Rao talks about Nagpur, a town he describes as the "epicenter of Hindu Nationalism", where he found ‘Hitler’s Den’ pool parlor "that shocked me on a round-India trip 10 years ago was no outlier. Admiration for Nazism – often reframed with a genocidal hatred for Muslims – is rampant in the Hindu nationalist camp, which has never been as mainstream as it is now".
History of Hindu Nationalism:
Hindu nationalists in India have a long history of admiration for the Nazi leader, including his "Final Solution". In his book "We" (1939), Madhav Sadashiv Golwalkar, the leader of the Hindu Nationalist RSS (Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh) wrote, "To keep up the purity of the Race and its culture, Germany shocked the world by her purging the country of the Semitic races -- the Jews. Race pride at its highest has been manifested here. Germany has also shown how well-nigh impossible it is for races and cultures, having differences going to the root, to be assimilated into one united whole, a good lesson for us in Hindusthan to learn and profit by."
Golwalkar, considered the founder of the Hindu Nationalist movement in India, saw Islam and Muslims as enemies. He said: “Ever since that evil day, when Moslems first landed in Hindusthan, right up to the present moment, the Hindu Nation has been gallantly fighting to shake off the despoilers".
On the surface, it appears that Indians are schizophrenic. It is hard to reconcile the right-wing Hindus' growing admiration for the Nazis with their new-found love of Israel. But there is evidence to suggest that both trends are real. Along with rising sales of the Nazi merchandise, there have also been calls in India to "do Gaza" in Pakistan, and the Indian police discovered a conspiracy by a serving Indian Army officer to set up a radical Hindu government in exile in Israel. Both of these trends seem to be driven mainly by the rising hatred of minorities, particularly Muslims, in India.
Neo-Nazis and Hindu Nazis on Social Media:
The advent and growth of online social media have enabled a large and growing community of Indian Hindu Nazis connected to neo-Nazi counterparts in Europe and America. This came to light a few years ago when the Norwegian white supremacist terrorist Anders Behring Breivik's manifesto against the "Islamization of Western Europe" was heavily influenced by the kind of anti-Muslim rhetoric which is typical of the Nazi-loving Hindu Nationalists like late Madhav Sadashiv Golwalkar (1906-1973), and his present-day Sangh Parivar followers and sympathizers in the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) who currently rule several Indian states. This Hindutva rhetoric which infected Breivik has been spreading like a virus on the Internet, particularly on many of the well-known Islamophobic hate sites that have sprouted up in Europe and America in recent years. In fact, much of the Breivik manifesto is cut-and-pastes of anti-Muslim blog posts and columns that validated his worldview.
"It is essential that the European and Indian resistance movements learn from each other and cooperate as much as possible. Our goals are more or less identical," Breivick wrote in his manifesto. The Christian Science Monitor has reported that "in the case of India, there is significant overlap between Breivik’s rhetoric and strains of Hindu nationalism – or Hindutva – on the question of coexistence with Muslims. Human rights monitors have long decried such rhetoric in India for creating a milieu for communal violence, and the Norway incidents are prompting calls here to confront the issue."
Indian Textbooks Praise Nazis:
Adulation for for Hitler has found its way into Indian textbooks to influence young impressionable minds. Here's how Rao describes it:
In 2004, when now-Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi was the Chief Minister of Gujarat, school textbooks published by the Gujarat State Board portrayed Hitler as a hero, and glorified fascism.
The tenth-grade social studies textbook had chapters entitled "Hitler, the Supremo," and "Internal Achievements of Nazism." The section on the "Ideology of Nazism" reads: "Hitler lent dignity and prestige to the German government. He adopted the policy of opposition towards the Jewish people and advocated the supremacy of the German race." The tenth-grade social studies textbook, published by the state of Tamil Nadu in 2011 (with multiple revised editions until 2017) includes chapters glorifying Hitler, praising his "inspiring leadership," "achievements" and how the Nazis "glorified the German state" so, "to maintain a German race with Nordic elements, [Hitler] ordered the Jews to be persecuted."
Mein Kampf has also gone mainstream, becoming a "must-read" management strategy book for India’s business school students. Professors teaching strategy lecture about how a short, depressed man in prison made a goal of taking over the world and built a strategy to achieve it.
Modi and Trump:
Prime Minister Narendra Modi of India has built his entire political career on the intense hatred of Muslims. US President Donald Trump built his successful presidential campaign on Islamophobia and xenophobia. That's what the two men have in common.
Just as white racists form the core of Trump's support base in America, the Modi phenomenon in India has been fueled by Hindu Nationalists whose leaders have praised Adolph Hitler for his hatred of Jews.
M.S. Golwalkar, a Hindu Nationalist who Mr. Modi has described as "worthy of worship" wrote the following about Muslims in his book "We":
"Ever since that evil day, when Moslems first landed in Hindustan, right up to the present moment, the Hindu Nation has been gallantly fighting on to take on these despoilers. The Race Spirit has been awakening.”
"To keep up the purity of the Race and its culture, Germany shocked the world by her purging the country of the Semitic races -- the Jews. Race pride at its highest has been manifested here. Germany has also shown how well-nigh impossible it is for races and cultures, having differences going to the root, to be assimilated into one united whole, a good lesson for us in Hindusthan to learn and profit by."
The simultaneous rise of Neo Nazis in the West and the Hindu Nazis in India represents a very serious and growing threat to world peace. Their combined menace can lead to a devastating third world war with nuclear weapons if these trends are not halted and reversed soon. I hope good sense prevails among the voters in these countries to pull the world back from the brink of human catastrophe.
Here's a video of Indian author Arundhati Roy talking about the Fascist origins of the Hindu Nationalist movement in India:
Hindu Nationalists Love Nazis
Lynchistan: India is the Lynching Capital of the World
Modi and Trump
Anders Breivik: Islamophobia in Europe and India
Hindu Nationalism Goes Global
Hindutva: The Legacy of the British Raj
You seemed to have left out the wahabbists/salafists nazis who have killed thousands of muslims, destroyed several countries in the middle east and have targeted Ahmadis, Hazaras and other minorities in Pakistan.
Nizar: "You seemed to have left out the wahabbists/salafists nazis who have killed thousands of muslims, destroyed several countries in the middle east and have targeted Ahmadis, Hazaras and other minorities in Pakistan."
Nazis have killed tens of millions and have the capacity to destroy the world as we know it with nukes they posses. http://www.businessinsider.com/percentage-of-countries-who-died-during-wwii-2014-5
Oh, I didn't know killings of thousands of muslims, destruction of several muslim countries, destroying the livelihood of millions and making them refugees is different than what the nazis did. Also, nazis did not use nuclear weapons. How do you even attempt to minimize the lives lost either by nuclear or conventional weapons or chemical weapons as used by wahabbists/salafists and Yemenis presently being killed by the "Zioudis" by aerial bombings, blockade of ports and siege of the country causing famine, disease and malnutrition of children?
Nizar: "Oh, I didn't know killings of thousands of muslims, destruction of several muslim countries, destroying the livelihood of millions and making them refugees is different than what the nazis did. Also, nazis did not use nuclear weapons. How do you even attempt to minimize the lives lost either by nuclear or conventional weapons or chemical weapons as used by wahabbists/salafists and Yemenis presently being killed by the "Zioudis" by aerial bombings, blockade of ports and siege of the country causing famine, disease and malnutrition of children?"
Huge difference: Unlike ISIS terrorists, Nazis (like Modi) and Nazi sympathizers (like Trump) are leaders of nuclear-armed nations with the capacity to completely annihilate all human existence. They pose an existential threat to mankind.
You seemed to have a soft corner for ISIS or their "Zioudi" supporters as you see nothing wrong with the killings and destructions that they done on muslims. Let me remind you that KSA, UAE & the other wahabbist/salafists Gulf dictators have joined with Trump (Nazi sympathizer, your title) with Zionist Israel to shortchange the Palestinians and preparing to strike Iran or other muslim countries who do not kowtow to their demands.
Nizar: "You seemed to have a soft corner for ISIS or their "Zioudi" supporters..."
Nonsense! I absolutely detest ISIS and similar other groups and regimes. My point is that nuclear armed Nazis are far more dangerous than these groups
They say the same thing about nuclear armed Pakistan, but I will end here as you are entitled to your opinion.
Nizar: "They say the same thing about nuclear armed Pakistan, but I will end here as you are entitled to your opinion."
“They” are the ones who have actually used nukes against civilians and continue to threaten pre-emotive nuclear strikes in future. “They” have no moral high ground here
Two wrongs don't make a right. No one elected ISIS or Wahabis and other fundamentalists groups in any Muslim country. Also, kindly enlighten us when in any Muslim country has events like that happened in India in 1984, 1992 and 2002 ever occurred?
Ali Sahib, 1984 and 1992 happened when 'secular' Congress was ruling India.
To me as an out sider that is totally irrelevant. Gujrat happened under BJP rule.
Well of course it is relevant when the post is about "Hindu Nazi Modi" and the so called threat to the world.
US military consider white supremacism greater threat than Isis, finds new poll
Military leaders have denounced racism and discrimination within the ranks
Andrew Buncombe New York @AndrewBuncombe Wednesday 25 October 2017 14:03 BST
One-in-four serving US military personnel have seen examples of white supremacism within their ranks and consider it more of a threat to national security than Islamist extremists such as Isis they have been battling in Syria, Iraq and Afghanistan, according to a new poll.
The poll, conducted by the Military Times, was carried out after a neo-Nazi-led protest in Charlottesville, Virginia, resulted in clashes with anti-fascist demonstrators and the death of a young woman. A young man from Ohio, said to be an admirer of Hitler, has been charged with her death.
Donald Trump was criticised for his slow, shifting response to the violence, seeking to claim there was blame on “many sides”. Yet senior leaders from all branches of the military spoke out to say that threats or discrimination against minorities, did not fit with the values of national service the military sought to espouse.
Concern about white supremacism was most pronounced among soldiers of colour, the survey found. Almost 42 per cent of non-white troops who responded to the survey said they had personally experienced examples of white nationalism or with supremacism, in the military. For white service members, the figure stood at 18 per cent.
When asked whether white nationalists posed a threat to national security, 30 per cent of respondents labelled it a significant danger, more than many war zones such as Syria (27 per cent), Pakistan (25 per cent), Afghanistan (22 per cent) and Iraq (17 per cent).
The newspaper said five per cent of those polled complained that groups such as Black Lives Matter, whose stated goal is to protest in a non-violent way to draw attention to discrimination and violence towards people of colour, were not included in the poll as a possible threat to national security.
While the poll include unspecified “US protest movements” and “civil disobedience”, respondents’ concerns about those issues fell well short of the perceived threat from white supremacism.
More than 60 per cent of troops who took the survey said they would support activating the National Guard or reserves to handle civil unrest arising from white nationalist events such as the clashes in Charlottesville in August
#Pakistan reaffirms commitment to "full spectrum" #nuclear deterrence, rejects #US charges. #terrorism #India #nukes #missiles @AJENews
Pakistan's military and civilian leadership has reaffirmed the country's commitment to maintaining "full spectrum" nuclear deterrence and reiterated the robustness of its nuclear safeguards.
Pakistan's National Command Authority (NCA), which oversees the country's nuclear weapons programme, met for the first time in almost two years in Rawalpindi on Thursday.
"While expressing full confidence in Pakistan's capability to address any form of aggression, the NCA reiterated Pakistan's policy of developing and maintaining Full Spectrum Deterrence, in line with the policy of Credible Minimum Deterrence and avoidance of arms race," said a joint statement from the country's military and the prime minister's office.
The meeting was the first held since Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi took over in August this year. Also in attendance were Army Chief General Qamar Javed Bajwa, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff General Zubair Hayat and other members of the country's top security leadership.
Full spectrum deterrence refers to a Pakistani nuclear policy where the country maintains nuclear weapons systems and warheads on the tactical, operational and strategic levels.
The policy was developed in response to a shift by regional rival India towards a more proactive conventional military stance, often dubbed "Cold Start". Pakistan, in turn, developed tactical nuclear weapons, which are smaller warheads that can be deployed at short range.
The doctrine envisages the use of tactical nuclear weapons by Pakistan as a deterrent against any possible conventional incursion into Pakistani territory by Indian forces.
The Pakistani leadership "noted with concern" a conventional arms build-up by India, its deployment of nuclear weapons capable systems to the Indian Ocean and its development of a Ballistic Missile Shield system.
The NCA also noted Pakistan's development of the Babur-III cruise missile and Ababeel ballistic missile, which is capable of carrying multiple nuclear warheads.
Response to US allegations
The statement on Thursday also made apparent reference to US President Donald Trump's recently announced security strategy, where he called on Pakistan "to continue demonstrating that it is a responsible steward of its nuclear assets".
"The NCA took a detailed review of the Nuclear Security Regime and expressed full confidence in command and control systems and security measures in-place to ensure comprehensive stewardship and security of strategic assets and materials," said the Pakistani statement.
"It re-affirmed that, as a responsible nuclear State, Pakistan would continue to contribute meaningfully towards the global efforts to improve nuclear security and nuclear non-proliferation measures."
Strategic Insights by #India's Sunil Sharan : #Pakistan, a rising power
https://blogs.timesofindia.indiatimes.com/strategic-insights/pakistan-a-rising-power/ … via @TOIOpinion
Yet, one nation is a rising power, ready to take its rightful place in the comity of nations, while the other is deemed a global pariah, a jelly state if not a failed state. Huh? How did this happen?
The reality is different. The world pays lip service to India for its large middle class and its ability to buy arms on a large scale. India seems to consider this courting as its emergence on the world stage.
Scratch the surface, and you will find something else. The US is denying Indians H1-B visas. The US has delinked the Haqqanis, who they want, from Hafiz Saeed, who they couldn’t care less about, so that they can give dollops of aid to the Pakistanis.
Today the Yanks hector the Pakistanis, but that is empty bluster. The Pakistanis have trumped them; the Yanks’ wails appear like crocodile tears. The Yanks forgot when they invaded Afghanistan and enlisted the Pakistanis’ help by threatening to bomb them into the stone age that the Pakistanis had been there once before.
