Unholy Alliance: Inside the Campaign to Pry India from the West

On December 6, 2022, a 45-year-old woman was arrested in Birmingham, England—on suspicion of praying. She was silently standing on a public footpath in the vicinity of a provider of abortion services. The police asked her if she was “part of a protest”, to which she answered “no”. They then asked her “are you praying?”, to which she answered “I might be praying in my head”. That was enough to provoke her arrest. Nine days later she was charged with “protesting and engaging in an act that is intimidating to service users”. This, despite the fact that at the time of her putative silent prayer, the facility was closed (i.e., there were no patients present to be intimidated by her silent reflections).[1]

If any country could be suspected of harbouring a social hostility to religion, it might be today’s largely atheistic United Kingdom. Or militantly secular France. Or social democratic Sweden. Or postmodern Australia, where a bill to prohibit “discrimination on the basis of a person’s religious belief or activity” was withdrawn in the face of determined resistance. Or thinking instead of countries where anti-religious sentiment is targeted toward specific religious minorities, we might think of Myanmar (where more than a million Rohingya Muslims have been forced to flee the country), Saudi Arabia (where Christian guest workers are not allowed to worship publicly), or Argentina (where feminist activists vandalise churches every year on International Women’s Day).

But according to the highly-respected Pew Research Center, the worst country in the world for social hostility to religion is … India.[2] Notwithstanding their own surveys showing that “the vast majority of Indians say they are very free today to practice their religion” and “relatively few Muslims say their community faces ‘a lot’ of discrimination” in the Hindu-majority country, Pew rated India the worst country in the world for “acts of religious hostility by private individuals, organizations or groups in society”.[3] India is joined in the bottom five by Nigeria (where Christian churches regularly come under attack from Islamist militants), Afghanistan (where the Taliban government runs a regime of state-sponsored terror against any religious nonconformity), Israel (inevitably), and Mali (where Sunni Muslim fundamentalists are waging an aggressive terror campaign against Sufi practices).

Israel, of course, has long been demonised by international human rights organisations, so much so that it has become difficult for non-specialists to distinguish between legitimate criticism of the country and modern antisemitism masquerading as objective analysis. Well-informed readers instinctively discount shrill reporting about Israel, knowing that nearly all accounts of human rights abuses in Israel are thoroughly politicised. Most are generally unaware, however, that the same is now true of India. The longstanding anti-Israel coalition of university academics, international human rights organisations, and Islamist media now targets India using the same toolkit it developed a generation ago for its attacks on Israel. Thinly disguised antihinduism has become the new antisemitism.

The Pew Research Center is neither antisemitic not anti-Hindu, but precisely because of its perceived objectivity, it has become an institutional target for the opponents of both Israel and India. Other targets include the United States Department of State’s Office of International Religious Freedom (OIRF), the American government-sponsored United States Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF), the semi-official American think tank Freedom House, and the United Nations Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR). The politicisation of these other organisations is well-known, but Pew stands out for its independence and scientific rigour. Its stellar reputation has made it a particularly valuable asset for both anti-India and anti-Israel activists.

Of the eleven countries identified by Pew research as having “very high” levels of social hostility to religion, eight are officially Islamic republics, one (Nigeria) is a highly fractious Muslim-majority quasi-democracy, and the other two are India and Israel. An active constellation of pro-Israel civil society groups in the United States secures Israel from defamation by US government and government-sponsored organisations (OIRF, USCIRF, Freedom House) and ensures US support for Israel at the United Nations, but India has no such protection. As a result, India has come to be vilified by both American and United Nations organisations. Not only has India been rated the worst country in the world on Pew’s religious Social Hostilities Index (SHI) for five years running, but it also has long rap sheets at the OIRF, the USCIRF, Freedom House, and the OHCHR.

