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.)
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.
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.
. . . . 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.
. . . . 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  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.
. . . . 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.
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.
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.
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.
. . . . 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. . . .
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.