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FTR #1015 Update on Hindutva Fascism

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This broad­cast was record­ed in one, 60-minute seg­ment. [5]

[6]Intro­duc­tion: In numer­ous pro­grams, we have high­light­ed the Nazi tract Ser­pen­t’s Wal [7]k, which deals, in part, with the reha­bil­i­ta­tion of the Third Reich’s rep­u­ta­tion and the trans­for­ma­tion of Hitler into a hero.

In FTR #‘s 988 [8] and [8] 989 [8]990, [9] 991 [10], and 992, [11]we detailed the Hin­dut­va fas­cism of Naren­dra Modi, his BJP Par­ty and sup­port­ive ele­ments, trac­ing the evo­lu­tion of Hin­dut­va fas­cism through the assas­si­na­tion of Mahat­ma Gand­hi to the present time.

Mod­i’s BJP is a polit­i­cal cat’s paw for the RSS, the Hin­dut­va fas­cist orga­ni­za­tion that mur­dered Gand­hi.

It appears that a Ser­pen­t’s Walk sce­nario is indeed unfold­ing in India.

As the say­ing goes, you can’t judge a book by its cov­er. There are excep­tions: When a children’s book is enti­tled “Great Lead­ers” and has a pic­ture of Adolf Hitler stand­ing next to Barack Oba­ma, Mahat­ma Gand­hi, and Nel­son Man­dela, that’s a book cov­er that sug­gests this book should be skipped.

[12]Key points of analy­sis and dis­cus­sion include:

  1. Naren­dra Mod­i’s pres­ence on the same book cove [13](along with Gand­hi, Man­dela, Oba­ma and Hitler.)
  2. Modi him­self has his own polit­i­cal his­to­ry [14] with children’s books that pro­mote Hitler as a great 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 [14]. 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.’  . . . .”
  3. In India, many have a favor­able view of Hitler [15]: ” . . . . as far back as 2002, the Times of India report­ed a sur­vey [15] that found that 17 per­cent of stu­dents in elite Indi­an col­leges ‘favored Adolf Hitler as the kind of leader India ought to have.’ . . . . Con­sid­er Mein Kampf [16], Hitler’s auto­bi­og­ra­phy. Reviled it might be in the much of the world, but Indi­ans buy thou­sands of copies of it every month. As a recent paper in the jour­nal EPW tells us (PDF [17]), there are over a dozen Indi­an pub­lish­ers who have edi­tions of the book on the mar­ket. Jaico, for exam­ple, print­ed its 55th edi­tion in 2010, claim­ing to have sold 100,000 copies in the pre­vi­ous sev­en years. (Con­trast this to the 3,000 copies my own 2009 book, Road­run­ner, has sold). In a coun­try where 10,000 copies sold makes a book a best­seller, these are sig­nif­i­cant num­bers. . . .”
  4. A class­room of school chil­dren filled with fans of Hitler had a very dif­fer­ent sen­ti­ment about Gand­hi. ” . . . . ‘He’s a cow­ard!’ That’s the obvi­ous flip side of this love of Hitler in India. It’s an implic­it rejec­tion of Gand­hi. . . .”
  5. Appar­ent­ly, Mein Kampf has achieved grav­i­tas among busi­ness stu­dents in India [18]” . . . . What’s more, there’s a steady trick­le of reports that say it has become a must-read for busi­ness-school stu­dents [19]; a man­age­ment guide much like Spencer Johnson’s Who Moved My Cheese or Edward de Bono’s Lat­er­al Think­ing. If this undis­tin­guished artist could take an entire coun­try with him, I imag­ine the rea­son­ing goes, sure­ly his book has some lessons for future cap­tains of indus­try? . . . .”
  6. Hitler’s shock­ing­ly pop­u­lar rep­u­ta­tion in India, is due, in part, to the efforts of Bal Thack­er­ay [18], the now deceased chief of the Shiv Sena par­ty which is a long-stand­ing BJP ally [20]. ” . . . .Thack­er­ay freely, open­ly, and often admit­ted his admi­ra­tion for Hitler, his book, the Nazis, and their meth­ods. In 1993, for exam­ple, he gave an inter­view to Time mag­a­zine. ‘There is noth­ing wrong,’ he said then, ‘if [Indi­an] Mus­lims are treat­ed as Jews were in Nazi Ger­many.’ This inter­view came only months after the Decem­ber 1992 and Jan­u­ary 1993 riots in Mum­bai, which left about a thou­sand Indi­ans slaugh­tered, the major­i­ty of them Mus­lim. Thack­er­ay was active right through those weeks, writ­ing edi­to­r­i­al after edi­to­r­i­al in his par­ty mouth­piece, ‘Saam­na’ (‘Con­fronta­tion’) about how to ‘treat’ Mus­lims. . . .”
  7. Again, Thack­er­ay felt that the treat­ment Hitler met­ed out to the Jews should be met­ed out to Mus­lims [18]” . . . . Thack­er­ay said this [21] about the führer’s famous auto­bi­og­ra­phy: ‘If you take Mein Kampf and if you remove the word Jew and put in the word Mus­lim, that is what I believe in.’ . . . .”

[22]Next, we fur­ther devel­op the oper­a­tional link between Pierre Omid­yar (of EBay and Inter­cept fame) and Naren­dra Mod­i’s BJP (a polit­i­cal front for the Hin­dut­va fas­cist RSS. (We cov­ered this in–among oth­er pro­grams–FTR #889 [23].)

Jayant Sin­ha, the lead advi­sor for the Omid­yar Net­work in India [24] became Naren­dra Modi’s finance min­is­ter and is now a mem­ber of par­lia­ment. Sin­ha gar­land­ed (adorned with flow­ers) eight men con­vict­ed of killing a meat trad­er last year as part of a far right Hin­du nation­al “cow vig­i­lan­tism” cam­paign. The killing was caught on video. One of the killers was a local BJP leader.

The killing  of Alimud­din Ansari took place a day after Modi belat­ed­ly pro­claimed that “killing peo­ple in the name of cow pro­tec­tion unac­cept­able.”

Pri­or to Mod­i’s state­ment, cow vig­i­lan­tism had been going on for years with a mut­ed response from Modi’s gov­ern­ment.

As a result of Mod­i’s state­ment, the eleven peo­ple involved with the killing were sent to a fast track court and giv­en life sen­tences in March, mak­ing it the FIRST suc­cess­ful con­vic­tion over an act of cow vig­i­lan­tism.

Sin­ha protest­ed that con­vic­tion, claim­ing that he was con­vinced that jus­tice was not done. He then demand­ed that the case be probed again, but by the Cen­tral Bureau of Inves­ti­ga­tion this time.

Fast for­ward to today: eight of the con­vict­ed were released on bail, [25] while they appeal their con­vic­tion. They then trav­eled to Sinha’s res­i­dence where they were fet­ed [26].

The sym­bol­ic impor­tance of cow vig­i­lan­tism isn’t sim­ply a demon­stra­tion of the BJP’s will­ing­ness to cater to Hin­dut­va fas­cist ide­ol­o­gy. The focus on the cow is part of the atavis­tic, anti-mod­ernist, anti-plu­ral­ist nar­ra­tive the BJP and its ide­o­log­i­cal RSS par­ent have been pro­mot­ing.

Cow vig­i­lan­tism is cen­tral to a nar­ra­tive that exalts a myth­i­cal time [27] of Brah­man­ic puri­ty that alleged­ly exist­ed before the arrival of the British and Mus­lims on the Indi­an sub­con­ti­nent.

Because low­er caste Hin­dus and Mus­lims who con­sume beef in India, the cow vig­i­lan­tism pro­vides a con­ve­nient proxy issue to excuse attacks on those seen as ‘oth­er’ by the Hin­du nation­al­ists.

As the arti­cle puts it, a cru­cial ingre­di­ent to Modi’s polit­i­cal suc­cess has been tap­ping into a nos­tal­gic impulse for a pur­er past. [27] The sacred­ness of the cow has come to sym­bol­ize that Hin­du nation­al­ist dri­ve for nation­al renew­al.

