Spitfire List Web site and blog of anti-fascist researcher and radio personality Dave Emory.

For The Record  

FTR #1070 Update on Hindutva Fascism and Socialists for Trump and Hitler (The “Assistance”)

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Lis­ten: MP3 This pro­gram was record­ed in one, 60-minute seg­ment.

Sub­has Chan­dra Bose T‑Shirt

Intro­duc­tion: Wrap­ping up a long, com­plex series on fas­cist and appar­ent intel­li­gence con­nec­tions to the crop of self-pro­claimed “social­ists” who have emerged to dom­i­nate media and inter­net cov­er­age in recent months, we review key points of “Boseian” Indi­an fas­cism, the Hin­dut­va fas­cism of Naren­dra Modi and the unap­pe­tiz­ing pos­si­bil­i­ty of the two con­duits flow­ing togeth­er to make the world’s sec­ond most pop­u­lous coun­try a Nazi polit­i­cal, his­tor­i­cal and cul­tur­al epi­cen­ter.

A recent New York Times piece encap­su­lat­ed the sig­nif­i­cance of India, per se, not­ing the emer­gence and dom­i­nance of the Modi/BJP/RSS Hin­dut­va fas­cism: ” . . . . ‘This is some­thing that Jawa­har­lal Nehru had pre­dict­ed,’ Mr. Mukher­jee said, refer­ring to India’s first prime min­is­ter. ‘He said if fas­cism ever came to India it would come in the form of majori­tar­i­an Hin­du com­mu­nal­ism. That is exact­ly what is hap­pen­ing.’ . . .  India is the sec­ond most pop­u­lous nation, after Chi­na. It is a piv­otal geopo­lit­i­cal play­er; its econ­o­my is huge and every­one wants to do busi­ness here; and it has a long sec­u­lar his­to­ry. . . .”

Before return­ing to the sub­ject of the Naz­i­fi­ca­tion of India, we note a pri­ma­ry ele­ment of the analy­sis in the “Social­ists for Trump and Hitler (‘The Assis­tance’)” series:

Fun­da­men­tal to an under­stand­ing of the crit­i­cism Mr. Emory has expressed of the Bernie Sanders and AOC phe­nom­e­na is the strate­gic use of anti-Com­mu­nism by the Under­ground Reich and relat­ed ele­ments, dis­cussed in, among oth­er pro­grams, AFA #37.

In the ear­ly 1960’s, there was a plot afoot on the part of Nazi ele­ments to use anti-Com­mu­nism to enslave Amer­i­ca. Might some of the ele­ments we have seen in this series have coa­lesced in such a con­text? One can­not use anti-Com­mu­nism to enslave Amer­i­ca with­out “Com­mu­nists.” Is this why we see far-right and explic­it­ly fas­cist ele­ments grouped around Bernie Sanders and AOC?

Gen­er­al Walk­er and the Mur­der of Pres­i­dent Kennedy by Jef­frey H. Cau­field, M.D.; More­land Press [HC]; Copy­right 2015 Jef­frey H. Cau­field; ISBN-13: 978–0‑9915637–0‑8; pp. 86–87.

. . . . Gar­ri­son did not pro­vide an expla­na­tion for all of the [David Fer­rie] note’s sub­ject mat­ter. How­ev­er, he did know the mean­ing of “fly­ing Barag­o­na in the Beech.” “Beech” refers to the mod­el of Fer­rie’s air­plane, a Beechcraft. Barag­o­na was a Nazi from Fort Sill. . . .

. . . . Gar­ri­son also obtained a tran­script of a let­ter writ­ten by Fer­rie to Barag­o­na. Next to Barag­o­na’s name, Gar­ri­son wrote: “Note Barag­o­na is impor­tant.” The let­ter had been sent to Gar­ri­son by Glenn Pinch­back, and a car­bon copy was sent to Mendel Rivers, a con­gress­man from Geor­gia. (Pinch­back worked in the Oper­a­tions Com­mand at Fort Sill, where he inter­cept­ed mail.) In the let­ter, Fer­rie shared his dream of the re-uni­fi­ca­tion of Ger­many and liv­ing in a world where all the cur­ren­cy was in Deutschmarks. Pinch­back­’s sum­ma­tion of the let­ter described a “Neo-Nazi plot to enslave Amer­i­ca in the name of anti-Com­mu­nism,” and “a neo-Nazi plot gar­gan­tu­an in scope.” The Fer­rie let­ter spoke of the need to kill all the Kennedys and Mar­tin Luther King, Jr. . . . Pinch­back also report­ed­ly obtained a let­ter from David Fer­rie to Barag­o­na con­fess­ing his role in the assas­si­na­tion of Robert Gehrig, who was a Nazi and Fort Sill sol­dier. . . .”

With Saikat Chakrabar­ti, who is the “pow­er behind the throne” for AOC being an appar­ent devo­tee of Sub­has Chan­dra Bose (“The Duce of Ben­gal”), it is of para­mount impor­tance to under­stand both the nature of Bose’s WWII activ­i­ties and the con­tem­po­rary Under­ground Reich exten­sions of his polit­i­cal and eco­nom­ic influ­ence.

In that con­text, we note, for pur­pos­es of review and clar­i­fi­ca­tion:

  1. Naren­dra Mod­i’s net­work­ing with Surya Kumar Bose, Sub­has Chan­dra Bose’s grand­nephew, promis­ing to declas­si­fy files on Bose.
  2. Surya Bose’s pres­i­den­cy of the Indo-Ger­man asso­ci­a­tion” . . . . Surya, who has a soft­ware con­sul­tan­cy busi­ness in Ham­burg and is pres­i­dent of the Indo-Ger­man Asso­ci­a­tion . . . .”
  3. The gen­e­sis of the Indo-Ger­man asso­ci­a­tion in Ger­many dur­ing World War II. Note that this orga­ni­za­tion must, as a mat­ter of course, net­work with the remark­able and dead­ly Bor­mann orga­ni­za­tion” . . . . The DIG was set up on Sep­tem­ber 11, 1942, by Sub­hash Chan­dra Bose at Hotel Atlanta in Ham­burg.’ . . . . Bose recounts, adding that the DIG today is the largest bilat­er­al organ­i­sa­tion in Ger­many, with 27 branch­es. As a con­sul­tant he often guides Ger­mans keen on work­ing in the boom­ing Indi­an IT sec­tor. He is also a founder-mem­ber of the Ger­man-Indi­an Round Table, an infor­mal gath­er­ing that seeks to fur­ther mutu­al busi­ness inter­ests. . . .”
  4. Surya Kuma Bose’s net­work­ing with Alexan­der Werth, the Ger­man trans­la­tor for Sub­has Chan­dra Bose’s Ger­man forces, which were fold­ed into the Waf­fen SS at the end of World War II. ” . . . . Back in the day, Netaji’s stay in Ger­many had proved instru­men­tal in shap­ing his strug­gle. Decades lat­er, that lega­cy would play a piv­otal role in shap­ing his grandnephew’s career. Bose came to Ger­many on the advice of Alexan­der Werth, Netaji’s Ger­man inter­preter in the Indi­an Legion. . . .”
  5. The col­lab­o­ra­tion of Surya Kumar Bose, Alexan­der Werth and World War II asso­ciates of Sub­has Chan­dra Bose in both Ger­many and Japan in the com­pi­la­tion of a biog­ra­phy that fun­da­men­tal­ly revis­es the his­to­ry of “the Neta­ji.” ” . . . . Its six parts deal with his expe­ri­ences in India, Ger­many and Japan and have been co-authored by peo­ple who either worked with, or were close asso­ciates of, his dur­ing his stay in their respec­tive coun­tries. The aim of the biog­ra­phy is to place Sub­has Chan­dra Bose in a cor­rect his­tor­i­cal per­spec­tive with regard to his much pub­li­cized rev­o­lu­tion­ary activ­i­ties, and to pro­vide an under­stand­ing of an extreme­ly com­plex man, much maligned by Britain and great­ly mis­un­der­stood by her allies. . . .”
  6. The true char­ac­ter of Saikat Chakrabar­ti’s appar­ent idol Sub­has Chan­dra Bose’s pol­i­tics is to be found in his 1935 net­work­ing with Mus­soli­ni: “. . . . Neta­ji Bose, by his own admis­sion in his book, ‘Indi­an Strug­gle’ (pub­lished in 1935 in Lon­don), believed India need­ed a polit­i­cal sys­tem that was a mix of fas­cism and com­mu­nism — some­thing that he called samyavad. Neta­ji made a spe­cial trip to Rome in 1935 to present a copy of his book to Ital­ian dic­ta­tor Ben­i­to Mus­soli­ni, whom he great­ly admired and whose ideals he would fol­low for the rest of his life. . . .”
  7. Sub­has Chan­dra Bose’s pol­i­tics were the antithe­sis of what we would expect from the AOC camp: “. . . . In a speech the same year in Sin­ga­pore, Bose spoke about India need­ing a ruth­less dic­ta­tor for 20 years after lib­er­a­tion. Then Sin­ga­pore dai­ly, Sun­day Express (now defunct), print­ed his speech where he said, ‘So long as there is a third par­ty, ie the British, these dis­sen­sions will not end. These will go on grow­ing. They will dis­ap­pear only when an iron dic­ta­tor rules over India for 20 years. For a few years at least, after the end of British rule in India, there must be a dic­ta­tor­ship . . . . No oth­er con­sti­tu­tion can flour­ish in this coun­try and it is so to India’s good that she shall be ruled by a dic­ta­tor, to begin with . . . .”

