CAB[1] and NRC

December 18, 2019

Rohit Dhankar

I have argued elsewhere[2] that CAB 2019 is not against secularism, does not make India a Hindu Rashtra, and not against any Indian citizen, including Muslims. But many people point out that together with National Register of Citizens (NRC) this can be used against Muslim citizens of India. What stand should one take in such a situation?

First, CAB does not include necessity of NRC, it stands alone. I read a statement somewhere “CAB is toothless without NRC”. This viewpoint comes from a mindset that assumes that CAB is designed to ‘punish’ or ‘harm’ someone, and by itself it cannot punish if ‘that someone is an Indian citizen’. According to such thinking it gets teeth only in combination with NRC.

I would like to point out that CAB may not have teeth (even if above assumption is accepted, for the sake or argument) without NRC, but it still can benefit lakhs of Hindus, Sikhs, Jains, Buddhists, Parsis and Christians by removing illegal migrant tag on them and allowing them to apply for citizenship. And as far as this much goes, it harms no existing Indian citizen. Thus, without NRC it is not fruitless. It may be ‘toothless’ because it is not designed to harm anyone, but to help some people.

The genuine and really serious problems arise when it is combined with NRC, we assume that the process of registration in NRC will be very difficult and that the government is going to behave in a mala fide manner with Muslims. We should remember that this combining is not inherent to CAB, it will become possible through the further actions of the government, if it does. NRC carried out in the whole country can only identify illegal migrants, but cannot confer legitimacy to apply for citizenship without CAB, nor can the exercise provide for fast-track citizenship. NRC done without CAB can declare the persecuted minorities illegal migrants, but can give no respite to Muslims. The opponents of CAB, in such a case may have the satisfaction of not allowing any benefits to the six communities mentioned in CAB, but can provide to benefit to Muslims who are illegal migrants. This is one-way dependence between CAB and NRC, not mutual.

As per the newspaper reports the NRC has been a mess in Assam. It put many Indian citizens through hardships and no one believes that its results are accurate. The Home Minister Mr. Amit Shah declared in the parliament that the exercise of NRC will cover the whole of the country. If the exercise is done in a manner similar to Assam then this might be genuinely alarming. This is a huge problem without explaining to the public (1) the procedure, (2) providing a guarantee of fairness, (3) assuring that it can be done without too much trouble to people. The government has not done all this, and its actions and pronouncements do not inspire confidence, at present.

As an example of recent pronouncements one can consider Prime Minister Modi’s statement in Dumka, Jharkhand election rally where he said that those who are involved in arson during anti-CAB protests can be recognised by their cloths. People are objecting to this remark, rightly so, but the full story Modi weaves in that speech is much more objectionable. He builds a very diabolical narrative from 33rd to 43rd minutes of this[3] video. First, he singles out congress for working only for the family. Then points out that while criticising BJP and Modi, they start criticising Bharat, and cross the “seema rekha”. Then he points out arsonists as Muslims through their cloths. With a stern face and warning tone reminds Congress that they are supporting these people, and the nation is watching. Claims that the BJP has saved the nation through CAB (desh ko bhi bachaliya hai), a hint that making more Muslims (illegal migrant Muslims) citizens is a serious danger to the country. And then reminds the audience what Pakistanis did in the England in their protest in front of Indian Embassy. Says congress is doing the same here. In this narrative, he is declaring protesters as aligning with Pakistan and antinational; without saying so much in words. Setting up a thought chain in the minds of the listeners and leaving it to take its own course to become antimuslim. This from a PM is very bad, and erodes confidence of people, makes “sabka vishwas” unbelievable. In a democracy people have a right to protest, though no right to violence can be granted. Still protest sometime get into such situations, associating this with a particular religious community with designs to harm India on the basis of cloths cannot be an innocent act, particularly when people from all communities are protesting. This is but one example, BJP functionaries provide many such examples, with repeated calls to send Muslims to Pakistan. All this raises apprehension, regarding NRC.

Still, I don’t think summarily rejecting NRC is a good Idea. If the citizenship register of a country is in mess, no one knows how many foreigners are living there, no one can identify them, then there could be many problems including issues of security. Resources in the hands of foreigners which could be used for harming the country and so on. I don’t see such a situation good for the citizens of the country irrespective of their religion.