That time they trumped the Russians, with significant money and arms from the Americans and the Saudis. But the Americans never took to battle in Afghanistan the first time round. Sure they had read that Afghanistan was a graveyard for empires, from the British to the Soviet, but they believed, foolishly, that they themselves would win out.
They struck a Faustian bargain with the Pakistanis, without ever realizing that they were dealing with the devil. In the nineties, the Pakistanis used Afghanistan to hijack Indian planes and launch jihad in Kashmir. Afghanistan had become both strategic depth as well as a launching pad for them. How were they expected to give up this twin treat?
Once the Yanks entered Kabul, the Taliban vanished. Into thin air? Oh no, many of them disappeared into Pakistan. The Yanks forgot about Afghanistan, until first the Iraqis, and then the Taliban, started knocking their teeth out. One by one their Nato brethren fled Afghanistan, until the Yanks realized that they had to flee as well.
Go to Kabul today, and you will find disdain for Pakistan everywhere. But the Pakistanis don’t care. The real people who matter in Afghanistan are the Taliban, and you don’t find many of them in Kabul. The writ of the government of Afghanistan extends over only Kabul, much as the later-day Mughals were derided as the mayors of Delhi.
The Taliban control over sixty percent of the country. The Talibs don’t like the Pakistanis, referring to them often as blacklegs. But the Talibs need Pakistan to capture Kabul, much as the Pakistanis need the Taliban to capture Afghanistan.
The Pakistanis are disdainful of the threats emanating from the Yanks. The Yanks need Pakistani territory to transport supplies to their legionaries in Afghanistan. The Pakistanis blocked their land routes once, and all hell broke loose then. It’s almost impossible to transport goods from the west of Afghanistan.
Today Pakistan stands on the cusp of victory in Afghanistan. It spurns the Americans for the Chinese, and lo and behold, the Russians, the very people it had helped kick out of Afghanistan. Politics, or rather realpolitik, sure does make for strange bedfellows.
Pakistan is able to stymie India at every international forum, be it the UN or the nuclear suppliers group. There have even been strong rumours about the Obama administration offering the Pakistanis their own nuclear deal. Trump yells and curses at the Pakistanis, but is the first one to give it gobs of military aid.
Pakistan sure doesn’t seem like a loser. It appears to have come out of Afghanistan smelling of roses. It can blackmail America to its heart’s content, and what is more, happily get away with it. Does it seem like a failed state? A terrorist state? A terrorized state? At least not now. For now it seems that Pakistan’s star, that star in their beloved crescent, is rising. And rising.
#Pakistan has already said "No More" to #America. #Trump’s ‘no more’ is not of any importance: Foreign Minister Khawaja Asif. #Afghanistan
Foreign Minister Khawaja Asif, in response to a tweet by US President Donald Trump, said that Pakistan has already refused to ‘do more’ for the United States.
“We have already told the US that we will not do more, so Trump’s ‘no more’ does not hold any importance,” Asif said in an exclusive interview with Geo News.
“Pakistan is ready to publicly provide every detail of the US aid that it has received,” Asif said in a strongly worded statement, in response to Trump’s tweet that accused Pakistan of providing safe havens to terrorists that the US is hunting in Afghanistan.
Donald J. Trump
The United States has foolishly given Pakistan more than 33 billion dollars in aid over the last 15 years, and they have given us nothing but lies & deceit, thinking of our leaders as fools. They give safe haven to the terrorists we hunt in Afghanistan, with little help. No more!
4:12 AM - Jan 1, 2018
17,501 17,501 Replies 32,980 32,980 Retweets 87,780 87,780 likes
Twitter Ads info and privacy
“Trump is disappointed at the US defeat in Afghanistan and that is the only reason he is flinging accusations at Pakistan,” the foreign minister said.
“The US should try to negotiate with Taliban in Afghanistan instead of using military force,” he added.
Trump’s Threat to Democracy
Nicholas Kristof JAN. 10, 2018
Two political scientists specializing in how democracies decay and die have compiled four warning signs to determine if a political leader is a dangerous authoritarian:
1. The leader shows only a weak commitment to democratic rules. 2. He or she denies the legitimacy of opponents. 3. He or she tolerates violence. 4. He or she shows some willingness to curb civil liberties or the media.
“A politician who meets even one of these criteria is cause for concern,” Steven Levitsky and Daniel Ziblatt, both professors at Harvard, write in their important new book, “How Democracies Die,” which will be released next week.
“With the exception of Richard Nixon, no major-party presidential candidate met even one of these four criteria over the last century,” they say, which sounds reassuring. Unfortunately, they have one update: “Donald Trump met them all.”
We tend to assume that the threat to democracies comes from coups or violent revolutions, but the authors say that in modern times, democracies are more likely to wither at the hands of insiders who gain power initially through elections. That’s what happened, to one degree or another, in Russia, the Philippines, Turkey, Venezuela, Ecuador, Hungary, Nicaragua, Sri Lanka, Ukraine, Poland and Peru.
Venezuela was a relatively prosperous democracy, for example, when the populist demagogue Hugo Chávez tapped the frustrations of ordinary citizens to be elected president in 1998.
A survey that year found that the Venezuelan public overwhelmingly believed that “democracy is always the best form of government,” with only one-quarter saying that authoritarianism is sometimes preferable. Yet against their will, Venezuelans slid into autocracy.
“This is how democracies now die,” Levitsky and Ziblatt write. “Democratic backsliding today begins at the ballot box.”
Likewise, the authors say, no more than 2 percent of Germans or Italians joined the Nazi or Fascist Parties before they gained power, and early on there doesn’t seem to have been clear majority support for authoritarianism in either Germany or Italy. But both Hitler and Mussolini were shrewd demagogues who benefited from the blindness of political insiders who accommodated them.
Let me say right here that I don’t for a moment think the United States will follow the path of Venezuela, Germany or Italy. Yes, I do see in Trump these authoritarian tendencies — plus a troubling fondness for other authoritarians, like Vladimir Putin in Russia and Rodrigo Duterte in the Philippines — but I’m confident our institutions are stronger than Trump.
It’s true that he has tried to undermine institutions and referees of our political system: judges, the Justice Department, law enforcement agencies like the F.B.I., the intelligence community, the news media, the opposition party and Congress. But to his great frustration, American institutions have mostly passed the stress test with flying colors.
“President Trump followed the electoral authoritarian script during his first year,” Levitsky and Ziblatt conclude. “He made efforts to capture the referees, sideline the key players who might halt him, and tilt the playing field. But the president has talked more than he has acted, and his most notorious threats have not been realized. … Little actual backsliding occurred in 2017.”
Indian Children’s Book Lists Hitler as Leader ‘Who Will Inspire You’
By KAI SCHULTZMARCH 17, 2018
An Indian publisher came under fire this week for including Hitler in a children’s book about world leaders who have “devoted their lives for the betterment of their country and people.”
“Dedicated to the betterment of countries and people? Adolf Hitler? This description would bring tears of joy to the Nazis and their racist neo-Nazi heirs,” Rabbi Abraham Cooper, associate dean of the Simon Wiesenthal Center, an international Jewish human rights organization, said in a statement.
Published by the Pegasus imprint of India’s B. Jain Publishing Group, the book, called “Leaders” — but listed on the publisher’s website as “Great Leaders” — spotlights 11 leaders “who will inspire you,” according to a product description on the publisher’s website.
On the book’s cover, a stony-faced Hitler is featured alongside Barack Obama, Mahatma Gandhi, Nelson Mandela and India’s prime minister, Narendra Modi. Also included on the cover is Myanmar’s civilian leader Aung San Suu Kyi, who has recently come under sharp criticism for refusing to acknowledge atrocities committed by the country’s military against the Rohingya ethnic group.
Earlier this week, the Simon Wiesenthal Center, which is based in Los Angeles, called for the publisher to remove “Great Leaders” from circulation and its online store, where it is sold for about $2.
“Placing Hitler alongside truly great political and humanitarian leaders is an abomination that is made worse as it targets young people with little or no knowledge of world history and ethics,” Rabbi Cooper said in the statement.
Annshu Juneja, a publishing manager at the imprint, said by email that Hitler was featured because, like Barack Obama, Nelson Mandela and Mahatma Gandhi, “his leadership skills and speeches influenced masses.”
“We are not talking about his way of conduct or his views or whether he was a good leader or a bad leader but simply portraying how powerful he was as a leader,” he said.
The publisher had not previously received any complaints about the book, the email said, including from the Simon Wiesenthal Center.
In parts of Asia, atrocities committed in Nazi Germany are poorly understood and Hitler is sometimes glorified as a strong, effective leader.
In 2004, reports surfaced of high-school textbooks in the state of Gujarat, which was then led by Mr. Modi, that spoke glowingly of Nazism and fascism.
According to The Times of India, in a section called “Ideology of Nazism,” the textbook said Hitler had “lent dignity and prestige to the German government,” “made untiring efforts to make Germany self-reliant” and “instilled the spirit of adventure in the common people.” Only briefly does the book mention the extermination of millions of Jews and others by the end of World War II.
Dilip D’Souza, an Indian journalist, wrote in a 2012 editorial that when 25 mostly upper-middle-class students taught by his wife at a private French school in Mumbai were asked to name the historical figure they most admired, nine of them picked Hitler.
“ ‘And what about the millions he murdered?’ asked my wife. ‘Oh, yes, that was bad,’ said the kids. ‘But you know what, some of them were traitors.’ ”
The statement from the Simon Wiesenthal Center said that “Great Leaders” had been sold this month at the Krithi International Book Fair in Kochi, a city with a long Jewish heritage. The 48-page book was originally published in 2016, according to the publisher’s website, and it was still available for sale online on Saturday. It is unclear who wrote it.
‘A battle between #Hindutva and #Hinduism is coming’. "The key question is: how do we keep our (RSS) organization intact if we (abandon #caste system) and move towards an egalitarian #Hindu society?" #India #Modi #BJP #Dalit
Walter Andersen is, perhaps, the only scholar to have observed, or studied, the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) for nearly five decades. In intellectual circles, it is normally believed that as an organisation, the RSS is impervious and impenetrable.
What is the RSS view of Modi’s economics, especially foreign economic policy, demonetisation and GST?
The RSS was undoubtedly responsible for Modi’s rise to the top. But it views Modi’s economics with scepticism. Modi is more open to FDI and foreign trade than the RSS would like. His demonetisation and GST directly hurt groups that are the original base of the organisations: the small traders. The RSS, of course, did not pass a resolution against demonetisation or GST. That is now how it works. But it sought to influence how these policies would be implemented – to ease the burden on small traders.
Let us finally return to the relationship of the RSS and Muslims. Your book says that Golwalkar repeatedly used the term “ek hazaar saal ki ghulami” (one thousand years of servitude). Your also say that Deoras changed that, and in 1979, opened the RSS to Muslims. Narendra Modi has often used the term “barah sau saal ki ghulami” (twelve hundred years of servitude), which is more in the Golwalkar vein than in the Deoras mold. At any rate, the implication of the Golwalkar and Modi statements is that India’s colonisation began with the arrival of Muslim rulers either in the 8th century in Sindh or the 11th century in Delhi. This militates against the historian’s argument that it is the British who started colonising India in 1757. The Delhi Sultanate or the Mughal era was not a period of colonisation. However offensive Babur or Aurangzeb were, the other Mughal kings Indianised themselves, even married into Rajputs, and developed commitments to India. The British did not Indianise themselves. They were the real colonisers. How can one justify the term Mughal colonialism?
I don’t think many RSS activists, or even prachaaraks, would disagree with the distinction you are making between the British and Mughals. When Deoras invited Muslims to join the RSS, he did argue that Muslims were mostly India-born, and therefore Indian.
But despite that ideological development, PM Modi returned to the Golwalkar understanding.
There is clearly a generic problem, here. Even those RSS ideologues, who want Muslims to enter the RSS, would like them to accept India’s “historic culture”.
But India’s “historic culture” — the arts, the languages, the everyday manners, the poetry, the architecture, the music — have a lot of Muslim contributions.
But that implies that Urdu, which was widely spoken in North India, is not an Indian language, which is so hard to accept. Urdu was not born in the Middle East.
Let us now turn to the recent lynchings. Your book says that the higher echelons of the RSS and BJP don’t approve of lynchings. But how does one align your claim with the following: ministers in Modi government have expressed sympathy for lynchers, even garlanded those convicted of lynching (though out on bail), but the Prime Minister has not taken them to task. Indeed, though the Prime Minister has spoken against lynchings, his most forceful denunciations came when Dalits were hit. When Muslims are attacked by lynch mobs, he, at best, makes perfunctory remarks, if at all.
I haven’t thought clearly about the Muslim-Dalit distinction you are drawing, nor does the book talk about it. I will think more systematically about it.
Tulsi Gabbard for President 2020 is rising progressive star, despite her support for #Hindu Nationalists. Her progressive domestic politics at odds with her support for #Modi, #Sisi, Bashar al-#Assad. #Islamophobia #India #Gabbard2020 #BJP https://interc.pt/2F7z1zv by @shankarmya
Modi’s ascent has normalized nationalist rhetoric, the silencing of dissent, and violence against religious minorities in India — and it’s also had global implications. Elected prime minister in 2014, he was one of the first of a class of populist autocrats who’ve risen to power in recent years. That group includes Egypt’s Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, who was elected in the same month as Modi; Turkey’s Recep Tayyip Erdogan, who’s been in office for more than a decade but has been increasingly consolidating power; Rodrigo Duterte of the Philippines, whose war on drugs has killed thousands of people; Brazil’s Jair Bolsonaro, who was elected in October despite his pro-military dictatorship stance; and, of course, America’s Donald Trump.
In the United States, Modi’s reputation has been helped by a group of Hindu-American supporters with links to the RSS and other Hindu nationalist organizations, who’ve been working in tandem with a peculiar congressional ally: Rep. Tulsi Gabbard, D-Hawaii, the first Hindu in Congress.