” . . . . Under this world­view, the gold­en age of Hin­du rule in the Vedic peri­od, sub­se­quent­ly sul­lied by for­eign pollutants—the British, yes, but the rapa­cious Mus­lim in particular—is to be chan­neled into twen­ty-first-cen­tu­ry renew­al, pilot­ed by an arbi­trary set of “Hin­du val­ues.” And fore­most among these is the invi­o­la­bil­i­ty of the cow. . . .

. . . . The BJP, as well as its ide­o­log­i­cal par­ent orga­ni­za­tion the Rashtriya Swayam­se­vak Sangh, ped­dle a ver­sion of nation­al­ism that pri­or­i­tizes exclu­siv­i­ty, in which Indi­ans are rigid­ly defined by eth­nic­i­ty and reli­gion. The trope of the cow is thus a con­ve­nient instru­ment, mea­sur­ing the alle­giance to the nation along gastronomical—and there­by spiritual—lines. Non-Hin­dus are deemed a sur­plus pop­u­la­tion, and vio­lence against them is sanc­tioned in an attempt to cleanse the true body politic. . . .”

In our dis­cus­sions with Peter Lev­en­da [28], we have set forth the man­ner in which fas­cism mobi­lizes xeno­pho­bic [29], eugeni­cist long­ing for a myth­i­cal “pur­er past” [30] to gain and ral­ly adher­ents.

” . . . . But the cru­cial ingre­di­ent is the way Modi has tapped into the nos­tal­gic impulse. Svet­lana Boym, a Russ­ian-Amer­i­can philol­o­gist, has described this as the ‘his­tor­i­cal emo­tion’ of moder­ni­ty, and argued that attempts to cre­ate a ‘phan­tom home­land’ through ahis­tor­i­cal restora­tion would only breed mon­strous con­se­quences. As she writes in The Future of Nos­tal­gia [31], it is a ‘restora­tive nos­tal­gia’ that ‘is at the core of recent nation­al and reli­gious revivals. It knows two main plots—the return to ori­gins and the con­spir­a­cy.’

And so we inhab­it a land­scape where MAGA caps, Lit­tle Eng­land, the Hin­du Rash­tra, and the Islam­ic Caliphate have arrest­ed the imag­i­na­tion of mil­lions. These are all over­tures to an Edenic past, promis­ing an order that pre­serves tra­di­tion by puri­fy­ing soci­ety of con­ta­gion. . . .”

With 2017 now in the rear view mir­ror, we con­clude the pro­gram by cap­ping our revul­sion at the Bay Area’s 50th anniver­sary cel­e­bra­tions of the Sum­mer of Love (1967.) In FTR #991 [10], we detailed the Hin­dut­va fascist/Nazi phi­los­o­phy of Hare Krish­na cult founder and head guru A.C. Bhak­tivedan­ta Swa­mi Prab­hu­pa­da.

On 1/29/1967, Prab­hu­pa­da and his cult were the ben­e­fi­cia­ries of monies gen­er­at­ed by a con­cert and dance fea­tur­ing the lead­ing San Fran­cis­co psy­che­del­ic-era rock bands. The event also fea­tured par­tic­i­pa­tion by LSD guru Tim­o­thy Leary, whose activ­i­ties and career are inex­tri­ca­bly linked with the CIA.

Pro­gram High­lights:

  1. Hare Krish­na cult founder Bhak­tivedan­ta Swami’s fun­da­men­tal oppo­si­tion to democ­ra­cy. “So monar­chy or dic­ta­tor­ship is wel­come. . . . Per­son­al­ly, I like this posi­tion, dic­ta­tor­ship. Per­son­al­ly, I like this.”
  2. Bhak­tivedan­ta Swami’s teach­ings dove­tail superbly with Nazi occult phi­los­o­phy. ” . . . . Bhak­tivedan­ta Swa­mi, how­ev­er, speaks exten­sive­ly about ‘the Aryans’–at least twen­ty-five of his pur­ports and over a hun­dred lec­tures and con­ver­sa­tions con­tain lengthy elab­o­ra­tions on the top­ic. He places all those whom he calls ‘non-Aryan’ in a cat­e­go­ry sim­i­lar to his ‘unwant­ed pop­u­la­tion,’ thus divid­ing humans into two groups: a large group of var­na sankara  and non-Aryans on one side, and a small group of Aryans,  ie those who fol­low var­nashram, on the oth­er: ‘Those who tra­di­tion­al­ly fol­low these prin­ci­ples are called Aryans, or pro­gres­sive human beings.’ ‘The Vedic way of life,’ he writes, ‘is the pro­gres­sive march of civ­i­liza­tion of the Aryans.’ ‘In the his­to­ry of the human race, the Aryan fam­i­ly is con­sid­ered to be the most ele­vat­ed com­mu­ni­ty in the world.’ . . . . In more than one fifth of his state­ments he clear­ly describes or defines them in racial terms: The Aryan fam­i­ly is dis­trib­uted all over the world and is known as Indo-Aryan. The Aryans are white. But here, this side, due to cli­mat­ic influ­ence, they are a lit­tle tan. Indi­ans are tan but they are not black. But Aryans are all white. And the non-Aryans, they are called black. Yes . . .”
  3. Bhak­tivedan­ta Swami’s phi­los­o­phy saw Euro­peans and Amer­i­cans as part of, and exten­sions of, the Aryan race. Note that he, also, invokes the myth­i­cal lost past, in which Aryan/Brahmanic cul­ture became degrad­ed. In an address to a French audi­ence, he intoned as fol­lows: ” . . . . So we all belong to the Aryan fam­i­ly. His­tor­i­cal ref­er­ence is there, Indo-Euro­pean fam­i­ly. So Aryan stock was on the cen­tral Asia. Some of them migrat­ed to India. Some of them migrat­ed to Europe. And from Europe you have come. So we belong to the Aryan fam­i­ly, but we have lost our knowl­edge. So we have become non-Aryan, prac­ti­cal­ly. You French peo­ple, you are also Aryan fam­i­ly, but the cul­ture is lost now. So this Krish­na con­scious­ness move­ment is actu­al­ly reviv­ing the orig­i­nal Aryan cul­ture. Bhara­ta. We are all inhab­i­tants of Bharatavar­sha, but as we lost our cul­ture, it became divid­ed.  So on the whole, the con­clu­sion is that the Aryans spread in Europe also, and the Amer­i­cans, they also spread from Europe. So the intel­li­gent class of human being, they belong to the Aryans. Aryan fam­i­ly. Just like Hitler claimed that he belonged to the Aryan fam­i­ly. Of course, they belonged to the Aryan fam­i­lies. . . .”
  4. It should  come as  no sur­prise that Bhak­tivedan­ta was pro-Hitler, view­ing the Fuehrer as “a gen­tle­man,” who had to kill the Jews because they were “financ­ing” against him. “. . . . So these Eng­lish peo­ple, they were very expert in mak­ing pro­pa­gan­da. They killed Hitler by pro­pa­gan­da. I don’t think Hitler was so bad [a] man. Hitler knew it [the atom­ic bomb] . . . .  He was gen­tle­man. He said that ‘I can smash the whole world, but I do not use that weapon.’ The Ger­mans already dis­cov­ered. But out of human­i­ty they did not use it. . . . The activ­i­ties of such men are cer­tain­ly very great . . . There­fore Hitler killed these Jews. They were financ­ing against Ger­many. Oth­er­wise he had no enmi­ty with the Jews. . . . There­fore Hitler decid­ed, ‘Kill all the Jews.’ . . . .”
  5.  An in-depth view of Bhak­tivedan­ta Swami’s view of “shu­dras” reveals the deep racist/fascistic views of social class/caste. Described var­i­ous­ly as “black” or “com­mon,” shu­dras are the focus of deep ide­o­log­i­cal con­tempt. This should be seen against the back­ground of the Aryan racial phi­los­o­phy of Bhak­tivedan­ta Swa­mi. “. . . . ordi­nary peo­ple; the labor­er class; once-born; the low­est class of men; non-Aryan; work­er; the black man; he must find out a mas­ter; one who has no edu­ca­tion; almost ani­mal; just like a dog; he becomes dis­turbed; one who is depen­dent on oth­ers; they are igno­rant ras­cals; unclean; equal to the ani­mal; no train­ing; fools, ras­cals. . .  Accord­ing to his under­stand­ing, peo­ple of black or dark skin col­or, as well as native Amer­i­cans, are shu­dras, are third-class, degrad­ed, and less intel­li­gent: ‘Shu­dras have no brain. In Amer­i­ca also, the whole Amer­i­ca once belonged to the Red Indi­ans. Why they could not improve? The land was there. Why these for­eign­ers, the Euro­peans, came and improved? So Shu­dras can­not do this. They can­not make any cor­rec­tion. . . . A first-class Rolls Royce car, and who is sit­ting there? A third class negro. This is going on. You’ll find these things in Europe and Amer­i­ca. This is going on. A first-class car and a third-class negro. . . .”
  6. Bhak­tivedan­ta Swa­mi did not feel that the black Amer­i­can slaves should be freed. ” . . . . Just like in Amer­i­ca. The blacks were slaves. They were under con­trol. And since you have giv­en them equal rights they are dis­turb­ing, most dis­turb­ing, always cre­at­ing a fear­ful sit­u­a­tion, uncul­tured  and drunk­ards. What train­ing they have got? . . .  That is best, to keep them under con­trol as slaves but give them suf­fi­cient food, suf­fi­cient cloth, not more than that. Then they will be sat­is­fied. . . . ‘So the Kiratas, they  were always slaves of the Aryans. The Aryan peo­ple used to keep slaves, but they were treat­ing slaves very nice­ly.’ And that the Kiratas were Africans, he had explained many times: ‘Kira­ta means the black, the Africans.’ . . . .”
  7. Bhak­tivedan­ta Swa­mi had some “choice” things to say about women: ” . . . . Gen­er­al­ly all women desire mate­r­i­al enjoy­ment.Women in gen­er­al should not be trust­ed. Women are gen­er­al­ly not very intel­li­gent. It appears that women is a stum­bling block [sic] for self-real­iza­tion. . . . Although rape is not legal­ly allowed, it is a fact that a woman likes a man who is very expert at rape. When a hus­band­less woman is attacked by an aggres­sive man, she takes his action to be mer­cy. Gen­er­al­ly when a woman is attacked by a man—whether her hus­band or some oth­er man—she enjoys the attack, being too lusty. . . .”

