Wednesday 19 February 2020

Political, religious & demographic dynamics in South Asia & threatened co-existence of people with pluralities

Source DrFeroz, 10 Feb

Conference Papers of Paris University & University of Le Havre of Normandy on "Rising Asia"
by Firoz Mahboob Kamal

Rising Asia

'Rising Asia' now runs as a myth in many Asian and non-Asian countries. But such a myth hides many awful realities. The case of 'rising Europe' in the past with its mighty economy, military and technology provides valuable insights to analyse the so-called myth of 'rising Asia'. While Europe showed its fastest economic growth, also showed its fastest morale down-turn. Because of such moral down-turn, Europe could become the fertile breeding ground for evil ideologies like colonialism, imperialism, white supremacism, nationalism, racism and fascism. In fact, genocidal wars, colonial wars, World Wars and ethnic cleansing owe to such moral down turn. In those rising days of the west, the moral down-turn went so low that it couldn't find any wrong in elimination of Red Indians from Americas, aborigines from Australia and Maoris from New Zealand. And, killings could be done on an industrial scale. As a result, they could kill about 75 million people only in two World Wars. This is why, the worst catastrophe in whole history is not caused by earthquakes, epidemics, cyclones or tsunamis; but by humans.

The same myth of economic development now dominates the socio-political spectrum of South Asia. The economic development has overruled the importance of moral development. And moral ill health or death now shows its own expression. In India, Muslims are being lynched to death on alleged accusation that they eat beef. On such a pretext, 25 Muslims are killed by the Hindu radicals in a period from 2015 to the middle of 2017. (Ananda Bazar Patrika, 2020). In 1992, more than 500 year-old historical Babri Mosque in Ayodhya was razed to the ground on a mythological assumption that Ram –a Hindu deity was born there. The Supreme Court of India declared in its recent judgement that there exists no evidence that the mosque was built on a Hindu temple. Surprisingly, absence of evidence couldn't prohibit the Supreme Court judges from incorporating the Hindutva motive in their judgement. Therefore, the judges gave the dismantled mosque site to the perpetrators of the crime to build a temple there! Whereas in a previous ruling, the same judiciary condemned the destruction of the mosque as a heinous crime. Therefore, with the Hindutva fascists in power, everything looks changed. The police, the prosecution, the Hindutva politician, the judiciary, the media and the executive branch of the government now work together to promote the same Hindutva objective. Now, appeasement of the ruling Hindutva forces overrules the delivery of fair justice.

The Muslim population of India is about 200 million –larger than the combined population of France, Germany and the UK. The development of a state is indeed the aggregate development of all people of all denominations. Hence hindered access to education and training, employment opportunities for everyone and optimum utilisation of every talent and skills are vital. Any obstruction or exclusion of anyone restrict development. The GDP of country is indeed the summation of added values not only on land and materials but also on every individual. Therefore, if 200 million people are kept out of the value-adding process and employment, how can a country progress? Awfully such a basic rule of development is ignored only to harm Muslims. They also ignore to realize that such a policy immensely harms India. The impact reflects on the economic indicators. In terms of per capita income and hunger index, India stands lower than even Bangladesh –the bottomless basket case of the early seventies.

Currently, Muslims constitute about 15 per cent of the Indian population; but only 4 per cent of them are graduate and only 5 per cent are in the government jobs. (Sachar Committee Report, 2006). The maximisation of economic wellbeing of the Hindus and their access to the government offices are being achieved and sustained by maximum deprivation or exclusion of the Muslims. Such a discriminatory and restrictive policy was first initiated by the British colonial occupiers since they snatched power from the Muslim rulers. But it hasn't been changed by the subsequent Indian governments. Now, with the Hindutva forces in power, the exclusion of the Muslims has become an overt government policy. More than 44 million Muslims live in Uttar Prodesh –the country's largest province, but in 2014 election not a single Muslim was allowed to sit in the parliament. It is also worth noting that the Hindutva forces are not happy with the current level of exclusion, they want to put more restriction. In order to put permanent prohibition, they want to deprive Muslims of their citizenship rights. So, tools like National Citizenship Registrar (NCR) and Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) are introduced. BJP's West Bengal chief told in public that 10 million Muslims will be evicted from West Bengal by deploying NCR. (Ananda Bazar Patrika, 17 February 2020). Millions of Muslims are targeted to make them stateless on the accusation that they have illegally infiltrated from Bangladesh. Bangladesh has already labelled it baseless and has expressed its refusal to take any stateless people from India. Hence such stateless Muslims face no option but to stand de-enfranchised and dumped in concentration camps. Already such concentration camps are being constructed in the state of Assam where 1.9 million people stand stateless because of exclusion from NRC. Such inhuman act stands unique in the whole human history.

The Hindutva fascists want to make India a Hindu state –as envisioned by their guru Savarker. Muslims and other minorities will survive only as second class citizen without any social, political and economic participation. This is why, even the publication of Sachar Committee Report that exposed sheer deprivation of the Muslims is so unwelcome in the Hindutva circle. Their argument is clear. While they do not bother to alleviate the deprivation, why do they need its publication? The Muslim rule in India in the past is being used to ignite the politics of revengeful anguish against the present days' Muslims. In fact, resurgence of such Hindu vengeance forms the basis of Hindutva politics in India and gave birth to world's largest NGO called Rastriya Shevok Sangha (RSS). The sole objective of RSS is to make India a Hindu state.-(Andersen, Walter; Damla, Shridhar, 1987). In the early days of independent India, RSS leaders opposed the Indian constitution for three main reasons. These are: 1). its secular character, 2). non-inclusion of ancient law of Manu, 3). equal rights for people of all clasts and religions. (Hadiz, Vedi). They also opposed tricolour Indian national flag. Instead, they wanted a saffron flag as an icon of ancient Hindu identity. For 52 years since independence, they didn't hoist tri-colour Indian national flag in RSS head quarter; for the first time they did it in 2002. (The Times of India, 2002).

