consider publishing his article which are out of context, misleading and illogical. The purpose of CAB is to ensure that people of non-abrahamic faith of Indian origin anywhere in the world being persecuted purely on religious grounds, should be treat India as their natural home as they may not be easily get asylum or entry in any other country. Now for the sake of argument, if a person of other religion in a neighboring country is being persecuted, he can come to India under applicable UN laws and seek asylum. So where is the question of opening wounds of partition and all that irrelevant rant? Why not see the position as it is. Now it is entirely possible that the other countries will actually treat their religious minorities better inn future because “that much hated”, Modi has passed this law, as otherwise it would give them a bad name internationally! Like Rahul, Shivam should go for vipasana (note- such courses are free with cooling satvic food as bonus!) and enjoy peace of mind and freshen up. May Buddha bless Shivam!

    • Very well written. Leading up to the partition, the landed gentry of Pakistan Punjab (majority Muslim and non Turkic origin) were opposed to the partition, it was the Muslim league that came down heavily on them. The last chief minister of undivided Punjab Sikandar Hiyat Tiwana (which is a shared last name with Sikh and Hindu Jaats) was exiled to US where he died in poverty.

    • The response from Arunabha Ghosh is really brilliant, full of truths. “Hindu” as a term never existed earlier until the British coined it. This “Indic” civilization was always multi-cultural consisting of people of multiple faiths where all coexisted. There certainly existed animosity, hate among different cultures to a certain extent, but there was never any “annihilation” of people of other cultures. Had there been “annihilations” in the indic land, there wouldn’t have been these many cultures and languages.

  17. Jains and Parsis are salad dressing, too few numerically to count. Sikhs are electorally important in Punjab, Christians in Goa and the north east. Put together, a mere distraction. The real focus is Hindus, now the heart and soul of our politics. A Jew living anywhere in the world has the right to emigrate to Israel. One is not sure that is a model India should adopt. Lots of bright Hindus cannot wait to get a foreign passport.

  18. Don’t Agree. Persecution of Hindus and violence after the partition was not conceived when partition was approved. Where would the Hindus go, except to India? Persecution of various sects within Islam in Pakistan is their internal matter. They should deal with it themselves.

    • “Don’t Agree. Persecution of Hindus and violence after the partition was not conceived when partition was approved.” – Not true. There was violent communal riots between Hindus and Muslims in places like Kolkata in anticipation of the partition, so people did know that there woul;d be vioplence after the partition!

  19. There was a time when one would have said, Basing citizenship ( for people seeking refuge in India ) on religion strikes one of the foundational principles of the Constitution. It will not survive judicial review. No longer.

    • What is wrong on having Citizenship based on faith. Our land was divided based on that. We don’t follow Abrahamic word “religion”.

      • No. Most of this country did not, do not and will not believe in citizenship based on faith. There is a small section who did, walked out, and look what mess they have landed themselves into.

      • Whose faith? Who defines what is a good Hindu vs a bad Hindu? What about fellow Indians who migrated to India post 1971 from Bangladesh and have raised children for over a generation as Indians. What about them? If you were one of them, what would your response be to the new law.

    • Yes, when court decisions don’t go to your liking, start maligning the institution itself. Typical leftist gambit. Heads I win, tails you lose.
      You should be hauled up for contempt.

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