1a. We begin by ref­er­enc­ing the Nazi tract Ser­pen­t’s Walk. Like The Turn­er Diaries (also pub­lished by Nation­al Van­guard Books), the book seems to be a blue­print for a Nazi takeover of the Unit­ed States (rather than a nov­el), set to take place in the mid­dle of the 21st cen­tu­ry. The book describes the Third Reich going under­ground, buy­ing into the Amer­i­can media, and tak­ing over the coun­try.

Ser­pen­t’s Walk by “Ran­dolph D. Calver­hall;” Copy­right 1991 [SC]; Nation­al Van­guard Books; 0–937944-05‑X; Back Cov­er. [32]

It assumes that Hitler’s war­rior elite — the SS — did­n’t give up their strug­gle for a White world when they lost the Sec­ond World War. Instead their sur­vivors went under­ground and adopt­ed some of the tac­tics of their ene­mies: they began build­ing their eco­nom­ic mus­cle and buy­ing into the opin­ion-form­ing media. A cen­tu­ry after the war they are ready to chal­lenge the democ­rats and Jews for the hearts and minds of White Amer­i­cans, who have begun to have their fill of gov­ern­ment-enforced mul­ti-cul­tur­al­ism and ‘equal­i­ty.’

1b. This process is described in more detail in a pas­sage of text, con­sist­ing of a dis­cus­sion between Wrench (a mem­ber of this Under­ground Reich) and a mer­ce­nary named Less­ing.

Ser­pen­t’s Walk by “Ran­dolph D. Calver­hall;” Copy­right 1991 [SC]; Nation­al Van­guard Books; 0–937944-05‑X; pp. 42–43. [32]

. . . . The SS . . . what was left of it . . . had busi­ness objec­tives before and dur­ing World War II. When the war was lost they just kept on, but from oth­er places: Bogo­ta, Asun­cion, Buenos Aires, Rio de Janeiro, Mex­i­co City, Colom­bo, Dam­as­cus, Dac­ca . . . you name it. They real­ized that the world is head­ing towards a ‘cor­po­racra­cy;’ five or ten inter­na­tion­al super-com­pa­nies that will run every­thing worth run­ning by the year 2100. Those super-cor­po­ra­tions exist now, and they’re already divid­ing up the pro­duc­tion and mar­ket­ing of food, trans­port, steel and heavy indus­try, oil, the media, and oth­er com­modi­ties. They’re most­ly con­glom­er­ates, with fin­gers in more than one pie . . . . We, the SS, have the say in four or five. We’ve been com­pet­ing for the past six­ty years or so, and we’re slow­ly gain­ing . . . . About ten years ago, we swung a merg­er, a takeover, and got vot­ing con­trol of a super­corp that runs a small but sig­nif­i­cant chunk of the Amer­i­can media. Not open­ly, not with bands and trum­pets or swastikas fly­ing, but qui­et­ly: one huge cor­po­ra­tion cud­dling up to anoth­er one and gen­tly munch­ing it up, like a great, gub­bing amoe­ba. Since then we’ve been replac­ing exec­u­tives, push­ing some­body out here, bring­ing some­body else in there. We’ve swing pro­gram con­tent around, too. Not much, but a lit­tle, so it won’t show. We’ve cut down on ‘nasty-Nazi’ movies . . . good guys in white hats and bad guys in black SS hats . . . lov­able Jews ver­sus fiendish Ger­mans . . . and we have media psy­chol­o­gists, ad agen­cies, and behav­ior mod­i­fi­ca­tion spe­cial­ists work­ing on image changes. . . .

1c. Before turn­ing direct­ly to the sub­ject of music, the broad­cast address­es the grad­ual remak­ing of the image of the Third Reich that is rep­re­sent­ed in Ser­pen­t’s Walk. In the dis­cus­sion excerpt­ed above, this process is fur­ther described.

Ser­pen­t’s Walk by “Ran­dolph D. Calver­hall;” Copy­right 1991 [SC]; Nation­al Van­guard Books; 0–937944-05‑X; pp. 42–44. [32]

. . . . Hell, if you can con granny into buy­ing Sug­ar Turds instead of Bran Farts, then why can’t you swing pub­lic opin­ion over to a cause as vital and impor­tant as ours?’ . . . In any case, we’re slow­ly replac­ing those neg­a­tive images with oth­ers: the ‘Good Bad Guy’ rou­tine’ . . . ‘What do you think of Jesse James? John Dillinger? Julius Cae­sar? Genghis Khan?’ . . . The real­i­ty may have been rough, but there’s a sort of glit­ter about most of those dudes: mean hon­chos but respectable. It’s all how you pack­age it. Opin­ion is a godamned com­mod­i­ty!’ . . . It works with any­body . . . Give it time. Aside from the media, we’ve been buy­ing up pri­vate schools . . . and help­ing some pub­lic ones through phil­an­thropic foun­da­tions . . .and work­ing on the church­es and the Born Agains. . . .

1d.  In numer­ous pro­grams, we have high­light­ed the Nazi tract Ser­pen­t’s Wal [7]k, which deals, in part, with the reha­bil­i­ta­tion of the Third Reich’s rep­u­ta­tion and the trans­for­ma­tion of Hitler into a hero.

In FTR #‘s 988 [8] and [8] 989 [8]990, [9] 991 [10], and 992, [11]we detailed the Hin­dut­va fas­cism of Naren­dra Modi, his BJP Par­ty and sup­port­ive ele­ments, trac­ing the evo­lu­tion of Hin­dut­va fas­cism through the assas­si­na­tion of Mahat­ma Gand­hi to the present time.

Mod­i’s BJP is a polit­i­cal cat’s paw for the RSS, the Hin­dut­va fas­cist orga­ni­za­tion that mur­dered Gand­hi.

It appears that a Ser­pen­t’s Walk sce­nario is indeed unfold­ing in India.

As the say­ing goes, you can’t judge a book by its cov­er. There are excep­tions: When a children’s book is enti­tled “Great Lead­ers” and has a pic­ture of Adolf Hitler stand­ing next to Barack Oba­ma, Mahat­ma Gand­hi, and Nel­son Man­dela, that’s a book cov­er that sug­gests this book should be skipped.