If NRC is found to be necessary for the whole country it can be done only if a fair and efficient procedure can be assured. If the public cannot be taken in confidence regarding accurate, fair and reasonably achievable procedures, then NRC has to be abandoned. I have not seen the authentic procedure documents (did not get them), eligibility criteria and list of acceptable documents. There is an article on Wikipedia on this issue. The criteria and documents as per that article do not seem to be too difficult. For example, if the government says that if you have a passport or if your name is in the voters’ list before such and such date then that is good enough as a proof, I don’t think anyone should find it too difficult. But one cannot make Wikipedia article basis for an argument. On the other hand, if the procedure demands that I should produce the name of my grandfather in a voters’ list, and from there on prove ancestry right down to me, with correctly spelled names; then it might be a lot of trouble. And will be a huge problem for poorer sections of the society.

The fact is, we do not know presently what the nationwide procedure and eligibility is going to be. If someone has authentic information on this, I would like to know that. Therefore, before we allow our minds to swing in any direction, we should also know whether NRC can be started throughout the nation just by an order of the government. I do not think that at this moment, but am not sure. If that is not possible and a law is required; then one should wait for that law and decide to support or oppose it when it is available, rather than imagining things and start opposing CAB on the basis of a law which is not even there yet.

The argument I am making is: if the CAB by itself does not do any harm to any Indian citizen and if it passes the test of ‘reasonable difference’ in the supreme court; then we should consider it a case of positive discrimination to minorities in our neighbouring countries, and not against the principle of secularism. Because we do use the principle of positive discrimination on the basis of religion in our own country.

In such a case we may oppose the NRC but not the CAB. Even if the NRC procedure finally turnout to be such that it can be used to discriminate against Muslims citizens of India, we should oppose NRC tooth and nail, and reject it. I see no justification for opposing CAB in the name of NRC. If we oppose CAB in the name of NRC without first knowing about eligibility criteria in NRC, then we are not trying to defend the rights of Indian citizens but are arguing against the lakhs of illegal migrants from three neighbouring countries belonging the minorities there. And we are being unfair.

We know that sooner or later we have to find a solution to the problem of persecuted minorities from ABF already in India. Citizenship seems to be the most suitable solution. We also know that in spite of all the rhetoric the illegal migrant Bangladeshi Muslims cannot be sent back to Bangladesh. Even if the laws demand deportation, it is not practically possible.  Leaving them stateless and without citizenship for ever is neither possible, nor humane. Keeping them in detention camps for ever is also an impossibility. Therefore, India has to develop a long-term policy about gradual citizenship to these people. And that policy should be known to the public. Neither the strategy of denial of their existence or admitting reduced numbers followed by erstwhile governments is good for India, nor the hard attitude of throwing them out is possible. If the government had thought through all these issues before embarking on CAB they could have gained public confidence. Adequate planning to CAB, NRC and a plan for solving the problem of illegal migrants together would have been much more acceptable to the people.


18th December 2019




[1] Though CAB 2019 is passed by both the houses of parliament, I am not sure it has become an Act. If I am correct, it will become an Act when approved by the president and notified in the Gazette of India. But I am not sure on this, so will check.

[2] In my blog “Is Cab against secularism?”



A dialogue with Prof. Shailaja Menon

December 16, 2019

Rohit Dhankar

[This post is a dialogue with a bleeding-heart liberal (by her own admission) friend. We are in habit of having such dialogues time and again. This one was going on FB and is related to my yesterday’s post “Is CAB against secularism?”. That is why posting it here.]

Rohit: (In response to a post by Prof. Bhupenrda Yadav) I am sorry for being politically incorrect but actually do not understand what is wrong in trying to identify illegal migrants from Bangladesh? Have not come across any cogent argument yet. I do understand the limitless harm caused by dubbing Indian citizens as Bangladeshi, but do not understand why CORRECT identification would be wrong?

Shailaja: What is the process that would be followed for CORRECT identification? Ask people to produce documents they may not have access to, run from center to center for days on end, give up earning a living wage on those days? How will you solve problem of lack of correct documentation?

Rohit: By your question should I understand that the OBJECTION is because of lack or impossibility of reliable and fair procedure, and not to the idea of identification itself? If, yes, then it is worthwhile to device or develop reliable and fair procedures.

