Is the ‘Clash of Civilizations’ The New Opiate of the Subcontinental Masses?

Vijay Prashad in The Immanent Frame:

After the destruction of a sixteenth century mosque in Ayodhya in 1992, riots broke out across northern India. In Bombay, the forces of the Hindu Right led the riots; its armies killed a thousand Muslims. Two hundred thousand other Muslims fled the city. This was a form of ethnic cleansing that had a profound psychological impact on the city’s residents. A retaliatory attack led by a former Bombay gangster killed 257 people. Since then, attacks have come with remarkable frequency, almost one a year. Blame for these attacks often rests at the gates of either ex-Afghan Jihad veterans whose organizations are banned in Pakistan (such as the Lashkar-e-Toiba) or the foot-soldiers of the family of organizations that gather around the BJP. Violence is their tactic and their strategy; they have little else.

Mirror images of each other, the Hindu Right and the Islamic Right offer nothing for the future, but boil the resentments of selected parts of the population, to artificially hasten their hope for change with promises of martyrdom and paradise. These are the alchemists of resentment, who use bombs and swords, guns and axes to do their magic for them. There is no development of the protracted struggle to change the conditions of the present, only the irrational commitment to fleeting acts of terrible violence. Terror in saffron robes or draped in green flags has absolute contempt for the desperate needs of people who are increasingly abandoned by the policies that bring homelessness and hunger to hundreds of millions.