While M.S Golwalker became the RSS President in 1940, he set it a goal not to fight against the British. (M.S Golwalker, 1974). Muslims were stipulated as the number one enemy and not the British occupation. Hence, from day one of its inception in 1925, RSS was focussed on mobilising and strengthening the Hindutva recruits to fight against the Muslims. In 1927, within two years of its creation, the RSS launched its first Muslim cleansing operation in its birth place in Nagpur in Maharashtra. Its militants launched an organised attack against the local Muslims and the campaign went on for 3 days and forced the Muslims to leave the city. The creation of Pakistan in 1947 infuriated the RSS cadres; as if Pakistan has cut into pieces their mother India. Now they take the revenge from the captivated Muslims those who didn't migrate to Pakistan. They consider every Indian Muslim a traitor cum termite and a Pakistani insider. (Ashish Nandi, 2002). For its terrorist activities, the RSS was banned 4 times in the past: in 1947, in 1948, in 1975 and in 1992.  During British raj, it was banned for its communal terrorism by the provincial government of Punjab in 1947. In 1948, it was banned for killing Gandhi. In 1992, it was banned for destroying the historic Babri Mosque. Since Norendra Modi -a lifelong member of RSS, became the Prime Minister, everything changed. The RSS is no more alone in its mission; the whole state apparatus, the media, the police and the army are now working hand in hand to attain the Hindutva objective. The policy of political and economic exclusivity and even cleansing operations against the religious minorities gets sanitised in the name of the democratic rights of the majority. Thus, the Hindutva majority has established marginalisation of the minorities and deprivation of their basic rights as the new normal.

The NRC project was first started in the north-eastern state of Assam. Because of it, 1.9 million people became stateless. Contrary to the Hindutva expectation, more than 70% of the victims turned out to be Hindus. Since exclusion of Hindus has never been the agenda of the ruling Hindutva extremists, the Citizenship Act was quickly amended to award them citizenship. But the door is kept closed for the stateless Muslims. A Hindu –even if born outside India, can get citizenship because of his religious identity, but a Muslim born in India needs to submit documents for that. Thus, NRC and CAA are being used as the discriminatory instruments against Muslims either to evict them as foreign intruder or dump them in newly built concentration camps as de-enfranchised and de-humanised alien creatures. 

Cross-party epidemic

Like virus, toxic ideologies never stay confined within the premise of a single political, religious or terrorist outfit. It shows a cross-party, cross-country and cross-border epidemic. Hence, what is happening in India, Myanmar and Sri Lanka against the Muslims shows the similar symptoms and signs. This is why, the anti-Muslim hatred in Indian politics is not a monopoly of RSS-BJP axis, and the parties like the Indian National Congress and many others have also been infected with the same toxicity. The spell of the Hindutva venom over the politics of Indian National Congress was exposed during the election campaign of 1989. To appease the Hindu voters, Rajiv Gandhi –the Congress Party's incumbent Prime Minister attempted to snatch the Hindutva mantra from RSS-BJP family by outplaying the issue. He started his campaign from the district of Faizabad –known for its historic Babri Mosque. Dispelling the previous secular stand of the Congress, Rajiv Gandhi took the banner of Hindutva agenda in his own hand. He promised inauguration of Rama Rajya –the rule and the kingdom of Rama, in India.-(Pradeep Nayak, 1993). It was a clear departure from declared secular ideology of the Congress. He even opened the door of the Babri Mosque for the Hindu worshippers –which was strategically avoided by every Congress and non-Congress government in the past. By adopting such a communal agenda, Rajiv Gandhi enhanced Hindutva radicalization of his own party the Indian National Congress. He preferred getting more votes over higher human values, secular ideology, justice and respect for the minority rights. Such a policy of sliding towards the Hindu majority vote bank and turning a blind eye towards the Muslim minority, prompted the Muslims –the party's traditional vote bank to quickly leave Congress. Along with the loss of Muslim votes, his hoax to amass Hindu votes didn't work either. He failed to defeat the old and original vanguards of the Hindutva outfit like BJP. As a result of losing Muslim votes, the Congress Party ceased to exist as an electable contender of power in Indian national politics. It could show up only as a partner of regional parties to share power in some smaller states.  

However, Rajiv Gandhi is not the only Congress leader to embrace the Hindutva ideology. Even, Mr. Nehru -the first Prime Minister of independent India didn't prove different either. Nehru couldn't hide his affinity towards Hindutva extremism while he embraced Shamya Prasad Mukherjee as his first post-independence cabinet colleague. Incorporating a leader in the cabinet doesn't go alone, it needs to accommodate his ideologies, too. Mr. Mukherjee is known as one of the most original gurus of Hindutva radicalization of Indian politics. He was the former President of Hindu Mahashava and the founder of Jana Sangha –the parental organizations of today's BJP.

Nehru's policy towards the Muslim rule in Hyderabad and the Muslim population in Kashmir –the only Muslim majority state in India, also proved terribly sinister. The first post-independence genocidal massacre of the Muslims that took place in Hyderabad in 1948 wasn't the crime of RSS-BJP goons. It happened under the watch of Congress Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru. His government didn't bother to do a body count of the dead. The lowest estimate of the Muslim death has been reported to be 40, 000 (Komireddi, 2019). In other estimate, it is 200, 000. (Noorani, 2001). Muslim houses were looted and thousands of Muslim women were raped. Thugs and rapists were let loose to commit the crime; and hardly anyone was punished for such a horrendous crime.

