Current Affairs

Demographic trend and the Hindu vote


Aug 19, 2012, 05:21 AM | Updated Apr 29, 2016, 02:15 PM IST

Muhammad Ali Jinnah was convinced Muslims couldn’t coexist with Hindus. It’s another matter that he used a different excuse to further his agenda. Something that purportedly went by wanting to protect rights of Muslims in a Hindu majority India. Thus came into existence the Islamic Republic of Pakistan. The country’s value add to the world is all too well known now.

Pakistan literally means land of the pure. The purity in this case refers to faith. The Islamic faith. So sincere is Pakistan in its pursuit of purity that it legally discriminates against anyone not owing complete allegiance to Islam. In over six decades of its existence minorities have almost vanished from the land. Ahmadiyyas do not exist for Pakistan and Hindus have been persecuted to extinction. The few remaining Hindus have expressed a desire to migrate to India.

Bangladesh was liberated from the Islamic Republic of Pakistan in March 1971 by India. In the 1980s Bangladesh felt the need to declare Islam as its state religion. Since then the Hindu population has been on the decline. As an extra we have a huge illegal migration of Bangladeshi Muslims into India with not so pleasant results.

In contrast demographic trends in India have been different from the ones seen in these neighboring countries. Here the minority population has seen a steady and rapid increase. The majority population has been on the decline. The 2011 census numbers haven’t been released yet. However it is believed that the Hindu population may fall below 80% for the first time.

Statistics are behind the curve. Our secular politicians have seen and actively encouraged this trend for quite a while. We are told Muslims voting en bloc is a myth. We are told Muslims are individuals too. However that is at variance with the way politics and electoral outcomes have played out over the decades. The secular parties compete amongst themselves in actively courting the Muslim vote. This has yielded rich electoral dividends for them. The Muslims too have realized the power of their vote and have exploited it to good effect.

Today the Muslim population in India has reached a point that has given the community greater confidence. This confidence is manifesting in assertive ways. Many times in violation of the law and spirit of our Constitution. Recent events are further proof of the same. There is another effect of this greater confidence among Muslims. They no longer feel the need to seek protection under a benevolent over lordship of the secular parties. They now feel they can form their own political parties and cut the middlemen out.

This demographic trend and the way politics has been played in India have tilted the scales heavily to the Muslim side. Electoral outcomes now almost entirely depend on their vote. The fragmented Hindu vote is of little consequence. Rare are the occasions when Hindus vote en bloc. In fact this may have happened only once so far. With the numerical strength of Hindus set to fall below 80%, time may just be running out for the consolidated Hindu vote, if it ever existed, to assert itself and make it count. The Hindus may very well have succeeded defeating overt onslaughts, but they seem to be on the losing side of this covert trend.

Image from here.

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