If the objection is in principle to the idea itself, that need to be shorted out.

So, which one is your objection?

Shailaja: I object to this at multiple levels, in principle, and due to process. Unlike you, I am not comfortable saying humanitarian sentiments you appeal to should only kick in for religious persecution of a certain segment of the population. [The original response from Shailaja was one continuous statement. I am breaking it up into separate points that statement makes, and responding to them one by one.]

Rohit: I am not saying that humanitarian ‘sentiments’ (to me ‘principles’) should kick in only for religious persecution of a segment of population. I am saying for some practical reasons due to religious persecution being one of the major causes of the citizenship crisis of lakhs of people living in India, THIS PARTICULAR ACT is trying to take care of this issue. AND THAT taking such a route to solution is not necessarily morally and legally objectionable. Humanitarian concerns should address other problems as well, and with sensitivity. BUT THE SOLUTION MAY NOT BE THE SAME. ACTUALLY, THE SOLUTION SHOULD NOT BE THE SAME.

Shailaja: I am a bleeding-heart liberal.

Rohit: I too consider myself a liberal in spite of what others think these days. 😊 However, I am not bleeding heart. I try to be as hardnosed rationalist as far as possible, though often fail (unfortunately ☹).

Shailaja: My heart bleeds when I see people migrating for economic reasons, as well.

Rohit: I too have concern for them. But distinguish between someone trying to flee to save his daughter or faith or may be life; and someone moving on the basis of one’s own judgment for better livelihood. And equating the two is injustice to my mind, irrespective of their religions.

Shailaja: My heart bleeds when the Rohingyas are massacred, yes, it’s a complex history, but my heart doesn’t understand these subtle differences when it sees a large section of humanity in distress.

Rohit: I do not have a bleeding heart, and can not demand others to go by MY heart, they may have THEIR OWN hearts. So, I prefer having good reasons that all may understand. However, I have concern for miseries of large populations, and Rohingyas as well. But, do not want to be responsible for it. To me India’s role in this is limited to may be providing temporary shelter and help the concerned countries solve it with as much humanity as possible. I see absolutely no reason for extending speeded up citizenship to Rohingyas. I believe that when India is not legally or morally bound to extend a favour, it has its freedom to restrict it to whom it sees fit.

Shailaja: My heart does not understand the idea of a non porous national border – acorss the world humans have and are migrating across national borders seeking to flee various kinds of atrocities; my heart is not able to sort them out into neat logical categories and behave in a humanitarian way towards one group, and in an indifferent way towards another.

Rohit: My mind understands and is forced to accept national borders; not completely non-porous, but reasonably firm and clear. My mind does not allow me to assume that justice (in all respects) to human life is possible without reasonably defined political formation at the current state of human intellectual and moral development. Such formations have political, legal, and administrative systems. They have economies, cultures, traditions, and ways of functioning. They make human cooperation and sharing the fruits of that cooperation in a just manner possible. I agree that they must be open minded and magnanimous in sharing whatever goods they have managed to create; but that can be done only in a reasonable manner; can not be considered free for all. Therefore, migration across the borders has to be regulated through legal systems. Otherwise, the necessary political and economic system will be destroyed. That reasonableness demands categorising the problems and devising appropriate solutions for each, rather than lumping everything together.

Shailaja: Most of all, Rohitji, my heart does not believe in punishing grandchildren of poor, illiterate muslims for what the elite counterparts of their grandparents chose – your grandparents chose two nations, we remember that, no fast track for you! The sins of the forefathers!

Rohit: My mind Shailaja ji, does not allow me to forget or disregard the causes and reasons advanced for partition; the methods used and resultant loss of human lives and property. The jolt to a developing culture and set-back to a polity. Imagining that those who disagree want to punish grandchildren for the wrong decisions of their grandparents is somewhat insulting to their intellect or moral compass. There could be reasons not motivated by a desire to punish, but based on better grounds.

But, one, I do not know why I should not consider the countries created in this manner at par with hundreds of other countries in the world as far as citizenship of those for whom these countries were created goes. And two, how can I ignore the trauma faced buy those who did not want such division. But accepted with heavy heart once it became inevitable. The division was of population, resources, kind of preferred laws and political formation. Thinking only of the grandchildren of those who wanted partition seems to be one sided to me. What about the legitimate issues, I am not talking of feelings, such open policy may create for the many more grandchildren of those who did not want partition? To be fair means thinking for all.

