clipped from: www.theatlantic.com
It is clearly possible that the terror rampage had its origins outside India, aimed as they were at international rather than Hindu targets
the attacks will aggravate a growing fault line between Hindus and Muslims within India itself.
India is home to 154 million Muslims
India has more to lose from extremist Islam than arguably any other country in the world
The Mumbai terrorists announced themselves as the Deccan Mujahideen.
The Islamic Mughals vanquished all of northern India, Pakistan, and a good part of Afghanistan, but they could never consolidate the Deccan against the Hindu Maratha warriors.
This Mughal history has taken on heightened symbolism in India in recent years precisely as a result of globalization and the expansion of electronic communications and education, all of which have sharpened the country’s religious divide.
In the early Cold War decades, India’s ruling Congress Party, the party of independence, sought to unite both Hindus and Muslims under the umbrella of a shared community and new nation-state.
In the 1980s, and particularly in the 1990s, with the opening up of the Indian economy to the outside world, Indians, especially the new Hindu middle class, began a search for roots to anchor them inside an insipid world civilization
they suddenly had wealth to protect.
we had the rise of the Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party
The BJP is one of several Hindu nationalist organizations that promotes a revisionist view of Indian history
the Mughals and other Muslim dynasties of the medieval and early modern era (which helped create India’s dazzlingly syncretic civilization - but who also brought terrible depredations upon the Hindus) are considered interlopers in what should have remained a purely Hindu civilization and story-line.
Mass communications have helped Hindus in this historical journey, enabling the creation of a standardized and ideologized Hinduism out of many local variants.
parts of the Indian Muslim community, who joined a world Muslim civilization that competed with Indian nationalism for their loyalty.
The divide exploded in full force in February and March 2002 in the northwestern province of Gujarat. Following the massacre of 58 Hindus on a train, Muslim areas of Gujarat, and particularly neighborhoods in its largest cities, were besieged by Hindu mobs: hundreds of Muslim women were raped, more than a thousand were killed, and 200,000 were made homeless. The Hindu nationalist BJP government in Gujarat was implicated in the killings, and because there was never an official apology for what happened, the atrocities have lived on in infamy, becoming a symbol for both groups in India.
the immediate result of the Mumbai terror attacks will be a further hardening of inter-communal relations within India.
also increase the likelihood that in national elections slated for early 2009, the result will be a BJP-led government
will further aggravate Indian-Pakistani relations, making it harder for the incoming Obama Administration to effect a rapprochement between the two countries, necessary for progress in Afghanistan, where the two subcontinental states are engaged in a proxy struggle that goes on behind the immediate conflict between the United States and al-Qaeda.
But the real story is India itself, whose undeniable rise as a major world power is being threatened by these civilizational tensions.
Robert D. Kaplan is a national correspondent for The Atlantic and a senior fellow at the Center for a New American Security.