The short answer is NO. Then why do some people claim that India has become intolerant after 2014? The answer is “the narrative has changed”.
India has witnessed several religious fights/riots in the past because of fringe elements in all religions and political parties. So, sporadic religious tension is not something new to India. India, like the USA and some European countries, is a place of people from different religions and faiths. But India is the only country in the world where every religious group gets federal holidays. There are about 80% Hindus, 14-15% Muslims and rest 5-6% others in India. A majority of Hindus are very tolerant by nature and hence other religions find it very easy to flourish in India. Unlike Islamic countries India does not force the religion of majority (Hinduism) on any citizen; they are free to choose a religion of their own choice. In fact, the Indian government has a very little say in a citizen’s personal life. Before the Islamic invasion, all Indians including Bangladeshis and Pakistanis were following only Hinduism. After Muslims and British invaded India, India became home of multiple religions and in 1947, Muslims decided to create another country based on their Islamic faith.
India never had a nonpartisan media and Indian media are mostly owned by Left and Congress or their associates. So, most of the editors and reporters (I am not going to name anyone here, but the majority of Indians know who they are) also belong to the same group. The job of these editors and reporters was/is to hide all the crimes and corruptions of left and Congress because they earn a whopping sum of money by doing so. Can you imagine editors and reporters having bungalows of 50-60 crores in several cities? With just a salary, no editor or reporter can earn so much money.
Before 2014, the majority of Indians used to blindly believe mainstream media and these editors and reporters were playing the role of kingmakers by running propaganda narratives on TV channels. These media people used to enjoy a king-size life without any hard work. After 2014, everything changed for them. PM Modi just neglected the mainstream media and focused on social media to connect with citizens. Indians slowly started joining social media. A big thank to Reliance for the cheap data plan; now India has the largest number of mobile internet users in the world. People on social media started exposing the lies of the paid editors and reporters and they started getting naked every day. As Indians knew the sinister propaganda of the paid editors and reporters, they bestowed their trust in PM Modi and as a result, BJP started winning state elections too. Now, BJP is in power in 21 states. On the other hand, the Congress was ruling in 13 states in 2014 but is now restricted to only three states.
From being kingmakers, the paid editors and reporters were reduced to nobody in just a few months after 2014 because of social media and their masters (Congress and Left) became irrelevant in the current political system in India. Their propaganda narratives became jokes for Indians and now find no takers. The right wing also got their voice back because of social media. These all changes in quick time started hurting them. So, they along with their masters coined the term “Intolerant India” to malign PM Modi on the global platform. Hindus were wiped out from Kashmir, no national or global media took pen to write anything. Hindus are being persecuted by the state government in WB and Kerala every day, but no report in any media. But even a small incident against minority gives Indian media a chance to malign India by branding BJP a Hindu fascist party. They also get some space in foreign media to slander India and Indian government because most of the media around the world are owned by left. Anyway, world media calls BJP “Hindu nationalist party”.
At a time when they were reeling under the pain of 2014 result, 2016 USA election result made them impatient. Unlike Obama, Trump does not lecture India for India’s internal politics and issues. Thus, a big loss for the paid Indian media at the global stage. Because of social media, Congress and Left are considered corrupt parties in India and educated people do not like them. The paid editors and reporters, as well as their masters, know this fact from Pew Research’s report. The only thing that may help them to win elections is by instilling fear of India becoming a county like Pakistan in Indians. So, all corrupt parties and their pet media are targeting India by coining terms like “Intolerant India”, “Hindu Pakistan”, “Hindu Taliban”, and many others.
India is not a new country; it has a history of several thousand years and intolerance is not a part of Indian culture. Losing political battle and narrative have made paid editors and reporters as well as their masters desperate to call India by such bad names. All these adjectives and phrases always come to the news during election time. May 2019 is nearing, so Indians need to be ready to learn many such phrases.