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

For The Record  

FTR #795 Fascism, Hindu Nationalism and Narendra Modi

Dave Emory’s entire life­time of work is avail­able on a flash drive that can be obtained here. (The flash drive includes the anti-fascist books avail­able on this site.)

Lis­ten: MP3

Side 1  Side 2

Intro­duc­tion: Prime Minister-elect Naren­dra Modi, with a polit­i­cal back­ground in a Hindu nation­al­ist party with strong fas­cist roots, is now in charge of the world’s sec­ond largest coun­try and the world’s largest democracy.

Naren­dra Modi  belonged to the RSS, an orga­ni­za­tion with an his­tor­i­cal affin­ity for Nazism and fas­cism.  Cap­i­tal­iz­ing on anti-Muslim fer­vor in India, RSS has gen­er­ated much gravitas.

Modi has been impli­cated in com­plic­ity in lethal anti-Muslim riot­ing in India.

In addi­tion to anti-colonial sen­ti­ment that pit­ted Indian nation­al­ists against the British Raj prior to World War II, Nazism and Hindu phi­los­o­phy also found com­mon ground in ele­ments of “Aryan” mys­ti­cism. Many ele­ments of the Brah­min caste also found affin­ity with the elit­ist and anti-democratic phi­los­o­phy of Mussolini’s fas­cism as well.

Pro­gram High­lights Include:

  • Karl Haushofer (a key influ­ence on a num­ber of impor­tant Hitler aides) devel­oped the con­cept of Ger­man alle­giance with “the Col­ored Peo­ples” of the colo­nial world as a fur­ther vehi­cle for secur­ing Ger­man eco­nomic and polit­i­cal control. Haushofer’s the­o­ries under­lie, in part, the fas­cist her­itage of key ele­ments of the Hindhu Nation­al­ist move­ment cur­rently gain­ing increas­ing influ­ence in Indian politics.
  • An asso­ciate of RSS assas­si­nated Mahatma Gandhi.
  • The BJP itself evolved from the RSS.
  • In 2012, Digvi­jaya Singh dis­cussed Modi’s cam­paign tac­tics, com­par­ing his RSS train­ing with the method­ol­ogy of Nazi pro­pa­ganda min­is­ter Joseph Goebbels.
  • The Indian sit­u­a­tion has some sim­i­lar­i­ties with regard to Islam with the rise of fas­cist groups in Europe. The cen­ter par­ties sim­ply ignore the prob­lems of jihadism and do noth­ing, cre­at­ing a vac­uum for the fas­cist groups to fill. No coun­try on the planet suf­fers more from jihad ter­ror­ism than India... but nobody calls it ter­ror­ism, they use euphemisms like “com­mu­nal vio­lence” as if both par­ties are guilty.   Some­times hun­dreds are slaugh­tered and it barely makes the West­ern press, because, let’s face it, Indian lives are cheap in the eyes of multi­na­tional finance and corporatism.
  •  Cur­rently, Modi isn’t even allowed to come to the US due to his sup­port of anti-Muslim riots (note: if the U.S. applied this con­cept to those who sup­port PRO-Muslim riots, we would have a lot less vis­i­tors from sev­eral parts of the world, so this double-standard plays right into the right-wing Hindu wheelhouse).
  •  Modi’s talk­ing all the right “free trade” talk­ing points with the West right now, and the EU has lifted his visa ban–the US will surely fol­low suit.
  • Modi’s elec­tion was assisted by the for­mer head of Omid­yar Net­works, founded by Glenn Greenwald’s finan­cial angel Pierre Omid­yar. Omid­yar also helped finance the coup in the Ukraine.
  • Dis­cus­sion of Sav­itri Devi, a European-born Hindu/Nazi mys­tic, who gained con­sid­er­able influ­ence in post­war Nazi and fas­cist circles.

1. Naren­dra Modi’s affin­ity for the neo-liberal, cor­po­ratist philoso­phies cur­rently in ascen­dance was cov­ered in a recent New Yorker arti­cle.

“Modi’s Role Model: Mar­garet Thatcher or Lee Kuan Yew” by John Cas­sidy; The New Yorker; 5/19/2014.

. . .  As sev­eral com­men­ta­tors have noted in recent days, Naren­dra Modi, India’s Prime Minister-elect, shares sev­eral char­ac­ter­is­tics with Mar­garet Thatcher, the late British Prime Minister.

Like Mrs. T., Modi is a prod­uct of the provin­cial petite bour­geoisie. Thatcher’s father ran a cor­ner store in Grantham, Lin­colnshire. Modi, too, came from a fam­ily of gro­cers: his father ran a num­ber of tea stalls in the Gujarat city of Vad­na­gar. Thatcher was a strong believer in enter­prise and the self-help ethos that often goes with it, and she dis­dained the met­ro­pol­i­tan élites, whom she accused of bring­ing Britain to its knees. In seek­ing to put the “Great” back into “Great Britain”—that was how she saw her mission—she sur­rounded her­self with right-wing odd­balls and entre­pre­neurs, ignored the advice of her col­leagues, and fre­quently acted dictatorially. . . .

2. Set­ting forth some of the his­tor­i­cal gen­e­sis of the Nazi/Hindu nation­al­ist link, Kevin Coogan notes the phi­los­o­phy of Karl Haushofer, an early influ­ence on Hitler and Third Reich geo-politics.

Dreamer of the Day: Fran­cis Parker Yockey and the Post­war Fas­cist Inter­na­tional by Kevin Coogan; Autono­me­dia Inc.; Copy­right 1999 [SC]; ISBN 1–57027-039–2; pp. 68–69.

. . . . In its strug­gle to break British dom­i­nance, Ger­man mil­i­tary intel­li­gence also looked to nation­al­ist inde­pen­dence move­ments in the Mid­dle East, Asia, and Ire­land. After World War I, Haushofer con­tin­ued to sup­port these anti-British groups. In the 1930’s, Indian nation­al­ist leader Sub­has Chan­dra Bose [whose Indian national Army later received mil­i­tary sup­port in World War II from both Ger­many and Japan] was a cor­re­spon­dent for the Zeitschrift fur Geopoli­tik. [Haushofer’s pub­li­ca­tion.] . . . In July 1942, for­eign pol­icy expert Hans Weigert pro­filed Haushofer’s ‘Eurasian lib­er­a­tion front’ poli­cies in For­eign Affairs. Weigert pointed that Haushofer actu­ally wel­comed ‘the rise of the col­ored world,’ even writ­ing that ‘the strug­gle of India and China for lib­er­a­tion from for­eign dom­i­na­tion and cap­i­tal­ist pres­sure agrees with the secret dreams of Cen­tral Europe.’ . . . .

