The world has been mourning the white-supremacist fascist terrorist attack on two mosques in New Zealand’s Christchurch on 15 March 2019, where 50 Muslims were killed when they were offering their Friday congregational prayer. However, unsurprisingly, the RSS-led Indian Hindutva fascist terrorist camp celebrated the incident with much fanfare, like the western white-supremacists and the Zionist terrorists. Many of the prominent Hindutva fascism supporters, rabble-rousers and social-media influencers, who support the incumbent Narendra Modi-led BJP government, shamelessly defended the terrorist attack on the Muslims by vilifying the community as a harbinger of terrorism and violence. Banned by the micro-blogging site Twitter for hate speech earlier, a certain advocate was found featuring in a video shared by Hindutva thugs, in which he tried to legitimise the Christchurch terror attack and build up support for the white-supremacist fascist terrorism that’s blistering at an epidemic proportion throughout Europe, North America and Australia. Many other Hindutva flag bearers were found lambasting the Muslim community for purportedly waging a “jihad” against the non-Muslim world by citing western propaganda and justified the terror strike as a method to resolve the problem. These type of propaganda became viral on social media platform Facebook as well. Though these platforms worked swiftly to delete the video of the terrorist attack, nothing was done to curb hate speech and profanity that was spewed by the Indian Hindutva fascist terrorists on social media. No action was taken by the Indian government’s security agency against these communal vitriol mongers and terrorism supporters, though it’s claimed that India has “zero tolerance policy against terrorism”. What stopped the government machinery from taking action against the culprits if not an open pact with them? This display of unapologetic hatred against Muslims isn’t an isolated incident or a deed of few fringe elements, rather, as an institution, the Indian government and the state machinery endorse the jaundiced views of these Hindutva fascist terrorists. As these narratives go quite well with the ruling party’s political line and its poll propaganda, therefore, the state machinery unapologetically stood behind those who openly expressed their support for a terrorist killing Muslims in New Zealand. Prime minister Modi wrote a letter of condolence to the New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern, calling the attack an “act of terrorism” and expressed his grief. This was an official letter and was written following due protocols as the head of the government. However, as Modi has turned social media, especially Twitter, into his default press release publisher, it was expected that apart from a letter to his Kiwi counterpart, the prime minister would at least tweet a few lines condemning the terrorist act by using the same cliche that he reiterates whenever the menace of terrorism strikes anywhere in the world. Alas! Such a tweet became a lacuna in the prime minister’s daily communication, despite reports of seven to nine Indian citizens being killed in the terrorist attack. The prime minister disappointed those who expected such a condemnation of white-supremacist terrorism from someone like him when the elections are less than a month away and the support of the hardcore Hindutva fascist elements and ruling classes is quite essential for the BJP to retain its dominance over India. Not a single word of condemnation of the terrorist attack on Christchurch came from Modi; even his government didn’t take any action against those who have been justifying the barbaric crime on social media and internet. The BJP or the RSS didn’t say what actions it will take against those who have been celebrating the New Zealand terror attack. This nonchalant attitude isn’t quite surprising to any non-liberal sane mind that’s aware of the intricacies of Indian politics. What keeps Modi silent on the issue of such a terror attack that has killed people of his own country? Why Modi and the Hindutva fascist camp have not condemned the Christchurch terror attack? Why are the Hindutva fascists celebrating a white-supremacist terror attack, when the killer’s manifesto names Indians as one of the major threats to European civilisation apart from Chinese and Turks? How can someone celebrate the killing of their own by a foreign terrorist? The answer to these questions lies in the toxic political ideology of Hindutva fascism and its severe effect on the minds of the Hindutva indoctrinated terror-mongers. To understand the complicity between the white-supremacist fascism and Hindutva fascism, one needs to delve deep into the history of fascism globally and its influence on India. The Hindutva fascism isn’t a monolithic block that can be defined by citing the example of the Modi regime or its parental body — the RSS — which is called the fountainhead of Hindutva fascism. It’s a fascist ideology, that’s a collaborative project in which each has provided according to their own to put up a large canvas, saffron and grotesquely reactionary. The Hindu, Hindu Nationalism and Hindutva Fascism Like evolution of species, before the multitude of Hindutva fascist organisations following a rickety narrative came into existence, the religion named “Hindu” was formed by the British colonial rulers when they started enacting laws according to religious customs of all major sects and communities in India. The British colonial rulers’ categorisation of the Hindu religion, absolving all non-Abrahamic faiths in it, including different religions like Sikhism, Buddhism, Jainism and the pagan tribes, was driven by the Brahminical upper-caste feudal landlords and comprador capitalists’ aspiration to remain in the “majority community” despite being numerically inferior vis-a-vis the Bahujans, ie the ostracised Dalits, the lower-caste shudras, the tribal people, Muslims, Christians and followers of other non-Brahminical religions. To hold the compartmentalised caste blocks together and promote the interests of the comprador upper-caste Hindu capitalists, it became necessary to carry out some reformation of the religion. Thus, from the Arya Samaj movement to