In the realm of International Relations, the strategic and economic factors drive the geopolitical dynamics. A critical aspect is that these factors can also be affected by radical religio-political ideologies. It is therefore necessary for analysts and intellectuals to consider such radical ideologies, their objectives and influence while analysing any particular situation to reach an appropriate conclusion, which is not possible if one neglects a factor as major as ideology, which dictates the unfolding of events.
Zionism and Greater Israel
Israel serves as a great example in explaining how state can be run on the basis of radical expansionist ideologies. A number of analysts, while discussing the concept of “Judaism” and “Zionism” end up mixing “Anti-Semitism” with “anti-Zionism”. Zionism capitalizes on this confusion and labels every political opponent Antisemitic, thus playing the moral card and gathering sympathies from around the world. What must be realized however, is that Israel is based on the concept of “Zionism” and not on “Judaism” and this is why one may find thousands of Jews opposing the idea of the state of Israel.
Zionism is a political ideology based on religious grounds proposed by Theodor Herzl in his pamphlet “The Jewish state” in 1896. Herzl advocates for rebuilding the “Greater Israel”, referring to the land of Israel during King David’s kingdom, defined and prophesied in Halakha. It is notable to mention that many people inside Israel oppose this idea of regaining the prophesied territory one way or the other. The opponents of Zionism are outnumbered and do not hold significant decision-making positions in the Israeli power corridors and so the radical Zionists are the ones driving the policies of Israel. it is evident from the fact that Israel has not declared its borders till date. Every year, the territory expands, owing to the expansionist mentality based on the idea of greater Israel. This very ideology is one of the biggest factors in deriving the policies of Israel and must be taken into account for a broader understanding of Israel’s role as a state at both regional and international levels.
Hindutva and Akhand Bharat
The second biggest expansionist ideology endangering regional and global peace is Hindutva, a religio-political ideology that reflects Hindu Nationalism, Hindu supremacy and Hindu hegemony in India. Its roots are very strong in India and is a popular idea, a fact which is endorsed by the election of Narendra Modi, who has been championing the cause for quite a long time.
People across the globe expressed concerns when Modi, the leader of India’s popular right-wing political party BJP, and former member of far-right extremist organization Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) took charge of the Prime Minister Office back in 2014. He was once denied visa by US authorities owing to his alleged involvement in the 2002 riots in Gujarat for which he is often referred to as “Butcher of Gujrat”. Majority of the members of Core Committee of the BJP are affiliated with Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS), which believes in a supremacist concept, i.e. Barhman Hindus are the upper caste and are superior to the entire human race. This is where it gets worse, as such radical approach, does not intend to bring any good for harmony in the state of India, let alone the global peace.
Another towering aspect of Hindutva, which holds significant importance in tracing the root cause of the India-Pakistan conflict, is the idea of Akhand Bharat (Undivided India), which includes not only Indian but other parts of South-Asia like Pakistan, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh. The view perceives India as a holy land from where the ancient Hindu civilisation dominated the entire world. Akhand Bharat is an effort for re-establishing the Hindu kingdom, which is not possible without undoing the consequences of partition.
The idea of “Akhand Bharat” is similar to the idea of “Greater Israel” discussed above which eventually paves way for Extremist Hindu expansionist mentality just like extremist Zionist expansionist mentality. In fact, it’s not a secret anymore as many of the key leaders of thee BJP openly share such ideas and opinions. During an interview on Al Jazeeera with Mehdi Hasan back in 2016, the General Secretary of the India’s ruling BJP, Mr. Ram Madhav, said that the RSS, his core organisation, still believes that one day Bangladesh, India and Pakistan, “which have for historical reasons separated only 60 years ago, will again, through popular goodwill, come together and ‘Akhand Bharat’ will be created”.
The threat emanating from such a radical expansionist and supremacist ideology brings detrimental costs for regional peace. Hindutva incorporates threatening political ambitions which are meant to be achieved via violent means. The idea of Dharam-Yudh, a holy war for unification of the Indian subcontinent to achieve “Akhand Bharat”, is a glaring example of the coercive nature of the ideology. It is unfortunate that hatred is being spread across the country, in sponsorship with the Indian state, which puts a big question mark upon the ‘secular’ nature of republic of India.
India’s decision makers and high rank public officers have not only been a part of violent activities but have been sound advocates of the ideology. Unfortunately, the trend has only seen a rise and the intolerance of the right-wing has reached new heights today. The chief minister of Uttar Pradesh Yogi Adityanath who is the head priest of Gorakhnath Temple, the very temple whose head priest was arrested for motivating Hindu militants to kill Mahatma Ghandi, serves as a good example. The man was the brains behind the demolition of Babri Masjid in Ayodhia, an incident that claimed hundreds of lives then and thousands afterwards in riots. Prime Minster Modi, during his visit to Bangladesh in a speech proudly accepted that he participated in the in war of 1971, as a militant along with the Mukhti Bahni. The motivation for the Indian Prime Minister to join a war in a neighbouring country, came from Hindutva and its idea of Akhand Bharat.
BJP’s Clash With Pakistan
The recent standoff between Pakistan and India can quickly escalate to a full scale war at any moment. The war mongering behaviour of the Indian media, politicians and the government is putting the lives of more than a billion people at stake. The public, decision-makers and politicians living on both sides of the border and the international community must realize that the recent conflict is rooted in the BJP’s warmongering psyche, whose propagation is being done by pouring billions into the Indian Media industry. BJP aims at creating a facade of “Nationalism” which helps in achieving the religiously motivated radical political goals.
The expansionist ideology of Zionism gave birth to a conflict in the Middle East knows as the Palestine-Israel conflict, which has been disturbing the regional and global peace ever since. The resolution of the Palestine dispute is imminent for world peace and for that, the International community must address the root cause which is aggressive Zionist stance and its expansionist designs in the form of Greater Israel, mentioned earlier. As for the India-Pakistan conflict, the intervention of the international community may de-escalate tensions and cool things between the two powers for now, but it will be a temporary solution. It’s time to address the real causes of the conflict and strive for rejection of violent ideologies that have reached the decision-making corridors of the state, particularly Hindutva. By advocating for peace and love for all humans regardless of their race, religion, caste and colour.
About The Author
Talha Ahmad is a freelance journalist and a Human rights activist. He is a student of Media and Communication at International Islamic University, Islamabad. He is Interested in International relations and Strategic Dynamics of the region. He tweets @talhaahmad967
The views expressed in this article are solely those of the original author and do not necessarily reflect or represent the views of Rationale-47.