Gabbard — a member of the House committees on Foreign Affairs and Armed Services, and co-chair of the India Caucus — is an oddity in American politics. Ever since her 2016 resignation from the Democratic National Committee to endorse Bernie Sanders for president, she has been a rising star in the progressive wing of the Democratic Party. Last year, she racked up endorsements from groups like Progressive Democrats of America and Our Revolution, and she sailed to re-election.
But she has also become a polarizing figure. Her progressive domestic politics are at odds with her support for authoritarians abroad, including Modi, Sisi, and Syria’s Bashar al-Assad. As right-wing nationalism rises across the globe, it is beginning to be recognized as an existential threat to a world order rooted in liberal democratic values, and Gabbard, an Iraq War veteran, is now being pushed to choose sides. (Gabbard did not respond to The Intercept’s multiple requests for comment.)
Gabbard was embraced early on by pro-Modi elements of the Hindu-American diaspora in the U.S., who have donated generously to her campaigns. But as she flirts with the idea of running for president, she has publicly cut ties with those fervent supporters on at least one occasion, while continuing to court them in private.
IN JUNE 2014, after Modi won the election, nearly 700 of his supporters gathered at a Hindu temple in Atlanta to celebrate and plan their path forward. To mobilize their community, the speakers laid out a plan that included a call for donations to Gabbard’s re-election campaign. They described the Hawaii Democrat as an “American Hindu” who “has fought against the anti-Modi resolution introduced recently by some members” of Congress.
The event was organized by the Overseas Friends of the BJP, the American chapter of the Bharatiya Janata Party. Gabbard had landed on the group’s radar as one of America’s few pro-Modi lawmakers. In December 2013, she had voiced her opposition to House Resolution 417, which chided India to protect “the rights and freedoms of religions minorities” and referred to incidents of mass violence against minority Muslims that had taken place under Modi’s watch. Gabbard later told the press that “there was a lot of misinformation that surrounded the event in 2002.”
Also in 2014, Gabbard attended an OFBJP event, where Vijay Jolly, a senior politician of Modi’s government, was present. He took to the stage and told Gabbard that “with the support of … non-resident Indians … your victory later this year is a foregone conclusion.” She cruised to re-election.
#NewZealand mosque shooter Brenton Tarrant described himself as “ordinary white man” who was inspired by #Norway mass killer Anders Behring Breivik and wanted to avenge “"thousands of deaths caused by foreign invaders”. #Islamophobia #christchurchshooting http://a.msn.com/01/en-ie/BBUNE9J?ocid=st
Brenton Tarrant, a 28-year-old Australian who was a gunman in the New Zealand terror attacks, described himself as an “ordinary white man” who was inspired by Norway mass killer Anders Behring Breivik and wanted to avenge “"thousands of deaths caused by foreign invaders”.
Tarrant, who filmed himself attacking a Christchurch mosque in a Facebook Live video, posted a 74-page manifesto in which he claims to be from a “working class, low income family”.
He said he was of Scottish, Irish and English stock and moved to New Zealand temporarily to plan and train and then stayed there after deciding to conduct the attack.
“I have read the writings of Dylann Roof and many others, but only really took true inspiration from Knight Justiciar Breivik,” he wrote.
He said he wanted to avenge the death of Ebba Akerlund, an 11-year-old who was killed in a 2017 terror attack in Stockholm.
Scott Morrison, Australia’s prime minister, confirmed that an Australian-born man participated in the attack but said the man was not previously known to Australian authorities.
“He is an Australian-born citizen,” Mr Morrison said. “That obviously leads to an Australian -based investigation and all of our inquiries here will be absolutely shared and communicated with New Zealand authorities.”
Tarrant is reportedly from Grafton, a town in New South Wales. He worked as a personal trainer at a local fitness centre in 2010 before reportedly travelling overseas.
#NewZealand mosques shooter Benton Tarrant praised #Trump in manifesto. Tarrant's manifesto also praised #AndersBreivik, the #Norwegian white supremacist who murdered 77 people in #Norway in 2011. #ChristchurchMosqueAttack #Islamophobia @AJENews https://aje.io/qgl4a
The Australian-born suspect who shot dead dozens of Muslim worshippers in Christchurch, New Zealand, has published a manifesto praising US President Donald Trump and Anders Breivik, the Norwegian white supremacist who murdered 77 people in Norway in 2011.
The 74-page dossier, which has been described by Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison as a "work of hate", hailed Trump as "a symbol of renewed white identity and common purpose".
The 28-year-old, who is now in police custody, also claimed that he had "brief contact" with Breivik and had received a "blessing" for his actions from the mass murderer's acquaintances.
The dossier stated objections to immigration and multiculturalism, and decries the "decaying" culture of the white, European, Western world.
Earlier on Friday, at least 49 people were killed and 20 others seriously wounded in shootings at two mosques in Christchurch in the worst attack in the Pacific country's history.
The majority of the victims were shot at the Al Noor Mosque, while the rest were killed at another mosque in suburban Linwood.
The Muslim worshippers had congregated for Friday prayers, Islam's holy day of the week.
Trump, whose rhetoric is sometimes aligned with the far-right in the US, condemned the "horrible massacre" in a post on Twitter.
"My warmest sympathy and best wishes goes out to the people of New Zealand after the horrible massacre in the mosques. 49 innocent people have so senselessly died, with so many more seriously injured. The US stands by New Zealand for anything we can do," he wrote.
Moments before, his spokeswoman Sarah Sanders said: "We stand in solidarity with the people of New Zealand and their government against this vicious act of hate."
"The United States strongly condemns the attack in Christchurch. Our thoughts and prayers are with the victims and their families," she added.
Jacinda Ardern, prime minister of New Zealand, described the shootings as a "well-planned terrorist attack", and said this is one of the country's "darkest days".
In addition to the Australian-born man, three other suspects, including a woman, have been arrested, according to Mike Bush, New Zealand's police commissioner.
The main suspect also live broadcasted his rampage on social media.
The New Zealand government said it could be illegal to share the video, which showed the gunman repeatedly shooting at worshippers from close range.
The Facebook Live video, taken with a camera that appeared to be mounted on the gunman's body, shows a clean-shaven, Caucasian man with short hair driving to the Masjid al Noor mosque.
He enters the building and fires repeatedly at worshippers as he moves from room to room.
AFP determined the video was genuine through a digital investigation that included matching screenshots of the mosque taken from the gunman's footage with images available online showing the same areas.
In the video, the shooter parks his car next to the mosque and gets out of the vehicle with a rifle. He slowly goes to the boot of his car and retrieves another firearm.
#Islamabad confirms death of 6 #Pakistanis in #ChristchurchTERRORISTattack . Names of Shaheeds from #Pakistan: “Sohail Shahid, Syed Jahandad Ali, Syed Areeb Ahmed, Mahboob Haroon, Naeem Rashid and his son, Talha Naeem. #NewZealand https://www.pakistantoday.com.pk/2019/03/16/pakistan-releases-list-of-missing-citizens-after-nz-mosque-attacks/#.XI0TBvtdCnU.twitter
Out of 49 people who were killed in mass shootings in New Zealand’s Christchurch on Friday, at least six belonged to Pakistan, confirmed Foreign Office Spokesperson Mohammad Faisal on Saturday.
“Sohail Shahid, Syed Jahandad Ali, Syed Areeb Ahmed, Mahboob Haroon, Naeem Rashid and his son, Talha Naeem, have been pronounced dead by the authorities,” said Dr Faisal in a tweet.
On Friday, at least four Pakistani nationals were reportedly injured and five others had gone missing after violent gun attacks on two mosques in Christchurch. Three Pakistani however still remain missing and a search for them is underway.
The FO confirmed the death of six Pakistanis shortly after list issued earlier on Saturday. The list included: Zeeshan Raza; father of Zeeshan Raza; mother of Zeeshan Raza; Haroon Mahmood, son of Shahid Mehmood; Sohail Shahid, son of Muhammad Shabbir; Syed Areeb Ahmed, son of Ayaz Ahmed; Syed Jahanand Ali Talha Naeem; Naeem Rashid.
Naeem Rashid and his son Talha Naeem tried to intercept the shooter, but they were shot dead in their attempt. Naeem and Talha, who hailed from Abbottabad, was injured as he attempted to overpower the attacker and later succumbed to injuries.
Minister for Foreign Affairs Shah Mahmood Qureshi also spoke to the media about the terror attack on Saturday.
“We are waiting for identification of [missing] Pakistanis. Obviously I’m getting more worried with time as we have not been able to contact them [the missing Pakistanis] and I fear that they might be on the list of martyrs. But nothing has been communicated to us officially yet and to say anything before an official confirmation will be speculation,” he said while condemning the attack in strong words.
TERRORIST CHARGED WITH MURDER:
A right-wing extremist who filmed himself on a shooting rampage flashed a white power gesture as he appeared in a New Zealand court on Saturday and was charged with murder.
Australian-born 28-year-old Brenton Tarrant stood in the dock wearing handcuffs and a white prison smock, as the judge read a single murder charge against him. A raft of further charges is expected.
The former fitness instructor and self-professed fascist occasionally turned to look at media present in court during the brief hearing that the public were excluded from for security reasons.
Flanked by armed police he made an upside-down “okay” signal, a symbol used by white power groups across the globe. He did not request bail and was taken into custody until his next court appearance which is scheduled for April 5.
A short distance from the court, 39 people were being treated in hospital for gunshot wounds and other injuries inflicted in the massacre.
The wounded included a two-year-old boy and a four-year-old girl, who was in critical condition.
‘MUSLIMS STILL LOVE THIS COUNTRY:’
In a separate development, an imam who was leading prayers at one of the mosques said the Muslim community’s love for New Zealand would not be shaken by the massacre, reported The Telegraph.
“We still love this country,” said Ibrahim Abdul Halim, imam of Linwood Mosque, vowing that extremists would “never ever touch our confidence”.
Halim gave a harrowing account of the moment during Friday prayers when gunshots rang out in the mosque, replacing peaceful reflection with screaming, bloodshed and death.
“Everyone laid down on the floor, and some women started crying, some people died immediately,” he said.
But, he said, New Zealand Muslims still felt at home in the south Pacific nation.
“My children live here” he said, adding, “we are happy”.
#WhiteSupremacy Is a global Threat. #NZMosqueShooting perpetrator Tarrant celebrated #Trump as “a symbol of renewed white identity and common purpose.” and declared that “our lands will never be their lands as long as the white man still lives.”
Tarrant’s manifesto heaped praise on Anders Breivik, the Norwegian mass murderer who slaughtered 77 people in 2011, and American white nationalist Dylann Roof, who gunned down churchgoers in Charleston, South Carolina nearly four years ago. The rambling document included admiration for U.S. President Donald Trump, whom Tarrant celebrated as “a symbol of renewed white identity and common purpose.” and declared that “our lands will never be their lands as long as the white man still lives.”
In Australia, whence the suspect hails, the rise in unabashed Islamophobia has buoyed far-right and ultra-nationalist movements in recent years. The country’s broad far-right category includes “several very different groups positioned on an ideological spectrum of extremism from conservative anti-immigration, anti-Islam groups to far-right neo-Nazi, anti-Semitic, generally racist, white supremacy groups,” a group of Griffith University criminologists wrote in 2016.
President Trump condemned the Christchurch attacks, but his administration has spent the last three years emboldening white nationalists and neo-Nazis, cracking down on left-wing activists, and mainstreaming anti-immigration conspiracy theories tinged with anti-Semitic undertones not dissimilar to those promulgated by Tarrant. In October, the president addressed an audience of supporters at a campaign rally in Houston, Texas. He prompted “USA!” chants from the crowd when he declared himself a “nationalist” fighting against “power-hungry globalists.”
During the 2018 midterm elections, Trump maligned a U.S.-bound caravan of refugees and migrants as an “invasion,” a conspiracy theory repeated by white nationalist Robert Bowers when he gunned down worshippers at a Pittsburg synagogue last November. The Christchurch shooter used eerily similar language in a blog post on Thursday: “I will carry out an attack against the invaders,” he wrote, apparently referring to Muslim immigrants.
The similarities are not going unnoticed. “In this case, a killer attacked Muslims worshiping at two mosques. In November, a killer massacred Jews at a synagogue in Pittsburgh,” Cohen said Friday. “Though the victims were different, and the attacks came in different parts of the world, the terrorists shared the same ideology of white supremacist hate.”
Perhaps even more disturbingly, however, far-right politicians from Australia to Europe responding to the attacks have doubled down on white nationalist rhetoric, shifting the blame from the killer to the Muslims targeted by the violence. Australia Senator Fraser Anning, who represents Queensland, condemned the attacks but used the opportunity to spread Islamophobic bile. “The real cause of bloodshed on the New Zealand streets today is the immigration program which allowed Muslim fanatics to migrate to New Zealand in the first place,” Anning wrote.
Halfway across the world, Hungary’s far-right Prime Minister, Viktor Orban, on Friday celebrated Hungarians for supposedly stopping “at our southern borders, the migrant invasion directed at Europe.” Orban has spent the last several years blaming Jewish Hungarian-American billionaire philanthropist George Soros for Europe’s refugee crisis. “Without the protection of our Christian culture we will lose Europe, and Europe will no longer belong to the Europeans,” he added—an uncomfortably close echo of Tarrant’s death-struggle us-versus-them manifesto language.
In the U.S. as well, President Trump called the attacks a “horrible, horrible thing” before quickly pivoting to the topic of immigration. “People hate the word invasion, but that’s what it is,” he said.
Hindu Nationalism's roots in Fascism and Nazism:
Excerpts from Marzia Casolari’s article in the Economic & Political Weeklyillustrate the relationship between the RSS and the fascist regimes of Italy and Germany.
Casolari writes, “The first Hindu nationalist who came in contact with the fascist regime and its dictator was B.S. Moonje, a politician strictly related to the RSS… Between February and March 1931… Moonje made a tour of Europe, which included a long stop-over in Italy. There he visited some important military schools and educational institutions. The highlight of the visit was the meeting with Mussolini.”
