“Understanding Hindutva Mindset and Indian Hegemonic Aspirations”
16th December, 2020
“Today, India is falling in the pitfalls of extremism and polarization,” stated the President of Islamic Republic of Pakistan, Dr Arif Alvi while addressing the seminar titled, “’Understanding Hindutva Mindset & Indian Hegemonic Aspirations” organized by India Study Centre, Institute of Strategic Studies Islamabad(ISSI) on December 16. The seminar comprised of two sessions titled, “Mapping Hindutva Mindset” and “Hindutva: Rise of Saffron Terrorism in South Asia.”
The President of Pakistan, Dr. Arif Alvi was the Chief Guest at the occasion. Senator Shibli Faraz, Federal Minister for Information and Broadcasting joined as a Guest of Honor. The two sessions were chaired by Ambassador Jalil Abbas Jilani and Air Marshal (Retd) Javaid Ahmed HI (M), VC Air University respectively. Other speakers at the occasion included: Dr. Khurram Iqbal, National Defence University, Islamabad; Ambassador Asif Durrani, Islamabad Policy Research Institute; Mr. Ahmer Bilal Soofi, Research Society of International Law; and Mr. Khalid Rehman, Director General, Institute of Policy Studies, Islamabad.
In his keynote address, the President maintained that India does not care about its own minorities nor its neighbors. The ideology of Hindutva has totally captured the Indian society as it is becoming increasingly exploitative. National Register of Citizens and Citizenship Amendment Act are all meant to isolate the Muslims which are around 15 per cent of the Indian population. India is also arming itself to teeth as it is procuring latest weapon systems. All of this when linked with Hindutva ideology presents Pakistan with a very dangerous situation. The President was of the view that the chances of the reversal of current rise of Hindu nationalism are bleak at the moment. He expressed his optimism saying that Pakistan is at the threshold of becoming a power, but for that to happen, ensuring economic strength is important.
While addressing the seminar, Senator Shibli Faraz stated Modi’s Hindutva ideology is transitioning India to the biggest fascist regime of the world for it is based on discrimination, hatred, and superiority. Highlighting the indifferent attitude of the world towards India, the Minister further said that such actions have emboldened India to carry out its Hindutva designs through the Citizenship Act, atrocities in Kashmir, its attitude towards minorities, and its terrorist activities to destabilize Pakistan.
While chairing the first session, Ambassador Jalil Abbas Jilani stressed upon the emergence of Hindutva mindset and its implications for not only India’s polity but also for the immediate neighborhood. Contextualizing the rise of RSS-BJP, Dr Khurram Iqbal maintained that the apologists of Hindutva say that this ideology is nationalistic in its view. However, this is far from truth. The Hindutva ideology is prone to violence, is expansionists and is a threat to not only Muslims, but to all other minorities in India. Ambassador Asif Durrani expressed his views about the rise of “Hindu Nationalism: From Secularism to Extremism.” He noted that the RSS thrust has always been that India has been ruled over by outsiders and thus it is time for Hindus to take over. The Ambassador further said that in today’s India, BJP is writing a new and biased history, criminalizing Muslims and all non-Hindus communities.
Chairing the second session, Air Marshal Javaid Ahmed (Retd) HI (M) noted that a modern day version of intolerance is leading India at the moment where it has reached a point of no return. Historically, the ruling parties in India have used the existing fault-lines in the society for their own gains. He further maintained that the ongoing farmers’ protests in India add more nails in its coffin. Providing a legal perspective on Hindutva and human rights violations in India, Mr. Ahmer Bilal Soofi said that since no attempt is being made by India to conceal identities of crime venues, it becomes incumbent upon us to responsibly package such glaring evidence and present it to international community. This packaging needs to be changed from exhaustive human rights violation mantra to a more specific criminal liability package. Mr. Khalid Rehman was of the view that the role of the RSS ideology and consequent Indian involvement in dismemberment of Pakistan is no secret now. He highlighted many reasons of the rise of RSS-BJP including Modi’s subsequent 12 years rule in Gujarat and post 9/11 increasing trends of Islamophobia across the globe. Towards the end, he further noted that there are indications that the hate-oriented policies will gradually keep weakening the country from inside which will pave way for sensible people both living in India or outside to come forward.
Earlier in his introductory remarks Dr. Saif Malik, Director India Study Centre, ISSI stated that today’s seminar is highly significant in view of the prevailing geo-strategic environment in the South Asian region. Rounding up the seminar, the Director General ISSI, Ambassador Aizaz Ahmad Chaudhry highlighted the significance of building counter narratives and the role of think tanks in this regard.