Vivekananda’s Hindu arousal movement, all started under the aegis of British imperialism. A peculiar character of the Indian comprador bourgeoisie, who were born out of the colonial womb, has been their liberalism regarding economy while adhering to strict feudal conservatism in the spheres of politics, society, etc. Both Hindu and Muslim social-reformers of the 19th century, portrayed as the “pioneers of Indian renaissance” by the Indian rulers so far, have been socially conservative. Yet, those among them who opposed some social evils like sati system or advocated women’s education, like Raja Ram Mohan Roy, Ishwar Chandra Vidyasagar, Sir Syed Ahmed Khan, had to face strong vitriol from the conservative ruling blocs, despite having the patronage of the colonial rulers. It was at the beginning of the 20th century, when a popular movement started in the Bengal province against the evil design of the British imperialism to divide the province into two parts with a divisive communal agenda, that the need to distract and deviate any nationalist outrage was felt by the British rulers. The upper-caste Bengali Bhadralok community began a massive movement in the urban areas, burning British commodities, and many taking to militant revolutionary struggle by assassinating British government staffs to oppose the colonial hegemony. The frightened British imperialists first tried to suppress the movement by unleashing state violence, failing which they tried to ensure that the Muslims are segregated from the Hindus, who were at the forefront waging the struggle, by forming the Muslim League in 1906. With the formation of the Muslim League it became easy for the British colonial rulers to spew communal hatred among the people and incite riots. The Muslim League adopted the Two Nation Theory propounded by Sir Khan in the 19th century, which gave an opportunity to the British imperialism to vilify the Muslims as enemies of Hindus and thereby paved the way for the Hindu Mahasabha, founded in 1915 by turncoat revolutionary VD Savarkar, along with Hindu comprador bourgeoisie like Madan Mohan Malviya and Lala Lajpat Rai, a disgruntled Congress leader. The Hindu Mahasabha laid the foundation of the Hindutva fascism at least a decade before the formation of the RSS and had been a major political force in India until the 1960s, when it was finally cast into oblivion by the RSS’s rise. VD Savarkar coined the term — Hindutva — by mixing Hindu identity with the nationality of an Indian nation, which has been since depicted as a goddess. Bengali upper-caste bureaucrat-turned-author Bankim Chandra Chattopadhyay’s fictitious work Anandamath, which played a crucial part in arousing the anti-colonial nationalist fervour among petty-bourgeois revolutionaries, was used by Hindu Mahasabha to build up its version of nationalism. The Hindu nationalist idea, which earlier played a progressive role in arousing the Bhadralok community against foreign oppression, became a reactionary weapon under the Hindutva fanatics, who — as stooges of British imperialism — used the occasion to deprive it of any revolutionary and anti-colonial essence. The Hindu nationalism used fictitious claims from the Anandamath and other sources to depict the narrative of a glorious Hindu past of an Akhand Bharat, a land from where the Aryans, claimed to be the superior race, originated and spread all over the world. It was claimed that the real enemies of the Hindu nation was the Muslims and Christians, who have stolen the wealth and glory of the Hindus. It called for a revival of the Hindu culture and restoration of a Hindu state founded on Brahminical hegemony. A Hindu goddess Bharat Mata, narrated in Anandamath and earlier revered by revolutionary militants, was turned into a cult for Hindu nationalists and Vande Mataram, a song in the fiction, became the war cry, with even the Congress using it as its slogan. Following the international fascism’s trait in later years, the Bharat Mata, a vulnerable woman and mother, was shown under threat from the “other” — ie the Muslims, Christians and those who are secular. The threat quotient was intensified to spread the xenophobia, which is still continuing, and the Hindu “sons” of the vulnerable Bharat Mata are called upon, even now, to save her honour from the Muslims, Christians and other enemies. The concept of Bharat Mata, plagiarised from Chattopadhyay’s Anandamath, is used in a sheer patriarchal way to show women as weak, vulnerable and in need of masculine protection. This patriarchal and feudal masculinity, quintessential of the Hindutva’s Hindu, has been an aspiration for generations of Hindutva fanatics across different organisations to become feral and boisterous. However, though the Hindu Mahasabha and the Muslim League were quite well splitting the Indian people on religious lines to weaken the anti-colonial struggle, the 1917 November Revolution in Russia and the growth of Bolshevik revolutionary theory, which started weaning a large number of youth, frightened the British imperialism, which took up the task of building a militant organisation to thwart the menace of communism and foment communal trouble. To serve this goal, the British colonial rule and its infamous Intelligence Bureau (IB) formed the RSS with turncoat nationalists from Brahminical castes at its helm in 1925. Since then, in the last 94 years, the organisation have been a crucial support system for colonial and neo-colonial rule in India. One of the major differences between the RSS and the Hindu Mahasabha, despite their similarities in many other things, has been the RSS’s strategy of building a movement from the grassroots calling for a Hindu Rashtra (Hindu Nation) and the Hindu Mahasabha’s frantic attempt to replace the Congress and become the political alternative for the upper-caste Hindu feudal landlords and comprador capitalists of colonised India. Other differences were over leadership, strategy and tactics of the two organisations. While the Hindu Mahasabha unapologetically spilled the beans and shared its political vision of getting a share of state power from the British imperialism, the RSS wanted to work from the backstage and use different offshoot political outfits for ventriloquism in the political sphere.

