How India is drifting into Hinducracy under Modi

How India is drifting into Hinducracy under Modi

Narendra Modi has ruled India for a decade, and his Hindu fundamentalism has become a reason of state. The radicals want to transform the multicultural state into a unified nation – and are rewarded with obscene majorities for this.

The dream of a unified Hindu nation is by no means new and Narendra Modi is not the first to lose himself in it. The 73-year-old prime minister with the bushy beard has been working on his legacy for ten years. It is considered certain that the nationalist will secure the triple in the current elections after 2014 and 2019 and thus another five years of scope for action (read the background information here).

“Ethnic democracy” is what Modi is gradually turning the subcontinent into. In theory democratic, in practice not for everyone. At least that sounds better than fascism. But this is exactly what threatens to infect the world’s most populous country. Is India drifting into Hinducracy under Modi?

The Hindutva Ideology: Recipe for Right Faith

Hindutva is the manual by which Modi is building his legacy. Supporters of the movement, which can be translated as “Hinduism” or “Hindu-ness”, strive for an India under absolute Hindu supremacy, a “Hindurashtra”.

The architect of radical political Hinduism was Vinayak Savarkar. In 1923 he published a book in which there was talk of a purely Hindu nation for the first time. One of his closest confidants was a certain Nathuram Godse – the later murderer of Mahatma Gandhi.

Nationalist, theocratic, populist. Hindutva has so far eluded a tangible definition. If you try it, unpleasant comparisons arise. Or, as Amit Singh, a social scientist from the Portuguese University of Coimbra, puts it succinctly: “In India, fascism is reinventing itself.” If you don’t call the child by its name, you can’t save it. And maybe it fell into the well long ago. In any case, Modi must be understood not just as part of this movement, but as its most magnificent creation.

RSS and BJP – two divisions of the same company

Anyone who excludes others needs bouncers. In the Hindutva movement, the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh does this. The RSS, often referred to as “the largest volunteer corps in the world,” has been the ideology’s paramilitary strike force for around 100 years.

RSS thinker Madhav Sadashivrao Golwalkar, better known as “Guruji”, published a book in the 1960s in which he proclaimed the superiority of Hindu blood and glorified the “racial pride” of the German Nazis. Now, as we know, the superiority of one means the inferiority of the other. To this day, the RSS criticizes the supposed “endless appeasement of the Muslim population” and strives for a “Hindu century”.

While the RSS is beating fundamentalism into everyday life, Hindutva has conquered parliament with the Bharatiya Janata Party. The BJP is considered the political arm of the movement; most of its members previously went through the RSS hierarchy. At that time there was also a teenager named Narendra Modi. “He is 100 percent an ideological product of the RSS,” Modi biographer Nilanjan Mukhopadhyay told the Los Angeles Times. “He achieved their goals.” Since Modi took the helm, RSS membership has doubled and is growing by a further 25 percent every year. The prime minister and his ministers justify their policies at RSS events, the national budget is drawn up with RSS approval, and Hindu scriptures are sold as historical facts in school curricula at the RSS’s request. In other words, the Hindu Corps has penetrated even the furthest corners of the power center.

The up to five million members are now divided into dozens of subgroups, and there are also offers for women, young people and students. In their branches, the so-called “Shakhas”, The followers don’t just meet to recite holy mantras or do yoga together. The most radical “vigilantes” are increasingly spreading violence across the country. Their target: Muslims.

State-sponsored hatred of Muslims

Around 14 percent of Indians profess Islam, almost 200 million people. Since the BJP came to power, the so-called “saffron terror” (based on the sacred color of Hinduism and thus the party color of the BJP) has reached extreme proportions. “India should follow the German example to solve the Muslim problem,” social scientist Singh quotes Hindutva founder Savarkar as saying. Anyone who makes fascists a role model creates fascists.

Uniformed RSS patrols and related groups such as the Shiv Sena and the VHP violently stop cattle transporters, harass people who openly celebrate Muslim or Western holidays, and attack women who they believe are dressed too revealingly. According to media reports, the number of lynchings has also increased dramatically. A popular slogan: “Only one place for the Muslim – the cemetery or Pakistan!”

The BJP is not counteracting the violence, on the contrary. Hate is now subsidized by the state. Some members openly insult their compatriots who believe differently as “traitors to the nation.” Modi has repeatedly made half-hearted attempts to sweep his RSS past under the carpet and to distance himself from the violence of his radical co-religionists. However, it remains lip service. For good reason.

The Saffronization of India

In Hinduism, the saffron orange symbolizes the fire that cleanses people from evil. And the “saffronization” continues unabated. As in so many countries, Indians are increasingly longing for a “strong hand”. The father figure replaces the godfather. According to one, 85 percent of Indians prefer autocratic rule.

For these longing people, the RSS has created the perfect guiding figure in Modi. In contrast to the majority of the political establishment, he was born into a lower caste and grew up in poor circumstances. Modi combines contradictions: a man of little men who still speaks of himself in the third person. A man who flirts with the hyper-rich and at the same time does yoga on state television. Ultimately, it no longer matters whether Modi made Hindu nationalism great or Hindu nationalism made him great. With one he is the most popular head of government in the world, and his BJP is now emerging thanks to mass recruitment.

In India, secularism is enshrined in the constitution. But how long? The BJP is already having school history books rewritten. You don’t need too much imagination to imagine possible next steps.

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Source: Stern

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