Indian "Hindu Nazis" Join Forces With Western Neo-Nazis to Threaten World Peace

In an op ed titled "Hitler's Hindus: The Rise and Rise of India's Nazi-Loving Nationalists" published by leading Israeli newspaper Haaretz, author Shrenik Rao raises alarm bells about "large and growing community of Indian Hindu Nazis, who are digitally connected to neo-Nazi counterparts across the world".

Rao talks about Nagpur, a town he describes as the "epicenter of Hindu Nationalism", where he found  ‘Hitler’s Den’ pool parlor "that shocked me on a round-India trip 10 years ago was no outlier. Admiration for Nazism – often reframed with a genocidal hatred for Muslims – is rampant in the Hindu nationalist camp, which has never been as mainstream as it is now".

History of Hindu Nationalism:

Hindu nationalists in India have a long history of admiration for the Nazi leader, including his "Final Solution". In his book "We" (1939), Madhav Sadashiv Golwalkar, the leader of the Hindu Nationalist RSS (Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh) 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 Hindusthan to learn and profit by."

Golwalkar, considered the founder of the Hindu Nationalist movement in India, saw Islam and Muslims as enemies. He said: “Ever since that evil day, when Moslems first landed in Hindusthan, right up to the present moment, the Hindu Nation has been gallantly fighting to shake off the despoilers".

There may have been mutual admiration between the upper caste Hindu Nationalists and the Nazis since the 1940s. After all, the Nazis adopted the Swastika, a symbol commonly used by Brahmans in India, because it was understood as an Aryan symbol indicating racial purity and superiority. The Nazis knew that the early Aryans of India were white invaders.

On the surface, it appears that Indians are schizophrenic. It is hard to reconcile the right-wing Hindus' growing admiration for the Nazis with their new-found love of Israel. But there is evidence to suggest that both trends are real. Along with rising sales of the Nazi merchandise, there have also been calls in India to "do Gaza" in Pakistan, and the Indian police discovered a conspiracy by a serving Indian Army officer to set up a radical Hindu government in exile in Israel. Both of these trends seem to be driven mainly by the rising hatred of minorities, particularly Muslims, in India.

Neo-Nazis and Hindu Nazis on Social Media:

The advent and growth of online social media have enabled a large and growing community of Indian Hindu Nazis connected to neo-Nazi counterparts in Europe and America.  This came to light a few years ago when the Norwegian white supremacist terrorist Anders Behring Breivik's manifesto against the "Islamization of Western Europe" was heavily influenced by the kind of anti-Muslim rhetoric which is typical of the Nazi-loving Hindu Nationalists like late Madhav Sadashiv Golwalkar (1906-1973), and his present-day Sangh Parivar followers and sympathizers in the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) who currently rule several Indian states. This Hindutva rhetoric which infected Breivik has been spreading like a virus on the Internet, particularly on many of the well-known Islamophobic hate sites that have sprouted up in Europe and America in recent years. In fact, much of the Breivik manifesto is cut-and-pastes of anti-Muslim blog posts and columns that validated his worldview.

"It is essential that the European and Indian resistance movements learn from each other and cooperate as much as possible. Our goals are more or less identical," Breivick wrote in his manifesto. The Christian Science Monitor has reported that "in the case of India, there is significant overlap between Breivik’s rhetoric and strains of Hindu nationalism – or Hindutva – on the question of coexistence with Muslims. Human rights monitors have long decried such rhetoric in India for creating a milieu for communal violence, and the Norway incidents are prompting calls here to confront the issue."

Indian Textbooks Praise Nazis:

Adulation for for Hitler has found its way into Indian textbooks to influence young impressionable minds. Here's how Rao describes it:

In 2004, when now-Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi was the Chief Minister of Gujarat, school textbooks published by the Gujarat State Board portrayed Hitler as a hero, and glorified fascism.

The tenth-grade social studies textbook had chapters entitled "Hitler, the Supremo," and "Internal Achievements of Nazism." The section on the "Ideology of Nazism" reads: "Hitler lent dignity and prestige to the German government. He adopted the policy of opposition towards the Jewish people and advocated the supremacy of the German race." The tenth-grade social studies textbook, published by the state of Tamil Nadu in 2011 (with multiple revised editions until 2017) includes chapters glorifying Hitler, praising his "inspiring leadership," "achievements" and how the Nazis "glorified the German state" so, "to maintain a German race with Nordic elements, [Hitler] ordered the Jews to be persecuted."

Mein Kampf has also gone mainstream, becoming a "must-read" management strategy book for India’s business school students. Professors teaching strategy lecture about how a short, depressed man in prison made a goal of taking over the world and built a strategy to achieve it.

Modi and Trump:

Prime Minister Narendra Modi of India has built his entire political career on the intense hatred of  Muslims. US President Donald Trump built his successful presidential campaign on Islamophobia and xenophobia. That's what the two men have in common.

Just as white racists form the core of Trump's support base in America, the Modi phenomenon in India has been fueled by Hindu Nationalists whose leaders have praised Adolph Hitler for his hatred of Jews.

M.S. Golwalkar, a Hindu Nationalist who Mr. Modi has described as "worthy of worship" wrote the following about Muslims in his book "We":

 "Ever since that evil day, when Moslems first landed in Hindustan, right up to the present moment, the Hindu Nation has been gallantly fighting on to take on these despoilers. The Race Spirit has been awakening.”

"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 Hindusthan to learn and profit by."

Summary:

The simultaneous rise of Neo Nazis in the West and the Hindu Nazis in India represents a very serious and growing threat to world peace. Their combined menace can lead to a devastating third world war with nuclear weapons if these trends are not halted and reversed soon. I hope good sense prevails among the voters in these countries to pull the world back from the brink of human catastrophe.

Related Links:

Haq's Musings

Hindu Nationalists Love Nazis

Lynchistan: India is the Lynching Capital of the World

Modi and Trump

Anders Breivik: Islamophobia in Europe and India

Hindu Nationalism Goes Global

Hindutva: The Legacy of the British Raj

Comments

Riaz Haq said…
In #India, some fear lawmakers are stoking anti-#Muslim fervor. #Modi #BJP #RSS #Hindutva #Islamophobia

http://abcnews.go.com/International/wireStory/india-fear-lawmakers-stoking-anti-muslim-fervor-51943124

A lawmaker from India's ruling party called the Taj Mahal a blot on Indian culture, saying in October that the famous tourist site had been built by Muslim traitors. In November, another party member offered a bounty for the heads of two people involved in a movie featuring a Muslim sultan. Then, this month, a laborer was hacked to death and set afire while his alleged attacker ranted against Muslims.

The series of incidents this fall has reinforced fears that anti-Muslim sentiment has hardened in India in the three years since a Hindu nationalist party led by Prime Minister Narendra Modi swept to power. Some say it has reached a point where Hindu extremists believe they can get away with murder. Others worry that hard-line Hindu leaders want to rewrite the country's rich Muslim history.

The shift in attitudes is happening in a democracy of 1.3 billion people that is often held up as a model for inclusion in the developing world. When former President Barack Obama visited New Delhi earlier this month, he said Muslims were integrated and consider themselves Indian.

Hindus account for 80 percent of the population, compared to Muslims' 14 percent. While there have long been religious tensions, there is a sense the stakes have risen under Modi's Bharatiya Janata Party. The BJP maintained its hold on Modi's home state of Gujarat in election results tallied Monday, although with a reduced majority.

In a tweet this month, Muslim lawmaker Asaduddin Owaisi questioned whether Modi is a leader for all religions or just Hindus. "Remember that you have taken oath on Constitution," he wrote.

Muslims in India have had to deal with a certain level of discrimination for decades, historian and writer Mukul Kesavan said, noting they often find it difficult to buy or rent homes.

But Kesavan said Modi and his party have given Hindus a sense of permission to lash out against Muslims. He cited cases of mob violence against Muslims who buy or sell cows for slaughter, which is banned in most of the country because Hindus consider cows sacred.

The mobs have gone unpunished in some cases, while the victims or their families have been charged with illegally possessing beef, Kesavan said.

"There have always been two kinds of justice," he said. "But the notion that people now have a license to kill, that is new. This idea of impunity has taken hold so strongly."

The brutality of the laborer's death in the western state of Rajasthan shocked many. TV showed a video of the alleged attacker ranting while the victim lay on the ground behind him. Police have made an arrest.

But in other cases, investigations have dragged on or gone nowhere. Kesavan said police often await advice from the ruling party before acting.

Modi's BJP rejects the notion it is encouraging violence.

At an office in the Constitution Club of India, party spokesman and former lawmaker Bizay Sonkar Shastri said occasional flare-ups between Hindus and Muslims are a natural part of life and began long before his party came to power.

"Our political agenda is only to develop the nation," he said. "We never prefer to do politics on caste, color, religion, or any such sort of things."

He said that in two decades of power in Gujarat, the BJP has built an interconnected system of roads and ensured every village has electricity.

