New Survey Shows Many Indians Preach Respect but Don’t Practice It – By Bidisha Biswas and Nikhil Mandalaparthy
A recent Pew Research Center survey of religious identity, nationalism, and tolerance in India…. findings seem to suggest religious pluralism and tolerance is holding up well in India. But the news shows a very different picture…. Today, although Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) pay lip service to Ambedkar’s words, their actions and words demonstrate their vision of India is marked by sharp inequality and polarization. Their divisive views seem to have permeated a significant portion of society.
The Pew Research Center survey found two-thirds of Hindus now agree with one of the core tenets of Hindu nationalist thought: that to be truly Indian, one must also be Hindu. This sentiment is particularly strong in the populous Hindi-speaking belt of India…. In that region, a majority believe a true Indian should not only be Hindu but should also speak Hindi….
These are disturbing findings, especially since around 20 percent of Indians are not Hindu. Large swathes of the country do not speak Hindi as their primary language, and many Hindus do not subscribe to the BJP’s doctrinaire vision. In its quest to silence dissent, the BJP and other Hindu nationalist groups have consistently attacked Hindus and non-Hindus who have questioned the party’s majoritarian policies, often labeling dissenters as “anti-national” extremists. Such gradations of who is or isn’t a “true” Indian are antithetical to the founding principles of India’s republic….