World

India's Modi Imports American Discrimination 

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America's success in delivering enviable living standards while protecting human rights has made it the moral gold standard of the world, inspiring global movements for social justice, freedom, and democracy. But the flip side is that when America departs from these principles, it hands a license to other countries to do the same. India is living proof.

Even before President Donald Trump brought nativism front and center in U.S. politics, India was rummaging through American jurisprudence for intellectual ammo to justify similar policies. The world's second-most-populous country experienced a massive influx of Bangladeshi refugees in 1971 when Pakistan declared war on Bangladesh to prevent it from seceding. Pakistan's brutality triggered the single largest displacement of people in the second half of the 20th century, with 10 million Bangladeshis, predominantly Muslim, fleeing to bordering Indian states.

Although two-thirds of these refugees eventually returned home, the rest settled in places such as Assam, a lovely, bucolic state famous for its tea, nestled in the northeastern Himalayan range. This generated tensions with the local Assamese. After some grisly episodes of bloodletting, the Indian Supreme Court intervened in 2005. It scrapped an existing law that it insisted was hamstringing the government's expulsion efforts and created an expedited deportation timetable.

How did India's highest court justify all this? By quoting an entire passage from the notorious 1889 ruling Chae Chan Ping v. United States, in which the U.S. Supreme Court upheld the Chinese Exclusion Act and declared that "the highest duty of a nation" is to "give security against foreign aggression and encroachment," including from "vast hordes" of foreigners "crowding in upon us."

This is exactly how Trump characterizes Central American refugees—and how Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi characterizes Bangladeshi Muslim immigrants. Moreover, just as Trump is expanding detention camps to house asylum-seekers who illegally cross the border, the Modi government is building a vast network of detention camps to segregate Indian Muslims who can't prove that their ancestors hailed from India.

The Modi government is also deploying well-meaning U.S. policies for immoral ends. Recently, Modi rammed through India's Parliament something called the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA), which will hand mass amnesty to nearly every religious refugee from Pakistan, Afghanistan, and Bangladesh living illegally in India, unless the refugees are Muslim.

Such a religious test for citizenship has generated massive protests in India and condemnation abroad. But Modi's cheerleaders claim that the CAA is no different from the Lautenberg Amendment, an obscure American law that was sponsored by the eponymous Democratic senator from New Jersey and passed in 1990 to hand Soviet Jews and Christians an expedited pathway to refugee status.

The concern at that time was that the political instability generated by the fall of the USSR would make these groups—but especially Jews—even more vulnerable to persecution by fellow citizens and new regimes. (Lautenberg was subsequently expanded to include Iranian Jews, Christians, and Baha'is.) Today, Modi's supporters claim that there is no functional difference between the Lautenberg Amendment and the CAA, because both laws create special channels for some religiously persecuted minorities without eliminating existing channels for any group.

While it would certainly be better if Lautenberg had been written in a religiously neutral fashion, this comparison has holes bigger than the Khyber Pass. The most obvious one is that Lautenberg wasn't meant to cater to dominant religious prejudices, while the CAA is a blatant attempt to feed them. Moreover, Lautenberg aimed to admit more refugees into America, not to create a discriminatory standard for those inside the country. When it comes to attaining U.S. citizenship, one uniform rule applies for everyone, regardless of race, caste, creed, religion, or nationality. Most importantly, America had "normal channels" to accept refugees when Lautenberg was passed, while India does not.

Modi would have found a way to advance his Hindu nationalist agenda no matter what. But his job becomes a whole lot easier when he can enlist American laws to make his case for him.

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  1. Yeah Shiksa, keep beating that drum for no border controls whatsoever. Just let ’em all in. What could possibly go wrong? I mean, it is not like we would need to worry about a viral pandemic. What a dumbass.

    You’ll kill us all with your warped policies.

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    2. *Sigh* Just what is so ray-ray-raaaaaacist about being critical of immigration? Not all immigrants are benign, and the Native Americans could tell you a thing or two about open borders.

  2. Wow… that’s impressive!

    Trump as a retro-active cause of bigotry in India!

    Good lord… the nation with a caste system, huge regional prejudices and a religious split deep enough to have broken the nation into two warring countries some 70 years ago…. But Trump is the inspiration for discrimination in India!

    Shika, you have lost your mind. I’m no expert on Indian culture, but I have enough friends from India and Pakistan to know this analysis is silly on its face… Surely you know better as well. Well, I suppose you admit as much in your final line.

    I know this is your hobby horse, and Trump is the source of endless column-inches, but territorial disputes based on religion are still in intermittent “shooting war” status between these countries… So it’s kinda hard to pin Indian “xenophobia” on Trumpism, or even any other American inspiration.

    1. Good lord… the nation with a caste system, huge regional prejudices and a religious split deep enough to have broken the nation into two warring countries

      Hey, a conservative can dream, right? William F Buckley would be proud.

