It is crucial to not only condemn Modi and Hindu Nationalist lawmakers but also condemn U.S.-based Hindu support for the Prime Minister and his allies.
CW: Islamophobia, mentions of ethnic cleansing and genocide.
Last week, the Indian Parliament approved a bill that provides citizenship to Buddhist, Christian, Hindu, Jain, and Sikh migrants from Afghanistan, Bangladesh, and Pakistan. While the new legislation offers Indian nationality to thousands, it flagrantly denies the same to any migrant that practices Islam.
The northeastern state of Assam erupted in protest, as the citizenship bill passed in Parliament. Assam houses nearly 11 million Bengali Muslims, who are now at risk of citizenship revocation, subsequent statelessness, or imprisonment.
In the wake of the bill’s approval, a Genocide Watch has been declared in Assam, which occurs “when early warning signs indicate that a genocide process is underway.”
Prime Minister Narendra Modi is a known Hindu nationalist. As the former chief minister of the state of Gujarat, Modi silently sanctioned state-sponsored violence aimed to ethnically cleanse the state of its minority Muslim population. The resulting 2002 pogrom culminated in the death of 1,071 Muslims and the desecration of 527 Muslim sites of worship.
“We do not want to leave a single Muslim alive in Gujarat,” said one Gujarat rioter. “Now the Hindus of the villages should join the Hindus of the cities and complete the work of annihilation of Muslims.”
As the present prime minister, Modi has doubled down on his well-documented quest for a Muslim-free India. His youth was spent in active membership of the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh — a far-right, male-only, paramilitary volunteer organization set to establish “Hindutva” or “the RSS’s vision of India as a Hindu state.” Think Hindu nationalist India’s version of the SS. RSS and Hindu nationalists like Modi even received acclaim from terrorist Anders Breivik for their readiness to “attack Muslims when things get out of control.”
All of this is why it is crucial to not only condemn Modi and Hindu Nationalist lawmakers but also condemn U.S.-based Hindu support for the Prime Minister and his allies.
In an episode of Netflix’s The Patriot Act about the Asian American vote, Hasan Minhaj is refused entry to the September Howdy Modi rally held in Houston, Texas. He continues to interview a handful of the nearly 50,000 attendees, as they entered and exited the arena.
Minhaj questions attendees of their support of Trump, but he does not raise similar critique of their solidarity with Modi.
Trump and Modi represent white supremacy and Hindu supremacy, respectively. Both ideologies, however, are intimately linked in their Islamophobia. Your distaste or indifference for one cannot exist separately from your distaste or indifference for the other.
To support Modi, to even exist in a space that met his entrance with raucous applause, is to be anti-Muslim. To say that that you are indifferent, as one attendee expressed, is to be anti-Muslim.
U.S.-based Hindus cannot meet Modi and his policies with an apolitical complacency. To be complacent, especially toward a politician that agitates and then praises lynchings of Muslims, is to remain silent in the face of a potential genocide. Silence will always be a form of support.