The Thin Edge

The TM Krishna column: Why the Hindu majority must push back against the BJP’s politics of hate

The ruling party and the Sangh Parivar at large have launched an unrelenting blitz on minority identities, cultures and their rights as equal citizens of India.

The monsoon this year has been stuttering and stammering for attention. In comparison, Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s government and the Bharatiya Janata Party’s outreach divisions have had no such trouble for three years. They have been consistent and unabated in giving us outbursts of divisiveness targeted at minorities. We have been participants and victims in this unrelenting blitz on people’s identities, cultures and their right to participate in India’s democracy as equal citizens.

The idea of citizenry has been eroded. The garb of democracy has allowed all this to pass, with many unable to take notice of the systematic numbing of our minds. A few bread crumbs of change are thrown in here and there, which are promptly broadcast by online foot soldiers to portray a new India even as our social weave is persistently torn apart. On the other side of the aisle is a totally inept Opposition that has no ethical standing to counter this onslaught. It has therefore been left to the larger society to remain steadfast in their opposition. This is much easier said than done.

The Hindu majority community is told by brash politicians, suave gurus and a tendentious media that their fear of Muslims and Islam is real and they should not shy away from expressing it. Hindus at large are under threat, is the underlying rhetoric. I sometimes hear upper-caste Hindus use the word persecution while referring to their own struggles. To my ears, the use of this word by people of social and cultural privilege is an act of violence.

The BJP makes sure these fears remain intact and has also been able to co-opt other caste groups into this imaginary cultural-economic-religious aspirational stairway. Their main targets to achieve this end are, naturally, Muslims and Dalits. Every few weeks, the Modi government or members of the Sangh Parivar launch a missile on contentious issues such as the demand for a Uniform Civil Code, the protection of the holy cow, imposition of Hindi, attacks on Dalits, the lynching of Muslims, instigation of violence in educational institutions or armed assaults on Kashmiri protestors.

The Right has successfully undermined the sense of security within the minority community, at the same time vilifying every aspect of their socio-religious life. They have been greatly aided by the Islamophobia that hangs over the entire globe. This is a two-pronged attack. Change rules in the name of regulation, use violence in the garb of internal security, allow members and non-governmental cultural allies to spout venom and let social media warriors permeate hate. While these actions are active, they use every opportunity to diminish Islam historically and in its contemporary form.

Islam in transition

Islam is not treated like any other religion and hence Muslims have to either reject it entirely or accept their Hindu-ness, implying that their humanity comes from this association. Otherwise they are depicted as rabid Islamists or sympathisers. The game of good Muslim vs bad Muslim is played ever so often. The Sangh Parivar conveniently exploits the words of Muslims who have moved away from Islam or are atheist for this propaganda. Their denouncement is used to affirm Islam’s inherent tyranny.

All this is happening at a time when Islam in India is going through a very critical phase. We have to face the reality that young Muslims in pockets across the country are being radicalised. They are being brain washed into endorsing parochial social practices and enforcing oppressive conservatism. A dangerous interpretation of the Quran and of social order is being accepted as god’s word. Integrated Islamic-Hindu practices are slowly but steadily vanishing. Orthodox and myopic religious leaders and their cohorts, with immense power to control their community, are changing the fabric of the Islamic faith. These religious leaders, like some of their counterparts, Hindu swamis, are just hate-mongers.

It is also true that some young men have left India to fight in Syria alongside the Islamic State. There are many Muslims from the older generation who are unable to understand this shift and do not have the energy to fight. Others are struggling to come to terms with this downward spiral. Devout Muslim men and women from within the community are afraid to speak up. They have immense faith in their religion and live in its splendour, desperate to retrieve its soul.

Islam is Indian. It is as Indian as Hinduism, Christianity or Buddhism. We must embrace its Catholic ideals and offer a helping hand to all those who are touched by its inherent sensitivity. We have to empathise and participate as fellow citizens in this struggle. How, when and in what form must be decided with their concurrence. But we need to be there as caring, dependable partners in safeguarding Islam and its people. Islam is under siege and we need to stand shoulder-to-shoulder with all those brave Muslim women and men who raise their voice of protest.

Unfortunately, we have done exactly the opposite. We have been rabble-rousers, stereotyping and painting all Muslims with the same brush. We have insisted on framing discordant discourses that separate the Indic from the Abrahamic. In the name of scholarship, these pigeon holes have only stifled mutual understanding. We constantly point fingers and make them feel like undeserving, singularly evil, second-grade citizens.

Pushing away

Muslims in this country are told on a regular basis that they are lucky to be in India. Call for change and challenges emanating from Reformist Muslim movements are quoted only to further tarnish the religion. This unrelenting stigmatisation only perpetuates radicalisation.

Radicalisation comes from insecurity and a desperate need for validation. When young people from an already marginalised community are bombarded with fear, instigation, abuse, suspicion and malicious accusations, overtly and through innuendos, they become easy prey for barbaric mad-hatters who spread their message via deep sea fibre optic cables.