Key points of analy­sis and dis­cus­sion include:

“Indi­an Children’s Book Lists Hitler as Leader ‘Who Will Inspire You’” by Kai Schultz; The New York Times; 03/17/2018 [13]

An Indi­an pub­lish­er came under fire this weekfor 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 [33], 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 [34].

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. . . .

“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 [of the Simon Wiesen­thal Cen­ter] 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. . . .

. . . . In parts of Asia, atroc­i­ties com­mit­ted in Nazi Ger­many are poor­ly under­stood [35] 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, thatspoke glow­ing­ly of Nazism and fas­cism [14].

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 [18] 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.’ ” . . .

2.  Hitler has had a pos­i­tive impact on many stu­dents in India, where­as Gand­hi’s image has been tar­nished. Much of the posthu­mous pop­u­lar­i­ty of Hitler comes from Bal Thack­er­ay and his Shiv Shena Par­ty.

“Hitler’s Strange After­life in India” by Dilip D’Souza; The Dai­ly Beast; 11/30/2012 [18]

Hat­ed and mocked in much of the world, the Nazi leader has devel­oped a strange fol­low­ing among school­child­ren and read­ers of Mein Kampf in India. Dilip D’Souza on how polit­i­cal leader Bal Thack­er­ay influ­enced Indi­ans to admire Hitler and despise Gand­hi. My wife teach­es French to tenth-grade stu­dents at a pri­vate school here in Mum­bai. Dur­ing one recent class, she asked these most­ly upper-mid­dle-class kids to com­plete the sen­tence “J’admire …” with the name of the his­tor­i­cal fig­ure they most admired.

To say she was dis­turbed by the results would be to under­state her reac­tion. Of 25 stu­dents in the class, 9 picked Adolf Hitler, mak­ing him eas­i­ly the high­est vote-get­ter in this par­tic­u­lar exer­cise; a cer­tain Mohan­das Gand­hi was the choice of pre­cise­ly one stu­dent. Dis­cussing the idea of courage with oth­er stu­dents once, my wife was star­tled by the con­tempt they had for Gand­hi. “He was a cow­ard!” they said. And as far back as 2002, the Times of India report­ed a sur­vey [15] that found that 17 per­cent of stu­dents in elite Indi­an col­leges “favored Adolf Hitler as the kind of leader India ought to have.”

In a place where Gand­hi becomes a cow­ard, per­haps Hitler becomes a hero.

Still, why Hitler? “He was a fan­tas­tic ora­tor,” said the 10th-grade kids. “He loved his coun­try; he was a great patri­ot. He gave back to Ger­many a sense of pride they had lost after the Treaty of Ver­sailles,” they said.

“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.” . . . .

. . . . Except this is no eas­i­ly writ­ten-off expe­ri­ence. The evi­dence is that Hitler has plen­ty of admir­ers in India, plen­ty of whom are by no means kids.

Con­sid­er Mein Kampf, Hitler’s auto­bi­og­ra­phy. Reviled it might be in the much of the world, but Indi­ans buy thou­sands of copies of it every month. As a recent paper in the jour­nal EPW tells us (PDF [17]), there are over a dozen Indi­an pub­lish­ers who have edi­tions of the book on the mar­ket. Jaico, for exam­ple, print­ed its 55th edi­tion in 2010, claim­ing to have sold 100,000 copies in the pre­vi­ous sev­en years. (Con­trast this to the 3,000 copies my own 2009 book, Road­run­ner, has sold). In a coun­try where 10,000 copies sold makes a book a best­seller, these are sig­nif­i­cant num­bers.

And the approval goes beyond just sales. Mein Kampf is avail­able for sale [36] on flipkart.com, India’s Ama­zon. As I write this, 51 cus­tomers have rat­ed the book; 35 of those gave it a five-star rat­ing. What’s more, there’s a steady trick­le of reports that say it has become a must-read for busi­ness-school stu­dents [19]; a man­age­ment guide much like Spencer Johnson’s Who Moved My Cheese or Edward de Bono’s Lat­er­al Think­ing. If this undis­tin­guished artist could take an entire coun­try with him, I imag­ine the rea­son­ing goes, sure­ly his book has some lessons for future cap­tains of indus­try?

Much of Hitler’s Indi­an after­life is the lega­cy of Bal Thack­er­ay, chief of the Shiv Sena par­ty who died on Nov. 17 [37] [of 2012–D.E.] .

Thack­er­ay freely, open­ly, and often admit­ted his admi­ra­tion for Hitler, his book, the Nazis, and their meth­ods. In 1993, for exam­ple, he gave an inter­view to Time mag­a­zine. “There is noth­ing wrong,” he said then, “if [Indi­an] Mus­lims are treat­ed as Jews were in Nazi Ger­many.”

This inter­view came only months after the Decem­ber 1992 and Jan­u­ary 1993 riots in Mum­bai, which left about a thou­sand Indi­ans slaugh­tered, the major­i­ty of them Mus­lim. Thack­er­ay was active right through those weeks, writ­ing edi­to­r­i­al after edi­to­r­i­al in his par­ty mouth­piece, “Saam­na” (“Con­fronta­tion”) about how to “treat” Mus­lims.

On Dec. 9, 1992, for exam­ple, his edi­to­r­i­al con­tained these lines: “Pak­istan need not cross the bor­ders and attack India. 250 mil­lion Mus­lims in India will stage an armed insur­rec­tion. They form one of Pakistan’s sev­en atom­ic bombs.”

A month lat­er, on Jan. 8, 1993, there was this: “Mus­lims of Bhen­di Bazar, Null Bazar, Don­gri and Pyd­honie, the areas [of Mum­bai] we call Mini Pak­istan … must be shot on the spot.”

There was plen­ty more too: much of it inspired by the failed artist who became Germany’s führer. After all, only weeks before the riots erupt­ed, Thack­er­ay said this [21] about the führer’s famous auto­bi­og­ra­phy: “If you take Mein Kampf and if you remove the word Jew and put in the word Mus­lim, that is what I believe in.”

With rhetoric like that, it’s no won­der the streets of my city saw the slaugh­ter of 1992–93. It’s no won­der kids come to admire a mass-mur­der­er, to ratio­nal­ize away his mas­sacres. It’s no won­der they cling to almost com­i­cal­ly super­fi­cial ideas of courage and patri­o­tism, in which a megalomaniac’s every ghast­ly crime is for­got­ten so long as we can pre­tend that he “loved” his coun­try. . . . 

3. It should come as no sur­prise that Bal Thack­er­ay’s Shiv Sena par­ty was an ally of Mod­i’s BJP.

“Shiv Sena;” Wikipedia.com [20]

 . . .The par­ty has a pow­er­ful hold over the Bol­ly­wood [38] film indus­try.[13] [39] It has been referred to as an “extrem­ist”,[14] [40][15] [41] “chau­vin­ist”,[16] [42][17] [43] as well as a “fas­cist [44] par­ty”.[18] [45][19] [46] Shiv Sena has been blamed for the 1970 com­mu­nal vio­lence in Bhi­wan­di [47], the 1984 Bhi­wan­di riot [48] and vio­lence in the 1992–1993 Bom­bay riots [49] . . .

. . . . The par­ty has been in coali­tion with the Bharatiya Jana­ta Par­ty (BJP) for Lok Sab­ha [50] as well as Maha­rash­tra Assem­bly [51] since 1989. The two formed a gov­ern­ment in Maha­rash­tra between 1995–1999.[23] [52] The Sena was the oppo­si­tion par­ty in the state along with the BJP from 1999 to 2014. . . .

4. Jayant Sin­ha, the lead advi­sor for the Omid­yar Net­work in India [24] became Naren­dra Modi’s finance min­is­ter and is now a mem­ber of par­lia­ment. Sin­ha gar­land­ed (adorned with flow­ers) eight men con­vict­ed of killing a meat trad­er last year as part of a far right Hin­du nation­al “cow vig­i­lan­tism” cam­paign. The killing was caught on video. One of the killers was a local BJP leader.