3. A story from the British Search­light mag­a­zine syn­op­sized the Hindu nationalist/Nazi link, not­ing that a for­mer mem­ber of the RSS assas­si­nated Gandhi in 1948. The arti­cle also notes the evo­lu­tion of the BJP–Modi’s party–from the RSS.

 “Hindu Fun­da­men­tal­ism: Why We Are Con­cerned” by Paul Crofts and Anjona Roy; Search­light Mag­a­zine; January/2003 [#331]; p. 20.

. . . . Dur­ing the 1940’s the RSS’s new leader, Mad­hev Gol­walkar, fol­low­ing the death of [RSS founder Keshav Bali­ram] Hedge­war, sym­pa­thized both with Ger­man Nazism and Ital­ian fas­cism. In 1939, Gol­walkar said: ‘Ger­man race pride has now become the topic of the day. To keep up the purity of the Race and its cul­ture, Ger­many shocked the world by her purg­ing the coun­try of the Semitic races-the Jews. Race pride at its high­est has been man­i­fest here. Ger­many has shown how well nigh impos­si­ble it is for Races and cul­tures, hav­ing dif­fer­ences going to the root, to be assim­i­lated into one united whole, a good les­son for in Hin­dusthan to learn and profit by.’ (Gol­walker [1939] in We, or Our Nation­hood, Defined.’ . . .

. . . . There has been no explicit and uncon­di­tional dis­avowal of nazi-like doc­trines by the RSS/HSS or a repu­di­a­tion of Golwalker’s ideas. Indeed, Gol­walkar is held up as an exam­ple and spir­i­tual leader for young RSS/HSS Swayam­se­vaks (mem­bers) and affec­tion­ately referred to as ‘Guruji.’ . . . .

. . . . Fol­low­ing Mahatma Gahdhi’s assas­si­na­tion by a for­mer RSS mem­ber, Nathu­ram Godse, the RSS was banned by the Indian gov­ern­ment from 1948 to 1949. After the ban was reversed the RSS, while claim­ing to devote itself solely to cul­tural activ­i­ties, cre­ated sev­eral off­shoot orga­ni­za­tions, includ­ing the Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP), or World Hindu Coun­cil, in 1964, the Jana Sangh polit­i­cal party in 1951, which was the pre­cur­sor to the cur­rent Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and numer­ous other organizations. . . . .

4. Palash R. Ghosh presents a more detailed analy­sis of the evo­lu­tion of the fascist/Hindu nation­al­ist link. Note the affin­ity of RSS thinkers for the eth­nic chau­vin­ism man­i­fested by Hitler.

“Hindu Nationalist’s His­tor­i­cal Links to Fas­cism and Nazism” by Palash R. Ghosh; Inter­na­tional Busi­ness Times; 3/6/2012.

. . . . The BJP has a very inter­est­ing his­tory — offi­cially formed in 1980, its his­tory can be traced much fur­ther back to the pre-1947 era when Hindu nation­al­ists not only demanded an inde­pen­dent India, but one com­pletely dom­i­nated by Hindus.

The cur­rent BJP is the suc­ces­sor of the Bharatiya Jana Sangh (BJS) party, which itself was the polit­i­cal arm of the Rashtriya Swayam­se­vak Sangh, a group that espoused openly mil­i­tant Hindu activism and the sup­pres­sion of minori­ties in India.

The RSS was founded in 1925 by Keshav Bali­ram Hedge­war, a doc­tor from the cen­tral Indian town of Nag­pur in Maha­rash­tra, who agi­tated for both inde­pen­dence from the British crown and the strict seg­re­ga­tion of Hin­dus and Muslims.

What may sur­prise many in the West is that some of the most promi­nent fig­ures of RSS deeply admired Fas­cism and Nazism, the two total­i­tar­ian move­ments that swept through Europe at the time.

As such, RSS was out­lawed by the British (and was even peri­od­i­cally banned by the Indian gov­ern­ment after inde­pen­dence). Indeed, Nat­u­ram Godse, the man who assas­si­nated Gandhi in 1948, was him­self a for­mer RSS mem­ber who felt that the Mahatma made too many gen­er­ous con­ces­sions to the Muslims.

In the decades prior to that momen­tous event, senior RSS mem­bers had direct links to both Ben­ito Mus­solini in Italy and Adolf Hitler in Ger­many. Part of the RSS’ fas­ci­na­tion with these total­i­tar­ian regimes was their shared oppo­si­tion to the British Empire — how­ever, it went far beyond that. The RSS (as well as mul­ti­tudes of other Hindu nation­al­ists) admired the way Mus­solini and Hitler reor­ga­nized their respec­tive nations so quickly from the wreck­age of war to build a pow­er­ful econ­omy and mil­i­tary under the ban­ner of patri­o­tism and nationalism.

With respect to Hitler and Nazism, the links to India and Hin­duism were deeper and more profound.

Much of Nazi ide­ol­ogy and imagery came from the sym­bols and his­tory of ancient India – indeed, the infa­mous Nazi swastika was based on a Hindu sym­bol of strength and good for­tune. More­over, the leg­endary his­tory (some would say, myth) of the inva­sion of pre­his­toric India by the mys­te­ri­ous “Aryan” tribes would (cen­turies later) pro­vide Hitler with his notion of a “super mas­ter race” that was des­tined to dom­i­nate the world.

Dur­ing World War II, some Indian nation­al­ists received explicit sup­port from Ger­man Nazis — in fact, some Indian sol­diers even served in Hitler’s armies and in the noto­ri­ous SS.

Marzia Caso­lari, an Ital­ian scholar who stud­ied Indian pol­i­tics, once wrote of RSS’ con­nec­tions with Euro­pean fas­cism: The exis­tence of direct con­tacts between the rep­re­sen­ta­tives of the [Ital­ian] Fas­cist regime, includ­ing Mus­solini, and Hindu nation­al­ists demon­strates that Hindu nation­al­ism had much more than an abstract inter­est in the ide­ol­ogy and prac­tice of fas­cism. The inter­est of Indian Hindu nation­al­ists in fas­cism and Mus­solini must not be con­sid­ered as dic­tated by an occa­sional curios­ity, con­fined to a few indi­vid­u­als; rather, it should be con­sid­ered as the cul­mi­nat­ing result of the atten­tion that Hindu nation­al­ists… focused on Ital­ian dic­ta­tor­ship and its leader. To them, fas­cism appeared to be an exam­ple of con­ser­v­a­tive revolution.