Yet party member Suraj Pal Amu last month offered 100 million rupees ($1.6 million) to anybody who would behead the lead actress and director of "Padmavati," a still-unreleased Bollywood movie that is rumored to depict a relationship between a Hindu queen and a Muslim ruler.
Riaz Haq said…
#Pakistan reaffirms commitment to "full spectrum" #nuclear deterrence, rejects #US charges. #terrorism #India #nukes #missiles @AJENews

http://www.aljazeera.com/news/2017/12/pakistan-reaffirms-commitment-nuclear-deterrence-171222075832470.html

Pakistan's military and civilian leadership has reaffirmed the country's commitment to maintaining "full spectrum" nuclear deterrence and reiterated the robustness of its nuclear safeguards.

Pakistan's National Command Authority (NCA), which oversees the country's nuclear weapons programme, met for the first time in almost two years in Rawalpindi on Thursday.

"While expressing full confidence in Pakistan's capability to address any form of aggression, the NCA reiterated Pakistan's policy of developing and maintaining Full Spectrum Deterrence, in line with the policy of Credible Minimum Deterrence and avoidance of arms race," said a joint statement from the country's military and the prime minister's office.

The meeting was the first held since Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi took over in August this year. Also in attendance were Army Chief General Qamar Javed Bajwa, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff General Zubair Hayat and other members of the country's top security leadership.

Full spectrum deterrence refers to a Pakistani nuclear policy where the country maintains nuclear weapons systems and warheads on the tactical, operational and strategic levels.

The policy was developed in response to a shift by regional rival India towards a more proactive conventional military stance, often dubbed "Cold Start". Pakistan, in turn, developed tactical nuclear weapons, which are smaller warheads that can be deployed at short range.

The doctrine envisages the use of tactical nuclear weapons by Pakistan as a deterrent against any possible conventional incursion into Pakistani territory by Indian forces.

The Pakistani leadership "noted with concern" a conventional arms build-up by India, its deployment of nuclear weapons capable systems to the Indian Ocean and its development of a Ballistic Missile Shield system.

The NCA also noted Pakistan's development of the Babur-III cruise missile and Ababeel ballistic missile, which is capable of carrying multiple nuclear warheads.

Response to US allegations
The statement on Thursday also made apparent reference to US President Donald Trump's recently announced security strategy, where he called on Pakistan "to continue demonstrating that it is a responsible steward of its nuclear assets".

"The NCA took a detailed review of the Nuclear Security Regime and expressed full confidence in command and control systems and security measures in-place to ensure comprehensive stewardship and security of strategic assets and materials," said the Pakistani statement.

"It re-affirmed that, as a responsible nuclear State, Pakistan would continue to contribute meaningfully towards the global efforts to improve nuclear security and nuclear non-proliferation measures."
Riaz Haq said…
Strategic Insights by #India's Sunil Sharan : #Pakistan, a rising power
https://blogs.timesofindia.indiatimes.com/strategic-insights/pakistan-a-rising-power/ … via @TOIOpinion

Yet, one nation is a rising power, ready to take its rightful place in the comity of nations, while the other is deemed a global pariah, a jelly state if not a failed state. Huh? How did this happen?

The reality is different. The world pays lip service to India for its large middle class and its ability to buy arms on a large scale. India seems to consider this courting as its emergence on the world stage.

Scratch the surface, and you will find something else. The US is denying Indians H1-B visas. The US has delinked the Haqqanis, who they want, from Hafiz Saeed, who they couldn’t care less about, so that they can give dollops of aid to the Pakistanis.

Today the Yanks hector the Pakistanis, but that is empty bluster. The Pakistanis have trumped them; the Yanks’ wails appear like crocodile tears. The Yanks forgot when they invaded Afghanistan and enlisted the Pakistanis’ help by threatening to bomb them into the stone age that the Pakistanis had been there once before.

That time they trumped the Russians, with significant money and arms from the Americans and the Saudis. But the Americans never took to battle in Afghanistan the first time round. Sure they had read that Afghanistan was a graveyard for empires, from the British to the Soviet, but they believed, foolishly, that they themselves would win out.

They struck a Faustian bargain with the Pakistanis, without ever realizing that they were dealing with the devil. In the nineties, the Pakistanis used Afghanistan to hijack Indian planes and launch jihad in Kashmir. Afghanistan had become both strategic depth as well as a launching pad for them. How were they expected to give up this twin treat?

Once the Yanks entered Kabul, the Taliban vanished. Into thin air? Oh no, many of them disappeared into Pakistan. The Yanks forgot about Afghanistan, until first the Iraqis, and then the Taliban, started knocking their teeth out. One by one their Nato brethren fled Afghanistan, until the Yanks realized that they had to flee as well.

Go to Kabul today, and you will find disdain for Pakistan everywhere. But the Pakistanis don’t care. The real people who matter in Afghanistan are the Taliban, and you don’t find many of them in Kabul. The writ of the government of Afghanistan extends over only Kabul, much as the later-day Mughals were derided as the mayors of Delhi.

The Taliban control over sixty percent of the country. The Talibs don’t like the Pakistanis, referring to them often as blacklegs. But the Talibs need Pakistan to capture Kabul, much as the Pakistanis need the Taliban to capture Afghanistan.

The Pakistanis are disdainful of the threats emanating from the Yanks. The Yanks need Pakistani territory to transport supplies to their legionaries in Afghanistan. The Pakistanis blocked their land routes once, and all hell broke loose then. It’s almost impossible to transport goods from the west of Afghanistan.

---

Today Pakistan stands on the cusp of victory in Afghanistan. It spurns the Americans for the Chinese, and lo and behold, the Russians, the very people it had helped kick out of Afghanistan. Politics, or rather realpolitik, sure does make for strange bedfellows.

Pakistan is able to stymie India at every international forum, be it the UN or the nuclear suppliers group. There have even been strong rumours about the Obama administration offering the Pakistanis their own nuclear deal. Trump yells and curses at the Pakistanis, but is the first one to give it gobs of military aid.

Pakistan sure doesn’t seem like a loser. It appears to have come out of Afghanistan smelling of roses. It can blackmail America to its heart’s content, and what is more, happily get away with it. Does it seem like a failed state? A terrorist state? A terrorized state? At least not now. For now it seems that Pakistan’s star, that star in their beloved crescent, is rising. And rising.
Riaz Haq said…
#India's 'internet #Hindus' are in love with #Israel. #Islamophobia #Hindutva #NetanyahuInIndia - Israel News - http://Haaretz.com

https://www.haaretz.com/israel-news/1.834903


Hindu nationalists incessantly tweet their support and admiration for Israel, an online force that helped push Prime Minister Narendra Modi to a landslide victory in 2014

Saudamini Jain Jan 15, 2018 4:14 PM
read more: https://www.haaretz.com/israel-news/1.834903



In New Delhi, Anshul Saxena spends three to four hours a day on Israel.

The 26-year-old gathers information from right-wing websites, blogs, Wikipedia, the American Jewish Committee website and India-Israel friendship forums. He has set up alerts to be notified of any India-Israel news, and tries to tweet about Israel every day.


>> The Indian Jews at the Heart of the Netanyahu-Modi Love Affair

skip - Netanyahu arrival
Back in November, he announced a celebration party when he first heard that Netanyahu would be visiting. Sometimes, the tweets are about Israel in general and the lessons India can learn from it.

A few months earlier, in July, he wrote: “Israel revived its Hebrew, whose fate was similar to Sanskrit about 7 decades ago. India should learn from Israel, We can revive Sanskrit.”

skip - Hebrew/Sanskrit
>>Netanyahu's India agenda: Business, ceremonies and a little Bollywood


Other times, he’s inspired by the news. Last month, he wrote, comparing Jerusalem to the northern Indian city where a 16th-century mosque was demolished by right-wing Hindu mobs 25 years ago: “India should shift embassy from Tel Aviv to #Jerusalem. And also recognize that Temple Mount belongs to the only Jewish people. What Ayodhya Ram Mandir to Hindus, same Temple Mount to Jews.”

skip - Jerusalem/Adhoya
The goal is to convince Indians that Israel is their country’s best friend. Saxena has nearly 70,000 followers (and won about 5,000 new followers within six hours of Netanyahu’s arrival on Sunday.) He is one of the 1,861 accounts followed by Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

His tweet about Hebrew inspiring a revival of Sanskrit has been retweeted 1,275 times and liked 1,982 times. The ones about Netanyahu have been retweeted a few hundred times.

Saxena drafts his tweets on a Word document – sometimes hundreds on a given theme. “The first thing I try is to make them informative and not controversial or humorous,” he says. Then he forwards them to his friends – his “core team” of 50 people. On a group chat, they write their views and choose hashtags.


Anshul Saxena at a pro-Israel event he organized on a south Delhi street corner, where he handed out local dishes to passersby, January 2018.Manu Misra
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“There are groups on Twitter, WhatsApp, social media .... Each person has 500 to 1,000 people, some are in 100 to 200 groups,” he says. “They’re all pro-Israeli as well. So ... it keeps getting forwarded and circulated on social media.”


In the summer of 2015, when Modi announced plans to visit Israel, tens of thousands of people (both Israelis and Indians – largely Hindus – in India and the diaspora) celebrated India-Israel brotherhood, and condemned the Palestinians, Pakistanis and Muslims in general. There were flags, quotes and memes. #IndiaWithIsrael trended a second time within a few days when India abstained from a July vote against Israel at the UN refugee agency, the UNHCR.

