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Photo illustration by John Lyman

Bit by bit, the Indian government is trying to erase Muslims from India.

According to recent reports, in the Indian state of Gujarat, hundreds of mosques and shrines have been destroyed with impunity.

The demolition of the Babri Masjid mosque, the neglect of the Taj Mahal, and the current demolition of the Shahi Masjid mosque in Uttar Pradesh, all point in a worrisome direction. The Indian government is destroying India’s Muslim legacy via the destruction, neglect, and marginalization of Muslim culture and identity. This erasure has serious ramifications for India’s Muslim minority since it undermines their feeling of belonging and identity.

When Arab traders first arrived in India in the 7th century, Muslim conquests and empires started. The Mughal Empire, which dominated India from the 16th to the 19th centuries, was one of India’s most important Muslim empires. Muslim monarchs in India supported art, literature, and architecture, creating a legacy of gigantic constructions such as the Taj Mahal and the Red Fort.

The Indo-Islamic architectural style, a fusion of Indian and Islamic architecture, is an important contribution of Muslim monarchs to Indian culture. In India, Islamic academics made major contributions to mathematics, astronomy, and medicine. The legacy of Muslim sovereignty in India may be seen in the country’s language, music, and food, all of which have been impacted by Islamic culture.

The Babri Masjid mosque is the most notable example of a Muslim historical monument in India that has been targeted for demolition. The Babri Masjid, a mosque built in the 16th century in Ayodhya, was destroyed in 1992 by Hindu nationalists who believed it was built on the site of a Hindu temple. Its destruction ignited communal riots, killing hundreds. In addition to the Babri Masjid, Hindu nationalists have threatened other Muslim cultural sites in India, including the Jama Masjid in Delhi and the Charminar in Hyderabad.

Neglect is another significant threat to India’s Muslim history. A classic example of this neglect is the Taj Mahal, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The monument is polluted, and the marble is yellowing. Despite being a popular tourist destination, the Indian government has not provided sufficient cash for its repair and maintenance.

The most recent occurrence was the demolition of Shahi Masjid, a 16th-century mosque erected during Sher Shah Suri’s reign in Prayagraj, Uttar Pradesh. The mosque was demolished to enlarge a public road.

Another important threat to India’s Muslim legacy is the marginalization of Muslim culture. In India, the rise of Hindu nationalism has resulted in the marginalization of Muslim culture in society. Muslims in India are frequently viewed as second-class citizens and face discrimination in a variety of settings, including education and work. The Indian government has also been accused of eliminating Muslim culture from education, including the removal of Muslim historical figures from textbooks.

One of the major causes leading to India’s silent genocide against its Muslim heritage is Hindu nationalism. With the growth of Hindu nationalism in India, Muslim culture and history have been marginalized and erased from Indian society. Hindu nationalists believe in Hindu culture’s superiority and desire to obliterate other civilizations, particularly Muslim cultures.

Another factor contributing to the silent genocide of India’s Muslim history is the political conflict between India and Pakistan. The two nations have a long history of confrontation, with India accusing Pakistan of aiding terrorism and Pakistan accusing India of violating Muslims’ human rights. This political friction has resulted in the Muslim population in India being marginalized, with many Indians considering Muslims a security concern.

Historical hostility towards Muslim governance in India is also contributing to the silent genocide of India’s Muslims. Notwithstanding the Mughal Empire’s contributions to Indian culture and legacy, many Indians regard the Muslim reign in India as an era of tyranny. Because of this attitude, Muslim heritage monuments in India have been neglected and erased.

The silent genocide of India’s Muslim legacy is a multifaceted issue that includes the destruction, neglect, and marginalization of Muslim culture and heritage in India. The elimination of this tradition endangers the identity and sense of belonging of India’s Muslim people. The erasure of India’s Muslim roots has serious repercussions for the country’s cultural variety and pluralism promotion.

It is critical to understand the importance of India’s Muslim history and endeavor to preserve it. There is a need for greater knowledge and appreciation of Muslim culture and history’s contributions to India. There is also a need to incorporate more Muslim culture and history into Indian schooling. To develop a more inclusive society, the Muslim community in India must be addressed.

Muhammad Wasama Khalid is a Correspondent and Researcher at Global Affairs. He is pursuing a Bachelor's degree in International Relations at National Defense University. His interests include history, politics, and current affairs. He has been published in Global Village Space, Global Defense Insight, Global Affairs, and Modern Diplomacy.