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Hindutva & Fascism

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Hindutva imagines a nation shaped to serve the interests of a Hindu ruling class — far from the secularism promised at the founding of the nation. The fascist government is supported by the RSS, a massive paramilitary organization that draws its inspiration from the Nazi reich.

From the lens of a person who may not know much about India besides the diverse culture, incredible food, and spiritual practices, there is a notion that the nation is comprised of peace, love and equality. Unfortunately, this is far from the truth. In fact, India is home to a fascist movement that has been responsible for acts of terrorism, assassinations and riots which have spanned for close to a century.

This organization is known as the Rastriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS), which was founded by a group of men that were obsessed with Mussolini’s practices throughout the early 1900’s; although Fascism was discredited after the world war, the RSS became powerful for their widespread propaganda of Hindu supremacism. Also known as Hindutva ideologies, these fascist parties have amassed millions of volunteers that are willing to do whatever is necessary to promote purity and preservation of Hindu’s in India. Through the use of historical texts from Nazi Germany, as well as texts from the likes of Golwalkar who based his theories and beliefs on the mass eradication of Jewish people throughout history, the RSS has somehow indoctrinated members from a variety of different walks of life in India; for instance, there are even youth organizations that have been formed who have been shown to use violence and rioting to threaten and disparage innocent people in the street. 

Narendra Modi, The Wire

The problem is, while some people tend to believe that fascism is beginning to become less prevalent in countries all around the world, India’s Hindutva practices seem to be more powerful than ever before. With the induction of Narendra Modi as Prime Minister of the country in 2014, the RSS does not even have to hide their ideologies and practices from the nation. To put this into perspective, it is important to think about how the leader of a country who believes in authoritarianism and Hindu nationalism can affect the opinion of the population within the state. With the help of a parliamentary majority and loyal supporters who have found their way into police forces and judicial systems, civilians continue to face violence in broad daylight for their religion or unacceptable views of the government. Even laws such as the recent farm bills that have been ridiculed for their unconstitutionality have been passed because fascism and Hindutva have nearly captured the entire state.

It is difficult to predict the future of fascism in India. While many individuals within the nation are adamant of their distaste for these barbaric practices, it is difficult to achieve solidarity while protestors continue to be beaten, reprimanded and lynched around the country. It does not help that India’s economy is suffering greatly while other problems such as Islamophobia and the pandemic continue to cause a divide between those in power and civilians. It is shocking to think that an organization who has been held responsible for the assassination of Gandhi continues to grow in power with every waking minute. Even though India’s democracy is noticeable dwindling away, what can be done to stop a government that is willing to use terrorism and violence through different channels to get its way?

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