Under Nehru's rule, a massive genocide also took place in Jummu –a southern district in united Kashmir. Prior to Indian occupation in 1947, Jammu had Muslim majority population. The genocide was carried out under the direct command of Dogra Maharaja Hari Singh of Kashmir -as a part of the desperate move in his last days of rule, to make it Hindu majority area. Since there was no body-count, there exists gross variation on number of the death. It is stated 20,000 to 100,000 Muslims were killed and many more were evicted from their home. (Snedden, Christopher, 2015). But most the researchers agree that RSS cadres were brought in to conduct the genocide under the direct watch of Maharaja Hari Singh. (Chattha, 2009). Although Prime Minister Nehru considered Hari Singh guilty for the massacre, but gave him a safe sanctuary in Mumbai. (Praveen Swami, 2007). Because of signing the 'Instrument of Accession to India', Hari Singh has not only been exempted from legal prosecution but also his genocidal crime was airbrushed from history. (Komireddi, 2019).

Mr. Narasima Rao -Congress Party's another former Prime Minister also showed anti-Muslim sentiment from his early career. He joined an armed group to fight against the Muslim ruler in Hyderabad. (K.S. Komireddi, 2019). While he was the Prime Minister, he allowed the destruction of Babri Mosque by his visible inaction. His government showed utter failure to prosecute those Hindutva extremists who committed such a heinous crime. Mr. Pronab Mukherjee –a former President of India and leader of the Congress Party also couldn't hide his affinity towards RSS. He visited Nagpur –the birth place of RSS, to pay his deep homage to the RSS founder Mr. Hedgewar in 2018. The issue didn't stop at his homage; Mr. Mukherjee exulted the RSS founder as "great son of Mother India" in the visitor's book. Only a man with full endorsement of Mr. Hedgewar's Hindutva ideology could write such a high eulogy. On behalf of RSS, it was acknowledged that after Mr. Pronab Mukherjee's homage to Hedgewar, there was an upsurge in RSS's membership. It is worth noting that Mr. Pronab Mukherjee is not alone to show the affinity to Hindutva ideology. Congress Party –the so-called secularist outfit proved to be embedded with many more like Mr. Mukharjee. In 1954, a Congress MP named Seth Govind Das moved a resolution in the Indian parliament for imposing a total ban on cow slaughter. Mr Vasan Sathe -another leading Hindutva fan in Congress, threatened to resign from the party if the party opposes the installation of a portrait of Mr. Savarkar –the original guru of Hindutva politics in India, in the parliament. (Naqvi, 2019).

Mr. Hedgewar's ideology and his political objective were never hidden. Mr. Hedgewar proclaimed that India is a land only for the Hindus; and consistently loathed the Muslims. He could never swallow the six hundred years' Muslim rule in India. He considered Muslims' rule as a disgrace for the Hindus; and showed his obsession to take the revenge. Like Savarker, Golwalker and other Hindutva ideologues, he couldn't think of Muslims as equal citizens. His obsession to take the revenge prompted him to form the RSS. His successor, Golwalkar, was an admirer of Hitler and his policies towards the Jews. He even wrote that Nazi Germany provides a "good lesson for use in Hindusthan to learn and profit by." In such writings, Golwalkar's implied message is clear. The Germans had the Jews and the Indians have the Muslims. Hitler had nothing to teach Indians on Hindutva ideology; but had a lot to teach how to carry out genocidal cleansing of the Muslims –as he did against the Jews. Hitler could also teach how he was successful to mobilise and motivate the German people to commit one of the ugliest crimes on earth like taking Jews to the gas chambers. Mr. Golwalkar was highly impressed by Hitler's quick success; hence asked his Hindu compatriots to apply the same methodology against the Indian Muslims. How a man with an iota of morality can endorse or appreciate such a toxic ideology? But Mr. Pronab Mukharjee travelled to Nagpur to pay homage to the icon of such ideology. A Muslim can easily understand how dreadful to live amidst hordes of such indoctrinated people. In a conventional war, fear of death runs only through those who are in the battlefield. But for Muslims, the whole India had turned into a fear mongering corrosive battlefield.                                   

Deployment of more than 700,000 troops in Kashmir –the only Muslim majority state in India, tells another story of on-going marginalisation and persecution of the minority in India. Kashmir is now the most militarised zone in the whole world. Because of recent abrogation of Article 370, Kashmir nor more exist as a state; it has become a federal territory directly under the rule of Delhi. The whole state has turned into a prison. As a part of the punitive measures, curfew has been imposed for months after months. To disconnect them from the outside world, the internet services are either cut-off or given restricted access. Thousands of people are taken to prisons outside Kashmir. Such state-run killing, oppression, injustices and marginalisation only could work as the precursor of social unrest and militancy among the victims. As usual, such state-ran terrorism gets cover-up in the name of keeping stability and fighting the militancy. Because of similar punitive policy of the Myanmar government against the minority Rohynga Muslims, the country could become the "text book case of ethnic cleansing". The situation in Sri Lanka is not different either; it only differs in severity from that of India and Myanmar. There too, the Muslim and Tamil minority suffer in the hand of the Buddhist Sinhalese majority.

All RSS compounds in India indeed work as training centers to make the party cadres ready for a Hindutva victory over the whole of South Asia. The division of the sub-continent into India, Pakistan and Bangladesh has never been accepted by them; Gandhi –the father of India's independence was murdered for accepting the division. The map that is displayed in the RSS central office in Nagpur doesn't show Pakistan and Bangladesh. (Al Jazeera English documentary). Accepting the RSS project to make India a Hindu state is projected as a marker of patriotism. Failing to fall in line with such an RSS vision is labelled as a Pakistani insider; and gets subjected to public lynching, rape, torture and mass slaughter on streets and also in domestic premises.