“Min­is­ter Jayant Sin­ha Gar­lands 8 Men Who Killed Meat Trad­er In Jhark­hand” by Man­ish Kumar; NDTV; 07/06/2018 [26].

Jayant Sin­ha, the union min­is­ter from Jhark­hand has land­ed him­self in the mid­dle of a rowafter the min­is­ter felic­i­tat­ed eight men con­vict­ed for killing a meat trad­er last year.

The con­tro­ver­sy erupt­ed after pho­tographs emerged show­ing the min­is­ter wel­com­ing them at his res­i­dence. In some, the union min­is­ter of state for civ­il avi­a­tion is also seen gar­land­ing the eight con­victs at his res­i­dence on the out­skirts of Haz­arib­agh.

“This is despi­ca­ble,” Jharkhand’s leader of oppo­si­tion Hemant Soren tweet­ed in a sting­ing swipe at the union min­is­ter, tag­ging the minister’s alma mater, the pres­ti­gious Har­vard Uni­ver­si­ty of the US.

“Your alum­nus @jayantsinha felic­i­tat­ing the accused in cow relat­ed lynch­ing death in India. Is this what @Harvard stands for?” Mr Soren tweet­ed about Mr Sin­ha, the BJP’s Lok Sab­ha mem­ber from Haz­arib­agh. Ram­garh town is also a part of his con­stituen­cy.

A total of 11 men, includ­ing a local BJP leader, were sen­tenced to a life term for beat­ing Alimud­din to death on 30 June last year.

The meat trad­er in Jhark­hand was dragged out of his car and beat­en to death by a mob that sus­pect­ed he was car­ry­ing beef. As Alimud­din Ansari, 55, lay dying on a road in Ram­garh town, his car was also set on fire.

The dead­ly attack by the self-styled cow vig­i­lantes had come just a day after Prime Min­is­ter Naren­dra Modi had called “killing peo­ple in the name of cow pro­tec­tion unac­cept­able”. . . .

The Raghubar Das gov­ern­ment in Jhark­hand decid­ed to send a strong mes­sage, ordered the police to quick­ly probe the case and sent it to a fast track court.

The court ver­dict came nine months lat­er, in March this year.

They were con­vict­ed on the basis of a state­ment by Alimuddin’s wife Mari­am Kha­toon.

The police also came across a video that it said showed Nityanand Mah­to, 45, the dis­trict BJP’s media in-charge drag­ging Alimud­din Ansari out of the car that a group of cow vig­i­lantes had forced to stop near Ranchi. The mob took over from there and mer­ci­less­ly thrashed him.

Ajoy Kumar of the Con­gress too expressed his shock at Mr Sin­ha, who he said was con­sid­ered “among the most edu­cat­ed min­is­ter in PM Modi’s cab­i­net, “open­ly” sup­port­ing peo­ple con­vict­ed for killing an inno­cent. “Do they have no work to show except play­ing pol­i­tics on dead bod­ies and divid­ing soci­ety?” he said in an attack on the BJP. . . .

5.The killing  of Alimud­din Ansari took place a day after Modi belat­ed­ly pro­claimed that “killing peo­ple in the name of cow pro­tec­tion unac­cept­able.”

Pri­or to Mod­i’s state­ment, cow vig­i­lan­tism had been going on for years with a mut­ed response from Modi’s gov­ern­ment.

As a result of Mod­i’s state­ment, the eleven peo­ple involved with the killing were sent to a fast track court and giv­en life sen­tences in March, mak­ing it the FIRST suc­cess­ful con­vic­tion over an act of cow vig­i­lan­tism.

Sin­ha protest­ed that con­vic­tion, claim­ing that he was con­vinced that jus­tice was not done. He then demand­ed that the case be probed again, but by the Cen­tral Bureau of Inves­ti­ga­tion this time.

Fast for­ward to today: eight of the con­vict­ed were released on bail, [25] while they appeal their con­vic­tion. They then trav­eled to Sinha’s res­i­dence where they were fet­ed [26].

“Jayant Sin­ha Wants CBI Probe in Ram­garh Lynch­ing Case in Which 11 Were Con­vict­ed” by Vishal Kant; Hin­dus­tan Times; 04/07/2018. [53]

On March 21, the court had award­ed life impris­on­ment to 11 cow vig­i­lantes, includ­ing a local BJP leader, for lynch­ing 55-year old Alimud­din alias Asgar Ali for car­ry­ing what they claimed was beef in his vehi­cle last year.

Union min­is­ter Jayant Sin­ha on Sat­ur­day demand­ed a Cen­tral Bureau of Inves­ti­ga­tion (CBI) probe into the Ram­garh lynch­ing case of a Mus­lim trad­er, rais­ing doubts over the police inves­ti­ga­tion, in which a local court con­vict­ed and award­ed life sen­tence to 11 peo­ple last month. . . .

. . . . “We respect the judi­cial process. But from what­ev­er I have gath­ered after con­sul­ta­tions and study­ing the var­i­ous facets (of the case), I firm­ly believe that com­plete jus­tice has not been done. I am not a police offi­cer, and I have not done a detailed inquiry, but as per my under­stand­ing, com­plete jus­tice has not been done. I con­sult­ed senior lawyers and also took advice from the par­ty (BJP) on the mat­ter. I have decid­ed to write to the (Jhark­hand) chief min­is­ter (Raghubar Das), request­ing him to rec­om­mend a CBI probe,” the min­is­ter said.

The court of addi­tion­al dis­trict judge Om Prakash held guilty all the accused under Sec­tion 302 (mur­der) and oth­er offences of the IPC, mak­ing it the first case in the coun­try in con­nec­tion with cow vig­i­lan­tism and relat­ed vio­lence in which the accused were con­vict­ed. The BJP-ruled Jhark­hand wit­nessed a series of lynch­ing of Mus­lim cat­tle traders in the months of May and June in 2017. . . .

6. The sym­bol­ic impor­tance of cow vig­i­lan­tism isn’t sim­ply a demon­stra­tion of the BJP’s will­ing­ness to cater to Hin­dut­va fas­cist ide­ol­o­gy. The focus on the cow is part of the atavis­tic, anti-mod­ernist, anti-plu­ral­ist nar­ra­tive the BJP and its ide­o­log­i­cal RSS par­ent have been pro­mot­ing.

Cow vig­i­lan­tism is cen­tral to a nar­ra­tive that exalts a myth­i­cal time of Brah­man­ic puri­ty that alleged­ly exist­ed before the arrival of the British and Mus­lims on the Indi­an sub­con­ti­nent.

Because low­er caste Hin­dus and Mus­lims who con­sume beef in India, the cow vig­i­lan­tism pro­vides a con­ve­nient proxy issue to excuse attacks on those seen as ‘oth­er’ by the Hin­du nation­al­ists.

As the arti­cle puts it, a cru­cial ingre­di­ent to Modi’s polit­i­cal suc­cess has been tap­ping into a nos­tal­gic impulse for a pur­er past. [27] The sacred­ness of the cow has come to sym­bol­ize that Hin­du nation­al­ist dri­ve for nation­al renew­al.

In our dis­cus­sions with Peter Lev­en­da [28], we have set forth the man­ner in which fas­cism mobi­lizes xeno­pho­bic [29], eugeni­cist long­ing for a myth­i­cal “pur­er past” [30] to gain and ral­ly adher­ents.

In past pro­grams, we have not­ed that for­mer Trump cam­paign man­ag­er and aide Steve Ban­non was a big sup­port­er of Modi [54]. Key Trump busi­ness part­ners [54] in India are mem­bers of the BJP which, again, is a polit­i­cal front for the Hin­dut­va fas­cist par­ty RSS.

“How “Cow Vig­i­lantes” Launched India’s Lynch­ing Epi­dem­ic” by Amar Diwakar; The New Repub­lic; 07/26/2017. [27]

India has been beset by a wave of grue­some lynch­ings. And at the epi­cen­ter of the country’s vio­lent upheaval is the indo­lent cow. Embold­ened by an ascen­dant Hin­du nation­al­ist move­ment, cou­pled with a con­tro­ver­sial gov­ern­ment ban [55] on cat­tle slaugh­ter, so-called cow-vig­i­lante groups have been car­ry­ing out a ruth­less form of mob jus­tice, sum­mar­i­ly exe­cut­ing those sus­pect­ed of killing, trad­ing, or con­sum­ing beef. India’s embat­tled minori­ties, par­tic­u­lar­ly Mus­lims, have borne the brunt of the vio­lence, con­firm­ing the worst sus­pi­cions about what Prime Min­is­ter Naren­dra Modi and his brand of Hin­du chau­vin­ism would unleash on the coun­try.

