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

14 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
  3. John Kerry’s visit to India as most of the world was focused on the slaughter in Gaza.
    http://english.alarabiya.net/en/views/news/world/2014/08/05/Is-India-becoming-the-next-U-S-outpost-.html

    Posted by Atlanta Bill | August 5, 2014, 2:19 am
  4. “Another Indian NGO that Sinha and Omidyar Network funded was caught in 2012 illegally influencing members of India’s parliament on the country’s tight e-commerce laws. India’s top security agency at the time denounced the NGO as “detrimental to national security,” accused it of providing cover for “foreign” intelligence agencies to infiltrate India’s government — and stripped it of its registration.

    After that scandal, the co-founder of the beleaguered NGO, CV Mudhakar, was hired by Omidyar Network India’s director of investments in…“government transparency.””
    Yep:

    Pando Daily
    Pierre Omidyar’s man in India is named to Modi’s cabinet

    By Mark Ames
    On November 9, 2014

    A longtime senior executive in eBay billionaire Pierre Omidyar’s global impact fund, Jayant Sinha, has been appointed to Indian ultranationalist leader Narendra Modi’s council of ministers.

    In 2009, Sinha established Omidyar Network India Advisors and served as partner and managing director in the First Look Media publisher’s impact fund. Sinha also served onOmidyar Network’s five-member global Executive Committee, and steered well over $100 million of Omidyar Network funds into India, making it the most active single-country investment for the $700 million impact fund, the world’s largest impact fund. Earlier this year, Sinha stepped down as partner and managing director at Omidyar Network to run for his father’s seat in India’s parliament on the far-right BJP Party ticket.

    Sinha’s appointment to Modi’s cabinet makes him the second high-profile Omidyar figure to rise to power in a right-wing, pro-business government in the last two weeks. In late October, PandoDaily reported that Svitlana Zalishchuk — whose Ukrainian NGO “New Citizen” received hundreds of thousands of dollars from Omidyar and USAID, and took credit for organizing the Maidan revolution — took a seat in Ukraine’s new parliament, on the party ticket of billionaire president Petro Poroshenko. Since coming to power after the February “revolution,” Poroshenko led Ukraine into a bloody and disastrous offensive campaign against Russia-backed separatists in the east of the country, leaving thousands dead. Human Rights Watch has accused Poroshenko of committing potential war crimes by using cluster bombs “indiscriminately in populated areas.”

    As PandoDaily has been reporting all year, Jayant Sinha—and his boss, Omidyar—have been playing an unusual dual role in Indian politics over the past few years, conflating supposedly philanthropic activities with decidedly political investments that dovetailed with Sinha’s party’s political campaign when it was out of power.

    Some of those Omidyar grants went to for-profit investments, such as Omidyar investments in microfinance firms like SKS Microfinance, which ended disastrously when SKS’s aggressive debt collectors were implicated in pushing hundreds of poor villagers into gruesome suicides, by drinking bottles of pesticide, drowning themselves, and other means.

    Other Omidyar-Sinha investments went into NGOs whose campaigns dovetailed perfectly with the far-right BJP Party’s campaigns when they were in the opposition, particularly by focusing attention on corruption under the previous center-left government that ruled from 2005 through this year. The BJP won this year’s election on an anti-corruption backlash; and Omidyar Network bankrolled one of India’s most prominent anti-corruption NGO campaigns, “I Paid A Bribe.” In 2010, Sinha and Omidyar Network awarded $3 million to an Indian NGO, Janaagraha, to run the “I Paid A Bribe” campaign. A top USAID official, Sarah Mendelsen, described as “spell-binding” a speech about anti-corruption campaigns by Janaagraha’s co-founder at a Google event in 2011. Janaagraha had previously worked with the World Bank to privatize Bangalore’s water.

    At the same time that Omidyar Network’s Sinha invested in anti-corruption campaigns that undermined India’s ruling center-left party, Sinha secretly worked on Modi’s team to prepare for the 2014 elections. According to two senior BJP Party members, Sinha also “worked in Modi’s team” in 2012 and 2013, undisclosed at the time, while simultaneously heading Omidyar Network and guiding the fund’s global strategy. Sinha also served as a director in the BJP Party’s powerful think-tank, the India Foundation, set up by Ajit Doval, who now heads India’s national intelligence apparatus under Modi.

    Another Indian NGO that Sinha and Omidyar Network funded was caught in 2012 illegally influencing members of India’s parliament on the country’s tight e-commerce laws. India’s top security agency at the time denounced the NGO as “detrimental to national security,” accused it of providing cover for “foreign” intelligence agencies to infiltrate India’s government — and stripped it of its registration.

    After that scandal, the co-founder of the beleaguered NGO, CV Mudhakar, was hired by Omidyar Network India’s director of investments in…“government transparency.”

    Sinha has for years been pushing India to open its e-commerce markets to foreign investment — which would directly benefit Omidyar, who is still chairman of eBay. After Sinha moved from Omidyar Network to campaigning for Modi in February of this year, Modi suddenly began to parrot Sinha’s and Silicon Valley’s wish-list on opening up India’s e-commerce to Silicon Valley. In early June, weeks after Modi and Sinha’s election victories, the new Modi government invited representatives from eBay, as well as Amazon and Google, to help rewrite India’s e-commerce laws.

    Posted by Pterrafractyl | November 10, 2014, 7:43 pm
  5. “Aside from authorizing weapons purchases, the government has loosened restrictions on procurement from defense manufacturers affected by graft allegations, and made it easier for private companies to maintain military equipment.” Uh oh:

    Bloomberg
    India Under Modi to Buy First Heavy Weapons Since 1980s
    By N.C Bipindra Nov 23, 2014 1:44 AM CT

    India approved a 158 billion-rupee ($2.5 billion) purchase of artillery, the first acquisition of large-caliber guns since the 1980s as Prime Minister Narendra Modi seeks to modernize the armed forces.

    The Defence Acquisition Council authorized 229 billion rupees of procurements yesterday, including the artillery, a government official told reporters in New Delhi, asking not to be identified citing rules. The meeting was the first since Manohar Parrikar became defense minister earlier in November.

    India has authorized $19 billion of weapons purchases since Modi swept to power in May and took a firmer line in border disputes with Pakistan and China. Parrikar has vowed quick and transparent decision-making to spur the military of the world’s largest importer of major conventional weapons.

    The next step will be to seek tenders for the manufacture of the artillery. If a foreign manufacturer wins the tender, the first 100 pieces will be imported and the remaining 714 will be made in India through technology transfer.

    Modi is trying to encourage domestic production, a policy discussed at the meeting, the official said. A decision on a proposal from the defense units of India’s Tata Sons Ltd. and Europe’s Airbus Group NV (AIR) to supply transport aircraft was deferred, the official said.

    Maritime Intelligence

    Parrikar commissioned a maritime security intelligence sharing network today. Its objective is to monitor the Indian Ocean region for threats such as the 2008 Mumbai terror attacks.

    “In energy security and security, we can’t be dependent on others,” the defense minister said at the event, in response to a question about the goals Modi set for him. Sanctions or blockades can cut off key suppliers, indicating India must work towards self-reliance for energy and military needs, according to Parrikar.

    Last year, India’s biggest state-run weapons maker tested a locally made piece of artillery produced off 1980s blueprints in the deserts of Rajasthan — when it fired, the barrel cracked. That’s just once example of the nuclear-armed nation’s struggle to introduce its first new artillery since 1986.

    Modi faced defense spending near a 50-year low as a percentage of the economy when he took power six months ago. A history of corruption scandals slowed military purchases.

    Aside from authorizing weapons purchases, the government has loosened restrictions on procurement from defense manufacturers affected by graft allegations, and made it easier for private companies to maintain military equipment.

    Modi has also allowed higher foreign investment in the defense industry, and his administration is said to target the signing of a contract for 126 Rafale fighter jets by year’s end.