“The idea of fascism vividly brings out the conception of unity amongst people...India and particularly Hindu India need some such institution for the military regeneration of the Hindus… Our institution of Rashtriya Swayamsewak Sangh of Nagpur under Dr Hedgewar is of this kind, though quite independently conceived”, Moonje had written in his diary.
It is well known that M S Golwalkar, the second supreme leader of RSS, idolised the Holocaust and thought that it to be an effective way to deal with the minorities of India. In We or Our Nationhood Defined, he wrote,“To keep up the purity of the Race and its culture, Germany shocked the world by her purging the country of the Semitic Races — the Jews… Germany has also shown how well-nigh impossible it is for races and cultures, having differences going to the root, to be assimilated into one united whole… a good lesson for us in Hindustan to learn and profit by.”
Golwalkar’s treatment of minorities and foreigners in the ‘Hindu Rashtra’ bears striking resemblance to Hitler’s ways. The following paragraph from Golwalkar’s book highlights this resemblance. He writes, “It is worth bearing well in mind how these old Nations solve their minorities [sic] problem. They do not undertake to recognize any separate element in their polity. Emigrants have to get themselves naturally assimilated in the principal mass of the population, the National Race, by adopting its culture and language and sharing in its aspirations, by losing all consciousness of their separate existence, forgetting their foreign origin. If they do not do so, they live merely as outsiders, bound by all the codes and conventions of the Nation, at the sufferance of the Nation and deserving no special protection, far less any privilege or rights. There are only two courses open to the foreign elements, either to merge themselves in the national race and adopt its culture, or to live at its mercy so long as the national race may allow them to do so and to quit the country at the sweet will of the national race. That is the only sound view on the minorities [sic] problem. That is the only logical and correct solution. That alone keeps the national life healthy and undisturbed. That alone keeps the nation safe from the danger of a cancer developing into its body politic of the creation of a state within a state.”
Moonje & Mussolini
The first Hindu nationalist who came in contact with the fascist regime and its dictator was B.S. Moonje, a politician strictly related to the RSS. In fact, Moonje had been Hedgewar’s mentor, the two men were related by an intimate friendship.
Moonje’s declared intention to strengthen the RSS and to extend it as a nationwide organisation is well known. Between February and March 1931, on his return from the round table conference, Moonje made a tour of Europe, which included a long stop-over in Italy. There he visited some important military schools and educational institutions. The highlight of the visit was the meeting with Mussolini. An interesting account of the trip and the meeting is given in Moonje’s diary, and takes 13 pages (Nehru Memorial Museum and Library (NMML), Moonje papers, microfilm, rn 1).
The Indian leader was in Rome during March 15 to 24, 1931. On March 19, in Rome, he visited, among others, the Military College, the Central Military School of Physical Education, the Fascist Academy of Physical Education, and, most important, the Balilla and Avanguardisti organisations. These two organisations, which he describes in more than two pages of his diary, were the keystone of the fascist system of indoctrination—rather than education—of the youths. Their structure is strikingly similar to that of the RSS. They recruited boys from the age of six, up to 18: the youths had to attend weekly meetings, where they practised physical exercises, received paramilitary training and performed drills and parades.
According to the literature promoted by the RSS and other Hindu fundamentalist organisations and parties, the structure of the RSS was the result of Hedgewar’s vision and work. However Moonje played a crucial role in moulding the RSS along Italian (fascist) lines. The deep impression left on Moonje by the vision of the fascist organisation is confirmed by his diary:
“The Balilla institutions and the conception of the whole organisation have appealed to me most, though there is still not discipline and organisation of high order. The whole idea is conceived by Mussolini for the military regeneration of Italy. Italians, by nature, appear ease-loving and non-martial like the Indians generally. They have cultivated, like Indians, the work of peace and neglected the cultivation of the art of war. Mussolini saw the essential weakness of his country and conceived the idea of the Balilla organisation.... Nothing better could have been conceived for the military organisation of Italy.... The idea of fascism vividly brings out the conception of unity amongst people.... India and particularly Hindu India need some such institution for the military regeneration of the Hindus: so that the artificial distinction so much emphasised by the British of martial and non-martial classes amongst the Hindus may disappear. Our institution of Rashtriya Swayamsewak Sangh of Nagpur under Dr Hedgewar is of this kind, though quite independently conceived. I will spend the rest of my life in developing and extending this Institution of Dr Hedgewar all throughout the Maharashtra and other provinces.”
Most famous #ingredients used to make typical '#Indian' #cuisine aren’t actually native to #India. chillies from #Mexico, potatoes from #SouthAmerica, tomatoes (introduced by the Portuguese) and the texture of its naan (from Central Asia) http://www.bbc.com/travel/story/20190609-the-surprising-truth-about-indian-food
I was in a narrow kitchen in Mumbai, one of India’s most strikingly modern cities, watching an ancient Indian meal being cooked on vessels of baked clay. Utensils made from leaves, wood and metal were scattered across the kitchen. The food was being prepared using only ingredients native to the subcontinent, which meant that the sharpness of chillies (native to Mexico) and the starch of the potatoes (imported from South America) were missing.
“No cabbages, cauliflower, peas or carrots, either,” said Kasturirangan Ramanujam, one of the cooks preparing the meal. But that won’t stop him from making an elaborate feast for my family that will include rice, the mulligatawny-like saatramudu, protein-rich kuzhambu gravy and an astonishing array of vegetables and snacks.
This is the shraadha meal that is eaten by many Hindu families in southern India on the death anniversaries of close family members – in this case, the anniversary of my father-in-law’s passing. While the feast is believed to feed families’ departed ancestors, it has inadvertently created a living memory of the region’s culinary history, because it is made entirely from recipes and ingredients that have existed on the subcontinent for at least a millennium.
In a country famous for its rich red curries made from tomatoes (introduced by the Portuguese) and the texture of its naan (from Central Asia), many of the most famous ingredients that go into typical ‘Indian’ food aren’t actually native to India.
Potatoes, tomatoes, cauliflower, carrots and peas, which are now staples in contemporary Indian cooking, arrived in the subcontinent relatively recently. Accounts from the late-18th Century report that the Dutch brought potatoes to India primarily to feed other Europeans. Now, however, potatoes are boiled, baked, roasted, stuffed and fried in nearly every kitchen in India.
The late Indian food historian K T Achaya believed that chillies probably arrived from Mexico via Portuguese explorer Vasco da Gama and answered a deeply felt need for a pungent spice that could be grown in every part of the country without needing as much rain as pepper.
And according to Ruchi Srivastava, producer for Indian television show The Curries of India, “All cuisines in India have adopted the tomato.” The plant arrived in India through a circuitous route – from South America to southern Europe, then to England and finally to India in the 16th Century courtesy of the British. Srivastava argues that restaurants and hotels have popularised red curry sauce as ‘Indian’ in the last 100 years. “This has now started changing the palate of people,” she said. “For anyone who doesn’t know much about Indian food, the onion-tomato gravy has become a classic.”
#Israel Consulate in #Mumbai #India Organizes Event on #Hindutva and #Zionism. The poster of the event flaunts images of Zionist leader Theodor Herzl and RSS leader VD Savarkar. #Modi #Kashmir https://indianculturalforum.in/2019/08/22/israel-consulate-in-mumbai-organises-event-on-hindutva-and-zionism/?fbclid=IwAR3XeY1aKqR1YxJPaXMZ-xyJzHuVcU5bTc6xfT-a0jK_jxCH-oo6qIhdkwU
All masks are off and all veneers discarded- the Consulate General of Israel in Mumbai along with one Indo-Israel Friendship Association is organising a public discussion on Hindutva and Zionism on August 26th, at the The Convocation Hall of University of Mumbai. The poster of the event flaunts images of Theodor Herzl and VD Savarkar, and the event has Subramanian Swamy and a professor from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Gadi Taub as speakers. So far, Israel’s mission in India spoke the language of bringing technology and building cultural ties. Israel’s agencies, as part of its Brand Israel, have tried to whitewash its occupation, apartheid and settler-colonialism against Palestinians by hosting events, film festivals, etc, in an attempt to deflect attention from its crimes.
However, this time the ruling dispensation in India gives the Israeli embassy the confidence to drop all pretenses. All along, it is the connivance of these ideologies that has brought India and Israel closer in the last half a decade, at the cost of Indian solidarity to Palestine. In this context, we are sharing an excerpt from Sukumar Muralidharan’s essay “The ideological common ground between Hindutva and Zionism”, from the collection From India to Palestine: Essays in Solidarity edited by Githa Hariharan.
As Hindu nationalist ideology moves into its more extreme fringes, its inherent paradoxes stand out with similar starkness. Early pioneers of the ideology articulated these in the confident belief that minor doctrinal inconsistencies would be of no consequence in the mission of facing down a common enemy in Islam. As India under colonial rule lurched from the bitter aftermath of the collapse of the Khilafat agitation into an extended phase of communal estrangement, the notion of a country inhabited by two nations became widely accepted, crystallised especially in two political vehicles: the Hindu Mahasabha and the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS). A text published in 1939 by M.S. Golwalkar, a year before he took over the leadership of the RSS, remains one of the most authoritative statements on Hindu nationalism, offering rich insights through its comments on contemporary world events into the ideological pantheon it drew sustenance from.
Golwalkar’s statements lauding Nazi Germany for its virulent manifestation of “race pride”, which led to the expulsion of the Jews despite the world recoiling in horror at the enormity of the deed, are widely cited. These offer eloquent testimony in themselves, but only tell the full story when juxtaposed with the observations on Zionism that the same text offers. Golwalkar identifies India as one among the early nations that afforded sanctuary to the Jews after their country passed into Roman tyranny. This was obviously a bond in his rather twisted historical imagination, which persisted into that moment in history when the greater dispersal of the Jews took place, with the “engines of destruction . . . under the name of Islam” being let loose in the land. Palestine, in Golwalkar’s sense, suffered much like India did, losing its culture and traditions on account of the intrusions of Islam “Palestine became Arab, a large number of Hebrews changed faith and culture and language and the Hebrew nation in Palestine died a natural death.” But hope was not lost, since “the attempt at rehabilitating Palestine with its ancient population of the Jews is nothing more than an effort to reconstruct the broken edifice and revitalise the practically dead Hebrew National life.”
Two new genetic studies upheld Indo-Aryan migration. So why did Indian media report the opposite?
Science is proving India's incredible diversity. But this clashes directly with Hindutva’s racially nativist understanding of the subcontinent.
“Can we now prove the historical existence of Bhagwan Ram?” rang out a question at a press conference in Delhi on Friday to explain the findings of two much-awaited studies on the genetic origin of modern South Asia.
On the podium to explain the two new papers of which they are among the co-authors were Vasant Shinde, an archaeologist and vice-chancellor of Deccan College, and Niraj Rai, head of the Ancient DNA lab at the Birbal Sahni Institute for Palaeosciences.
Taken together, the studies – one in Cell, the other in Science – painted a fascinating genetic picture of how groups as diverse as local hunter gatherers, Iranian farmers and pastoralists from the Pontic steppe grasslands in Eastern Europe mixed to form most of the modern South Asian population.
As a consequence, though the genetic studies themselves were rather clear, many in the media misrepresented the results to suit this political narrative. In fact, even the co-authors of the papers themselves seemed to disagree on the conclusions that can be drawn from the research.
The Economic Times reported that the research raises doubts over the “long-held theory of Aryan invasion or migration into South Asia”. Amar Ujala, one of India’s largest Hindi newspapers, was more emphatic: “The Aryan invasion theory proved completely false; India is the guru of South Asia.”
The theory of the Aryan invasion (or migration) was first put forward by Western scholars during the colonial age. It maintained that a race of European or Central Asian “Aryans” swept into the subcontinent displacing the indigenous Indus Valley Civilisation. These Aryans were said to have introduced key elements of Indian culture such as the Sanskrit language – which gave rise to the Indo-Aryan branch of languages spoken all across north, west and east India today – as well as the Vedas, the foundational texts of Hinduism.
This went against Hindutva’s own imagination of India, in which all significant cultural development was held to be indigenous.
Some of what the term “Aryan” once referred to has been proved to be scientifically inaccurate. The Nazis, for example, mistook what is a language grouping to be a racial one. However, much of the Indian media did not bother to explain that the new research actually upheld the theory that people with European Steppe ancestry had brought the Indo-Aryan language branch to India – not overturned it.
In contrast, the media in the West (with no political dog in this fight) communicated this fact rather well. People of Steppe-pastoralist ancestry likely “brought horses and the Indo-European languages now spoken on the subcontinent,” reported the Atlantic. The Smithsonian.com website of the American museum group wrote, “Indo-European languages may have reached South Asia via Central Asia and Eastern Europe during the first half of the 1000s BC.”
To Reich’s cultural argument, there is also a political layer. India is today dominated by the politics of Hindutva or Hindu nationalism, an ideology which is fiercely nativist. Vinayak Savarkar, the founder of Hindutva and a foundational thinker for the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party, based his nationalism on nativism arguing that for a true Indian, India had to be both his pitribhumi (ancestral land) and punyabhumi (the land of his religion).
“A Hindu therefore could not be descended from alien invaders,” said historian Romila Thapar, explaining how Hindutva saw the world. “Since Hindus sought a lineal descent from the Aryans, and a cultural heritage, the Aryans had to be indigenous.”
Narendra Modi’s India
The Prime Minister’s Hindu-nationalist government has cast two hundred million Muslims as internal enemies.
By Dexter Filkins
“Modi was a fascist in every sense” - Ashis Nandy - a trained psychologist, wanting to study the mentality of Hindu nationalists, interviewed Modi when he was young.
In 1925, K. B. Hedgewar, a physician from central India, founded the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh, an organization dedicated to the idea that India was a Hindu nation, and that Hinduism’s followers were entitled to reign over minorities. Members of the R.S.S. believed that many Muslims were descended from Hindus who had been converted by force, and so their faith was of questionable authenticity. (The same thinking applied to Christians, who make up about two per cent of India’s population. Other major religions, including Buddhism and Sikhism, were considered more authentically Indian.)
