1937 All Over Again
Syeda Mazhar


It’s no surprise that India has a repressive attitude towards the Muslims in Kashmir; its war mongering strategies regarding Pakistan is not a startling revelation either. Considering the tyranny and alienation that the Muslims in India are subjected to, should tell the world just HOW empathetic and benevolent can India be towards other Muslim majority countries or states.

The Hindus in India have a way of defying its slogans of secularism and letting the world know that the Muslims were always right about wanting to break up with them. Be it 1937 or 2016; it’s rare that a Hindu majority government leaves a stone unturned in taking the Muslims to the point of wanting to break free.
The winter of 1936-37 brought with itself the election which changed the course of history in the subcontinent. Before these elections, Muhammad Ali Jinnah rejected the Two Nation Theory and his only demand was for separate electorate for the Muslims in India. Jinnah, with his secular thoughts, did not believe that the Muslims of India needed a separate nation where they could practice Islam freely and let Islam flourish. This opinion of his was however, changed when Congress came in power in February 1937.
Bande Matram, which was against the Muslim beliefs, was made the national anthem. Hindi was made the national language. The educational reforms had an anti-Muslim ring to it; not only did the ‘Warda Taleemi Scheme’ aim at removing the Two Nation Theory from the Muslim students’ minds; the Vidiya Matram scheme inculcated Hindu culture in the minds of the students. Muslims were socially and economically shunned and isolated. Jobs at top positions were not given to Muslims, disregarding the merit system. This was an eye opener for the Muslims who voted for Congress (thinking of it as a secular party), and in the 1945-46 elections, Muslim League was blindly chosen by the Muslims throughout India.
India, today, is no different. There are 14.2% Muslims in all of India- which is the largest religious minority in the country. India sent a satellite to Mars, while at the same time, 4 Muslim men were killed across India for the suspicion of having eaten beef. As absurd as it may sound, this is the reality of the biggest democracy of Pakistan. Despite India’s free judiciary, no extreme measures were taken against the oppressors. This despotic attack was fueled by none other then Hindu right-wing party; Bharatiya Janta Party.
There were also attacks on Christians, time and again. From burning churches, to physically abusing the pastors and nuns, Hindu extremist left no choice but for soul-ly Indian Christians to feel like outsiders.
The Prime Minister of India being a member of BJP, completely ignored these events and considered them a non-issue. It’s not just surprising but also pitiable, that a Prime Minister is not concerned about the events taking place INSIDE his country, and is more interested in waging a war with the neighboring country (utilizing the tax money of the same Indian citizens who are being attacked inside their homes).
As said by William Stark, an expert in South Asia with ICC. “It’s a radical Hindu ideology, if you see someone Muslim or Christian, they’re following a foreign faith, and they’re defiling India because they’re following a foreign faith.”
As much as India tries to use the façade of technology, blooming trade in electronics and textiles, and exotic Bollywood songs to cover the slaughter of democracy taking place within its very own boundaries; it tends to forget that the world is not blind. Human Right Watch has a history of pointing out the bigotry and discrimination within India, as well as that taking place in Kashmir. Not much should be expected from a nation that uses ‘rape’ as a weapon of war to intimidate innocent Kashmiris. An army that feels no shame in firing metal pellets into the eyes of unarmed protestors and blinding them for life, furthermore attacking hospitals and ambulances, should not be mistaken for peacemakers- as they claim to be.
It should not, however, be forgotten, that the Prime Minister of India- Narendera Modi, was one of the chief initiator of the Gujrat Violence in 2002. According to the Human Rights Watch, this attack was preplanned and the state government was involved (which at that time was BJP), resulting in the death of 2000 innocent Muslims. In July 2013 it was reported that the Special Investigation Team had suppressed the evidences against Modi. The event is entitled as a communalist riot, many analysts and scholars however call it a preplanned and well-orchestrated upheaval.
Going back to 1937; Indian Nation Congress- a Hindu majority party was not ashamed about its obvious back-pedal from the claims of secularism. Just as Modi is audacious enough to state that the discrimination towards the minorities is ‘imaginary’. In one the interview for a magazine, he stated: “All religions and all communities have the same rights and it is my responsibility to ensure their complete and total protection. So there is no place for imaginary apprehensions with regard to the rights of the minorities in India.” It is now clearly understood why the Muslim leaders in the 1940’s were forced to ‘draw a line’ on the map, as well as socially. Disrespect, bigotry and discrimination is still fluid in India as it was 70 years ago, hence justifying the creation of Pakistan.