“Jai Shri Ram”, translating from Hindi as “hail Lord Ram” or “victory to Lord Ram”, is meant to be a harmless informal greeting, a proclamation of one’s faith and an expression of praise for a well-known Hindu deity.
Sadly, the expression has taken on far more sinister connotations in recent years. For far-right Hindu nationalists in India, who have been significantly emboldened over the past eight years under Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), the slogan has been appropriated as a rallying cry for violent extremists.
Continue reading ““Jai Shri Ram” on the streets of Leicester as India’s Hindu nationalism stretches beyond its borders“
CSW receives regular reports of communal violence in which the perpetrators have either chanted those three words while carrying out their attacks, or in some cases pressured their victims to declare them, forcing them to contradict their own religion or belief.
India celebrates its 75th year of independence from the British on 15 August. Every year this day is commemorated by remembering the innumerable sacrifices Indians made in their pursuit of freedom and self-rule. But year after year the question of whether this is the vision of India that the nation’s forefathers and freedom fighters gave their lives for becomes ever more pressing.
Even as there was much to celebrate on 15 August 1947, independence came with a heavy price. Just a day before, on 14 August, India was torn into two; the painful partition of India and Pakistan along the lines of religion has continued to have profound effects on the lives of people on both sides.
If anything, 75 years later, these communal divides seem to be growing bigger. There has been much debate on the partition in the intervening decades – who is to blame, what went wrong and what could have been done. But just as the debates continue, the hatred continues to grow.
Continue reading “India at 75: A nation under siege“
Over the past month, the Indian state of Karnataka has been in the news as protests related to a ban on Muslim students wearing the hijab (headscarf) in the classroom escalated and spread across the state.
The tensions led to violent clashes between those supporting the ban and those against it, drastically affecting the education of students who have already been hit by the pandemic.
The controversy began on 28 December 2021 when authorities of an educational institution in Udipi, Karnataka banned six Muslim girls from entering with their hijabs (headscarves) on. One of the students filed a petition in the Karnataka High court demanding the right to wear the hijab under Article 14 of the Indian constitution, which recognises equality and equal protection under the law, and Article 25, which stipulates that all citizens have the right to freely profess, practise and propagate religion.
Continue reading “India’s hijab controversy is forcing Muslim girls to choose between their education and their faith”
In June, we published a blog post detailing the history of Dalit conversion in India and how this can often be an act of self-liberation for members of this historically underprivileged community. This continues to this day, however there are those in the community, particularly those who convert to Christianity or Islam, who can continue to face discrimination and hardship even after conversion.
For this blog, we spoke to a Christian who works on Dalit and other human rights issues in the country, who shared some of her own experiences and shed light on the issues that persist for Dalits in India today.
“Growing up as a Christian in India, there were some decisions that you had to make early on in life. One such decision was what I would put my caste down as in my school’s admission form. I was taught that we are all God’s children and we are all equal, but why was I being asked to classify myself? I was a Christian, so I ticked the box that said OC (Other Caste) because we were taught that Christians don’t have castes and that was the only sensible option available. Also, because I was privileged to not know what caste I belong to.
Continue reading “India’s reservation policy is meant to help Dalits, as long as they don’t convert to Christianity or Islam”