The atroc­i­ties have steadi­ly been mount­ing. In Sep­tem­ber 2015, Moham­mad Akhlaq [56] was hanged over rumors that he killed a cow and refrig­er­at­ed its meat. A month lat­er, 16-year-old Zahid Rasool Bhaat [57] was slain by vig­i­lante groups. In March of this year, sus­pect­ed cat­tle traders Muhammed Majloom and Azad Khan [58] were lynched. In April, 55-year old dairy farmer Pehlu Khan [59] was accused of smug­gling cows and was bru­tal­ly beat­en to death. In May, traders [60] were assault­ed for alleged beef stor­age, and Abu Han­i­fa and Riazud­din Ali [61] were killed for pur­port­ed­ly steal­ing cat­tle. In June, Ain­ul Ansari [62] was attacked on sus­pi­cion of trans­port­ing beef, while 15-year-old Junaid Khan [63] was stabbed to death by a mob after being brand­ed a beef eater.

Since Sep­tem­ber of last year, there have been more than a dozen lynch­ings across the coun­try. Modi, who was fet­ed by Don­ald Trump at the White House in June, has been omi­nous­ly qui­et on the issue. 

Two cas­es in particular—of Pehlu Khan and Junaid Khan—offer the stark­est evi­dence to date that an indeli­ble rot is grow­ing in the Indi­an Repub­lic. Pehlu Khan’s death at the hands of cow vig­i­lantes in Rajasthan occurred with the com­plic­i­ty of the crowd, who col­lec­tive­ly bayed for his exe­cu­tion. It was also cap­tured on cam­era, and sub­se­quent­ly watched by mil­lions on social media. Just as chill­ing was the mut­ed response that fol­lowed, as Aatish Taseer argued [64] in a col­umn for The New York Times:

Like all forms of the­ater, a lynch­ing depends on what is left unsaid; it cre­ates a mood, an atmos­phere. The silence that set­tles in after the euphor­ic act of vio­lence, which all have wit­nessed, tells a minor­i­ty group that it has been for­sak­en. It is this ele­ment of a sug­ges­tive and creep­ing threat, in which the state appa­ra­tus and a silent major­i­ty are com­plic­it, that has the pow­er to demor­al­ize a com­mu­ni­ty as much as the phys­i­cal acts of vio­lence.

In the case of Junaid Khan, police were unable to pro­duce a wit­ness for the grim spec­ta­cle of his stab­bing death, despite the fact that some 200 peo­ple had been assem­bled on the rail­way plat­form in Haryana where the killing took place. This kind of “unsee­ing” has become common—as Aar­ti Sethi writes [65], lynch­ings are a “social non-event in con­tem­po­rary India.” This is an extreme form of alien­ation, in which Hin­dus have cho­sen to dis­re­gard the dead body of a Mus­lim child. In doing so, they sym­bol­i­cal­ly with­drew Junaid’s mem­ber­ship from the socio-polit­i­cal order.

The country’s rul­ing right-wing Bharatiya Jana­ta Par­ty (BJP), under the stew­ard­ship of Modi and his open­ly Hin­dut­va (“Hin­du-first”) plat­form, have done lit­tle to stem the rise in com­mu­nal ten­sions. They have not denounced this bar­barism with con­vic­tion, only pay­ing reluc­tant lip ser­vice in the face of inces­sant pub­lic pres­sure [66].

In fact, much of the hys­te­ria over the cow, a sacred ani­mal in Hin­duism, was shrewd­ly engi­neered. Dur­ing Modi’s elec­tion cam­paign in 2014, he railed against a “pink rev­o­lu­tion [67],” a euphemism for India’s $5 bil­lion-a-year meat export indus­try (the col­or pink is a ref­er­ence to the col­or of beef), which was flour­ish­ing under Con­gress Par­ty rule. The indus­try is con­cen­trat­ed in Uttar Pradesh, pro­vid­ing direct or indi­rect employ­ment to around 2.5 mil­lion peo­ple. The sec­tor is dom­i­nat­ed by Mus­lims but also pro­vides work to low-caste Hin­dus, which means the surge in cow pro­tec­tion­ism has had a dis­pro­por­tion­ate impact on those com­mu­ni­ties. [Yogi Ady­i­nath was appoint­ed chief min­is­ter of the province by Modi–D.E.]

“Do you want to sup­port peo­ple who want to bring about a Pink Rev­o­lu­tion?” Modi bel­lowed [68] on the cam­paign trail.

It should come as no sur­prise that, in the three years since the BJP took the reins of pow­er, India has wit­nessed a grow­ing cli­mate of intol­er­ance [69] against minori­ties. Whip­ping up com­mu­nal strife is a nec­es­sary part of the Hin­du nation­al­ist play­book. But the roots of the cur­rent cri­sis, in which the life of a cow is con­sid­ered more sacred than that of a teenaged boy, go much deep­er than Modi, reach­ing into the fun­da­men­tal bat­tle for mod­ern India’s soul, between illib­er­al Hin­dut­va forces and a plu­ral­is­tic tra­di­tion that has rarely looked so vul­ner­a­ble.

This is why Modi’s adher­ents have con­struct­ed a grand mono­lith­ic nar­ra­tive to jus­ti­fy their actions, one that pro­claims cul­tur­al con­ti­nu­ity of tra­di­tion and that piv­ots upon a ret­ro­grade Brah­man­i­cal core. The com­plex his­to­ry of the priest­ly caste is papered over with stri­dent asser­tions of Brah­man­i­cal puri­ty, of which veg­e­tar­i­an­ism and the sanc­ti­ty of the cow are indis­pens­able com­po­nents.

Under this world­view, the gold­en age of Hin­du rule in the Vedic peri­od, sub­se­quent­ly sul­lied by for­eign pollutants—the British, yes, but the rapa­cious Mus­lim in particular—is to be chan­neled into twen­ty-first-cen­tu­ry renew­al, pilot­ed by an arbi­trary set of “Hin­du val­ues.” And fore­most among these is the invi­o­la­bil­i­ty of the cow.

How­ev­er, this schema suf­fers from a sig­nif­i­cant flaw: A pris­tine and con­tigu­ous Hin­du civ­i­liza­tion in which the cow’s sanc­ti­ty was upheld is dis­put­ed by the his­tor­i­cal record [70]. It is lit­tle more than embell­ished myth­mak­ing. Much like oth­er appeals to a bygone era of civ­i­liza­tion­al suprema­cy and homo­gene­ity, it is thor­ough­ly a prod­uct of moder­ni­ty. . . .

. . . . The BJP, as well as its ide­o­log­i­cal par­ent orga­ni­za­tion the Rashtriya Swayam­se­vak Sangh, ped­dle a ver­sion of nation­al­ism that pri­or­i­tizes exclu­siv­i­ty, in which Indi­ans are rigid­ly defined by eth­nic­i­ty and reli­gion. The trope of the cow is thus a con­ve­nient instru­ment, mea­sur­ing the alle­giance to the nation along gastronomical—and there­by spiritual—lines. Non-Hin­dus are deemed a sur­plus pop­u­la­tion, and vio­lence against them is sanc­tioned in an attempt to cleanse the true body politic.

We have seen ver­sions of this sto­ry play out across the world, in response to the fail­ures of tech­no­crat­ic elites and the sup­posed cham­pi­ons of plu­ral­is­tic democ­ra­cy. In India’s case, the Con­gress Par­ty became mired in cor­rup­tion scan­dals, paving the way for Modi and the BJP to present them­selves as prag­mat­ic reform­ers. And indeed, that is how Modi is gen­er­al­ly con­veyed in the inter­na­tion­al press, with a focus on his attempts to over­haul India’s scle­rot­ic tax sys­tem and to root out endem­ic cor­rup­tion.

