Why the Howdy Modi event is opposed in Houston?

Why the Howdy Modi event is opposed in Houston?

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Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi will eventually start his American mega-event named Howdy Modi in Houston, Texas, in some time. US President Donald Trump will also participate in this multi-million dollar event to exhibit the bonhomie between him and his lackey Modi to woo the upper-caste Hindu Indian-American diaspora, which frantically supports Modi for his utmost Islamophobic policies and actions. This event, which is taking place in flood-hit Houston, has already divided the American politicians into pro-Modi and anti-Modi camps.

The followers and marketers of Modi in the US are shaming those who are opposing Modi’s visit and the Howdy Modi event. They are calling those who oppose Modi – “anti-India”, “pro-Pakistan” and “Hinduphobe”, which is creating a lot of confusion among the common people to understand the entire plot. Who is Modi and what is he doing in the US are questions that many Americans have no answer to.

Modi is a controversial politician, who is both drooled for and despised in the western world by the rightwing and the leftwing respectively. Modi belongs to the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), an outfit that acts as the parliamentary wing of the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) — the global fountainhead of Hindutva fascism — which wants to turn India into a Hindu Rashtra (Hindu theocratic state ruled by upper-caste Brahmin elites) using brute force to pulverize any form of resistance. His political career is marred in controversies and in gory incidents of violence in which the Muslim community suffered the most. 

Before becoming the Indian prime minister, Modi ruled Gujarat, a western Indian state that has a large concentration of industries due to a large presence of comprador capitalists in the state with strong ties with foreign corporations. The Gujarati upper-caste Hindus form a major chunk of the Indian-American diaspora and the most powerful one. Their influence on both Republicans and Democrats is quite immense. It’s this Gujarati diaspora that helped Modi with a spectacular $1.5m show in New York’s historic Madison Square in September 2014, soon after winning power. It’s assumed that they will play a crucial role in filling the NRG Stadium on Sunday, 22 September, ignoring the flood. 

During his tenure as the Gujarat chief minister, Modi oversaw a vicious anti-Muslim pogrom in 2002, in which hundreds of Muslims were killed by the RSS-affiliated Hindutva fascist organisations. His government showed indifference towards the Muslim victims, allowed the violence to continue and provided immunity to the thugs who butchered men, children, gang-raped women, and, in some cases, tore open the womb of pregnant Muslim women to fork out their fetus and burn them with a raucous jeering. 

For his complicity in these crimes against humanity, whose investigations in India were absolutely flawed and biased, Modi was banned from entering the US by the George W Bush administration, which continued till Barack Obama’s administration and was lifted in 2013, before his rise to power, after his American sycophants and allies lobbied for his entry. 

Since ascending the throne of New Delhi, Modi and the BJP, under the aegis of the RSS, unleashed a reign of terror on the Muslims, Christians, and other oppressed communities like the ostracised Dalits, tribal people and backward caste Hindus. 

Hindutva-incensed mobs, formed by the RSS-affiliated organisations, mostly under the garb of cow vigilante or preventing Hindu women from marrying men of other religions, have lynched numerous Muslims throughout India and created an atmosphere of utmost fear and insecurity for the minority community

Christians of different denominations in the Hindu-majority Indian states face severe threats and random attacks on their places of worship. They are accused of forcibly converting tribals and Dalits, whom the RSS considers Hindus, into Christianity. 

Dalits are regularly oppressed and murdered at the whims of the upper-caste Hindu elite supporters of Modi and the BJP. Dalit women are regularly raped by upper-caste men, and symbols of Dalit identity, including their own temples, which differentiate them from caste Hindus, are regularly desecrated by the Hindutva fascist thugs.

The tribal people face an all-out war waged against them by the Indian state on behalf of big mining corporations that donate liberally to the BJP’s coffer. The Modi regime wants to evict the tribals from their traditional abode of forests in eastern and central India, in cooperation with the main opposition party – Congress, so that the rich minerals beneath these forests can be extracted through large-scale mining projects by destroying the forests and jeopardising India’s last vestiges of green cover

India’s economy went for a toss under Modi due to his unapologetic corporate appeasement policy, hence, he changed the computation methods and took potshots at those economists who questioned his whimsical economic programmes that are pushing India to the abyss of sheer crisis. 

Politically, Modi has muzzled dissent by imposing an unofficial emergency on India, censored the press, pushed the agenda of self-aggrandisement propaganda at all forums, established jingoism as the focal theme of all political discourse and blamed India’s first prime minister Jawaharlal Nehru for all shortcomings and failures. Dissenters, including political and civil rights activists, writers, economists, research scholars, journalists, lawyers, etc, are either jailed or are killed for raising their voice or criticising the government’s policies. There is a reign of fear that rules and demands obeisance from all thinking minds. 

At the same time, the Modi regime has established the Hindutva hegemony on all constitutional establishments of India, which have so far acted, though biasedly in most cases, to maintain a balance between different sections of the ruling comprador capitalists and feudal landlords. Now, none of the institutions in the executive or the judicial branches is independent any more, and in each of their action, they show utmost obeisance towards the diktats of Modi and the RSS-BJP. 

