Reading through Indian newspapers and watching Indian TV over past few months would scare Muslims of Indian origin living overseas.
Reading blogs in newspapers such as Times of India, it seems that many Hindus have no reluctance in expressing extreme hatred towards Muslims by insulting their prophet and historical figures, their religion, their customs and even questioning the patriotism of patriotic Indian Muslims such as film stars and other respected public figures.
Activists of Hindu fundamentalist groups seem to have overtaken the public arena. Every second day, they would bring up a controversial issue and the entire nation would start debating it.
Never before in independent India, such an atmosphere prevailed, despite the nation going through countless communal riots and extremely disturbing events such as the demolition of Babri Masjid and massacre of thousands of Muslims in Gujarat.
This phenomenon has not happened out of blue but is the result of increasing effort at organisational level which has received encouragement and support from the highest office in the country. The PM office is now housed by extremists within the ruling right wing party, BJP.
Successful campaigns have seen people joining extremist RSS shakhas in large numbers resulting in more than 60% increase in weekly shakhas across the country over past few years.
The extremist ideology of ultra-nationalist RSS is directly influenced by ideologies such as Hitler’s Nazi doctrine brainwashing tens of millions of Hindus. They are trying to change the history books by presenting biased view on Muslim rulers, highlighting the incidents which may relate to oppression of Hindus or demolition of temples.
They ignore the fact that Hindus enjoyed key positions in the palaces, armies and governing bodies of Muslim rulers of India. They also ignore the fact that much of the conversion to Islam in India was carried out by sufi saints through their love for all.
Despite rapid rise of extremist Hindu groups, it is pleasing to see that there is no shortage of fair minded Hindus who have been raising their voice against extremism and intolerance in the country.
A large number of intellectuals and high achievers have been at the forefront in the country who have spoken against extremism and intolerance and have returned their awards and medals given by the government in protest.
Major non-BJP political parties have also stood up against the extremist elements in the country. State elecrions held last month in Bihar have once again demonstrated that Hindu extremists enjoy limited support amongst Hindus generally.
BJP’s vote share was only 24.8 percent in Bihar and even when Modi had enjoyed landslide victory in 2014, BJP vote share was only 31 percent nationwide.
The encouraging trend in Bihar, after the BJP was wiped out during Delhi elections earlier this year demonstrates the intelligence and political consciousness of the Indian electrorate not to be swayed by extremist propaganda to divide Indian Society.
Democracy works in India and all Indians will stay united with its great secular traditions where people of all faith, Hindus, Muslims, Sikhs and Christians wish to live together in peace and harmony.