The Platform


For nearly a decade, Prime Minister Narendra Modi has been the flag-bearer of a Hindu Rashtra project, a grand design to transform India into a Hindu-only nation.

In India, the rising tide of Hindutva—or Hindu nationalism—poses an urgent threat to the rights and dignity of a mosaic of minority communities, including Muslims, Christians, Sikhs, Buddhists, Jains, and Dalits. Since ascending to power in 2014, Prime Minister Narendra Modi has been the flag-bearer of a Hindu Rashtra project, a grand design to transform India into a Hindu-only nation. This initiative comes at a disturbing cost: it erodes the foundational tenets of India’s secular and pluralistic constitution. Modi’s political heft derives partly from the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS), a paramilitary organization that not only serves as Hindutva’s ideological wellspring but also as the progenitor of Modi’s own party, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP).

The RSS, along with its affiliates such as the Sangh Parivar and Bajrang Dal, has orchestrated violent attacks and harassment targeting India’s Muslim minority, which constitutes 14.2% of the nation’s population. Despite urgent pleas from human rights watchdogs, intellectuals, and authors, the Modi administration remains impervious, often bellicose, to criticism. Reflecting the words of Vinayak Damodar Savarkar, the early 20th-century ideologue who wrote Hindutva: Who is a Hindu? Modi and his allies are forging an India cleaved along religious lines, hollowing out institutions, legitimizing violence, and fomenting animosity against minorities.

A 2023 report from the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom indicates escalating threats to religious liberty and human rights under BJP’s aegis. Leaders within the party have drawn fire for inflammatory remarks about the Prophet Muhammad, while administrative policies have systematically marginalized Muslims and other minorities. Impunity reigns when it comes to attacks on Dalits, Adivasis, and religious minorities.

The Indian government’s revisionist history projects are equally concerning. The National Council of Educational Research and Training has sanitized textbooks, expunging references to eras ruled by Muslim kings. Hate crimes are rampant, with minorities disproportionately languishing in jails. The UN Human Rights Council’s Universal Periodic Review of India yielded 339 recommendations and cited a 300% spike in hate crimes since Modi took office.

While the country’s constitution promises freedom of conscience for all, 13 of its 28 states have imposed laws that curb religious conversion, disproportionately affecting non-Hindus. The plight of Christians and other minorities has reached an unprecedented nadir, exacerbated by online hate campaigns, mass protests, and widespread misinformation. Despite U.S. diplomatic efforts to safeguard religious freedom, the Indian government persists in its institutionalized discrimination and stigmatization.

The Dalit community, comprising approximately 166 million individuals in India, continues to grapple with systemic prejudices despite legal protections. Discrimination manifests in heinous crimes—including killings, kidnappings, and sexual assaults—rarely met with judicial reprisal. Social stigmatization also persists, reflected in schools where Dalit children are isolated, or in rural areas where Dalit women, triply marginalized by caste, economic status, and gender, face life-altering prejudices. The damning statistics corroborate the grim narrative: an appalling 5.3% conviction rate for crimes against Dalits as of 2006, with 70% of Dalit women in rural India illiterate.

The ascendant Hindutva movement, spearheaded by Modi and buttressed by the RSS, imperils India’s multicultural, democratic identity. Varied strands of evidence—from human rights reports to historical documents—paint a grim tableau of a nation in which institutions are being recalibrated, violence legitimized, and hatred against minorities actively stoked. As India wavers on the precipice of an ideologically driven transformation, the very soul of the nation hangs in the balance.

Abdul Mussawer Safi is an author at various platforms such as Modern Diplomacy, Kashmir Watch, and Eurasia Review. He is pursuing a Bachelor's degree in International Relations from National Defense University. He has a profound interest in world politics, especially in the regional dynamics of South Asia. His academic strengths are critical and SWOT analysis.