Per­haps there was no greater admirer of Hitler and Mus­solini in India than Vinayak Damodar Savarkar, another lead­ing mem­ber of RSS.

In a speech deliv­ered in 1940 (after the Sec­ond World War had com­menced), Savarkar said: There is no rea­son to sup­pose that Hitler must be a human mon­ster because he passes off as a Nazi or Churchill is a demigod because he calls him­self a Demo­c­rat. Nazism proved unde­ni­ably the sav­ior of Ger­many under the set of cir­cum­stances Ger­many was placed in.

Savarkar crit­i­cized Nehru for his staunch oppo­si­tion to fascism.

Who are we to dic­tate to Ger­many… or Italy to choose a par­tic­u­lar form of pol­icy of gov­ern­ment sim­ply?” Savarkar rhetor­i­cally asked.

“Surely Hitler knows bet­ter than Pan­dit Nehru does what suits Ger­many best. The very fact that Ger­many or Italy has so won­der­fully recov­ered and grown so pow­er­ful as never before at the touch of Nazi or Fas­cist mag­i­cal wand is enough to prove that those polit­i­cal ‘isms’ were the most con­ge­nial ton­ics their health demanded.”

Indeed, many Hindu nation­al­ists also derided Gandhi for oppos­ing Nazism and fas­cism. In 1939, a spokesman for the Hindu Mahasabha (Hindu Party) inti­mately con­nected Ger­many with Indian cul­ture and people.

Germany’s solemn idea of the revival of the Aryan cul­ture, the glo­ri­fi­ca­tion of the Swastika, her patron­age of Vedic learn­ing and the ardent cham­pi­onship of the tra­di­tion of Indo-Germanic civ­i­liza­tion are wel­comed by the reli­gious and sen­si­ble Hin­dus of India with a jubi­lant hope,” the spokesman blustered.

“Only a few Social­ists headed by… Nehru have cre­ated a bub­ble of resent­ment against the present gov­ern­ment of Ger­many, but their activ­i­ties are far from hav­ing any sig­nif­i­cance in India.”

He added: “Germany’s cru­sade against the ene­mies of Aryan cul­ture will bring all the Aryan nations of the world to their senses and awaken the Indian Hin­dus for the restora­tion of their lost glory.

While the RSS was not explic­itly anti-Semitic (largely because India never had a large Jew­ish pop­u­la­tion), Savarkar even praised Hitler’s treat­ment of the Jews (at least before the death camps and ovens became known to the pub­lic at large).

In 1938, dur­ing the time of accel­er­at­ing anti-Jewish leg­is­la­tion in Ger­many, Savarkar sug­gested a sim­i­lar fate for India’s Muslims.

A nation is formed by a major­ity liv­ing therein,” he declared. “What did the Jews do in Ger­many? They being in minor­ity were dri­ven out from Germany.”

Another senior RSS mem­ber, Mad­hav Sadashiv Gol­walkar, also praised Nazism and believed the ide­ol­ogy should be applied to India.

Ger­man race pride has now become the topic of the day,” he wrote.

“To keep up the purity of the race and its cul­ture, Ger­many shocked the world by her purg­ing the coun­try of the Semitic Races — the Jews. Race pride at its high­est has been man­i­fested here. Ger­many has also shown how well-nigh impos­si­ble it is for races and cul­tures, hav­ing dif­fer­ences going to the root, to be assim­i­lated into one united whole, a good les­son for us in Hin­dus­tan [India] to learn and profit by.

Gol­walkar enthu­si­as­ti­cally advo­cated for an India dom­i­nated by Hindus.

“There are only two courses open to the for­eign ele­ments, either to merge them­selves in the national race and adopt its cul­ture, or to live at its mercy so long as the national race may allow them to do so and to quit the coun­try at the sweet will of the national race,” he wrote.

“That is the only sound view on the minori­ties prob­lem. That is the only log­i­cal and cor­rect solu­tion. That alone keeps the national life healthy and undis­turbed… The for­eign races in Hin­dus­tan must either adopt the Hindu cul­ture and lan­guage, must learn to respect and hold in rev­er­ence Hindu reli­gion, must enter­tain no idea but those of the glo­ri­fi­ca­tion of the Hindu race and cul­ture, i.e., of the Hindu nation and must lose their sep­a­rate exis­tence to merge in the Hindu race, or may stay in the coun­try, wholly sub­or­di­nated to the Hindu Nation, claim­ing noth­ing, deserv­ing no priv­i­leges, far less any pref­er­en­tial treat­ment not even citizen’s rights.”

If one were to replace “Hindu” with “Ger­man,” Golwalkar’s words would match Hitler’s rhetoric almost exactly.

Savarkar also spelled out why Hin­dus should rule India and oth­ers should either be expelled or merged into the Hindu majority.

The Aryans who set­tled in India at the dawn of his­tory already formed a nation, now embod­ied in the Hin­dus,” he wrote.“Hindus are bound together not only by the love they bear to a com­mon father­land and by the com­mon blood that courses through their veins and keeps our hearts throb­bing and our affec­tion warm but also by the of the com­mon homage we pay to our great civ­i­liza­tion, our Hindu culture.

Dur­ing a speech given to Indian mil­i­tary offi­cers and Indian nation­al­ist Sub­hash Chan­dra Bose in Dres­den, Ger­many, in 1943, Hitler him­self report­edly said: You are for­tu­nate hav­ing been born in a coun­try of glo­ri­ous cul­tural tra­di­tions and a colos­sal man­power. I am impressed by the burn­ing pas­sion with which you and your Netaji [Bose] seek to lib­er­ate your coun­try from for­eign dom­i­na­tion. Your Netaji’s sta­tus is even greater than mine. While I am the leader of 80 mil­lion Ger­mans, he is the leader of 400 mil­lion Indi­ans. In all respects he is a greater leader and a greater gen­eral than myself. I salute him, and Ger­many salutes him. It is the duty of all Indi­ans to accept him as their führer and obey him implic­itly. I have no doubt that if you do this, his guid­ance will lead India very soon to freedom.”

After the defeat of Fas­cist Italy and Nazi Ger­many in World War II, Hindu nation­al­ists dis­tanced them­selves from the total­i­tar­ian regimes of Europe.

How­ever, their calls for a “Hindu India have only strength­ened over the years. In the present cli­mate, the RSS and BJP are both gen­er­ally opposed to the Mus­lim pres­ence and express extreme hos­til­ity toward India’s prin­ci­pal Mus­lim rival, Pakistan.

More­over, Nazism, and the mys­ti­cism of Adolf Hitler’s warped philoso­phies, remain an obses­sion with many Indi­ans, almost 80 years after Der Führer came to power in Germany.

