THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: Author and historian Mukul Kesavan said majoritarianism has become an existential threat to pluralist societies and polities across the world. He was delivering this year’s Vakkom Moulavi Memorial Lecture organised by Vakkom Moulavi Memorial and Research Centre (VMMRC) at Vakkom on Monday.
Mukul Kesavan, who currently teaches history and culture at Jamia Millia Islamia, New Delhi, said that “majoritarianism is a claim that a nation’s political destiny should be determined by the ethnic or religious majority. This claim is as old as the history of South Asia, and countries such as Pakistan, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh had fallen into this trajectory of majoritarianism in the first decade of their independence.
The one nation-state that resisted such tendency in the region was India, till the early 1980s. However, the massacre in Assam in 1983 was a landmark, followed by the Delhi anti-Sikh pogrom in 1984 and subsequent violence and riots in Mumbai, Gujarat and several other parts of the country.” Analysing how state-sponsored majoritarianism deals with minorities in countries as different as India, Sri Lanka, Myanmar, Pakistan, Bangladesh, China, the US and France, Mukul argued that “modern majoritarianism is not covert. It is rather explicit and performative. It sets out to make an example of the minority in question.”