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Graphic by Naseem ur Rehman

It’s not easy to ignore the recent developments in India. As the country next door, India has been an example of democracy, secularism, tolerance, pluralism and much else. Therefore, the political developments of recent years and their consequent impact on society — the angry mobs and lynchings — are a disturbing phenomenon, to say the least.

While people with anti-India, or anti-Hindu shall we say, leanings in Pakistan are acting smug, implying how they always said that secularism in India was a thin veneer, under which lies solid communalism and bias, liberal and progressive people in both the countries are feeling concerned at how politics is playing the religion card to such sheer disadvantage — of both the state and society.

To be fair, India today is not just at the receiving end of what has come to be known as ‘meat politics’. With seven lakh boots on Kashmir’s soil, India is seen as a perpetrator of violence in the valley and is also facing terrorist attacks in the mainland, mainly at the hands of resistance forces from Kashmir. The recent deadly attack on yatris in Amarnath only confirms that all is not well.

In such a scenario, making an issue out of cow slaughter and pitching one community against the other is the last thing India needs. For us in Pakistan, it further precludes the possibility of peace between the two countries. Because this time, it appears as if the ordinary Indian has turned against the ordinary Pakistani who they think belongs to a ‘terrorist state’.

Read also: Why is India so angry

It is time to understand what is happening in Indian society at the moment. Is it a temporary phase and the secular ethos and peaceful coexistence will reassert itself? We decided to pick some saner minds from India to comment on the situation. C Rammanoher Reddy, a senior analyst, hopes that “a society with a long history of openness to all faiths cannot be changed so easily”. We too hope that!


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