''YOU can't have Einstein without relativity,'' Mr. Ramachandra Guha said. ''You can't have Darwin without evolution. And you can't have Gandhi without Hindu-Muslim harmony.''

The protesters who are challenging Prime Minister Narendra Modi's Hindu centric vision for India liberally evoke the legacy of national icon : Mohindas K. Gandhi, who wanted a country where  Hindus and Muslims live together and a secular government kept the peace.

So it has been galling for them to watch Mr. Modi and his allies claim Gandhi's mantle to promote their own agenda, including the issue that set off the protests - a citizenship law that   critics say blatantly discriminates against Muslims.

On the 72nd anniversary of Gandhi's assassination, Mr. Modi and hIs Bharatiya Janata Party went on to deploy his name and image at an everfaster clip in an information campaign meant to counter the protests and drum up support for the citizenship law.

''We only implemented what the great freedom fighters had wished to do. We have done Gandhi's bidding,'' Mr. Modi said last month in defense of the law, adding a Hindu suffix indicating respect.

But the protesters say that the government's actions are at odds with Gandhi's goal of a secular, pluralistic India..

Since his landslide re-election last May, Mr. Modi has made several bold moves that thrilled Indians who long for a Hindu state. He canceled the statehood of the predominantly  Muslim territory of Kashmir, and thousands were arrested there without charge.

His party championed a court ruling that allowed a Hindu Temple to be built on the site of centuries-old mosque, touching on a dangerous sectarian flash-point.

And now the party has pushed through the citizenship law, which favors immigrants of every major South Asian religion but Islam. Critics fear that f the law were combined with a citizenship test, Muslims could be disenfranchised, stripped of their nationality or their right to vote.

''Modi invokes everything about Gandhi except Hindu-Muslim harmony, and this was the most crucial element of his work,'' said Ramchandra Guha, a historian who wrote an authoritative biography of Gandhi and who was arrested at a recent protest.

The serving and publishing of this research on India and Gandhi and present day protests, continues. The World Students Society thanks author Maria Abi-Habib.


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