India is the world’s largest democracy, accounting for roughly half of the world’s people who are able to voice their opinions in free and fair elections. It is also the only well-institutionalised democracy on the Eurasian mainland between Israel in the far west and South Korea in the far east. It is the main democratic bulwark against expanding Chinese influence in the region. Unfortunately, attacks on India’s human rights record have the potential to drive a wedge between India and the United States, a possibility that carries with it major implications for the future shape of Eurasian geopolitics. In freedom of religion, India’s enemies seem to believe that they have found a fault line that can be prised open through the strategic application of political pressure.

In a bizarre case of strange bedfellows, it seems that Islamist activist groups are attempting to exploit the lobbying power of American Christian missionaries to have India named a “Country of Particular Concern” under the US International Religious Freedom Act, an action that could lead to American economic sanctions on India and a serious deterioration in US-India relations. If India really were hostile to the free practice of religion, it would of course raise legitimate concerns, even if those concerns carried with them unfortunate geopolitical implications. But democratic countries should not allow themselves to be set against each other by spurious allegations feeding on mutual ignorance. Western democracies owe it not only to India, but to their own self-interest, to get the record straight.


Dogma without data

The Pew Research Center in Washington, DC, is the world’s premier non-governmental survey research organisation. Studiously non-partisan, Pew is one of the few think tanks to retain a high reputation for political neutrality even in the hyper-partisan environment of twenty-first century America.[4] It emerged in 1990 out of the research division of the Times Mirror newspaper group, and since 1996 has been funded mainly by the Pew Charitable Trusts, a mainstream charitable foundation.[5] Unlike commercial polling firms that must turn a profit, Pew puts enormous financial resources into obtaining the highest-quality survey results: it uses very large representative samples, conducts multiple follow-ups to reduce non-response, and (crucially) relies primarily on face-to-face interviews (instead of less-reliable telephone and online questionnaires) for its major surveys. The organisation is highly respected and its survey research is widely cited.

Between November 2019 and March 2020, just before the coronavirus pandemic made face-to-face interviews impossible, Pew commissioned a major survey on religion in India.[6] The research was carried out by RTI International, a not-for-profit contract research organisation based in North Carolina. The sample was nationally representative with the exception of four small states and union territories (collectively comprising less than 0.5% of India’s population) and a few insurgency-affected districts. A total of 29,999 households were surveyed in 17 different languages. Incredibly, the survey achieved a response rate of 84% in urban areas and 86% in rural areas. This, in an age when the response rates achieved by commercial polling firms rarely break above 5%.[7]

The Pew team’s headline takeaway from this mammoth survey effort was that:

More than 70 years after India became free from colonial rule, Indians generally feel their country has lived up to one of its post-independence ideals: a society where followers of many religions can live and practice freely. […] Indians of all these religious backgrounds overwhelmingly say they are very free to practice their faiths. Indians see religious tolerance as a central part of who they are as a nation. Across the major religious groups, most people say it is very important to respect all religions to be “truly Indian.” And tolerance is a religious as well as civic value: Indians are united in the view that respecting other religions is a very important part of what it means to be a member of their own religious community.[8] [emphasis in the original]

These are not a sampling of rosy sentences cherry-picked from the body of Pew’s 233-page report. They are the main conclusions summarised on the first page of the text. Looking at the specific results for adherents of minority religions, 89% of Indian Muslims and 89% of Indian Christians say they are “very free” to practice their own religions.[9] Only 2% of each group claims that it is “not free” to practice its own religion.[10] If survey research really is a social science and hard numbers mean anything at all, these results offer seemingly conclusive evidence that religious minorities in India do not face systematic social hostility or government restrictions.

Digging deeper into the survey, 24% of Indian Muslims believe there is “a lot of discrimination” against Muslims in Indian society, compared to 72% who believe there is “not a lot of discrimination”, with the remainder on the fence. The figures for Christians are similar: 18% believe there is a lot of discrimination while 77% believe there is not.[11] For comparison, India’s Hindus feel almost exactly the same way about discrimination against their own community: 21% believe there is a lot of discrimination while 75% believe there is not. [12] Although adherents of every major religion in India consider intercommunal violence a major problem in the country, the adherents of all major religions rate unemployment, corruption, and crime as bigger problems.[13] More than 90% of Indians in every major religious community believe that to be truly Indian, it is important to respect all religions.[14] There is simply no social scientific support for the widely-disseminated thesis that India is a country riven by religious divides.

