The following article was first posted as Progressive International Briefing No 4. Its title is self-explanatory.


Today, the 26th of January, India celebrates “Republic Day,” the day it adopted its constitution as an independent country after 200 years of British colonialism — as a “Sovereign, Socialist, Secular Democratic Republic committed to Justice, Equality and Liberty for the people.”

In sharp contrast, earlier this week, the current government, led by Narendra Modi, made a decisive move to overthrow India’s secular constitution in the name of a new Hindu supremacist nation.

On Monday, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi launched his re-election campaign with the inauguration of a new multimillion-dollar Hindu temple upon the ruins of a mosque destroyed by fundamentalist mobs.

30 years prior, on 6 December 1992, Modi’s Bharatiya Janata Party-led a violent mob to demolish the Mosque to rubble — claiming that it was the ancient site of a Hindu temple for Lord Ram or the “Ram Mandir”. In the bloody communal riots that followed, over 2,000 people were killed.

A thorough investigation led by Justice Manmohan Singh Liberhan found 68 people to be responsible for the demolition of the Mosque — mostly leaders from the BJP, including senior figures and members of Parliament such as AB Vajpayee, who went on to become the Prime Minister in 1996, LK Advani, and Vijaya Raje Scindia. None of them have faced legal repercussions to date.

Since then, the ruling BJP government has embraced “Ram Mandir” as a battle cry for their nation-building project. “Ram is the faith of India, Ram is the foundation of India. Ram is the idea of India, Ram is the law of India,” Modi said in his address to the nation on Monday.

As Prime Minister, Modi has pushed this Hindu-nationalism as India’s dominant political force: banning the hijab in schools, introducing “anti-conversion” laws, abusing municipal forces to demolish Muslim households and shops in cities, and pushing for a “uniform civil code” in law.

Now, in open defiance of India’s secular constitution, Modi fuses “Prime Minister” with “Chief Priest” to conduct the consecration of this controversial temple.

The “celebration” is not limited to Ayodhya. A holiday was announced in several states, instructing government offices, schools, and markets to remain closed for the public broadcast.

“Islamophobia is no longer a fringe sentiment in India. It has become a state-manufactured ideology,” read the warning issued by Genocide Watch in 2023. The 10-year term of the country’s Hindu nationalist government has seen escalating violence and conflict against Muslims, who make up its largest minority — and a steady weakening of democratic institutions that could stand in the way.

We will be reporting from the ground across India, organising briefings and keeping you updated with developments ahead of and through the general election in April.

The people of India have struggled for decades to secure a democracy that is secular, just, and equal. Modi must not be permitted to rob them of it now.



also see:

The unbearable manicheanism of the “anti-imperialist” left -William I. Robinson, Anti* Capitalist Resistance