One needs to look into history of various failed pacts as well. Because of all this: why should one not consider them at par with foreigners coming to India from anywhere in the world? Why should one feel responsible in the same way as the victims of failed pacts and continuing atrocities simply because of their faith? I often wonder why hearts of some of my compatriots bleed only for one section of people who have come to India; and there is no mention at all of atrocities and hardships of those who do not belong to that section? Why their being minorities in other countries is ignored? Fairness and equality demand differentiation on rationally valid criteria. My mind does not allow me to ignore that.


16th December 2019

Babri Masjid and Citizenship Amendment Bill

December 6, 2019

Rohit Dhankar

Babri Masjid

On this day of 6th December 1992, a grave crime against secularism (and therefore, against democracy) was committed by a mob organised and instigated by some powerful people of Bharatiy Janata Party (BJP). The crime was demolition of a centuries old mosque, called Babri Masjid, in Ayodhya. This demolition happened in the face of assurance given by the central government and the state government of that time. This was breach of trust of Indian citizens in general and Muslims in particular.

The perpetrators and instigators of this crime are still unpunished. The Supreme Court since then has awarded the land on which Babri Masjid stood to Hindu parties. It seems to me that the Muslim parties had established their possession on the inner courtyard of the said masjid and therefore, they too had a right to part of this land.

I am also convinced that the Babri Masjid was almost certainly built on the site of a demolished temple of earlier times. I came to this conclusion after reading the SC judgment very carefully and referring to some books and material mentioned therein. Neither the SC not Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) say it clearly, but they also do not deny the possibility. No historian of repute accepts what I am saying. But the ASI report, age old attempts of Hindus to continue worship there and the fact that it is situated in an area which has many old and destroyed temples convinces me that it was built on a temple.

However, since we are a secular democracy since 26th January 1950 and a free country since 15th August 1947, we should have accepted what was there on that land on 15th August 1947. And that was Babri Masjid. Therefore, (1) part of the land should have gone to the Muslim parties, (2) those who demolished the Masjid and aided in this dastardly act should be punished. Irrespective of the SC judgment.


Citizenship Amendment Bill (CAB)

I have written a blog on this yesterday.

It seems most liberals consider CAB an attack on the soul of secular India. I think they are mistaken or taking a deliberately wrong stand out of ideological commitments.

Anyone who pays attention to the following, it seems to me, will come to the conclusion that CAB is an attempt to help oppressed minorities in Pakistan, Bangladesh and Afghanistan and simultaneously to safeguard national security.

Points to note:

  1. People who migrated to territory of what is now Pakistan after partition did not acquire citizenship of free India.
  2. People who remained in the Pakistani territory after a certain date also lost the opportunity to acquire the same.
  3. Pakistan, Bangladesh and Afghanistan are Muslim majority states and Islamic theocratic states. Hindus, Buddhists, Sikhs, Jains, Parsis and Christians are persecuted minorities there, with lesser rights than Muslims. (I am not sure of Bangladesh, regarding constitutionally lesser rights, will check.)
  4. The history of these countries tells us that minorities are oppressed there. Liberals are very reluctant to admit that minorities are persecuted or not given equal rights in most of Muslim majority countries. However, it is true.
  5. As per the Citizenship Act 1955 any one, including Muslims, from any country can become an Indian citizen after following due procedure. This is the main act. The CAB is not restricting that part of the act.
  6. The CAB is providing facility for accelerated citizenship only for the oppressed minorities in these three intolerant countries.
  7. This is not on the basis of religion; it is on the basis of persecution. Because the procedure of naturalisation for all other countries and all religions remains the same as stated in Citizenship Act 1955.
  8. It is necessary because lakhs of such oppressed people are living in India for decades without citizenship rights. Those who are opposing the bill are turning a blind eye to these miserable people.
  9. The facility of accelerated citizenship can not be extended to Muslims from the three mentioned countries because they are not oppressed there for their religion. And two of these countries are created because Muslims wanted that.
  10. It also can not be extended to Muslims because lakhs (some estimates say more than a crore) Bangladeshi Muslims have crossed the boarder and living in India illegally. They did not come here because of any persecution, are illegal and have changed demography in many areas. They cannot be given Indian citizenship.
  11. Therefore, the bill is on the basis of persecution, is not anti-secularism and not unjust to Muslims.
  12. Liberals as well as Muslims should recognise that Islamic supremacy operates in Muslim majority countries in an open and unabashed manner. Where Muslims are in minority this Islamic supremacy changes into an ‘Aggressive Victimhood Card’(AVC). Sensible Muslims and liberals should avoid this trap.
  13. The CAB does not victimise Indian Muslims in any way. They should stop playing this AVC.

