India is being ruled by Hindu Taliban: Sir Anish Kapoor

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Britain’s celebrated sculptor of Indian origin, Anish Kapoor, has kicked off a huge controversy by likening the ruling BJP to Taliban.

Writing in one of UK’s largest circulated newspaper, The Guardian, Kapoor wrote, “The Hindu god Vishnu has several incarnations, many of them human. The latest of these appears to be Narendra Modi. All over India there are images of the man, right arm raised in the benevolent gesture of good fortune. But this strong-but-enlightened-man image hides the frightening and shrill reality of an increasingly Modi-led Hindu dominance of India.”

Kapoor, who studied in Britain and won the prestigious Turner prize in 1991,  wrote his column for the newspaper on the day Prime Minister Narendra Modi arrived in the UK for three day visit.

Kapoor expressed his concern over the growing religious intolerance in India particularly under Modi regime.

He wrote, “The country’s openness to social and religious minorities (more than 500 million people) and regional differences is at serious risk. Of late, Modi’s regime has effectively tolerated – if not encouraged – a saffron-clad army of Hindu activists who monitor and violently discipline those suspected of eating beef, disobeying caste rules or betraying the ‘Hindu nation.'”

He added, “In the UK, people might perhaps be familiar with India’s cricket prowess, atrocities in Kashmir or the recent horrific rape cases. But beyond that, many of us choose not to know. India’s global image now mimics China’s – a rising global economic power with attractive trade and investment opportunities. As a result, business trumps human rights, with little concern, especially on the part of David Cameron’s government, for the rising wave of Hindu tyranny.

“All this is good news for Prime Minister Modi, who flew into London today. He won’t be seriously called to account for human rights abuses or systematic thuggery. If there is one thing that has marked the man’s first year and a half in power it is this: he is not a man who takes kindly to scrutiny or criticism. In fact, he has used the very economic agenda that causes Britain to turn a blind eye to his regime’s human rights abuses to muzzle dissent within India.”

Here’s the remaining part of his article:

Modi’s latest move has been the strangulation of Greenpeace India, culminating last Friday with the organisation’s licence to operate being removed. Respect for human rights and environmental organisations is so often a litmus test for the democratic state of a country. Worryingly, the Indian government has been cracking down on all “foreign-funded” charities for the past year, claiming that the national economy is threatened by environmental restrictions and other “un-Indian” activities. Nine thousand NGOs have been “de-registered” in a concerted effort to force out these “nuisance” groups and cast them as foreign enemies.

Of late, many Indian journalists and human rights activists have been harassed and threatened with “sedition” charges: for example, Teesta Setalvad, who still seeks justice for the victims of communal violence in the state of Gujarat in 2002, when Modi was the state’s chief minister; and Santosh Yadav, arrested in September in the state of Chhattisgarh on what Amnesty International believes are fabricated charges resulting from his investigatory journalism exposing police brutality against Adivasis (indigenous people). A few weeks ago, even a musician who sang a satirical song criticising the state governor of Tamil Nadu over alcohol sales was charged with “anti-Indian activity”.

This alarming erosion of democracy is a slippery slope that may end up targeting not just minorities and “outsiders” but any dissenting “insiders”. What I’ve seen happening is a spirit of fear taking hold, which threatens to silence activists, artists and intellectuals alike. We’ve never known that before.
A Hindu version of the Taliban is asserting itself, in which Indians are being told: “It’s either this view – or else.” A friend told me: “There is huge oppression of anyone who’s different.” Last month, dozens of Indian writers handed back their literary awards in protest, following communal violence against Muslims and attacks on intellectuals.

India is a country of 1.25 billion people, including 965 million Hindus and 170 million Muslims. We have a long tradition of tolerance and, despite differences, have managed to pull our huge country together. But the government’s militant Hinduism risks marginalising other faiths and tearing apart these bonds. Many of us dread what might then happen.

We in Britain cannot bite our tongues any more; we have a responsibility to speak out. And we need to work on at least two fronts: demand that Cameron not make business deals at the cost of human rights, and press Modi to answer for the Indian government’s abysmal rights record; and recognise and support the many Indian citizens, journalists and organisations that are resisting growing Hindu fanaticism and state authoritarianism.

I’ll be joining protesters outside Downing Street today. Following the lead of India’s opposition groups, we have a duty to speak out for the people Modi is trying to silence, precisely because we are free to do so.

3 COMMENTS

  1. Sir Anish Kapoor…..it clearly seems that you have lost your mind by writing such an article on the most successful and dynamic Prime Minister that India has ever had till date. Do you have any Idea what cow means Hindus and what are the benefits of cow products. Muslims do not eat pork…..did you ever write about that ? Millions of Muslims visit Mecca every year and Government of India facilitates that pilgrimage…..how many Hindus are supported to visit Mt.Kailash ?

    Do you Live in India or the UK……do you have any sense of actual ground reality of the Hindus and the way we have lived in the recent historical past……invaded and ruled and raped by Mughals and than the British and now people like you are leaving no stone to create a state of confusion and defame India.

    Do you have any idea how many young muslim men rape hindu girls, how many marry them and convert them because they are told to do so, how many million muslims are involved in making home made pistols and bombs…..and you go on to write about freedom of expression….for your information here in India we have more freedom than probably in the UK or elsewhere. Munnawar Rana who turned his Academy award in is on all news channels and his act has only encouraged anti nationals to come out in open and do the same….who is stopping them ??

    Get your facts right and act responsible. Writing rubbish is not going to make you sleep better at night. By the way are you a muslim ?

  2. Hi Sir Anish Kapoor, Just because you have written a few things, you don’t and won’t become a author or historian. Have you lived any part of your life in Islamic countries or have faces the wrath of Taliban? Why do you apply this double standard to bring down India and get some viewers to your posts.

  3. Hi, Anish kapoor, I have not read your article as your article heading is more enough to say what kind of shit your mind can pour on internet. You are not janta ka reporter, you are just a shit person who wants to get hits by internet user and earn revenue by adds.

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