She was talking about the year India was partitioned by British colonialists to create Pakistan, setting off a period of horrific communal strife between Hindus and Muslims. The comment may sound hyperbolic, but it accurately captures the sense of dread millions of Indians are feeling today.
A bigoted new citizenship law that privileges non-Muslims over Muslim migrants — coupled with the government's proposal to create a national register of citizens (NRC) — has unleashed a set of forces over which the government may no longer have much control. The political motive behind the law was evidently to settle millions of Hindus who originally came into India from Bangladesh, leaving only Muslim refugees to "prove" their Indian-ness.
In 2021, there are elections in the eastern state of West Bengal — home to a large number of Bangladeshi migrants — and this polarization could bring direct electoral benefit to the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) there.