Over the next two years, Saxena campaigned for #WorstIranDeal (“Iran Nuclear Deal is not only Threat to our friend @Israel but for the whole World, he tweeted), and #IndiaAgainstPalestinianTerror (“I started it in the evening, but it failed, so I started again the next day, only then did it become successful”).

read more: https://www.haaretz.com/israel-news/1.834903
Riaz Haq said…
“SAY NO TO RSS SAKHA IN AMU”, Writes AMUSU President (Maskoor Ahmad Usmani)

http://ironyofindia.com/say-no-to-rss-sakha-in-amu-writes-amusu-president/

1925 marks the birth year of the hateful and terror breading organization Rastriya Swayam Sewak Sangh, founded by Dr. K. B. Hegedwar and the coward V. D. Savarkar. The much exaggerated ‘veer’ Savarker was the same person who pleaded and begged to the British numerous times from jail for mercy and his release. Later, these fanatics shared by common ideology came under the banner of RSS. The tail of espionage and working hand in glove with the British is much known in the history of pre-independent India. From exchanging outfits and staging violence to spiting venom in public meetings there have been no stone unturned by the RSS to break down the social fabric of India.


It was on 30th January, 1947 (1948) when Ganghiji was gunned down by the Hindu fanatic and member of the RSS Nathu Ram Godse at Birla House, Delhi. Soon after the death of Gandhiji, in a letter to Golwaker dated 11th September, 1948 Sardar Patel the then home minister of India pointed out “Opposition turned more severe, when the RSS men expressed joy and distributed sweets after Gandhiji’s death.” What does this vindicates? And why was RSS so much happy that it had to distribute sweets after the killing of Gandhi?

In a letter dated 14th March, 1948, Dr. Rajendra Prasad wrote to Sardar Patel:

“I am told that RSS people have a plan of creating trouble. They have got a number of men dressed as Muslims and looking like Muslims who are to create trouble with the Hindus by attacking them and thus inciting the Hindus. Similarly there will be some Hindus among them who will attack Muslims and thus incite Muslims. The result of this kind of trouble amongst the Hindus and Muslims will be to create conflagration.”

Among RSS’s ideological forefathers the so called ‘Guru’ Golwalkar occupies a big space, in his book ‘Bunch Of Thoughts’ M. S. Golwalkar spits out venom in the following words:

“Even to this day there are so many who say, ‘now there is no Muslim problem at all. All those riotous elements who supported Pakistan have gone away once for all. The remaining Muslims are devoted to our country. After all, they have no other place to go and they are bound to remain loyal’… It would be suicidal to delude ourselves into believing that they have turned patriots overnight after the creation of Pakistan on the contrary, the Muslim menace has increased a hundredfold by the creation of Pakistan which has become a springboard for all their future aggressive designs on our country”

How the narrative for Indian Muslims having nexus with Pakistan has come to fore in contemporary times we need to look back of how virulent this notion was treatised by Golwalkar in his book, “…within the country there are so many Pakistans’… The conclusion is that, in practically every place, there are Muslims who are in constant touch with Pakistan over transmitter…”

There are some serious questions that need to be answered; it is a deep travesty for our country that the heads of incumbent dispensation are members of the same traitor organization.

RSS, which was responsible for pre and post-independence rioting, conspiring and spreading communal hatred, paradoxically in contemporary India claims itself to be nationalist and seek others patriotism for the nation. After seventy years of Independence it is bemoaning to see that elected BJP MPs like Sakshi Maharaj demands to declare Nathu Ram Godse as a national patriot.
Riaz Haq said…
Study: One in two #Indian #Muslims fears being falsely accused in #terrorism cases. #Modi #Hindutva #Islamophobia

https://theprint.in/governance/one-in-two-indian-muslims-fears-being-falsely-accused-in-terrorism-cases-finds-study/69295/

A survey by NGO Common Cause and Lokniti shows Adivasis are most afraid of being framed for Maoist activities, while Dalits are afraid of being falsely accused of petty thefts.

New Delhi: The sense of being discriminated against by police is strongest among Muslims, especially those in Bihar, said a study that seeks to analyse the perception about police along state and community lines.

The survey was carried out by NGO Common Cause and Lokniti, a research initiative of the Centre for the Study of Developing Societies (CSDS), among 15,563 respondents across 22 states in June and July 2017.

“Among the total number of respondents, 26 per cent of Muslims were of the view that police discriminated on the basis of religion, while less than 18 per cent of Hindus and 16 per cent of Sikhs thought the same,” the report added.

The researchers also discovered that as many as 44 per cent of Indians were fearful of being beaten up by police, a finding reported by ThePrint Monday in the first of its series of reports on the study.

According to the survey, over 47 per cent of Muslims across the country said they feared being falsely accused of terrorist activities. Trying to explain the perception, the researchers cited the “large proportion” of Muslims in the country’s jails. This sentiment was said to be most widely prevalent in Telangana.

The percentage of Muslims in jails is higher than the community’s share in the population of India, a fact, critics said, that stems from an alleged “systemic bias” against them.

The 2011 census pegged the Muslim population at 14.23 per cent; and, in 2014, the government told Rajya Sabha that people from the community comprised 16.68 per cent of convicts and 21.05 per cent of undertrials.

What Adivasis and Dalits fear
The report suggested a similar fear among the Scheduled Tribes (Adivasis) and the Scheduled Castes (Dalits). According to the survey, 27 per cent of the Adivasis said they feared being framed for anti-state Maoist activities, while 35 per cent of Dalits held a similar fear regarding petty thefts.

“Nearly two in every five… respondents said police falsely implicated members of backward castes such as Dalits in petty crimes including theft, robbery, dacoity,” the report said.

“One in four… was of the opinion that such a false implication of Adivasis and Muslims did occur,” it added.

The results of the survey also suggested a perception that caste-based discrimination among police personnel was most prevalent in Bihar, Karnataka and Uttar Pradesh.

It said people were more likely to report class-based discriminatory attitudes of police, followed by gender- and caste-based discrimination.
Riaz Haq said…
‘A battle between #Hindutva and #Hinduism is coming’. "The key question is: how do we keep our (RSS) organization intact if we (abandon #caste system) and move towards an egalitarian #Hindu society?" #India #Modi #BJP #Dalit

https://indianexpress.com/article/lifestyle/books/a-battle-between-hindutva-and-hinduism-is-coming-walter-andersen-rss-5301109/lite/?__twitter_impression=true

Walter Andersen is, perhaps, the only scholar to have observed, or studied, the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) for nearly five decades. In intellectual circles, it is normally believed that as an organisation, the RSS is impervious and impenetrable.
---------

What is the RSS view of Modi’s economics, especially foreign economic policy, demonetisation and GST?

The RSS was undoubtedly responsible for Modi’s rise to the top. But it views Modi’s economics with scepticism. Modi is more open to FDI and foreign trade than the RSS would like. His demonetisation and GST directly hurt groups that are the original base of the organisations: the small traders. The RSS, of course, did not pass a resolution against demonetisation or GST. That is now how it works. But it sought to influence how these policies would be implemented – to ease the burden on small traders.

---------------------

Let us finally return to the relationship of the RSS and Muslims. Your book says that Golwalkar repeatedly used the term “ek hazaar saal ki ghulami” (one thousand years of servitude). Your also say that Deoras changed that, and in 1979, opened the RSS to Muslims. Narendra Modi has often used the term “barah sau saal ki ghulami” (twelve hundred years of servitude), which is more in the Golwalkar vein than in the Deoras mold. At any rate, the implication of the Golwalkar and Modi statements is that India’s colonisation began with the arrival of Muslim rulers either in the 8th century in Sindh or the 11th century in Delhi. This militates against the historian’s argument that it is the British who started colonising India in 1757. The Delhi Sultanate or the Mughal era was not a period of colonisation. However offensive Babur or Aurangzeb were, the other Mughal kings Indianised themselves, even married into Rajputs, and developed commitments to India. The British did not Indianise themselves. They were the real colonisers. How can one justify the term Mughal colonialism?

I don’t think many RSS activists, or even prachaaraks, would disagree with the distinction you are making between the British and Mughals. When Deoras invited Muslims to join the RSS, he did argue that Muslims were mostly India-born, and therefore Indian.

But despite that ideological development, PM Modi returned to the Golwalkar understanding.

There is clearly a generic problem, here. Even those RSS ideologues, who want Muslims to enter the RSS, would like them to accept India’s “historic culture”.

But India’s “historic culture” — the arts, the languages, the everyday manners, the poetry, the architecture, the music — have a lot of Muslim contributions.

----
But that implies that Urdu, which was widely spoken in North India, is not an Indian language, which is so hard to accept. Urdu was not born in the Middle East.

Yes.

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Let us now turn to the recent lynchings. Your book says that the higher echelons of the RSS and BJP don’t approve of lynchings. But how does one align your claim with the following: ministers in Modi government have expressed sympathy for lynchers, even garlanded those convicted of lynching (though out on bail), but the Prime Minister has not taken them to task. Indeed, though the Prime Minister has spoken against lynchings, his most forceful denunciations came when Dalits were hit. When Muslims are attacked by lynch mobs, he, at best, makes perfunctory remarks, if at all.