Through the years, we have high­light­ed the Nazi tract Ser­pen­t’s Walk, which deals, in part, with the reha­bil­i­ta­tion of the Third Reich’s rep­u­ta­tion and the trans­for­ma­tion of Hitler into a hero.

In FTR #1015, we not­ed that a Ser­pen­t’s Walk sce­nario is indeed unfold­ing in India.

Key points of analy­sis and dis­cus­sion include:

  1. Naren­dra Mod­i’s pres­ence on the same book cove(along with Gand­hi, Man­dela, Oba­ma and Hitler.)
  2. Modi him­self has his own polit­i­cal his­to­ry 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. 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: ” . . . . as far back as 2002, the Times of India report­ed a sur­vey 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, 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), 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” . . . . What’s more, there’s a steady trick­le of reports that say it has become a must-read for busi­ness-school stu­dents; 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? . . . .”

With Bose being pre­sent­ed as exem­plary of an his­tor­i­cal revi­sion that his­tor­i­cal­ly recon­fig­ures fas­cism as an anti-impe­ri­al­ist force,  we won­der if the pro-Hitler sen­ti­ment in India, the Hin­dut­va fas­cism of Naren­dra Modi and the revi­sion­ism of “Boseian” fas­cism will dove­tail coa­lesce along the lines of Ser­pen­t’s Walk?

We also won­der if the media-dri­ven promi­nence of Bernie Sanders and AOC will pre­cip­i­tate “anti-Com­mu­nism” as  a  vehi­cle for enslav­ing Amer­i­ca on behalf of the  Under­ground Reich?

Pro­gram High­lights Include: Analy­sis of Saikat Chakrabar­ti’s work at online pay­ment start-up Stripe that sug­gests the pos­si­bil­i­ty that Chakrabar­ti  may be close to Peter Thiel, who head­ed a con­sor­tium of ear­ly investors in Stripe; review of Thiel’s work for Face­book and sur­veil­lance com­pa­ny Palan­tir; review of Thiel’s oppo­si­tion to democ­ra­cy and wom­en’s suf­frage; review of Thiel’s links to Trump and affin­i­ty for Third Reich legal the­o­reti­cian Carl Schmitt; an update on the mur­der of Gau­ri Lankesh, exem­pli­fy­ing the polit­i­cal ter­ror that coa­lesced in India under the Modi regime; the appar­ent role of RSS-linked ele­ments in Lankesh’s mur­der; the doc­tri­naire anti-Semi­tism used to assail [non-Jew­ish] pro­fes­sor Audrey Truschke’s research on the role of the Mus­lim Mughal emper­ors in North­ern India; the ascent of mys­ti­cal, bogus sci­ence under Mod­i’s Hin­dut­va regime; review of the mytho­log­i­cal idol­iza­tion of the Ksha­triya war­rior caste by the Nazi SS; review of the Hare Krish­na sec­t’s emha­sis on the mur­der­ous revival of the Ksha­triya caste (Bernie Sanders backer Tul­si Gab­bard is a mem­ber of the Hare Krish­na cult and a key U.S. liai­son fig­ure for Naren­dra Modi and the RSS; the ety­mo­log­i­cal link of “Chakrabar­ti” to “Khas­triya.”

1a. We have seen many named “Chakrabar­ti” or vari­ants there­of in con­nec­tion with pro-Sub­has Chan­dra Bose activ­i­ty. We won­dered if there might be a San­skrit and/or Hin­di ety­mo­log­i­cal link between the “Ksha­triya” war­rior caste and “Chakrabar­ti.” Here is what we found: ” . . . . Peo­ple with the sur­name Chakraborty com­mon­ly belong to the Brah­min and Ksha­triya of high­er var­na caste. It is spelled in var­i­ous ways, includ­ing Chakraborti,Chakrabarti,Chakrabarty. . . .”

Chakraborty Gene­ol­o­gy and Chakraborty Fam­i­ly His­to­ry Infor­ma­tion

About the Chakraborty sur­name

Chakraborty is a com­mon sur­name of Ben­gali Hin­dus in India and Bangladesh. Peo­ple with the sur­name Chakraborty com­mon­ly belong to the Brah­min and Ksha­triya of high­er var­na caste. It is spelled in var­i­ous ways, includ­ing Chakraborti,Chakrabarti,Chakrabarty.

1b. Bhak­tivedan­ta Swa­mi (founder of the Hare Krish­na cult to which Sandernista Tul­si Gab­bard belongs) val­ued the tra­di­tion­al posi­tion of the Ksha­triya war­rior caste, to which the Nazi SS con­sid­ered them­selves as suc­ces­sors, accord­ing to Kevin Coogan’s bril­liant analy­sis (in Dream­er of the Day: Fran­cis Park­er Yock­ey and the Post­war Fas­cist Inter­na­tion­al.)

The Hare Krish­na Move­ment: The Postcharis­mat­ic Fate of A Reli­gious Trans­plant edit­ed by Edwin F. Bryant and Maria L. Ekstrand; Colum­bia Uni­ver­si­ty Press [HC]; Copy­right 2004 by Colum­bia Uni­ver­si­ty Press; ISBN 0–231-12256‑X; pp. 366–367.

