A tide of intolerance

Published: November 6, 2015
Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi. PHOTO: AFP

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi. PHOTO: AFP

The countries of the Indian subcontinent are being swept by a tide of intolerance that is politically powered and rising fast. Bangladesh has seen the hacking to death of secular bloggers and intellectuals, Pakistan continues to see minority faiths persecuted, usually without any response from government and India is sliding towards the abyss. The election of Narendra Modi has been a disaster from the human rights perspective. The thugs that were held in check under previous governments have been let off the leash and intolerance now shows its face everywhere. People suspected of eating beef have been beaten to death by mobs fired up by nationalist preachers and no minority faith group is safe — not that they were particularly safe under the previous government, but they are even less safe with Mr Modi at the helm.

Fortunately, not all Indians are of the same mind as the philistines currently running amok, and the artistic and literary communities are gradually organising themselves into a response, at the moment limited to returning the awards they have been given by their government. One such returnee is Arundhati Roy who has returned her 1989 National Award for Best Screenplay and in doing so has joined other writers, filmmakers and academics, who have done likewise.

Arundhati Roy has a global profile, a voice that is widely heard and her writings widely read — a Booker prize winner no less. She speaks of the current “ideological viciousness” as an assault on the collective IQ that has the potential to tear the country apart if it is not stemmed. Melodramatic as that may seem, Ms Roy may not be wide of the mark in what she fears. She is also prescient, saying that there is no surprise at what is afoot, people knew what they were voting for and there was a plenitude of advance notice as to what was going to happen if Mr Modi was elected. Intolerance feeds in the sewers and quickly grows fat, becoming the fell beast that slouches down the road to Dhaka, Delhi and Islamabad. Give this beast an inch and it will take the proverbial mile.

Published in The Express Tribune, November 7th, 2015.

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Reader Comments (13)

  • Sameer
    Nov 7, 2015 - 12:35AM

    Modi is the best thing happened to India, within 18 month of Modi’s tenure, India registered highest 7.5 growth rate with 380 billion dollars forex reserve, plus first time India improves better ranks then China in least corrupted countries, also india improved 12 points in ease of doing business list……and recently India became 7th biggest brand in the world,,,,this is just the beginning……
    and intolerant rant is created by NGO funded people, because Modi govt has kept banning foreign funded NGOs including green peace n ford foundationRecommend

  • ahmed
    Nov 7, 2015 - 12:39AM

    Alleged Persecution of minorities by not providing equal oppurtunities being compared to being lynched by mobs for allegedly,yes allegedly eating beef and Government officials comparing minority communities to dogs and giving open threats to ministers belonging to minorities.Good going ET,great reportingRecommend

  • Skywalker
    Nov 7, 2015 - 4:05AM

    Let us fix our own house, as charity begins at home so does progress. We need to cleanup our own house first.Recommend

  • Asif
    Nov 7, 2015 - 5:43AM

    Can India become a Hindu Pakistan? Hopefully not. It is too big and diverse. Despite nationalistic animosities, there is admiration india’s elections and democracy, secularism. Let’s hope for the best.Recommend

  • Arijit Sharma
    Nov 7, 2015 - 8:50AM

    ” … and the artistic and literary communities are gradually organising themselves into a response, … ”

    See, the Indian public is not gullible. They see this whole “Award Wapasi” for what it is – a charade. When this unravels, PM Modi will emerge stronger and the entire left-liberal-pseudo-secular cabal will be left in the dirt.Recommend

  • Hari Om
    Nov 7, 2015 - 12:09PM

    It is only to be expected that cries of intolerance will be made as policies built to pander to minorities following Alien religions originating in the Middle East for narrow electoral gains despite going against cultural norms of indigenous Religions like Buddhism, Sikhism, Jainism and Hinduism; are steadily dismantled. The BJP and Prime Minister Modi should ignore this whining and hold the course knowing that there is broad support in the Nation for them.Recommend

  • Amit Lunia
    Nov 7, 2015 - 1:08PM

    Govt should promote pork instead of beef amongst the poor and minoritiesRecommend

  • Vakil
    Nov 7, 2015 - 1:14PM

    I read this article/editorial with a lot of interest… and even agreed with it (in most parts) — until there was a mention of a certain ‘Arundhati Roy’ (for substantiation I presume) …after which its credibility (IMHO) pretty much reduced to Zero, or thereabouts! Recommend

  • G. Din
    Nov 7, 2015 - 7:39PM

    Arundhati Roy is a one-book wonder and a philosophic contrarian. She is opposed to anything and everything others may expound. Only she knows the Truth. In other words, she is an egotistical maniac who believes, like some other one we all know, that she has direct line to God or Truth or whatever humbug she believes in. Her friend, Burkha Dutt has said elsewhere in this issue of ET that we Indians don’t deserve the “great” Khan of Bollywood. I agreed with her (Burkha) and suggested there that we shall be willing to surrender him to any country that would have him and that we would throw in Burkha and the other “great” Khan – Yousuf-, too, as a bonus. PLease include Arundhati also in that package.Recommend

  • Nov 7, 2015 - 8:12PM

    yes, I concur. After she was mentioned, I skipped all the rest. She is a despicable Indian. Who looks at her with respect -none barring staunch leftists(Maoists), Kashmiri separatists like Gillanee etc or Pakistanis.
    Anyway, it would not be a surprise if a news on this editorial gets published in papers like Hindustan Times etc. Some of Indian media outlets suck up to these trivias of analysis. Recommend

  • Komal S
    Nov 8, 2015 - 3:50AM

    I understand Pakistan’s love for Arundhati and don’t blame them. Somebody needs to tell Arundhati, Teesta and others that India is a democratic country and in a democracy people elect their Government and leaders and many a times the leaders elected may not be to your personal liking. In a democracy the best way to handle this would be to have some dignity and grace. Unfortunately Arundhati lacks neither dignity nor grace when accepting Modi as her PM. She has been going around demeaning the PM of India in every available opportunity. Of course she has every right to do that, but people like her will actually dilute the cause she is supposedly fighting for as no Indian worth their salt would ever want to align with the likes of Arundhati. Recommend

  • someone
    Nov 8, 2015 - 9:52AM

    Pakistanis love arunadhiti and hate asma. Ironical.Recommend

  • someone
    Nov 8, 2015 - 9:56AM

    Pakistanis love to hate hindus. They hate Gandhi and Nehru who agreed with Jinnah for creation of Pakistan. They hate Modi/RSS ,who give Pakistanis excuse for the creation of their country and hence justification of having Pakistan. Confused, are not they? Recommend

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