      1. You’re still terrible at this. Stick to child porn.

        1. I don’t take advice from Trump Trash.

          1. Nobody advised you to post kiddie porn pervert.

          2. Your failure at life is largely from not taking advice from others more successful than you, so keep doing what you want. There’s a reason you went down the wrong path to what your life’s passion was.

      2. You’re seriously trying to defend widespread racism and religious intolerance in India?

        1. Except it’s not.

          Racism and religious intolerance are indeed widespread in India, but opposition to Shika’s favorite internationalist political policies isn’t racism and religious intolerance at all.

    2. “Trump as a retro-active cause of bigotry in India”

      3500 years ago Aryan warrior Trump rode his war-chariot to the Indus and wrote the Varna into the Purusha Sukta.

      This is what brave Shikha is up against. Trump isn’t a man but an evil god who can traverse time.

  3. Racist against the Orange, as usual.

  4. LOL . Just LOL.

  5. Because nowhere else in the world discriminates as much as the U.S. under Trump.

    Sure.

    1. Try being Muslim or Christian in China…

      1. as long as they re word the Koran and the Bible to finally tell the truth about China those religions are allowed to continue their practices

      2. Alexa: “I’m sorry, do you mean try being an unwilling organ donor in China?”

      3. Try being non-Han in China.

      4. I hear they get free camp, can’t be all bad.

        1. All the Mao you can read. What could be sweeter?

  6. What a steaming pile of shit.

    Then again, if you’re blaming Trump for a virus from China, why not blame him for tribalism in India? Next up: Trump’s crude remarks about beauty pageant contestants give Muslim nations cover for oppressing women!

    1. Don’t give these writers ideas.

  7. Nick, if you’re paying for this, you’re getting ripped off.

    1. He is getting ripped off even is she is paying for the print space.

  8. The thing conservatives hate most about us liberals is that we don’t respect their mythology, their religion, or their tradition. Conservatives – whether in India, Iran, or the Southern United States need a mythology to cling to. This mythology always elevates the native over the outsider to make him feel superior and justify tyrannical behavior.

    “If you can convince the lowest white man he’s better than the best colored man, he won’t notice you’re picking his pocket. Hell, give him somebody to look down on, and he’ll empty his pockets for you.”

    Lyndon Johnson

    1. Lyndon Johnson
      A Democrat.
      Nuff said.

      1. Johnson was referring to conservatives who wanted to prevent black Americans from voting, you nimwit. Some of those conservatives were Democrats (like George Wallace) but most were Republicans.

        1. You should always admire the guy who picked up dogs by their ears.

        2. The fact is that Johnson was a racist and a sexist himself (and generally a deplorable human being). He may have been trying to deflect from his own racism with the quote, but it certainly expresses how he himself acted and thought about people.

        3. uh, Johnson got the Civil Rights Act passed with mostly Republican support. His own party rejected it. In the 60s, the obvious racists were mostly democrats.

    2. Mythology… like the intelligent design of a powerful centralized intelligent designer in the government? Fuck off pedo.

    3. This is also the guy who talked about keeping the Ns voting for democrats for hundreds of years from the party that figured out a way to have minorities self segregate since they couldnt do it with the KKK. Get the fuck out of here with your gaslighting. All liberals know is racism and group intolerance.

    4. Yes, and LBJ meant every word, racist, sexist, and bigot that he was.

    5. This mythology always elevates the native over the outsider to make him feel superior and justify tyrannical behavior.

      So Palm Sunday is a celebration of Jesus returning to his homeland?

    6. “The thing conservatives hate most about us liberals is that we don’t respect their mythology”

      Lol.
      The group that’s anti-vax and anti-GMO and touts crystal healing, 57 genders, intersectionality, chakras, acupuncture, critical theory, holistic healing and psychic yoga doesn’t respect conservative ‘mythology’.

  9. But Modi’s cheerleaders claim that the CAA is no different from the Lautenberg Amendment, an obscure American law that was sponsored by the eponymous Democratic senator from New Jersey and passed in 1990 to hand Soviet Jews and Christians an expedited pathway to refugee status.

    Don’t you hate it when you pass a law saying that all animals are equal but some animals are more equal than others and then some asshole comes along and decides to change the definition of which animals are the some and which are the other?

  10. India, especially with their caste system, never discriminated until America showed them how.

    1. Didn’t you know, the subcontinent has been a peaceful utopia for most of it’s history.

      1. Until the British showed up! The British turned a thriving utopia into a nation of slaves and oppressed! And if you have white skin, you are guilty! –Shikha

        1. The funny thing is Shikha herself is the descendant of fair-haired, lily-white Andronovo warriors who slaughtered Dravidian men and stole their daughters.
          She’s just another (half) white woman, racesplaing.

