South Asia is the birthplace of many religious traditions that shape the way millions of people live today. These different religious traditions have profoundly shaped their thought processes, and in South Asia adherents of these different belief systems coexist peacefully and enjoy the dividends of peaceful coexistence in the form of material and spiritual prosperity. Today we only understand prosperity in terms of material things, ignoring the spiritual aspects of prosperity. This eventuality is the cause of depression among young people, and this event is what South Asia can offer the world
Tracing the history of South Asia, the region is home to numerous civilizations, including the Indus Valley civilization that stretches over one million square kilometers. The prosperity we are witnessed was unparalleled even by modern standards, and the reason behind it was peaceful coexistence. But the current situation is painting a different picture, with religious pluralism and interreligious harmony in South Asia under enormous threat, with the greatest threat to faith and interreligious harmony coming from faith-based extremism and violence, the region has been on the rise for the past two decades.
The rise of religious ultra-nationalism and extremism has converted south Asia into the world’s most hostile region for pluralism and interfaith harmony. On the one hand is the rise of religious ultra-nationalists in India, once known as the “beacon of hope” for a peaceful coexistence but the current political environment of India, where the religious and Ultra-nationalists see their states as inextricably intertwined with the dominant religion of that great country.
Recently the ultra-nationalists and religious extremists moved from the periphery to the mainstream, acquiring more political and social power, thus adversely affecting states’ policies and religious minorities. The state, which is now led by a saffron mindset rather is a takeover of the world’s largest democracy but they are not likely to attract western scholarly or policy attention mainly because Saffron India has evolved strategic convergences with the west.
At this movement, the West is only concerned with containing China. Counterterrorism has no place on the global agenda list for the United States of America, especially since Donald Trump took office. When the U.S is obsessed with Islamophobia and constructing a threat of China, it is willing to look the other way when the world’s largest democracy is taken over by an organization that was banned in India thrice for its involvement in terrorist activities. That’s not likely to change, if the world is expecting that the western capitals would come forward, criticizing and condemning this variant of extremists, this will never happen, there is a long history of the United States of America using proxy groups to settle its geostrategic scores. With the soviets, we have witnessed it. Therefore, it is wishful thinking to expect the United States and its strategic aliases in Asia to truly criticize Indian state-sponsored terrorism.
To ascertain the scale of threat by Hindutva forces by an analytical framework, which is used frequently in terrorism studies, called “adversarial threats analysis framework” to gauge threat that an entity poses, fewer than three components. These are Intention, Capability, and Opportunity. Under the prism of the “adversarial threats analysis framework” by using its three measuring indicators, the Hindutva ideology, and RSS in India appears as an existential threat to the South Asian region as a whole.
Meanwhile, starting with the intentions, by looking at the ideology, where the apologists of Hindutva argue that “they might be nationalists but they are averse to violence.” But reading Savarkars’s written piece “Who is Hindu” in 1923, which openly endorsed the use of violence in pursuit of “Akhand Bharat” or the greater Bharat, not only ideologically endorsed but during WWII the greater Bharat evolved a convergence with the British colonial regime and on the request of the British Empire, he sent thousands of RSS members to take part in the WWII, for achieving two main objectives, first for having cordial relations with the imperial power and second, the RSS members to have the first-hand experience of war. That factor proves the presence of violence in the ideology of Hindutva.
Meanwhile, within the movement in India, the number of members affiliated with the RSS exceeds 6 million, and the number of extremist Hindu seminaries working under the RSS banner exceeds 28,000 in these Hindu-seminaries, the use of weapons from daggers to firearms has been taught.
The last important indicator of a conducive environment for the extremist entities to grow is the “Opportunity” in the shape of the popular support enjoyed by the extremist outfit, the thump in majority victory of BJP (the political wing of RSS) in the elections twice is one of its examples. the saffron terrorists in India have seized a state where they have used legal means to review their agenda. This in itself is an inevitable threat to the harmony and peace in South Asia.