5. In the run-up to the recent Indian cam­paign, a polit­i­cal oppo­nent com­pared Modi’s rhetor­i­cal attacks to those of Joseph Goebbels, a pro­po­nent of the Big Lie. Modi attacked Sonia Gandhi for using pub­lic funds to travel abroad.

The trips were to seek treat­ment for seri­ous health prob­lems and, as such, were not scan­dalous at all.

“Naren­dra Modi Trained by RSS in ‘Nazi Tra­di­tion’: Digvi­jayah Singh”; Times of India; 10/2/2012. 

Digvi­jaya Singh on Tues­day slammed Naren­dra Modi over his alle­ga­tion on Sonia Gandhi’s for­eign trips, say­ing he has been trained well by RSS in the “Nazi tra­di­tion” of false pro­pa­ganda and BJP’s “cheap inten­tions” have been proved by try­ing to politi­cise a health issue.

Com­par­ing the Gujarat chief min­is­ter with Joseph Goebbels, the pro­pa­ganda min­is­ter of Nazi gov­ern­ment in Ger­many, the Con­gress leader picked on his favourite tar­get RSS alleg­ing it trains its cadres in “dis­in­for­ma­tion campaign”.

In his posts on the microblog­ging site Twit­ter, Singh said, “Sangh trains it’s cadre in dis­in­for­ma­tion cam­paign. Obvi­ously Modi has been trained well! Sangh has mod­elled itself in the Nazi tradition.

“Sangh train­ing to it’s cadre. Jhoot bolo zor se bolo aur baar baar bolo (Tell a lie, tell it loudly and tell it hun­dred times)Doesn’t it remind you of Hitler’s Goebbels?”

Singh’s attack againt Modi and RSS came a day after Modi alleged that Rs 1,880 crore was spent from state exche­quer for Con­gress pres­i­dent Sonia Gandhi’s for­eign trips cit­ing a media report.

In the night, he offered to pub­licly accept his mis­take if the claim turned out to be false.

“I had said this thing based on the report of a news­pa­per. If my infor­ma­tion is wrong, today I say that I will pub­licly accept this mis­take”, Modi said address­ing another rally in Junagadh.

Digvi­jaya Singh said the inci­dent “estab­lishes the motive of BJP and Naren­dra Modi, their malafide cheap inten­tions. They want to politi­cise even an issue like health”.

The Con­gress pres­i­dent had gone thrice to an undis­closed des­ti­na­tion abroad in last more than a year for a surgery.

Sav­itri Devi

6a. Modi’s elec­tion was aided by the head of Pierre Omidyar’s “char­i­ta­ble” orga­ni­za­tion Omid­yar Net­works. In FTR #763, we noted that Omid­yar is the finan­cial angel back­ing Nazi fellow-traveler Glenn Greenwald’s new jour­nal­is­tic ven­ture. Omid­yar has also backed some grind­ingly oppres­sive, cruel projects in the Third World. His Indian micro-finance ven­tures were par­tic­u­larly horrible.

Omid­yar also helped to finance the covert oper­a­tion that brought the OUN/B suc­ces­sors to power in Ukraine.

“REVEALED: The Head of Omid­yar Net­works in India Had a Secret Sec­ond Job… Help­ing Elect Naren­dra Modi” by Mark Ames; Pando Daily; 5/26/2014.

Last week­end, India’s elec­tions swept into power a hard­line Hindu suprema­cist named Naren­dra Modi. And with that White House spokesman Jay Car­ney said the Obama admin­is­tra­tion “look[s] for­ward to work­ing closely” with a man who has been on a US State Dept “visa black­list” since 2005 for his role in the grue­some mass-killings and per­se­cu­tion of minor­ity Mus­lims (and minor­ity Christians).

Modi leads India’s ultra­na­tion­al­ist BJP party, which won a land­slide major­ity of seats (though only 31% of the votes), mean­ing Modi will have the lux­ury of lead­ing India’s first one-party gov­ern­ment in 30 years. This is mak­ing a lot of peo­ple ner­vous: The last time the BJP party was in power, in 1998, they launched series of nuclear bomb test explo­sions, spark­ing a nuclear cri­sis with Pak­istan and fears of all-out nuclear war. And that was when the BJP was led by a “mod­er­ate” ultra­na­tion­al­ist — and tied down with med­dling coali­tion partners.

Modi is dif­fer­ent. Not only will he rule alone, he’s promised to run India the way he ran the west­ern state of Gujarat since 2001, which Booker Prize-winning author Arand­huti Roy described as “the petri dish in which Hindu fas­cism has been foment­ing an elab­o­rate polit­i­cal exper­i­ment.” Under Modi’s watch, an orgy of anti-Muslim vio­lence led to up to 2000 killed and 250,000 inter­nally dis­placed, and a lin­ger­ing cli­mate of fear, ghet­toiza­tion, and extra­ju­di­cial exe­cu­tions by Gujarat death squads oper­at­ing under Modi’s watch. . . .

. . . Omid­yar Net­work, as Pando read­ers know, is the phil­an­thropy arm of eBay bil­lion­aire Pierre Omid­yar. Since 2009, Omid­yar Net­work has made more invest­ments in India than in any other coun­try in its port­fo­lio. These invest­ments were largely thanks to Jayant Sinha, a for­mer McK­in­sey part­ner and Har­vard MBA, who was hired in Octo­ber 2009 to estab­lish and run Omid­yar Net­work India Advisors.

Dur­ing Sinha’s tenure, Omid­yar Net­work steered a large por­tion of its invest­ments into India, so that by 2013, India invest­ments made up 18% of Omid­yar Network’s com­mit­ted funds of well over $600 mil­lion, and 36% of the total num­ber of com­pa­nies in its portfolio.

In Feb­ru­ary of this year, Sinha stepped down from Omid­yar Net­work in order to advise Modi’s elec­tion cam­paign, and to run for a BJP par­lia­men­tary seat of his own. Sinha’s father, Yash­want Sinha, served as finance min­is­ter in the last BJP gov­ern­ment from 1998 (when his gov­ern­ment set off the nukes) through 2002. This year, Sinha’s father gave up his seat in par­lia­ment to allow Jayant Sinha to take his place.

Dur­ing the cam­paign, Sinha’s father pub­licly backed Modi’s refusal to apol­o­gize over the deadly riots under his watch: “Modi is right…why should he apol­o­gize?” His ex-Omidyar staffer son, Jayant, boasted a few weeks ago that his father’s BJP gov­ern­ment ignored inter­na­tional out­rage in 1998 when det­o­nat­ing its nukes, known as “Pokhran” . . . .

