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How Indian secularism could still be saved

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But for the formal declaration, India may already be a Hindu Rashtra.

A government that so eagerly criminalised triple talaq but still can’t act on the Supreme Court’s advice to enact a law to curb mob lynching is a Hindutva government, making India a Hindutva state where minorities are second-class citizens with unequal rights.

A government that wants to bring in a law that grants citizenship to refugees on the basis of their religion is a Hindutva government. When Bengali Muslims in Assam have to prove that their grandfathers were Indian, and the government says it will extend this process to the whole of India, how are we still a secular state?

Making India a Hindu rashtra does not need replacing the tricolour with a saffron flag. As scholar Asim Ali recently wrote: “What most people don’t understand is that symbols need not be abolished, because they can always be appropriated and then subverted. The tiranga that represents liberty and equality for most Indians is proudly displayed on social media by people bent on destroying those very ideals. It was indeed the Indian flag, and not a saffron one, that was used to drape the body of a man accused of lynching a Muslim.”

What’s interesting here is that Hindutva needed to appropriate the Indian flag to gain legitimacy. Indeed, Prime Minister Narendra Modi has fused Hindutva with Indian nationalism. Hindutva forces now decide who is a nationalist and who is anti-national.

At the headquarters of the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) in Nagpur, the Indian flag was hoisted on 26 January 2002 after a gap........

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