I haven’t thought clearly about the Muslim-Dalit distinction you are drawing, nor does the book talk about it. I will think more systematically about it.
Riaz Haq said…
In India and Pakistan, religion makes one country’s hero the other’s villain
By Haroon Khalid

https://qz.com/india/1398093/why-aurangzeb-is-a-hero-in-pakistan-and-a-villain-in-india/

At the entrance of the [Badshahi Masjid in Lahore] are some pictures from the colonial era. They show the mosque’s dilapidated condition after having served as a horse stable during the Sikh era.

[…]

The pictures narrate the story of the mosque, of the benevolence of the “just and fair” colonial empire that returned its control to the rightful inheritors—the Muslims of the city. It narrates the story of colonial historiography, the categorisation of history into Hindu, Muslim, Sikh, and British eras, pitting epochs, communities, religions, and histories against one other, and in the process creating new classifications that might not have been there at the start. History is used as a political tool, an excuse, a justification for the imposition of colonial rule. The British were needed to rescue the Muslims from the Sikhs, the Hindus from the Muslims, the Dravidians from the Aryans, the Dalits from the Brahmins, the past from the present.

The narrative continues to unfold even today, throughout south Asia, as modern sensibilities are imposed on historical characters, making heroes out of them, of imagined communities. The Mughal rule, for example, in this narrative became a symbol of the oppressive Muslim “colonialism” of India, as foreign to the Indian subcontinent as British rule, while figures such as Chhatrapati Shivaji were representative of Hindu indigenous resistance. Just like the British, everything Muslim was deemed “foreign,” alien to the Indian subcontinent, a coercive historical anomaly that ruptured the Indian, read Hindu, civilization. In this narrative there was room for Jains, Buddhists, and Sikhs within the fold of Hindu nationalism, but not for the Muslims, the successors of foreign occupation.

At the other end of the spectrum, the Muslims too looked back to a “glorious” past when this infidel land was ruled by one true force. This imagined memory became the basis of laying down future plans, with one group determined to uproot all vestiges of foreign influence, and the other wanting to take inspiration from the past to reclaim lost glory. The British, in the meantime, were more than eager to perpetuate this communalisation of history for it provided them with a justification to govern as arbitrators, as correctors of historical injustices.

In this communalisation of history, emperor Aurangzeb (1618–1707) bears the dubious distinction of being blamed for the downfall of the mighty Mughal empire due to his intolerance, a product of his puritanical interpretation of religion. It is believed that during his long rule, which saw the expansion of the Mughal empire to its zenith, Aurangzeb isolated several of his key Hindu allies because of his religious policies. Ever since the time of Emperor Akbar, jizya, a tax levied on non-Muslim subjects in a Muslim empire for their protection, stood abolished. It was reintroduced by Aurangzeb, adding to the grievances of his Hindu subjects, including his Rajput allies, whose support to the Mughal throne had been crucial to its stability throughout Mughal history. Also, Aurangzeb’s protracted campaign in the Deccan was perceived as his vainglorious attempt to expand his autocratic rule, which put such a burden on the state that it quickly unravelled after his death.


As evidence of Aurangzeb’s intolerance, it is argued that he demolished several Hindu temples. Sikh history notes how he ordered the assassination of the ninth Sikh Guru, Tegh Bahadur, for his sympathy to the Kashmiri Brahmins. The Mughal-Sikh conflict continued with Guru Tegh Bahadur’s son, Guru Gobind Singh, who waged several battles with the powerful Mughal army. The staunchest opposition to Aurangzeb came from the Marathas in the south, under the leadership of Shivaji.
Riaz Haq said…
India’s Dangerous New Curriculum
Alex Traub

https://www.nybooks.com/articles/2018/12/06/indias-dangerous-new-curriculum/


From the sixteenth to the eighteenth century, the Mughal Empire did much to create modern-day India. It consolidated the country into a sovereign political unit, established a secular tradition in law and administration, and built monuments such as the Taj Mahal. The Mughals were originally from Uzbekistan, but over time they became a symbol of the contribution of Muslims to Indian national history. Their lasting influence is evident in some of India’s most famous dishes, such as biryani, and the settings of several of the most beloved Bollywood movies, including Mughal-e-Azam (1960), by some estimates the highest-grossing film in Indian history.

So it was odd, on a visit this spring to a school in the Indian state of Rajasthan, to hear a Muslim teacher, Sana Khan, ask her entirely Muslim eighth-grade social science class, “Was there anything positive about Mughals?” Khan was teaching at the English-medium Saifee Senior Secondary School, whose students are Dawoodi Bohras, a small Islamic sect that has been based in India since the Mughal era, when its leaders faced persecution in the Middle East. Like Jews, Parsis, and Baha’is, the Bohras are a religious minority that found shelter in India’s unusually tolerant culture.

Yet some of Khan’s students saw only barbarism in the time of their own community’s emergence in India. “In the medieval era, there were wars and all. It was sectarian,” said a bespectacled girl named Rabab Khan. Rabab and another of her classmates, Qutbuddin Cement, told me that the “glorious” period of Indian history occurred before Muslim rule. “In ancient times, India was called ‘the Golden Bird,’” said Qutbuddin. “India was a world leader.”


Since last year, students at the Saifee School have been using new textbooks published by the Rajasthan government, which is run by the Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) that dominates India’s parliament and state legislatures. The new textbooks promote the BJP’s political program and ideology. They argue for the veracity of Vedic myths, glorify ancient and medieval Hindu rulers, recast the independence movement as a violent battle led largely by Hindu chauvinists, demand loyalty to the state, and praise the policies of the BJP prime minister, Narendra Modi. One book reduces over five centuries of rule by a diverse array of Muslim emperors to a single “Period of Struggle” and demonizes many of its leading figures.

These textbooks are part of the BJP’s ongoing campaign to change how Indian history is taught in middle and high schools. Textbooks issued last year by two other states under BJP rule, Gujarat and Maharashtra, resemble the Rajasthan books in their Hindu triumphalism and Islamophobia. So, in a subtler fashion, do updates made in May to federal textbooks.
Riaz Haq said…
India’s Dangerous New Curriculum
Alex Traub

https://www.nybooks.com/articles/2018/12/06/indias-dangerous-new-curriculum/

Between the 1960s and the 1990s, India’s textbooks were a stronghold of the country’s left-wing ruling class, represented by the dominant Congress Party. Distinguished scholars such as the historians Romila Thapar and Satish Chandra wrote textbooks that were strikingly erudite, analyzing, for instance, the high price of shoes during the medieval era and the manner in which Indian colors such as peacock blue altered the Persian style of early Mughal court painting.

These textbooks used Mughal emperors as mouthpieces for twentieth-century politics. To the Mughal ruler Akbar (1542–1605), one book attributed “the great dream” that “people should forget their differences about religion and think of themselves only as the people of India.” This was actually the dream of Jawaharlal Nehru, a leader of the independence movement and India’s prime minister for its first seventeen years of statehood. In his book The Discovery of India, Nehru described his homeland as “an ancient palimpsest on which layer upon layer of thought and reverie had been inscribed, and yet no succeeding layer had completely hidden or erased what had been written previously.” Such a polyglot history could form the factual basis, Nehru hoped, for each of India’s ethnic and religious groups to feel they shared a claim to a common national identity.

When the BJP took over several state governments in the 1990s, it began publishing its own state-level textbooks. The party assumed effective control of the federal government for the first time in 1998 and quickly announced that education would be “Indianised, nationalised and spiritualised.”1 Four years later, it started releasing textbooks—forerunners to those recently issued in Rajasthan—that glorified the Vedic era and vilified Muslim rulers.

The change provoked an outcry. One prominent journalist warned that the new federal textbooks heralded “the destruction of secularism and pluralism.” After the BJP lost the next general election in 2004, the new ruling coalition, led by Congress, changed the way textbooks were written in order to prevent them from being ideologically slanted. Rather than commission individual authors, the government introduced Textbook Development Committees (TDCs) composed of authorities from a variety of professions and academic disciplines. The books produced under this system lack the élan of their Nehruvian predecessors, but they signify a consensus of expert opinion and deftly navigate controversial issues. The seventh-grade history book, for instance, observes that Mahmud of Ghazni (971–1030), the Islamic sultan of Afghanistan, sacked Indian temples—a point of emphasis for Hindu nationalists—but explains that this was a common military and political technique also employed by contemporaneous Hindu and Buddhist rulers.
Riaz Haq said…
India’s Dangerous New Curriculum
Alex Traub

https://www.nybooks.com/articles/2018/12/06/indias-dangerous-new-curriculum/

Though such careful distinctions remain in the federal textbooks, they are now awkwardly interrupted by politicized addendums. The TDCs’ authority has evidently been usurped by the increasing bureaucratic and political power of Hindutva (Hinduness), the BJP’s official ideology. The roots of Hindutva lie in the nineteenth century, but its modern form can be largely attributed to Vinayak Savarkar, who popularized the term in his 1928 book Hindutva: Who Is a Hindu? According to Savarkar, Hindutva comes from “Hindu blood,” cultural practices and languages with a Sanskritic origin, and the belief that India is the “Holyland.”

