In May 2014, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) won the Indian national elections, claiming a resounding 51.9 percent of seats in the lower house. For the first time in 30 years, a single party was given a mammoth mandate by the people of India to run the country. Narendra Modi, a self-avowed Hindu nationalist and a lifelong member of the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) – an Indian right-wing party – with a controversial past was exalted to the post of Prime Minister. It is said that the process of elections and electioneering reflect the emotional and intellectual balance of a nation. In light of this observation, it is interesting to note that the BJP secured its parliamentary majority on a platform that openly professed religious majoritarianism. The campaign saw the ‘banalisation of Hindu nationalism rather than its absence’. The principals of pluralism and liberalism that were supposed to underpin the Indian political system were sidelined in favour of an intolerant and extremist version of Hindutva, i.e. an ideology that promotes Hindu hegemony. During the electioneering, the BJP invoked nationalist rhetoric with leaders calling for Muslim eviction from Hindu areas. In fact, the BJP campaign manifesto drew inspiration from the RSS vision of India that called for scaling back laws and government programs designed to benefit religious minorities, establishing a Uniform Civil Code (to replace current personal law based on religious customs and thus standardizing all national laws regarding such topics as marriage, divorce, and inheritance); repealing Article 370 of the Indian Constitution, which grants limited autonomy to the state of Jammu and Kashmir; redrafting public school textbooks to remove what are alleged to be insults to Hindu gods and excessive praise of the subcontinent’s past Muslim rulers; constructing a Ram temple on the Ayodhya site of the Babri Mosque that was razed in 1992; and preventing cow slaughter through legislation’. According to Indian analysts, incidents of communal violence in India under the Modi administration rose by 28 percent between 2014 and 2018. This escalation of violence against minorities has seen little response from the international community, which views Modi through the prism of economic success, and therefore, overlooks accounts of religious violence and suppression At the same time, in the primal and vital stages of electioneering, the BJP meticulously constructed Modi’s image, portraying him as a moral monolith to detract attention from his notorious past. In 2002, during his tenure as Chief Minister of the Gujarat state, large-scale anti-Muslim rioting claimed the lives of more than 2,000 Muslims. The international community decried the killings and denounced Modi for complicity. In 2005, Modi was refused a U.S. visa for his role in the violence. And even though he was later exculpated, Prime Minsiter Modi’s victory in the national elections invoked considerable disquiet among minority groups, particularly the Muslims and Christians who rightly feared that a victorious BJP would pursue an exclusionary nationalist agenda. On the other hand, the jubilant Sangh Parivar group that drew inspiration from the ideology of RSS vowed to defend India’s Hindu identity by ‘purging’ the society of Islamic and Christian beliefs. This Hindu fundamentalist group is the main political force behind Hindutva, which calls for the predominance of Hinduism in Indian society, politics, and culture through the subjugation of Muslims and Christians. It castigates alternative religions as foreign faiths imposed by foreign conquerors. After the elections, the BJP’s rabid Hindu majoritarian policies became more obvious. The religious and cultural chauvinism preached by the Sangh Parivar called for a social purge aimed at minorities, and even more specifically Muslims. Violence was encouraged as a form of opposition against minorities whose practices clashed with those of the Hindus, a sentiment that was eagerly taken up by cow protection vigilante groups that took control of the streets and lynched Muslims for selling or eating beef. In 2018 alone, there were thirteen cow-related lynching incidents that compelled the Indian Supreme Court to demand that the legislature formulate laws against the practice, an injunction that has yet to be complied with. Similarly, violence against Christians has also became more pervasive. With nationalism taking up a more militant front in India, the violence has permeated Indian society to effect the youth as well, with vicious right-wing youth organizations, such as the Bajrang Dal, precipitating mob violence and targeted attacks against religious minorities. In 1992, members of this group actively participated in the demolition of Babri Mosque, and since Modi’s election as Prime Minister, they have only gained in strength and influence. According to Indian analysts, incidents of communal violence in India under the Modi administration rose by 28 percent between 2014 and 2018. This escalation of violence against minorities has seen little response from the international community, which views Modi through the prism of economic success, and therefore, overlooks accounts of religious violence and suppression. The writer is a former Ambassador Published in Daily Times, March 18th 2019.