The Hindu majority needs to hold itself as responsible for the turn that Islam has taken in some parts of the country. Let us not bring this discussion down to Muslim appeasement, which is only another way to further weaken their spirit and keep them from being emboldened. They have been through that and now we have pushed them to the other end, the deep end.

For the BJP, it is simple math. The more that Muslims can be cornered, the greater the consolidation of the Hindus. It is up to us, the majority, to change the tone and course of this conversation. Our own backyard needs cleaning, but we also do have the cultural strength to participate actively in the Islamic discourse. And through this engagement we will learn and our own misconceptions will be addressed. We brandish a diverse India, but we are just a country of multiple entrapments. It is time these are brought down. That is the only way to change the course of our future.

We welcome your comments at
Sponsored Content BY 

What’s the difference between ‘a’ washing machine and a ‘great’ washing machine?

The right machine can save water, power consumption, time, energy and your clothes from damage.

In 2010, Hans Rosling, a Swedish statistician, convinced a room full of people that the washing machine was the greatest invention of the industrial revolution. In the TED talk delivered by him, he illuminates how the washing machine freed women from doing hours of labour intensive laundry, giving them the time to read books and eventually join the labour force. Rosling’s argument rings true even today as it is difficult to deny the significance of the washing machine in our everyday lives.

For many households, buying a washing machine is a sizable investment. Oddly, buyers underestimate the importance of the decision-making process while buying one and don’t research the purchase as much as they would for a television or refrigerator. Most buyers limit their buying criteria to type, size and price of the washing machine.

Visible technological advancements can be seen all around us, making it fair to expect a lot more from household appliances, especially washing machines. Here are a few features to expect and look out for before investing in a washing machine:

Cover your basics

Do you wash your towels every day? How frequently do you do your laundry? Are you okay with a bit of manual intervention during the wash cycle? These questions will help filter the basic type of washing machine you need. The semi-automatics require manual intervention to move clothes from the washing tub to the drying tub and are priced lower than a fully-automatic. A fully-automatic comes in two types: front load and top load. Front loading machines use less water by rotating the inner drum and using gravity to move the clothes through water.

Size matters

The size or the capacity of the machine is directly proportional to the consumption of electricity. The right machine capacity depends on the daily requirement of the household. For instance, for couples or individuals, a 6kg capacity would be adequate whereas a family of four might need an 8 kg or bigger capacity for their laundry needs. This is an important factor to consider since the wrong decision can consume an unnecessary amount of electricity.

Machine intelligence that helps save time

In situations when time works against you and your laundry, features of a well-designed washing machine can come to rescue. There are programmes for urgent laundry needs that provide clean laundry in a super quick 15 to 30 minutes’ cycle; a time delay feature that can assist you to start the laundry at a desired time etc. Many of these features dispel the notion that longer wash cycles mean cleaner clothes. In fact, some washing machines come with pre-activated wash cycles that offer shortest wash cycles across all programmes without compromising on cleanliness.

The green quotient

Despite the conveniences washing machines offer, many of them also consume a substantial amount of electricity and water. By paying close attention to performance features, it’s possible to find washing machines that use less water and energy. For example, there are machines which can adjust the levels of water used based on the size of the load. The reduced water usage, in turn, helps reduce the usage of electricity. Further, machines that promise a silent, no-vibration wash don’t just reduce noise – they are also more efficient as they are designed to work with less friction, thus reducing the energy consumed.

Customisable washing modes

Crushed dresses, out-of-shape shirts and shrunken sweaters are stuff of laundry nightmares. Most of us would rather take out the time to hand wash our expensive items of clothing rather than trusting the washing machine. To get the dirt out of clothes, washing machines use speed to first agitate the clothes and spin the water out of them, a process that takes a toll on the fabric. Fortunately, advanced machines come equipped with washing modes that control speed and water temperature depending on the fabric. While jeans and towels can endure a high-speed tumble and spin action, delicate fabrics like silk need a gentler wash at low speeds. Some machines also have a monsoon mode. This is an India specific mode that gives clothes a hot rinse and spin to reduce drying time during monsoons. A super clean mode will use hot water to clean the clothes deeply.

Washing machines have come a long way, from a wooden drum powered by motor to high-tech machines that come equipped with automatic washing modes. Bosch washing machines include all the above-mentioned features and provide damage free laundry in an energy efficient way. With 32 different washing modes, Bosch washing machines can create custom wash cycles for different types of laundry, be it lightly soiled linens, or stained woollens. The ActiveWater feature in Bosch washing machines senses the laundry load and optimises the usage of water and electricity. Its EcoSilentDrive motor draws energy from a permanent magnet, thereby saving energy and giving a silent wash. The fear of expensive clothes being wringed to shapelessness in a washing machine is a common one. The video below explains how Bosch’s unique VarioDrumTM technology achieves damage free laundry.


To start your search for the perfect washing machine, see here.

This article was produced by the Scroll marketing team on behalf of Bosch and not by the Scroll editorial team.