Non-Hindu religions that originated in South Asia, such as Sikhism and Buddhism, therefore meet the requirements of Hindutva, but Christianity and Islam (whose adherents collectively account for over 15 percent of India’s population) do not. Savarkar reasoned that conflict with these other groups might be a necessary stimulus to a Hindutva consciousness: “Nothing can weld peoples into a nation and nations into a state as the pressure of a common foe. Hatred separates as well as unites.”

The fact that these textbooks are essentially political manifestos is made clear by the way they discuss the ruling party. Rajasthan’s seventh-grade book directs students to “prepare a chart of the advertisements published by the Government about its different schemes and with the help of your teacher discuss the benefits of these schemes.” Swachh Bharat (Clean India), a government initiative to improve India’s hygiene with which Modi has closely aligned himself, is mentioned in five of the updated federal textbooks, according to a series of reports in The Indian Express.

Beyond expressing approval for India’s current leader, the textbooks also make implicit suggestions about what the government ought to be concerned with—namely, strength and unity. Rajasthan’s book on modern India emphasizes India’s military excellence with a list of weapons and pictures of a missile launch and a rumbling tank. The equivalent Gujarat book silently passes over India’s loss in the 1962 Sino-Indian War, while the Rajasthan book actually implies that India won, saying that the army “proved its might by retaliating the attacks of enemies in 1962.”

India is infallible; its citizens, however, must be disciplined. Gujarat’s eighth-grade book insists that “awareness regarding co-operating with the security agencies has to be developed.” Social harmony should be pursued even at the expense of individual rights: Rajasthan’s seventh-grade book recommends, “We should refrain from negative acts like strikes.” There is a whiff of authoritarianism in these proposed limits on autonomy and dissent.

Rajasthan’s official ninth- and tenth-grade social science books appear not to be available in English, but a private company has published its own editions that follow the same syllabus as the new textbooks. These books were being used by the Saifee School, and they were the only editions I could find in the bookstores of Udaipur, the city where the school is located. The tenth-grade book is more explicit in listing the “demerits of democracy,” including that “democracy teaches a person to be selfish, cunning and illusive,” that democracies do not produce economic development, and that they are weak in times of crisis.
Riaz Haq said…
India’s Dangerous New Curriculum
Alex Traub

https://www.nybooks.com/articles/2018/12/06/indias-dangerous-new-curriculum/


One Gujarat textbook points to a troubling alternative. Amid surprisingly frequent criticism of the Treaty of Versailles and an enumeration of Mussolini’s successes, the new twelfth-grade history book praises Hitler at length:

Hitler made a strong German organization with the help of [the] Nazi party and attained great honour for this. By favouring German civilians and by opposing Jews and by his new economic policies, he made Germany a prosperous country…. He transformed the lives of the people of Germany within a very short period by taking strict measures. He safe guarded [sic] the country from hardships and accomplished many things.

This is not the first Gujarat textbook to praise fascism: the last one was the ninth-grade social science book of the mid-2000s, when Modi ran the state government. The offending section was not removed until after a visit from the consul general of Israel. The episode became international news and is still frequently referred to, yet the treatment of Nazism in the new textbook seems to have gone unreported.

It is not an accident or eccentricity that the Gujarat books keep exalting Hitler. A positive view of fascism enables a government eager for more power to tell its citizens about the potential of “strict measures” to “transform” society. It provides a model for Hindutva’s emphasis on “honour” as a reward for the “strong.” More importantly, it gives historical precedent to Hindutva’s wish for a homogenous citizenry. The “people of Germany” may stand in for India’s Hindus, “the Jews” for Muslims. In his 1939 book We, or Our Nationhood Defined, M.S. Golwalkar, a personal hero of Modi’s and the former leader of the BJP’s ideological parent organization, the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh, wrote that Germany’s “purging the country of Semitic races” manifested “national pride at its highest,” showing “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 to learn and profit by.”2

The main project of Hindu nationalist history is justifying the claim that Hindutva groups deserve a special status as India’s “one united whole.” Its central premises are that Hindus are India’s indigenous group; that the rule of Hindutva communities was glorious; that the rule of non-Hindutva communities was disastrous; and that Hindu nationalists have been responsible for winning back India’s freedom. Regardless of whether these propositions have anything like the moral implications Hindu nationalists hope for, each of them is factually dubious.
Riaz Haq said…
India’s Dangerous New Curriculum
Alex Traub

https://www.nybooks.com/articles/2018/12/06/indias-dangerous-new-curriculum/

The word “Hindu” is not indigenous to India. It comes from an Old Persian word used by Arabs and Turks to refer to the people who lived around the Indus River. The religious sense of the word “Hindu” does not seem to have existed until the second millennium AD. Even into the early nineteenth century, its meaning was vague enough that Europeans would refer to “Hindoo Muslims.” The people we now consider Hindus appear generally to have thought of themselves for millennia as belonging primarily to a caste and to a region, rather than to a religion.

The first accounts of Hinduism lie in the Vedas, a corpus of religious texts whose most ancient works are conventionally dated to the middle of the second millennium BC. That’s pretty old, but it doesn’t make Hinduism old enough—or Hindus native enough—for the purposes of Hindutva. Ruins associated with the Harappan civilization suggest that an urban society without any obvious connection to the pastoral world described by the Vedas existed in India as early as the third millennium BC. Not only do the Vedas seem far removed from India’s earliest-known civilization, but they were also probably composed by the descendants of recent migrants to India who dominated other longer-standing groups in the form of the caste system.3

All this is inconvenient for an ideology that seeks to make Indian history into Hindu history. The Rajasthan books solve this problem by making the Harappan civilization fully Vedic, renaming it the “Sindhu-Saraswati” civilization after the “Saraswati River” of the Vedas. In this way, the Vedas provide a common origin point for Hinduism, for the diverse castes within Hinduism, and for India writ large. “Vedic culture” is transformed, as the sixth-grade book says, into “the Sanatan (Perennial) culture of India.”

The early Hindu era is depicted in the Rajasthan books as an unrivaled Golden Age. The condition of women was “happy and progressive.” In contrast to the strictures of caste, “as per his needs, a person could change his profession.” Many rulers followed a “democratic and constitutional form of administration” that resembled the “present day Loksabha,” India’s lower house of parliament, since “members were elected by the public.” At the same time, the Golden Age also boasted religious purity: “nobody except chandals”—members of a traditionally untouchable caste—“ate meat or drank wine,” and rulers were “hardcore followers of Hinduism.”

Gujarat’s textbooks take a more moderate line on ancient India, but still tend toward the view that “the most glorious and prosperous age of Indian history” occurred before Muslim rule. On a visit to a tenth-grade social science class at the English-medium Asia School of Ahmedabad, Gujarat’s former capital, I saw how even such milder promotions of ancient India could encourage chauvinism among teachers and students.
Riaz Haq said…
India’s Dangerous New Curriculum
Alex Traub

https://www.nybooks.com/articles/2018/12/06/indias-dangerous-new-curriculum/


The class lingered on vastu shastra, the Vedic study of architecture, one of many aspects of ancient Indian thought emphasized in the tenth-grade social science textbook. In her explanation of the section, Archana Sharma, the teacher, described Vedic practices as quintessentially Indian and ascribed superlatively “auspicious” powers to them. One student wondered about the worldly implications of these views. “If we are following vastu shastra so well,” he asked, “why are we a developing nation?” This enabled Sharma to unlock the next step of the logic of Hindutva history: the idea that a lack of pan-Hindu sentiment permitted violent and immoral Muslims to defile the country. “Only one thing missing was unity. Otherwise, not possible for Mughals to come for so many centuries. They stayed here as a foreign country. We would have welcomed them as guest. But they did not stay as guest.” Instead, Muslims “looted so much.” India was “ruined by a number of invasions.” The class nodded along, taking notes.

One crucial question largely absent from Rajasthan’s books is how exactly the dominant power of India came to be Muslim. Rajasthan’s tenth-grade social science textbook observes that the twelfth-century ruler of northwest and central India, Prithviraj Chauhan, defeated Muhammad of Ghor in several battles, but passes over Ghor’s ultimate victory, saying simply that “due to certain circumstances, Muslim rule started in India by 1206 CE.”

In their discussions of the Mughal era, the Nehruvian textbooks emphasized Akbar, who empowered Hindu generals, married Hindu princesses, participated in Hindu ceremonies, abolished religious taxes, and held spiritual discussions with Hindus, Christians, Jews, and even atheists. These details are neglected in the new Rajasthan and Gujarat books, which concentrate instead on Aurangzeb (1618–1707), the emperor who reinstated religious taxes and destroyed some Hindu temples. The books overstate Aurangzeb’s prejudice—“Aurangzeb used to hate Hindus,” according to Rajasthan’s eighth-grade book—and exaggerate its influence, suggesting, as in Gujarat’s seventh-grade book, that “Aurangzeb’s narrow-minded policies were responsible for the end of the Mughal Empire.” The truth is more complicated: as Audrey Truschke, an assistant professor of history at Rutgers University, writes in her recent book, Aurangzeb: The Life and Legacy of India’s Most Controversial King, Aurangzeb “employed more Hindus in his administration than any prior Mughal ruler by a substantial margin” and supported Hindu religious practices in numerous ways.

