By Dr M Qutubuddin
In 2023, India, under the leadership of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, assumed the presidency of the G-20, a prestigious global forum that brings together the world’s major economies to discuss critical issues. What set India’s presidency apart was the adoption of the tagline “Vasudhaiva Kutumbkamb,” which translates to “the whole world is one family of God” from ancient Indian scriptures. This theme symbolizes the country’s commitment to inclusivity and global unity. While it is indeed a proud moment for India to preside over the G-20, it also raises crucial questions about the state of religious and social inclusivity, particularly concerning the Muslim community in India.
India’s G-20 Presidency and the Vasudhaiva Kutumbkamb Theme
The G-20, established in 1999, has grown into a significant platform for addressing global economic and financial issues. It has expanded its scope to include discussions on a wide range of global challenges, including climate change, healthcare, and sustainable development. India’s presidency of the G-20 in 2023 was an opportunity to bring its unique cultural and philosophical perspective to the global stage, encapsulated in the theme Vasudhaiva Kutumbkamb.
The selection of this theme is symbolic of India’s age-old tradition of pluralism and inclusivity. It underscores the idea that all people, regardless of their nationality, race, religion, or ethnicity, are part of one global family. It serves as a reminder of the interconnectedness of the world and the shared responsibility to address common challenges.
Muslims in India: A Concerning Narrative
While the theme Vasudhaiva Kutumbkamb represents an inspiring ideal, it is essential to acknowledge the complexities and challenges within India, especially concerning its Muslim population. Since the Modi government came to power, there have been growing concerns about the treatment of Muslims in the country. These concerns encompass various aspects, including communal violence, discrimination, and the rise of Islamophobia.
Communal Violence and Mob Lynchings:
One of the most troubling issues is the occurrence of communal violence and mob lynchings, often targeting Muslims and other minority communities. These incidents have raised questions about the safety and security of minority populations in India. They have led to an atmosphere of fear and mistrust, undermining the principles of Vasudhaiva Kutumbkamb.
Discrimination and Alienation:
Muslims in India have reported experiencing discrimination in various aspects of their lives, including education, employment, and housing. This discrimination contributes to a sense of alienation among the Muslim community, making it challenging for them to feel like an integral part of the larger Indian society.
The rise of Islamophobia is another concerning trend in India. Stereotypes and biases against Muslims have led to an atmosphere of hostility and mistrust. These biases can have serious consequences, affecting social cohesion and hindering the idea of a united global family.
Addressing Muslim Grievances and Restoring Confidence:
Given these challenges, it is imperative for Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his government to address the grievances of the Muslim community in India and restore their confidence in the nation’s inclusivity. To achieve this, several steps can be taken:
Ensuring Rule of Law:
The government must prioritize the rule of law and ensure that those responsible for communal violence and mob lynchings are held accountable. Justice and accountability are crucial for building trust among minority communities.
Efforts should be made to promote inclusivity in all aspects of society, including education and employment. Equal opportunities for all, regardless of their religious or ethnic background, should be a fundamental principle of governance.
Government leaders should actively work to counter Islamophobia by promoting interfaith dialogue, tolerance, and understanding. Encouraging positive narratives about India’s diversity can help combat stereotypes and prejudices.
Engaging with leaders and representatives of the Muslim community in India is essential. Open and constructive dialogue can lead to solutions that address the concerns of the community and promote unity.
India’s presidency of the G-20 with the theme Vasudhaiva Kutumbkamb is a significant moment that underscores the country’s commitment to global unity and inclusivity. However, it also highlights the need to address the concerns and grievances of the Muslim community within India. Achieving the ideal of “the whole world is one family of God” requires a concerted effort to ensure that all citizens, regardless of their background, feel valued and included. It is now the responsibility of Prime Minister Modi’s government to work towards realizing this vision of a united and inclusive India that truly embraces the spirit of Vasudhaiva Kutumbkamb.