6b. Omid­yar Network’s SKS under­tak­ing in India–a micro-finance company–was a bru­tal, cruel effort.

“The Extra­or­di­nary Pierre Omid­yar” by Mark Ames and Yasha Levine; NSFW­Corp; 11/15/2013.

. . . . In 2012, it emerged that while the SKS IPO was mak­ing mil­lions for its wealthy investors, hun­dreds of heav­ily indebted res­i­dents of India’s Andhra Pradesh state were dri­ven to despair and sui­cide by the company’s cruel and aggres­sive debt-collection prac­tices. The rash of sui­cides soared right at the peak of a large micro-lending bub­ble in Andhra Pradesh, in which many of the poor were tak­ing out mul­ti­ple micro-loans to cover pre­vi­ous loans that they could no longer pay. It was sub­prime lend­ing fraud taken to the poor­est regions of the world, strip­ping them of what lit­tle they had to live on. It got to the point where the Chief Min­is­ter of Andrah Pradesh pub­licly appealed to the state’s youth and young women not to com­mit sui­cide, telling them, “Your lives are valuable.”

The AP con­ducted a stun­ning in-depth inves­ti­ga­tion of the SKS sui­cides, and their report­ing needs to be quoted at length to under­stand just how evil this pro­gram is. The arti­cle begins:

“First they were stripped of their uten­sils, fur­ni­ture, mobile phones, tele­vi­sions, ration cards and heir­loom gold jew­elry. Then, some of them drank pes­ti­cide. One woman threw her­self in a pond. Another jumped into a well with her chil­dren. 

“Some­times, the debt col­lec­tors watched nearby.”

What prompted the AP inves­ti­ga­tion was the gulf between the reported rash of sui­cides linked to SKS debt col­lec­tors, and SKS’s pub­lic state­ments deny­ing it had knowl­edge of or any role in the preda­tory lend­ing abuses. How­ever, the AP got a hold of inter­nal SKS doc­u­ments that con­tra­dicted their pub­lic denials:

“More than 200 poor, debt-ridden res­i­dents of Andhra Pradesh killed them­selves in late 2010, accord­ing to media reports com­piled by the gov­ern­ment of the south Indian state. The state blamed micro­fi­nance com­pa­nies — which give small loans intended to lift up the very poor — for fuel­ing a frenzy of overindebt­ed­ness and then pres­sur­ing bor­row­ers so relent­lessly that some took their own lives. 

“The com­pa­nies, includ­ing mar­ket leader SKS Micro­fi­nance, denied it.

“How­ever, inter­nal doc­u­ments obtained by The Asso­ci­ated Press, as well as inter­views with more than a dozen cur­rent and for­mer employ­ees, inde­pen­dent researchers and video­taped tes­ti­mony from the fam­i­lies of the dead, show top SKS offi­cials had infor­ma­tion impli­cat­ing com­pany employ­ees in some of the suicides.”

The AP inves­ti­ga­tion and inter­nal reports showed just how bru­tal the SKS micro­fi­nanc­ing pro­gram was, how women were par­tic­u­larly tar­geted because of their height­ened sense of shame and com­mu­nity responsibility—here is the bru­tal real­ity of finan­cial cap­i­tal­ism com­pared to the utopian blather mouthed at Davos con­fer­ences, or in the slick pam­phlets issued by the Omid­yar Network:

“Both reports said SKS employ­ees had ver­bally harassed over-indebted bor­row­ers, forced them to pawn valu­able items, incited other bor­row­ers to humil­i­ate them and orches­trated sit-ins out­side their homes to pub­licly shame them. In some cases, the SKS staff phys­i­cally harassed default­ers, accord­ing to the report com­mis­sioned by the com­pany. Only in death would the debts be for­given. 

“The videos and reports tell stark sto­ries: 

“One woman drank pes­ti­cide and died a day after an SKS loan agent told her to pros­ti­tute her daugh­ters to pay off her debt. She had been given 150,000 rupees ($3,000) in loans but only made 600 rupees ($12) a week. 

“Another SKS debt col­lec­tor told a delin­quent bor­rower to drown her­self in a pond if she wanted her loan waived. The next day, she did. She left behind four children.

“One agent blocked a woman from bring­ing her young son, weak with diar­rhea, to the hos­pi­tal, demand­ing pay­ment first. Other bor­row­ers, who could not get any new loans until she paid, told her that if she wanted to die, they would bring her pes­ti­cide. An SKS staff mem­ber was there when she drank the poi­son. She sur­vived. 

“An 18-year-old girl, pres­sured until she handed over 150 rupees ($3)—meant for a school exam­i­na­tion fee—also drank pes­ti­cide. She left a sui­cide note: ‘Work hard and earn money. Do not take loans.’”

As a result of the bad press this scan­dal caused, the Omid­yar Net­work deleted its Uni­tus invest­ment from its website—nor does Omid­yar boast of its invest­ments in SKS Micro­fi­nance any longer. Mean­while, Uni­tus mys­te­ri­ously dis­solved itself and laid off all of its employ­ees right around the time of the IPO, under a cloud of sus­pi­cion that Uni­tus insid­ers made huge per­sonal prof­its from the ven­ture, prof­its that in the­ory were sup­posed to be rein­vested into expand­ing micro-lending for the poor.

Thus spoke the profit motive.

Curi­ously, in the after­math of the SKS micro-lending scan­dal, Omid­yar Net­work was dragged into another polit­i­cal scan­dal in India when it was revealed that Omid­yar and the Ford Foun­da­tion were plac­ing their own paid researchers onto the staffs of India’s MPs. The pro­gram, called Leg­isla­tive Assis­tants to MPs (LAMPs), was funded with $1 mil­lion from Omid­yar Net­work and $855,000 from the Ford Foun­da­tion. It was shut down last year after India’s Min­istry of Home Affairs com­plained about for­eign lob­by­ing influ­enc­ing Indian MPs, and promised to inves­ti­gate how Omidyar-funded research for India’s par­lia­ment may have been “col­ored” by an agenda. . . .

7. Exem­pli­fy­ing the oper­a­tional polit­i­cal mythol­ogy of the Aryan/Hindu syn­the­sis, Nazi icon Sav­itri Devi has achieved con­sid­er­ably grav­i­tas in the con­tem­po­rary Nazi and fas­cist milieux. She has also achieved atten­tion and acclaim in cer­tain “New Age” circles.

“The Bizarre Tale of Sav­itri Devi, the Hindu Nazi” by Palash Ghosh; Inter­na­tional Busi­ness Times; 4/30/2011.

