Analysis: For areas governed by the government of India, “opening up” must mean more than economics

As of Sunday (May 17), the government of India has extended the “lockdown” in most of the areas it controls, although news reports indicate some places could see easing of strictures on travel and commerce in those places where the COVID-19 nightmare seems to be easing.

But references to a “lockdown” and to “opening up” can have more than one meaning can have more than one meaning, if one turns to the regime suppressing political development in some of the areas India now controls. 

The ultra-nationalist right-wing Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), currently in power in India, and its votaries have completely ignored how diverse communities can grow historically within the framework created by the combined forces of modern national and transnational developments.

The supposed liberatory discourse endorsed/ disseminated by the BJP serves to emphasize, reinforce, and create cultural myopia and monocultural identities.
The short-sightedness of the Bhajpa has proved detrimental to the constitutional integrity of India.

The polarizing rhetoric deployed this election season by bigwigs on the campaign trail portrays the nation as an invention that breeds relentless hatred.
The myopic vision of these bigwigs renders the nation all the more threatening.
Such an irregular politics polarizes ethnic groups into Hindus and Muslims who are required to disavow their cultural, linguistic, and social unities.

This molding of collective identities by the evocation of pan-national religious affinities results in the stifling of minority voices that express divergent cultural and social opinions.

Such an ideology defines identities and ideologies, treating the idea of a multilingual and multiethnic and secular nation as if it were a myth.

The prevalent majoritarian politics and uncertainty in India, helps in the institutionalization of unaccountability, and opportunists make hay while the unpredictability in Kashmir remains unresolved. 

NOTE: Nyla Ali Khan is  a widely-published writer who monitors developments in Jammu and Kashmir, the region where she grew up. Her analyses and personal reflections appear regularly on CapitolBeatOK, an online news service in Oklahoma City, and in The City Sentinel newspaper.