And yet … another group within the very same Pew Research Center has published 14 consecutive annual reports claiming that India had among the highest levels of social hostility to religion in the world. Notably, these claims long predate the controversial prime ministership of Narendra Modi, which began in mid-2014. In its first international religious freedom report (published in 2009, based on data for 2007), Pew had already ranked India second-worst in the world on its Social Hostilities Index, trailing only Iraq—in the year that marked the height of Iraq’s post-invasion sectarian civil conflict.[15] India has remained (along with Israel) a democratic outlier among countries identified as having “very high” social hostility to religion ever since.

These damning evaluations are based primarily on the Pew team’s analysis of incidents recorded in the annual US State Department OIRF reports, supplemented by incidents highlighted in the US government-sponsored USCIRF reports and a smattering of other sources. Pew reviews these incident reports and codes those involving social hostility to religion, looking for answers to a series of yes/no questions about religiously-motivated harassment and violence. In general, all it takes is for one incident of recorded harassment or violence for a country to receive a 100% negative score on the relevant dimension.

Unsurprisingly, Pew found that in India, every form of social hostility has been recorded to occur at least once in every calendar year. The population size bias of such an index is obvious: everything that can happen is likely to happen somewhere in a country of 1.4 billion people.[16] More subtle is the potential for information-availability bias. For example, Australia, Canada, the United Kingdom, and the United States all received (along with India and Israel) the worst possible marks for “harassment or intimidation motivated by religious hatred or bias” in both 2019 and 2020, but 25 other countries recorded not a single incident of religious hatred in either year.[17] For religious vandalism, it was the same pattern: perfect bad marks for India, Israel, and the Anglosphere, but not a single recorded incident in 93 other countries.[18] Ditto physical assaults (this time, with 118 perfectly peaceful countries).[19]

Australians in particular might be interested to learn that in every year from 2015 through 2020 “organized groups use[d] force or coercion in an attempt to dominate public life with their perspective on religion, including preventing some religious groups from operating” in their country.[20] It is not clear exactly what groups these were. More broadly, it should not take more than 14 years for such a technically competent social scientific organisation as the Pew Research Center to ascertain that its international religious freedom reports are plagued by blatant methodological shortcomings and ridiculous results.

The poorly constructed methodology of Pew’s Social Hostilities Index all but ensures that India will perform badly on the metric, so much so that it cannot be ruled out that the methodology may have been designed to achieve this result. Moreover, by the very act of turning the US State Department’s International Religious Freedom reports into a quantitative index, Pew all but ensured that politically-motivated groups would attempt to game those reports in order to discredit specific target countries. It seems reasonable to assume that activist groups are not out to get Albania, Eritrea, or Guyana, all highly troubled countries that received perfect scores on the Social Hostilities Index in 2020. However India, like Israel, is much more likely to be the target of politically-motivated information warfare.


Missionaries and Muslims

Pew’s Social Hostilities Index grew out of research conducted by the sociologist Brian J. Grim while he was a PhD student at the Pennsylvania State University.[21] This research, as well as Grim’s PhD thesis on a related subject, were both funded by the John Templeton Foundation, a controversial charitable organisation founded by the Anglo-American investment guru Sir John Templeton.[22] Grim was the senior researcher on the initial international religious freedom report published by Pew in 2009, which was also funded by the John Templeton Foundation.[23] He now runs an independent organisation that is at least partly supported by the Templeton Religion Trust.[24] Grant records available from the John Templeton Foundation website, though incomplete, suggest that Pew receives more than $1.2 million per year to support the Pew-Templeton Global Religious Futures Project. Pew’s annual international religious freedom reports are the flagship publications of this project, and its mammoth 2019-2020 survey of religion in India was also funded by the foundation.