Sav­itri Devi is largely an unknown (or for­got­ten) fig­ure from 20th cen­tury his­tory; but she is well worth remem­ber­ing because she lived one of the strangest, most incom­pre­hen­si­ble lives that one could imag­ine. A life that defied and/or con­tra­dicted all con­ven­tion and stereotypes.

Sav­itri Devi was, for lack of a bet­ter descrip­tion, a “Hindu Nazi.”

Her life tra­jec­tory fol­lowed a long and wind­ing path that took her to unex­pected places, to say the least. (Try to imag­ine a tiny female Nazi stormtrooper wear­ing a mod­est, plain Indian sari).

She was born in 1905 in Lyons, France as Max­imi­ani Por­tas, the daugh­ter of a Greek-Italian father and an Eng­lish mother.

At some point in her young wom­an­hood, Max­imi­ani became enam­ored with Adolph Hitler and the Ger­man Nazi move­ment. Per­haps inspired by the Swastika (which was orig­i­nally a Hindu sym­bol, but later co-opted by Hitler), she appar­ently sought to com­bine the National Social­ist ide­ol­ogy with the ancient Hindu tales from the Bhagavad-Gita.

No doubt, Max­imi­ani also devel­oped a vir­u­lent strain of anti-Semitism from an early age, which dove­tailed per­fectly with Hitler’s fanat­i­cal hatred of the Jews.

The “link” between Nazism and Hin­duism is an extremely con­tro­ver­sial sub­ject, but suf­fice it to say, Maximiani’s unlikely syn­the­sis of these two very dis­parate philoso­phies led to her con­vic­tion that Hitler was a heaven-sent avatar, much like Vishnu, the Hindu God.

What com­pli­cates (and con­founds) many peo­ple is the con­cept of the “Aryan” race. Hitler viewed him­self (and the Ger­man peo­ple) as “pure Aryans,” the descen­dants of a mys­te­ri­ous race of “super­hu­mans” who migrated to north­ern Europe from some unknown locale in Cen­tral Asia (or per­haps they moved in the reverse direction).

How­ever, the Aryans, or rather, the Indo-Aryans, the war­rior race that swept into India to sub­ju­gate the native Dra­vid­ian peo­ples of the Indian sub­con­ti­nent thou­sands of years ago, likely had lit­tle con­nec­tion, if any, to the peo­ples of north­ern Europe.

His­to­ri­ans can’t seem to agree on who the Aryans exactly were, where they lived, where they came from, or what became of them. Some schol­ars (par­tic­u­larly in India) debunk the “Aryan inva­sion of India” the­ory entirely.

But it should be noted that some con­sider Iran and the Iran­ian peo­ples as being the “true Aryans.” Indeed, one of the Shah of Iran’s many titles was “Light of the Aryans.”

More­over, the term “Indo-Aryan” is inti­mately tied to “Indo-European” (yet another con­tro­ver­sial topic).

The very idea of an Indo-European lan­guage (and, by exten­sion, race) was pro­posed after Ger­man lin­guists and philol­o­gists, includ­ing August Schle­icher, dis­cov­ered that many words in San­skrit (the lan­guage of ancient India) were star­tlingly sim­i­lar to words in Ger­man, Eng­lish and other “west­ern” languages.

Regard­less of the ten­u­ous link between the ancient Indi­ans and the Ger­mans (and the pseudo-science related to the study of the Aryans), Max­imi­ani bought the dubi­ous the­o­ries whole­heart­edly. She viewed Hin­duism and Nazism as one in the same, with no inher­ent contradictions.

Indeed, like Hitler (and the ancient Hin­dus), she espoused the beauty and val­ues of the nat­ural world, cham­pi­oning ecol­ogy, veg­e­tar­i­an­ism, ani­mal rights and (above all) pagan mysticism.

She was highly learned – hav­ing earned two Mas­ters Degrees and a Ph.D. in phi­los­o­phy from the Uni­ver­sity of Lyon in France. In Greece, among the ancient ruins, she dis­cov­ered the swastika – lead­ing to her belief that the ancient Greeks were Aryans.

Max­imi­ani trav­elled all over Europe and the Near East dur­ing her youth, includ­ing a visit to British Pales­tine in 1929, where she saw first-hand the con­flicts between Pales­tini­ans and Jew­ish set­tlers (an expe­ri­ence that likely deep­ened her anti-Semitism).

But it was not until she went to India (which she regarded as the ori­gin of pure Aryan civ­i­liza­tion) in 1932 that her life changed forever.

Her immer­sion in Indian Hindu cul­ture was total. She stud­ied Ben­gali and Hindi at Rabindranath Tagore’s pres­ti­gious Shanti Nike­tan school.

She changed her name to Sav­itri Devi (which roughly trans­lates to Sun god­dess in San­skrit); and she gave her full sup­port to the Indian Hindu nationalist/independence move­ment against Britain. She also advo­cated vehe­mently against both Chris­tian­ity and Islam.

In 1940, liv­ing in Cal­cutta, she mar­ried Dr. Asit Krishna Mukherji, a Ben­gali Brah­min who edited the pro-German news­pa­per New Mer­cury and fully embraced National Social­ism. (Although Mukherji appar­ently mar­ried her only to pre­vent her from being deported and remained chaste, Sav­itri report­edly was sexually-liberated, hav­ing many affairs with both men and women).

Sav­itri was also in close touch Indian nation­al­ists, most notably Sub­hash Chan­dra Bose (also known as ‘Netaji’) who later received help from Nazi Germany.

Dur­ing the 1930s and 1940s, Hitler was widely admired in India – largely because he was viewed as anti-British – that is, before the full hor­rors of the Holo­caust were revealed.

After World War II. Savitri’s ado­ra­tion of Hitler and Nazism only increased – she con­tin­ued writ­ing essays and books; and trav­elled all over post-Third Reich Europe. In Ger­many, she was arrested and briefly impris­oned for pub­lish­ing pro-Nazi leaflets.

She moved widely across Europe, Mid­dle East, Britain and even the U.S., meet­ing with neo-Nazi adher­ents every­where and becom­ing sort of a ‘grand dame’ for unre­pen­tant Hitler-admirers. She might also have been one of the first Holo­caust deniers – the belief that the Nazi’s exter­mi­na­tion of the Jews was a lie.

She wrote many texts and books (mostly dense, wordy and incom­pre­hen­si­ble tracts) which found an audi­ence with Nazi sym­pa­thiz­ers around the world after the fall of the Third Reich.

