Let us face it, the Hindu Right has won. They have accomplished what they have always wanted to do: put India's religious minorities in their place.
Now, the Hindu Right should go ahead and declare India a Hindu Rashtra and end this farce called Indian secularism. As it is "secular" as a word has become pejorative and redundant. Even the silly pun "sickular" isn't used as frequently these days as "secular" has itself become a term of abuse.
Quite frankly, Indian secularism died the day Narendra Modi became the country's prime minister. Here is a man under whose watch over 2,000 Muslims were massacred. Either through willful collusion or incompetence, Modi, then chief minister of Gujarat, remains responsible for the 2002 riots. His rise in the BJP wasn't despite the riots, but because of them. The BJP's core supporter saw him not just as a development icon, but also as a man who has "shown Muslims their place". His ascent as the PM showed that in India, one can come to power without the support of religious minorities and without adhering to secularism as a principle.
So it is perhaps in the fitness of things that this mukhauta of secularism that the Congress had imposed on this country, is removed once and for all. At least that would satisfy the blood-lust of the Hindutva brigade and spare us this daily hit-and-run routine they have been following ever since Modi came to power.
The latest in this series is the editorial written by Shiv Sena ideologue Sanjay Raut in the party's mouthpiece Saamna. "The voting rights of Muslims need to be revoked" in order to end "vote-bank politics," Raut writes. Disenfranchisement of Muslims is something that the dead Sena supremo Bal Thackeray had demanded time and again. Thackeray also believed that minorities need to be told that India belonged to Hindus and Hindus alone. Had Sanjay Raut been a Muslim, he would have been arrested for hate speech by now. Had Thackeray been a Muslim or a Sikh, he would have been labelled a terrorist. Instead, when Thackeray died, even so-called "liberal" and "secular" journalists wrote elaborate panegyrics dedicated to him, even though he was nothing but a venom-spewing lout.
If Raut has one vision of the Hindu Rashtra, All India Hindu Mahasabha president Sadhvi Deva Thakur has another. She wants Prime Minister Narendra Modi to declare a state of emergency in India and carry out forced sterilisation on Muslims and Christians to prevent them from increasing their numbers. It is a statement on the times we live in that BJP MP Sakshi Maharaj would be considered a moderate in this respect. At least he was advocating a more constructive approach by urging Hindu women to have 4-5 children!
Another Hindutvavadi, a supporter of BJP poster boy Yogi Adityanath said that dead Muslim women should be taken out of their graves and raped. Adityanath, the proponent of the love jihad bogey, was very much present when his acolyte made this statement.
Even the otherwise moderate and reasonable Sushma Swaraj believes that Bhagvad Geeta should be declared India's national book.
But it isn't just the comments made by individual leaders. Modi's victory has convinced the Hindu Right that their time has come.
Every time a criminal with a Muslim name is caught, he is seen as a Muslim first and a criminal later. In fact, it is insinuated that his criminality stems from his religion. Muslims are flatly refused houses in many of our cities and are forced to live in ghettos; People demand Hindu cab drivers and refuse to be driven by a Muslim; A Muslim man in a relationship with a Hindu woman runs the risk of being called a love mujahid. Even vice-president of India, Hamid Ansari, gets called a traitor when he followed protocol by not saluting the national flag during the Republic Day parade. The list is endless.
Today a Muslim in India should be grateful that he or she is being allowed to stay alive. (The Hindutvavadis' proudly assert that Muslims in India are safer than anywhere else in the world). But in return for their survival, Muslims must concede, either voluntarily or by force, every right, every freedom that made them equal citizens of this country.