. . . . When asked by a dis­ci­ple how the ksha­triya train­ing in the planned var­nasharam col­lege was to be orga­nized, he replied:

“. . . . the ksha­triyas should be taught how to fight also. There will be mil­i­tary train­ing. There will be  train­ing how to kill.”

Ksha­triya stu­dents in the ISKCON var­nashram col­lege were to prac­tice killing:

“Just like Ksha­triyas, they have to learn how to kill. So prac­ti­cal­ly, they should go to the for­est and kill some ani­mal. And if he likes, he can eat also.”

There is no sin­gle instance where Bhak­tivedan­ta Swa­mi speaks about ksha­triya train­ing with­out men­tion­ing killing. While he might not have con­sid­ered it to be the most impor­tant aspect of that edu­ca­tion, he does stress this aspect:.

“ . . . . Some dis­turb­ing ele­ments you can kill you can kill some tiger. Like that. Learn to kill. No non­vi­o­lence. Learn to kill. Here also, as soon you’ll find, the Ksha­triya, a thief, a rogue, unwant­ed ele­ment in the soci­ety, kill him. That’s all. Fin­ish. Kill him. Bas. Fin­ished.

 It is not that because the Ksha­triyas were killing by bows and arrows for­mer­ly you have to con­tin­ue that. That is anoth­er fool­ish­ness. If you have got . . . If you can kill eas­i­ly by guns, take that gun.

 All the roy­al princes were trained up how to kill.

 The killing is there, but the Brah­min is not going to kill per­son­al­ly. . . .

Only the Ksha­triyas. The Ksha­triyas should be so trained up.

 A Ksha­triya, he is expert in the mil­i­tary sci­ence, how to kill. So the killing art is there. You can­not make it null and void by advo­cat­ing non­vi­o­lence. No That is required. Vio­lence is also a part of the soci­ety. . . .”

1c. Online pay­ment com­pa­ny Stripe was a point of pro­fes­sion­al rela­tion­ship between “Mr. AOC”–Saikat Chakrabarti–and Peter Thiel. (As we have seen, Chakrabar­ti was AOC’s cam­paign manger, is her chief of staff, found­ed both PAC’s back­ing AOC and heads a polit­i­cal con­sult­ing com­pa­ny that received almost a mil­lion dol­lars from Chakrabar­ti’s two PACs.)

Again, as high­light­ed in the series “Social­ists for Trump and Hitler, (The “Assis­tance”)”, Chakrabar­ti is an appar­ent polit­i­cal acolyte of Sub­has Chan­dra Bose–“The Duce of Ben­gal.”

Accord­ing to Chakrabarti’s LinkedIn pro­file, he joined Stripe, the online pay­ment com­pa­ny, as a “Found­ing Engi­neer” in Feb­ru­ary of 2011 and worked there until May 2013. He built up the prod­uct team at Stripe dur­ing this peri­od accord­ing to the Politi­co pro­file on Chakrabar­ti, so he was clear­ly a very impor­tant per­son at the com­pa­ny at this ear­ly stage.

Here’s the pos­si­ble Thiel con­nec­tion: Stripe was start­ed in 2010 by Patrick and John Col­li­son in 2010. Accord­ing to a linked arti­cle on the begin­nings of the com­pa­ny, the broth­ers start­ed work­ing on Stripe in ear­ly 2010, spent about six months devel­op­ing the core idea, and at that point they real­ized they were on to some­thing big but need­ed insti­tu­tion­al back­ing. The broth­ers went to Y Com­bi­na­tor to raise their cap­i­tal. Y Com­bi­na­tor is a ‘start­up accel­er­a­tor’ that Patrick had already used to start an ear­li­er com­pa­ny, Auc­tomat­ic. Y‑Combinator only invest­ed $20,000-$30,000.

Accord­ing to the linked arti­cle, it was that next sum­mer (the sum­mer of 2011) that the Col­li­son broth­ers met with Peter Thiel after Thiel spoke at a Y‑Combinator din­ner. Thiel, who co-found­ed Pay­Pal with Elon Musk, had a num­ber of insights into the online pay­ment mar­ket­place and offered to invest in Stripe. Thiel brought in Elon Musk, Sequoia Cap­i­tal, and Andreeseen Horowitz as investors and they raised $2 mil­lion.

So–offi­cial­ly– Chakrabar­ti joins Stripe in Feb­ru­ary of 2011 and in the sum­mer of 2011 they meet Thiel who brings in a num­ber of new investors.

In fact, that meet­ing with Thiel and the new invest­ments must have hap­pened well before the sum­mer of 2011 because there is a Tech Crunch arti­cle from the end of March 2011 talk­ing about Thiel and the rest of the new investors rais­ing $2 mil­lion for Stripe. And in the actu­al inter­view that fol­low­ing arti­cle is based on, Patrick Col­li­son makes it sound like Strip got its $2 mil­lion invest­ment in the fall of 2010.

This sug­gests the dis­tinct pos­si­bil­i­ty that Chakrabar­ti came on board Stripe after Thiel and the rest of his team of investors got involved.

IF Chakrabar­ti got involved after Thiel invest­ed, that rais­es the ques­tions of: a) whether Chakrabar­ti already knew Thiel before join­ing Stripe and b) the ques­tion of what his rela­tion­ship with Thiel was after join­ing Stripe and before jump­ing into left-wing pol­i­tics.

The fol­low­ing arti­cle is based on a rough­ly 60-minute inter­view with Patrick Col­li­son. At  rough­ly 36 min­utes into the inter­view, Patrick recounts that ear­ly fundrais­ing and puts a time frame of receipt of the fund­ing by “Team Thiel” at the end of the sum­mer of 2010. The peri­od from August 2010-Sep­tem­ber 2011 was appar­ent­ly involved with build­ing the ini­tial Stripe prod­uct. Based on that chronol­o­gy, the hir­ing of Chakrabar­ti as the head of prod­uct devel­op­ment hap­pened after this team of investors got involved:

“Start­up Grind Hosts Patrick Col­li­son of Stripe, 6 Months In – Full Inter­view” by Fran­cis­co Cruz; The Start­up Grind; 02/19/2012.

. . . . Grow­ing and Scal­ing Stripe

[00:35:46.5] Patrick Col­li­son: Friends told oth­er friends, this kind of stuff. We couldn’t have them use Stripe because I mean the prob­lem is I told you how the account pay­ment process actu­al­ly hap­pened in the bank, and so we sort of con­vinced our­selves that there might be some­thing inter­est­ing here, but now we had to actu­al­ly go try and build the infra­struc­ture and make it work. And so we decid­ed at the end of that sum­mer that we would go and take this seri­ous­ly and we would go and build that infra­struc­ture and fig­ure out what­ev­er it is that we need to learn and actu­al­ly launch it prop­er­ly. So we took some invest­ment and Y Com­bi­na­tor, Peter Thiel, Elon Musk, Sequoia and There­sean Hard­woods invest­ed in our c brand.

[00:36:26.9] Any­body we’ve heard of?

[00:36:27.6] Patrick Col­li­son: Then we basi­cal­ly spent the next four­teen months build­ing the infra­struc­ture that could actu­al­ly make this work. Some­thing from like August 2010 to the end of Sep­tem­ber 2011, it was build­ing infra­struc­ture. We final­ly launched it to the pub­lic I think it was 30th Sep­tem­ber 2011. Just over six months ago.

