Tuesday December 11, 2018
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The racial trouble in Indo-African relations

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Francis A. Kornegay, Jr.

The time when India under the fellowship of Prime Minister Narendra Modi is upscaling its African diplomacy, but the fact that the country has a deep-seated race problem to confront, would complicate New Delhi’s African agenda.

The attack on an African student in Bangalore from Tanzania which was inspired by a fatal car accident also involved a Sudanese national followed the murder of a student from Burundi in Punjab and an AAP minister in Delhi leading a mob attack in New Delhi on Nigerian and Ugandan women in 2014. All of these are on top of the attacks that have occurred in metropolitan areas on India’s own racial minorities from its north-east region.

Indo-Aryanism and social realities

At the risk of being presumptuous – I am a race-conscious African-American in race-conscious South Africa – let me say this: in India discussing issues related to racism doesn’t seem comfortable. Ashwin Desai and Goolam Vahed, co-authored a provocative book, The South African Gandhi: Stretcher-Bearer of Empire.

Giving more tolerant traditions in its south with its darker hues and Dravidian heritage, there is, more to India than ‘Indo-Aryanism’. Out of these, there are a plenty in the global north and south alike: poverty and marginalisation of the poor, ‘the left behind,’ the unemployed and unemployable, the uneducated, those fearing their identities threatened – men especially – by loss of status brought on by little understood rapid socio-economic and cultural changes absent appropriate developmental outlets for channeling pent-up tensions from unrequited yearnings likely to never be met.

India’s domestic baggage

Combining with the impunity of culture, there is little or no enforcement of protections for the vulnerable – and it takes little in putting a match to the dry tinder of manifold animosities waiting to explode. Neither does it take much in this brave new world of global integration where different people are thrown together for the innocently unsuspecting to wander into dark corners of life-threatening rage fuelled by uncontrollable grassroots emotions, whatever the spark that may alight them.

To place a broader perspective to what India, as an emerging power is doing, this background is also necessary.  The cases of horrendous violence against women, minorities and foreigners expose intractably combustible contradictions in an ancient civilisational culture under strain as external and internal forces of change test leadership and governing capacities to manage such challenges.(Source-The wire)(image-newsminute)

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Hindus In Delhi Push For A Temple On The Ruins Of a Mosque

The Supreme Court has delayed hearings into the disputed site but hardliners have vowed to lay a foundation stone next year regardless.

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Supporters of Vishwa Hindu Parishad gather during a rally in New Delhi, Dec. 9, 2018. The group gathered thousands of supporters to demand the construction of a Hindu temple on a site where a mosque was attacked, demolished in 1992. VOA

Tens of thousands of hardline Hindu protesters marched in New Delhi on Sunday, calling for a grand temple to be built on the ruins of a destroyed mosque in a flashpoint Indian city.

Trident-waving devotees clad in saffron filled a huge parade ground in the Indian capital under tight security, where speakers warned Prime Minister Narendra Modi they would not let up until the temple was sanctioned.

Some of Modi’s supporters feel the Hindu nationalist leader has not done enough to raise a shrine at a site in Ayodhya, a city believed by many to be the birthplace of the deity Ram.

The site was home to a medieval mosque for 460 years until Hindu zealots tore it down in 1992, kicking off riots across India that left thousands dead, most of them Muslims.

Its future has been tied up in courts for decades but some hardliners want Modi, who is seeking reelection in 2019, to push parliament to guarantee the temple by law.

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Hindus don’t oppose anyone, don’t aspire to dominate: RSS chief

“The gathering here is telling you that Hindus won’t sit back until the temple is built, and our wishes are respected,” said Champat Rai, the leader of the Vishva Hindu Parishad (VHP) group that organized the protest.

Demonstrators chanting “Praise be to Ram” packed the Ramlila Maidan, a vast ground capable of holding more than 50,000 people, and filled the surrounding streets.

Some carried maces and tridents — weapons traditionally wielded by Hindu gods — and traveled great distances by train and bus to reach the rally.

“We have come here to protect our religion and Hindu pride. We want a temple for our Lord Ram,” Hitesh Bharadwaj, a teacher from Delhi’s satellite city Noida, told AFP.

The hardline VHP has applied pressure on Modi in recent weeks, staging a huge show of force in Ayodhya itself last month.

Hindu, Mosque
Photo credit: theguardian.com

A close ally of Modi’s Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), the group is spearheading a push to raise the Ram temple, and is calling for more protests as the premier prepares to go to the polls by May.

The BJP was on the margins until the 1980s when its top leaders, including Modi, backed a growing movement for the construction of the Ram temple.

Its advocates want parliament to introduce a law bypassing legal hurdles blocking the temple before Modi’s term ends.

Also Read: Delhi’s Air Quality Leads To Ban On Trucks And Construction

The Supreme Court has delayed hearings into the disputed site but hardliners have vowed to lay a foundation stone next year regardless.

“We don’t care about the courts. A grand temple will be constructed in 2019,” Sushil Chawdhary, a VHP leader, told AFP. (VOA)