Many would think it unfair to the sadbhavna (goodwill)-seeking chief minister of the state,Narendra Modi, to hold him responsible for the conduct of the mall management. But it is precisely his politics that breeds the sensibility that underlies the mall’s decision to treat Muslims differently. That politics stems from the ideology of the Sangh Parivar headed by theRashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh, which believes in the primacy of Hindus in Hindustan and imputes second-class status to all non-Hindus, Muslims in particular. That there have been no communal riots in Gujarat since 2002 is touted by the Parivar as evidence of the Modi government’s commitment to identity-blind governance. Evidently, a quiet marginalisation of Muslims has been afoot, to an extent where a shopping mall can openly discriminate against them.
In Gujarat, it is not explicit laws of the kind used by Nazis that are at work, but a silent consensus in which discrimination seems entirely normal. Politics that builds such a consensus can destroy India as we know it, and must be shunned.