Religious Apartheid in Modern India- Transforming of a Civilisation

Evidence-based reasoning suggests that India is undergoing a civilisational change – a process of de-hinduising, powered by Article 30-induced egregious deprivations. This shows that the majority community in India has not yet matured enough to protect its core interests from being unfairly trampled. While the minorities’ politisation of their religious institutions have helped them mobilize their community to vote and to leverage the voting power to advance their interests,[lviii] the lack of politisation of the majority community’s religious institutions has not helped. These contrasting roles played by the religious institutions of the minority and majority communities can be traced to centuries of rule by alien powers. In order to mitigate potential challenges to their hold on power, the alien entities ensured de-politising of the majority community’s religious institutions.

Among the capable segments of India’s population, the middle class, upper middle class, and even the rich members of the majority community have remained apolitical – by largely shying away from voting – due to their disappointment with the political process in the nation.[lix] They could afford to, as the booming economy of the past two decades has created educational and job opportunities for them. However, as the minority population percentage increases invariably in the coming years, as present trends indicate, Article 30-induced discriminations will increasingly shut the door on majority empowerment. Indeed, as seen in Kerala with substantial minority population, this process will only intensify in the coming years. This is not a speculation; it is a reasoned extrapolation of data and backed by an analysis based on the acclaimed work of a Nobel Prize-winning economist. 

It has become quite clear that the apolitical, and yet the capable segments of the majority community now have to involve themselves in the political process, in order to ensure a future for themselves and their progenies. This should rejuvenate the Indian politic and help usher in a new era for Indian democracy. Article 30 will likely loom large as an issue in near-term electoral politics for a good reason: Not known for its religiosity, the majority community is driven by its desire for material comforts that require growing education and employment opportunities. Hence, sooner than later politicians are going to figure out that addressing Article 30’s undercutting of these opportunities offers among the best means of politically mobilising the entire community in order to build a strong powerbase. 

Clearly, modern and “emergent” India has to do away with Article 30 in the present form. The question remains what should replace it. A window into answering this question comes from the United States of America, arguable among the most developed secular democracies and home to a multi-ethnic and multi-religious society. Discriminations faced by the black minorities and to a lesser extent by non-Christian and non-white immigrants from abroad (in employment, educational, social and professional settings), compelled the United States to enact the cornerstone anti-discrimination legislation: The Civil Rights Act of 1964. The legislation, among other things, prohibits discriminations based on race, colour, religion, sex and national origin.[lx] There is an exception: Due to their under-privileged status brought by centuries of deliberate denial of empowerment by the majority whites, minorities such as the blacks in America have now been afforded special privileges in the form of a very limited quota system called Affirmative Action.[lxi] 

This article shouldn’t be viewed as an attack on Christian minorities or a call for undermining their rights, or an effort to stop conversions altogether. The focus of this analysis is about the egregious human rights violations of the 80 percent majority community. By tracing these violations to Article 30 of the Indian constitution, this piece offers ways of addressing this issue objectively and fairly without infringing on anyone’s rights. As a modern and free nation, India ought to uphold the right of its people to practice and importantly, change a faith as defined in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, Article 18: “Everyone has the right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion; this right includes freedom to change his religion or belief, and freedom, either alone or in community with others and in public or private, to manifest his religion or belief in teaching, practice, worship and observance.”[lxii] 

One could justifiably argue that India doesn’t deserve to be called a modern democracy unless it takes steps to stop the constitution-based egregious discriminatory practices and unfair denial of empowerment of one eighth of entire humanity.[lxiii] The country, which spearheaded the opposition to the apartheid regime in South Africa, now finds itself in an unfortunate position of practicing a form of apartheid on its majority population. 

If biodiversity is viewed crucial for the well-being of humanity,[xliv] so should cultural-religious diversity. For instance, India’s western neighbour Pakistan’s relentless drive to eradicate cultural-religious diversity within may have left it highly vulnerable to dead-end ideologies.[lxv] It is incumbent on humanity to ensure that ancient ways of life are allowed to evolve, and not be extinguished by apartheid practices.   

(Dr. Moorthy Muthuswamy is a U.S.-based nuclear physicist . His contact website: The views expressed by the author are his own.) 

Also read:
1. Why did the Ramakrishna Mission say they are not Hindus – a detailed study on the issue of rights of minority educational institutions in India.
2. Religion not caste behind Reservations
3. The Humanities And The Social Sciences In Indian Universities

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[2] NDTV, June 09, 2008, (accessed Nov. 11, 2010).


[4] Outlook India, June 25, 2007, (accessed Nov. 11, 2010).

[5] "2001 Census India - State-wide Population Breakdown by Religion," (accessed Nov. 13, 2010).