Hedgewar was convinced that Hindu men had been emasculated by colonial domination, and he prescribed paramilitary training as an antidote. An admirer of European fascists, he borrowed their predilection for khaki uniforms, and, more important, their conviction that a group of highly disciplined men could transform a nation. He thought that Gandhi and Nehru, who had made efforts to protect the Muslim minority, were dangerous appeasers; the R.S.S. largely sat out the freedom struggle.
In January, 1948, soon after independence, Gandhi was assassinated by Nathuram Vinayak Godse, a former R.S.S. member and an avowed Hindu nationalist. The R.S.S. was temporarily banned and shunted to the fringes of public life, but the group gradually reëstablished itself. In 1975, amid civic disorder and economic stagnation, Prime Minister Indira Gandhi suspended parliament and imposed emergency rule. The R.S.S. vigorously opposed her and her Congress Party allies. Many of its members were arrested, which helped legitimize the group as it reëntered the political mainstream.
The R.S.S.’s original base was higher-caste men, but, in order to grow, it had to widen its membership. Among the lower-caste recruits was an eight-year-old named Narendra Modi, from Vadnagar, a town in the state of Gujarat. Modi belonged to the low-ranking Ghanchi caste, whose members traditionally sell vegetable oil; Modi’s father ran a small tea shop near the train station, where his young son helped. When Modi was thirteen, his parents arranged for him to marry a local girl, but they cohabited only briefly, and he did not publicly acknowledge the relationship for many years. Modi soon left the marriage entirely and dedicated himself to the R.S.S. As a pracharak—the group’s term for its young, chaste foot soldiers—Modi started by cleaning the living quarters of senior members, but he rose quickly. In 1987, he moved to the R.S.S.’s political branch, the Bharatiya Janata Party, or B.J.P.
When Modi joined, the Party had only two seats in parliament. It needed an issue to attract sympathizers, and it found one in an obscure religious dispute. In the northern city of Ayodhya was a mosque, called Babri Masjid, built by the Mughal emperor Babur in 1528. After independence, locals placed Hindu idols inside the mosque and became convinced that it had been built on the former site of a Hindu temple. A legend grew that the god Ram—an avatar of Vishnu, often depicted with blue skin—had been born there.
AN INTERVIEW WITH
The far-right ideology of Hindutva has gained frightening currency under Indian leader Narendra Modi. But in order to combat it, we first have to understand Vinayak Damodar Savarkar — the man who originated the violent ideology.
Savarkar is a divisive figure in contemporary Indian politics. A founding thinker of the ideology of Hindutva, he is the intellectual forebear of the hardline nationalism that today animates the ruling BJP. At the same time, his promotion of violence and his virulent anti-Muslim views placed him at odds with much of the political establishment of post-independence India.
The political reason for thinking about the project occurred to me when I was finishing my first book, which was centered on central Gujarat. This was the locality in which, in 2002, massive riots took place, which were described as “anti-Muslim pogroms.” Approximately 150,000 Muslims were displaced, an estimated 1–2,000 Muslims were killed, there were allegations of state involvement in the violence, and so on.
Based on my first book, that formulation just seemed problematic. One of the things that I was underscoring in that book was that Gandhi was actually aware of the everyday forms of violence against certain low-caste groups by landed, privileged communities in Gujarat. So, for me, that was the beginning of thinking that there must be a different explanation for what was happening in Gujarat. It didn’t simply go from a nonviolent land to a violent land of Hindutva. And as I kept thinking about Hindutva more and more, I was constantly drawn back to Savarkar.
Violence is at the center of all of Savarkar’s writings — and, by extension, all his political work.
He argues that Hindus, dating back to antiquity or earlier, had a code of conduct for the uses of violence. When Hindus were confronted with an enemy that did not adhere to the code, they resorted to unethical modes of violence in seeking vengeance, or what he calls “super-savage cruelty.”
It is in this framing that Savarkar also writes about the need for assassinations and guerrilla warfare. Throughout his writings, there is a sense that Hindus were victimized by foreign invaders, and that Hindus were simply responding to unethical enemies. This is still the justification used by many supporters of Hindutva today.
However, in his seminal work, Essentials of Hindutva, there is a tension, as he points out, that, in fact, it was the original Hindus who were the first perpetrators of violence in the colonization of India. This is a point that is often not considered.
And how did this theory of violence translate in his political career?
In thinking about Savarkar as a public figure, I argue that his public life is bookended by political assassinations. You have a figure like Madan Lal Dhingra, who assassinates a British official in London in 1909. Savarkar is his defender. To Nathuram Godse, who assassinates Gandhi in 1948 and who sees himself as a follower of Savarkar’s.
By all accounts, Dhingra saw himself as one of Savarkar’s disciples. While it is unclear whether Savarkar had been privy to the assassination or its planning, he provides a public defense of Dhingra, before Dhingra is executed by the state.
Savarkar was also implicated in transporting handguns to India, one of which was used to assassinate an official in western India. So, in 1910, he is arrested in London for sedition and a number of other charges, including the weapons charge.
Godse saw himself as a disciple of Savarkar’s. Although at court he is very clear that Savarkar had no direct influence on him, didn’t instruct him to do anything, one of the requests that he has in prison is to read Savarkar’s speeches on Hindutva in order to write his rationale for killing Gandhi.
Swatting is a new digital-age crime in the U.S. in which an anonymous caller reports a fake violent crime to the police that elicits the arrival of a militarised unit known as a Special Weapons and Tactics (SWAT) team
As I was talking to my 84-year-old father on the telephone a couple of weeks ago, he said that someone was calling on the other line claiming to be the sheriff and asking some odd questions. The number was listed as ‘Private Caller’ and my father assumed it was a prank call. Then, in the background, I heard my mother say, “There are so many police outside!”
My father said he would call me back, and opened the front door to find several policemen on the porch, pointing assault weapons at him. If he had not opened the door when he did, they would have broken it down. The sheriff’s office had received a message saying that someone had witnessed my mother shoot an individual with a shotgun on a Zoom call. The officers asked to search the house and realised it was a false report.
My parents had been ‘swatted’. Swatting is a new digital-age crime in the U.S. in which an anonymous caller reports a fake violent crime to the police that elicits the arrival of a militarised unit known as a Special Weapons and Tactics (SWAT) team. One of the deputies explained to my parents that this particular anonymous call had been made to Interpol in Europe, who had then contacted the State’s highway patrol, who contacted the sheriff’s office. The fact that my mother was named, and the exact home address provided, was unsettling to say the least.
There is a spectral nature to these events initiated by faceless, nameless, unseen perpetrators. It is certainly possible that they are simply acts of harassment in the U.S. of today. Perhaps these are the consequences of having identified Savarkar as the ‘ghost father’ of the nation in India. Yet this is paradoxical for me personally. I initially became interested in Savarkar after learning that I had been named after him by one of his disciples, who had given the name to hundreds of other boys.
I take Savarkar’s writings seriously, as he was one of the most important Indian political thinkers of the 20th century. I have argued that people should read Savarkar in India today, even if they fundamentally disagree with his ideas. It is only then that we can fully interpret Hindutva and the idea of India that he influenced and helped to shape. In the end, the harassment has all the traces of the invisible hand of the Right that is no longer interested in intellectual debate.
The writer is Associate Professor of History at the University of California, Irvine, and is writing an intellectual history of V.D. Savarkar.
FACTSHEET: RASHTRIYA SWAYAMSEVAK SANGH (RSS)
by Bridge Initiative Team
Published on 18 May 2021
In recent years, the RSS has been at the forefront of promoting Hindu-nationalism in India, with the Sangh accused of inciting violence against India’s Dalit-Bahujan community, including hate crimes against Muslims, lynchings of Dalits, and pogroms against religious minorities.
In 1992, RSS had campaigned for the destruction of Babri Masjid in Ayodhya, arguing the Mughal era structure was built on top of the birthplace of the Hindu God, Ram. Following the BJP’s landslide electoral victory in May 2019, Mohan Bhagwat reaffirmed the Sangh’s commitment to the masjid-mandir (mosque-temple) debate at an RSS-education camp, saying, “Ram’s work will be done.” In December 2019, after the Supreme Court of India ruled in favor of the destruction in November 2019, three RSS leaders were charged with “commuting a deliberate and malicious act intended to outrage religious feelings and uttering words with deliberate intent to wound the religious feelings of a person” in Karnataka, India, for reenacting the demolition of the mosque.
In April 2019, The Caravan reported a new initiative by the RSS to bring “true nationalist narrative” to Indian academia. Since BJP came to power in 2014, prominent historians such as Romila Thapar have argued that the Sangh is “attempting to foreground revisionist histories with a glorified view of a Hindu past” by rewriting school textbooks, setting up “RSS-model schools”, and lobbying streaming platforms to remove “anti-nationalist” content. Balmukund Pandey, the head of the historical research wing of the RSS, is on record asserting: “The time is now to restore India’s past glory by establishing that ancient Hindu texts are fact not myth.”
Since its early days, RSS has been linked to white supremacist organizations in Europe and North America. In 2011, Anders Breivik— the Norwegian mass murderer— hailed India’s Hindu nationalist movement as a “key ally in a global struggle to bring down democratic regimes across the world”, listing the websites of the Bharatiya Janata Party, the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh, the National Volunteers’ Organisation, the Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad and the Vishwa Hindu Parishad as resources.
The Sangh has also been linked with Hindu-American advocacy groups in the U.S, chief among them the Hindu American Foundation (HAF) in Washington, D.C. Mihir Meghani, co-founder of HAF, is a long time member of Hindu Swayamsevak Sangh, and has spoken at conferences organized by Vishwa Hindu Parishad of America, the international religious branch of the RSS. Meghani is also the author of Hindutva: The Great Nationalist Ideology where he writes, “The future of Bharat is set. Hindutva is here to stay. It is up to the Muslims whether they will be included in the new nationalistic spirit of Bharat. It is up to the government and the Muslim leadership whether they wish to increase Hindu furor or work with the Hindu leadership.”
In 2005, the Hindu America Foundation (HAF) partnered with the Vedic Foundation and the Hindu Education Foundation, to push the state of California to change passages on Hinduism in official school textbooks. In a February 2006 cover story, Siliconeer, a monthly magazine for south Asians on the west coast, said the changes in curriculum that HAF was pushing for reflected “chauvinistic political agendas” seeking to equate the history of India with the history of Hinduism. Recently, HAF board member Rishi Bhutada served as the official spokesperson of “Howdy Modi,” the RSS backed rally for India’s BJP prime minister held in Houston, Texas on September 22, 2020.
FACTSHEET: RASHTRIYA SWAYAMSEVAK SANGH (RSS)
by Bridge Initiative Team
Published on 18 May 2021
In October 2019, HAF invited Aarti Tikoo Singh, who claimed, in a Twitter exchange with Tarek Fatah, that “Islamophobia is a bullsh*t word thrown in as a slur by those who have irrational fear (phobia) of any criticism of Islamic extremism [and] regressive Muslims.” In April 2019, after city councils across Canada voted to allow the Islamic call to prayer (adhan) to be broadcasted for a few minutes a day during the holy month of Ramadan, Fatah claimed that the Muslims wanted the public adhan to become a “permanent feature”, and that Greek Town (as the neighbourhood of the mosque is known) might soon become “Islamabad.” Fatah was retweeted by Ravi Hooda, who commented that the decision— to broadcast the adhan— opened the door for “separate lanes for camel & goat riders” or laws “requiring all women to cover themselves from head to toe in tents.” Writing for Foreign Policy, Steven Zhou identified Hooda as a volunteer for the local branch of the Hindu Swayamsevak Sangh, which represents the overseas interests of the RSS.
In February 2020, following anti-Muslim pogroms in Delhi, 16 RSS cadres were arrested and charged with murder and rioting. At least 53 people were killed during the violence, almost three quarter of whom were Muslims. According to The Guardian, the catalyst for the pogrom is widely acknowledged to have been a comment by Kapil Mishra, a BJP leader, who issued a public ultimatum declaring that if the police did not clear the streets of a protest against a new citizenship law seen as anti-Muslim, his supporters would be “forced to hit the streets”.
Today’s RSS tries to distance itself from its past. But according to Arundhati Roy, “its underlying ideology, in which Muslims are cast as treacherous permanent ‘outsiders,’ is a constant refrain in the public speeches of BJP politicians, and finds utterance in chilling slogans raised by rampaging mobs. For example: ‘Mussalman ka ek hi sthan—Kabristan ya Pakistan’ (Only one place for the Muslim—the graveyard, or Pakistan). In October this year, Mohan Bhagwat, the supreme leader of the RSS, said, ‘India is a Hindu Rashtra’—a Hindu nation. ‘This is non-negotiable.’”
#Hindu Mobs, anti-#Muslim Boycotts: In #Modi’s #India, the Echoes of 1930s #Nazi Germany Are Growing Louder. Real threat to India is from a radicalizing Hindu majority fueled by the increasingly brazen, violent anti-Muslim bigotry of Modi’s own #BJP party. https://www.haaretz.com/world-news/.premium-for-muslims-in-modi-s-india-echoes-of-1930s-germany-are-growing-louder-1.10241729
by Debashish Roy Chowdhury
Atrocious hate crimes and speeches by these (Hindu) fundamentalist groups offer a daily reminder to the Muslims of the new social hierarchy in a changing India, where Muslims can at best hope to be second-class citizens.
It’s the new normal in the "New India," a term that Modi’s supporters use as shorthand for a golden era under an efficient and muscular Hindu leaderwho is ending corruption, bringing prosperity and showing Muslims their place in the Hindu-majority country.
When Modi bid for national power in 2014, he ran on a campaign of inclusive growth, with the slogan of "development for all." But overseeing an economy that has progressively worsened under him, Modi has returned to his core competence of divisive politics to maintain support in the face of the death and destruction as a result of his poor handling of COVID.
The core messaging that emanates these days from Hindu supremacists is that development is not possible for all because Muslims, who constitute 14 percent of the population, are eating up the fruits of progress that should accrue to the Hindus, who account for 80 percent. Quite literally. Recently, the chief minister of India’s biggest state, Uttar Pradesh, which has a population the size of Brazil, triggered a controversy when he blamed Muslims for cornering the government-subsidized food meant for all.