As Muslim rulers are diminished or vilified, so Hindu figures of the same period are inflated to majestic dimensions. The updates to the federal seventh-grade history book include the introduction of Maharana Pratap, a local ruler who “stood his ground” against the Mughals, and an expanded section on the warrior king Shivaji’s “career of conquest.” Shivaji was from Maharashtra, and though the state’s seventh-grade history and civics book claims to describe the “History of Medieval India,” it treats this regional hero as a figure of such civilizational import that his life, like that of Jesus Christ, organizes time itself. There is “India before the Times of Shivaji Maharaj,” “Maharashtra before the Times of Shivaji Maharaj,” and then, climactically, Shivaji’s own era, that of “An Ideal Ruler.” Whereas the Mughals are described as “foreign powers,” Shivaji’s descendants are “The Protectors of the Nation,” suggesting that Indian national identity began with Hindu self-assertion.
Riaz Haq said…
India’s Dangerous New Curriculum
Alex Traub

https://www.nybooks.com/articles/2018/12/06/indias-dangerous-new-curriculum/

The Rajasthan books use the more pungent phrase “foreign invaders” for the Mughals, but there is little evidence that most Indians saw them that way. In fact, during the armed struggle against the British in 1857, Hindu and Muslim rebel soldiers from all over India came to Delhi and proclaimed Bahadur Shah Zafar, the inheritor of the much-weakened Mughal Empire, the leader of their movement and the symbol of home rule.

The same tactics of selection and elision characterize the textbooks’ portrayal of the freedom movement. Mohandas Gandhi and Nehru are generally considered the most consequential figures of this period. Both, however, embody the “ancient palimpsest” view of Indian history that Hindutva seeks to eradicate. The Gujarat and Rajasthan textbooks emphasize instead figures of notable “manliness,” such as Bhagat Singh, whose activities during the independence movement included killing a British policeman and bombing the Central Legislative Assembly of the British Empire. “The revolutionary martyrs wrote the history of Indian independence through their blood,” according to Rajasthan’s tenth-grade book—a rather far cry from Gandhian nonviolence.

The Rajasthan books solve the conundrum of the ideology of the leaders of the independence movement by completely wiping out Nehru from their eighth-grade modern history section, and emphasizing instead none other than Vinayak Savarkar—whom they refer to as “Veer,” the Sanskrit word for “brave.” Savarkar is thought to have rather preposterously given himself this name in a pseudonymous autobiography, despite the assertion in Rajasthan’s tenth-grade book that “the public adorned” him with it. Without any mention of Savarkar’s writing on Hindutva, the books hail him as a “great revolutionary, a great nationalist and a great organizer.” Yet after being imprisoned in 1911 for violent anticolonial activities, Savarkar pledged loyalty to the British Empire. When Gandhi called for a civil disobedience campaign during World War II, Savarkar encouraged his followers to cooperate with the British war effort. Savarkar’s legacy comes from his theoretical and political contributions to Hindu nationalism—not from participating in the independence movement.

K.S. Gupta, a former professor at the Mohanlal Sukhadia University of Udaipur and one of the eight writers of the sixth-to-eighth grade Rajasthan textbooks, said in an interview that he was “fully convinced that Savarkar’s utility is due to his views on Hinduism.” Gupta declined to explain why Savarkar’s questionable involvement with the freedom struggle was mentioned in lieu of these views, but he did expound on Gandhi’s and Nehru’s flaws. “Gandhi was never successful in any of his movements,” he said. “Nehru had no in-depth study about India.” Chief among these leaders’ mistakes was being “very soft on Muslims,” especially during partition with Pakistan, since “there should have been exchange of population there.”

“What was the need of keeping them here?” Gupta asked about India’s Muslims. They have a “Pakistan mentality,” he explained, and yet “every political party is looking after their welfare.” “Parliament may be good for England,” Gupta concluded, “but not for India.”
Riaz Haq said…
India’s Dangerous New Curriculum
Alex Traub

https://www.nybooks.com/articles/2018/12/06/indias-dangerous-new-curriculum/


Though the updates to the federal textbooks have been moderate so far, a BJP victory in next year’s general election would likely lead to greater changes. Crucial policy documents of the government education department are over ten years old, and their replacements are expected soon. In March, a Reuter’s article revealed that a federally appointed committee of scholars and bureaucrats is working on a report intended as a basis for rewriting textbooks along extreme Hindu nationalist lines. More changes can also be expected at the state level. Arun Yadav, a media adviser for the BJP government of the state of Haryana, told me that the local administration is planning to change its books to resemble those of Rajasthan.

Some journalists and academics will vehemently protest these efforts, but TV and print editors and university presidents are increasingly government loyalists. Meanwhile, years of battles over textbooks have led many Indians to conclude that there is no such thing as objective history—only power and the stories it finds useful. “Every party has their scholars,” Subhash Sharma, the deputy director of Rajasthan’s State Institute of Educational Research and Training, told me in an interview. “History writing has always been controversial, na? History is always written in favor of the government.”

Such cynicism will make history into a province of passion rather than reason. This transformation has had destructive consequences before. In 1992, Hindu mobs tore down a mosque because of dubious claims that it had been constructed centuries earlier on the site of a demolished temple. Riots followed in which roughly two thousand people, many of them Muslim, were killed. It’s not just the nature of Indian identity that depends on what Indians believe about their history. It’s also the most basic rights of over two hundred million citizens who do not identify as Hindus.
Riaz Haq said…
How ancient DNA may rewrite prehistory in India
By Tony Joseph
Tony Joseph is the author of Early Indians: The Story of Our Ancestors and Where We Came From, published by Juggernaut

https://www.bbc.com/news/world-asia-india-46616574

Studies using ancient DNA have been rewriting prehistory all over the world in the last few years and in India, there has been one fascinating discovery after another.

The most recent study on this subject, led by geneticist David Reich of Harvard University, was published in March 2018 and co-authored by 92 scholars from all over the world - many of them leading names in disciplines as diverse as genetics, history, archaeology and anthropology.

Underneath its staid title - The Genomic Formation of South and Central Asia - lay some volcanic arguments.

The study showed that there were two major migrations into India in the last 10,000 years.

The first one originated from the Zagros region in south-western Iran (which has the world's first evidence for goat domestication) and brought agriculturists, most likely herders, to India.

This would have been between 7,000 and 3,000BCE. These Zagrosian herders mixed with the earlier inhabitants of the subcontinent - the First Indians, descendants of the Out of Africa (OoA) migrants who had reached India around 65,000 years ago - and together, they went on to create the Harappan civilisation.

Prehistoric art hints at lost Indian civilisation
In the centuries after 2000 BCE came the second set of immigrants (the Aryans) from the Eurasian Steppe, probably from the region now known as Kazakhstan. They likely brought with them an early version of Sanskrit, mastery over horses and a range of new cultural practices such as sacrificial rituals, all of which formed the basis of early Hindu/Vedic culture. (A thousand years before, people from the Steppe had also moved into Europe, replacing and mixing with agriculturists there, spawning new cultures and spreading Indo-European languages).

Other genetic studies have brought to light more migrations into India, such as that of the speakers of Austro-Asiatic languages who came from south-eastern Asia.

As I write in my book, the best way to understand the Indian population is to imagine it as a pizza, with the first Indians forming its base. Though the base of this rather irregular pizza is thin in some places and thick in others, it still serves as the support that the rest of the pizza is built upon because studies show that 50% to 65% of the genetic ancestry of Indians derives from the First Indians.

On top of the base comes the sauce that is spread over the pizza - the Harappans. And then come the toppings and the cheese - the Austro-Asiatic, Tibeto-Burman and Indo-European language speakers or Aryans, all of whom found their way into the subcontinent later.

To many in the Hindu right wing, these findings are unpalatable. They have been campaigning to change school curricula and remove any mention of Aryan immigration from textbooks. And on Twitter, several hugely popular right-wing "history" handles have long been attacking India's leading historians who have defended the theory of Aryan migrations and continue to do so.

For Hindu nationalists, there is a cost to admitting that the Aryans were not the first inhabitants of India and that the Harappan civilisation existed long before their arrival. It would mean acknowledging that Aryans or their Vedic culture were not the singular fountainhead of Indian civilisation and that its earliest sources lay elsewhere.
Riaz Haq said…
Tulsi Gabbard for President 2020 is rising progressive star, despite her support for #Hindu Nationalists. Her progressive domestic politics at odds with her support for #Modi, #Sisi, Bashar al-#Assad. #Islamophobia #India #Gabbard2020 #BJP https://interc.pt/2F7z1zv by @shankarmya

Modi’s ascent has normalized nationalist rhetoric, the silencing of dissent, and violence against religious minorities in India — and it’s also had global implications. Elected prime minister in 2014, he was one of the first of a class of populist autocrats who’ve risen to power in recent years. That group includes Egypt’s Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, who was elected in the same month as Modi; Turkey’s Recep Tayyip Erdogan, who’s been in office for more than a decade but has been increasingly consolidating power; Rodrigo Duterte of the Philippines, whose war on drugs has killed thousands of people; Brazil’s Jair Bolsonaro, who was elected in October despite his pro-military dictatorship stance; and, of course, America’s Donald Trump.

In the United States, Modi’s reputation has been helped by a group of Hindu-American supporters with links to the RSS and other Hindu nationalist organizations, who’ve been working in tandem with a peculiar congressional ally: Rep. Tulsi Gabbard, D-Hawaii, the first Hindu in Congress.