  11. Excellent! I’ve been waiting for my favorite libertarian writer to explain once again how India’s problematic policies are ultimately the US’s fault. And she didn’t disappoint.

    #BrownBodiesHaveNoAgency

  12. “America’s success in delivering enviable living standards while protecting human rights has made it the moral gold standard of the world, inspiring global movements for social justice, freedom, and democracy. But the flip side is that when America departs from these principles, it hands a license to other countries to do the same.”

    Yes, and we’re also to blame for Brexit, 9/11 and Pearl Harbor.

    1. Incidentally, that statement she made reeks of neoconservatism.

    2. If we didn’t exist, 9/11 and Pearl Harbor wouldn’t have happened. Checkmate, bigot.

  13. “America’s success in delivering enviable living standards while protecting human rights has made it the moral gold standard of the world, inspiring global movements for social justice, freedom, and democracy. But the flip side is that when America departs from these principles, it hands a license to other countries to do the same.”

    Bull
    Fucking
    Shit

    as usual

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    1. More honest than the article.

  15. Shikha, here is a little lesson about your country. India has had a caste system and slavery for millennia. India’s hostility towards refugees goes back to at least 1946: India doesn’t recognize internationally agreed upon protections for refugees and has stiff jail terms for those entering the country illegally. And Indians frequently lump anybody with white skin together with their former British colonial masters, because I suppose “we all look alike”.

    That’s your country. That’s your culture. That’s what you are proud of. And are you ever true to your culture, Shikha. Don’t blame America or Europe for India’s sordid, racist, violent, and bigoted history.

  16. The society that created and still practices the Caste System is practicing discrimination? Shocking, I tell you. Shocking.

    1. This is the rough equivalent of the descendants of Conquistadores and Aztecs lecturing the US on its treatment of illegal immigrants.

  17. See? Ya learn something every day!
    I did not know until now that there was no discrimination anywhere until Trump invented it!

  18. This Lautenberg Amendment, though, *does* sound unwise, if it singled out religious groups by name. Though I highly suspect it didn’t influence Indian policy.

    1. It was a get in free card for Soviet Jews. Shitma kind of tries hiding this by claiming it was for persecuted Jewish and Christian groups but in practice 97 percent for people admitted under its provisions from 1990-94 were Jews.

  19. Funny, my Asian history’s a little lacking but I thought India’s friction with Muslims began sometime around the 1500s when the Muslim Mughal minority started forcefully ruling the Hindu majority, and continued with rebellions and killings on both sides based on religions that continue to this very day. Also, you know, Pakistan’s decades of support for terrorism in India in more modern times. But yes, this is somehow Trump’s fault you dumb bint.

    1. Out of curiosity, do you also blame Trump for the persecution of religious minorities in Muslim majority countries, or are we not allowed to talk about that because that would somehow be “punching down” on the world’s second-largest religion?

    2. Trump has the power to affect history retroactively.

      1. Sooo, you’re saying he’s a Time Lord? The Doctor’s gonna be pissed when he finds out XD

        1. Trump is the Doctor. Regeneration #273.

  20. India’s Modi Imports American Discrimination

    Oh for fuck’s sake.

  21. I’m also interested in the connection between Modi and a 2005 decision by the Indian Supreme Court. Maybe there is a connection but in her sputtering indignation, the author of the article was a bit vague in making the link.

    1. Time is a flat circle

      1. Also a social construct of patriarchal heteronormative cis-“meritocracies”

        1. I am sad I understood that.

        2. so turtles all the way down then?

      2. Shikha’s brain is a flat circle too.

  22. I was going to post a longer reply but everyone seems to have covered the complete idiocy of Shikha’s argument.

  23. For people interested in what’s actually happening in India:

    1) Modi didn’t create the situation in Assam, he inherited it. The registry and deportations were mandated by a peace agreement between local rebels and the Gandhi/Congress government back in the 1980s; the Supreme Court just got around to enforcing that in 2005. The whole point of the CAA that Ms. Dalmia is attacking is to reduce the number of people deported from Assam by making the Hindu Bengalis who fled sectarian strife in the 1970s, and their descendants, eligible for Indian citizenship. That is a good thing, unless you’re one of the Assamese nativists who wanted to deport all the Bengalis and their descendants.

    2) The Modi government is building specific facilities for holding immigration detainees to segregate them from criminals. Currently, they’re held along with the criminals in ordinary jails. That, too, is a good thing, unless you think violators of immigration law should take their chances mixed in with violent criminals.

    Modi is no libertarian, sure, but neither was the Marxist apologist for terrorist attacks on police that Ms. Dalmia a hero in the pages of this magazine.

    1. Oh man, a lot of virtue signaling pussies embarrassed themselves in the comments on that one

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