For Modi’s party, openly Islamophobic campaigns such as these help to avoid scrutiny and debate over governance and turn elections into a referendum for protecting the supposedly endangered majority. With the politically important Uttar Pradesh heading for elections in less than six months, the same strategy is at play again, only this time with an added twist and urgency.
Uttar Pradesh is a must-win state for Modi. It contributes the most seats to the Parliament and is the epicentre of the Hindu nationalist movement over a mosque that Hindu fanatics demolished in 1992, turning the BJP into a national political force from a fringe party. The BJP won the last election in the state in 2017 on the promise of building a Hindu temple at the site of the razed mosque. Modi inaugurated the temple in 2020, calling it a "symbol of [India’s] nationalism."
Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi performs the groundbreaking ceremony of a temple dedicated to the Hindu god Ram, watched by Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) chief Mohan Bhagwat, right, in Ayodhya, last year
#Hindu Mobs, anti-#Muslim Boycotts: In #Modi’s #India, the Echoes of 1930s #Nazi Germany Are Growing Louder. Real threat to India is from a radicalizing Hindu majority fueled by the increasingly brazen, violent anti-Muslim bigotry of Modi’s own #BJP party. https://www.haaretz.com/world-news/.premium-for-muslims-in-modi-s-india-echoes-of-1930s-germany-are-growing-louder-1.10241729
by Debashish Roy Chowdhury
Anything short of a convincing victory in Uttar Pradesh will jeopardize Modi’s dream march. Be it the COVID catastrophe, the farmers’ protests or the crashing economy, Modi has so far weathered it all.
But the slightest sign of cracks in Uttar Pradesh will undo the carefully crafted image of invincibility, built in large measure by a combination of docile media coverage, ruthless use of force, surveillance and intimidation against dissenters and a steady drip of ever more audacious levels of bigotry that act to both distract and divide voters.
With not much to show for its last five years in the state, the memories of COVID losses and hardships still raw, and an intensifying farmers’ protest that threatens splits in its captive Hindu voter base, the BJP is left with no choice but to escalate its campaign of hate. Accordingly, radical supremacists calling for genocide are becoming increasingly common. Videos of small groups of self-appointed saviors of Hinduism tormenting lone Muslims are showing up on social media more often than before.
Many of these attacks are now aimed at driving Muslims out of their livelihoods and businesses. While Modi waxes eloquent on global forums on the need for "rational thinking" to counter radicalization, Hindu fanatics linked to his party have been warning salons and shops against hiring Muslim men.
A group of Hindu men set upon a Muslim bangle seller in the northern city of Indore last month. They did not take kindly to him interacting with Hindu women.
The bangle seller was guilty of just the kind of "dangerous" encounter a prominent supremacist leader connected to the BJP (whose self-declared mission is to "remove Muslims from the face of Earth") has been warning of – Muslim vendors, plumbers and electricians visiting Hindu homes and gaining proximity to the women of the household while the men are away at work.
#Hindu Mobs, anti-#Muslim Boycotts: In #Modi’s #India, the Echoes of 1930s #Nazi Germany Are Growing Louder. Real threat to India is from a radicalizing Hindu majority fueled by the increasingly brazen, violent anti-Muslim bigotry of Modi’s own #BJP party. https://www.haaretz.com/world-news/.premium-for-muslims-in-modi-s-india-echoes-of-1930s-germany-are-growing-louder-1.10241729
by Debashish Roy Chowdhury
Muslim hawkers have faced random attacks and been driven out of Hindu villages. In the capital Delhi itself, there have been concerted campaigns to boycott Muslim vendors and businesses.
In the northeastern state of Assam, where Modi’s party has dehumanized Muslims by calling them "termites" who eat away the country’s resources, the government is now evicting them from their homes to give the land away for farming to "indigenous" people. The ruthless eviction drivelast week led to shocking killings of poor Muslims.
‘Terror Force’ of fascist, communal & bigoted Govt. shooting at its own citizens. Also, who is the person with camera? Someone from our ‘Great Media’ orgs?
The appeal of these villagers, against eviction, is pending in the High Court. Couldn’t the Govt wait till court order? pic.twitter.com/XI5N0FSjJd
— Ashraful Hussain (@AshrafulMLA) September 23, 2021
Muslims, the most economically disadvantaged group and grossly underrepresented in the formal economy, are often found engaged in low-end casual work or self-employment in the informal economy. These growing attacks thus threaten to hit one of the most vulnerable sections of the Indian population.
Big businesses are feeling the heat, too. A Bangalore-based food start-up owned by a Muslim entrepreneur had to issue an official denial this month after a social media campaign to boycott its products for using cattle bones as ingredients and employing only Muslims, both outrageously unfounded allegations.
So now, the Islamic Economic system (Halalonomics) has crept into our Secular system. Now the Halal certification is no longer limited to meats, but touches every sphere of our daily lives – like meats, packaged foods, medicines, beauty products etc.#HalalEconomy_NationalThreatpic.twitter.com/1U7XD57tv2
— HinduJagrutiOrg (@HinduJagrutiOrg) September 18, 2021
Persistent attacks on the meat and leather trades, through lynching and cattle seizures, have been common since Modi took power. They have had a crippling effect on small-time traders and intermediaries in the meat business, who happen to be mostly Muslims. Of late, big companies involved in the meat business are also being targeted by online campaigns branding halal certification as a form of "economic jihad" that ought to be resisted by Hindus.
The economic attacks on Muslims may still appear too dispersed and episodic to raise fears of a concerted state campaign to formally exclude Muslims. Modi’s India hasn’t yet reached the stage of the Judenboykott, the Nazi boycott of Jewish businesses that formally started in 1933 before slowly gathering pace, leading ultimately to the mass murder of Jews in the "final solution."
But even the Judenboykott did not come about overnight. In the 1920s, boycotting Jewish businesses began to be normalized by Germany’s right-wing parties at the regional level, long before it became declared state policy.
India's Prime Minister Narendra Modi addresses the 76th session of the UN General Assembly in New York this weekend. EDUARDO MUNOZ - AFP
Under a party born of a nearly 100-year-old Hindu nationalist movement inspiredby 20th century European ethnonationalism, is India heading the same way?
We don’t know yet. But it’s a question worth posing to Modi as he steps out into the world this week after a gap of more than a year. Just in case it is, the world needs to know – if it doesn’t want to be caught unawares, again.
Is #India Headed for an Anti-Muslim Genocide? #Modi's #BJP's narrative dehumanizes #Muslims. As Jews in #Nazi #Germany were called “rats” and Tutsis in Rwanda in the 1990s were called “cockroaches,” so BJP members now refer to Indian Muslims as “termites”. https://time.com/6103284/india-hindu-supremacy-extremism-genocide-bjp-modi/
The chief minister of India’s biggest and most politically important state, Uttar Pradesh, recently blamed Muslims for cornering government-subsidized food. Uttar Pradesh, along with Assam, has introduced a two-child policy blaming Muslims for a supposedly runaway population growth that officials say accounts for the backwardness of these states. The claim is not rooted in reality. Fertility rates among Muslims have in fact been falling rapidly.
But reality is no longer important. It bends to the requirements of the ruling party’s dehumanizing narrative against Muslims. As Jews in Nazi Germany were called “rats” and Tutsis in Rwanda in the 1990s were called “cockroaches,” so BJP members now refer to Indian Muslims as “termites” eating away at India’s resources, denying Hindus what is due to them in their own land.
The destruction of Gandhi’s legacy
The foundations of the secular republic that Gandhi died defending are thus being hollowed out ever more frantically. While Modi pays ritualistic homage to Gandhi, BJP leaders openly glorify Gandhi’s killer, who was a Hindu fanatic. Modi’s ministers and legislators freely call on people to shoot “traitors” and start pogroms, and are promoted rather than penalized for their actions. Modi himself partly owes his fan following and ascent to his lack of remorse over the 2002 pogroms in Gujarat in 2002, when he was chief minister. Hundreds of Muslims were killed and thousands rendered homeless.
Noticeably, not only did the current chief minister of Assam not apologize for the police excesses, he in fact trivialized the deaths of Hoque and Farid, calling Hoque’s death “just 30 seconds” of a three minute video. He also carried on with the eviction drive and even proudly tweeted photos of the rubble of the four mosques destroyed in it.
While the Bidens of this world still talk about Gandhi, India’s role models have changed. So have the standards of acceptable discourse in public and social life. Genocide is now openly demanded at public rallies. The “need” for ethnic cleansing can pop up in casual conversations on politics among friends or family. Death threats are used like punctuation marks in debates on social media.
On Oct. 2, Gandhi’s birthday was celebrated with much fanfare as the International Day of Non-Violence. Two new books on his assassination in 1948 were launched. In Karnataka, meanwhile, a 25-year-old Muslim man was found beheaded for his affair with a Hindu girl, allegedly by a local Hindu vigilante group.
Gandhi continues to be killed in a million ways in today’s India. Bijoy Baniya just added a flourish to it.
#Indian #Muslim woman's rapists were sentenced to life in prison. Now they’re free, and she’s in hiding. #BilkisBano was just 21 years old & pregnant when she was gang-raped by a mob that killed 14 of her family members, incl her 3-year-old daughter. #Modi https://www.cnn.com/2022/10/17/asia/india-bilkis-bano-rape-gujarat-massacre-intl-hnk-dst
Standing in a row outside the gates of Godhra remand center in Gujarat, western India, the 11 middle-aged men could have been mistaken for visiting dignitaries receiving sweets and blessings from local admirers.
In reality, they were part of a 2002 Hindu mob who had just been released after serving 14 years of life sentences for one of the most heinous crimes in India’s recent history.
Since their release in August – on India’s Independence Day – the men have scattered across the country.
But there’s one person who can never escape the repercussions of the attack 20 years ago – Bilkis Bano, who was just 21 years old and pregnant when she was gang-raped by a mob that killed 14 of her family members, including her 3-year-old daughter.
Bano was too distraught to speak about the men’s release, but issued a statement through her lawyer, saying she hadn’t been consulted about the decision and it had “shaken” her faith in justice. “My sorrow and my wavering faith is not for myself alone but for every woman who is struggling for justice in the courts,” the statement said.
The recommendation to free the men was made by an advisory panel appointed by the Gujarat government, led by Narendra Modi’s Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP). Critics say the decision was tainted by politics, misogyny and religious discrimination, and exposes what they see as the hypocrisy of BJP leaders who claim to support gender equality and women’s rights. Some lawmakers and activists have petitioned the Supreme Court for the men to be rearrested.
“The concept of Article 15 where there will be no discrimination in the Constitution on the basis of sex or religion or gender has just been thrown out the window,” said one of the petitioners, Mahua Moitra, a lawmaker from the All India Trinamool Congress party.
Some lawmakers said the decision had political overtones, coming just four months before the BJP hopes to secure re-election in the Gujarat state elections.
Subhashini Ali, a former parliamentarian and vice president of the All India Democratic Women’s Association, who has filed a separate petition in the Supreme Court, said if the intent was to polarize voters, it had failed. “For the first time, I’m finding that even BJP supporters are not supporting what they’ve done,” she said.
The Gujarat and central governments did not respond to requests for comment.
#BilkisBano: #India PM #Modi's government okayed her rapists' release despite opposition from a court and federal prosecutors. Convicts were part of a #Hindu mob that attacked Bilkis Bano and her family during 2002 anti-#Muslim riots in #Gujarat. #BJP https://www.bbc.com/news/world-asia-india-62574247
The government of Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi approved the premature release of 11 men who were convicted for the gangrape of a pregnant Muslim woman and murder of 14 members of her family, including her three-year-old daughter, according to a court document.
The convicts were part of a Hindu mob that attacked Bilkis Bano and her family during the 2002 anti-Muslim riots in the western state of Gujarat.
The release of the men, who were serving life sentences for rape and murder, and the heroes' welcome they were accorded had caused global outrage.
Many were especially aghast as the convicts had walked free on 15 August - the day India was celebrating its independence day and just hours after Mr Modi had given a speech asking citizens to respect women.
A viral video showed the men lined up outside the Godhra jail while relatives gave them sweets and touched their feet to show respect.
State officials at the time said a government panel had approved the application for remission as the men - first convicted by a trial court in 2008 - had spent more than 14 years in jail, and after considering other factors such as their age and good behaviour in prison.
But on Monday, the Gujarat government submitted a document in the Supreme Court revealing that they had sought the federal government's approval - which was granted by the home ministry, led by Amit Shah, in July.
The approval had come despite opposition from a court and federal prosecutors who had said they should not be "released prematurely and no leniency may be shown" to them as their crime was "heinous, grave and serious".
The top court is hearing several petitions challenging the convicts' release.
Days after her attackers were freed, Bilkis Bano issued a statement calling the decision to free the men "unjust" and said it had "shaken" her faith in justice.
"When I heard that the convicts who had devastated my family and life had walked free, I was bereft of words. I am still numb," she said.
"How can justice for any woman end like this? I trusted the highest courts in our land. I trusted the system, and I was learning slowly to live with my trauma. The release of these convicts has taken from me my peace and shaken my faith in justice," she wrote, appealing to the Gujarat government to "undo this harm" and "give me back my right to live without fear and in peace".
The decision had caused massive outrage in India. It was criticised by opposition parties, activists and several journalists, who said it discriminated against India's minority Muslims. Attacks on the community have risen sharply since the BJP formed the federal government in 2014.
More than 6,000 activists, historians and citizens issued a statement urging the Supreme Court to revoke the early release of the convicts, describing it as a "grave miscarriage of justice".
Many also pointed out that the release was in contravention of guidelines issued by both the federal government and the Gujarat state government - both say that rape and murder convicts cannot be granted remission. Life terms in these crimes are usually served until death in India.
The biggest setback from the state government's decision has been for Bilkis Bano and her family.
The anger and despondence of the family is easy to understand considering the magnitude of the crime and the protracted battle they had to fight for justice.
