by Nyla Ali Khan
For those who labor under the delusion that the curtailment of civil liberties in Kashmir and persecution of minorities in Delhi are “internal” matters:
India chose democracy, secularism, and socialism as its goals in 1947.
The first milestone on this road is democracy.
Democracy entails a lot more than merely conducting elections every five years. In substance, democracy is a way of life and a way of thinking.
In a democracy, the majority will prevail, but it is equally incumbent on the majority to respect and defend the legitimate interests and sentiments of minorities and to dispel their apprehensions.
The greatest test of the success of democracy lies in the extent to which its minorities feel secure.
Democracy and secularism in India will remain failed experiments so long as minorities are marginalized and brutalized.
I am not saying this as a Muslim, but as a South Asian and, more so, because I have never reconciled with the communalization of politics.
Muslims are part and parcel of South Asia’s history – past and future, and I am of the firm conviction that every inhabitant of India must be given a sense of participation in the country’s affairs.
In light of the complex political history of India, it becomes all the more important to ensure that the minorities of the country are satisfied with their relationship with mainland India.
It is regrettable that this complex political history has been ignored or left uncared for by the Bhajpa
[the Bharatiya Janata Party of Indian Prime Minister Narenda Modi], as well as the Congress.
This grave lapse is responsible for breeding extremist national chauvinism, thereby weakening the secular character of the constitution and the country. #DelhiRiots2020
Note: Dr. Nyla Ali Khan, a native of Kashmir, writes frequently for CapitolBeatOK, a news service based in Oklahoma City, and for The City Sentinel newspaper. This commentary is adapted from a February 29 online posting.