Muslims aren't the only target

Muslims are not the only target of the Hindutva fascists. Non-Hindus like Sikhs, Christians and the untouchables also become the victims. What happened in Delhi in 1984 in the aftermath of the assassination of Prime Minister Indira Gandhi is indeed an organized slaughter of Sikh men, women and children abetted by the state. By official estimate, 3,000 Sikhs were murdered. The unofficial figure is much higher. Surprisingly, the Government ruled by Congress didn't intervene –as was the case in 2002 in an anti-Muslim pogrom in Gujrat under Modi's watch.  Two weeks later Rajiv Gandhi used a clarifying metaphor: when a big tree falls, the earth shakes a little. (Komireddi, 2019). The bloodbath of Sikhs appeased the Hindutva radicals so much that in 1984 election, the Hindutva activists like RSS cadres campaigned for Rajiv Gandhi. He was elected with 416 out of 543 seats in the parliaments. It was indeed one of the greatest electoral victories in the history of the Indian National Congress. So, it ratifies the reality that if politics gets polarised with vitriolic hatred and massacre against minorities, brings landslide electoral victory to the perpetrators. In a milieu of such ideological intoxication, perpetrators of innocent men, women, and children of the minority community never get prosecuted; rather receive honour with electoral triumph. In fact, Mr. Norendra Modi and his party BJP are the perfect examples of that. Because of the heinous atrocities against the minorities in Gujrat, Muzaffarnagar and other parts of India, Mr. Modi and his BJP could quickly jump up in the popularity ladder. In such politics of populism, higher values or principle doesn't work. This is why it is the political strategy of the extremist forces to invent more pretexts to scale up atrocities against the minority. In Kandhamal in Orissa, Dalit converts to Christianity were the target of two and a half months of violence that left at least 16 dead and 40, 000 driven out of their homes. (The Hindu, 2008).  It is worth mentioning, that Christians were persecuted even by Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru in his early days of rule. He authorized the bombing of the north-eastern Christians majority state of Nagaland for demanding the same independence that India got from the British. (Komireddi, 2019).               


Right to rule as if the right to murder      

The appointment of Mr. Norendra Modi as the chief minister of Gujrat tells a lot about the political objective of the Hindutva forces in India. He was groomed as an obedient RSS cadre. To give more time and commitment to Hindutva mission, he even left his newly married wife. In 1992, he played a key role in mobilizing the RSS cadres to destroy Babri mosque. Such a role enhanced his credential among the key stakeholders of the party. In early October 2001, Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee summoned Norendra Modi to his residence and offered him the chief minister's job of Gujrat.-(K.S. Komireddi, 2019).

Mr. Vajpayee is usually projected as moderate leader in the RSS-BJP camp. But how a moderate man can be compatible with an extremist man who could engineer destruction of a mosque? People of opposite intention and ideology can never work together. They need ideological match. Later on, Modi as a chief minister of Gujrat revealed not only his own color, but also the color of Mr. Vajpayee. That moment came within 4 months of his appointment.  In 2002, a train carrying Hindu extremists returning from the site of demolished Babri mosque caught fire. Fifty-eight people were burned to death. Mr. Norendra Modi didn't wait for the police inquiry, rather grab it as an opportunity to do what he wanted to do. He instantly called it the work of the Muslim extremists. Modi's announcement was enough to incite a genocidal massacre against the innocent Muslims in Gujrat. In one Muslim neighborhood, a mob of about five-thousands Hindus made their way through a slum and hacked ninety-seven Muslims to death and a mosque was blown up with liquefied petroleum. Across the road from the scene of carnage, stood a reserve police quarters. But no one from there lifted a finger. (Human Rights Watch, 2002). In a civilized country, police reach within minutes if a house is under attack by a killer or robber. But Modi proved that India hasn't reached to that stage. Under his rule, the state of Gujrat turned into a deep and distant jungle; no police appears in the site of carnage -not in hours, and not even in days. So the killing, the mass rape and the arson continues unabated. Thus, as a chief minister, Modi showed his own complicity in the crime. He need not kill or rape anybody himself; but his robust inaction worked as huge encouragement for the killers, the rapists and the arsonists to commit such crimes in thousands.

In an anti-Muslim pogrom, the social position or contribution of a Muslim makes no difference to make him the worst victim. Mr. Ehsan Jafri -a former MP of Indian Parliament, was a very prominent Muslim leader of Gujarat. He had close acquaintance with Sonia Gandhi –the leader of Congress and personally known to Prime Minister Mr. Vajpayee. Mr. Jafri was sheltering about 250 helpless Muslims in his residence. He spent hours making desperate calls to Chief Minister Modi's office but received no help. Modi turned deaf. In the end, he urged the attackers, "Whatever you want to do with me, do it; but please don't kill those who have taken shelter in my house." But his appeal felt on deaf ears. Mr. Jafri was dragged out of his house by the Hindu mob, tortured with all possible cruelty and sliced open with swords. At the end, he was burnt alive. Sixty-nine people of those who were seeking refuge inside Jafri's house were killed in broad daylight over seven hours. But during the long period of seven hours, the state police didn't bother to show up in the scene to stop this preventable massacre. (Vinod Jose, 2012).