Jingoism and ultra-chauvinism, which would even put all previous regimes to shame, are Modi’s weapons in setting the political discourse. No other political power has been able to create an alternative narrative to combat the Modi’s narrative, which evolves around jingoism, ultra-chauvinism and xenophobia.

Whenever the Modi regime and the RSS estimated a rise in anti-establishment sentiments among the majority Hindu community they have resorted to histrionic mode to combat the wave. From the so-called “surgical strike” of September 2016, the demonetisation exercise in November 2016 to the Balakote airstrike in February 2019, which triggered a war-like situation with neighbouring Pakistan, the Modi regime has used one after another optics that could fuel jingoism among the politically crucial upper-caste Hindu elites and urban middle class to neutralise any political threat. This ability to manipulate helped Modi to swirl and twist the 2019 general election results in his favour. 

The formula used by the Hindutva fascist camp is the same that the Indian ruling classes have hitherto use. They equate the Indian Muslims as a foreign entity living on Indian soil and call them aggressors by distorting historical references. The Muslims are equated with Pakistan, the source of xenophobia in India due to the partition that split British India. Though the Hindutva fascists played a crucial role in the partition of British India, they blame the Muslims as a people disloyal to the purported “Bharat Mata” (an imaginary deity called goddess India). 

The intrinsic hatred against Muslims, embedded deeply in the veins of upper-caste privileged Hindus and a section of Dalits and backward castes, is used by the Modi regime to perpetuate incessant violence on the hapless marginalised minority community. To justify such actions, the Hindutva fascists cite dubious historical reference of a purported Islamic tyranny under the Muslim rulers of pre-colonial India, accusing the Muslims of persecuting Hindus then. Such distorted history is used to market Islamophobia among the vulnerable sections of Hindus and to radicalise the uncritical middle class minds. 

Modi also finally shaped the new Indian foreign policy, which the country adopted since it embraced neo-liberal economic prescription in 1992. It has allied with both the US and Russia, tying up India as a haven of exploitation for big corporations of both imperialist powers. The Hindutva fascists openly allied with the Zionist Israeli forces and made India an appendage to the US’s interests in the Middle East and South Asia. It snapped ties with Iran, cut down its oil imports from Venezuela and strengthened ties with the notorious Saudi Arabian monarchy, ironically the global exporter of Wahhabi terrorism. 

In the meantime, soon after winning a landslide victory in the 2019 general election riding on jingoism and extreme communal polarisation, a victory that’s questioned by many political opponents and observers, Modi and his heir apparent, Home Minister Amit Shah, started enacting a series of draconian laws that allow the government to curtail civil rights and persecute citizens through witch-hunting. It has adopted the goal of changing India’s Constitution and transform it into a Hindu theocratic state — Hindu Rashtra — by 2022.

On 5 August 2019, after peddling a series of lies regarding its rapid deployment of extra troops and garrisoning of India-administered Jammu & Kashmir, a United Nations (UN)-recognised disputed territory and the most militarized region in the world, and packing off tourists and Hindu pilgrims from the erstwhile princely kingdom, the Modi regime abrogated two crucial articlesArticle 370 and Article 35A — of the Indian Constitution. 

Those articles formed the basis of a special relationship between the region and India, which was supposed to be its custodian until a plebiscite was organised by the UN to allow people to decide their fate. The former state of Jammu & Kashmir was bifurcated into two parts — Jammu & Kashmir and Ladakh — and a total blockade was imposed on the region.

More than 750,000 troops fortified Jammu & Kashmir, locked up its people in their houses, snapped their telephone, mobile, internet and even cable television connection. It has been 45 days but the seize still continues and the Indian soldiers are carrying out brutal atrocities, as reported by the international media, which is free from Modi’s censorship reign. Children, men and women equally face state violence as they demand freedom from Indian domination. 

Since then, Modi and his coterie are trying to project normalcy in the Kashmir valley and showcasing their fascist measure as a step towards the betterment of Kashmiri people. All politicians, including pro-India and pro-independence, are jailed by the Indian forces. Even the former chief ministers, who acted as the vassals of New Delhi in the past, aren’t spared either. All Kashmiri newspapers are censored and people’s protest movements are brutally suppressed by the Indian forces.

Though earlier there were only around 150 armed militants in the Kashmir valley, the recent upheaval in the valley, the curbs on all forums through which the Kashmiri people could vent out their anger, and the intensification of military atrocities on them have widened the scope of militancy in the valley. Armed conflict with the Indian state will prolong the sufferings of the Kashmiri people and the conflict will remain in an unsettled zone for a long time to come. 

In northeastern Assam, the Modi regime has finished the preparation of a National Register of Citizens (NRC), which has prepared a so-called list of citizens based on inconsistent criteria and through an obfuscated process in which each individual has to prove that their family lineage belongs to Assam prior to 24 March 1971. More than 1.9m people are left out of the final NRC list. These people are mostly Bengalis, Hindus and Muslims, who are called “Bangladeshi infiltrators” according to the RSS’s parlance, which has even influenced the Assamese people.

