FOCUS GROUP ASIAN SUBCONTINENT:
Muslim-Hindu Relations in India
Beside being one of the most populous nations in the world, India is also one of the most religiously and ethnically diverse. Islam and Hinduism are the main religions in India, however, and the two have had a very long and sometimes violent coexistence. After the British left India in 1947, in particular, the continent split into the nations of the Muslim Pakistan and a majority-Hindu India in a violent partition which cost the lives of approximately one million people and dislocation of no fewer than eleven million.
Since 1947 India and Pakistan have fought three wars with each other since then; and violence between Hindus and Sikhs and Muslims in India itself have also been bitter and violent. The secular regime in democratic India that Mahatmas Gandhi help establish in 1947 professes to be one country for all Indians, no matter their religion; but enmity between religions continues to plague India. The tide of Hindu communalism continues to roll across the Indian subcontinent, and with a literacy rate of just 30% and horrific poverty India's democracy faces strong challenges in the future. Combine that with the conflicts in Kashmir with Pakistan and the proliferation of nuclear weapons in the area, and the situation is particularly dangerous.
Questions to keep in mind: What historical events in history contribute to present day bad feelings between Muslims and Hindus on the Asian subcontinent? What are the wars, conflicts, rivalries that Muslims and Hindus have suffered between them? What was the influence of the life and death of Mohandas Gandhi? How many Muslims are there compared to Hindus and Sikhs in present day India? What conflicts have arisen on sites considered "holy" by both Muslims and Hindus?
At Yahoo! check out the following categories: Indian history in general, India by time period, and Mohandas Gandhi. Also check out this excellent CNN perspective on India and Pakistan: 50 Years of Independence. This is also an excellent article about Indian and the recent elections there.
Check out these links also: Redif India Online, Discover India, India Express, Hello India!, India Review, Inet India, and India on Internet.
Check out these official Indian government pages: Indian Parliament Home Page, and The President of India.
This is a cool link about Hindu vs. Muslim values in India. This is also good. Read this article about tensions between Indian Muslims and Hindu nationalists.
Check out the below NPR radio broadcasts to get an in-depth analysis of events:
India-Pakistan: Tit for Tat
Tensions rise anew with the shooting down of a Pakistani military plane and a reported retaliatory missile firing (8/23/99)
CNN broadcasts: Pakistan/India Partition, India/Pakistan at 50, India Acquires Nuclear Weapons, Pakistan Nuclear Weapons, India Hindu-Muslm Tensions, India Diverse Country (good link!)