The calamities of unequal development

Social, political and economic calamities in South Asia also owe to the highly unequal development of people and society. Indicators like per capita income, GDP (Gross Domestic Product), life expectancy and purchasing power of the people can't capture information on all indispensable elements of inclusive development. The issues like moral and spiritual development, crime prevalence, per capita feeling of peace and sense of security, per capita access or deprivation of social, educational, economic and democratic rights, rule of law, state of access to the judiciary, and the state of persecution, deprivation and marginalisation of the weaker community still stay out of the focus. In fact, the UNDP's indicators like life expectancy, education and purchasing power parity appear more narrow and restrictive to reveal any real state of the people. How one can give an estimate of human development without a proper estimate of the development of humans in humane parameters. The highest importance is given to security of the state, economic prosperity, infrastructural development and purchasing power of the people. As a result, moral failures like state-run policy of discrimination, persecution, deprivation, fascism, concentration camps and even genocide against minorities stand unrecorded in a maze of so-called economic development. India is labelled as an economic tiger; but basic human rights of millions that are consumed by these tigers stay ignored and unrecorded. Robbery, thievery, and persecution against other people can't be labeled as economic work. Similarly, development at the cost of deprivation of others can't be called as real development either. Such an asymmetrical and unjust developmental priorities were first seen in Europe and proved catastrophic for the whole of mankind. Because of wrong parameters, lethal ideologies like racism, nationalism, fascism, colonialism, imperialism and the projects like ethnic cleansing, the lynching of the minorities, slave trading, colonial wars, World Wars could find foot-soldiers to carry out the vicious plans.

It is true that the South Asian countries have made some economic progress. But the newly gained economic strength is enhancing the political ability of the ruling elite to execute their evil agenda. The fascists always thrive on political polarisation based on hatred against the people of other faith, land and ethnicity. The multi-ethnic and multi-religious demography in India, Myanmar and Sri Lanka prove fertile for such polarisation. The majoritarian fascists could easily label a people of dissimilar ethnicity or religion as the enemy to perpetuate massacres. The German fascists could put a tag on the Jews fit for gas chambers. The fascists of India, Myanmar and Sri Lanka could also put a tag on Muslims for discrimination, persecution and elimination. The ethnic cleansing of the Rohingya Muslims in Myanmar, lynching and genocidal massacre of Muslims in India and attacks on the lives and properties of the Muslims in Sri Lanka tell a lot about the horrors that are being inflicted on the minorities in South Asia. In a hype of Islamophobia, such crimes usually get sanitised, belittled or ignored by the global players only to promote their business interests. Therefore the travel ban on Prime Minister Norendra Modi of India for alleged complicity in the massacre of about 2,000 – 5000 Muslims couldn't survive longer. It was lifted by the USA and the EU; and his evil motive was ignored and sanitised to access a market of about 1.3 billion Indians. In such a permissive and opportunistic world-order, China could construct the largest concentration camp on the planet for more than a million Uighur Muslims. So-called rising Asia indeed moving fast to that end.


The fate of a people is not decided by mere economics; rather more decisively by dominant ideologies. While two World Wars caused terrible havoc on earth, the economy wasn't bad either. Persecution of people and peace can't go together. Therefore, toxic ideologies like fascism, racism, must nationalism, colonialism and imperialism that promote persecution of people must not exist anywhere on earth. Otherwise, peaceful co-existence of people with diversity become impossible. Then, war may not be on the frontiers but enters into cities, villages and houses to kill innocent men, women and children. Because of Hindutva fascists in India, military racists in Myanmar, power-grabbing fascists in Bangladesh and ethnoreligious opportunists in Sri Lanka such wars have already done a great damage against the prospect of peace in South Asia. It is indeed a huge humanitarian as well as social science issue. Economy can't fight toxic ideologies; it needs an ideological fix. Strong economy can even strengthen the lethal power of evil ideologues –as German's strong economy did to fascist Hitler. It is indeed the most responsibility of the social scientists to bring social pathology to the limelight so that the political activists, the social engineers and the reformist philosophers can take cues to make an appropriate treatment plan. Only this way the growth and sustenance of human civilization can be influenced positively. Otherwise, in this global village, peaceful co-existence of people with pluralities will survive only as a dream.                                                                                            


