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Nisid Hajari

Modi’s India Is Becoming a Reflection of Jinnah’s Fears

Seventy-five years after the subcontinent split apart, the nation’s beleaguered Muslims increasingly face the marginalization and brutal prejudice that Pakistan’s founder predicted.  

Many Indian Muslims don’t feel like citizens anymore. 

Many Indian Muslims don’t feel like citizens anymore. 

Photographer: Chandan Khanna/AFP/Getty Images

In August 1947, as their nations were born amid flames, mass rape and some of the 20th century’s bloodiest ethnic massacres, leaders of a fledgling India warned that Pakistanis had erred in insisting on their own country. Many contemporary observers might call them prescient. While Pakistan is now a nuclear power with a GDP per capita not too far behind India’s, it is rife with extremism, burdened by debt, led by weak and corrupt civilian politicians and dominated by an army that dictates affairs of state despite having lost every war it has fought.

Before gloating, however, Indians should recall why exactly Pakistan’s founder Mohammed Ali Jinnah was so determined to carve a Muslim-majority homeland out of the former British India: He predicted the rights of Muslims would be at risk in a country dominated by Hindus.