    Posted by Pterrafractyl | November 23, 2014, 5:36 pm
  6. Modi is unviiling his new ‘totally not Thatcherite *wink*’ reforms to the Indian economy and safety net. This isn’t going to be a complete human disaster or anything. The market shall provide for all:

    PM Modi puts free-market stamp on new policy panel

    By Frank Jack Daniel and Rajesh Kumar Singh

    NEW DELHI Mon Jan 5, 2015 8:04pm IST

    (Reuters) – Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Monday named right-leaning economist Arvind Panagariya to run his new Policy Commission, hammering a final nail into the coffin of socialist planning that defined the first 67 years of independent India.

    Panagariya, a professor at Columbia University in New York, will head a bench of thinkers comprising fellow free-market ideologue Bibek Debroy and a former top government scientist who designed a nuclear-capable ballistic missile.

    The Indian-born economist’s calls to roll back the state have influenced Modi’s outlook and drawn comparisons, which he rejects, with Margaret Thatcher’s attack on labour regulations and state industry in 1980s Britain.

    India’s growth has hit its longest trough since the 1980s over the past two years, a cycle blamed by private economists on a lack of structural reforms to revive investment and create jobs and infrastructure.

    “With the appointment of Panagariya and Bibek, the breakaway from Nehruvian socialism is complete,” said Rajiv Kumar, a senior fellow at the Centre for Policy Research, a think-tank in New Delhi.

    “Knowing both Arvind and Bibek, I am sure they will rapidly push for an open, private sector-led, more liberal order.”

    Panagariya told Reuters last year that he did not support a Thatcherite agenda, saying India should give markets a freer rein but that it still needed growth in social spending in a country that has about a third of the world’s extremely poor.

    “Here, in India, we are trying to give back markets the space that belonged to them in the first place and was usurped by overactive regulations,” he said in an email interview, given in his capacity as an adviser to Rajasthan.

    FISCAL LOOSENING?

    Panagariya has previously advocated a loosening of fiscal deficit targets that he said were stifling growth to allow for more capital spending.

    That view is shared by Arvind Subramanian, another heavyweight economist brought in from the United States last year to advise the finance ministry. In a December economic report Subramanian advocated higher infrastructure spending by the government to kick-start stagnant private investment.

    Their views could be influential as Finance Minister Arun Jaitley prepares his first full budget, to be presented in parliament in February.

    Panagariya, Subramanian and Debroy were vocal critics of Jaitley’s first budget, an interim measure drafted after Modi’s election victory in May. All three described it as too cautious given the government’s resounding mandate.

    Their appointment suggests that Modi also wants a more radical finance bill this year.

    Modi scrapped the 65-year-old Planning Commission in the New Year, replacing it with a body he said would do more to involve the regions.

    The 64-year-old premier will formally chair the new National Institution for Transforming India (NITI), which is designed to function as both a think-tank and a policy forum. Panagariya, as vice chairman, would hold cabinet rank.

    Modi also named V.K. Saraswat, ex-head of the government’s defence research arm, to a full-time post. Seven senior ministers will join the panel, along with representatives from India’s 29 states and seven union territories.

    The writing is on the wall:

    India’s growth has hit its longest trough since the 1980s over the past two years, a cycle blamed by private economists on a lack of structural reforms to revive investment and create jobs and infrastructure.

    Yep, the writing is on the wall and it was probably written by someone that simultaneously hates the poor while viewing them as super-humans that just need a kick in the pants to unleash their super-powers. That’s what to expect when you read that economists (who tend to hate the poor) are chattering about how “structural reforms” (austerity for the poor and tax cuts for the rich) as the only thing that can improve the Indian economy and lives of poor Indians. And with a Modi government those are exactly the kinds of reforms we should expect.

    But at least you hear comments like this:

    Panagariya told Reuters last year that he did not support a Thatcherite agenda, saying India should give markets a freer rein but that it still needed growth in social spending in a country that has about a third of the world’s extremely poor.

    So it could be worse. Arvind Panagariya could be planning a Thatcherite revolution that guts India’s safety net while selling off state assets to connected oligarchs. Which he says he isn’t planning on doing. At least, not immediately:

    Advisers to India’s Modi dream of a Thatcherite revolution

    By Frank Jack Daniel and Rajesh Kumar Singh

    NEW DELHI Sun Apr 6, 2014 2:19am EDT

    (Reuters) – When Indian opposition leader Narendra Modi gave a speech on the virtues of smaller government and privatization on April 8 last year, supporters called him an ideological heir to former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher, who died that day.

    Modi, favorite to form India’s next government after elections starting on Monday, has yet to unveil any detailed economic plans but it is clear that some of his closest advisers and many campaign workers have a Thatcherite ambition for him.

    These supporters dismiss criticism of Modi for religious riots that killed some 1,000 people in his home state of Gujarat 12 years ago. For them, Modi stands for economic freedom.

    “If you define Thatcherism as less government, free enterprise, then there is no difference between Modi-nomics and Thatcherism,” said Deepak Kanth, a London-based banker now collecting funds as a volunteer for Modi’s Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP).

    Kanth, who says he is on the economic right, is one of several hundred volunteers with a similar philosophy working for Modi in campaign war-rooms across the country. Among them are alumni of Goldman Sachs and JP Morgan trading floors.

    “What Thatcher did with financial market reforms, you can expect a similar thing with infrastructure in India under Modi,” he said, referring to Thatcher’s trademark “Big Bang” of sudden financial deregulation in 1986.

    Modi’s inner circle also includes prominent economists and industrialists who share a desire to see his BJP draw a line under India’s socialist past, cut welfare and reduce the role of government in business.

    The BJP is due to unveil detailed economic plans on Monday and is expected to make populist pledges to create a massive number of manufacturing jobs and to restart India’s stalled $1 trillion infrastructure development program.

    But conversations with top policy advisers to Modi suggest an agenda that goes further than the upcoming campaign manifesto, including plans to overhaul national welfare programs. There is also a fierce debate inside his team about privatizing some flagship state-run firms, including loss-making Air India.

    Bibek Debroy, a prominent Indian economist speaking for the first time about his role advising Modi during the campaign, told Reuters the Hindu nationalist leader shared his market-driven policy platform and opposed handouts.

    “It is essentially a belief that people don’t need doles, and don’t need subsidies,” Debroy said. Instead, the government should focus on building infrastructure to ease poverty, he said.

    ASSET CREATION

    Modi’s office did not respond to requests for comment on this article. Senior BJP leader Arun Jaitley, the man often tipped to be the finance minister in a Modi cabinet, said the party would not do away with welfare programs entirely.

    “I don’t want to immediately comment on what we will do with each one of them,” Jaitley said. “India will need some poverty alleviation schemes, at least in the immediate future, but you could link those schemes with some asset creation.”

    How far Modi can go down this road if elected will depend on allies in what is likely to be a coalition government. In the last big poll ahead of the election, the BJP was forecast to end up as the single largest party but fall short of an outright majority.

    But merely the possibility that India may move to the right has brought free-market champions flocking home from high-flying careers abroad to join Modi’s campaign.

    Two advisers involved in policy discussions within the BJP’s top leadership said partial or total privatizations of Air India and other failing public sector enterprises were being debated.

    “If you say is it going to happen in 2014-15, is the finance minister going to stand up and announce privatization, I’m inclined to think no, but will it figure eventually? The answer is yes,” said Debroy, author of a book on the economy of Gujarat, the western Indian state Modi has governed for more than a decade.

    When asked about the possible privatization of Air India, Jaitley said only that it was a difficult issue.

    WELFARE ROLLBACK

    An attack on welfare would mark an ideological shift.

    Although India adopted free-market reforms 20 years ago, the man responsible for them, current Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, has refocused on redistribution of wealth in recent years under the influence of Congress party chief Sonia Gandhi.

    The battle of ideas between Modi and the ruling Congress party was mirrored in a public spat between two well-known economists of Indian origin, Nobel laureate Amartya Sen and Columbia University’s Jagdish Bhagwati.