The Templeton Foundations and their eponymous founder have often been criticised for their idiosyncratic approach to funding, their comingling of science and religion, and their support for Christian conservative causes.[25] To be clear, there seems to be no evidence to suggest that the foundations are in any way explicitly anti-Indian or anti-Hindu. Nonetheless, their broadly Christian outlook—combined with a broadly American approach to study of religion—has the potential to generate unintended consequences. For example, the Social Hostilities Index gives six times greater weight to “incidents of hostility over proselytizing” than to “deaths motivated by religious hatred or bias”. This is to give greater prominence to the typical concerns of American Christians than to those of, for example, Indian Hindus. A Hindu-influenced Social Hostilities Index, by contrast, might prioritise religious toleration and penalise proselytization as a form of hostile ‘poaching’.

Interestingly, in their initial 2009 international religious freedom report, Pew chose to use India to illustrate the methodology for its evaluations, perhaps because India was one of the few countries to lose points on every single dimension of social hostility to religion.[26] This sample coding exercise focused on the analysis of religiously-motivated physical assaults. Of the 31 assaults examined by Pew in this exercise, 25 alleged Hindu violence against Christians, 5 alleged other forms of intercommunal violence, and 1 alleged intercaste violence among Hindus. Thus in this illustration, more than 80% of the evidence presented related to complaints made by Christians—in a country where the vast majority of Christians do not believe that there is discrimination against Christians, and 97% of Christians say they are free to practice their own religion.[27]

Pew’s coding examples come as no surprise. Nearly all of them were sourced to the US State Department’s OIRF reports. These reports, in turn, are sourced from complaints made to US embassies in the countries concerned, supplemented by complaints made directly to the OIRF in Washington by non-governmental organisations. American missionaries and associated lobbying groups are much more likely to complain to the State Department (and to have their complaints heard) than are other segments of foreign societies. For example, it is unlikely that an Indian Hindu activist group concerned about Islamist violence in their country would turn to the US embassy in Delhi for support. The result is that in a country like India, where serious intercommunal violence almost always unfolds along a Hindu-Muslim axis, the overwhelming preponderance of OIRF complaints involve Christians.

It may well be the case that Christian complaints that they face social hostility in India are justified, although the evidence for systematic violence is weak. The leading American quantitative analyst of anti-Christian violence in India finds that “relative to the size of their respective populations, the number of incidents of anti-Christian violence in India is lower than the number of hate crimes perpetrated against Muslims in the United States (according to FBI data), and would be well below the number of anti-Jewish hate crimes in the US even if I were severely undercounting Indian incidents of anti-Christian violence” [emphasis in the original].[28] Whatever the reality behind Christian complaints, however, it is strangely ironic to see them used to support a narrative that focuses almost exclusively on India’s supposed hostility toward Muslims.

For example, the text of the most recent (2021) Pew international religious freedom report highlighted 3 specific incidents of religiously-motivated social hostility, all of them alleging Hindu hostility toward Muslims.[29] Yet the underlying State Department OIRF report on which it is primarily based documented 20 attacks on Christians, 7 on Muslims, and 5 on Hindus.[30] In addition to these, the OIRF report also cited submissions from seven non-governmental organisations alleging 293, 279, 208, 200, 135, 75, and 49 attacks on Christians (respectively), though it is unclear to what extent these allegations may have overlapped. None of this was picked up in Pew’s narrative summary. Press reports on the most recent Social Hostilities Index, when they mentioned the precarity of any particular religion, invariably focused on Islam.

Islamist activists, too, seem to have learned the lessons of leveraging Christian complaints—and of leveraging US religious freedom legislation. In 2021, an investigative organisation called DisInfo Lab published a detailed report into the efforts of a nexus of Muslim-American activist groups to influence USCIRF reporting on India.[31] Although this India-friendly DisInfo Lab has been criticised by some other people associated with what might be called the ‘disinfo lab’ movement (there are more than half a dozen civil society groups with similar names, mostly staffed by student activists), its findings are detailed and well-documented. According to DisInfo Lab, a network of Muslim-American organisations began seeking influence at USCIRF in 2013, an effort that came to fruition with the appointment of a sympathetic political operative (Nadine Maenza) to the commission in 2018.

