Do Leopards Change Their Spots?

I’m afraid not. The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), a Hindu Nationalist party led by the current Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, was swept into office 3 years ago on a platform of economic reform. The BJP’s economic reform program has succeeded in making the rich richer and the poor poorer, in India. Facing a general election in 2019 the Indian government is moving away from its moribund economic agenda to a hard line Hindu Nationalist agenda.

The BJP’s spectacular election victory 3 years ago was based on their ability to hide their Hindu nationalist agenda from the Indian public. Their “development for all Indians” slogan is rapidly morphing into an India for Hindus slogan.

The BJP’s stunning victory in the Uttar Pradesh elections in India’s most populous state (over 220 million people) on the 11th March 2017 has thrown up some very strange political fruit. At no time during the election campaign did the BJP mention the Prime Minister was going to appoint a divisive hard line sectarian Hindu nationalist priest as Chief Minister of Uttar Pradesh. In the blink of an eye the BJP has thrown off its secular development coat and put on its saffron robes. The appointment of Yogi Adityanath, a Hindu Priest, as Chief Minister of Uttar Pradesh is a worrying sign.

The Yogi has publicly stated his main aim is to turn India into a Hindu nation. The BJP was initially formed to impose Hindu supremacy over all other people living in India. It successfully changed its spots 3 years ago with talk of making India a developed, modern, secular nation.

Yogi Adityanath has a colourful history to say the least. He is currently facing more than a dozen criminal cases including a charge of incitement to violence. He has publicly advocated forcibly converting non-Hindus into Hindus, putting Hindu idols in Muslim and Christian places of worship and has even exhorted his followers to kill Muslims. It seems the fringe elements of the BJP are flexing their muscle in the lead up to the 2019 election.

Their goal is to turn India into a theocracy. All over the world religious fanatics of all hues are taking over the nation state and using the power the nation state can exercise to forcibly promote their religious claptrap. Whether it’s Saudi Arabia, Iran, Islamic State in Syria and Iraq or even Christian fundamentalist in Europe, Australia, the USA and South America, it seems the religious bigots that have crawled out of their holes would love to see nothing better than the world divided along religious lines. It’s ironical in the so called age of reason so many religious fundamentalists are attempting to turn secular states into theocracies.

Dr. Joseph Toscano

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