Part II: Understanding Hindutva fascism’s support for white-supremacist fascism

Reading Time: 6 minutes

In this special series, we will delve into the historic growth of Indian fascism — the Hindutva fascism — and its ties with global fascist movement with which it shares outlook and organisational ties.

Part II: The international alliance of the Hindutva fascism

Though the British imperialists modelled the RSS following the examples laid by the Brown Shirts (Sturmabteilung) of Adolf Hitler’s Nazi Party, which itself was a replica of the Italian Fascist Benito Mussolini’s Black Shirts (Milizia Volontaria per la Sicurezza Nazionale), they didn’t allow the RSS to arm itself with firearms like the Nazis to prevent any threat to the British colonial rule and also placed the British Indian police force as the role model of Hindu masculinity, which the RSS men were trained to be like. Though Hitler’s Nazi ideology despised Indians {until the Second World War broke, which made Hitler an ardent supporter of Indian freedom (!)} as a race inferior to the superior Aryans, the RSS revered him officially until the beginning of the Second World War and unofficially he’s worshipped in the Sangh’s parochial circles even now. In his 1939 book, We, Our Nationhood Defined, MS Golwalkar, one of the most revered leaders of the Hindutva fascist pantheon, wrote:

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 … a good lesson for us in Hindustan to learn and profit by.

We, Our Nationhood Defined, MS Golwalkar, 1939

Following the fascist idea of a strong state based on a uniform culture, language, race, etc, the RSS started propagating the need of a homogenous India with Hindi language, Hindu religious code as the supreme identity of each citizen. While addressing 1,350 cadres in the RSS headquarters in 1940, Golwalkar said:

The RSS inspired by one flag, one leader and one ideology is lighting the flame of Hindutva in each and every corner of this great land”.

Golwalkar, Collected Works in Hindi, vol 1, Bhartiya Vichar Sadhna, Nagpur, p 11

On the occasion of the transfer of power from British imperialists to the Congress and Muslim League, the RSS’s English mouthpiece Organiser published an editorial that said:

Let us no longer allow ourselves to be influenced by false notions of nationhood. Much of the mental confusion and the present and future troubles can be removed by the ready recognition of the simple fact that in Hindusthan only the Hindus form the nation and the national structure must be built on that safe and solid foundation, the nation itself must be built up of Hindus, on Hindu traditions, culture, ideas and aspirations.

Whither, Organiser, 14 August, 1947

The British imperialism found great allies in the Italian fascist movement and the German Nazi movement to combat the Bolshevik threat, especially with the post-First World War imperialist economic crisis. Thus, to ensure that the RSS can work as a miniature version of the European fascists and hasten the divide and rule agenda, the British imperialism allowed the RSS to learn from the Italian Fascist movement. In her article, Hindutva’s Foreign Tie-up in the 1930s , Marzia Casolari wrote about the reaching-out programme of the RSS in the 1930s:

The first Hindu nationalist who came in contact with the fascist regime and its dictator was B.S. Moonje, a politician strictly related to the RSS… Between February and March 1931… Moonje made a tour of Europe, which included a long stop-over in Italy. There he visited some important military schools and educational institutions. The highlight of the visit was the meeting with Mussolini.” (sic)

Economic & Political Weekly, vol 35, issue no 04, 22 January, 2000

Drawing parallels between the then British-ally Mussolini’s fascist movement in Italy and the RSS’s fascist practices in India, Moonje wrote in his diary:

The idea of fascism vividly brings out the conception of unity amongst people…India and particularly Hindu India need some such institution for the military regeneration of the Hindus… Our institution of Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh of Nagpur under Dr Hedgewar is of this kind, though quite independently conceived”.