But the cru­cial ingre­di­ent is the way Modi has tapped into the nos­tal­gic impulse. Svet­lana Boym, a Russ­ian-Amer­i­can philol­o­gist, has described this as the “his­tor­i­cal emo­tion” of moder­ni­ty, and argued that attempts to cre­ate a “phan­tom home­land” through ahis­tor­i­cal restora­tion would only breed mon­strous con­se­quences. As she writes in The Future of Nos­tal­gia [31], it is a “restora­tive nos­tal­gia” that “is at the core of recent nation­al and reli­gious revivals. It knows two main plots—the return to ori­gins and the con­spir­a­cy.”

And so we inhab­it a land­scape where MAGA caps, Lit­tle Eng­land, the Hin­du Rash­tra, and the Islam­ic Caliphate have arrest­ed the imag­i­na­tion of mil­lions. These are all over­tures to an Edenic past, promis­ing an order that pre­serves tra­di­tion by puri­fy­ing soci­ety of con­ta­gion. . . .

Modi’s two cen­tral agendas—economic devel­op­ment and Hin­du cul­tur­al revival— com­pete with one anoth­er for head­lines. Yet his com­mit­ment to pan­der­ing to the far right has nev­er tru­ly been in ques­tion. The cre­ation of com­mu­nal dis­cord crys­tal­lizes the BJP’s ambi­tion to alter his­to­ry and hege­mo­nize “Indi­an val­ues” as exclu­sive­ly Hin­du val­ues. The par­ty has eager­ly deployed Hin­du sym­bols and myths to con­vert nos­tal­gia into elec­toral sup­port. So far this approach has been extreme­ly suc­cess­ful: Close to half of Indi­ans [71] now dwell in BJP-con­trolled states, devoid of an effec­tive oppo­si­tion.

7. Yogi Adityanath is the Modi-appoint­ed RSS gov­er­nor of Uttar Prad­desh [9], known for encour­ag­ing vig­i­lante death squads against Mus­lims. A week of riots broke out in the city of Kas­ganj in the state of Uttar Pradesh on Jan. 26, India’s Repub­lic Day. The accounts of how the riots start­ed are in dis­pute.

It is clear is that Mod­i’s appoint­ment of Adityanath as chief min­is­ter of Uttar Pradesh great­ly exac­er­bat­ed the Hin­du-Mus­lim ten­sions in that city.

“After Reli­gious Clash in India, Rumors Cre­ate a False ‘Mar­tyr’” by Suhasi­ni Raj and Kai Schultz; The New York Times; 02/05/2018. [72]

Rahul Upad­hyay, a wiry jour­nal­ist with a shock of black hair, was at home when he received news of his death.

Dur­ing cel­e­bra­tions on India’s Repub­lic Day, Jan. 26, a clash broke out between Hin­dus and Mus­lims in the city of Kas­ganj. Schools, shops and a mosque were dam­aged. One per­son was killed; anoth­er near­ly had his eye gouged out.

Mr. Upad­hyay, 24, stayed away from the vio­lence, bunker­ing down inside his home in a near­by vil­lage. But the fol­low­ing evening, a friend called to share a pecu­liar bit of news: “You have been ele­vat­ed to being a mar­tyr.”

In the span of a few hours, mes­sages on What­sApp and Face­book mourn­ing “mar­tyr Rahul,” and say­ing he had been killed in clash­es, went viral across Uttar Pradesh State, which includes Kas­ganj.

Can­dle­light vig­ils pay­ing respect to Mr. Upad­hyay, who is Hin­du, lit up the streets of sev­en dis­tricts, some with the par­tic­i­pa­tion of local politi­cians.

By the time Mr. Upad­hyay found out, there was lit­tle he could do: The riots had become so bad in Kas­ganj that the author­i­ties shut down the inter­net.

“No media house or politi­cian both­ered to vis­it my place or call me first to con­firm that I was indeed dead,” he said. “The mar­ket­place of rumors had heat­ed up beyond con­trol.”

Kas­ganj was not always like this. For much of its his­to­ry, Mus­lims and Hin­dus coex­ist­ed peace­ful­ly in this dusty city about 100 miles east of New Del­hi. As the price of land shot up in the area, the city pros­pered. Now, rows of mus­tard-col­ored crops, mark­ers of the region’s agrar­i­an roots, frame Hon­da deal­er­ships cater­ing to a pop­u­la­tion eager to trade bicy­cles for motor­bikes.

In the years since Prime Min­is­ter Naren­dra Modi’s Hin­du nation­al­ist Bharatiya Jana­ta Par­ty rose to pow­er in 2014, vio­lent out­breaks between Hin­dus and Mus­lims have become more com­mon in some pock­ets of India.

But locals said the ener­gy did not change in Kas­ganj until last year, when Yogi Adityanath, a fire­brand politi­cian with ties to far-right Hin­du nation­al­ist groups, was cho­sen as chief min­is­ter of Uttar Pradesh, home to over 200 mil­lion peo­ple.

The clash­es began with a flag. On Jan. 26, a group of Mus­lims gath­ered in an open square in Kas­ganj, unstack­ing rows of red plas­tic chairs and prepar­ing to hoist a flag into the air to cel­e­brate Repub­lic Day, which marks the enact­ment of India’s con­sti­tu­tion in 1950.

Around the same time, dozens of men on motor­bikes affil­i­at­ed with a far-right Hin­du stu­dent group approached the assem­bly, ask­ing that the Mus­lims move the chairs so they could pass. Accounts of what hap­pened next vary.

Accord­ing to a police report filed by Sushil Gup­ta, the father of Abhishek Gup­ta, the man who was actu­al­ly killed, a group of Mus­lims began taunt­ing the Hin­dus, shout­ing “Long Live Pak­istan,” and telling them that they would have to chant “Hail Pak­istan” if they want­ed to pass.

Sham­sul Arafeen, 70, a Mus­lim tai­lor who was part of the crowd, remem­bered the encounter dif­fer­ent­ly, describ­ing a “big mob” of Hin­dus who demand­ed that the Mus­lims move the chairs before boil­ing the argu­ment down to reli­gion. Oth­ers said the Hin­dus told the Mus­lims to go back to Pak­istan.

“They start­ed abus­ing us, say­ing, ‘If you want to live in Hin­dus­tan, you must chant ‘Hail Sita and Ram,’” Mr. Arafeen said, using anoth­er name for India and refer­ring to two Hin­du gods.

The con­fronta­tion became phys­i­cal soon after­ward, with riot­ers from both sides throw­ing stones at each oth­er and burn­ing shops to the ground. Videos of the con­fronta­tions spread rapid­ly. The author­i­ties shut down inter­net ser­vice in the area for hours.

By the end of the clash­es, which stretched over a week, over 100 peo­ple had been arrest­ed, both Hin­du and Mus­lim. Mohar Singh Tomar, an inves­ti­gat­ing offi­cer with Kasganj’s police force, said it was unclear who start­ed the clash­es, brush­ing aside sug­ges­tions that either reli­gious group had received unfair treat­ment.

Pur­nen­dra Prat­ap Singh Solan­ki, the dis­trict pres­i­dent of the Bharatiya Jana­ta Par­ty, took a hard­er line, char­ac­ter­iz­ing the con­fronta­tion as a “pre­planned con­spir­a­cy” by a grow­ing Mus­lim pop­u­la­tion to tar­get Hin­dus.

“What is very prob­lem­at­ic for us is that Mus­lims are ruled by their reli­gion first,” he said. “They con­sid­er them­selves Mus­lims before Indi­ans, where­as the Hin­dus con­sid­er them­selves Indi­ans first and then Hin­dus.”

“The solu­tion to such prob­lems is to con­trol their pop­u­la­tion,” Mr. Solan­ki added. “Their reli­gious edu­ca­tion at the madras­sas must be com­bined with nation­al­ism, pep­pered with nation­al­ism. The prob­lem is they don’t want to get edu­cat­ed at all.”

React­ing to the vio­lence in Kas­ganj, R. V. Singh, the dis­trict mag­is­trate in Bareil­ly, also in Uttar Pradesh, described a recent episode involv­ing a Hin­du march in a vil­lage in his dis­trict.