If any part of this post offends anyone please see the logic. Avoid name-calling, I am open to sensible arguments. And always admit a possibility of mistake (human error) in facts and/or argument.

Calling people Sicular, Libratard, Bhakta etc expresses an undeserved superiority or stupefy. This actually is a form of stupidity/lack of confidence generated by frustration of not finding good arguments to counter. Counter the arguments if you happen to possess any intellect. Name calling will show you to be an idiot. 😊


6th December 2019






Will Citizenship Amendment Bill make India a Hindu Pakistan?

December 5, 2019

Rohit Dhankar

[This one I have written with much less certainly then most other posts. I am tentative on many of my arguments and will we open to better arguments offered without exaggeration.]

There is a lot of opposition to Citizenship Amendment Bill (CAB). Most people misrepresent what the bill actually wants to do, exaggerate it as if it is denying citizenship to Muslims. Even as balanced people as Yogendra Yadava coin slogans like “Its essence may be summed up as: No Muslims please, this is India”. Which is less then half a truth and maligns India. Some declare India to become “Hindu Pakistan” if the bill is passed. A citizen today needs to examine these claims with a cool head. For that, lets first see what CAB 2019 wants to change in Citizenship Act, 1955.

First, let’s understand that the bill has no effect at all on the status and rights of Indian citizens. All present citizens of India; irrespective of their caste, creed, language, etc.; remain equal citizens. Thus, those who are telling us that it is discriminatory against Muslims citizens of India are telling lies.

Second, it does not debar Muslims from any country of the world from becoming citizens of India through due process. Which is: they can become citizens through naturalisation and by registration. There is no religion-based discrimination in Citizenship Act, 1955 for ordinary people in this regard and CAB 2019 is not snatching away or reducing those rights of any person from any country.

Then what is CAB 2019 supposed to do? Those who want to understand the issue fully in terms of citizenship as in Part II of Constitution, Citizenship Act 1955 and CAB 2019 can click hear to read original documents.

In brief, CAB 2019 wants to do two things (which are relevant to the point of discussion):

One: “Under the existing provisions of the Act, persons belonging to the minority communities, such as Hindus, Sikhs, Buddhists, Jains, Parsis and Christians from Afghanistan, Bangladesh and Pakistan, who have either entered into India without valid travel documents or the validity of their documents have expired are regarded as illegal migrants and hence ineligible to apply for Indian citizenship. It is proposed to make them eligible for applying for Indian citizenship.” That is; it wants to change the definition of “illegal migrants” for persecuted minority communities, such as Hindus, Sikhs, Buddhists, Jains, Parsis and Christians from Afghanistan, Bangladesh and Pakistan. But does not want to change this definition for Muslims from the three countries.

Two: “It is proposed to amend the Third Schedule to the Act to make applicants belonging to minority communities from the aforesaid countries eligible for citizenship by naturalisation in seven years instead of the existing twelve years.”

In brief, it is changing definition of illegal migrants in favour of Hindus, Boudhs, Sikhs, Jains, Parsis and Christians; but not for Muslims. And it is making the possibility of citizenship by naturalisation in seven years for these people, while others will have to wait for 12 years.

