India chose to be a secular republic as opposed to Pakistan calling itself an Islamic republic. It was in keeping with the Hindu tradition of tolerance of other religions and view points. India is nearly an 80% Hindu majority country. Muslims are nearly 18% with Christians, Sikhs, Parsis and others making up the rest. Pakistan is nearly a 96% Muslim country.
India was ruled by Muslim kings for nearly 800 years from 1000 AD onwards. It is obvious that they came in form of invaders from outside. India then was not the geographic and political entity it is today. Today's India wasthen a land of more than 500 small and large kingdoms spread from Kabul to down South. It was relatively much easy for the aggressive Muslim invaders to defeat small kingdoms and merge them as they advanced further into larger single kingdoms. The pre Islamic Hindu kingdoms were not overtly aggressive or coveted the lands of other kingdoms. Thus their security preparations and arrangements were not geared towards facing war like situations. Invading Muslims found this to their advantage and established many kingdoms till in early sixteenth century Babar established the Mughal empire. It lasted for nearly 200 years and then declined to be finished in 1857 when the British crown established its rule over India turning it into their colony.
For the first time both Hindus and Muslims came under a common ruler. Muslim superiority was eclipsed. Now Hindus and many Muslims would fight together for driving away the British. In 1947 India became independent but the nation of Pakistan was carved out of it.
Throughout the Muslim rule, Hindus were discriminated and their temples and gods desecrated. Conversion to Islam was used to build up the Muslim population. Many of the Muslim kings werebarbarians towards the Hindus. All this has left bitterness in Hindus towards Muslims. Muslims fought for Pakistan on the plea that Hindus would dominate and not treat them properly in Hindu majority independent India. But Hindus are expected to fairly treat Muslims residing in India in such large numbers. While in Pakistan the Hindu minority has been reduced from more than 10% in 1947 to 2% today.
Amongst the Hindus of India there has always been a section which has harbored a dislike for the Muslims. They have constantly kept alive the memory of Muslim atrocities and have been organizing themselves into political and cultural groups. Till recently they were not very vocal because the essence of secularism was strong. However it started weakening after the demolition of the Babri masjid in 1992 at Ayodhya.
Today the non secular forces have started dominating many spheres of public life. This is resulting in law being taken into their hands by fringe elements. We are observing increasing cases of violence on minority groups of both Hindu and Muslim religions. Mere rumors are enough to trigger strong backlash. The atmosphere is gradually turning into opposite of what it was when supposedly secular forces were dominating.
Many have already started raising the question is India moving towards becoming a Hindu Pakistan? It is an extreme question. But many in the majority community are venting centuries of pent up anger. Thus it could be a passing phenomenon or it could be a beginning of a new era. The next few years may give us the answer. Shall India be ruled by its present Constitution or by agendas of these groups?