Ajaz Ahmad War
As Trump continues to defy election results and float conspiracy theories, Joe Biden’s election to the coveted office of POTUS with Kamala Harris as his deputy has generated a hope among Indian Muslims and the Kashmiris, both of whom have been at the receiving end of the BJP regime’s harsh policies to stamp its Hindutva authority.
Vice President elect Kamala Harris said last year after New Delhi abrogated the special status of J&K that Kashmiris weren’t alone and showed her resolve to intervene if the need arose. “We have to remind the Kashmiris that they are not alone in the world. We are keeping a track on the situation. There is a need to intervene if the situation demands,” said Harris.
President elect Joe Biden’s agenda for Muslim American communities was central to his election manifesto. A large chunk of these Muslims come from the Subcontinent.
“Muslim-Americans are essential to the American fabric, and working with Muslim-American communities is critical to ensuring that Muslim-Americans are uplifted and empowered, and that their issues of concern are addressed within our democracy. You can’t define an American by where their family comes from, what they look like, or what faith they follow. America is an idea–that all men and women are created equal, that everyone is entitled to be treated with dignity. It’s an idea that’s stronger than any army and more powerful than any dictator, and while we’ve never perfectly lived up to this idea, generation after generation of Americans have opened wider the doors of opportunity to include more and more people. Muslim-Americans are a diverse, vibrant part of the United States, making invaluable cultural and economic contributions to communities all across the nation. But they also face real challenges and threats in our society, including racially-motivated violence and Islamophobia,” said Biden’s election agenda for Muslims. This is in total contrast to how Muslims are viewed and treated in India.
It’s because of this pro-Muslim stance that the Muslims of India were looking forward to Biden’s win as against the views of the majority of Hindus who were batting for Trump.
After Modi’s ‘ab ki bar Trump sarkar’ call at Howdy Modi, the Hindu American organisations rallied behind Trump with all the support they could offer with the belief that if the new Hindutva-powered India had to have any say in the United States, Trump’s victory was central to it.
Despite Kamala Harris’ Indian roots through her late mother, a biochemical dentist, who immigrated to America from India as a young woman, the Indian lobby was quickly disappointed after some initial hope when she proudly talked about her Indian roots. The American Hindus, like their brethren in India, believe that any Hindu in the world is obligated to be pro-Modi and it often comes as a shock when it doesn’t work that way. Pertinently many Indians, until recently, believed Harris to be a black politician. They even helped her in fund raising.
In December last year, Democratic Congresswoman Pramila Jayapal tabled a resolution urging Government of India to lift the remaining restrictions on communication and restore internet services across the state with immediate effect. The resolution asked the government to allow international human rights observers and journalists into Jammu and Kashmir and to operate freely across India, without threats. It also urged the Government of India to “condemn, at the highest levels, all religiously motivated violence, including that violence which targets against religious minorities.”
“I hope to work with the Indian government and my colleagues in Congress to strengthen the U.S.-India partnership, while protecting the human rights of the Kashmiri people,” Jayapal said last year. Chennai-born Jayapal defied the Indian diaspora and went ahead with the resolution on Kashmir.
With that in hindsight, it will be increasingly difficult for Modi and his Hindu majoritarian BJP to go ahead with its harsh, divisive policies without being called out for it. Whether or not this new reality will prompt Modi to soften his rhetoric and posturing – a core component of his politics – remains to be seen.