Gabbard — a member of the House committees on Foreign Affairs and Armed Services, and co-chair of the India Caucus — is an oddity in American politics. Ever since her 2016 resignation from the Democratic National Committee to endorse Bernie Sanders for president, she has been a rising star in the progressive wing of the Democratic Party. Last year, she racked up endorsements from groups like Progressive Democrats of America and Our Revolution, and she sailed to re-election.

But she has also become a polarizing figure. Her progressive domestic politics are at odds with her support for authoritarians abroad, including Modi, Sisi, and Syria’s Bashar al-Assad. As right-wing nationalism rises across the globe, it is beginning to be recognized as an existential threat to a world order rooted in liberal democratic values, and Gabbard, an Iraq War veteran, is now being pushed to choose sides. (Gabbard did not respond to The Intercept’s multiple requests for comment.)

Gabbard was embraced early on by pro-Modi elements of the Hindu-American diaspora in the U.S., who have donated generously to her campaigns. But as she flirts with the idea of running for president, she has publicly cut ties with those fervent supporters on at least one occasion, while continuing to court them in private.

IN JUNE 2014, after Modi won the election, nearly 700 of his supporters gathered at a Hindu temple in Atlanta to celebrate and plan their path forward. To mobilize their community, the speakers laid out a plan that included a call for donations to Gabbard’s re-election campaign. They described the Hawaii Democrat as an “American Hindu” who “has fought against the anti-Modi resolution introduced recently by some members” of Congress.

The event was organized by the Overseas Friends of the BJP, the American chapter of the Bharatiya Janata Party. Gabbard had landed on the group’s radar as one of America’s few pro-Modi lawmakers. In December 2013, she had voiced her opposition to House Resolution 417, which chided India to protect “the rights and freedoms of religions minorities” and referred to incidents of mass violence against minority Muslims that had taken place under Modi’s watch. Gabbard later told the press that “there was a lot of misinformation that surrounded the event in 2002.”

Also in 2014, Gabbard attended an OFBJP event, where Vijay Jolly, a senior politician of Modi’s government, was present. He took to the stage and told Gabbard that “with the support of … non-resident Indians … your victory later this year is a foregone conclusion.” She cruised to re-election.
Riaz Haq said…
#NewZealand mosque shooter Brenton Tarrant described himself as “ordinary white man” who was inspired by #Norway mass killer Anders Behring Breivik and wanted to avenge “"thousands of deaths caused by foreign invaders”. #Islamophobia #christchurchshooting http://a.msn.com/01/en-ie/BBUNE9J?ocid=st

Brenton Tarrant, a 28-year-old Australian who was a gunman in the New Zealand terror attacks, described himself as an “ordinary white man” who was inspired by Norway mass killer Anders Behring Breivik and wanted to avenge “"thousands of deaths caused by foreign invaders”.

Tarrant, who filmed himself attacking a Christchurch mosque in a Facebook Live video, posted a 74-page manifesto in which he claims to be from a “working class, low income family”.

He said he was of Scottish, Irish and English stock and moved to New Zealand temporarily to plan and train and then stayed there after deciding to conduct the attack.

“I have read the writings of Dylann Roof and many others, but only really took true inspiration from Knight Justiciar Breivik,” he wrote.

He said he wanted to avenge the death of Ebba Akerlund, an 11-year-old who was killed in a 2017 terror attack in Stockholm.

Scott Morrison, Australia’s prime minister, confirmed that an Australian-born man participated in the attack but said the man was not previously known to Australian authorities.

“He is an Australian-born citizen,” Mr Morrison said. “That obviously leads to an Australian -based investigation and all of our inquiries here will be absolutely shared and communicated with New Zealand authorities.”

Tarrant is reportedly from Grafton, a town in New South Wales. He worked as a personal trainer at a local fitness centre in 2010 before reportedly travelling overseas.
Riaz Haq said…
#NewZealand mosques shooter Benton Tarrant praised #Trump in manifesto. Tarrant's manifesto also praised #AndersBreivik, the #Norwegian white supremacist who murdered 77 people in #Norway in 2011. #ChristchurchMosqueAttack #Islamophobia @AJENews https://aje.io/qgl4a

The Australian-born suspect who shot dead dozens of Muslim worshippers in Christchurch, New Zealand, has published a manifesto praising US President Donald Trump and Anders Breivik, the Norwegian white supremacist who murdered 77 people in Norway in 2011.

The 74-page dossier, which has been described by Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison as a "work of hate", hailed Trump as "a symbol of renewed white identity and common purpose".

The 28-year-old, who is now in police custody, also claimed that he had "brief contact" with Breivik and had received a "blessing" for his actions from the mass murderer's acquaintances.

The dossier stated objections to immigration and multiculturalism, and decries the "decaying" culture of the white, European, Western world.

Earlier on Friday, at least 49 people were killed and 20 others seriously wounded in shootings at two mosques in Christchurch in the worst attack in the Pacific country's history.

The majority of the victims were shot at the Al Noor Mosque, while the rest were killed at another mosque in suburban Linwood.

The Muslim worshippers had congregated for Friday prayers, Islam's holy day of the week.

Trump, whose rhetoric is sometimes aligned with the far-right in the US, condemned the "horrible massacre" in a post on Twitter.

"My warmest sympathy and best wishes goes out to the people of New Zealand after the horrible massacre in the mosques. 49 innocent people have so senselessly died, with so many more seriously injured. The US stands by New Zealand for anything we can do," he wrote.

Moments before, his spokeswoman Sarah Sanders said: "We stand in solidarity with the people of New Zealand and their government against this vicious act of hate."

"The United States strongly condemns the attack in Christchurch. Our thoughts and prayers are with the victims and their families," she added.

Jacinda Ardern, prime minister of New Zealand, described the shootings as a "well-planned terrorist attack", and said this is one of the country's "darkest days".

In addition to the Australian-born man, three other suspects, including a woman, have been arrested, according to Mike Bush, New Zealand's police commissioner.

Live stream
The main suspect also live broadcasted his rampage on social media.

The New Zealand government said it could be illegal to share the video, which showed the gunman repeatedly shooting at worshippers from close range.

The Facebook Live video, taken with a camera that appeared to be mounted on the gunman's body, shows a clean-shaven, Caucasian man with short hair driving to the Masjid al Noor mosque.

He enters the building and fires repeatedly at worshippers as he moves from room to room.

AFP determined the video was genuine through a digital investigation that included matching screenshots of the mosque taken from the gunman's footage with images available online showing the same areas.

In the video, the shooter parks his car next to the mosque and gets out of the vehicle with a rifle. He slowly goes to the boot of his car and retrieves another firearm.
Riaz Haq said…
#Islamabad confirms death of 6 #Pakistanis in #ChristchurchTERRORISTattack . Names of Shaheeds from #Pakistan: “Sohail Shahid, Syed Jahandad Ali, Syed Areeb Ahmed, Mahboob Haroon, Naeem Rashid and his son, Talha Naeem. #NewZealand https://www.pakistantoday.com.pk/2019/03/16/pakistan-releases-list-of-missing-citizens-after-nz-mosque-attacks/#.XI0TBvtdCnU.twitter

Out of 49 people who were killed in mass shootings in New Zealand’s Christchurch on Friday, at least six belonged to Pakistan, confirmed Foreign Office Spokesperson Mohammad Faisal on Saturday.

“Sohail Shahid, Syed Jahandad Ali, Syed Areeb Ahmed, Mahboob Haroon, Naeem Rashid and his son, Talha Naeem, have been pronounced dead by the authorities,” said Dr Faisal in a tweet.

On Friday, at least four Pakistani nationals were reportedly injured and five others had gone missing after violent gun attacks on two mosques in Christchurch. Three Pakistani however still remain missing and a search for them is underway.

The FO confirmed the death of six Pakistanis shortly after list issued earlier on Saturday. The list included: Zeeshan Raza; father of Zeeshan Raza; mother of Zeeshan Raza; Haroon Mahmood, son of Shahid Mehmood; Sohail Shahid, son of Muhammad Shabbir; Syed Areeb Ahmed, son of Ayaz Ahmed; Syed Jahanand Ali Talha Naeem; Naeem Rashid.

Naeem Rashid and his son Talha Naeem tried to intercept the shooter, but they were shot dead in their attempt. Naeem and Talha, who hailed from Abbottabad, was injured as he attempted to overpower the attacker and later succumbed to injuries.

Minister for Foreign Affairs Shah Mahmood Qureshi also spoke to the media about the terror attack on Saturday.

“We are waiting for identification of [missing] Pakistanis. Obviously I’m getting more worried with time as we have not been able to contact them [the missing Pakistanis] and I fear that they might be on the list of martyrs. But nothing has been communicated to us officially yet and to say anything before an official confirmation will be speculation,” he said while condemning the attack in strong words.

TERRORIST CHARGED WITH MURDER:

A right-wing extremist who filmed himself on a shooting rampage flashed a white power gesture as he appeared in a New Zealand court on Saturday and was charged with murder.

Australian-born 28-year-old Brenton Tarrant stood in the dock wearing handcuffs and a white prison smock, as the judge read a single murder charge against him. A raft of further charges is expected.