[6] Outlook India.

[7] "National Commission for Minorities - Genesis," (accessed Nov. 14, 2010).

[8] "National Commission for Minorities - Constitutional Provisions," (accessed Nov. 13, 2010); see also, "Minority Rights - The Judicial Approach," (accessed Nov. 12, 2010).

[9] "Indian Constitution, Religious Discrimination and USCIRF," South Asia Analysis Group, May 19, 2005, (accessed Nov. 12, 2010).

[10] "2001 Census India - State-wide Population Breakdown by Religion."


[12] India Currents, July 17-23, 2008, (accessed Nov. 12, 2010).

[13] The New York Times, August 28, 2008, (accessed Nov. 13, 2010).

[14] "National Commission for Minorities - Minority Literacy Rates," (accessed Nov. 13, 2010).

[15] "2001 Census India - Literacy Rates," (accessed Nov. 13, 2010).

[16] India Currents.

[17] "National Commission for Minorities - Constitutional Provisions."

[18] Free Press Release, Dec. 18, 2009, (accessed Nov. 13, 2010).

[19] "St. Stephen's College - Delhi," Wikipedia,'s_College,_Delhi (accessed Nov. 17, 2010).

[20] "South Africa under Apartheid," Wikipedia, (accessed Nov. 13, 2010).

[21] Outlook India.

[22] "The Universal Declaration of Human Rights," (accessed Nov. 13, 2010).

[23] Peter Wonacott, "Lawless Legislators Thwart Social Progress in India," Wall Street Journal, May 4, 2007.

[24] CNN-IBN, Mar. 29, 2008, (accessed Nov. 13, 2010).

[25] "National Commission for Minorities - Minority Literacy Rates."

[26] Sadanand Dhume, "Is India an Ally?" Commentary Magazine, Jan. 2008.

[27] "Why have Pakistan and India Evolved so differently?" South Asia Analysis Group, Nov. 1, 2010, (accessed Nov. 13, 2010).

[28] "Right to Education Act," (accessed Nov. 13, 2010).

[29] "Receipt and Utilization of Foreign Contribution by Voluntary Associations," (accessed Nov. 14, 2010).


[31]Outlook India.

[32] Thomas Schelling, "Dynamic Models of Segregation," Journal of Mathematical Sociology 1 (1971), pp. 143-86; see also, "Thomas Schelling," Wikipedia, (accessed Nov. 13, 2010).

[33] "Christian Conversions in North-East India," Mar. 10, 2006, (accessed Nov. 13, 2010).

[34] "2001 Census India - State-wide Population Breakdown by Religion."

[35] "Operation World - India," (accessed Nov. 17, 2010).

[36] "2001 Census India - State-wide Population Breakdown by Religion."

[37] "Operation World - India"; see also, "Joshua Project - India," (accessed Nov. 17, 2010).

[38] "Religion in India," Wikipedia, (accessed Nov. 18, 2010).

[39] "Population of India over a Century," (accessed Nov. 18, 2010).

[40] "Operation World - India."

[41] Outlook India.

[42] "Reservations in India," Wikipedia, (accessed Nov. 23, 2010).

[43] Ibid; from this reference: the forward caste in India constitutes well over 30 percent, compared to about 20 percent, Muslim and Christian communities put together. 

[44] Organiser, Oct. 31, 2004,
http:/ (accessed Nov. 14, 2010).

[45] The Pioneer, May 4, 2009, (accessed Nov. 14, 2010).


[47] The Times of India, Sept. 17, 2006, (accessed Nov. 14, 2010).

[48] "Religious Violence in Orissa," Wikipedia, (accessed Nov. 14, 2010).

[49] IBNLive, Dec. 30, 2007, (accessed Nov. 22, 2010).


[51] Boloji, Mar. 12, 2006, (accessed Nov. 16, 2010); see also, "The Pioneer."

[52] IBNLive, Mar. 25, 2005, (accessed Nov. 13, 2010); see also, Asia Times, Apr. 25, 2009, (accessed Nov. 13, 2010).

[53] "The Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission," (accessed Nov. 13, 2010); see also, "Civil Rights Act of 1964," Wikipedia, (accessed Nov. 14, 2010).

[54] "Affirmative Action in the United States," Wikipedia, (accessed Nov. 14, 2010).

[55] "The Universal Declaration of Human Rights."

[56] Derived from estimated Hindu majority population of 850 million taken from "Operation World - India" and "World Population," Wikipedia, (accessed, Nov. 22, 2010).

[57] "Biodiversity," Wikipedia, (accessed Nov. 15, 2010).

[58] "Why have Pakistan and India Evolved so differently?"

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