1d. Based on the inter­view tran­script, it sounds like that 14 month peri­od of build­ing the Stripe infra­struc­ture start­ed in August of 2010 and took place after they raised their cap­i­tal. Tthat’s a lit­tle mys­te­ri­ous and then it gets weird­er: Accord­ing to the fol­low­ing arti­cle from March 28, 2011, the $2 mil­lion was raised by that point, but Stripe at that point wouldn’t com­ment on whether or not the financ­ing hap­pened at all. We can be con­fi­dent that the $2 mil­lion invest­ment was made before the end of March 2011, but we don’t know pre­cise­ly  when it hap­pened in part because Stripe wouldn’t even con­firm it hap­pened at all at that point.

Why the mys­tery?

“Stealth Pay­ment Start­up Stripe Backed By Pay­Pal Founders” by Michael Arring­ton; Tech Crunch; 03/28/2011.

There isn’t much infor­ma­tion out there about Stripe, a new pay­ments start­up cofound­ed by broth­ers Patrick Col­li­son and John Col­li­son (last seen sell­ing their start­up Auc­tomat­ic to Live Cur­rent Media for $5 mil­lion).

It’s an online busi­ness to busi­ness and busi­ness to con­sumer pay­ments provider, we’ve con­firmed. “How is it dif­fer­ent than Pay­Pal or Google Check­out?” I asked some­one who’s seen the prod­uct. Their answer – “It doesn’t suck.”

Devel­op­ers have a lot of trou­ble get­ting the var­i­ous pay­ments parts to work prop­er­ly – from get­ting a mer­chant account to mak­ing the soft­ware work prop­er­ly on your web­site. And then there is fee goug­ing. Stripe is said to make the process very, very easy for devel­op­ers.

Appar­ent­ly Stripe real­ly doesn’t suck, because the com­pa­ny has tak­en approx­i­mate­ly $2 mil­lion in a ven­ture round from Pay­Pal founders Peter Thiel and Elon Musk, as well as Sequoia Cap­i­tal, Andreesen Horowitz and SV Angel. Stripe was val­ued at around $20 mil­lion in the round, we’ve heard but haven’t con­firmed. The com­pa­ny wouldn’t com­ment on whether or not the financ­ing occurred at all. . . . .

We’re left with a range of time when this invest­ment led by Peter Thiel hap­pened: some time between August of 2010 and March of 2011. And Chakrabar­ti joined Stripe in Feb­ru­ary 2011. So the avail­able evi­dence strong­ly sug­gests Chakrabar­ti was one of the first peo­ple brought on board after this $2 mil­lion invest­ment.

But regard­less of when exact­ly it hap­pened, the fact that Chakrabar­ti was appar­ent­ly a key employ­ee in this ear­ly phased of Strip sug­gests that Chakrabar­ti like­ly got to know Peter Thiel as a result of work­ing there if he didn’t already know him. And giv­en Thiel’s role as a key financier of far right pol­i­tics in the US and Chakrabarti’s clear enthu­si­asm for Sub­has Chan­dra Bose, the ques­tion of what kind of rela­tion­ship Chakrabar­ti had with Thiel in the lead up to his deci­sion to drop every­thing and jump into left-wing pol­i­tics is a pret­ty rel­e­vant ques­tion.

2. Through the years, we have high­light­ed the Nazi tract Ser­pen­t’s Walk, which deals, in part, with the reha­bil­i­ta­tion of the Third Reich’s rep­u­ta­tion and the trans­for­ma­tion of Hitler into a hero.

In 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.

In FTR #1015, we not­ed 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:

  1. Naren­dra Mod­i’s pres­ence on the same book cove(along with Gand­hi, Man­dela, Oba­ma and Hitler.)
  2. Modi him­self has his own polit­i­cal his­to­ry 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. 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: ” . . . . as far back as 2002, the Times of India report­ed a sur­vey 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, 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), 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” . . . . What’s more, there’s a steady trick­le of reports that say it has become a must-read for busi­ness-school stu­dents; 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, the now deceased chief of the Shiv Sena par­ty which is a long-stand­ing BJP ally. ” . . . .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” . . . . Thack­er­ay said this 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.’ . . . .”

3. Even the staid New York Times has not­ed the arrival of fas­cism in India. The same arti­cle also notes the pro­found impor­tance of India. ” . . . . ‘This is some­thing that Jawa­har­lal Nehru had pre­dict­ed,’ Mr. Mukher­jee said, refer­ring to India’s first prime min­is­ter. ‘He said if fas­cism ever came to India it would come in the form of majori­tar­i­an Hin­du com­mu­nal­ism. That is exact­ly what is hap­pen­ing.’ . . .  India is the sec­ond most pop­u­lous nation, after Chi­na. It is a piv­otal geopo­lit­i­cal play­er; its econ­o­my is huge and every­one wants to do busi­ness here; and it has a long sec­u­lar his­to­ry. . . .”

“Under Modi, a Hin­du Nation­al­ist Surge Has Fur­ther Divid­ed India” by Jef­frey Get­tel­man, Kai Schultz, Suahisi­ni Raj and Hari Kumar; The New York Times; 4/11/2019.

. . . . “In plain lan­guage, they are what we now call com­mu­nal fas­cists,” said Aditya Mukher­jee, a retired his­to­ri­an, refer­ring to Mr. Modi and his polit­i­cal allies.

“This is some­thing that Jawa­har­lal Nehru had pre­dict­ed,” Mr. Mukher­jee said, refer­ring to India’s first prime min­is­ter. “He said if fas­cism ever came to India it would come in the form of majori­tar­i­an Hin­du com­mu­nal­ism. That is exact­ly what is hap­pen­ing.”

India is the sec­ond most pop­u­lous nation, after Chi­na. It is a piv­otal geopo­lit­i­cal play­er; its econ­o­my is huge and every­one wants to do busi­ness here; and it has a long sec­u­lar his­to­ry. . . .

4. In FTR #990, we high­light­ed the assas­si­na­tion of inves­tiga­tive reporter Gau­ri Lankesh. We also not­ed the irony in Pierre Omid­yar evolv­ing into an icon of inves­tiga­tive report­ing by virtue of his launch­ing of The Inter­cept, when he helped elect Naren­dra Modi and helped to install the OUN/B suc­ces­sor orga­ni­za­tions in pow­er in Ukraine. Both regimes have man­i­fest­ed lethal hos­til­i­ty to inves­tiga­tive jour­nal­ists and polit­i­cal activists.

