The Russian nested dolls called Matryoshka, are a set of lookalike figurines of different sizes such that they can be stacked inside each other. You twist open a doll to find another one, and on it goes until you get to the final doll at the center.
Just like the nested dolls, the Islamist movement is comprised of various layers of support – this is a guide to unpacking each Islamist doll. We will start inside out.
1st level – at the very core are a set of committed jihadis, willing to carry out acts of terror, including suicide attacks. These jihadis include well-known groups such as LeT, Hizbul Mujahideen, SIMI and IM, but also include younger would-be terrorists that have been indoctrinated through social media, especially after the rise of ISIS. These budding terrorists are ready to carry out attacks once they get the appropriate support.
2nd level – these are the ‘intellectual’ backbone of the jihad and are comfortable making it known that their focus is an eventual establishment of an Islamic State of Hindustan. Zakir Naik is the best example of this level. These ‘intellectuals’ have the requisite theological training and readily provide justifications for the ongoing struggle against the ‘kafir’. The jihadis within this level will never actually raise a gun against the state or Hindus but work hard to cultivate the field where the violent jihadis can sprout.
3rd level – these Islamists are more sophisticated than the ones in level 2 and aim to hide their true feelings behind fuzzy statements about secularism and minority rights. Sometimes the mask slips and the true intent is laid bare – the bleatings about the downtrodden and equality are only to be made until an Islamic State has been formed. At that time presumably, the Hindus, barring no difference whether you were an ally or not, will have to pay jizya, convert or die. Arfa, Owaisi, and Umar Khalid are the best examples of this level.
4th level – this level has a rainbow coalition of ‘useful idiots’ for the jihad, thereby showing that Muslims do not have a monopoly on supporting the Islamist movement. They include the unwashed JNU comrades chanting about Kashmiri freedom and bemoaning the execution of Afzal Guru. The proud beef eating Keralites who are always ready with gau mautra jibes. The frumpy looking, intellectually bankrupt psephologists like Yogendra Yadav. The Communist politicians like Kanhaiya Kumar. Some within this tribe genuinely believe that a Hindu rashtra is comparable to an Islamic State while others are pretending to believe it in order to defeat nationalist forces. Regardless, they will churn out vomit inducing columns for the Wire, hold up anti-Hindu placards whenever possible, and pretend to be the first line of defence in some kind of great anti-Muslim holocaust that only exists in their imagination.
5th level – this is a significant portion of the Hindu, urban elite population, that gets their news and opinions from biased sources. They are not vocally anti-Hindu like the ones on the 4th level, but once you scratch the surface, you will get the same tired arguments about Hindutva, ‘majoritarianism’, secularism, etc. These people always vote for the Congress Party and hence it’s appropriate that the best example of this level is Rahul Gandhi. Does Rahul want to live in an Islamic State? I don’t think so / I really hope not. But does he lack basic critical thinking skills to assess the true threats to the country? Absolutely. When one can consider ‘Hindu extremists’ to be a bigger challenge to the country than Islamic terrorism, the most charitable reason for that ignorance is a woefully inadequate understanding of the issues. If Rahul was a doctor in the Emergency Department, he would look at a patient who came in with head trauma after a car accident and declare that the patient first needs a plastic surgeon for his broken nose.
6th level – the last level is the broader set of Hindus who are uninformed like level 5, but with education on the issues, come around to reasonable conclusions. While they are technically not supporters of the Islamist movement, by not staying educated and informed, they do a disservice to the nation and make it easier for the other levels, especially levels 3 and 4 to get traction. This category can be called sleeping Hindus, blissfully unaware of what’s happening in the country, but well versed on the latest Netflix offering. Many Bollywood celebrities and other famous personalities can fall into this category.
To conclude, the focus of the nationalist movement should be on hammering the intellectual and narrative setting efforts of levels 3 and 4. Levels 1 and 2 can be handled primarily as a law and order challenge, and levels 5 and 6 will self-correct in due time once levels 3 and 4 are tackled.
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