Now is it declaring “No Muslims please, this is India”? It is half truth to deceive people, couched in emotive terms. Neither deception nor emotive expression can serve as good arguments. But most of the debate runs on such lines. Mr. Yadav wrote an article in January 2019 titled “With amended Citizenship Act, BJP will do Jinnah proud”

He makes a point that by passing this bill India will accept two nation theory on which Pakistan was created. We will do well to remember that two nation theory was mostly propounded by Muslims from Shah Waliullah to Zinnah via Sir Syed and Iqbal. Among Hindus only Golwalkar and Savarkar, among the people of note, accepted it. Now, Mr. Yadav argues that this bill would mean India has accepted the bigoted theory. Well, finally Nehru, Patel, Gandhi and virtually every congress man and woman has to accept Pakistan. Of course, after they realised that no amount of persuasion and assurance is going to cut any ice among Muslims against the possibility of a Shariya governed theocracy. Did they all accept two nation theory when they accepted Pakistan? Or they were only forced to admit that two nation theory in Muslim mind can not be defeated by their secular arguments?

This bill is criticised for being against secularism. It does not debar Muslims from becoming Indian citizens through due process as defined in Citizenship Act 1955. It only refuses to make it especially easier for them as it makes it for Hindus, Christians, Buddhists, Jains, Parsis and Sikhs coming from precisely three countries where they are persecuted.

Why is the bill proposing to make it easies for persons belonging to these communities? Well, who does not know that these communities are being persecuted in the three Islamic Theocratic states mentioned? They have come into India in large number to escape such persecution due only to their religion. Staying here for years, some for decades. Most of them remained in Pakistan and Bangladesh after partition hoping they will be allowed to live there as human beings. But the Islamic intolerance, which is squarely denied by most liberals, proved to be stronger than their hope. Should India do something to help them in coming out of their miseries? A humanitarian answer seems to be yes. But those opposing the CAB argue that “don’t make any concessions to persecuted, unless you are ready to make the same to Muslims who are not persecuted as well”.

The crux of the secular argument, as Barkha Dutt elaborates in her ill argued piece, is: if it is because of persecution why does not India extend the same hospitality to Balochis, Shias, Ahmadis from Pakistan and Rohingyas from Myanmar?

This is an interesting mix of categories. Balochis are being persecuted not for religion, but for political reasons. Of course, India should help them as much as it can and also give them political asylum and refugee status if need be. But why facilitate citizenship? Political struggles are to gain rights at their own place.

Shias and Ahmadis may be prosecuted in Pakistan today for their faiths. But they demanded Pakistan for Muslims along with Sunnis. They were part of the two-nation theory and were successful in getting what they wanted. The problems they are facing are their own creation. Muslims when partitioned the country on the basis of religion lost all rights for special consideration. However, if they want to become citizens of India, they can follow the normal course of coming with proper documents, which they can easily do, and apply for naturalisation, they will get their citizenship if deserved in 12 years. Why should India make special considerations for them?

Rohingyas is a very complicated story. Their history in Myanmar has not been only of victims but also includes separatism, Shariya movements, attacking Rakhines, denying equal citizenship without special consideration for shariya etc. Also, India has no special obligation to them. They certainly do not deserve facilitation of citizenship. May be temporary refugee status as per the refugee conventions and on sweet will of India.

The argument that the facilitation of citizenship acquisition is being based on religion is not entirely true. It is not being advanced for Hindus etc. from all countries of the world. But only from three Muslim majority Islamic theocratic states. The real reason is not religion but religious persecution. There is a difference between the two for those who want to see. India is being forced by the Islamic intolerance in the three named countries, it is a response to a crisis created by these countries where India is at the receiving end, it is a consequence of their intolerance and resultant situation. Not something India is initiating.

Still India blaming is the favourite social mediate discourse. Let’s see a few tweets.

Arfa Khanum Sherwani, @khanumarfa: All this while, we were protesting and resisting to save India from turning into a ‘Hindu Pakistan’. But now it looks like the day is not far when we will turn into a ‘Hindu Israel’. #CitizenshipAmendmentBill, 10:53 PM · Dec 4, 2019·Twitter for iPhone

Her and her friends use of ‘Hindu Pakistan’ is multilayer and interesting. Let’s not forget that Pakistan was created by cutting a chunk out of a very old country for the sake of religion. There is also a hint that Hinduism has all the making of an intolerant religion as Islam has proved through history. It is to malign Hinduism to equate it with Islam in intolerance. This kind of rhetoric will force people to ask harsh questions, which liberals will see as non-secular. Which Hindu scripture sanctions jihad on non-believers? This is important because intolerance at the level Pakistan practices necessarily requires scriptural sanction. When in history Hindus indulged in forced conversions? This is relevant because Pakistan practices it in the name of Islam. When did Hindus destroy others’ places of worship? This is important because Pakistan did that in the name of Islam and Islam did it throughout the world in the name of religion of Allah. The people who talk of Hindu Pakistan do not notice that Hinduism does not have the theological and cultural ingredients to create something as monstrous as Pakistan even if majoritarian attitude hardens. Secular Hindus will surely defeat the BJP kind of Hindu-tilt; but the more the liberals equate Hinduism and Islam in intolerance longer time they will take and more efforts they will have to make.