In an update on Lankesh’s killing, we note that her mur­der occurs in the con­text of unprece­dent­ed pres­sure on, and itim­i­da­tion of, the media by the Hin­dut­va fas­cist regime of Naren­dra Modi. ” . . . . Since he took office in 2014, Modi has not held a sin­gle news con­fer­ence in India. Among B.J.P. politi­cians, a pop­u­lar term for jour­nal­ists is ‘pressti­tutes.’ A dis­patch on Indi­an jour­nal­ism last year by the Com­mit­tee to Pro­tect Jour­nal­ists described an unprece­dent­ed cli­mate of self-cen­sor­ship and fear, report­ing, ‘The media is in the worst state India has ever seen.’ . . . . In these cir­cum­stances, Lankesh’s audac­i­ty and integri­ty were all the more notable. And her mur­der has deep­ened the chill. . . . Jig­nesh Mevani, a leg­is­la­tor and an activist from Gujarat, fears that if the B.J.P. is re-elect­ed, its extrem­ist sup­port­ers will be embold­ened. ‘Every year they will kill 10 to 15 of our kind of peo­ple and put 10 to 15 of our kind of peo­ple in jail,’ he told me at a July meet­ing in Ban­ga­lore in Lankesh’s hon­or. ‘So by the time they are in pow­er for a decade, the major faces of the pro­gres­sive civ­il rights move­ments of this coun­try will be gone.’ Lankesh’s mur­der seemed to fit what was by then an unmis­tak­able pat­tern of assas­si­na­tions of intel­lec­tu­als who opposed the fun­da­men­tal­ist-Hin­du ide­ol­o­gy that ani­mates the B.J.P., all of which remained unsolved. Between 2013 and 2015, three reli­gious­ly free­think­ing Indi­an writ­ers and activists were shot dead near their homes by assailants who escaped on motor­cy­cles: the doc­tor Naren­dra Dab­holkar, in Pune; the politi­cian Govind Pansare, in Kol­ha­pur; and the schol­ar M.M. Kalbur­gi, in Dhar­wad. After Kalburgi’s mur­der, scores of Indi­an writ­ers returned their awards from the Nation­al Acad­e­my of Let­ters to protest both the lack of progress in the mur­der inves­ti­ga­tions and the B.J.P.’s silence over ris­ing intol­er­ance, to no effect. There was much anx­ious spec­u­la­tion over who might be the next writer to die. . . .”

(When we dis­cussed Bernie Sanders ally Tul­si Gab­bard, we not­ed that THIS is the sort of activ­i­ty with which she has asso­ci­at­ed her­self. She is very close to the Modi regime and helped arrange the details of Mod­i’s 2015 vis­it to the U.S. While trav­el­ing in India, she net­worked with the RSS milieu.)

After much delay, Hin­dut­va fas­cists have been arrest­ed in con­nec­tion with Lankesh’s killing: ” . . . . in May, the Kar­nata­ka Police’s spe­cial inves­ti­ga­tion team filed a charge sheet against a Hin­dut­va activist named K.T. Naveen Kumar, run­ning to some 650 pages and accus­ing him of crim­i­nal con­spir­a­cy, among oth­er things. Fif­teen more sus­pects have been arrest­ed and charged in the months since then . . . . Accord­ing to the police, foren­sics indi­cat­ed that the gun that killed Lankesh was poten­tial­ly also used in two of the three oth­er unsolved assas­si­na­tions that seemed to fit the same pat­tern. The police sus­pect that the accused are part of an appar­ent­ly name­less, mul­ti­state right-wing assas­si­na­tion net­work with at least 60 mem­bers. Many of the accused have con­nec­tions with a small, secre­tive Hin­dut­va group called the Sanatan Sanstha, mem­bers of which have pre­vi­ous­ly been arrest­ed as sus­pects in four sep­a­rate bomb­ings of pub­lic places. . . . Per­haps the most extra­or­di­nary dis­cov­ery the police have made in their inves­ti­ga­tion of Lankesh’s mur­der is a detailed diary recov­ered from the home of a lead­ing sus­pect. In it were two lists, osten­si­bly of peo­ple the con­spir­a­tors want­ed dead, report­ed­ly includ­ing Veer­ab­hadra Chen­na­mal­la, a lib­er­al-mind­ed Hin­du priest, and K.S. Bha­ga­van, an out­spo­ken­ly athe­ist Shake­speare schol­ar. First on one of the lists was Girish Kar­nad, who is per­haps the great­est liv­ing Kan­na­da play­wright. All have been par­tic­u­lar­ly forth­right in their crit­i­cism of Hin­dut­va. Sec­ond on one list was Lankesh. In the months since she was shot, some of her friends and col­leagues have grown more cau­tious about what they write and say and post to social media, even as this year’s unusu­al­ly fraught and uncer­tain Elec­tion Day approach­es. . . . .”

“Rail­ing Against India’s Right-Wing Nation­al­ism Was a Call­ing. It Was also a Death Sen­tence” by Rol­lo Romig; The New York Times Mag­a­zine; 3/17/2019.

. . . . The sit­u­a­tion has unques­tion­ably dete­ri­o­rat­ed over the past sev­er­al years — a fact that owes much to the ascent of the B.J.P. In the 2014 elec­tions, the par­ty won 282 of the 545 seats in the low­er house of India’s Par­lia­ment, which deter­mines the prime min­is­ter­ship. The Con­gress Par­ty, which has led near­ly every Indi­an gov­ern­ment since inde­pen­dence, won only 44.

Polit­i­cal pres­sure on jour­nal­ists is noth­ing new in India, but the cur­rent gov­ern­ment is the first in many years to treat them as an ide­o­log­i­cal ene­my. Since he took office in 2014, Modi has not held a sin­gle news con­fer­ence in India. Among B.J.P. politi­cians, a pop­u­lar term for jour­nal­ists is “pressti­tutes.” A dis­patch on Indi­an jour­nal­ism last year by the Com­mit­tee to Pro­tect Jour­nal­ists described an unprece­dent­ed cli­mate of self-cen­sor­ship and fear, report­ing, “The media is in the worst state India has ever seen.”

In these cir­cum­stances, Lankesh’s audac­i­ty and integri­ty were all the more notable. And her mur­der has deep­ened the chill. The anony­mous author of Humans of Hin­dut­va, a pop­u­lar Face­book page sat­i­riz­ing the reli­gious right wing, abrupt­ly shut it down twice in 2017 after post­ing about receiv­ing death threats (though the page has since returned). “I have no desire to end up like Gau­ri Lankesh,” the author wrote. A young inves­tiga­tive reporter named Aruna Chan­drasekhar told me that Lankesh’s exam­ple had been par­tic­u­lar­ly inspir­ing to Indi­an women free­lance jour­nal­ists, and that when she found her­self feel­ing vul­ner­a­ble while report­ing a sto­ry alone in an unfa­mil­iar place, the thought of Lankesh’s fear­less­ness used to embold­en her. “Gauri’s mur­der shook me,” she said. . . .

. . . . Jig­nesh Mevani, a leg­is­la­tor and an activist from Gujarat, fears that if the B.J.P. is re-elect­ed, its extrem­ist sup­port­ers will be embold­ened. “Every year they will kill 10 to 15 of our kind of peo­ple and put 10 to 15 of our kind of peo­ple in jail,” he told me at a July meet­ing in Ban­ga­lore in Lankesh’s hon­or. “So by the time they are in pow­er for a decade, the major faces of the pro­gres­sive civ­il rights move­ments of this coun­try will be gone.”

Lankesh’s mur­der seemed to fit what was by then an unmis­tak­able pat­tern of assas­si­na­tions of intel­lec­tu­als who opposed the fun­da­men­tal­ist-Hin­du ide­ol­o­gy that ani­mates the B.J.P., all of which remained unsolved. Between 2013 and 2015, three reli­gious­ly free­think­ing Indi­an writ­ers and activists were shot dead near their homes by assailants who escaped on motor­cy­cles: the doc­tor Naren­dra Dab­holkar, in Pune; the politi­cian Govind Pansare, in Kol­ha­pur; and the schol­ar M.M. Kalbur­gi, in Dhar­wad. After Kalburgi’s mur­der, scores of Indi­an writ­ers returned their awards from the Nation­al Acad­e­my of Let­ters to protest both the lack of progress in the mur­der inves­ti­ga­tions and the B.J.P.’s silence over ris­ing intol­er­ance, to no effect. There was much anx­ious spec­u­la­tion over who might be the next writer to die. . . .

