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Hindu fascism of Narendra Modi’s India must be oppose...

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The fascism of Narendra Modi’s India must be opposed by decent people


Dr Imraan Buccus is senior research associate at ASRI.

All forms of fascism must be opposed everywhere, whether in states, such as India, or in movements outside of the state, such as Operation Dudula in South Africa.

The right-wing authoritarianism that has surged in much of the world in recent years was defeated in the US, and has been dealt a body blow in Colombia. The buffoonish Boris Johnson is hanging on to power by the skin of his teeth in the UK. But the hard-right duo of Jair Bolsonaro and Narendra Modi are still in office.

In Brazil, there is hope Bolsonaro will soon be ousted by a returning Lula da Silva; but in India, Modi and his fascist Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) are well entrenched.

Along with its authoritarianism and support for a terrifyingly rapacious form of capitalism, the BJP’s fundamental project, directly influenced by European fascism, is to make India a Hindu state.

Minorities of all kinds are under threat, increasingly treated as illegitimate interlopers. The world stands appalled as the Indian state demolishes the homes of Muslims.

Muslims are said to have led protests against the government after recent Islamophobic comments against the Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) and his wife Aisha by leading members of the BJP party. This led to several Muslim countries calling for an apology and pulling Indian goods off their shelves. This has given the government an excuse to escalate its misrepresentation of Muslims as a fifth column in Indian society.

As images of homes being demolished are beamed across the world, one can’t help but point out the striking similarity to the actions of Israeli forces who continue to demolish the homes of ordinary citizens and activists. In 2021, close to 1,000 homes were demolished.

Both India and Israel have engaged in atrocities for decades. The world remembers, for example, the horrific anti-Muslim violence led by Modi, as chief minister of Gujarat in 2002. Today, WhatsApp videos of the public lynching of Muslims and Dalit Hindus are regularly circulated in India.

Indian Islamophobia can be traced back to  the formation of the Hindu nationalist paramilitary organisation Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) in 1925. In 1929, RSS intellectual Madhavrao Sadashivrao Golwalkar, a Nazi sympathiser, said Muslim culture was incompatible with Indian culture. He openly admired Adolf Hitler’s “final solution”. There are documented links between the RSS and the Hindu Mahasabha, in India, a well-known and influential Hindu organisation.

Of course, many Hindus around the world are fiercely critical of the BJP, just as many Muslims are fiercely critical of the leadership of Saudi Arabia and many Jews oppose the Israeli state. But Hindu fascism has wide support in India itself and in diaspora communities in places such as California. Modi was rapturously received by some in South Africa in 2016 and 2018.

All forms of fascism must be opposed everywhere, whether in states, such as India, or in movements outside of the state, such as Operation Dudula in South Africa. Just as there is global solidarity with the oppressed in Palestine, so too global solidarity is needed with minorities oppressed in India.

We cannot be selective in our solidarity and which states we call to order. Just as the Israeli and Saudi governments need to be called to order, so does India’s. A human rights catastrophe is happening in India and must be opposed by decent people. DM168

This story first appeared in our weekly Daily Maverick 168 newspaper, which is available countrywide for R25.


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All Comments 3

  • I agree with Imraan, it really is shocking that Modi wants to make India a Hindu state. Why can’t they just remain secular like Saudi Arabia, Syria, Morocco, Iran, Iraq, Indonesia, Maldives, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Libya and many others fine models of democratic and religious tolerance.

    • It would certainly help if there Muslim leaders would denounce the Blasphemy laws and savage consequences visited upon any accused (let alone convicted) of breaking them. It feels ironic that Imraan is condemning in India what happens frequently in Pakistan in the name of upholding Blasphemy law for Islam.

  • Despite the obvious attempt at satire by Dave Gould, the reflections of Imraan are fundamentally correct. The tragedy of the Hindu diaspora and the one here in SA, is that most of those organisations have as their ‘leadership’ so-called religious people, who see no contradiction in supporting the fascist aspects of the BJP hindutva mission. It shares kindredship with the ‘dudula’ mission here, and is founded on ‘othering’ those that are in some ways different. The grossness of it lies in the encouragement (subtle and overt) of hatred and anger against ‘others’. The bulk of Hindus in SA (and many other parts of the globe) erroneously regard any criticism of the BJP as an attack on India. In the US it takes the form of a Trump and his version of Republicanism and has now been joined by a supreme court majority, ready to rubber stamp various aspects of life there.

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