Islamophobia contextually is a global phenomenon, exacerbating an intense dislike or fear of Islam especially as a political force, hostility or prejudice towards Muslims. The term Islamophobia started being used in the early 20th century and emerged as a neologism in the 1970s and reached public policy prominence with the report by the Runnymede Trust‘s Commission on British Muslims and Islamophobia (CBMI). The introduction of the term was justified by the report’s assessment that anti-Muslim prejudice has grown so considerably and so rapidly in recent years that a new item in the vocabulary is needed with some countries intermingling on common grounds of perception to thoroughly analyse the realm. The rise of this fanatical misappropiation, Islamophobia are still debated with some commentators positing an increase in Islamophobia resulting from the September 11 attacks, while others have associated it with the increased presence of Muslims in the United States and in the European Union. Some people also question the validity of the term, even some claim societies where virtually no Muslims live but many institutionalized forms of Islamophobia still exist in them. Different versions of Islamophobia exist in different parts of world with India also unarguably joining the seats with large pool of people sense Islam as pseudo-religious integrity and linking it with the spread of terrorism in world.
These unethical humanic concerns within Indian establishments shape how the Kashmiri movement for azadi is viewed, interpreted and depicted within the liberal establishment in India. They reveal the ways which the question of self-determination for Kashmir is fundamentally detached from the question of democracy in India and introduce scores of militarized analogies, so to counter-prove their legitimate moves to reclaim their self-determination. To be clear, not all progressive voices in India fall into this categorisation. In recent past, there have been a few brave voices who have spoken out against the broader trends in left-leaning Indian circles to circumvent or equivocate on the question of Kashmir and they have certainly paid for it as we are seeing from late eighties which has consumed about million lives for their resilience against oppression. Nonetheless, in today’s Indian political landscape as it pertains to Kashmir, there is a broad-based liberal consensus that discursively and practically erases the Kashmiri freedom movement and consider it much a religiouly propelled agenda to spread terror and to islamise the whole concensus. Much of this Indian liberal discourse not only mirrors colonial logic, but also is replete with Islamophobia.
The pathological fear of the Kashmiri Muslim, in particular, is circulated not just by right-wing Sanghis in India, but has also been adopted by a number of Indian liberals, although in more discreet ways. While these liberal intellectuals debate the need for reform and define rights within the metropolis, they justify subjugation through elaborate sophistry in their respective colonies in administered Kashmir. The point here is not to equate the British rule of India to Indian rule of Kashmir in terms of the nature of coloniality, but to analogise how both types of external rule were and are legitimised, especially amongst the intelligentsia. The former was more based on imperialistic obsessions but for later, it is articulated on grounds of forcefull occupation. Kashmir has seen extreme forms of human centric irrational hatred and discriminatory discourse since right from the end of nineteenth century. This alarming trend has imbibed in it’s decendents a sence of loosing one’s individual and social structural fabriac with everyone turning here as a resilient rebellion to prove the indian tactics counterproductive.
Though this association of Islamophobia with the rise of Kashmir militancy does not suit much of the political and sociological intellgensia, but certainly it has to do exhume the violent uprisings in Kashmir, more or less in recent past. The different versions of physical and mental torchures to it’s decendents since right from 1989 speak volumes about the intensity of hatred towards Kashmiris, for only being Islam centric and showing some religion associated sympathy with Pakistan. Whenever Kashmir supports Pakistan, whether it is based on political or religious grounds, it’s Indian counterpart take it as an agenda of mutual war tactic to destabilize India, with India sensing that this all is based on common religious decendency, that is where India Islamophobic character comes into fore. Much of this character is anticipated in it’s vicious tasks where youth of valley are subjugated at forefronts for none of their faults. They have been subdued at important stages of their life that strained their immediate response towards the democratic setup of Indian rule in Kashmir. It is imperative for India to stop considering Kashmir as a seat of spreading terror and linking it with religion. Otherwise this Islamophobic wave will avert India from developing into developed country as the concerns about it’s human rights violation will continue to raise voices against it that will ultimately exacerbate and underrate it’s global position as the largest democracy in world.
Author is PG in Biotechnology with Gold Medal of Excellence, currently Working at CSIR IIIM Jammu as DST INSPIRE Fellow (Doctorate Research Scholar) .