. . . . For near­ly half a year after Lankesh’s mur­der, there were no arrests, and near­ly every­one fol­low­ing the case seemed to be resigned to the fact that this would be just anoth­er unsolved assas­si­na­tion. But then, in May, the Kar­nata­ka Police’s spe­cial inves­ti­ga­tion team filed a charge sheet against a Hin­dut­va activist named K.T. Naveen Kumar, run­ning to some 650 pages and accus­ing him of crim­i­nal con­spir­a­cy, among oth­er things. Fif­teen more sus­pects have been arrest­ed and charged in the months since then; all are in jail await­ing tri­al and are expect­ed to plead not guilty. Police are still search­ing for two more.

The accused include a young uten­sil sales­man named Parashu­ram Wagh­mare, who the police say con­fessed to pulling the trig­ger. The police also say that Wagh­mare wasn’t famil­iar with Lankesh when the con­spir­a­tors asked him to kill her, so they showed him YouTube videos of her speech­es to per­suade him to com­mit the mur­der. They gave him 10,000 rupees, or around $150. Mem­bers of a Hin­dut­va group called Sri Ram Sene start­ed a Face­book fund-rais­ing cam­paign to sup­port his fam­i­ly. (The group’s leader, Pramod Mutha­lik, lat­er denied any con­nec­tion to Wagh­mare.)

Accord­ing to the police, foren­sics indi­cat­ed that the gun that killed Lankesh was poten­tial­ly also used in two of the three oth­er unsolved assas­si­na­tions that seemed to fit the same pat­tern. The police sus­pect that the accused are part of an appar­ent­ly name­less, mul­ti­state right-wing assas­si­na­tion net­work with at least 60 mem­bers. Many of the accused have con­nec­tions with a small, secre­tive Hin­dut­va group called the Sanatan Sanstha, mem­bers of which have pre­vi­ous­ly been arrest­ed as sus­pects in four sep­a­rate bomb­ings of pub­lic places. (The cas­es are ongo­ing; two Sanatan Sanstha mem­bers were con­vict­ed of one blast but are out on bail await­ing appeal.)

The more estab­lished Hin­dut­va orga­ni­za­tions, includ­ing the R.S.S. (the Hin­du-nation­al­ist para­mil­i­tary group) and B.J.P., have tried to dis­tance them­selves from such groups and have raised legal com­plaints against those who have tried to con­nect them to vio­lence per­pe­trat­ed by the Hin­dut­va fringe. In Feb­ru­ary, a mag­is­trate ruled that Rahul Gand­hi, the pres­i­dent of the Con­gress Par­ty, would stand tri­al for defama­tion for imply­ing a link between the R.S.S. and Lankesh’s mur­der.

Late one night I met with N.P. Amruthesh, the lawyer for four of the accused men, who is him­self a proud fol­low­er of the Sanatan Sanstha. An affa­ble man, seem­ing­ly indif­fer­ent to appear­ances, he wore a worn orange dhoti and white shirt with a blue ink stain bil­low­ing out beneath the pock­et. While we spoke, a news seg­ment about Lankesh’s case appeared on his TV: The R.S.S., it was report­ed, had issued a state­ment say­ing that the lat­est man arrest­ed, Mohan Nayak, who is not rep­re­sent­ed by Amruthesh, was not a mem­ber of the orga­ni­za­tion. Amruthesh laughed. “In my opin­ion, per­son­al opin­ion, that is not cor­rect,” he said. “When any per­son is work­ing for Hin­dut­va, it is your duty to give pro­tec­tion to that per­son. ... They’re claim­ing that he’s not our mem­ber, but I came to know that he always goes to R.S.S. activ­i­ties and every­thing. These orga­ni­za­tions, they don’t want to take the respon­si­bil­i­ty.” Such dis­avowals, he said, were bad for morale.

Naren­dra Modi, mean­while, has kept his silence. He has nev­er pub­licly men­tioned Lankesh’s name or referred to her case. “Why should Prime Min­is­ter Modi react?” Mutha­lik, the Sri Ram Sene leader, said in a pub­lic speech. “Do you expect Modi to respond every time a dog dies in Kar­nata­ka?”

Per­haps the most extra­or­di­nary dis­cov­ery the police have made in their inves­ti­ga­tion of Lankesh’s mur­der is a detailed diary recov­ered from the home of a lead­ing sus­pect. In it were two lists, osten­si­bly of peo­ple the con­spir­a­tors want­ed dead, report­ed­ly includ­ing Veer­ab­hadra Chen­na­mal­la, a lib­er­al-mind­ed Hin­du priest, and K.S. Bha­ga­van, an out­spo­ken­ly athe­ist Shake­speare schol­ar. First on one of the lists was Girish Kar­nad, who is per­haps the great­est liv­ing Kan­na­da play­wright. All have been par­tic­u­lar­ly forth­right in their crit­i­cism of Hin­dut­va.

Sec­ond on one list was Lankesh. In the months since she was shot, some of her friends and col­leagues have grown more cau­tious about what they write and say and post to social media, even as this year’s unusu­al­ly fraught and uncer­tain Elec­tion Day approach­es. . . . .

6. In numer­ous broad­casts and posts, we have high­light­ed Hin­dut­va (Hin­du supremacist/nationalist) fas­cism, the ide­ol­o­gy of Naren­dra Mod­i’s BJP and its par­ent orga­ni­za­tion, the RSS. (Some of these pro­grams are: FTR #‘s 795, 889, 988, 989, 990, 991, 992, 1015, 1018, 1019, 1020.)

We have a reminder of how deeply the Hin­dut­va fas­cism of India’s rul­ing BJP par­ty and its par­ent RSS group were shaped by the Nazis. It’s also a reminder of how impor­tant ide­al­ized mytho­log­i­cal pasts are for fas­cist move­ments. Final­ly, it’s a reminder of the impor­tant role anti-Semi­tism played in pro­vid­ing a mod­el to RSS on how to suc­cess­ful­ly demo­nize of minor­i­ty group (Mus­lims, in the case of the RSS) and how anti-Semi­tism remains a ‘go-to’ tool for Hin­du nation­al­ists today when deal­ing with non-Indi­ans per­ceived to be ene­mies of the move­ment.

Audrey Truschke, a his­to­ri­an of pre­mod­ern India at Rut­gers Uni­ver­si­ty, ruf­fled Hin­du nation­al­ist feath­ers with her schol­ar­ly works on the his­tor­i­cal lega­cy of Islam in India. Her research pri­mar­i­ly deals with the Mus­lim dynasty that ruled much of north and cen­tral South Asia in the 16th and 17th cen­turies. As a result of that work, Truschke has found her­self under attack from Hin­du nation­al­ists upset with her work, and tar­ring her with anti-Semit­ic slurs (despite Truschke not being Jew­ish). 

 “Hin­du nation­al­ists increas­ing­ly use anti-Semit­ic slurs to tar­get me – and that isn’t sur­pris­ing” by Audrey Truschke; Scroll.in; 11/12/2018

Two years ago, I awoke to the fol­low­ing tweet, “I hope anoth­er Hitler comes back and fin­ish­es off your peo­ple”, accom­pa­nied by a pic­ture from 1945 of the bod­ies of dead Jews piled out­side a lib­er­at­ed con­cen­tra­tion camp. Since then, I have been reg­u­lar­ly attacked with anti-Semit­ic lan­guage and tropes on social media, espe­cial­ly on Twit­ter.

