Since most of our contributors haven’t been enabled yet it’s pretty much me manning the fort. Two always riveting pieces from Centre India (lest I deviate from a “Brown” Topic) . The below is from Harsh Gupta who I follow on twitter and it touches on Indian identity, which is an apparently inexhaustible topic (like Israeli identity) since they have to at least nominally some measure of inclusion (purport to be liberal democracies) yet also chauvinism (such is the way of nationalism).
The Indian centre-left tries to co-opt Christians, dalits, tribals and the “very poor” into a coalition that is electorally sustainable. In 2009, large sections of the urban middle class too went with them. But they are now coming back towards the BJP, which has grown from middle and upper castes in North India to a broader coalition.
The Muslim percentage of population of what is now India is about half of what it was in 1924, because of the partition, despite faster population growth amongst Indian Muslims. The 2011 census results as far as I know have not yet been broken down by religion, but the Muslim population should be around 15%, higher than 13.6% in 2001. This would mean the Indian Muslim population is around 180-190 million Muslims. The 250 million number peddled by fanatics – both Hindu and Muslim – is simply inaccurate. Sikhs and especially Christians make significant religious minorities as well. A Letter to Indian Muslim Youth
India and identity – In ten pieces Varshney’s writing (‘Why India must allow hyphens‘, IE, Feb 13) that “If Indians can be Gujarati Indians or Hindu Indians, why can’t there be Muslim Indians or Christian Indians?”, is a strawman. Nobody is saying Indians cannot see themselves and fellow citizens as belonging to any group. The argument is simply for the government to not see Indians as Hindus, Muslims, and Christians or so on… 9. Against entrenched identities – Indian Express
…it is high time the Indian state breaks from Nehru’s construct of seeing religious minorities as “separate from us” and stops indulging in the “soft bigotry of low expectations” from certain communities.
2 thoughts on “A lonely BP”
The Indian centre-left tries to co-opt Christians, dalits, tribals and the “very poor” into a coalition that is electorally sustainable.
First, you mean Congress? CPM does not have a big ST or even SC/Muslim vote bank.
next, You mean "Muslims, dalits, tribals and the “very poor” into a coalition that is electorally sustainable."
Christians are 1.5% of the population spread over some 5 states. They are not a vote ban in any case.
"it is high time the Indian state breaks from Nehru’s construct of seeing religious minorities as “separate from us” and stops indulging in the “soft bigotry of low expectations” from certain communities."
This is nonsense. Christians, parsis, Sikhs or Jains are not low expectationed(!); thya re talking about Muslims. However, they are talking about Muslims in BIMARU states and Bengal. In which case, entire populations of the states are subject to low expectations.
(1) CPM gets SC/ST votes in Kerala, I think. The Congress and its allies (like the Muslim League) have a reputation for being elite-backed. Rich FC Christians (Syrian Catholics, Orthodox Christians), Rich Muslims, Rich FC Hindus back Congress. CPM does get some votes from all of these constituencies especially during anti-incumbent waves (standard feature in Kerala) but the poor and low-castes from all sections side with CPM and its allies generally. Of course nationally, the CPM is a dead party.
(2) Spot on about "low expectations". That is code-word for Muslims but should actually be BIMARU. It works for both the left and right to "bait" Muslims in this manner though for the opposite reasons (or maybe the same reason- to avoid discussing real issues and obsess about identity and religion).
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