Commenting on PM Modi’s Anti Muslim Campaign as an Indian American

New Dehli turned into a battleground when President Trump visited India’s capital earlier in the week. The initially peaceful protest quickly turned violent as Hindu nationalists roamed the streets carrying aluminum bats, iron bars and clubs. The violence persisted for three days concluding in a death toll of over 20 civilians. The violence has since ceased, but mobs of Hindus and Muslims have been clashing since Trump’s visit last Sunday. According to The New York Times, many Muslims said the police stood passively by while Hindu nationalists attacked individuals, homes and property. Ultimately, both Hindus and Muslims died as a result. 

Indian Prime Minister Modi recently passed a controversial citizenship bill that intends to turn India into a Hindu-centric state. Former Indian Supreme Court Judge B.N. Srikrishna criticized Modi’s Hindu nationalist program and said, “They want a theocratic state. This is pushing the country to the brink, to the brink of chaos.”

Modi’s authoritarian legislation is inciting violence across the nation. As an Indian American, reading about the violence persisting across the country is disheartening. While I was born and raised in the states, both my parents immigrated from Mumbai. I have familial and cultural connections to India, which is something I unwaveringly took pride in until recently. Although I was not born in my parent’s country, I regard India as a home away from home. I have visited friends and family abroad and traveled across the country during a trip I feel so fortunate to have embarked on. I was able to reconnect and discover new areas of my culture. Specifically, I value the aspect of community, support and togetherness that my culture emulates. 

The Prime Minister does not practice these same cultural tenets. Rather, his regime discriminates against Muslims in an effort to create an India that emphasizes its Hindu heritage as much as possible. Growing up Hindu, I never regarded my religion as dominant over others. Rather, my parents encouraged me to be accepting of all faiths. I proudly stand by my Muslim friends, and other non-Hindu Indians, in opposing Modi’s harmful legislation.