Human rights in India
Human rights in India is an issue complicated by the country's large size and population, widespread poverty, lack of proper education, as well as its diverse culture, despite its status as the world's largest sovereign, secular, democratic republic.
- Hindu extremists were unquestionably involved in the attacks against Muslims in Gujarat. Furthermore, the Modi government willfully neglected its duty to protect the rights and lives of its citizens and promoted further communal polarization in a state with already tense communal relations.
- Arvin Bahl, published in Gujarat after Godhra: real violence, selective outrage by Ramesh N. Rao, Koenraad Elst, 2003, Har Anand Publications. Republished in Politics By Other Means: An Analysis of Human Rights Watch Reports on India, 12 January 2004, South Asia Analysis Group
- At most periods of her history India, though a cultural unit, has been torn by internecine war. In statecraft, her rulers were cunning and unscrupulous. Famine, flood and plague visited her from time to time, and killed millions of her people. Inequality of birth was given religious sanction, and the lot of the humble was generally hard. Yet our overall impression is that in no other part of the ancient world were the relations of man and man, and of man and the state, so fair and humane. In no other early civilisation were slaves so few in number, and in no other ancient lawbook are their rights so well protected as in the Arthasastra. No other ancient lawgiver proclaimed such noble ideals of fair play in battle as did Manu. In all her history of warfare Hindu India has few tales to tell of cities put to the sword or of the massacre of non-combatants…There was sporadic cruelty and oppression no doubt, but, in comparison with conditions in other early cultures, it was mild. To us the most striking feature of ancient Indian civilisation is its humanity.
- A.L.Basham in his “The Wonder That Was India” quoted in  [This article is a major extract from the article "Sita Ram Goel, memories and ideas" by S. Talageri, written for the Sita Ram Goel Commemoration Volume, entitled "India's Only Communalist", edited by Koenraad Elst, published in 2005.
- Most Westerners have never heard about the Hindu refugee problem, for most journalists including reputed India hands have simply kept it out of the picture.
- About the Hindu refugees from Kashmir, Afghanistan, Pakistan and Bangladesh. Elst, Koenraad (2014). Decolonizing the Hindu mind: Ideological development of Hindu revivalism. New Delhi: Rupa. p. 250
- The 2019 Citizenship Amendment Act violates India’s international obligations to prevent deprivation of citizenship on the basis of race, color, descent, or national or ethnic origin as found in the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and other human rights treaties that India has ratified. The 1992 Declaration on the Rights of Persons Belonging to National or Ethnic, Religious and Linguistic Minorities calls on governments to protect the existence and identity of religious minorities within their territories and to adopt the appropriate measures to achieve this end. Governments are obligated to ensure that people belonging to minority groups, including religious minorities, may exercise their human rights without discrimination and in full equality before the law. Governments also have an obligation to ensure gender equality. To the extent that the process has a disproportionately harmful impact on the citizenship rights of women and girls, it also violates the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women.
- The citizenship law and verification process are contrary to the basic principles of secularism and equality enshrined in the Indian constitution and in domestic law. Indian authorities should immediately reverse course and adopt rights-respecting laws and policies regarding citizenship. They should also uphold the rights to freedom of expression and to peaceful assembly.
- Western human rights activists and non-Westerners trained and funded by them, go around the world creating new categories of ‘victims’ that can be used in divide-and-conquer strategies against other cultures. In India’s case, the largest funding of this type goes to middlemen who can deliver narratives about ‘abused’ Dalits and native (especially Hindu) women.
- Rajiv Malhotra. Academic Hinduphobia (2016) (p.219)
- One should never do that to another which one regards as injurious to one's self. This, in brief, is the rule of dharma.
- The Mahabharata XII 113.8, cited in Rajiv Malhotra:Indra's Net. p. 182
- India seems to have lost that urge to consistently relate to injustice as an assault on democracy. Be it plight of migrants or minorities, their failure to strike wider chord tells truths about us. [...] There was no public outcry over this human tragedy and the victims themselves chose to mostly suffer in silence. They may have grumbled, or cursed under their breath, but our democracy does not seem to have encouraged them to really assert or demand their rights. Not just migrants, minorities too have been subjected to the untold misery of being excluded from the idea of the public. And more routinely, women, rural poor, Dalits and Adivasis have been objects of humiliation.
- The approach of the Indian state to citizen participation has always been based on arrogance. It is also informed by overemphasis on the rhetoric of law and order. The former leads the state to believe that citizens are not, and should not be, active agents. This means that citizens must wait for leaders to mobilise them and guide and supervise their actions. Similarly, citizens must depend on the largesse of the state in deciding what is good for them. This gives rise to the syndrome of government as caretaker/parent and leaders as political chaperons. The Indian state also privileges the idea of law and order. If a parental state negates the idea that people have agency, the emphasis on law and order legitimises that negation. Thus, the discourse of rights and individual dignity becomes permissible only if it is subservient to the statist idea of "order". Legislative imagination, judicial interpretation and public perception are all stacked against the idea of the citizen as protestor. In contrast to the legacy of the freedom movement, democracy and popular participation are seen, both theoretically and legally, as inconsistent with, and often even opposed to, an orderly society.
- The emphasis has been twofold: That the state knows, the state is right, the state must be privileged, and that citizen action is suspect, potentially disruptive and liable to punishment. It is in the backdrop of this subdued rights discourse and de-legitimised agency of the people that the current moment has unfolded wherein criticism is almost seditious, claiming rights for marginalised sections can be termed as waging war against the state and empathising with victims of social injustice is ridiculed or forbidden. The current regime has converted the penchant for sub-democratic state action into a fearsome art.
- This might appear ironic, but in spite of a comparatively higher degree of repression, the lack of popular protest is more because of the success of the regime in constructing and popularising a narrative that not just delegitimises but simply denies the existence of suffering, injustice and victimhood. This is the narrative of subverting reality into its opposite. In this world of alternative reality, the victim is the offender (as in case of Muslims), suffering is sacrifice if not ill-informed exaggeration (as in the case of migrants’ plight) and marginalisation or exclusion are outcomes of past politics (as in the case of Dalits or Adivasis). This narrative posits two contrasting social camps. One is the nation. It represents unity, progress and a possible millennium. All else is fragmentary and divisive. So any voice speaking of a particular group's suffering becomes a hurdle in the march of the nation; any coalition of the marginalised by definition assumes an anti-national tenor. Such is the power of the narrative that the facts of suffering, humiliation or injustice lose their evocative potential; they cease to scandalise, they are unable to evoke a moral response. Democracy can thus afford the co-existence of multiple injustices and a quiet citizenry when such narratives are able to reconstruct facts and convince the masses of the validity of that reconstruction. The silence today is a result of the popular acceptance of reconstructed reality and adherence to an alternative morality.