  1. Ananda Bazar Patrika, Kolkata. 5th February 2020).
  2. Ananda Bazar Patrika, Kolkata, 17 February 2020
  3. J.Johnson (2010).A Dictionary of Hinduism. Oxford University Press. p. 142. ISBN 978-0-19-861026-7.
  4. Jaffrelot, Christophe Hindu Nationalism: A Reader. Princeton University Press. pp. 14–15, 86–93.
  5. Jaffrelot, Christophe (1996). The Hindu Nationalist Movement and Indian Politics, Hurst & Co.
  6. Savarkar, Vinayak (1923). Hindutva: Who is a Hindu?
  7. RSS in on a roll, number of shakhas, The Times of India,
  8. 'Situation in Kandamal Out of control: Archbishop' The Hindu, 29 September, 2008.
  9. Andersen, Walter; Damla, Shridhar, 1987. The Brotherhood in Saffron: Rashtriya Sawayamsevak Sangh and Hindu Revivalism, Delhi, Vistaar Publications, 1987.
  10. S Golwalker, 1974. Shri Guruji Samgra Darshan, Volume 4, Bharatiya Vichar Sadhna.
  11. "Tri-colour hoisted at RSS centre after 52 years"; The Times of India, 26th January, 2002.
  12. Snedden, Christopher, 2015; Understanding Kashmir and Kashmiris, Oxford University Press.
  13. Chattha, Ilyas Ahmed, 2009; Partition and its Aftermath, 1947-1961, Centre of Imperial and Post-Colonial Studies, University of Southampton.
  14. Hadiz, Vedi, Empire and Neoliberalism in Asia, Routledge, p. 252.
  15. Praveen Swami, India, Pakistan and the Secret Jihad: The Covert War in Kashmir, 1947-2004, Routledge, Abingdon, 2007, p.15.
  16. Noorani, A.G (3-16 March 2001), Of a Massacre Untold, Frontline,18 (5).
  17. Basu, Tapan & Sarkar, Tanika; 1993. Khaki Shorts and Saffron Flags: A Critique of the Hindu Right, Orient Longman.
  18. Chitkara, M.G; 2004. Rashtriya Sawayamsevak Sangh; National Upsurge, APH Publishing.
  19. Human Rights Watch, 2002. "We Have No Orders To Save You: State Participation and Complicity in Communal Violence in Gujrat", Volume 14, No. 3C, 2002. pp. 15-17.
  20. Vinod Jose, 2012. The Emperor Uncrowned, Carawan, 1 March 2012.
  21. Ashish Nandi, 2002. Obituary of a Culture, Seminar, May, 2002.
  22. McKean, Lise 1996, Divine Enterprise: Gurus and the Hindu Nationalist MovementUniversity of Chicago Press.
  23. Chetan Bhatt, 2001. Hindu nationalism: origins, ideologies and modern myths. Berg. pp. 77 (context: Chapter 4). ISBN978-1-85973-343-1.
  24. S. Komireddi, 2019, Malevolent Republic –A Short History of the New India, C. Hurst & Co. 41 Great Russel Street, London, WC1B 3PL.
  25. Human Rights Watch, 2019. Violent Cow Protection in India, 18 February, 2019,
  26. A.K. Niazi, 1998. The betrayal of East Pakistan, Manohar Publishers & Distributors, 26 Ansari Road, Daryaganj, New Delhi 110002
  27. Social, Economic and Educational Status of the Muslim Community of India: Prime Minister's High Level Committee, November 2006, www.
  28. "Social, Economic and Educational Status of the Muslim Community of India", Prime Minister's High Level Committee, November
  29. "Swami's confession", Frontline, Vol 28, 3 Jan 29 Feb 2011.
  30. Ross Colvin and Satarupa Bhattachariya, "The remaking of Narendra Modi", Reuters, 12 July 2013:htps:// india-modi-gujarat-bjp/special-report-the-remaking-of-narendra-modi-idINDEE96BOOY20130712.
  31. Javed Naqvi, Sept 17, 2019, Daily Dawn, Karachi, Pakistan.
  32. Stanley, Jason(2018). How Fascism Works: The Politics of Us and Them. New York: Random House. pp.14-15. 
  33. Pradeep Nayak, 1993. The Politics of the Ayodhya Dispute, Commonwealth Publishers, New Delhi, p.120.


What does the Myanmar Provisional Measures Order by the International Court of Justice mean for ASEAN?

It is long overdue for ASEAN to sync its policies towards Myanmar with international opinion, legal and human rights, and the global public. 

On January 23, 2020, the International Court of Justice, the UN's highest judicial authority which handles legal disputes among the member states, announced its decision to proceed with The Gambia vs Myanmar and issued the provisional measures aimed at preventing (further) genocidal acts against Myanmar's Rohingya people and at protecting the evidence of the past atrocities which Myanmar troops committed against the ethnic minority community in 2016 and 2017.

This is the 3rd application of the international treaty known as the Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide or Genocide Convention since the Convention was first adopted in 1948, following the Nazi Genocide.

Damningly, this twofold decision was unanimous among the 17-judges. It was also extraordinary in that the German judge, handpicked by Myanmar as its ad hoc judge, and the Chinese judge whose position was unsure – Beijing's approach is to treat the Rohingya crisis as merely a bilateral humanitarian issue between Bangladesh and Myanmar ­– cast their votes with the rest of the judges.

Malaysia: ASEAN's Principled Voice

Since the two bouts of organised violence in Myanmar's Rakhine in 2012, ASEAN on its part has adopted a similarly humanitarian perspective to what has increasingly come to be viewed legally as international crimes against Rohingyas by Myanmar. In this, Malaysia has emerged as a principled and compassionate voice for the persecuted minority, notwithstanding certain policy shortcomings, (for instance, denial of educational access), as the single largest ASEAN host of Rohingyas – over 100,000.

The international human rights community – and the Rohingyas themselves – view ASEAN's exclusively "humanitarian" approach to the crimes of Myanmar as nothing short of a whitewash for the well-documented and solemn crimes in international law including war crimes, crimes against humanity and genocide in Rakhine.

The ICJ's decision last month to proceed with the case despite Myanmar Agent Aung San Suu Kyi's official request to dismiss it was based significantly on the weight of the evidence which prima farci led the judges to conclude unanimously that there is a real plausibility that the court will in due course find that Myanmar commissioned the crime of genocide or certain acts of genocide when the merits of the case are examined.

Non-Interference Stands in Tatters

The above-mentioned genocide plausibility established by the world's highest court and the court's order to institute the periodic reporting regime solely targeted at Myanmar while the case proceeds, and the issue of Myanmar's compliance are issues which frontally challenge ASEAN's policy orthodoxy of "Non-interference".  It calls into question the business-as-usual approach by the group as a bloc as well as respective policies of the individual member states.

Worse still, ASEAN states such as Singapore have taken advantage of this founding principle by investing most heavily in Myanmar – the city-state is now the largest foreign investor in Myanmar – while in effect serving as Myanmar's public relations platform for genocide denials by its senior most leaders including Aung San Suu Kyi. As a matter of fact, Singapore's role in propping up and defending the criminal Burmese leadership predated the genocidal purge of 2016 and 2017. Myanmar's former chief of military intelligence and Prime Minister ex-general Khin Nyunt thanked the late Lee Kwan Yew for the strategic advice the latter offered on how to improve the Myanmar regime's negative image, in the 40-minutes Al Jazeera English documentary Exiled.