Although Sav­itri was clearly eccen­tric (and prob­a­bly a crack­pot) she had legions of admir­ers – includ­ing the Chilean diplo­mat Miguel Ser­rano, Ital­ian far-right winger Clau­dio Mutti; and Revilo Oliver, a noto­ri­ous Amer­i­can neo-Nazi, among others.

In the 1970s, she returned to India to live in New Delhi on her deceased husband’s pen­sion. She died in 1982 in England.

The British author Nicholas Goodrick-Clarke wrote a highly acclaimed book about her enti­tled Hitler’s Priest­ess. Sav­itri Devi, the Hindu-Aryan Myth, and Neo-Nazism.

8. The sec­ond side of the pro­gram fur­ther devel­ops the Nazi/Hindu/“Aryan” phi­los­o­phy, excerpt­ing FTR #172, pro­vid­ing more infor­ma­tion about Sav­itri Devi.

A Nazi mys­tic and ide­o­logue named Sav­itri Devi (nee Max­imi­ani Por­tas) is an icon to con­tem­po­rary Nazi ele­ments and her phi­los­o­phy over­laps, and has been accepted by, cer­tain ele­ments of both Green and New Age phi­los­o­phy. This broad­cast sets forth both the his­tory and the phi­los­o­phy of Sav­itri Devi.

Strongly influ­enced by Hindu (and specif­i­cally Brah­min) cul­ture, Sav­itri Devi saw the caste sys­tem of India and the mythol­ogy of the Bha­gavad Gita as con­firm­ing the Nazi occult phi­los­o­phy of the so-called “Aryan” ori­gins of the Ger­man peo­ple. (The pro­gram does not detail her actual phi­los­o­phy which is, past a point, mys­ti­cal and fun­da­men­tally irra­tional­ist in nature. The point of the broad­cast is to illus­trate the poten­tial appeal of Nazi occultism to New Agers and eco-activists.)

Begin­ning with analy­sis of the appeal of Hitler and Nazism for the upper castes of Hindu soci­ety, the pro­gram under­scores the man­ner in which the Third Reich exploited the anti-colonial sen­ti­ment of peo­ple in the Third World in an attempt to con­vert them to the Nazi cause. This anti-colonial sen­ti­ment, the racism of the caste sys­tem and the Nazis’ use of the swastika (a holy Hindu sym­bol) led many Hin­dus to view Hitler as an Avatar (a divine spirit). This Hindu sym­pa­thy for Hitler ulti­mately led to the for­ma­tion of an Indian Legion that fought along­side the Wehrma­cht, as well as the RSS (an Indian fas­cist orga­ni­za­tion). The Indian Legion was the brain­child of a mil­i­tant Indian nation­al­ist turned Axis spy and fas­cist named Sub­has Chan­dra Bose, nick­named “The Duce of Bengal”.

The pro­gram high­lights the Third Reich’s use of anti-colonial sen­ti­ment and anti-Semitism to win Arabs over to the Nazi cause. (It should be noted that Hitler’s racism has engen­dered con­tempt on the part of his fol­low­ers toward both Indi­ans and Arabs, a fact often over­looked by Indian and Arab Nazi apol­o­gists, to their own detri­ment.) Devi’s pro­found con­nec­tions to post-war Nazi lumi­nar­ies Hans Ulrich Rudel and Otto Sko­rzeny led to her enshrine­ment as a major philo­soph­i­cal pil­lar of con­tem­po­rary Nazism. (Both Rudel and Sko­rzeny became lead­ers of what Mr. Emory calls “the Under­ground Reich”.)

Devi was con­nected to both Amer­i­can Nazi Party founder George Lin­coln Rock­well and William Pierce, the leader of the National Alliance and author of The Turner Diaries.

 

 

Discussion

2 comments for “FTR #795 Fascism, Hindu Nationalism and Narendra Modi”

  1. The BJP is pissed about reports of the FISA court giv­ing per­mis­sion to spy on it, along with the Mus­lim Broth­er­hood, a Hezbol­lah affil­i­ate, and the Pak­istan Peo­ples Party. And now the BJP wants a no-spy agree­ment of its own:

    India seeks assur­ances from U.S. over spy­ing reports

    By Sruthi Gottipati

    NEW DELHI Thu Jul 3, 2014 1:59am IST

    (Reuters) — India sum­moned a senior U.S. diplo­mat on Wednes­day to explain reports that the U.S. National Secu­rity Agency was autho­rised to spy on Prime Min­is­ter Naren­dra Modi’s party before he took office, and to seek assur­ances this would not hap­pen in future.

    The U.S. State Depart­ment said it would not com­ment “on every spe­cific alleged intel­li­gence activ­ity,” but a spokes­woman said she hoped that rela­tions with the new Indian gov­ern­ment, which Wash­ing­ton is keen to develop, would not be harmed.

    Accord­ing to a 2010 clas­si­fied doc­u­ment leaked by for­mer U.S. secu­rity con­trac­tor Edward Snow­den and pub­lished this week by the Wash­ing­ton Post, Modi’s Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) was among a hand­ful of polit­i­cal organ­i­sa­tions a U.S. court allowed the intel­li­gence agency to spy on.

    The oth­ers included Lebanon’s Hezbollah-allied group Amal, Egypt’s Mus­lim Broth­er­hood, and the Pak­istan Peo­ples Party, the leaked legal cer­ti­fi­ca­tion approved by U.S. For­eign Intel­li­gence Sur­veil­lance Court showed.

    For­eign min­istry spokesman Syed Akbarud­din said that if the snoop­ing reports were true, it would be “highly objec­tion­able”. The min­istry said it sum­moned a senior U.S. diplo­mat to seek assur­ances that any such sur­veil­lance would not occur in future.

    “India has sought an expla­na­tion of the infor­ma­tion con­tained in the press reports, and an assur­ance that such autho­ri­sa­tions will not be acted upon by U.S. gov­ern­ment enti­ties,” it said in a statement.

    State Depart­ment spokes­woman Jen Psaki declined to give details of what she called a “pri­vate” discussion.

    “We have a deep and broad part­ner­ship with India,” she told a reg­u­lar news brief­ing. “We will dis­cuss any con­cerns we need to dis­cuss though pri­vate diplo­matic channels.”

    Asked if the issue could have an impact on rela­tions, she said: “We cer­tainly hope not. We look for­ward to con­tin­u­ing dis­cus­sions on a full range of bilat­eral and regional issues.”

    OBAMA’S INVITATION

    Psaki referred to an invi­ta­tion by Pres­i­dent Barack Obama for Modi to visit the United States and added: “We’re look­ing for­ward to that, hope­fully, in the fall.”