    Sen’s belief that public spending on food subsidies and health was needed to end poverty was adopted by Gandhi. The result was a proliferation of welfare schemes, most notably a rural work program and a giant subsidized food plan.

    Modi’s economic thinking is closer to Bhagwati, who strongly advocates poverty reduction through deregulation-led growth. Bhagwati’s colleague and writing partner, Arvind Panagariya, a former chief economist at the Asian Development Bank, is tipped by some in the BJP for a role in any Modi government.

    The Congress party’s rural job scheme is credited with lifting rural wages and reducing migration to cities. But critics, including Panagariya, believe the jobs it created – such as maintaining irrigation ponds and village roads – were unproductive.

    These ideas have found traction in Modi’s circle of advisers, who propose tying such programs to skills training and putting employees to work on building highways or sanitation projects.

    Others in the group propose doing away altogether with dozens of centrally funded programs.

    As Arun Jaitley, now India’s minister of finance, pledged at the time:

    “I don’t want to immediately comment on what we will do with each one of them,” Jaitley said. “India will need some poverty alleviation schemes, at least in the immediate future, but you could link those schemes with some asset creation.”

    And as Arvind Panagariya was pushing for last year:

    Modi’s economic thinking is closer to Bhagwati, who strongly advocates poverty reduction through deregulation-led growth. Bhagwati’s colleague and writing partner, Arvind Panagariya, a former chief economist at the Asian Development Bank, is tipped by some in the BJP for a role in any Modi government.

    The Congress party’s rural job scheme is credited with lifting rural wages and reducing migration to cities. But critics, including Panagariya, believe the jobs it created – such as maintaining irrigation ponds and village roads – were unproductive.

    So presumably all that “asset creation” from the infrastructure stimulus programs (that likely center around privatizations) is going to permanently alleviate Indian poverty in the future. Not immediate, mind you, but eventually. Also, screw the poor and their rural roads and irrigation ponds. Deregulations will provide those services if they are truly of value. Praying to the free market gods. That’s the plan for India.

    Although this Thatcherite revolution does raise the question of what happens when the stimulus programs end and everything is privatized and the welfare and food subsidy programs are all gone?

    Oh yeah. That’s right. More “asset creation”.

    Posted by Pterrafractyl | January 6, 2015, 10:53 am
  7. “I would like to address the problem frontally in the interest of the poorest of the poor. For him land acquisition for industries may be the priority, for me it is homesteads for the homeless … policies which accrue direct benefit for the poor rather than in the name of development taking a circuitous route to benefit the poor. Whether that happens is so questionable – development for whom and at what cost?”

    Uh uh. It’s sounds like some of Modi’s non-billionaire coalition partners are having a long-overdue existential crisis:

    The Telegraph
    Narendra Modi set to suffer first parliamentary defeat – and his own supporters are delighted
    Indian prime minister’s Land Acquisition bill to make it easier for big companies to buy plots from poor farmers has angered senior leaders of the Hindu nationalist organisation regarded as the backbone of Modi’s own Bharatiya Janata Party

    By Dean Nelson, New Delhi

    11:31AM GMT 14 Mar 2015

    Narendra Modi, India’s most powerful prime minister in a quarter of a century, is set to suffer his first parliamentary defeat today and some of his own supporters will be leading the celebrations.

    His Land Acquisition bill to make it easier for big companies to buy plots from poor farmers has angered senior leaders of the Hindu nationalist organisation regarded as the backbone of his own Bharatiya Janata Party, the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh [RSS].

    The RSS, a controversial group which promotes India as a Hindu society and has been accused of provoking anti-Muslim riots and murdering Christians, played a significant campaigning role in Mr Modi’s landslide victory in last year’s general election and expected it would have great influence on his new government.

    Mr Modi began his political education with the RSS, also known as Sangh Parivar, when he was eight. He attended its rallies in Gujarat, wore its trade mark baggy khaki shorts and black cap uniform and eventually became a full-time organiser before he was seconded to the BJP in 1985.

    His credentials as a Hindu nationalist have never been doubted – part of his popularity was based on his tough reputation. His failure to stop the 2002 Gujarat riots saw more than a thousand, mostly Muslims, massacred on his watch as chief minister.

    But his close relationship with some of India’s richest billionaires has stirred resentment within the ranks. RSS members fear that he is too “pro-corporate” and will “sell out” traditional nationalist constituencies, like farmers and small shopkeepers in favour of foreign investors. At his swearing in ceremony last summer, leading tycoons like Mukesh and Anil Ambani, Gautam Adani, and Shashi and Prashant Ruia of the Essar Group were given pride of place..

    The ‘Modi-wave’ which swept the BJP to its landslide victory last summer was powered by the popular belief that he would revive India’s flagging economy and put development first. Since then he has launched his ‘Make in India’ campaign to persuade foreign investors to build factories and create new jobs. Making it easier for them and other companies to acquire land for infrastructure and manufacturing plants is a key part of his plan.

    But it has tipped many RSS figures into open revolt and pushed them into a powerful coalition of opposition figures. These include Anna Hazare, the Gandhian leader whose anti-corruption crusade shook the previous Congress government, Arvind Kejriwal, whose Aam Admi (Common Man) Party humiliated Mr Modi’s BJP in the Delhi state elections last month, and the governments of Bihar and Uttar Pradesh.

    The involvement of RSS figures in the anti-bill alliance has alarmed Mr Modi’s government and forced a series of concessions. But their criticism extends beyond his measures to make land acquisition reforms. Some are beginning to question whether he really was the founder of the impressive economic growth Gujarat enjoyed during his time as chief minister of the state, as he has claimed.

    K.N. Govindacharya, one of the leading RSS dissidents who has known Mr Modi since 1972, said their differences with the prime minister run deep: Mr Modi believes in “trickle-down theory” in which major corporates will build infrastructure and the poor will get jobs and better wages, while his RSS critics oppose any measures which drive farmers and smallholders from their land.

    He told the Telegraph: “I would like to address the problem frontally in the interest of the poorest of the poor. For him land acquisition for industries may be the priority, for me it is homesteads for the homeless … policies which accrue direct benefit for the poor rather than in the name of development taking a circuitous route to benefit the poor. Whether that happens is so questionable – development for whom and at what cost?”

    Powerful business families like the Tatas, Ambanis and Adanis had “progressed beyond all proportions”, he added, but “not those who rear cows and goats. There is disparity, inequality and the consumerism that’s prevalent, it’s not inclusive.”

    His criticism reveals a Gandhian socialist and environmentalist strain within one of Hindu nationalism’s most feared groups. According to K.N Govindacharya, who was once the BJP’s leading economic thinker, it reflects the RSS’s duty of care for the “emotional welfare of the entirety of the Indian population”.

    Their “disappointment and resentment” was voiced by the RSS farmers group, the Bharati Kisan Sangh, and its trade union group after last month’s budget in which the government claimed India would overtake China next year to become the world’s fastest-growing economy. There was resentment too at the government’s focus on attracting foreign direct investment while neglecting its environment. “The depletion of the cattle stock, water levels are going deeper and deeper, forest cover is being eradicated faster”, he said.

    The RSS’s ‘Hindutva’ creed of promoting Hindu culture is not a sectarian cause but “a universalist message of humanity and egalitarianism”, he said.

    After the euphoria of his landslide election victory, India’s most powerful prime minister in decades has discovered his strongest opposition is among his own Hindu nationalist supporters.

    While it’s never really a great sign to suddenly realize that the guy you elected to fix the economy is really just planning on rigging it in favor of the billionaires, you gotta give credit where credit’s due: at least some of India’s conservatives are experiencing an existential crisis about Modi at all. Better late than never. It could be worse!

    Posted by Pterrafractyl | March 16, 2015, 5:23 pm
  8. The ‘bad old days’ are back by demand. Or, rather, will be back after the the Modi government demands a pro-child labor amendment to the Child Labour Prohibition Act:

    Quartz
    The Modi government is sending millions of kids back into exploitative labour

    Written by
    Rashme Sehgal, Scroll.in
    May 4, 2015

    An amendment to the Child Labour Prohibition Act proposed by the Narendra Modi-led government is about to undo years of hard-won progress in the area of child labour—and condemn millions of kids to exploitative employment.

