Raucous Hindu groups are scoring self-goals, living up to Western stereotypes feeding Hinduphobia
Defending Hindus on the ground from Islamist violence or demographic takeover can be done without shouting from rooftops. One does not need to play into propagandists’ hands
All India Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen chief Asaduddin Owaisi is an intelligent and articulate man. Unlike his brother Akbaruddin or his party colleague Waris Pathan, he does not usually make incendiary comments.
So, when he threatened the police in Kanpur that after Narendra Modi PM-ship and Yogi Adityanath’s CM-ship, there will be no one to protect them from the wrath of Muslims (a statement he later predictably said was quoted out of context), he must have had cold reason to utter those words.
Uttar Pradesh’s 4.4 crore Muslims are a huge catchment area for Owaisi’s party this election. With Mayawati’s BSP ceasing to be the force it once was and the Congress reduced to a fringe player since the ’80s, Akhilesh Yadav’s Samajwadi Party is the only option for the overwhelming majority of Muslims opposed to the BJP. AIMIM senses a big opportunity in India’s most populous state.
A shrill communal pitch may sway many Muslims away from SP, BSP and Congress. While Owaisi knows he won’t get Hindu votes, these parties cannot brazenly be pro-Muslim any longer without risking desertion by Hindus. AIMIM did reasonably well in Bihar in 2020, winning five of the 20 seats it had contested.
In contrast, loudmouths who called for violence to defend Hindus against Muslims, or mobs going around raiding Christmas shops or burning Santa Claus effigies are harming the Hindu cause. Besides feeding to the international anti-Narendra Modi cabal’s narrative of Hindutva being violent, it may scare away a crucial floating population of Hindus who are not committed to any party or ideology and see such acts as nuisance.
The Haridwar 'Dharma Sansad', a congregation organised by Yati Narsinghanand’s Dasna Hindu Peeth, Ghaziabad, played into every trope that the Left and Islamists have built of regressive Hindutva. From announcing prizes for those who organise militant resistance to talking about shooting former PM Manmohan Singh after he said minorities should have the first right to the nation’s resources, it was a circus of the loonies.
Defending Hindus on the ground from Islamist violence or demographic takeover can be done without shouting from rooftops. One does not need to play into propagandists’ hands.
One may not care about international headlines in Left-controlled outlets like the New York Times or The Guardian. After all, China has become what it is today despite a million international headlines. But Hinduphobia is real in the West. Such events and uttering will only fuel it further.
India can do without such sprightly self-goals.
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