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Modi and Akbar : Indian Secular Perceptions and Deceptions

Modi and Akbar : Indian Secular Perceptions and Deceptions

Is the  Indian version of European Secularism anti Hindu ?

Secularism in IndiaLets look at Chief  Minister Narender Modi and Emperor Akbar through Indian Secular eyes as a case study to find out how secularism in India works. For example In India, a small band of journalists, activists and politicians, all of who parade themselves as ‘Secularists’ continuously malign Narendra Modi as being a modern day Hitler ; but to these same individuals Emperor Akbar, the third Mughal emperor of medieval India, is one of the  great icons of Indian secularism.

Narendra Modi’s reputation among this Indian Secular Elite arises from the 2002 Gujarat riots. It was under his Chief Ministership that bloody sectarian riots occurred in which according to official counts, there  were 1180 persons killed, of which 254 were Hindu and the rest Muslim. Narendra Modi is accused by his detractors of:

1.Ordering the state machinery to let Hindus riot for a few days before intervening.
2.Attempting to use his influence to allow Hindu perpetrators of violence to escape prosecution, or turn a blind eye when servants of his government were doing the same.
3.In the aftermath of the riots whipped up communal sentiments and fears amongst the
Hindus for electoral gain.

Narendra Modi denies the accusations, and Indeed he has been cleared by all investigations including the India Supreme Courts own investigation who under the direction of the Congress-led UPA ruling government set up a special team of investigators in 2009 to only give the all clear to Modi of all alleged charges in 2011. But India media and the ‘secular’ network in India and abroad continue to slander Narendra Modi as a criminal which unfortunately the BJP or the Modi team have not yet taken any legal Action.

Emperor Akbar’s Career

Mughal emperor Akbar is often hailed as an icon of tolerance. But was he? If we honestly and objectively compare him to Narendra Modi what do we find? A very disturbing picture emerges which is unflattering to say the least.

The atrocities carried out under the emperor were the direct result of his own orders. When comparing the crimes against humanity of Emperor Akbar against the unproven and baseless allegations against Mr Modi, one is struck by the sheer hypocrisy of how anybody parading the former as an icon of secularism can charge the latter with having been an affront to India’s long-held tradition of pluralism and mutual respect.

In his early and middle career Emperor Akbar participated in violence which wholly religiously inspired. Hence the title of ‘ghazi’ which he earned for killing infidels. His atrocities were on a far greater and more direct scale than anything that happened when Narendra Modi was chief minister, and can reasonably be accused of. Just a few brief examples shall be cited here to demonstrate the extent of his killings, and also the fact that far into his rule he still did not treat Hindus equally.

At the end of the siege of Chittor, Akbar ordered the massacre of 30,000 inhabitants of the felled fort on 24th February 1568, and after this Akbar had the heads of fallen Rajputs displayed upon towers erected throughout the region to show his authority.

Abdul Qadir Badaoni who was then one of Akbar’s court chaplains or imams, states that he sought an interview with the emperor when the royal troops were marching against Rana Pratap in 1576, begging leave of absence for

“the privilege of joining the campaign to soak his Islamic beard in Hindu infidel blood”.

Akbar was so pleased at the expression of allegiance to his person and to the Islamic idea of Jihad that he bestowed a handful of gold coins on Badaoni as a token of his pleasure.

Even when Akbar decided to forge matrimonial alliances with Rajput Kings, the same Rajputs were not allowed to dine and pray with him or take Muslim wives. There was no real equality. There was no real tolerance. It was all on suffrance and imperial personal whim, which could be withdrawn at any moment. No constitutional guarantees here, and certainly no democracy.

Chief Minister Modi

Since 2002, Narendra Modi has many positive achievements to his name which have been recognised globally. That is why long before Britain made overtures to him and the USA rescinded its ban on his being allowed a visa, Israel and Latin American countries were beating a path to Gujarat in order to forge links with the man responsible for making his home state the most prosperous in India.  Nobody can seriously question his record on economic growth and governance in his state.

He has also tried within certain limits to get away from the “hardline” image. One may take a cynical view of Narendra Modi’s gradual change of image; but the irrefutable fact remains that he has achieved the fastest economic growth in India. This has been combined with governance that is not known for corruption and cronyism. He has also been involved with various campaigns to remove social ills such as Save the Girl Child.

Now on the surface there are some parallels with Akbar. He also brought a period of relative peace, stability and prosperity. After a gruesome beginning to his career, he decided to be less cruel and fanatical than his predecessors. However, there is a consensus that this change was triggered by an understanding of the socio-political fabric of India; he realised that by antagonising Hindus, it created uprisings and instability, which are not good for creating a stable prosperous empire and indeed for his rule. Like all medieval Muslim emperor’s and chieftains of India, he also had Muslim rivals who he knew may revolt from his authority or seek to challenge him.

He used his newly forged alliances with certain Rajputs as a counterweight against this threat.  Later on, it seems that Akbar genuinely changed. He became interested in learning about all religions, and even tried to create his own religion (the “Din-i-Ilahi”). However in practice this did not equate to equal treatment of Hindus in the kingdom on par with Muslims, and this was not something which Akbar seriously tried to change. Nor did he ever contemplate it.