Though there are many Hindus in the list, the primary purpose of the NRC exercise under Modi’s close watch was to weed out Bengali-speaking Muslims from Assam. The entire NRC exercise was designed to disenfranchise Muslims and throw them into gargantuan detention centres, built on the model of Nazi Germany’s concentration camps. 

The BJP has assured the Hindus, who haven’t featured in the NRC, that it will bring a law to provide them citizenship to ensure only Muslims suffer the ordeal. Such a communally toxic agenda is not just mainstreamed but is rolled out with utmost impunity. The Modi regime is also planning to roll-out a pan-India NRC-type exercise to disenfranchise more Muslims, especially the Bengali Muslims, so that it can titillate the Islamophobic upper-caste Hindu elites and urban middle class voters. 

It’s not just the Muslims, each minority group, except the Jains who play a crucial role in the Hindutva cavalcade, are under threat. Modi has chosen Pratap Chandra Sarangi as his minister. Sarangi had been Odisha state head of the notorious Bajrang Dal, which, along with its parent body the Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP), is designated as a militant organisation in the CIA’s The World Factbook 2018

Under Sarangi’s watch, a Bajrang Dal activist, Dara Singh, burned alive an Australian Christian missionary Graham Stains, working among the poor of Mayurbhanj district, along with his two minor sons — Philip and Timothy —  in 1999, when they were sleeping in their station wagon. Sarangi is also accused in multiple cases of anti-Christian violence in Odisha.

The VHP and the Bajrang Dal thugs attacked and killed more than a hundred Christians, wounded numerous, vandalised churches and displaced thousands in Odisha’s tribal-dominated Kandhamal district in 2008. It was the largest anti-Christian pogrom in India, albeit under the watch of a Congress party government at the Union. 

Still, the VHP operates in the US and other parts of the world with impunity. The irony is in it being a partner of the Texas India Forum that’s organising the Howdy Modi event in Houston. No one, not even the US’s so-called progressive politicians, raises a question on this fact. 

The president of the US is attending Howdy Modi, an event that’s partly organised by an organisation that’s categorised as a militant organisation by the CIA itself! Irony washes in a flood of tears when Hindutva fascism, ardently anti-Christian and pro-Zionist, meets white-supremacist fascism, which is ardently anti-brown skin, and pro-Christian. Howdy Modi is truly inspiring in many counts.

It’s, of course, surely their shared ideology of Islamophobia and xenophobia that’s uniting Modi and Trump, the Hindutva fascists with the white-supremacist fascists. Modi’s anti-Muslim tirade and building of concentration camps are following the footprints of Trump’s “Wall” policy and his government’s barbaric treatment to those detained as immigrants in the US. Howdy Modi is, thus, an event to celebrate this xenophobia.

Thousands of families are torn apart by these two megalomaniac dictators, thousands of children are separated from their parents, people are turned into animals and tortured inhumanely. Yet, they enjoy their ratings due to the sadist orgasmic pleasure their hardcore supporters derive from these macabre atrocities against the marginalised people.

After such heinous crimes against humanity, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation — a notorious policy-influencing body owned by the former Microsoft first family — is going to award Modi for his role in building toilets! 

Trump, who and whose supporters hate any skin colour that’s not white, will hobnob with Modi on the stage at Howdy Modi, while a host of American politicians will join the utmost Hindutva fascism-incensed crowd, aiming to have them on their side next election. 

The amount of money that’s involved in the Howdy Modi event, the immense opportunities that Modi promises to the big American corporations that are close to his crony-comprador allies, and the influence that the reactionary Hindutva fascist outfits affiliated with the RSS in the US have on the Congress, make it evident that the powers will eulogise him, sanitise his crimes and extol him to the highest altar of sacredness to push a narrative that will suit their purpose.

It’s clear that the US establishment, the white-supremacists and the reactionary Indian-American Hindutva fascists will go to any extent to make Howdy Modi a success, as with it they all have some sort of interests connected. They all benefit and profiteer with Modi, although the majority of the people suffer. 

For the sake of the anti-fascist people of America and the global anti-fascist struggle against the rise of neo-Nazi movements, it’s important that Modi’s true character, his government’s misdeeds, the blatant human rights violations by the Indian forces in Kashmir, the ordeal of the inhuman 45-day-long blockade on Kashmir and its eight million people, and the plight of 1.9m Bengalis in Assam who will be soon thrown into the deadly concentration camps, are exposed before the global audience during the Howdy Modi event. It’s important that Modi’s true self is shown to the world during the Howdy Modi event itself.

It may not provide immediate relief to the people of Kashmir, Assam or the hapless Muslims facing lynch mob threats, however, if such exposures put  pressure on those who try to sanitise the Hindutva fascist crimes and the Modi regime, and desist them from carrying similar exercises, it will have a long-term effect on the global mainstream media, a large-section of which goes gaga over Modi.

It will also stop the American politicians from shamelessly endorsing his brand of hate politics and genocides by participating in events like Howdy Modi. For this immediate and long term goals, the united struggle of the American anti-fascists and the Indian, as well as global anti-fascists, must be developed and elevated to a higher level from now onwards.

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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