Behind the rising Islamophobia in India lies a network of Hindu right-wing artists composing songs played during hate campaigns.
You are not human, you are butchers; it’s enough of Hindu-Muslim brotherhood.
These are the lyrics of a ‘bhajan’ (devotional song) that a hate extremist singer posted on YouTube three years ago and has been viewed thousands of times since.
Anti-Muslim songs are played in rallies by Hindu supremacist groups, mainly in what is called the country’s “Hindi belt” northern states. Hindu far-right are loving and sharing them for their messages of hate, abuse and even threats of genocide targeted at the Muslim minority.
in 2014 when the Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) came to power. The arrival of a new government headed by Prime Minister Narendra Modi saw an unprecedented polarisation of Indian society, with hate attacks on India’s minorities, mainly Muslims, becoming a near-daily affair since.
In such a scenario, cultural products such as music, poetry and cinema also became the tools by which this politics of hatred is sustained.
In the past few months, India witnessed religious violence in several states during Hindu festivals when right-wing groups held marches in mainly Muslim neighbourhoods and played loud music laced with Islamophobic lyrics outside mosques.
Extremists suggest Muslims are “anti-nationals who should go to Pakistan”.
Brahma Prakash, a professor at New Delhi-based Jawaharlal Nehru University, said that the music of hate has changed the pattern of religious violence in India.
“We know the historical patterns of riots and massacres in India: the leader will give a speech and the riots will spill into the streets. But it seems that the pattern has changed. You don’t need a leader. What you need is a ‘Bhakti vibrator’,” said Prakash.
‘Bhakti’ in Hindi literally means devotion, but is also used to refer to the BJP’s supporters.
“You just play the DJ [disc jockey] and it will fulfil its task. It will move the mobs and make them participate in massacre. You don’t need an instigator to incite violence. You set the tone, you set the track and the hate will rock,” he said.
Prakash said this form of music has “shocking” parallels with those produced under the Nazi regime in Germany in the 1930s.
“March band, processional music, repetitious slogans, communal singing, repeated cries of Jai Shri Ram [Hail Lord Ram] like ‘Heil’,” he said. “Music stirring the crowds into an emotional frenzy are not just a few resonances. The similarities are shocking.”
Academic Prakash says the mass production of “Hindutva pop” is a new phenomenon.
“Earlier it used to be done by political organisations. The danger is that now it is becoming a part of the mass culture,”
May Allah save Muslims from the hatred and plots of hindus extremists there.