Maenza would ultimately serve four years as a commissioner, including one year (2021-2022) as USCIRF chairperson. DisInfo Lab’s research suggests that she may have played a key role in having India named a ‘Country of Particular Concern’ by the USCIRF in 2021, an action that (in what seems to have been an unprecedented step for an organisation that generally works by consensus) was taken over the strenuous objections of two of the nine commissioners. The designation of India as a Country of Particular Concern by USCIRF is only advisory; it does not automatically trigger a parallel official designation by the State Department. Thus it has only rhetorical value, for the moment. In late 2022, the USCIRF took the further unprecedented step of publicly expressing “outrage” with the State Department for not acting on its advice to sanction India.[32]


The new anti-Hinduism

These efforts to manufacture the impression that democratic India has become a kind of Hindu Iran are very energetic, but ultimately they lack sufficient empirical evidence to be convincing. In order to convince disinterested observers, they must be supported by a persuasive ideological narrative. One such narrative has been put forward by a loose grouping of humanities scholars centred on an organisation called the South Asia Scholar Activist Collective (SASAC). These scholars do not seem to be publicly associated with the campaign to have India named a Country of Particular Concern by the US State Department, but they do provide the seemingly objective ideological support that is required for the campaign to have a realistic chance of success.

At the core of the SASAC scholars’ intellectual program is the stigmatisation of the concept of “Hindutva” (Hinduness), which they define as “a modern political ideology that advocates for Hindu supremacy and seeks to transform India, constitutionally a secular state, into an ethno-religious nation known as the Hindu Rashtra (Hindu nation)”.[33] Hindutva is a highly contested term. The Encyclopaedia Britannica defines it as “an ideology that sought to define Indian culture in terms of Hindu values”.[34] In India, Hindutva is closely associated with the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), the party that has governed India since 2014, although the term is also used by some other competing parties. For its part, the BJP defines Hindutva simply as “the cultural nationalism of India”.[35] The BJP insists that “Hindutva accepts as sacred all forms of belief and worship”, and in this context, it should be noted that the English words ‘Hindu’ and ‘India’ are derived from the same Sanskrit root.

The SASAC scholars (and fellow scholar-activists who are also associated with the SASAC-sponsored ‘Dismantling Global Hindutva’ campaign) routinely characterise Hindutva in terms that closely resemble those used by antizionists to characterise Zionism. That is not in itself surprising; the parallels between Hindutva and Zionism are in fact widely recognised by both critics and supporters.[36] Yet academic critics of Narendra Modi and the BJP have used this comparison to explicit liken the status of Muslims in India to that of Arabs in Israel.[37] And just as Zionism is often equated with fascism by its trenchant critics, Hindutva is routinely characterised as “fascist” by anti-BJP activists and academics.[38] Widely-read Middle Eastern news outlets are not shy about drawing associations among Zionism, Hindutva, fascism, and Nazism.[39]

Needless to say, neither Hindutva nor Zionism has anything in common with the fascism described by Benito Mussolini in his Doctrine of Fascism or the Nazism described by Adolf Hitler in Mein Kampf. Those who oppose Hindutva, like those who oppose Zionism, tend to use these morally-weighted terms not as precise descriptions of political philosophies, but as generic political insults. Nonetheless, it is noteworthy that the intellectual playbook that for decades has been used to stigmatise Israel has recently begun to be deployed against India—and by circles of (mostly US and UK based) intellectuals that overlap substantially with established antizionist circles.

As the BBC concludes in its explainer on antisemitism and antizionism, “few would deny there are anti-Semites who call themselves anti-Zionists, or that it’s possible to criticise Israel without being a racist or a bigot”.[40] Mutatis mutandis, the same can be said for antihinduism, anti-Hindutva activism, and India. Just as antisemites are widely suspected of shielding their antisemitism behind antizionism, those who oppose (at least some strains of) Hinduism seem to have learned to shield their antihinduism behind anti-Hindutva activism. Opposition to Hindutva is, in itself, a legitimate political position, both within India and abroad. But as with academic antizionism, it is the extreme emotional intensity of much Western academic opposition to Hindutva that suggests that some of it may be motivated by factors other than intellectual idealism.