Opinion | Why Is Israel Groveling to India's Toxic Hindu Nationalists?
When an Israeli filmmaker called out a Modi-backed movie for being propaganda, the Indian premier's trolls and loyalists exploded. But why did Israel's ambassador to India join in the outrage?
By Swati Chaturvedi
India on Tuesday woke up to unprecedented apology, and a cry for mercy, from Naor Gilon, Israel's ambassador to India, Sri Lanka and Bhutan. Gilon slammed a a fellow Israeli, filmmaker Nadav Lapid, in a series of tweets, and offered a groveling apology to India. The ambassador's criticism reeked of both disdain – and fear.
“You go back to Israel thinking you are bold and 'made a statement,'" he wrote. "We the representatives of Israel would stay here. You should see the DM boxes following your “bravery” and what implications it may have on the team under my responsibility.”
So who exactly had breached Israel's state of the art firewall to cause its envoy to renounce diplomatic rectitude and diplomatic language, to criticize a distinguished Israeli in public so crudely? Gilon was castigating Lapid, who'd just served as chairperson of the jury at the International Film Festival of India, a venture jointly organized by the government of Goa (a state run by the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party) and the government of India, run by Prime Minister, Narendra Modi.
Lapid had made the cardinal error of speaking out against the Hindu nationalist narrative enforced by the Modi government and parroted by an obedient network of cultural events and figures.
Speaking on behalf of the jury, Lapid had ripped apart the controversial film "Kashmir Files," directed by Vivek Agnihotri, a firm Modi favorite, and called it out as “vulgar propaganda which was inappropriate for an artistic, competitive section of such a prestigious film festival.” Gilon said he spoke for the entire jury who were “disturbed and shocked to see the film screened at the festival.”
Gilon added that he felt totally comfortable to share these feelings, since the "spirit of having a festival" is also to accept a critical discussion "which is essential for art and for life.”
'The Kashmir Files,' which was publicly endorsed by Modi and given unusual tax free status in most Indian states, revolves around the killings and exodus of Kashmiri Hindus from India’s only Muslim majority state in 1990.
As Lapid dissed the film from the podium, Anurag Thakur, the Modi-appointed minister with the portfolio of Information and Broadcasting, sat stone-faced in the front row of the audience. Earlier, Thakur (who prides himself on his athleticism) had been lauded publicly by the ambassador as he horsed around and jumped off a festival bus with Avi Issacharoff and Lior Raz, directors of the Israeli hit series Fauda. Gilon tweeted that minister Thakur looked one of the team and should probably consider joining the series.
By the way, the Fauda creators are this month celebrating the launch of an official Indian remake, Tanaav, which follows a group of Indian intelligence agents tracking down a Kashmiri terrorist organization.
From horsing around to cringe-making performative apologies, Ambassador Gilon ran the gamut in scant hours.
My sources tell me that huge diplomatic pressure was applied by India to Israel. It was conveyed to Israel that India considered the criticism of the film an “unfriendly act.”
Under Modi and his Hindu nationalist government, India has been extremely prickly about international comments and criticism. The Foreign Office issues long bureaucratic rebuttals to editorial comments made in the foreign media, and pushes back hard against domestic dissent, from deploying the Israeli weapons-grade spyware Pegasus to target journalists (including myself) and activists seeking to defend India’s failing democracy.
By Swati Chaturvedi
But forcing the Israeli ambassador to eat public crow on social media is a dubious first even for the Modi government. The unleashing of the infamous Modi troll army – run by the BJP's Information and Technology unit – on the Israeli ambassador and his embassy's staff is equally unprecedented. Clearly the volume of threats and fears for their security made Gilon go public. The Israeli embassy is one of the best-guarded in New Delhi.
Recalling that he is the son of a Holocaust survivor, Gilon mentioned he was extremely hurt to see that some of the more unhinged reactions in India waved Holocaust denial as a riposte to Lapid's comments. There has been a surge of comments in this vein: that if 'The Kashmir Files' [a movie] is propaganda, then so too is the Holocaust [historical fact] propaganda. "I unequivocally condemn such statements. There is no justification," he wrote. But then he offered a quiet way out: "It does show the sensitivity of the Kashmir issue here."
Holocaust denial has not been the only toxic language employed by Modi loyalists. The head of the BJP's youth wing called Lapid "a Hindu-hating bigot who whitewashes ethnic cleansing. Not less than a Nazi enabler."
Gilon framed his riposte as a direct address to his “Indian brothers and sisters to understand,” and he thus wrote in English, not Hebrew. His message to Lapid was as overpowering and blunt as the capital letters he used: "YOU SHOULD BE ASHAMED."
The ambassador treated his audience to more obsequiousness, such as claiming Indians treat guests as “gods,” and denied Lapid's claim that he and Thakur had said on stage that “there is similarity between India and Israel because we fight a similar enemy and reside in a bad neighborhood.” This is a familiar BJP trope about Israel and is used to attack the 200 million Muslims who live in India.
The actual tragedy of Kashmir's Hindu minority has been politically manipulated for years. They are still unable to go back to the Muslim-majority Kashmir valley and still face targeted killings. The real anguish of the Pandits is used by Modi's BJP for electoral gains.
At the same time, the BJP is now using the world of the arts to push its justification for the effective annexation of the state of Jammu & Kashmir, whose semi-autonomous status was abruptly rescinded in 2019. 'The Kashmir Files' is an extremely successful example of this kind of propaganda.
'The Kashmir Files' is a transparent vehicle for weaponizing hate against India’s 200 million strong Muslims. And it is precisely following the script of India's increasingly autocratic premier, Modi, was wants Muslims to be second class citizens in India while Hindus, who form 80 percent of the population, enjoy special privileges.
Agnihotri, a failed filmmaker, struck gold with 'The Kashmir Files.' It is no accident that he is one of the most vocal defenders of the Modi government on social media. For Modi, who is so ideologically embedded in the movie's message and so personally involved in its inflated success, any criticism of the film is both an attack on him and an attack on India itself.
Modi has escalated this conflation of the state and himself, a theme that begun when he governed the state of Gujarat decades ago. He wraps himself in the Tricolour (India's flag) and his critics are hounded, demonized as "anti-national," and even jailed.
Modi's army, known for its vicious incitement if not outright violence, has lost the basic critical faculty to separate criticism of a movie about India from criticism of India itself. Israel's ambassador is, therefore, not being paranoid when he says that Lapid's cogent criticism of the movie threatens the well-being of his staff.
Israeli Ambassador reveals antisemitic messages received after The Kashmir Files controversy - The Hindu
Several antisemitic messages were sent to the Israeli envoy Naor Gilon after Israeli filmmaker Nadav Lapid, who was invited to chair the jury at the International Film Festival of India (IFFI) in Goa, described The Kashmir Files, a film directed by Vivek Agnihotri about the exodus of the Kashmiri Pandit community from the valley, as “vulgar” and “propaganda” on November 29.
Posting one of the hate-filled messages Mr. Gilon who has defended the film and criticised the jury chief and film maker Nadav Lapid said he wanted to show the message without revealing the identity of the sender. In comments to The Hindu, the Israeli envoy said discussion on difficult issues should be “civilised”.
Israel and India are marking 30 th anniversary of establishment of bilateral relation which was formalised in 1992 and this is the first time that an envoy of the Jewish state has been targeted through hate speech. “Just wanted to share one of a few DMs I got in this direction. According to his profile, this guy has a PhD. Even though he doesn’t deserve my protection, I decided to delete his identifying information,” said Mr Gilon posting one of the hate messages that were sent to him on a social media platform.
The message praised German dictator Hitler and the European Holocaust that killed around six million people of Jewish origin in brutal ways. The envoy and other Israelis were widely tagged on social media by the supporters of The Kashmir Files after Mr Lapid’s comments but the latest messages posted by Mr Gilon confirms the social media backlash and that he received antisemitic comments from social media users online.
“This message I received is in no way reflective of the friendship and affection we get here, including on social media. Just wanted this to be a reminder that anti-Semitism sentiments exist, we need to oppose it jointly and maintain a civilised level of discussion,” said Mr Gilon in response to The Hindu.
#Hindu Nationalists have also targeted #Jewish-#American Professor Audrey Truschke with vicious threats and abuse on her various social-media profiles, including threats of #rape and #murder, as well as anti-#Muslim and #Antisemitic slurs. #Islamophobia https://caravanmagazine.in/history/hindu-right-cannot-debate-me-audrey-truschke
Audrey Truschke is an associate professor of South Asian history at the Rutgers University in New Jersey, in the United States. Truschke’s research focuses on the history of early and modern India. She has written three books on the subject—Culture of Encounters, on Sanskrit in the Mughal courts; Aurangzeb: The Man and the Myth which argues for a reassessment of the Mughal king; and the recently published Language of History: Sanskrit Narratives of Indo-Muslim rule.
Truschke has regularly come under severe criticism from Hindu right-wing nationalists, who see her academic research into India’s complex multicultural past and religious history as an affront to their beliefs. Beginning with the release of her first book, Truschke has faced a constant barrage of online harassment, hate mail, co-ordinated attacks on social media, and in some cases, even censure—in August 2018, a lecture she was due to give in Hyderabad was cancelled due to security threats, after the police received letters of opposition. The same year, she faced an outpouring of threats and abuse after she tweeted that according to one loosely translated verse in Valmiki’s mythological epic Ramayana, Sita called Ram a “misogynistic pig.” Truschke discussed this interpretation and the misogynistic response from the Hindu right-wing, in an article in this publication.
In early March this year, Truschke began facing a spike in vicious threats and abuse on her various social-media profiles, including threats of rape and murder, as well as anti-Muslim and anti-Semitic slurs. The abuse referred primarily to her scholarship on India. On 9 March, Truschke tweeted that in recent days, she had faced an “avalanche of hate speech” and threats endangering her family. She said she had blocked 5,750 accounts “and counting.” A few days earlier, an anonymous Twitter account “@hinduoncampus,” which claimed to be run by Hindu students in US universities, circulated an open letter to the Rutgers administration, describing Truschke’s work as “bigotry against Hindus.” In a statement issued on 9 March, Rutgers University called for an end to the trolling, and backed Truschke’s academic freedom to pursue “controversial” scholarship. It also promised to begin a dialogue with the Hindu students on campus.
Hitler's Hindus: The Rise and Rise of India's Nazi-loving Nationalists
Dec 14, 2017 — The ‘Hitler’s Den’ pool parlor that shocked me on a round-India trip 10 years ago was no outlier. Admiration for Nazism – often reframed with a genocidal hatred for Muslims – is rampant in the Hindu nationalist camp, which has never been as mainstream as it is now
Under Modi, neoliberalism and Hindu nationalism combine toward fascist future
Aug 15, 2022 — What we are witnessing today is the onset of full-fledged authoritarianism which is undermining all the norms of democracy and the institutions of the state, which maintain a set of checks and balances between the executive, the legislature, and the judiciary.
Saffron Fascists: India's Hindu Nationalist Rulers - Amazon.com
Paperback – August 17, 2020 by Pieter Friedrich (Author)
“This timely and extremely relevant collection will be very useful reading for scholars, students, and practitioners interested to understand India’s path from democracy to dictatorship and from secularism to theocracy.”— Dr. Ashok Swain, Uppsala University
“The RSS, indicted in targeted violence in India since Independence, receives much moral and material support from NRI leaders of the diaspora in the USA. Friedrich does great service exposing their tentacles in US politics.”— John Dayal, retired Indian journalist
“This compilation highlights the problematic character of Hindutva ideology, provides a profound insight on RSS and its international subsidiaries, and is highly relevant for national and international audiences interested in understanding the slow collapse of a plural democracy in India.”— Dr. Ritumbra Manuvie, University of Groningen
“What makes Friedrich’s compendium especially compelling is that its reportage is at once a contemporary account and a historical lens for future generations that will want to mine the depths of Hindutva fascism’s beginning, middle and end; for there should be no doubt that, like all self-destructive xenophobic ideologies, Hindu Nationalism, too, shall come to grief, sooner than later.”— Ajit Sahi, Indian journalist and activist
“We hope Indians (particularly Hindus) the world over pay attention to this timely and well-researched book which chronicles the rise of Hindu Nationalism and consequent decline of democracy, religious freedom and human rights in India.”— Hindus for Human Rights
India's Taj Mahal among most-visited monuments
Jun 2, 2022 — One of the Seven Wonders of the World, the Taj Mahal in Agra is among the most visited monuments on the planet.
Arab Contributions to the Sciences
Words from Arabic - Collins Dictionary Language Blog
Science in the Arab World
Tweet from Ashok Swain:
“Hindu supremacists in India are openly praising Hitler - Claiming that Hitler was considering Hindus superior than Germans and sending German women to India to get babies with Hindus so they could be brave & strong! In which world, are these bigot living?”
Assassination of Gandhi and Rise of Hindu Supremacy in India
Mahatma Gandhi's assassin and some of India's current leaders are influenced by a similar ideology. This is how Hindutva became a thing in India 96 years ago.
Hindutva: The idea that the character and culture of India is exclusively Hindu, and that India should be a great Hindu nation.
'Ideology Of Hate' Consuming #India, Says #Gandhi's Great-grandson. Tushar, 63, attributes this tectonic shift to the rise of Prime Minister Narendra #Modi and his #Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party (#BJP). #Hindutva #Islamophobia #Hate #Violence https://www.barrons.com/news/ideology-of-hate-consuming-india-says-gandhi-s-great-grandson-01674969308
India's rising tide of Hindu nationalism is an affront to the legacy of Mahatma Gandhi, his great-grandson says, ahead of the 75th anniversary of the revered independence hero's assassination.
Gandhi was shot dead at a multi-faith prayer meeting on January 30, 1948, by Nathuram Godse, a religious zealot angered by his victim's conciliatory gestures to the country's minority Muslim community.
Godse was executed the following year and remains widely reviled, but author and social activist Tushar Gandhi, one of the global peace symbol's most prominent descendants, says his views now have a worrying resonance in India.