This military regeneration wasn’t for driving out British imperialism, rather to impose the upper-caste Hindu feudal landlords and comprador capitalists at the helm of the colonial state and subjugate the Muslims, Christians, Dalits and tribal people under their hegemonic rule. The agenda of the RSS was to use the political line conceived by the Hindu Mahasabha with modification and vilify the Muslims, Christians and communists. The British imperialist rule was certified as important for the Indian people by the RSS and its ideologues like Golwalkar asked its activists to preserve their energy to fight other enemies rather than the British.

In his work, Bunch of Thoughts, Golwalkar pointed out the Muslims, Christians and the communists as the three enemies of the Hindu Rashtra. Though the RSS has publicly disowned the book repeatedly, it’s still considered as a Bible by its foot soldiers and commanders. Since its inception, the RSS has been fighting that battle, ideologically and physically, against the Muslims, Christians, communists and other progressive forces.

The opportunist ideological fluidity

Even after supporting Hitler on ideological lines, both RSS and Hindu Mahasabha didn’t dare to bother the British imperialist rulers when the latter’s contradiction with the Third Reich and the Axis Power turned antagonistic during the Second World War. Though a section of the Congress, from Subhash Chandra Bose to MK Gandhi openly turned to the Axis Power, demanding an ouster of the British rule during the war by miscalculating the dynamics of the war and underestimating the power of Soviet Union, the RSS and Hindu Mahasabha worked closely with the British rulers and even worked as their recruiters. In Bengal, the Hindu Mahasabha even entered into a coalition with the Muslim League to fill the void created by the Congress’s election boycott.

This flexible manoeuvre proved the fluid nature of the Hindutva camp’s ideological loyalty and its strong bond with the dominant imperialist power of the time. Later it helped the RSS to engulf the Hindu Mahasabha when its leader Shyama Prasad Mookerjee founded the Jan Sangh, which later crystallised into the present BJP. Mookerjee remained a member of AK Fazlul Haq-led Muslim League – Hindu Mahasabha coalition government in Bengal during Second World War and even Jawaharlal Nehru’s cabinet until 1950, including the period when his organisation’s Nathuram Godse killed MK Gandhi in January 1948.

Without any hindrance, the RSS helped the Nehru regime to annex the princely state of Jammu & Kashmir by carrying out a large-scale massacre of Muslims in Jammu in connivance with the Dogra Army. More than 100,000 Muslims of Jammu were killed in 1947 by the RSS and the Dogra Army of the dying monarchy. This massacre resulted in a war with Pakistan and the conditional ascension of the former princely state to Indian Union.  

The fluidity of its ideology helped the Hindutva fascist camp, earlier led by the Hindu Mahasabha and then by the RSS, to support the concept of Zionism, which claimed the Jews formed a nation — Israel — despite not living in its sovereign territory for centuries. After celebrating genocides of Jews by Nazi Germany, the Hindutva ideologues of both Hindu Mahasabha and the RSS like Golwalkar and Savarkar started displaying their love for Jewish nationalism by supporting the British and US imperialism-sponsored, Zionist fascist movement. In the Zionist ideology, they found similarities with Hindutva philosophy and both organisations supported the forceful occupation of Palestine and its transformation into a terrorist state — Zionist Israel.

Not only the Zionist Israel, under the aegis of the US imperialism-led present world order, the RSS has even strengthened its bonding with the Wahhabi terrorist Saudi Arabian monarchy. The open hobnobbing between the leaders of the two ideologically antagonistic camp shows that they have been serving the geopolitical interests of the US imperialism in their respective regions and the acts of one, emboldens and complements the acts of the other. Under the aegis of the US imperialism, the Hindutva fascists have reached a global stage and have forged a strong alliance with different global fascist forces from Russia, Austria, the UK, the US to Zionist Israel and other countries.

By participating in such a global network of fascist forces in the 20th and 21st century, the RSS-led Hindutva fascism came closer to the white-supremacist movement and became a vocal supporter of the neo-Nazi movement that began in the US and Europe. Even Narendra Modi’s meteoric rise in the 2014 general election, riding an anti-incumbency wave and using anti-establishment rhetoric, was a classic example of how the white-supremacist, the alt-right experiment was implemented in a brown and dark-skinned people’s country like India. It was the opening of the gateway to the rise of several fascist rabble-rousers throughout the world, from the US’s Donald Trump, Philippines’s Rodrigo Duterte, Brazil’s Jair Bolsonaro to the UK’s Nigel Farage and Austria’s Sebastian Kurz and Heinz-Christian Strache. This nexus between the reactionary, pro-corporate and bigot forces around the world has unleashed a new series of violence and discriminatory attacks against the Muslims, immigrants and non-white people.

To be continued.

An avid reader and a merciless political analyst. When not writing then either reading something, debating something or sipping espresso with a dash of cream. Street photographer. Tweets as @la_muckraker

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