    The amendment will allow children below the age of 14 to work in “family enterprises”—a euphemism for industries such as carpet-weaving, beedi-rolling, gem-polishing, lock-making and matchbox-making. The new norms will also apply to the entertainment industry and sports.

    The amendment flies in the face of the Right to Education Act (RTE), 2009, which guarantees education to every child. After the RTE came in, child labour dropped from 12.6 million in 2001 to 4.3 million in 2014. The amendment will undo much of that progress. It will also be a serious setback to all the work done by activists, such as Swami Agnivesh and Nobel laureate Kailash Satyarthi, to rescue children from bonded labour and exploitation.

    Mirzapur-based Shamshad Khan, president of the Centre for Rural Education and Development Action, calls the move “retrogressive.”

    “All our campaigns to end bonded child labour, starting from the eighties, will go up in smoke,” Khan said. “Schools will be emptied out, and poor children in states like Bihar, Jharkhand and Uttar Pradesh will be back to working in sheds and makeshift factories that will all go by the nomenclature of ‘family enterprises.’ The worst-hit will be the children of Dalits, Muslims, tribal families and those belonging to marginalised communities.”

    The amendment can also be used to deny education to the girl child, who will be sucked into all forms of housework. According to government statistics, male literacy levels in 2014 stood at about 82%, while female literacy levels were as low as 64%. The school drop-out rate for girls is almost double the rate for boys.

    An unconstitutional change

    Bandaru Dattatreya, India’s minister of labour and employment, announced in early April that the government planned to introduce amendments to the Child Labour Prohibition Act in the current session of Parliament.

    His ministry, while seeking the amendments, said the Act will not apply to children helping families in home-based work, and especially families working in agriculture and animal-rearing. The objective of these amendments, according to ministry officials, is to help children nurture a spirit of entrepreneurship. They will particularly help children of families currently living at subsistence levels, the ministry claims.

    Child rights activists say the move will benefit factory owners in India’s cow belt. Their profits will escalate fourfold as children could be made to work longer hours and paid less than adults.

    Enakshi Ganguly Thukral of HAQ Centre for Child Rights believes this is an attempt by the Modi government to ensure a sizeable chunk of the population remains in the informal sector, deprived of minimum wages and social security.

    “The government is not in a position to provide jobs for millions of young people,” said Thukral. “Such a retrograde step will help ensure millions of kids remain illiterate and, therefore, unemployable.”

    Bad old days again

    Major cutbacks in the 2015 budget in the areas of health, women and children, and education will further compound this problem. Thukral said labour officials are already guilty of under-reporting child labour. “But once child labour is permitted under one guise or the other, then even a minimum [level] of accountability will cease to exist,” she said.

    Labour officials at the district level are empowered to file cases against employers hiring children but few employers are ever convicted. Statistics from the labour ministry for 2004-2014 show that there have been 1,168 convictions for children employed in hazardous industries with about Rs83 lakh collected in fines. This money has been designated for the rehabilitation and welfare of child labour. However, in this period, only Rs5 lakh was disbursed from this fund.

    Khan recalls the period before the RTE Act, when dalals (touts) openly knocked on the doors of rich seths (merchants or businessmen) to sell trafficked children.

    “In the eighties, kids were being paid a daily wage of as little as Rs4 per day,” he said. “We kept up pressure on the government, insisting that all out-of-school kids be categorised as child labour. This open trafficking of kids declined sharply with the RTE Act. If the BJP (Bharatiya Janata Party) succeeds in introducing such a dangerous amendment, we will be back to those old days.”

    Yes, you read that right:


    Bandaru Dattatreya, India’s minister of labour and employment, announced in early April that the government planned to introduce amendments to the Child Labour Prohibition Act in the current session of Parliament.

    His ministry, while seeking the amendments, said the Act will not apply to children helping families in home-based work, and especially families working in agriculture and animal-rearing. The objective of these amendments, according to ministry officials, is to help children nurture a spirit of entrepreneurship. They will particularly help children of families currently living at subsistence levels, the ministry claims.

    Yep, all these child laborers are just being nurtured in “a spirit of entrepreneurship” in their “family enterprises”. Presumably, when they grow up they’ll be able to apply all of those invaluable skills they learn in the factories (instead of whatever they learned in school) and…start their own child-laboring enterprises! In other words, perpetuating the child-labor pyramid scheme is probably the best case scenario for these kids. Imagine that.

    Posted by Pterrafractyl | May 4, 2015, 11:15 am
  9. “The market” wants the unions busted in India and easier employee firings or it just might take its ball and go home. At least, that’s the Modi government’s sales pitch for the new labor laws that will bust unions and make it easier to fire people:

    Reuters
    Modi to launch India’s biggest labour overhaul in decades

    NEW DELHI | By Rajesh Kumar Singh
    Tue Jun 9, 2015 7:06am EDT

    Prime Minister Narendra Modi is preparing to launch India’s biggest overhaul of labour laws since independence in a bid to create millions of manufacturing jobs, at the risk of stirring up a political backlash that could block other critical reforms.

    Three officials at the federal labour ministry told Reuters that the ministry was drafting a bill for the upcoming parliamentary session that proposes to loosen strict hire-and-fire rules and make it tougher for workers to form unions.

    The changes, if approved by parliament, will be the biggest economic reform since India opened its economy in 1991, but it is likely to meet stiff opposition in parliament and from labour activists.

    The Indian leader enjoys a majority in the lower house of parliament, but not the upper, hobbling his ability to pass politically contentious measures.

    That handicap has stymied his efforts to make it easier for businesses to buy farmland and convert Asia’s third-largest economy into a common market.

    Rajiv Biswas, Asia-Pacific chief economist at IHS Global Insight, said Modi had little option but to push ahead with the measures.

    “Without these reforms, the economy would stagnate, and frustrated investors would look elsewhere,” he said.

    “You cannot make political opposition an excuse for not taking tough decisions.”

    Since taking office in May last year, Modi has taken a series of incremental steps to make labour laws less onerous for businesses, but fear of a union-led political backlash made him leave the responsibility for unshackling the labour market with Indian states.

    He let his party’s governments in Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh take the lead in this area.

    Encouraged by a successful and peaceful implementation of the measures in those states, the federal labour ministry now intends to replicate them at the national level, one of the ministry officials said.

    Manish Sabharwal, one of the brains behind Rajasthan’s labour reforms and co-founder of recruitment firm Teamlease, said the federal administration would have been better off without attempting these changes.

    “Let states carry out these changes and save your political energy for other policy reforms,” he said.

    EASIER FIRING

    As part of the proposed revamp, a factory employing fewer than 300 workers would be allowed to lay off workers without government permission. Currently, factories employing 100 workers or more need approval for layoffs.

    But they will have to pay three times the current severance package, the labour ministry officials said.

    Companies have long been demanding an increase in the ceiling as governments rarely grant such permissions for layoffs, making it difficult to respond to business downturns and encouraging them to stay small.

    “It will facilitate ease of doing business while ensuring safety, health and social security of every worker,” a senior labour ministry official involved in the deliberations said.

    The official said the bill was expected to be finalised in the next three or four weeks, and would then be sent to cabinet for approval.

    The planned changes would also make it tougher for employees to form unions or go on strike, but would make all employees eligible for minimum wage.

    The World Bank says India has one of the most rigid labour markets in the world. That in turn has been a drag on manufacturing, which accounts for only 16 percent of India’s $2 trillion economy, compared with 32 percent of China’s.

    Some 84 percent of India’s manufacturers employed fewer than 50 workers in 2009, compared with 25 percent in China, according to a study published by consultancy firm McKinsey & Co. last year.

    Economists cite current labour rules as the biggest constraint on Modi’s “Make in India” ambition to spur a manufacturing boom creating jobs for 200 million Indians reaching working age over the next two decades.

    Just 8 percent of manufacturing workers in India are in formal employment, the rest are short-term contractors who enjoy minimal social security benefits.

    It will take deft political management to ensure a speedy passage for the bill.

    Opposition parties have blocked Modi’s land bill in parliament, calling it “anti-farmer”. The labour reforms, which are being opposed by labour unions, could also end up being labelled as “pro-corporates”.

    Wow, those current labor laws sure sound harsh. Or, at least, they would (not really) if they were applied to more than a fraction of workers:


    As part of the proposed revamp, a factory employing fewer than 300 workers would be allowed to lay off workers without government permission. Currently, factories employing 100 workers or more need approval for layoffs.

    Some 84 percent of India’s manufacturers employed fewer than 50 workers in 2009, compared with 25 percent in China, according to a study published by consultancy firm McKinsey & Co. last year.

    Economists cite current labour rules as the biggest constraint on Modi’s “Make in India” ambition to spur a manufacturing boom creating jobs for 200 million Indians reaching working age over the next two decades.

    Just 8 percent of manufacturing workers in India are in formal employment, the rest are short-term contractors who enjoy minimal social security benefits.

    Yes, a whole 8 percent of India’s manufacturing workers have a formal employment contract and 84 percent of India’s manufacturers were already small enough to avoid requesting the government permission to lay off workers.

    Whatever will India’s manufacturers do without those union-busting reforms? Well, they could try consulting some different economists about the best types of reforms. That would probably be for the best. Especially since the guy that’s apparently brains behind this plan, Manish Sabharwal, owns a company that supplies contract workers for companies that want to skirt India’s labor laws:

    The New York Times
    Outsourcing Giant Finds It Must Be Client, Too

    By VIKAS BAJAJ
    NOV. 30, 2011

    NEW DELHI — Every three months, India’s prime minister, Manmohan Singh, meets with a special panel assigned the ambitious task of figuring out how to produce 500 million skilled workers over the next two decades.

    The panel is a cross section of India’s power elite, including many of the usual figures like the education minister, the finance minister and the former chief executive of the country’s biggest software outsourcing company. Then there is a more curious choice: Manish Sabharwal.

    Mr. Sabharwal runs TeamLease, a Bangalore-based agency that has created thousands of jobs by fielding temporary workers for companies in India that want to expand their work force while skirting India’s stringent labor laws, which businesses say discourage the hiring of permanent employees. Many labor leaders and left-leaning politicians accuse him of running the nation’s largest illegal business.

    “We should not exist,” Mr. Sabharwal, a 40-year-old graduate of the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania, said about his company, which has 60,000 employees. “The genius of India is to allow us to exist.”

    What Mr. Sabharwal calls “genius” others would call dysfunction, or at the very least, an elaborate workaround, or temporary fix.

    India is known the world over as a prime innovator of outsourcing for foreign companies, which take advantage of its cheap, English-speaking labor force. Less well known is the extent to which Indian companies outsource their own jobs within their own country.

    Walk into any of India’s shining new shopping malls that sell expensive brands, like Gucci and Satya Paul, and many of the store clerks, janitors and security guards will be on the payrolls of outsourcing companies, not those of the owners of the mall or stores in it, executives say.

    The practice highlights a fundamental tension between India’s socialist past and a new freewheeling, private sector that is increasingly powering the economy while chafing at what many companies say are laws so protective of workers that they blunt hiring and stifle growth.

    Mr. Sabharwal provides a backdoor way around the old system in a manner that is not without controversy. He fills thousands of jobs at a cost that allows many companies to continue to function, and even helps retrain India’s large population of young job seekers — half of Indians are 25 or younger — who are undereducated and ill prepared to enter the labor force.

    In that highly competitive environment for jobs, Mr. Sabharwal supplies workers who are paid as little as half of what permanent employees earn and who usually receive few benefits. Though technically temporary, many of them keep their status at the same companies for years. In India’s nascent industrial hubs near New Delhi, autoworkers are increasingly protesting the use and treatment of the kind of contract workers Mr. Sabharwal supplies, who lack job security.

    But the reason Mr. Sabharwal has thrived, he and others say, is because India needs him. The nation’s complex web of federal and state labor laws intended to protect permanent workers are so onerous that few employers want to hire them, they say.

    Those laws cover virtually every aspect of employment — how workers are hired, what they are paid, how many hours they can work and whether they can be fired. Factories employing 100 or more workers are not allowed to lay off employees without the government’s permission.

    The laws are unevenly enforced, but many businesses still consider them so cumbersome that they find it worthwhile to have somebody else manage the “compliance issues,” which is why TeamLease also employs about 60 people in its regulatory division who do so.

    “India, compared to even European countries, has more restrictive labor laws,” said Sean Dougherty, a senior adviser at the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development who has studied India’s labor market.

    Mr. Sabharwal has provided a way around what many see as those daunting obstacles to growth, at least for now. But even he argues that his workaround business model is not sufficient for India to bolster manufacturing — still just 16 percent of the economy — and to create new jobs for the 12 million people who enter the labor force every year.

    He is among the first to acknowledge that many workers suffer because the workaround model does not itself create enough good jobs. But it is offering an opportunity for growth where the old model does not.

    “For business, labor laws are a thorn in the side, not a dagger in the heart,” Mr. Sabharwal said. “People who are hurt the most are people who need to get off farms, labor market outsiders, people from small towns, the less educated, the less skilled.”

    Many employers in India rely on contract hiring agencies like TeamLease, though many are reluctant to say so publicly. Indeed, foreign companies that come to India often hire law firms and staffing agencies before hiring anyone else.

    Nearly one-quarter of India’s industrial laborers worked on contracts in 2007, up from just 16 percent in 2000, according to government data. The share of temporary workers in India’s large services sector is believed to be even higher, though the government does not collect that data. Even government agencies increasingly rely on temporary employees.

    Unlike in the United States, where temporary workers are rotated between job sites, in India contract workers often stay in some jobs for years. Arun Gour, 25, joined Whirlpool’s sales team as a contract worker about four years ago in Yamunanagar, a town 120 miles north of New Delhi. After smashing sales records, he was promoted this year to a job at Whirlpool’s Indian headquarters in Gurgaon, a booming city just south of New Delhi, where he collects and processes sales data from around the country.

    Mr. Gour makes about 18,000 rupees, or $345, a month, a good salary by Indian standards, and he has access to a government-run retirement-savings plan and health insurance. He said he hoped one day to be promoted onto Whirlpool’s payroll so he could earn more money and receive better benefits.

    “I am very proud that I am providing for my family,” Mr. Gour said, speaking of his wife and mother, who still live in Yamunanagar. “I have friends from college who are looking for work. Some of them have master’s degrees and they are earning 6,000 or 7,000 a month,” or about $115 to $134.

    A Flawed System

    Not everyone is as happy. About 30 miles south of New Delhi along the dusty highway to Jaipur lies Manesar, one of India’s new industrial boomtowns. There, more than 100,000 workers — about 30 percent of them on contracts — toil in the factories of Indian and multinational companies like Maruti Suzuki, Videocon, Mitsubishi and Honda.

    While the factories have been profitable and have provided new jobs, both labor and management are frustrated. Workers complain about the expanding ranks of contract workers who are paid a fraction of what regular employees earn and receive few benefits, and they say that there are not enough jobs to begin with.

    Corporate executives say that India’s restrictive labor laws force them to hire and train contract workers who feel no loyalty to them, and that finding skilled workers is difficult.

    In the meantime, many economists assert that India’s labor laws will continue to restrict the country’s job growth, at least in the formal sector. While that is bad news for India, it is a circumstance that continues to allow Mr. Sabharwal’s business to thrive. Last year it grew by 10,000 employees.

    His company had $160 million in revenue last year and is growing about 20 percent a year, executives said. Last year, it acquired the Indian Institute of Job Training, which runs 120 centers that provide courses in English, bookkeeping, computer applications and other subjects. TeamLease also plans to build 22 community colleges in the western state of Gujarat.

    Mr. Sabharwal said his business could grow even faster if the government changed the labor laws because that would create more jobs and increase demand for job training. But he is not letting government inaction hold him back.

    “If you wait for all the lights to be green in India,” he said, “you will never leave home.”

    Well, now that Mr. Sabharwal’s proposal is coming to fruition, we’ll find out if busting unions and making it easier to fire people somehow results in more formally employed workers. Especially since, as the article pointed out, the contract workers his company provides tend to get half the pay of their formally employed counterparts and no benefits. A race to the bottom lift all boats, after all. Really!

    And regarding the desire to catch up with China, with an economy that’s 32 percent manufacturing instead of 16 percent in India, let’s just say that, in terms of realistically catching up to China in the manufacturing arena, labor policies probably aren’t going to be the major issue.

    Posted by Pterrafractyl | June 9, 2015, 5:53 pm
  10. Related to the proposed overhaul of India’s labor laws to foster easier firings/union busting, note the new changes to India’s bankruptcy laws: creditors are going to get to appoint their own management teams for a “stressed” company and do whatever is deemed necessary to get the company back into profitability:

    Bloomberg Business
    Rajan Seeks to Deter Indian Defaulters as Fitch Sees Challenges

    June 9, 2015 — 1:29 AM CDT

    As India’s central bank rewrites rules to help lenders recover loans from defaulting companies, the local unit of Fitch Ratings Ltd. said the move is fraught with challenges while bankers welcomed the measure.

    Under new rules released by the Reserve Bank of India late Monday, lenders will be allowed to convert loans into equity and take a controlling stake in a stressed company under a so-called strategic debt restructuring plan. The banks will also be allowed to bring in management of their choice to make the company profitable.

    RBI Governor Raghuram Rajan is seeking ways to clean up lenders’ balance sheets as stressed assets, set to surge to the highest level since 2002, threaten to derail an economic recovery. Four of India’s five biggest banks reported an increase in bad loans for the year ended March as policy makers’ efforts to boost investment and growth have yet to bear fruit.

    “In the current scenario, this may be too little and a bit late,” said Deep Narayan Mukherjee, a senior director at Fitch’s India Ratings and Research Pvt. “Even if the lenders take over the entire equity of the stressed companies, on average its value will be only about an eighth of the outstanding debt. So recovery through converting debt into equity may be limited.”

    Credit Growth

    Prime Minister Narendra Modi is counting on a revival in credit to accelerate growth in Asia’s third-largest economy after the RBI cut its benchmark interest rate three times this year. Lending increased 10.2 percent in the 12 months through May 15, RBI data show, rebounding from February’s 8.88 percent, which was the slowest pace since 1994.

    Bankers said the RBI’s new rules may provide them a better chance of recovering debt.

    “These rules will be a deterrent for errant companies considering default,” said M.S. Raghavan, chairman and managing director of state-run IDBI Bank Ltd.

    Profitability, measured by the return on assets in the banking system, fell to 0.81 percent in the year ended March 2014, the lowest since at least 2007, RBI data show. The increase in stressed assets and slowing loan growth may further erode lenders’ earnings power, according to Fitch.

    “This is another avenue for enabling recovery of stressed assets,” said Pradeep Kumar, managing director at State Bank of India, the country’s largest lender by assets. “This strengthens our hands in efforts to recover bad loans.”

    The lender is focused on improving the asset quality in coming quarters, Kumar said. State Bank of India narrowed its gross bad-loans ratio to 4.25 percent as of March 31 from 4.9 percent reported in December, exchange filings showed.

    “It may not always be practical for the banks to replace management of a company and then to oversee the new set of consultants or turn around specialists who may try to run the company,” Mukherjee said. “There are many operational challenges in implementing this new debt conversion scheme.”

    Well, this is probably going to be more effective at enabling the recovery of bad debts than the current system, but it’s not really clear that handing over more corporate control to the bankers is going to be a good thing given the new laws designed to facilitate mass firings.

    And now that India is has made taking over an Indian company easier than ever it’s going to be very interesting to see how much foreign interest there is in lending to India. Especially if India’s central bank allows Indian company to engage in unlimited borrowing from foreign lenders like the government wants:

    mydigitalfc.com
    FinMin, RBI not for lifting limits on foreign loans

    By Mukesh Jagota
    Jun 10 2015 , New Delhi

    No taker for Sahoo proposal; govt may allow more options

    The recommendation of a government-appointed panel to remove all limits on how much a company can borrow overseas. is likely to be junked due to fears that it might lead to ballooning of external debt and pose risks to the economy going forward.

    The government and the Reserve Bank of India are not comfortable with anything that can lead to a major increase in the overall volume of external debt, but some recommendations of the committee on easing the procedures could be accepted, a person in the know of the developments said.

    India’s external debt at the end of December 2014 stood at $461.9 billion, or 23.2 per cent of gross domestic product. External commercial borrowings accounted for 37 per cent of it, at $170 billion. Annually Indian companies raise loans of around $30 billion abroad.

    High foreign currency debt can pose a risk to the economy if at any point enough international currency is not available to meet the obligations of interest and loan repayment.

    In the report put in the public domain for comments in April, the panel headed by M S Sahoo, secretary of Institute of Company Secretaries of India, had proposed that all restrictions on foreign borrowings, including the limits up to which companies can borrow in a year, should be done away with.

    At present companies are allowed to raise overseas loans up to of $750 million annually through the automatic route. For companies in the services sector, the limit is $200 million.

    The Sahoo committee has presented many ideas to ease the procedures for borrowing that might go through, an official said. These include allowing of loans from more sources than permitted at present and expanding the list of sectors eligible for such loans.

    While acknowledging the systematic risk that high borrowing can entail, the committee has only offered a way to shield companies from adverse currency movements by recommending that all such loans should be hedged.

    How much of the debt should be compulsorily hedged has been left to RBI and the government to decide. “Public comments on the report have come. Now discussions will start between the Reserve Bank of India and finance ministry over the next few weeks on how to move ahead on the recommendations,” an official said.The limit for voluntary agencies in the microfinance sector and microfinance institutions has been set at $10 million.

    Banks and financial institutions are not allowed to raise money through ECB via the automatic route. They need permission from RBI to do so. Apart from doing away with the limits, the Sahoo committee had said all companies should be allowed to borrow overseas and there should be no restriction on where they can deploy that money and how much interest they can pay on such loans.

    Oh boy:


    While acknowledging the systematic risk that high borrowing can entail, the committee has only offered a way to shield companies from adverse currency movements by recommending that all such loans should be hedged.

    How much of the debt should be compulsorily hedged has been left to RBI and the government to decide. “Public comments on the report have come. Now discussions will start between the Reserve Bank of India and finance ministry over the next few weeks on how to move ahead on the recommendations,” an official said.The limit for voluntary agencies in the microfinance sector and microfinance institutions has been set at $10 million.

    Banks and financial institutions are not allowed to raise money through ECB via the automatic route. They need permission from RBI to do so. Apart from doing away with the limits, the Sahoo committee had said all companies should be allowed to borrow overseas and there should be no restriction on where they can deploy that money and how much interest they can pay on such loans.

    Yes, the Modi government is recommending that India companies be allowed to borrow from anyone in the world, at any interest rate, for any purpose, and apparently in any foreign currency. And if the loan goes bad (or the rupee just drops a lot relative to the borrowed currency), those foreign lenders get to take over management!

    So it’s definitely looking like a wave of foreign takeovers could be in store for India’s economy if the government’s proposed foreign lending changes are eventually put into place. And since the proposed rules would allow India’s companies to spend those loans on apparently anything, it’s going to be very interesting to see how many of those loans to India’s companies end up getting spent in India.

    Posted by Pterrafractyl | June 10, 2015, 5:31 pm
  11. Narendra Modi recently ‘dropped the masked’ somewhat regarding his ties to the RSS during a recent meeting between Modi and his cabinet and the RSS bosses where his government was ‘reviewed’. As far as mask-dropping goes, it wasn’t exactly a revelation to find out that the RSS calls the shots in the Modi government. What was rather surprising, however, was the particular shot the RSS appeared to be hinting at during media appearances following the meeting: Unifying India and Pakistan. And this is all happening at a time when India’s army chief touted the Indian armed force’s readiness for a ‘swift, short war’ with Pakistan.:

    Asia Times
    Modi blows his cover – and the loss is India’s

    By M.K. Bhadrakumar on September 10, 2015

    India recently witnessed a strange spectacle of Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his cabinet colleagues subjecting themselves to an intense scrutiny by the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh or RSS, the Hindu nationalist organization, regarding their ‘performance’ in office.

    Modi himself used to be an activist of the RSS. But an elaborate charade was kept so far that Modi was in command of the government.

    The Indian media has since reported that the RSS eventually gave ‘thumbs up’ to the government after Modi and his cabinet colleagues trooped in to meet the RSS bosses and testified at the hearing on their ‘schemes and achievements’ in the government.

    No Indian government has ever been made to look so foolish and diffident.

    Why the RSS decided to subject Modi and his cabinet to such a dressing down publicly is anybody’s guess. Perhaps, it was to project the RSS itself as god almighty in the Modi era. But then, it is an open secret that the Hindu fundamentalist groups are calling the shots in the government, penetrating all walks of national life systematically and imposing their agenda.

    The upshot of the RSS hearing is that Modi has blown his ‘cover’, which helped him so far as prime minister to create an impression that he is a humanist and a devout follower of Buddhism who viewed with distaste the excesses committed by the Hindu zealots on the minority communities in India such as the attacks on Christian churches.

    Under the Modi government, incidents of communal tension involving Hindus and Muslims have sharply increased, according to official statistics. However, observers have generously absolved the prime minister himself of any responsibility in this regard, and are willing to suspend disbelief. The ‘cover’ has now been blown.

    The fallout of this on the India-Pakistan relationship can be serious. Obviously, Modi can no longer maintain with credibility his stance that he seeks friendly relations between India and Pakistan.

    In fact, following the cross-examination of the government ministers, the RSS spokesmen in their media briefings inter alia brought up the explosive doctrine of ‘Akhand Bharat’ as the guiding principle for the Modi government as regards the India-Pakistan relationship.

    Broadly, the RSS’s doctrine is that the great Partition of the subcontinent in 1947, which led to the creation of Pakistan, was an aberration that can still be got undone if only India worked toward such an objective.

    Pakistan has always had a lurking suspicion that there is really no daylight possible between Modi and the RSS. What used to be a dark suspicion is now likely to become an article of faith. Pakistan’s advisor to the prime minister on national security Sartaj Aziz (who is the de facto foreign minister) has been quoted as saying Wednesday that in Islamabad’s estimation, the Modi government won the 2014 parliamentary poll on the basis of ‘anti-Pakistan platform’ and has been pursuing the same policy from ‘day one’.

    Aziz said, “They (Modi government) want better ties, but on their own terms”.

    To be sure, the mutual rhetoric makes the prospect of a resumption of India-Pakistan dialogue a remote possibility. And it should be a safe conclusion that the India-Pakistan normalization will remain elusive as long as the Modi government remains in power.

    Do the RSS bigwigs and their wards in the government realize what colossal damage they are causing to India’s national interests? The 31 percent vote share Modi managed to garner in the poll last year to create India’s first ever RSS-run government does not give these people the right to superimpose their sectarian agenda on the entire nation.

    India’s national interest lies in creating a peaceful external environment in the immediate neighborhood that enables the country to focus on the development challenge through the narrow corridor of time of the next 15-20 years.

    Yet, what India is witnessing is a ratcheting up of tensions in the relations with Pakistan. The past week alone began with India’s army chief General Dalbir Singh shedding his fabulous reputation for being a strong silent soldier of discretion and reserve – presumably, on instructions from the political leadership – to underscore the readiness of the armed forces to wage a ‘swift, short’ war with Pakistan.

    It was an incredibly tactless statement to have been made in the present tense climate of bilateral ties with Pakistan. Besides, the brilliant general should certainly know that the only way he could ensure that a war with Pakistan remained ‘swift’ and ‘short’ would be by nuking that country in the dead of the night.

    You don’t need a Clausewitz to explain that the ‘kinetics’ of war with Pakistan (nuclear power with bigger arsenal than India’s and with second-strike capability) will ultimately depend on a variety of factors that are way beyond the control of anyone in New Delhi, civilian or military.

    Now, it is into this combustible mix of rhetoric that the RSS bosses presented their stark reminder to Pakistan that India has never really reconciled with the creation of that country in 1947.

    As for his Indian counterpart’s dire warning, Gen. Sharif was plainly dismissive: “Armed forces of Pakistan are fully capable to deal all types of internal and external threats, may it be conventional or sub-conventional; whether it is cold start or hot start. We are ready!!”

    Are we hearing the beating of drum presaging the beginning of another bloody round of ‘low intensity war’ (read vicious cycle of cross-border terrorism), which cost India heavily in human and material treasure? Or, could it be that India and Pakistan are inching toward another full-fledged war? Time only can tell.

    Most certainly, people in responsible position should be careful about what they say in public. What Gen. Dalbir Singh said about ‘short, swift’ war was probably fit for a closed-door meeting with the Director-General of Military Operations at the Army Commanders Conference but not as the stuff of grandstanding.

    Equally, while the RSS bosses may not be public officials, they happen to be extra-constitutional authorities wielding more power than many erstwhile emperors in India’s medieval history – and they tend to be taken seriously. Simply put, they should know that the notion of ‘Akhand Bharat’ has no place in the 21st century world order.

    India is not presenting a convincing picture as a responsible member of the international community when the so-called movers and shakers in the country behave like hollow men.

    The point is, India is keen to secure a seat in the UN Security Council as a permanent member on the plea that it wants to contribute to international security and world peace and development. Funnily, yoga, which Modi has begun propagating under the UN auspices for the good of the soul and body of mankind, is itself all about self-control.

    And, yet, in its own region, India chooses to preoccupy itself with sly thoughts about waging a ‘swift short’ war with its unfriendly neighbor and harbors delusionary notions of doing away with a sovereign independent nation that came into being 68 years ago.

    The Jekyll-and-Hyde split personality does not do good to India’s image. The country would have been far better off if Modi hadn’t blown his ‘cover’ as a humanist and a modernizer.

    And this is why the Doomsday Clock is probably running a little behind at the moment:


    India’s national interest lies in creating a peaceful external environment in the immediate neighborhood that enables the country to focus on the development challenge through the narrow corridor of time of the next 15-20 years.

    Yet, what India is witnessing is a ratcheting up of tensions in the relations with Pakistan. The past week alone began with India’s army chief General Dalbir Singh shedding his fabulous reputation for being a strong silent soldier of discretion and reserve – presumably, on instructions from the political leadership – to underscore the readiness of the armed forces to wage a ‘swift, short’ war with Pakistan.

    It was an incredibly tactless statement to have been made in the present tense climate of bilateral ties with Pakistan. Besides, the brilliant general should certainly know that the only way he could ensure that a war with Pakistan remained ‘swift’ and ‘short’ would be by nuking that country in the dead of the night.

    You don’t need a Clausewitz to explain that the ‘kinetics’ of war with Pakistan (nuclear power with bigger arsenal than India’s and with second-strike capability) will ultimately depend on a variety of factors that are way beyond the control of anyone in New Delhi, civilian or military.

    Tick…tick…tick…tick…

    Posted by Pterrafractyl | September 17, 2015, 8:31 pm
  12. Check out out: Modi’s government is setting up a new institution that will be tasked with round-the-clock monitoring of blogs, web portals of TV channels and newspapers, and social media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and YouTube, among others. All comments and threads will be analyzed and history, along with a psychological profile, of each poster will be assessed for possible subversiveness and radicalism. And when deemed necessary, counter-messages will be inserted into the threads to quell a possible snowballing of negative public opinion.

    How exactly this initiative is supposed to quell the negative opinions generated by overt in-your-face Big Brother-tactics is unclear, but one thing is for sure: Thanks to the existence of this program and the fact that it’s being done in a highly public manner, there’s going to be no shortage of online negative opinion to quell:

    The Indian Express
    Now, govt cyber cell to counter ‘negative’ news
    Every time a negative narrative surfaces, a possible counter would be initiated — through press releases, briefings or press conferences, depending on the intensity or standing of the post,” said sources.

    Written by Amitav Ranjan | New Delhi | Updated: February 23, 2016 6:43 am

    THE GOVERNMENT plans to set up a special media cell to track content online, and counter news and comments that it decides are negative or provocative.

    Last month, the National Security Council Secretariat (NSCS) proposed that a National Media Analytics Centre (NMAC) be created to keep monitor and analyse round-the-clock blogs, web portals of TV channels and newspapers, and social media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and YouTube, among others.

    “The government will keep a watch on the narrative in all such threads. Every time a negative narrative surfaces, a possible counter would be initiated — through press releases, briefings or press conferences, depending on the intensity or standing of the post,” said sources.

    Last August, the government had directed all ministries to set up quick response teams — comprising senior ministry officials, nodal officers from the Press Information Bureau and independent experts — to defend its case in the face of negative news.

    Sources said that the NMAC proposal is based on tracking software designed by Ponnurangam Kumaraguru, an Assistant Professor at Delhi-based Indraprastha Institute of Information Technology.

    The software will generate relevant tags to highlight “belligerent” comments or social media chats, they added.
    At a deeper level, the software would comb posts and comments to classify them into negative, neutral and positive categories while highlighting relevant text, sources said. It will also show up if the negative posting was factually correct or “an intentional canard”, they said.

    “The software would also help recall the past pattern of the writer to check the number of times he took a negative or positive stand, his background, and preferences of websites and areas of interest to judge whether they were aimed at fomenting trouble or radicalisation,” said sources.

    They said the objective is to come up with “instant counters” on social media to plug resentment triggered by news items so that personal opinions do not snowball into public protests and threaten law and order.

    The feedback on covert or overt posts would be passed on to security agencies or higher authorities for possible intervention, they said.

    The NMAC proposal suggests an inter-ministerial committee of officials from NSCS and the Home, I&B and External Affairs ministries for analysis, coordination, information dissemination and feedback on public perception and national security.

    The NMAC would be the third observation post for the NDA government after the New Media Wing, the online eyes and ears providing daily reports on the world of social media, and the Electronic Media Monitoring Centre (EMMC) that monitor 600-plus channels round the clock.

    As reported by The Indian Express on August 29, the 200 content auditors at EMMC sends hourly reports and text messages of news breaking on any channel to top bureaucrats including the Principal Secretary to the Prime Minister, the National Security Advisor and the Cabinet Secretary.

    The New Media Wing trawls websites, including micro blogs, as well as traffic relating to news breaks on the social media sites to pick up government relevant trends. It then undertakes a “sentiment analysis” to gauge public opinion.

    The proposal for NMAC was sent to PIB director-general Frank Noronha by Deputy National Security Advisor Arvind Gupta for setting it up at the National Media Centre, said sources. However, they added, a four-member committee formed to examine the proposal has opposed locating it at NMAC due to “lack of space”.

    “They said the objective is to come up with “instant counters” on social media to plug resentment triggered by news items so that personal opinions do not snowball into public protests and threaten law and order.”
    You have to wonder how effective an agency dedicated to ‘plugging resentment triggered by news items’ is going to be at reducing resentment when the very existence of the agency is bound to generate even more resentment and all pro-government comments are just going to be assumed to be government-paid trolls.

    Oh well…it appears the beatings public opinion management will continue until morale improves. The beatings will also presumably continue.

    Posted by Pterrafractyl | February 23, 2016, 3:12 pm
  13. @Pterrafractyl–

    I don’t imagine we’ll be hearing any complaints about this from Citizen Omidyar, our Silicon Valley libertarian mogul who funds fascism and coups d’etat in his spare time.

    Best,

    Dave

    Posted by Dave Emory | February 24, 2016, 1:55 pm
  14. It looks like the man who went on a shooting spree in Houston was a half-Indian neo-Nazi lawyer. While, sadly, far-right extremist attacks aren’t nearly as rare as they should be these days, a half-Indian neo-Nazi lawyer going on a shooting spree fortunately isn’t very typical:

    Click2Houston

    Gunman who wounded 9 was wearing Nazi paraphernalia, sources say
    Several weapons found inside gunman’s vehicle, police say

    By Aaron Barker – Sr. Web Editor , Lea Wilson – Digital News Editor
    Posted: 7:01 AM, September 26, 2016
    Updated: 6:52 PM, September 26, 2016

    HOUSTON – The lawyer who carried out Monday morning’s shooting that wounded nine people was wearing what appeared to be Nazi paraphernalia, two law enforcement sources told Channel 2 Investigates’ Robert Arnold.

    Reports of a man shooting randomly on Law Street, near a shopping center on the northwest corner of Weslayan and Bissonnet streets, first came in around 6:30 a.m.

    Interim Houston police Chief Martha Montalvo said officers who went to the scene were able to quickly locate the gunman in the 4400 block of Law Street. Police said he was using a tree as cover.

    She said the shooter immediately began firing at the officers. Nine officers exchanged gunfire with the suspect.

    The gunman was found dead shortly after, she said. Nearly 75 shell casings were found at the scene, police said. No officers were injured.

    “It’s my understanding that he was neutralized by police,” Montalvo said.

    Police said the suspect had two weapons, a .45 semi-automatic handgun and a .45 semi-automatic Thompson Carbine, while standing near his car. Both guns were purchased legally in 2009 and 2011.

    Police estimate around 2,500 rounds of live ammunition were found inside his vehicle.

    Law enforcement sources said the shooter was wearing what appeared to be an antique German uniform with swastikas on it.

    Montalvo said the gunman’s car was also found on Law Street, and that at least one weapon was found inside. Police spent hours searching the vehicle.

    Investigators also combed through the shooter’s condominium, where they found what appeared to be Nazi paraphernalia inside, according to a law enforcement source. Several other weapons were found inside the shooter’s residence, police said.

    Police said there is no known motive. When asked if she believes the shooting was related to terrorism, Montalvo said that she is not ready to say that yet.

    Nine people injured

    Montalvo said six people were initially hospitalized because of the shooting.

    A representative of Memorial Hermann Hospital Southwest said one of the injured was in critical condition and another was in good condition. Three others were discharged in good condition.

    Another victim was listed in serious condition at Ben Taub Hospital, Montalvo said.

    Three others were treated and released.

    Owner of car that was searched identified

    KPRC2 has confirmed the owner of that vehicle is 46-year-old attorney Nathan DeSai.

    Ken McDaniel, DeSai’s former law partner, said that they decided to go their separate ways in February because of economic reasons. He said he hasn’t spoken to DeSai since then.

    DeSai’s father, Prakash, said his son was in his own practice, but it was not doing well.

    DeSai owns a condo at the Oaks of Weslayan on Law Street, KPRC2 has confirmed.

    According to the Texas State Bar, DeSai specializes in business, family and criminal law.

    “Law enforcement sources said the shooter was wearing what appeared to be an antique German uniform with swastikas on it.”

    It sounds like the guy was closet Nazi sympathizer depressed over his failing law practice and decided to commit suicide by killing a bunch of strangers while wearing his Nazi uniform and waiting for the police to show up and kill him. So while he apparently wasn’t the greatest lawyer, he certainly embraced the murderous nihilism of the Nazi philosophy quite effectively. Unfortunately for everyone else.

    Posted by Pterrafractyl | September 26, 2016, 5:21 pm

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