- The country’s youth population is convulsing in a grotesque dance of hate, and bigotry thereby making them abjectly ill-equipped to lead India onto the world stage.
It was a surreal scene playing out non-stop on TV channels. It showed a teenage girl being chased for wearing religious clothing by a frenzied and rabid crowd of male students from her college. This was not a scene from Nazi Germany, but from the Indian state of Karnataka in the year 2022.
The Hindutva laboratory that India has become is throwing up noxious results that threaten to suffocate the nation’s minorities and derail the very future of the country’s youth. In a world that is inexorably moving toward the ideals of democracy, diversity, and inclusion, the world’s largest democracy, on the other hand, is convulsing in a grotesque dance of intolerance, hate, and bigotry against its minority Muslim and Christian populations.
The youth are any country’s future. With 50% of India’s population below the age of 25, the cancer of hate and bigotry that is infecting its youth does not augur well for the country’s aspiration to be a world economic and military powerhouse. World leadership requires a country’s ability to nurture its youth in being able to work with a diverse group of people in the world and be accepting of the religious and cultural differences of various groups. It requires its future generations to learn leadership skills from those who are inclusive and not the vitriolic, hate-spewing, and rabble-rousing like the politicians currently in power.
India’s toxic politicians are pursuing a dangerous game of polarizing the population on religious lines for electoral gains. This toxicity has permeated a large portion of India’s youth population. Hate speeches, the introduction of spurious and blatantly false history into the classrooms, mainstreaming of hate, involvement of students in protests against hijab, arms training, and involvement in violence against minorities have radicalized a large section of youth and filled them with unbridled hate toward minorities. thereby making them abjectly ill-equipped to lead India onto the world stage.
The current fallout from the venomous comments of BJP’s spokesperson, Nupur Sharma, is an excellent example of the fiasco that hate can result in. India’s youth do not deserve such people as leaders who subsist on hate and bigotry.
India exports hundreds of thousands of students to many Western countries such as the United States, Canada, England, and Australia. All these are staunchly democratic countries with a strong focus on diversity and inclusion. Petty and narrow-minded students have less chance of success in such inclusive environments. Given the massive globalization, the corporate world has little tolerance for the intolerant. Products of the Hindutva laboratory, that are taught to hate Muslims, Christians, and other minorities will not be able to thrive or be relevant in environments where religious diversity is valued, encouraged, and celebrated. They will at best end up spreading the same venom of hate in their adopted countries. This is a clarion call for the hundreds of thousands of students who aspire to study abroad. Their indulgence and participation in politics of hate can have serious repercussions in their professional lives, not to mention the rotting of one’s soul due to such actions.
While politicians are setting up India’s youth for failure on the altar of their political ambitions, those who genuinely care about India’s youth and their future must raise their voices to counter this ominous development. The sooner the Indian community realizes that it takes generations for any country to recover from the hate virus, the better. The outcomes of hate from Nazi Germany continue to show us how hate can hurt others and how it can destroy the hater itself. The BJP spokeswoman Nupur Sharma’s fall is a telling example of this.
Zafar Siddiqui was born in Hyderabad, India, and currently lives in Minnesota, United States. He is a community activist involved in building bridges of understanding between the Minnesota Muslim community and the greater Minnesota community. He serves on the board of several non-profits. He can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.