A letter from… Bengaluru, India
Rohan Gideon on threats to minorities in Bengalaru, India
National elections to constitute the 17th Parliament of India, one of the largest democracies in the world, are around the corner. The run up to these elections has posed a great challenge to minorities here – minority religions, marginalised castes, tribes, Adivasi people (indigenous south Asians), gender and age-based groups. What has also, in a sense, become marginal is the understanding of democracy itself. Historically, the colonial past has had a huge bearing on the understanding of democracy as the rule of the majority. Many local cultural factors have manipulated this notion of majority to undermine minority voices.
Even a quick assessment of Indian democracy in the recent past of this decade has thrown up a bitter truth that majority rule has become normative and a threat to India’s longstanding spirit of accommodation and peaceful coexistence. Worse than this, regional elections have largely succumbed to the whims of the central government, ruled by cultural and religious nationalists. Violent reining in of those who question the homogenising tendencies of nationalist ideology has become commonplace…
Rohan Gideon is Associate Professor of Christian Theology at United Theological College, Bengaluru, southern India
This is an extract from an article that was published in the April 2019 edition of Reform