Yogendra Yadav suggests a portrait of Jinnah along with Savarkar. “@_YogendraYadav: When passing CAB, Lok Sabha should install a portrait of Jinnah, alongside Savarkar. If Bapu was alive, he would have done a fast unto death agaist this preposterous law that strikes at the idea of India.”

His secularism argument we have dealt with. Bapu’s fast hardly makes anything right. Bapu did many things to push his ideas and ideals as well as favoured individuals on the basis of not any spiritual power but pure emotional and political blackmail and Ambedkar noticed. Maybe he would have won even today, but that hardly makes it right.

Savarkar, in-spite of his Hindutva accepted equality of all citizens by 1944 resolution of Hindu Mahasabha. And he did nothing to divide the country. Jinnah deliberately divided the country. Again an untenable parallel which will reduce the weight of his good arguments.

Saba Naqvi is more balanced “@_sabanaqvi: #CAB would make India a #HinduRashtra in spirit and law. It should be legally challenged for discriminating against people on basis of religion. 6:34 PM · Dec 4, 2019·Twitter for Android

Her first claim of course is wrong. Passing of the bill will certainly not make India a Hindu Rashtra. As all citizens will still remain equal irrespective of their religion. But if the bill is seen as discriminating one should take it to the court. That is definitely a proper way of dealing with legislations bulldozed through parliament but happen to be against the spirit of constitution.

Prof. S Irfan Habib is a very sane voice in today’s climate. Even he thinks that it is against the spirit of Indian nationhood. “@irfhabib Tweeted: The CAB stands against the very spirit of Indian nationhood and inclusive nationalism as defined by our founding fathers. Leaders like Gandhi, Patel, Nehru, Azad and others debated and discussed it intensively during freedom struggle which was later enshrined in the Constitution. (”.

But even he does not payed attention to the situation in which India is pushed because of intolerance to minorities in its neighbourhood. Indian nationhood primarily constitutes in treatment of its citizens and rights and entitlements its citizens enjoy. So far, we have no discriminatory legislations which curtain or deny rights on the basis of religion. Yes, we are going through a turmoil. But we will go through it without harming any section of the Indian citizens as well as without harming the secularism and democracy.

An interesting feature of all such writing is that none of them pays even lip service to the atrocities faced by minorities in Pakistan, Bangladesh and Afghanistan. Forget about suggesting any measures to help those persecuted people. These are the same people who have such huge sympathy for Rohingyas. Well, if you think that making citizenship easier to these persecuted people is against secularism, please do suggest what India should do with lakhs of such people in India? Or do you insist that the same facility be extended to those who have come here of their own freewill without any persecution? Would that be just?

Finally, to the doom’s day says: India is an old country with an age old cultural and religious diversity. Its constitutional nationhood is new, but as a ‘country’ it is millennia old. Its tradition of tolerance and dealing with multiple perspectives on life and world is very old. Even if we deny it vehemently, this tradition of tolerance and accepting diversity has played a very important role in keeping India secular even after a bloody partition based on religion. Presently, that tradition is under threat, its is true. But the threat has at least partially emerged because there is a certain ‘intolerance’ in the voluble elite even to the mention of anything good Indian, its culture and Hinduism. The BJP and RSS saw the opportunity of harnessing this public irritation with this constant maligning,  and captures public imagination in this environment. The so-called intellectuals did not know how to communicate with the masses, therefore, could not counter BJP etc.

But in-spite of the failure of western bookish intellectuals and misguided rhetoric of BJP, Indian culture will create solutions which will remain open, inclusive, tolerant, democratic and sane. Or at the least I hope so.


5 December 2019