    Psaki also cited a Jan. 17 speech in which Obama said he was ban­ning eaves­drop­ping on the lead­ers of close friends and allies and had instructed U.S. intel­li­gence agen­cies “to work with for­eign coun­ter­parts to deepen our coor­di­na­tion and coop­er­a­tion in ways that rebuild trust.”

    The lat­est affair comes at a tricky time for Indo-U.S. rela­tions, which have been del­i­cate for months fol­low­ing a major spat over the treat­ment of an Indian diplo­mat who was arrested in New York in Decem­ber, an inci­dent that was widely blamed for the res­ig­na­tion of the U.S. ambas­sador to New Delhi.

    The Obama admin­is­tra­tion has been seek­ing to revive ties since Modi’s elec­tion in May, see­ing India as a key strate­gic counter-balance in Asia to an increas­ingly assertive China. It is keen to ramp up bilat­eral trade and espe­cially defence deals.

    Modi was for years denied a visa for travel to the United States fol­low­ing reli­gious riots in 2002 while he was a state chief min­is­ter. Even so, he has responded pos­i­tively to the U.S. advances and shown no resent­ment publicly.

    Modi has not pub­licly com­mented on the spy­ing alle­ga­tion. BJP lead­ers offered cau­tious remarks that the gov­ern­ment would take appro­pri­ate action.

    The for­eign min­istry had voiced con­cerns a year ago about alle­ga­tions that U.S. agen­cies spied on the Indian embassy in Wash­ing­ton, but crit­ics say the issue has largely been brushed under the carpet.

    The new row has over­shad­owed a visit to India by Repub­li­can U.S. Sen­a­tor John McCain, whose Ari­zona con­stituency is host to some of Boe­ing and Raytheon’s most impor­tant defence businesses.

    McCain, who told the Sen­ate last week that Wash­ing­ton should seek to help India’s eco­nomic and mil­i­tary devel­op­ment, can­celled a news con­fer­ence due to be held out­side India’s for­eign min­istry after India sum­moned the U.S. diplo­mat to explain the spy­ing report.

    U.S. and Indian offi­cials gave dif­fer­ing expla­na­tions for the can­cel­la­tion, but said it was not linked to the row.

    ...

    Posted by Pterrafractyl | July 2, 2014, 2:40 pm
  2. Modi just announced that for­eign firms will be allowed to own up to 49% of India’s defense firms, although Indi­ans will still be required to main­tain man­age­ment con­trol over the firms. It’s part of a bid to cut down on India’s defense imports while also being part of Modi’s gen­eral man­date to get India in synch with the new nor­mal of sell­ing off one’s nation to the global loan shark-opoly as a means of estab­lish­ing eco­nomic resilience. It’s a very counter-intuitive strat­egy, and if the ini­tial responses are any indi­ca­tion of how suc­cess­ful India’s new plan will be at attract­ing for­eign invest­ments, it’s also “dis­ap­point­ing” and just “a first tiny step in the right direc­tion”:

    The Wall Street Jour­nal
    India Seeks More For­eign Invest­ment in Defense and Insur­ance
    Pro­posal Stops Short of Allow­ing Con­trol­ling Stakes

    By San­tanu Choud­hury And
    Anant Vijay Kala

    July 10, 2014 9:59 a.m. ET

    NEW DELHI—India on Thurs­day pro­posed allow­ing more for­eign own­er­ship of mil­i­tary hard­ware man­u­fac­tur­ers and insur­ance com­pa­nies, but stopped short of allow­ing con­trol­ling stakes in the key industries.

    As part of the country’s national bud­get, India’s new finance min­is­ter, Arun Jait­ley, pro­posed allow­ing up to 49% for­eign own­er­ship in local defense ven­tures and insur­ance com­pa­nies. Cur­rently, for­eign firms can own up to 26% stakes in com­pa­nies in those two industries.

    Open­ing the sec­tors to more for­eign own­er­ship is aimed at help­ing the indus­tries attract inter­na­tional cap­i­tal, tech­nol­ogy and knowl­edge. Both the pro­pos­als need to be accepted by the cab­i­net, and the insur­ance plan needs approval from the Parliament.

    India, the world’s largest importer of arms, needs help mod­ern­iz­ing its mil­i­tary and wants to build most of the equip­ment locally so it can save on for­eign exchange.

    “Our domes­tic man­u­fac­tur­ing capac­i­ties are still at a nascent stage,” Mr. Jait­ley said. “We are buy­ing a sub­stan­tial part of our defense require­ments directly from for­eign play­ers,” which is lead­ing to a “con­sid­er­able out­flow of for­eign exchange.”

    If the pro­pos­als are accepted, Indi­ans would con­tinue to have con­trol­ling stakes in both defense and insur­ance ven­tures, and would also be required to retain man­age­ment control.

    The change in the for­eign own­er­ship lim­its comes after cam­paign pledges by India’s new prime min­is­ter, Naren­dra Modi, to relax some rules to attract more for­eign direct investment.

    ...

    Investors and exec­u­tives are hop­ing Mr. Modi will be able to use the rare major­ity in Par­lia­ment his party won after a land­slide vic­tory in May to push through long-delayed spend­ing and reg­u­la­tory changes.

    The country’s defense indus­try has attracted only $4.1 mil­lion in for­eign invest­ment since it was first opened to for­eign par­tic­i­pa­tion in 2001, accord­ing to gov­ern­ment fig­ures. Other indus­tries, includ­ing ser­vices, tele­com, and com­puter soft­ware and hard­ware, have each attracted at least $10 bil­lion in for­eign invest­ment from April 2000 to March 2014.

    Ana­lysts said the new ceil­ings are unlikely to trig­ger a flood of for­eign invest­ment because most big for­eign com­pa­nies want major­ity stakes before they are will­ing to com­mit large amounts of money to a new market.

    The finance minister’s pro­posal is “dis­ap­point­ing,” said Amber Dubey, head of the aero­space and defense prac­tice at KPMG in India. “We have just pushed away invest­ments in defense man­u­fac­tur­ing by another year.”

    Girish Kulka­rni, man­ag­ing direc­tor and chief exec­u­tive offi­cer of Star Union Dai-ichi Life Insur­ance Co., said while increas­ing the invest­ment cap was a wel­come move, the Indian man­age­ment require­ment could be a con­cern for for­eign com­pa­nies look­ing to enter Indian insur­ance sector.

    “What ails India is not the lack of for­eign invest­ment, it’s really the invest­ment envi­ron­ment,” said Fred­eric Neu­mann, HSBC’s joint head of Asian eco­nomic research. “This is a first tiny step in the right direc­tion.“

    Posted by Pterrafractyl | July 10, 2014, 7:44 am

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