I am a tar­get for anti-Semit­ic insults due to my work: I am a his­to­ri­an of pre­mod­ern India. My research pri­mar­i­ly con­cerns the Mughals, a Mus­lim dynasty that ruled much of north and cen­tral South Asia in the 16th and 17th cen­turies and built the Taj Mahal. Most his­to­ri­ans – espe­cial­ly those who work on non-West­ern, pre­mod­ern top­ics – find their audi­ence con­fined to schol­ars and stu­dents. But Indi­ans have a vora­cious appetite for his­to­ry, and the his­tor­i­cal lega­cy of Islam in India has become a sub­ject of explo­sive con­tro­ver­sy in recent years. This potent com­bi­na­tion has made my schol­ar­ship of wide inter­est among Indi­an and Indi­an Amer­i­can read­ers and has also made me a tar­get of vicious per­son­al attacks on the basis of my per­ceived race, gen­der, and reli­gion.

His­tor­i­cal­ly, anti-Semi­tism was not an Indi­an prob­lem. Small Jew­ish com­mu­ni­ties, often traders, have dot­ted India’s west­ern coast for more than a mil­len­ni­um. Pre­mod­ern Indi­an Jews did not suf­fer from the per­se­cu­tion and dis­crim­i­na­tion that often char­ac­terised the lives of their Euro­pean coun­ter­parts. In the 20th cen­tu­ry, many Indi­an insti­tu­tions and inde­pen­dence lead­ers con­demned ris­ing anti-Semi­tism in Europe. For exam­ple, fol­low­ing Kristall­nacht in 1938, the Indi­an Nation­al Con­gress issued a dec­la­ra­tion against Hitler’s Ger­many. Mahat­ma Gand­hi and Jawa­har­lal Nehru, two of India’s most famous Inde­pen­dence lead­ers, con­demned the Nazi treat­ment of Jews.

India’s dis­taste for anti-Semi­tism began to erode in the ear­ly 20th cen­tu­ry, how­ev­er, espe­cial­ly among Hin­du nation­al­ists. Hin­du nation­al­ists – who believe that India ought to be a Hin­du nation in pop­u­la­tion and char­ac­ter – warm­ly embraced fas­cist ideas. The Rashtriya Swayam­se­vak Sangh, a para­mil­i­tary Hin­du nation­al­ist group found­ed in 1925, mod­elled itself on con­tem­po­rary Euro­pean fas­cist move­ments. The Hin­du Mahasab­ha, a Hin­du nation­al­ist organ­i­sa­tion found­ed in 1915, open­ly sup­port­ed Nazism, includ­ing “Germany’s cru­sade against the ene­mies of Aryan cul­ture”, as a spokesman for the group put it in 1939.

Rise of anti-Semi­tism in India

A key appeal of Nazism for ear­ly Hin­du nation­al­ists was anti-Semi­tism, which they saw as a use­ful mod­el for how to demonise India’s Mus­lim minor­i­ty. Mus­lims con­sti­tut­ed 24% of the Indi­an pop­u­la­tion in 1941, and they com­prise 14% of Indi­ans today (the drop is explained by the Par­ti­tion of Pak­istan and its large Mus­lim pop­u­la­tion from India in 1947). Speak­ing in 1939 in Cal­cut­ta, VD Savarkar, the ide­o­log­i­cal god­fa­ther of Hin­du nation­al­ism, iden­ti­fied Indi­an Mus­lims as a poten­tial trai­tor­ous peo­ple not to be trust­ed, “like the Jews in Ger­many”. In the same year, MS Gol­walkar, a Rashtriya Swayam­se­vak Sangh leader, wrote that Germany’s “purg­ing the coun­try of the semit­ic Race – the Jews” was “a good les­son for us in Hin­dus­tan to learn and prof­it by”.

For decades, Hin­du nation­al­ists con­sti­tut­ed a set of fringe organ­i­sa­tions whose extreme ideas were reject­ed by the wider Indi­an pub­lic. In 1948, a Rashtriya Swayam­se­vak Sangh man, Nathu­ram Godse, assas­si­nat­ed Mahat­ma Gand­hi, which sparked a brief ban on the group’s oper­a­tions. The Sangh expe­ri­enced a remark­able recov­ery in sub­se­quent decades, how­ev­er, trans­form­ing itself from an extrem­ist asso­ci­a­tion known for pro­duc­ing Gandhi’s killer into the lead­ers of inde­pen­dent India. Today, Naren­dra Modi, who has had a life­long asso­ci­a­tion with the RSS, leads India as its prime min­is­ter.

Inde­pen­dent India has devel­oped a strong appetite for aspects of fas­cism, includ­ing Nazi ide­ol­o­gy. Hitler’s auto­bi­og­ra­phy, Mein Kampf, has gone through count­less edi­tions in India and has been a best­seller in the coun­try for decades. The work is espe­cial­ly pop­u­lar among busi­ness­men who see it as a self-help guide for how deter­mi­na­tion and strength can pro­duce suc­cess. Indeed, I was once told by a gen­tle­man in Bikan­er, “Madam, you are a great leader like Hitler.” This was meant as a com­pli­ment.

Grow­ing hate and intol­er­ance

The Indi­an fas­ci­na­tion with Hitler is often explained away as hav­ing noth­ing to do with anti-Semi­tism. Some argue that Indi­ans hard­ly learn about the Holo­caust in school and that they are his­tor­i­cal­ly and emo­tion­al­ly dis­tant from the dark­er sides of Nazism. Oth­ers point out that the Indi­an state enjoys robust rela­tions with Israel.

In India, how­ev­er, grow­ing big­otry and close rela­tions with Israel are hard­ly mutu­al­ly exclu­sive. A prej­u­diced atti­tude against Mus­lims has served as a bind­ing glue between Israel and India over the past decade or two. Hate crimes against numer­ous groups – includ­ing Mus­lims, Chris­tians, Dal­its, and any­body who eats beef – are on the rise in Modi’s India. Such trends are unsur­pris­ing giv­en the Hin­du nation­al­ist pro­pa­gan­da espoused by Modi and his polit­i­cal par­ty, the Bharatiya Jana­ta Par­ty.

Anti-Semit­ic atti­tudes are not a cen­tral sto­ry­line in this larg­er flow­er­ing of prej­u­dice, but they are a ready­made play­book of vir­u­lent hate that can be unleashed against for­eign schol­ars. Aca­d­e­mics, such as myself, often con­tra­dict Hin­du nation­al­ist claims about a pris­tine Hin­du past, in which Mus­lims are seen as bar­barous invaders, by argu­ing that many Mus­lims were embed­ded into the fab­ric of pre­mod­ern Indi­an soci­ety. By virtue of our ded­i­ca­tion to accu­ra­cy, schol­ars also shed unfavourable light on the ori­gins of groups such as the Rashtriya Swayam­se­vak Sangh. Hin­du nation­al­ists lack the his­tor­i­cal evi­dence to counter aca­d­e­m­ic claims on schol­ar­ly grounds, and so they turn to one of their most fine­ly-tuned weapons: iden­ti­ty-based attacks. . . .