"They are forced to lead sub-human lives, with no freedom of movement, no prospect for third country resettlement, no Internet, no electricity, no proper schooling or livelihood opportunities." Daily life of Rohingya refugees at Balukhali Camp in Cox's Bazar, Bangladesh on February 02, 2019. Photo: Sk Hasan Ali /

Deplorable Living Conditions

Meanwhile, Rohingya survivors in deplorable subhuman conditions in the camps in Bangladesh – estimated at 1 million including both the new arrivals from the 2016 and 2017 waves, and the generation left from the earlier waves between 1992 and 1995 – continue their attempts to reach third countries, particularly Malaysia. As recently as this week, a Malaysia-bound boat carrying 125 Rohingya refugees including women and children capsized in the Bay of Bengal killing at least 16.

Myanmar's persecution of Rohingya people is not a product of the country's democratic transition nor is it a "communal violence or conflict" between the Buddhists in Rakhine and primarily Muslim Rohingya community. These early spins to help cover up the systematic and intentional destruction of the Rohingyas have been proven to be untrue by the turn of events over the last 8 years.

Myanmar's disenfranchisement, denial of their right to a nationality, displacement and large-scale deportation of the Rohingya minority are now a well-documented institutionalised policy of ethnic group persecution. The policy has resulted in a devastating impact on the Rohingya community, which the ICJ explicitly stated in its 28-page decision last month as a protected group under the Genocide Convention.

Danger Remains

In its final report to the United Nations in 2019, the UN-mandated International Independent Fact-Finding Mission officially warned against the possibility of recurring genocide against the group. There are an estimated half-million Rohingyas trapped inside Myanmar's Rakhine state where 100,000 have remained locked up in the so-called Internally Displaced Persons camps since 2012, ostensibly for their own protection. It bears pointing out that the Nazis rounded up their Jewish victims and put them in camps and ghettos under the banner of "protective custody".

The rest of the Rohingyas – about 400,000 to 500,000 – are languishing in the apartheid conditions in what Rohingya residents themselves describe as "vast open prisons", not unlike the conditions of the Palestinians trapped in Gaza and West Bank.

As ordered by the ICJ, Myanmar will be submitting the initial report in the last week of May – 4 months from the date of the ICJ order on 23 January. It is widely expected that Myanmar will not comply with the court's order in good faith: it will manipulate the absence of specificities in the ICJ order in terms of protecting Rohingyas and preventing genocidal acts, for instance, incitement to further attacks.

Concurrently, the International Criminal Court has officially embarked on the full investigation of Myanmar's crimes against Rohingyas. And the Myanmar government of Aung San Suu Kyi has remained defiant against the ICC's calls for cooperation over the criminal court's official investigation.

States Must Step-Up

In light of these ground-breaking developments within the international accountability mechanisms at both the ICJ and ICC, concerned states within the ASEAN region – particularly Malaysia need to provide the much-needed push for the bloc to discuss the implications of the ICJ ruling. Even Myanmar leadership evidently knows that the blanket denial of the international crimes has zero credibility when it made a rare admission of its crimes a week before the ICJ ruling. Suu Kyi Government's official Independent Commission of Enquiry revealed its new legal and media narrative: yes, war crimes may have been committed by Myanmar against Rohingyas but no evidence of genocide was found.

The January 23 ICJ order was anchored in the court's unanimous opinion about the genocide plausibility in Myanmar. It is, in effect. a blow to ASEAN's sacrosanct principle of "non-interference" and the disingenuous framing of the persecution and destruction of Rohingya.

In addition, ASEAN ought to be concerned about a parallel development within the global accountability space. The International Criminal Court has embarked on its full investigation of crimes against humanity and other associated crimes plausibly committed by Myanmar. Although Myanmar is not a signatory to the Rome Statute which midwifed the ICC and has repeatedly dismissed any claim of ICC's juridical authority over its conduct, the ICC has established the extended jurisdiction over Myanmar's violent treatment of Rohingyas, 730,000 that were deported in 2017 alone onto the soil of a state that is a party to the Rome Statute.

Malaysia has also felt the direct impact of Myanmar's crimes as it is forced to host over 100,000 Rohingya refugees with no prospect for third country resettlement or repatriation back to their homeland of Western Myanmar.

Act Now ASEAN!

It is long overdue for ASEAN to sync its policies towards Myanmar with the international opinion, legal, human rights and global public.

ASEAN needs to prove that it is a part of the solution, rather than being a Bystander in yet another genocide in its backyard after Khmer Rouge genocide four decades ago.

Maung Zarni

Maung Zarni is the co-founder of FORSEA, a grass-roots organization of Southeast Asian human rights defenders, and the co-author of "Essays on Myanmar's Genocide of Rohingyas."

* Opinions expressed in this article are the author's own and do not necessarily reflect FORSEA's editorial stance.

Sunday 9 February 2020

Rohingya Boat People to be Returned to Homes in Myanmar’s Rakhine State

Source RFA, 6 Feb

Note: now for some what Rohingya been referred as "resident of Rakhine state"?

but the rest info can't be trusted as about 100 of Rohingyas those imprisoned in southern part of Burma in end of 2012 were despite freed under Thein Sein's amnesty in 2013 were sent for hard labour camps across Shan and Kachine state..


Rohingya refugees are seen aboard a vessel in the Andaman Sea before they are picked up by the Myanmar Navy in waters off southern Myanmar's Thanintharyi region, Dec. 15, 2019.
Rohingya refugees are seen aboard a vessel in the Andaman Sea before they are picked up by the Myanmar Navy in waters off southern Myanmar's Thanintharyi region, Dec. 15, 2019.
Photo courtesy of Myanmar Commander-in-Chief's Office

Myanmar authorities have confirmed that more than 130 Rohingya Muslims who were part of a larger group detained in December by the Myanmar Navy in waters off Tanintharyi region while traveling to a third country are residents of Rakhine state, a district official said Thursday.