"That whole philosophy has now captured India and Indian hearts, the ideology of hate, the ideology of polarisation, the ideology of divisions," he told AFP at his Mumbai home.
"For them, it's very natural that Godse would be their iconic patriot, their idol."
Tushar, 63, attributes this tectonic shift to the rise of Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP).
Modi took office in 2014 and Tushar says his government is to blame for undermining the secular and multicultural traditions that his namesake sought to protect.
"His success has been built on hate, we must accept that," Tushar added.
"There is no denying that in his heart, he also knows what he is doing is lighting a fire that will one day consume India itself."
Today, Gandhi's assassin is revered by many Hindu nationalists who have pushed for a re-evaluation of his decision to murder a man synonymous with non-violence.
A temple dedicated to Godse was built near New Delhi in 2015, the year after Modi's election, and activists have campaigned to honour him by renaming an Indian city after him.
Godse was a member of the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS), a still-prominent Hindu far-right group whose members conduct paramilitary drills and prayer meetings.
The RSS has long distanced itself from Godse's actions but remains a potent force, founding Modi's party decades ago to battle for Hindu causes in the political realm.
Modi has regularly paid respect to Gandhi's legacy but has refrained from weighing in on the campaign to rehabilitate his killer.
Tushar remains a fierce protector of his world-famous ancestor's legacy of "honesty, equality, unity and inclusiveness".
He has written two books about Gandhi and his wife Kasturba, regularly talks at public events about the importance of democracy and has filed legal motions in India's top court as part of efforts to defend the country's secular constitution.
His Mumbai abode, a post-independence flat in a quiet neighbourhood compound, is dotted with portraits and small statues of his famous relative along with a miniature spinning wheel -- a reference to Gandhi's credo of self-reliance.
Tushar is anxious but resigned to the prospect of Modi winning another term in next year's elections, an outcome widely seen as an inevitability given the weakness of his potential challengers.
"The poison is so deep, and they're so successful, that I don't see my ideology triumphing over in India for a long time now," he says.
Opinion India takes a distressing retreat from democracy
By the Editorial Board
Not long ago, a 12th-grade political science textbook in India informed students about the 2002 Gujarat riots. Triggered by the death of Hindu pilgrims in a train fire, a violent rampage killed nearly a thousand Muslims. The chief minister of the province was Narendra Modi. The school textbook noted that the government was criticized for failing to control the violence, and told students that the events “alert us to the dangers involved in using religious sentiments for political purposes. This poses a threat to democratic politics.”
But future classes will not read this passage. Mr. Modi, now prime minister of India, is attempting to impose a Hindu-led majoritarianism upon the country, including on its school curriculums and textbooks. Two pages about the Gujarat events were slashed, and other events in the long history of India’s 200 million Muslims deleted. India’s schoolchildren and its democracy are the worse for it.
India’s National Council of Educational Research and Training has been working since last year on the revised curriculum. According to The Post’s Anumita Kaur, the changes will be felt in thousands of classrooms in at least 20 states. The deletions are wide-ranging. Chapters on the country’s historic Islamic rulers are either slimmed down or gone; an entire chapter in the 12th-grade history textbook, “Kings and Chronicles: The Mughal Courts,” was deleted. Millions of students across India will know of the iconic Taj Mahal, but their textbooks will not delve into the Mughal Empire that constructed it.
According to the Indian Express, which first detailed the cuts last June, four chapters in different grade levels about democracy — and the making of India’s renowned democracy — have been sliced. For example, a chapter titled “Key Elements of a Democratic Government” in the sixth-grade political science text was dropped. The Express reports this is the first detailed introduction to the concept of democracy in middle school and describes critical elements that influence the working of a democratic government, including people’s participation, conflict resolution, equality and justice.
State governments led by Mr. Modi’s Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party have for years been rewriting local school textbooks, but now the effort has been extended to the national level. This is a discouraging development for the world’s most populous democracy. A healthy democracy must be prepared to re-examine its past without airbrushing out unpleasant events. It must accommodate different views and disparate peoples in open debate. Erasing the story of India’s Muslims from textbooks is just as outrageous as Russia airbrushing out the history of Joseph Stalin’s repressions or China suppressing mention of the Tiananmen Square massacre. What’s more, indoctrinating children now will ensure that a warped version of history lingers for generations.
A new #Modi government-approved #Indian schoolbook no longer says why Nathuram #Godse killed #Gandhi and omits references to #Hindu hard-liners affiliated with #RSS who opposed his vision of religious pluralism. #Islamophobia #Hindutva #BJP https://www.wsj.com/articles/why-was-gandhi-killed-after-official-edit-indias-textbooks-dont-say-d5b86e77?st=gnzmnvpkv53jw42 via @WSJ
NEW DELHI—For years, government-prescribed high-school textbooks in India included a few telling details about Mahatma Gandhi’s assassin: The man worked for an extremist Hindu newspaper and had denounced Gandhi, the iconic freedom fighter, as “an appeaser of Muslims.”
A revised version of the Class 12 history book, whose printed copies became available this year, no longer says that. It identifies Nathuram Godse as Gandhi’s killer, but provides no information about him or his motive. Also deleted are broader references to Hindu hard-liners who opposed Gandhi’s vision of religious pluralism for newly independent India 75 years ago.
The edits are among recent changes under Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s government to what students learn about their country’s past. Members of his political party—which is linked to a decades-old movement to shape India into a Hindu-dominant nation—have long criticized school curriculum as unbalanced and biased against Hindus.
It does little, they say, to instill pride in young Indians, and particularly the country’s Hindu majority, in their history and heritage.
Underlying their grievances is a broader ideological debate. Modi supporters accuse the left-leaning, liberal forces that shaped India after independence in 1947 of representing Westernized values and of pandering to Muslims, India’s largest minority. To them, Modi’s rise symbolizes Hindu revival.
Critics accuse Modi and his Bharatiya Janata Party of promoting a divisive Hindu nationalist ideology that threatens India’s secular foundations.
The changes to textbooks “go against the idea that education should encourage an open mind and a liberal outlook,” said Krishna Kumar, an academic under whose leadership they were originally written. The books, he said, have been “mutilated so crudely.”
Modi’s supporters say revisions were long overdue. Teaching of India’s precolonial history overemphasized Islamic empires established on its territory and sidelined Hindu kingdoms, they say. Too much importance was given, they say, to the Mughal dynasty, a vastly wealthy empire during the 16th and 17th centuries whose Muslim rulers built the Taj Mahal and left a lasting cultural imprint on the region’s architecture, food and literature.
Hindu nationalists see the Mughal era as a period of temple destruction, religious conversion and the subjugation of Hindu customs.
A chapter on Mughal courts is gone from the Class 12 history book, though another on agrarian life during the empire remains. A two-page table on the battlefield triumphs of Mughal emperors, from Akbar to Aurangzeb, has been removed from a Class 7 book. A chapter on the 13th century Muslim conquest of northern India has also been pruned.
In a public letter, more than 250 historians and academics criticized the move.
“The selective deletion in this round of textbook revision reflects the sway of divisive politics,” they said. Indian history cannot be seen as consisting of Hindu and Muslim periods, they said, adding: “These categories are uncritically imposed on what has historically been a very diverse social fabric.”
The changes were made by the National Council of Educational Research and Training, an autonomous body whose members are mostly appointed by the government. It said it rationalized textbooks to help students catch up after the Covid-19 pandemic and to make space for critical thinking.
The books are used by schools aligned with the central government’s education board and some state-level boards.
College freshman Shivam Kumar, a Modi supporter, welcomes the changes.
#India cuts periodic table & #evolution from school textbooks. In India, children under 16 returning to school this month will no longer be taught about evolution, periodic table of elements or sources of #energy. #Hindutva #Modi #BJP #Science
In India, children under 16 returning to school this month at the start of the school year will no longer be taught about evolution, the periodic table of elements or sources of energy.
The news that evolution would be cut from the curriculum for students aged 15–16 was widely reported last month, when thousands of people signed a petition in protest. But official guidance has revealed that a chapter on the periodic table will be cut, too, along with other foundational topics such as sources of energy and environmental sustainability. Younger learners will no longer be taught certain pollution- and climate-related topics, and there are cuts to biology, chemistry, geography, mathematics and physics subjects for older school students.
Overall, the changes affect some 134 million 11–18-year-olds in India’s schools. The extent of what has changed became clearer last month when the National Council of Educational Research and Training (NCERT) — the public body that develops the Indian school curriculum and textbooks — released textbooks for the new academic year that started in May.
Researchers, including those who study science education, are shocked. “Anybody who’s trying to teach biology without dealing with evolution is not teaching biology as we currently understand it,” says Jonathan Osborne, a science-education researcher at Stanford University in California. “It’s that fundamental to biology.” The periodic table explains how life’s building blocks combine to generate substances with vastly different properties, he adds, and “is one of the great intellectual achievements of chemists”.
Mythili Ramchand, a science-teacher trainer at the Tata Institute of Social Sciences in Mumbai, India, says that “everything related to water, air pollution, resource management has been removed. “I don’t see how conservation of water, and air [pollution], is not relevant for us. It’s all the more so currently,” she adds. A chapter on different sources of energy — from fossil fuels to renewables — has also been removed. “That’s a bit strange, quite honestly, given the relevance in today’s world,” says Osborne.
More than 4,500 scientists, teachers and science communicators have signed an appeal organized by Breakthrough Science Society, a campaign group based in Kolkata, India, to reinstate the axed content on evolution.
NCERT has not responded to the appeal. And although it relied on expert committees to oversee the changes, it has not yet engaged with parents and teachers to explain its rationale for making them. NCERT also did not reply to Nature’s request for comment.
A chapter on the periodic table of elements has been removed from the syllabus for class-10 students, who are typically 15–16 years old. Whole chapters on sources of energy and the sustainable management of natural resources have also been removed.
A small section on Michael Faraday’s contributions to the understanding of electricity and magnetism in the nineteenth century has also been stripped from the class-10 syllabus. In non-science content, chapters on democracy and diversity; political parties; and challenges to democracy have been scrapped. And a chapter on the industrial revolution has been removed for older students.
In explaining its changes, NCERT states on its website that it considered whether content overlapped with similar content covered elsewhere, the difficulty of the content, and whether the content was irrelevant. It also aims to provide opportunities for experiential learning and creativity.
#India cuts periodic table & #evolution from school textbooks. In India, children under 16 returning to school this month will no longer be taught about evolution, periodic table of elements or sources of #energy. #Hindutva #Modi #BJP #Science
NCERT announced the cuts last year, saying that they would ease pressures on students studying online during the COVID-19 pandemic. Amitabh Joshi, an evolutionary biologist at Jawaharlal Nehru Centre for Advanced Scientific Research in Bengaluru, India, says that science teachers and researchers expected that the content would be reinstated once students returned to classrooms. Instead, the NCERT shocked everyone by printing textbooks for the new academic year with a statement that the changes will remain for the next two academic years, in line with India’s revised education policy approved by government in July 2020.
“The idea [behind the new policy] is that you make students ask questions,” says Anindita Bhadra, an evolutionary biologist at the Indian Institute of Science Education and Research in Kolkata. But she says that removing fundamental concepts is likely to stifle curiosity, rather than encourage it. “The way this is being done, by saying ‘drop content and teach less’”, she says, “that’s not the way you do it”.
Science educators are particularly concerned about the removal of evolution. A chapter on diversity in living organisms and one called ‘Why do we fall ill’ has been removed from the syllabus for class-9 students, who are typically 14–15 years old. Darwin’s contributions to evolution, how fossils form and human evolution have all been removed from the chapter on heredity and evolution for class-10 pupils. That chapter is now called just ‘Heredity’. Evolution, says Joshi, is essential to understanding human diversity and “our place in the world”.
In India, class 10 is the last year in which science is taught to every student. Only students who elect to study biology in the final two years of education (before university) will learn about the topic.
Joshi says that the curriculum revision process has lacked transparency. But in the case of evolution, “more religious groups in India are beginning to take anti-evolution stances”, he says. Some members of the public also think that evolution lacks relevance outside academic institutions.
Aditya Mukherjee, a historian at Jawaharlal Nehru University in New Dehli, says that changes to the curriculum are being driven by Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS), a mass-membership volunteer organization that has close ties to India’s governing Bharatiya Janata Party. The RSS feels that Hinduism is under threat from India’s other religions and cultures.
“There is a movement away from rational thinking, against the enlightenment and Western ideas” in India, adds Sucheta Mahajan, a historian at Jawaharlal Nehru University who collaborates with Mukherjee on studies of RSS influence on school texts. Evolution conflicts with creation stories, adds Mukherjee. History is the main target, but “science is one of the victims”, she adds.
NCERT drops chapters on periodic table, democracy, political parties from Class 10 syllabus
The National Council of Educational Research and Training (NCERT) has decided to omit the chapter on the periodic table from Class 10 Science textbooks as part of the “rationalisation” exercise. The council has also deleted chapters — Democracy and Diversity, Popular Struggles and Movements, Political Parties, and Challenges to Democracy — from the Political Science textbooks as part of the exercise.
According to NCERT, it has been carrying out the exercise — “rationalisation of contents in the textbooks” — across all classes to “reduce content load on students”.
“In view of the COVID-19 pandemic, it is imperative to reduce content load on students. The National Education Policy 2020, also emphasises reducing the content load and providing opportunities for experiential learning with creative mindset. In this background, NCERT has undertaken the exercise to rationalise the textbooks across all classes,” the NCERT said explaining the exercise.
Earlier this year, the council had controversially dropped Darwin’s theory of evolution from its Class 10 textbooks.
Among other controversial omissions, the NCERT had also deleted any mention of Maulana Abul Kalam Azad, a freedom fighter and India’s first Education Minister, from a revised political science textbook published by the council. The authors of the revised Class 11 textbook had also deleted the fact that Jammu and Kashmir had acceded to India on the basis of a promise that the State would remain autonomous. Entire chapters on history of Mughal courts, references to the 2002 communal riots in Gujarat, the Naxalite movement, and mention of Dalit writers were also omitted from the CBSE syllabus.
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