. . . . One curi­ous aspect of this anti-Semi­tism direct­ed at me is that I am not, in fact, Jew­ish. Per­haps my last name sug­gests a Jew­ish iden­ti­ty to those unfa­mil­iar with east­ern Euro­pean sur­names, but I sus­pect that dark­er rea­sons often lurk behind this mis­tak­en iden­ti­fi­ca­tion. Sev­er­al of my aca­d­e­m­ic advi­sors are Jew­ish and fre­quent­ly maligned as such by Hin­du nation­al­ists. As a result, I am evi­dent­ly per­ceived as a Jew by asso­ci­a­tion. More insid­i­ous­ly, the old anti-Semit­ic trope that Jews con­trol uni­ver­si­ties still sur­faces with alarm­ing reg­u­lar­i­ty. This is a sub-type of the foun­da­tion­al anti-Semit­ic trope that there is an inter­na­tion­al Jew­ish con­spir­a­cy to run the world. In oth­er words, anti-Semi­tism blinds peo­ple into assum­ing that I am Jew­ish, and then pro­vides them with a remark­ably hate­ful set of tools with which to attack me.

India has a grow­ing prob­lem with hate and intol­er­ance. Alarm­ing­ly, in recent years, much of this hate has been spon­sored by groups and fig­ures that are close to the Indi­an gov­ern­ment. With­in India, Mus­lims remain the chief tar­gets of mount­ing big­otry and vio­lent assaults. When attack­ing non-Indi­ans, how­ev­er, Hin­du nation­al­ists increas­ing­ly resort to the vir­u­lent anti-Semit­ic ideas that inspired their ear­ly lead­ers.

7. Hin­dut­va fas­cists are also attempt­ing to infuse sci­en­tif­ic the­o­ry with Hin­du mythol­o­gy, not unlike the atavism that ele­ments of the Nazi regime and the SS in par­tic­u­lar espoused, dis­miss­ing Ein­stein, among oth­ers as a pur­vey­or of “Jew­ish sci­ence.”

“India sci­en­tists dis­miss Ein­stein the­o­ries”; BBC; 01/07/2019

Sci­en­tists in India have hit out at speak­ers at a major con­fer­ence for mak­ing irra­tional claims, includ­ing that ancient Hin­dus invent­ed stem cell research.

Some aca­d­e­mics at the annu­al Indi­an Sci­ence Con­gress dis­missed the find­ings of Isaac New­ton and Albert Ein­stein.

Hin­du mythol­o­gy and reli­gion-based the­o­ries have increas­ing­ly become part of the Indi­an Sci­ence Con­gress agen­da.

But experts said remarks at this year’s sum­mit were espe­cial­ly ludi­crous.

The 106th Indi­an Sci­ence Con­gress, which was inau­gu­rat­ed by Prime Min­is­ter Naren­dra Modi, runs from 3–7 Jan­u­ary.

The head of a south­ern Indi­an uni­ver­si­ty cit­ed an old Hin­du text as proof that stem cell research was dis­cov­ered in India thou­sands of years ago.

G Nagesh­war Rao, vice chan­cel­lor of Andhra Uni­ver­si­ty, also said a demon king from the Hin­du reli­gious epic, Ramayana, had 24 types of air­craft and a net­work of land­ing strips in mod­ern day Sri Lan­ka.

Anoth­er sci­en­tist from a uni­ver­si­ty in the south­ern state of Tamil Nadu told con­fer­ence atten­dees that Isaac New­ton and Albert Ein­stein were both wrong and that grav­i­ta­tion­al waves should be renamed “Naren­dra Modi Waves”.

Dr KJ Krish­nan report­ed­ly said New­ton failed to “under­stand grav­i­ta­tion­al repul­sive forces” and Einstein’s the­o­ries were “mis­lead­ing”.

Crit­ics said that while ancient texts should be read and enjoyed – it was non­sense to sug­gest they rep­re­sent­ed sci­ence.

The Indi­an Sci­en­tif­ic Con­gress Asso­ci­a­tion expressed “seri­ous con­cern” at the remarks.

Pseu­do­science moves from fringe to the main­stream

Analy­sis by Soutik Biswas, BBC News, Del­hi

India has a mixed rela­tion­ship with sci­ence.

On the one hand, it has a rich tra­di­tion of out­stand­ing sci­en­tists – the Hig­gs boson par­ti­cle, for exam­ple, is named part­ly after an Indi­an physi­cist and Einstein’s con­tem­po­rary, Satyen­dra Nath Bose. Par­ti­cle physi­cist Ashoke Sen, mean­while, is the recip­i­ent of Fun­da­men­tal Physics Prize, the world’s most lucra­tive aca­d­e­m­ic award.

But it also has a long tra­di­tion of replac­ing sci­ence with myths, lead­ing to a fringe cul­ture of pseu­do­science.

Many believe under Naren­dra Modi’s Hin­du nation­al­ist BJP par­ty, pseu­do­science has moved from the fringe to the main­stream.

Mr Modi him­self set the tone in 2014 with his out­landish claim that cos­met­ic surgery was prac­tised in India thou­sands of years ago.

Many of his min­is­ters fol­lowed suit with sim­i­lar claims. India’s top sci­ence sum­mit also start­ed invit­ing aca­d­e­mics with Hin­du nation­al­ist lean­ings who have made equal­ly bizarre claims.

Such claims usu­al­ly hark back to an imag­ined glo­ri­ous Hin­du past to bol­ster reli­gious nation­al­ism. The BJP and its hard line allies have for a long time mixed mythol­o­gy and reli­gion to bol­ster polit­i­cal Hin­duism and nation­al­ism. Adding sci­ence to the mix, say crit­ics, will only help prop­a­gate quack sci­ence and erode sci­en­tif­ic tem­per.

Also, as econ­o­mist Kaushik Basu says: “For a nation to progress it is impor­tant for peo­ple to spend time on sci­ence, math­e­mat­ics and lit­er­a­ture instead of spend­ing time show­ing that 5,000 years ago their ances­tors did sci­ence, math­e­mat­ics and lit­er­a­ture.”

Oth­er claims made by Indi­an politi­cians and sci­en­tists:

* India’s junior edu­ca­tion min­is­ter Satya­pal Singh in 2017 said that air­planes were first men­tioned in the ancient Hin­du epic, Ramayana. He added that the first work­ing plane was invent­ed by an Indi­an named Shiv­akar Babu­ji Tal­pade eight years before the Wright broth­ers
* Also in 2017, the edu­ca­tion min­is­ter for the west­ern state of Rajasthan said it was impor­tant to “under­stand the sci­en­tif­ic sig­nif­i­cance” of the cow, claim­ing it was the only ani­mal in the world to both inhale and exhale oxy­gen
* In 2014, Prime Min­is­ter Naren­dra Modi told med­ical staff at a Mum­bai hos­pi­tal that the sto­ry of the Hin­du god Gane­sha – whose ele­phant head is attached to a human body – showed cos­met­ic surgery exist­ed in ancient India
* Geol­o­gist Ashu Khosla said that Hin­du god Brah­ma dis­cov­ered dinosaurs and doc­u­ment­ed them in ancient Indi­an scrip­tures while pre­sent­ing a research paper at the Indi­an Sci­ence Con­gress on Sun­day
* Law­mak­er Ramesh Pokhriyal Nis­hank prompt­ed out­rage in 2014 when he said that “sci­ence is a dwarf in front of astrol­o­gy”. He added that astrol­o­gy was “the biggest sci­ence” and that India con­duct­ed nuclear tests more than 100,000 years ago

Discussion

One comment for “FTR #1070 Update on Hindutva Fascism and Socialists for Trump and Hitler (The “Assistance”)”

  1. Final­ly, the link to Peter Theil, who I always knew was behind Bernie and AOC. Thank you!

    Posted by May Frock | May 14, 2019, 8:13 pm

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