The 133 were among the more than 170 Rohingya picked up by coastal forces in the Andaman Sea as they attempted to leave Myanmar. All of them were transferred by boat to western Myanmar's Rakhine state in early January, where immigration officials in the regional capital Sittwe have been working to determine whether they are from northern Rakhine state.

"We have conducted an assessment and sent back [home] those who could be confirmed as residents of Myanmar," said Soe Aung, administrator of Rakhine's Muslim-majority Maungdaw district.

"Those who still have homes in their villages are returning to their homes," he said. "Those who don't have homes will live with their relatives."

Win Hlaing Oo, assistant director of a Rohingya refugee reception center in the district's Nga Khu Ya village, said officials could only accept the boat people once they had confirmed proof of their residency in Myanmar.

Officials had first been asked to access the identity of the boat people in Kawthaung in Tanintharyi region, where they were taken after they were picked up at sea, he said.

"So we have had to decide if they are genuine residents and work through many procedures," Win Hlaing Oo said.

Officials have not be able to confirm the status of 20 others among the group, and there have been delays with submitting reports to senior authorities, he said.

Authorities have meanwhile determined that one of the detained Rohingya is a citizen of Bangladesh, and they are negotiating with Bangladeshi authorities for that person's repatriation, he added.

Maungdaw district resident Hammad Shari said it will be difficult for the Rohingya boat people to return to their villages of origin, many of which were burned during a military-led crackdown in northern Rakhine in 2017.

Security forces targeted Rohingya communities in a rampage of violence following deadly attacks on police outposts by a Muslim militant group, killing thousands and driving more than 740,000 others to Bangladesh.

"In Maungdaw region, many villages are gone," Hammad Shari said. "I don't know how these people can go back to their homes."

The root causes

Nickey Diamond, an activist with Southeast Asia-based Fortify Rights, said authorities must address the fundamental issues that are driving the Rohingya to flee Myanmar.

"In Rakhine, their lives are tough, and so they try to run away," he said. "Those who get caught are given prison sentences. When they are in a condition in which authorities cannot send them to jail, they have been sent back to where they came from. Returning them does not resolve the ongoing problems."

Myanmar views the Rohingya as illegal immigrants from Bangladesh and denies them full citizenship as well as subjects them to discriminatory policies such as denying them freedom of movement. They also are prevented from accessing jobs, education, and health care.

Though Myanmar and Bangladesh have signed an agreement to repatriate some of the hundreds of thousands of Rohingya who fled northern Rakhine and now live in sprawling refugee camps, none of those approved for return have gone back, citing fear of further violence and ongoing denials of full citizenship and other basic rights.

"I don't see the government trying to address the root causes," Diamond said. "After the Rohingya [boat people] have returned, they may run away again if the conditions are not right for them."

"The government should try to understand why they are running away and what pushed them out, and resolve the root causes of the problem," he said.

Reported by Kyaw Lwin Oo for RFA's Myanmar Service. Translated by Ye Kaung Myint Maung. Written in English by Roseanne Gerin.

Bangladesh allows education for Rohingya refugee children

Source Dhakatribune, 28 Jan

According to Unicef, since August 2017, providing pre-primary and primary education to the children of the Rohingya refugees has been their main focus
File photo: Rohingya children in refugee camps in Cox's Bazar, Bangladesh going to school Syed Zakir Hossain/Dhaka Tribune

'We don't want a lost generation of Rohingyas'

Rohingya children living in the refugee camps in Bangladesh will be allowed to receive a formal education after a change of heart by Dhaka in a move welcomed by right activists.

Nearly one million Rohingyas, including more than half a million children, live in the squalid and crowded camps in Cox's Bazar, near the southeastern border with Myanmar, where many had fled from in 2017 after a brutal military crackdown.

The children were previously barred from studying the curriculums used in Bangladesh and Myanmar, and instead received primary education in temporary learning centres set up by the UN children's agency Unicef.

"We don't want a lost generation of Rohingyas. We want them to have education. They will follow Myanmar curricula," Foreign Minister AK Abdul Momen told AFP on Tuesday.

The decision came after a meeting of a national taskforce set up by the government.

Local media reported that a pilot program involving more than 10,000 students would be launched soon, with Unicef and Dhaka jointly designing the curriculum.

The refugee children will be schooled in Myanmar history and culture up to age 14, and will also receive skills training so they can take up jobs back in Myanmar when they return home, the Foreign Ministry said.

""I can't express my joy with words. Generations of Rohingyas hardly had any education in their homeland in Myanmar as they were discriminated there and were robbed of their citizenship," Rohingya youth leader and human rights activist Rafique bin Habib said.

"The decision will minimize the chances for a Rohingya kid to get radicalized [in the camps]," he added.

UN representative in Bangladesh Mia Seppo told AFP the move would "make it easier for them to go back home to Myanmar when the time is right for returns."

Some Rohingya children have used fake Bangladeshi identity cards and hidden their ethnic identities to enrol in local schools.

Authorities last year expelled scores of them from schools in a drive condemned by rights groups.

Tens of thousands of other Rohingya children were also educated in madrasas set up by Islamic groups in the camps.

The government's decision came almost a week after the UN's highest court ordered Myanmar to do everything in its power to prevent the genocide of Rohingyas.

"This is an important and very positive commitment by the Bangladeshi government, allowing children to access schooling and chase their dreams for the future. They have lost two academic years already and cannot afford to lose any more time outside a classroom," said Saad Hammadi, South Asia campaigner at Amnesty International, in a statement.

He added: "It is important that access to appropriate, accredited and quality education be extended to all children in the Cox's Bazar area, including Rohingya refugees and the host community.

"The international community has a key role to play here in ensuring the Bangladesh government has the resources it needs to realize this goal."