Citizenship Act - India is the only home of Hindus, Buddhists, Jains and Sikhs

  • Article makes a case for exclusion of persecuted Muslims from Pakistan, Bangladesh and Afghanistan to get Indian citizenship. India’s core is DHARMA. It is for reason that the  Supreme Court logo is ‘yato dharma tato jaya’; where there is dharma, there is victory.

In a recent article titled ‘Modi Sarkar’s final frontier’ Udit Misra wrote in Business Standard that having failed on various fronts Prime Minister Modi is now trying to seek re-election by amending the Indian Constitution in two ways one of which is the Citizenship Act.


This act, whilst pending in the Rajya Sabha, makes it easier for Hindus, Buddhists, Jains, Sikhs, Parsis, Christians facing religious persecution in Pakistan, Bangladesh and Afghanistan to get Indian citizenship and rules out Muslim refugees from these countries including Rohingyas from Myanmar. Udit believes that this discrimination is against India’s secular credentials and a tool to woo polarise voters.


It would be unwise to see this move through the narrow prism of politics. This article dissects the above arguments.


At the outset it must be said that centuries before the Indian Constitution came into existence, persecuted communities like Parsis, Jews and Syrian Catholics were given refuge by Indian rulers.


One, introduction of the Citizenship Bill is being discussed since 2015. Modi Sarkar can be faulted for delaying introduction of the bill for three years.


Two, India is the birthplace of dharma -- Sanatan, Baudh, Jaina and Sikh dharma and home to Eastern spirituality. For the 'Followers of Dharma' or FoD, India is where their rishis, munis and gurus lived and where their principal places of worship exist. There is no other country they can call their own.  


So when persecuted elsewhere, India is the country they return to for e.g. there was large-scale migration of Sikhs due to the violence that broke out after the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan in 1979. Ditto for FoD from Pakistan and Bangladesh.


It is because of what unites the FoD that Chairman of the Drafting Committee of the Constitution, Dr B R Ambedkar, while considering the conversion of his followers to Sikhism, declared, 'If the depressed classes join Islam and Christianity, they not only go out of Hindu religion, but they also go out of Hindu culture and it will denationalise the depressed classes'. 1 

There are over forty Muslim countries where persecuted sub-continental Muslims can go to. After all political thinker Muhammad Iqbal (1873-1938) wrote, “Islam as a religion has no country”. 2 


Three, how can one forget that India was divided on the basis of religion?

Pakistan was meant to be the home of those subcontinent Muslims who chose to live in a theocratic state, while India was for the FoD, Muslims and Christians etc.

Those Muslims who wanted to live in Pakistan left India, a decision they voluntarily made. Just because Muslims are being persecuted there today does not give them the option of returning to India, a country their forefathers left for good.

Coming to Bangladesh India is a victim of illegal Bangladeshi immigration, primarily Muslim, for years. The Assam agitation of the 1980s was in response to the demographic changes brought about by such migration. After all, many consider Assam to be the unfinished agenda of partition.

Bangladeshi labour kms before Siachen Base Camp. Pic by S Nayyar

Four, what happened to the FoD who stayed back in Bangladesh and Pakistan?


Their population has continuously fallen in Bangladesh (formerly East Pakistan). It was 23 per cent in 1951, 14 per cent in 1974, 11 per cent in 1991, 10 per cent in 2001 and 9.3 per cent in 2011.

In Pakistan, the population of the FoD (formerly West Pakistan; before that part of undivided Punjab) was 19.7 per cent in 1941, came down to 1.6 per cent in 1951 and settled at a meagre 1.8 per cent in 1998.

Conversely, let us at look at the Muslim population in India.

Table A: Religious Composition of India India 1951 to 2011 Census*                                                                                                       



Muslim  Crs

% of population

    FoD Crs

% of population











































*Religious Demography of India by Ashok Joshi, Dr M D Srinivas and Dr J K Bajaj

Population of Indian Muslims has grown from 10.4 to 14.2% of the population. In absolute numbers, their population has increased from 3.77 crore in 1951 to 17.22 crore in 2011.


Another argument is that if Nepalese (read Hindus) can stay in India why not Bangladeshis and Rohingyas? Most are unaware that the Indo-Nepal Friendship Treaty of 1950 allows Nepalese to work and own property in India.


Assamese must realize they are better off in Assam as long as Hindus are in majority. They have to visit Kashmir Valley or Bangladesh to know what awaits them. Recall the causes of Bodo-Muslim conflict in Assam.


Five, much is being made of recent student protests in Mizoram some of whom held banners that read, ‘Hello China, Bye Bye India’.


Note that Christian majority Mizoram is not affected by Bangladeshi infiltration. It is only India that allowed its Chief Minister to take oath on the Bible. China would never tolerate this.


Christians in the Northeast who have affection for China can read this December 25 2018 piece in the New York Times titled, As China cracks down on Churches, Christians say we will not forfeit our faith.


Six, is a much propagated myth ‘Equality before Law’ under Article 14. If true equality existed the Constitution would give Hindus right to manage their temples like Muslims and Christians do. Further temple hundi contributions would not become part of the State Treasury as in some Southern states. 


Seven, is the lip service to Secularism. Former Prime Minister Indira Gandhi made the word ‘secular’ part of the preamble of the Constitution but did not define it. When the Janata Party came to power in 1977 an attempt was made to define ‘secular republic’ to mean a ‘republic’ in which there is equal respect for all religions’. The Janata government had a majority in the Lok Sabha but was in a minority in the Rajya Sabha where it was voted down by the Congress.


It is time to accept that India’s core is DHARMA. It is for a reason that the Supreme Court logo is, ‘yato dharma tato jaya’; where there is dharma, there is victory. 



1 Dr Ambedkar: Life and Mission by Dhananjay Keer pg 279.

2 The History and Culture of Indian People Volume 11, pg. 534 published by the Bharatiya Vidya Bhawan)

Author is founder of and an Independent Columnist.

Must read by Kaushik Deka With wrongful inclusions and inclusions will NRC do justice to the Assamese?  

Also read

1 Civilizational Heritage

2 Demographic invasion of India from the North East

3 Unchecked infiltration

4 We are in denial but Bangladeshis are flooding India’s north-east

5 Why India can do without Rohingyas

6 Ililiterate Muslims in Assam have more more children: Gogoi

7 Who was responsible for Partition

8 Why Secularism is not an Indian Concept 

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