To Comfort The Afflicted
And Afflict The Comfortable

To Comfort The Afflicted And Afflict The Comfortable

Wednesday, May 27, 2020

New Observercast

Extremist National Chauvinism Weakens Constitution, Country

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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 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

Nyla Ali Khan is the author of Fiction of Nationality in an Era of TransnationalismIslam, Women, and Violence in KashmirThe Life of a Kashmiri Woman, and the editor of The Parchment of Kashmir. She also has served as a guest editor working on articles from the Jammu and Kashmir region for Oxford University Press [New York], helping to identify, commission, and review articles. Nyla Khan is a Commissioner of the Oklahoma Commission on the Status of Women. She can be reached at nylakhan@aol.com.

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