India’s Muslims worried about controversial Hindu leader as national elections begin

As priests chanted and smeared vermilion on Narendra Modi’s forehead, the opposition leader prayed that India would make him its next prime minister.

Modi came to this Hindu holy city late last year to worship at a site that has been contested by Hindus and Muslims for centuries. Just yards from where he stood, a two-story wall of metal bars separated the historic temple from a mosque.

Modi has been a polarizing figure in India for years. Now his Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has surged in the polls as a discontented electorate has embraced his message of economic growth and corruption-free government. Voters have begun to cast their ballots in national elections, which will continue in stages until May 12.

Read it all from the Washington Post.


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One comment on “India’s Muslims worried about controversial Hindu leader as national elections begin

  1. Katherine says:

    An interesting take on this, and much of it rings true to me. I was in India in 2006-2007 when there were bombings within 50-100 miles of where I lived — and then there was a small bomb a mile away, but that turned out to be a personal business vendetta.

    My personal observation was that many Indian Roman Catholics were converts from families which had previously been high-caste, whereas many Protestants (including Anglican) had previously been low-caste. I wonder if the same was true of the Muslims during the reigns of the Mughals. It is true that most Muslims i saw lived in poverty — like huge numbers of Hindus and Christians. Some of the dalits, that is, untouchables, today are converting to Buddhism, and in the city where I lived there were dalit riots in which people died. A lot of these conflicts are ethnic as well as religious.

    Certainly I cannot favor a Hindu state, just as I could not favor a Muslim state. The problem is that the Congress Party is a soft socialist holdover from the Nehru days and it doesn’t seem to know what to do about economic problems or about caste and religious problems either, although it has made some commendable efforts.