The anti-Hindutva activism of SASAC and its associated scholars is the intellectual support structure that has the potential to hold together the unholy anti-India alliance of Christian missionaries and Islamist activists. Both the missionaries and the Islamists have solid political motivations for their anti-India campaigns, and although their targeting of India lamentably tends to undermine international democratic solidarity, there is no reason to believe that it is motivated by anything other than legitimate policy goals. Academic antihinduism, however, is more than merely lamentable; it is positively perverse. The anti-Hindutva activism with which it is associated provides intellectual cover for what would otherwise be seen as transparently self-interested attacks by missionaries and Islamists.

The only way to fight these intellectual warriors is to insist on seeing the facts. The facts strongly suggest that freedom of religion is alive and well in India. No Indian has ever been arrested for silently praying. Quite the contrary: in India, people of many different religions regularly pray in public, often very loudly. Religion is everywhere, and everywhere overt, making some degree of religious friction inevitable. But in a country where most elections are decided on razor-thin margins, people with complaints about religious discrimination or harassment don’t have to turn to the US State Department for help. The ballot box offers a surer, swifter, more immediate form of redress.

Salvatore Babones is an associate professor at the University of Sydney. His book Methods for Quantitative Macro-Comparative Research is a standard source for the statistical analysis of international comparisons. He is currently researching a book on Indian democracy

[1] Charlotte Evans, 2022, ‘Woman Arrested While Praying Silently outside Abortion Clinic Charged with “Intimidation”‘, Catholic News Agency, December 30.

[2] Samirah Majumdar, 2022, How COVID-19 Restrictions Affected Religious Groups around the World in 2020, Pew Research Center, page 65.

[3] Neha Sahgal, Jonathan Evans, Ariana Monique Salazar, Kelsey Jo Starr, and Manolo Corichi, 2021, Religion in India: Tolerance and Segregation, Pew Research Center, pages 57 and 19.

[4] Gal Barak, 2022, ‘Is Pew Research Reliable?’, The Factual Blog, February 3.

[5] Unsigned, undated, ‘Our History’, Pew Research Center, retrieved January 5, 2023.

[6] Sahgal et al (2021), pages 221-229.

[7] Salvatore Babones, 2020, ‘Why the Polls Were Wrong—and Will Never Be Right Again’, Sydney Morning Herald, November 4.

[8] Sahgal et al (2021), page 6.

[9] Sahgal et al (2021), page 7.

[10] Sahgal et al (2021), ‘Topline Questionnaire’ supplemental file, page 15.

[11] Sahgal et al (2021), ‘Topline Questionnaire’ supplemental file, page 7.

[12] Sahgal et al (2021), ‘Topline Questionnaire’ supplemental file, page 6.

[13] Sahgal et al (2021), ‘Topline Questionnaire’ supplemental file, pages 3-4.

[14] Sahgal et al (2021), ‘Topline Questionnaire’ supplemental file, page 90.

[15] Unsigned, 2009, Global Restrictions on Religion, Pew Research Center, page 22.

[16] Akshay Srinivasan, 2019, ‘Faulty Numbers behind the USCIRF’, IndiaFacts, July 16.

[17] Majumdar (2022), Appendix F, page 30.

[18] Majumdar (2022), Appendix F, page 31.

[19] Majumdar (2022), Appendix F, page 34.

[20] Annual Pew International Religious Freedom reports, Results by Country, Table SHI.Q.7.

[21] Brian J. Grim and Roger Finke, 2006, ‘International Religion Indexes: Government Regulation, Government Favoritism, and Social Regulation of Religion’, Interdisciplinary Journal of Research on Religion 2(1), pages 1-38.

[22] Brian J. Grim, 2005, Religious Regulation’s Impact on Religious Persecution: The Effects of De Facto and De Jure Religious Regulation, Pennsylvania State University, page 166.