Secular Deception

Surely the same people who view Akbar as a secular God for his relative tolerance in later life despite knowing that he ordered killings on such a large scale in his earlier career and despite the evidence that religious fervour was involved in the killings, should not be criticising Narendra Modi, especially as his crimes are on a much lesser scale and only alleged.

If Akbar can be praised for bringing relative peace, prosperity and stability – surely Narendra Modi can be praised on the same note for bringing progress and good governance in a country in which clean governance is sorely lacking.

The only reason why Akbar is praised by India’s secularists as such a paragon of virtue is because of their desperation to find a champion who is not Hindu. Such is there aversion to Hindu culture that if Modi was a non-Hindu then they would be praising his economic achievements and dismiss his alleged crimes just as they do with the very real crimes of Naxalites in the east and separatists in various parts of the country.

If he left the Hindu fold then overnight they would turn into his staunchest supporters and loyal followers (complete with begging bowl to gain lucrative dead-end jobs as with the rest of India’s state bureaucracy which they have infected).

A clear example of this can be seen when they praise AR Rahman as proof of Islamic contribution to Indian music when it is common knowledge that Rahman was born a  Hindu and later converted to Islam. The secularism of India is not the same as that of the west which was born from the need to tame an omnipotent and intolerant church which was wreaking havoc, devastation, wars, slavery and burning women at the stake for being witches. Nothing of the sort prevailed in India.

The secularism in India defines itself as being anti-Hindu. That is why ‘secularists’ defend ideas and principles which would be scoffed at in the west and died out with the onset of the modern industrial age. Yet here the so-called ‘progressives’ defend the most obscurantist ideas in the name of ‘tolerance’.

This is not tolerance but stupidity and intellectual bankruptcy. That explains why public streets are named after tyrants like Aurangzeb who at the end of his life lamented how he had not managed to forcibly convert all Hindus to Islam. It is also the reason why India’s most prestigious public schools are named after the psychopathic  fanatic Francis Xavier who was canonised by the Catholic Church for smashing Hindus shrines, temples and forcing Christianity down India’s throat at the point of the gun.

In any other country this would be recognised as obscene. Does Israel name streets and public buildings after Hitler, Himmler and Rudolph Hess? Are the Ku Klux Klan allowed to hold an official cross burning ceremony at the White House on Martin Luther King Day?

Gujarat’s prosperity has benefited all sections of its society. What will defeat the anti-Hindu dominance of India’s intellectual life will be the stark reality of the masses building a modern state regardless while the aforementioned chattering classes will become ever more insignificant. In this case the best disinfectant really is sunlight.




About The Author

British born Hindu writer and activist twho lives in London..He also writes for The Hindu Perspective Online magazine ( www.


  1. Kumaran November 17, 2012 at 6:38 am

    @Ritesh – comparing a secular regime of modern India against monarchies is not really inappropriate. You cared to say “ny other empire from outside were religiously driven”, but missed to say the essential part – that Hindu kings were truly tolerant of all religions to the point that the latter did not turn out to be anti-social. Come to Modi, he is definitely not more “dictator-like” than Akbar or today’s congress. It is not the statement you make but the statement you miss which puts things in right perspective. Nor is Modi a “fundamentalist” – fundamentalist would be the Muslim league. Neither Modi called for a Hindu state nor did he oppress non-Hindus. Where do you get the words from?

  2. Raju November 11, 2012 at 1:43 am

    Hi Ritesh,

    Care to explain exactly how Modi can be considered a “fundamentalist” or “corrupt”?

    I feel neither of these swear words apply to him – so please explain.

    King regards

  3. likeanyone November 8, 2012 at 9:53 am

    Modi is surely one of the Greatest Leaders in 21 century of India. India will develop very fast under Modi leadership. The current situation of Indian corruption, inflation, poverty will get a beating for his administration. I would definitely support Modi for this election. He is a hope. Every government enquiry commission of the 2002 riots case gave Modi a clean chit. Congress has been eyeing Gujarat for long but Modi eaten them away only to make them look so miserable. Media having nexus with congress was targeting Modi ever since he took over Gujarat. The Same Media is silent over the 80 thousand mass killings of Hindus on Kashmir or 4 million Hindu being refugies in their own country (as they did able to return home since 1992). 2 million Hindu Genocide of Hindus in Bangladesh. Hindus miseries of Pakistan. All these compare to 2000 killed in the riots which started by Muslims burning of 60 Hindu pilgrims inside a train is a small number.

  4. Ritesh November 6, 2012 at 12:12 pm

    you do realize gujrat is not the fastest growing state…merely on the same level as a no.of other states….also gujaratis are historically known for thr enterprising nature so modi has little to add to the state….mughal empire like any other empire from outside were religiously driven and akbar was a secular only to a certain point….in india secularism does seem to imply a need to cater to the minorities….but whatever may akbar have been, modi is a fundamentalist and very much nepotistic …. corruption comes in various avatars…money is not the only end, favoritism is also, also being dictator like is yet another drawback…..i think you are merely partial to modi since he happens to call gujarati his mother tongue……its kind of shameful where modiis considered a role model….

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