“A strange trend has start­ed of car­ry­ing out pro­ces­sions through Mus­lim local­i­ties and rais­ing anti-Pak­istan slo­gans,” he wrote in a Face­book post that was sub­se­quent­ly delet­ed after he faced pres­sure from the state gov­ern­ment. “Why? Are these peo­ple from Pak­istan?”

At the same time, the always rocky rela­tion­ship between Hin­du-major­i­ty India and Mus­lim-major­i­ty Pak­istan has notably wors­ened in recent months.

Around Kas­ganj, many peo­ple said they were ter­ri­fied to leave their homes and return to work. . . .

. . . . As for Mr. Upad­hyay, he still has not fig­ured out who first report­ed his death or why he had been sin­gled out. Over the last week­end in Jan­u­ary, he field­ed over 400 calls from peo­ple ask­ing if he had died. “My moth­er had to serve end­less cups of tea to vis­i­tors and con­vince them that I was alive,” he said.

Even­tu­al­ly, Mr. Upad­hyay fig­ured that if he could not con­trol social media, he might as well par­tic­i­pate.

“I am Rahul Upad­hyay,” he said in a record­ed mes­sage sent out into cyber­space. “I am well and I have not even received a scratch.”

Still, he said, the dam­age was done. Hun­dreds of miles away, in the city of Gorakh­pur, posters with his pho­to­graph had already been dis­trib­uted.

Near his face was a warn­ing: “We will take revenge for the death of mar­tyr Rahul Upad­hyay.”

Around the same time, dozens of men on motor­bikes affil­i­at­ed with a far-right Hin­du stu­dent group approached the assem­bly, ask­ing that the Mus­lims move the chairs so they could pass. Accounts of what hap­pened next vary.

Accord­ing to a police report filed by Sushil Gup­ta, the father of Abhishek Gup­ta, the man who was actu­al­ly killed, a group of Mus­lims began taunt­ing the Hin­dus, shout­ing “Long Live Pak­istan,” and telling them that they would have to chant “Hail Pak­istan” if they want­ed to pass.

Sham­sul Arafeen, 70, a Mus­lim tai­lor who was part of the crowd, remem­bered the encounter dif­fer­ent­ly, describ­ing a “big mob” of Hin­dus who demand­ed that the Mus­lims move the chairs before boil­ing the argu­ment down to reli­gion. Oth­ers said the Hin­dus told the Mus­lims to go back to Pak­istan.

“They start­ed abus­ing us, say­ing, ‘If you want to live in Hin­dus­tan, you must chant ‘Hail Sita and Ram,’” Mr. Arafeen said, using anoth­er name for India and refer­ring to two Hin­du gods.

The con­fronta­tion became phys­i­cal soon after­ward, with riot­ers from both sides throw­ing stones at each oth­er and burn­ing shops to the ground. Videos of the con­fronta­tions spread rapid­ly. The author­i­ties shut down inter­net ser­vice in the area for hours. . . .

8. With 2017 now in the rear view mir­ror, we cap our revul­sion at the Bay Area’s 50th anniver­sary cel­e­bra­tions of the Sum­mer of Love (1967.) In FTR #991 [10], we detailed the Hin­dut­va fascist/Nazi phi­los­o­phy of Hare Krish­na cult founder and head guru A.C. Bhak­tivedan­ta Swa­mi Prab­hu­pa­da.

On 1/29/1967, Prab­hu­pa­da and his cult were the ben­e­fi­cia­ries of monies gen­er­at­ed by a con­cert and dance fea­tur­ing the lead­ing San Fran­cis­co psy­che­del­ic-era rock bands. The event also fea­tured par­tic­i­pa­tion by LSD guru Tim­o­thy Leary, whose activ­i­ties and career are inex­tri­ca­bly linked with the CIA.

We dis­cussed this at length in AFA #28 [73]:

AFA 28: The CIA, the Mil­i­tary & Drugs, Pt. 5
The CIA & LSD
Part 5a
46:15 | Part 5b [74] 45:52 | Part 5c [75] 42:56 | Part 5d [76] 45:11 | Part 5e [77] 11:25
(Record­ed April 26, 1987)

 It is so very, very trag­ic that ide­al­is­tic young peo­ple were led astray in such a fash­ion. It is out­ra­geous that the process was effect­ed by ele­ments of CIA, employ­ing a chemical–LSD–developed by the Nazi SS dur­ing World War II as a dis­abling agent. It works very well.

It is grotesque that so many of the peo­ple who lived through those events have failed to come to terms with what was done to them and the impli­ca­tions of that expe­ri­ence. The ram­i­fi­ca­tions of those events are still very much with us.

   “Mantra Rock;” The Hare Krish­na Move­ment. [78]

Mantra Rock Con­cert

Sun­day, Jan­u­ary 29, 1967 marked the major spir­i­tu­al event of the San Fran­cis­co hip­pie era, and Sri­la Prab­hu­pa­da, who was ready to go any­where to spread Krish­na Con­scious­ness, was there.

The Grate­ful Dead, Moby Grape, Janis Joplin and Big Broth­er and the Hold­ing Com­pa­ny, Jef­fer­son Air­plane, Quick­sil­ver Mes­sen­ger Ser­vice — all the new-wave San Fran­cis­co bands — had agreed to appear with Sri­la Prab­hu­pa­da at the Aval­on Ballroom’s Mantra-Rock Dance, pro­ceeds from which would go to the local Hare Krish­na tem­ple.

Thou­sands of hip­pies, antic­i­pat­ing an excit­ing evening, packed the hall.

At about 10 p.m., Sri­la Prab­hu­pa­da and a small entourage of devo­tees arrived amid upro­r­i­ous applause and cheer­ing by a crowd that had wait­ed weeks in great antic­i­pa­tion for this moment. Sri­la Prab­hu­pa­da was giv­en a seat of hon­or onstage and was intro­duced by Allen Gins­berg, who explained his own real­iza­tions about the Hare Krish­na maha-mantra and how it had spread from the small store­front in New York to San Fran­cis­co.

The chant­i­ng start­ed slow­ly but ryhth­mi­cal­ly, and lit­tle by lit­tle it spread through­out the ball­room, envelop­ing every­one. Hip­pies got to their feet, held hands, and began to dance as enor­mous, puls­ing pic­tures of Krish­na were pro­ject­ed around the walls of the ball­room in per­fect sync with the beat of the mantra.

By the time Sri­la Prab­hu­pa­da stood and began to dance with his arms raised, the crowd was com­plete­ly absorbed in chant­i­ng, danc­ing and play­ing musi­cal instru­ments they had brought for the occa­sion.

As the tem­po speed­ed up, the chant­i­ng and danc­ing became more and more intense, spurred on by a stage­ful of top rock musi­cians, who were as charmed by the mag­ic of the maha-mantra as the ama­teur musi­cians had been at the Tomp­kins Square kir­tanas only a few weeks before.

The chant rose; it seemed to surge and swell with­out lim­it. When it seemed it could go no fur­ther, the chant­i­ng stopped. Sri­la Prab­hu­pa­da offered prayers to his spir­i­tu­al mas­ter into the micro­phone and end­ed-by say­ing three times, “All glo­ries to the assem­bled devo­tees!” The Haight-Ash­bury neigh­bor­hood buzzed with talk of the mantra-Rock Dance for weeks after­ward.

Allen Gins­berg lat­er recalled, “We sang Hare Krish­na all evening. It was absolute­ly great — an open thing. It was the height of the Haight-Ash­bury spir­i­tu­al enthu­si­asm.”

9. Tim­o­thy Leary was present at the “Mantra Rock” event.

“Mantra-Rock Dance;” Wikipedia.com. [79]

. . . . The par­tic­i­pa­tion of coun­ter­cul­tur­al lead­ers con­sid­er­ably boost­ed the even­t’s pop­u­lar­i­ty; among them were the poet Allen Gins­berg [80], who led the singing of the Hare Krish­na mantra [81] onstage along with Prab­hu­pa­da, and LSD [82] pro­mot­ers Tim­o­thy Leary [83] and Augus­tus Owsley Stan­ley III [84].[3] [85][10] [86]

10. Excerpt­ed from the descrip­tion for FTR #991 [10]: