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Fascist Antecedents of Narendra Modi and His Party

Dave Emory’s entire life­time of work is avail­able on a flash dri­ve that can be obtained here. [1] (The flash dri­ve includes the anti-fas­cist books avail­able on this site.)

COMMENT: 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.  

Sev­er­al thoughts in this regard:

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. [7]

EXCERPT: . . . . 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 [8] [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.’ . . . .

 “Hin­du Fun­da­men­tal­ism: Why We Are Con­cerned” by Paul Crofts and Anjona Roy; Search­light Mag­a­zine; January/2003 [#331]; p. 20. [3]

EXCERPT: 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. . . . .

“Hin­du Nationalist’s His­tor­i­cal Links to Fas­cism and Nazism” by Palosh R. Ghosh; Inter­na­tion­al Busi­ness Times; 3/6/2012. [4]

EXCERPT: . . . . 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.

“Naren­dra Modi Trained by RSS in ‘Nazi Tra­di­tion’: Digvi­jayah Singh”; Times of India; 10/2/2012.  [5]

ENTIRE TEXT: 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.

“Modi’s Role Mod­el: Mar­garet Thatch­er or Lee Kuan Yew” by John Cas­sidy; The New York­er; 5/19/2014. [6]

EXCERPT: . . .  As sev­er­al com­men­ta­tors have [9] not­ed [10] 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. . . .