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The ‘shining’ radicalization of India

Ehud Sprinzak, a renowned scholar, was one of the first one who emphasized on the process, which turns an individual or group to be violent. He named it the “Delegitimation process”, or a radicalization process which takes place before any act of violence or terrorism. He linked this process with the political situation of the countries. For instance, in functional democracies, individuals or groups become violent via, “Transformational delegitimation”. This process of radicalization takes place in the society through “profound political and psychological change in its members”. Sprinzak’s concept of “Transformational delegitimation”, can be comprehended easily, if we apply it on the prevailing situation in India.

However the current scenario in India has a one drastic alienation from the Sprinzak’s concept. He believed that this kind of radicalization process takes places against the political regime which is in charge. The individuals or followers who used to be the strong advocate of democracy, when finds out that the regime they are following is not pursuing the ideology in which they believe, than they start to resent it. Also the events we have witnessed in India, since Mr. Modi took over as the Prime Minister, have been more or less done under the umbrella of the government in charge. For example, the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) is the Mumbai chapter of BJP. So it’s hard to view their actions in isolation, especially when the ruling party (BJP) remains silent. Then how Sprinzak’s concept still applies on the current situation in India? Let’s analyze.

As a Muslim society, we tend to focus more on the distasteful incidents happen with the Muslim minority of India. Though, Mr. Modi’s stance is not just restricted to anti-Muslim or anti-Pakistan, his thought process inclines more towards the concept of “Hinduism”. If we look at his election campaign, he used a three prong strategy. To lure the business community, he propagated his success story as a Gujrat’s Chief Minister. To capture the anti-Pakistan section of the voters, he feverishly bashed Pakistan and its policies. But the third and most important part of his campaign was to ignite the “Hinduism” sentiments, a conception which he used to attract the attention of every Indian (specifically the religious fraction of the society) because he wanted a clear mandate. This is a strategy which worked wonders in the sub-continent, where religion is used to achieve political goals. Although India prides itself on being a secular country, the fact remains that the majority of sub-continent is closely knitted to religious sentiments. Bollywood movies like PK and OMG (Oh My God) are a clear example of it.


This concept of “Hinduism” enabled Mr. Modi, to tactfully distant himself from the secular approach followed in the past. He forced every common Indian, to think that “secularism” is not the ideology in which Indians believe, rather “Hinduism” is the way to move forward. So what Sprinzak noted as the psychological and political change in the mindset, which individuals observe themselves. Mr. Modi, took on himself to install that ideology in the common man. The change in the thought process of a common man is still the same, as explained by Sprinzak. The only difference is that in case of India, it’s the government which is forcing this psychological change of mindset and the wrath is faced by the decade’s long policy of “secularism”, and not by the current regime.

The killings of lower caste Hindus or killings of Muslims on the suspicion that they ate cow’s meat. An Australian couple was harassed for having a tattoo. Throwing ink on Muslim MPA’s and on Sudheendra Kulkarni, just because he organized the book launch of Khurshid Kasuri in India. The BCCI office was attacked because they were having a meeting with the PCB chairman. All these incidents didn’t happen out of the blue. From the day Mr. Modi, started his election campaign till date, he is feeding every common Indian, to exhibit this extremist mindset. He has successfully made them believe that this is the kind of ideology which they are destined for. If everything that is happening right now in India, is being done under government’s umbrella, then how can this radicalization can be a threat to the Indian society? This is the most important question which needed to be answered right now.


The Sprinzak’s theory of pre-violent phase, has almost reached its brink point in India. The radicalization process in the last year or so, has started to become evident, the events mentioned in the preceding paragraph exemplify this fact.  Even the violent shape of this radicalization has also started to emerge and it will only gain momentum whenever someone will defy the ideology, the common man has adopted. What needs to be seen is that for how long, Mr. Modi’s government will remain silent on such issues. His government will remain unscratched from this rage, until he opposes it. And the more time he allows this radicalization to take place, the more difficult it will become for him to take a position against it. Human psychology is not something which can be altered easily.

This seed which Mr. Modi has planted in the minds of common Indians will have long lasting and far reaching negative effects. Even if his government sails through and keeps the same policy, this radicalization process will be more and more strengthened. And whenever a government will decide to change the rules of the game, the blowback will be immense. If anything India can learn from Pakistan is that when the, state decides to disown the policies once it established (especially with a religious element), the results will be catastrophic. After going through hell for the past decade or so, Pakistan has started to crawl back towards normalization. But now India has started to move towards this path, it’s high time that the corrective measures must be taken, before it’s too late.


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