[23] Unsigned (2009), page 4.

[24] Unsigned, 2019, ‘Templeton Religion Trust Grant Helps Expand RFBF Asia Engagement’, Religious Freedom & Business Foundation, October 3.

[25] Sandy Hingston, 2020, ‘Science and Religion Have Never Been More at Odds. Can Conshohocken’s Templeton Foundation Bridge the Divide?’, Philadelphia Magazine, October 10.

[26] Unsigned (2009), pages 46-48.

[27] Majumdar (2022), Appendix F, pages 7 and 15.

[28] Chad M. Bauman, undated, ‘The Complexity of Anti-Christian Violence in India’, Cornell University Press, retrieved January 5, 2022.

[29] Majumdar (2022), pages 15, 16, and 39.

[30] Unsigned, 2021, ‘2020 Report on International Religious Freedom: India’, US Department of State, May 21.

[31] Unsigned, 2021, USCIRF: An Organization of Particular Concern, DisInfo Lab.

[32] Unsigned, 2022, ‘ USCIRF Outraged by Omission of Nigeria and India from State Department’s List of Countries of Particular Concern’, USCIRF, December 2.

[33] Unsigned, undated, ‘What Is Hindutva?’, South Asia Scholar Activist Collective, retrieved January 5, 2023.

[34] Unsigned, undated, ‘Bharatiya Janata Party’, Encyclopaedia Britannica, retrieved January 5, 2023.

[35] Ungisned, undated, ‘Our National Identity’, Bharatiya Janata Party, retrieved January 5, 2023.

[36] Anupama Katakam, 2019, ‘Zionism and Hindutva: Communal Cousins’, Frontline, September 23.

[37] Sumantra Bose, 2019, ‘Why India’s Hindu Nationalists Worship Israel’s Nation-State Model’, The Conversation, February 14.

[38] Satadru Sen, 2015, ‘Fascism Without Fascists? A Comparative Look at Hindutva and Zionism’, South Asia: Journal of South Asian Studies 38(4): 690-711.

[39] Azad Essa, 2019, ‘India Once Called Zionism Racist. Today It Moves to Replicate It’, Middle East Eye, September 5.

[40] Unsigned, 2016, ‘What’s the Difference between Anti-Semitism and Anti-Zionism?’, BBC News, April 29.

7 thoughts on “Unholy Alliance: Inside the Campaign to Pry India from the West

  • rosross says:

    The Indian Government may not be officially hostile toward Muslims and Christians but there are radical Hindu groups which are and have been for a long time. I lived in Bombay for more than four years until the early 1990’s and attacks on Christians and Muslims were common then and have only gotten worse.

    India is a very disorganised society and country and self-serving, but it does not look as if the Governments work very hard to stop these attacks.

    Hindoostan for Hindoos was the cry in 1990 and it has only gotten louder.

  • brandee says:

    Salvatore, your readers are much indebted for this detailed analysis.
    It seems to me an ofttimes traveller to India that the British Colonial Government often seemed to favour
    Mohammedanism over Hinduism. Perhaps because Mohammedanism was erroneously seen as an Abrahamic religion like Judaism and Christianity. However. Christianity grew out of Judaism whereas two somewhat similar ‘Mo’ religious/social movements, Mohammedanism and Mormonism, grew out of the minds of energetic leaders centuries later.
    Recall that it was only two decades ago that the Triple Talaq divorce provision for Muslim men was repealed. Until then a Muslim man, and each was allowed 4 wives, could divorce one on the spot [and even by text] by addressing her with “talaaq, talaaq, talaaq”.

    • Salvatore Babones says:

      Yes, but remember that when the British arrived in India, the Muslims were (mostly) in charge. It was natural enough that the EIC would work with them. Worse were the clear divide-and-rule policies of the 1920s-1940s, when Britain was losing its grip but reluctant to let go.

  • doconnell says:

    Christians in southern India are a significant minority and are seemingly mostly with their religious freedom, However they scarely seen in the north of India. This is not an accident.

  • doconnell says:

    ..seemingly quite content….

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