The former fitness instructor and self-professed fascist occasionally turned to look at media present in court during the brief hearing that the public were excluded from for security reasons.

Flanked by armed police he made an upside-down “okay” signal, a symbol used by white power groups across the globe. He did not request bail and was taken into custody until his next court appearance which is scheduled for April 5.

A short distance from the court, 39 people were being treated in hospital for gunshot wounds and other injuries inflicted in the massacre.

The wounded included a two-year-old boy and a four-year-old girl, who was in critical condition.

‘MUSLIMS STILL LOVE THIS COUNTRY:’

In a separate development, an imam who was leading prayers at one of the mosques said the Muslim community’s love for New Zealand would not be shaken by the massacre, reported The Telegraph.

“We still love this country,” said Ibrahim Abdul Halim, imam of Linwood Mosque, vowing that extremists would “never ever touch our confidence”.

Halim gave a harrowing account of the moment during Friday prayers when gunshots rang out in the mosque, replacing peaceful reflection with screaming, bloodshed and death.

“Everyone laid down on the floor, and some women started crying, some people died immediately,” he said.

But, he said, New Zealand Muslims still felt at home in the south Pacific nation.

“My children live here” he said, adding, “we are happy”.


Riaz Haq said…
#WhiteSupremacy Is a global Threat. #NZMosqueShooting perpetrator Tarrant celebrated #Trump as “a symbol of renewed white identity and common purpose.” and declared that “our lands will never be their lands as long as the white man still lives.”
https://newrepublic.com/article/153329/white-nationalism-international-threat
Tarrant’s manifesto heaped praise on Anders Breivik, the Norwegian mass murderer who slaughtered 77 people in 2011, and American white nationalist Dylann Roof, who gunned down churchgoers in Charleston, South Carolina nearly four years ago. The rambling document included admiration for U.S. President Donald Trump, whom Tarrant celebrated as “a symbol of renewed white identity and common purpose.” and declared that “our lands will never be their lands as long as the white man still lives.”

In Australia, whence the suspect hails, the rise in unabashed Islamophobia has buoyed far-right and ultra-nationalist movements in recent years. The country’s broad far-right category includes “several very different groups positioned on an ideological spectrum of extremism from conservative anti-immigration, anti-Islam groups to far-right neo-Nazi, anti-Semitic, generally racist, white supremacy groups,” a group of Griffith University criminologists wrote in 2016.

President Trump condemned the Christchurch attacks, but his administration has spent the last three years emboldening white nationalists and neo-Nazis, cracking down on left-wing activists, and mainstreaming anti-immigration conspiracy theories tinged with anti-Semitic undertones not dissimilar to those promulgated by Tarrant. In October, the president addressed an audience of supporters at a campaign rally in Houston, Texas. He prompted “USA!” chants from the crowd when he declared himself a “nationalist” fighting against “power-hungry globalists.”

During the 2018 midterm elections, Trump maligned a U.S.-bound caravan of refugees and migrants as an “invasion,” a conspiracy theory repeated by white nationalist Robert Bowers when he gunned down worshippers at a Pittsburg synagogue last November. The Christchurch shooter used eerily similar language in a blog post on Thursday: “I will carry out an attack against the invaders,” he wrote, apparently referring to Muslim immigrants.

The similarities are not going unnoticed. “In this case, a killer attacked Muslims worshiping at two mosques. In November, a killer massacred Jews at a synagogue in Pittsburgh,” Cohen said Friday. “Though the victims were different, and the attacks came in different parts of the world, the terrorists shared the same ideology of white supremacist hate.”

Perhaps even more disturbingly, however, far-right politicians from Australia to Europe responding to the attacks have doubled down on white nationalist rhetoric, shifting the blame from the killer to the Muslims targeted by the violence. Australia Senator Fraser Anning, who represents Queensland, condemned the attacks but used the opportunity to spread Islamophobic bile. “The real cause of bloodshed on the New Zealand streets today is the immigration program which allowed Muslim fanatics to migrate to New Zealand in the first place,” Anning wrote.

Halfway across the world, Hungary’s far-right Prime Minister, Viktor Orban, on Friday celebrated Hungarians for supposedly stopping “at our southern borders, the migrant invasion directed at Europe.” Orban has spent the last several years blaming Jewish Hungarian-American billionaire philanthropist George Soros for Europe’s refugee crisis. “Without the protection of our Christian culture we will lose Europe, and Europe will no longer belong to the Europeans,” he added—an uncomfortably close echo of Tarrant’s death-struggle us-versus-them manifesto language.

In the U.S. as well, President Trump called the attacks a “horrible, horrible thing” before quickly pivoting to the topic of immigration. “People hate the word invasion, but that’s what it is,” he said.
Riaz Haq said…
The ‘Clash of Civilisations’ Thesis Stalks the World


RAM PUNIYANI | 18 MARCH, 2019


https://www.thecitizen.in/index.php/en/NewsDetail/index/4/16505/The-Clash-of-Civilisations-Thesis-Stalks-the-World


Breivik also called for cooperation between Jewish groups in Israel, Buddhists in China, and Hindu nationalist groups in India to contain Islam. He wrote, “It is essential that the European and Indian resistance movements learn from each other and cooperate as much as possible. Our goals are more or less identical.”

We must note, that there are strong parallels between Tarrant’s and Breivik’s manifestos and the ideology of Hindu nationalism, or Hindutva, on the question of the nature of Islam: Muslims and coexistence with Muslims. Much like rightwing parties in the European mainstream, the BJP in India does condemn the violence for name’s sake, but participates in spreading the underlying ideology which is based on Islam-phobia.

Worldwide, this despicable politics is in a way the outcome of the ‘clash of civilisations’ thesis propounded by Samuel Huntington. At the end of the Cold War, with the collapse of Soviet Russia, Francis Fukuyama stated that now Western liberal democracy would be the final form of political system.

Building on this, Huntington stated that now the primary conflict would be around civilisations and cultures. Nation-states would remain the most powerful actors in world affairs, but the principal conflicts of global politics would occur between nations and groups belonging to different ‘civilisations’.

“The fault lines between civilizations will be the battle lines of the future.” As per this manifesto Western civilisation is faced with a challenge from backward Islamic civilisation, providing the basis for the American policy of attack on many Muslim-majority countries like Afghanistan, Libya, Iraq, Iran among others.

To counter this thesis the United Nations undertook the initiative for an ‘Alliance of Civilisations’ when Kofi Annan was Secretary-General. The high-level committee he appointed gave a report which argues that all the progress in the world has been due to the alliances between different cultures and civilisations.

Today we are facing times where American politics of ‘control over oil wells’ led to the formations like Al Qaeda and the Islamic State. After the 9/11 attacks perpetrated by men whom the US government formerly supported and armed, the US media popularised the phrase ‘Islamic terrorism’. What we are witnessing today is the fallout of this policy, which was pursued simply to control oil wealth.

The Islam-Muslim phobia this generated, in the West and elsewhere, has led in due course to White Nationalism. Like other forms of majoritarianism and violence, this needs to be countered ideologically, by demonstrating the inherent tendency of alliance between diverse cultures found throughout human history in the world.
Riaz Haq said…
Hindu Nationalism's roots in Fascism and Nazism:


https://www.newsclick.in/why-jaitley-needs-study-link-between-rss-and-fascism


Excerpts from Marzia Casolari’s article in the Economic & Political Weeklyillustrate the relationship between the RSS and the fascist regimes of Italy and Germany.

Casolari writes, “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.”

“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 Swayamsewak Sangh of Nagpur under Dr Hedgewar is of this kind, though quite independently conceived”, Moonje had written in his diary.

It is well known that M S Golwalkar, the second supreme leader of RSS, idolised the Holocaust and thought that it to be an effective way to deal with the minorities of India. In We or Our Nationhood Defined, 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… 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 to learn and profit by.”

Golwalkar’s treatment of minorities and foreigners in the ‘Hindu Rashtra’ bears striking resemblance to Hitler’s ways. The following paragraph from Golwalkar’s book highlights this resemblance. He writes, “It is worth bearing well in mind how these old Nations solve their minorities [sic] problem. They do not undertake to recognize any separate element in their polity. Emigrants have to get themselves naturally assimilated in the principal mass of the population, the National Race, by adopting its culture and language and sharing in its aspirations, by losing all consciousness of their separate existence, forgetting their foreign origin. If they do not do so, they live merely as outsiders, bound by all the codes and conventions of the Nation, at the sufferance of the Nation and deserving no special protection, far less any privilege or rights. 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. That is the only sound view on the minorities [sic] problem. That is the only logical and correct solution. That alone keeps the national life healthy and undisturbed. That alone keeps the nation safe from the danger of a cancer developing into its body politic of the creation of a state within a state.”

Riaz Haq said…
Moonje & Mussolini


https://frontline.thehindu.com/cover-story/moonje-amp-mussolini/article6756630.ece

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. In fact, Moonje had been Hedgewar’s mentor, the two men were related by an intimate friendship.


Moonje’s declared intention to strengthen the RSS and to extend it as a nationwide organisation is well known. Between February and March 1931, on his return from the round table conference, 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. An interesting account of the trip and the meeting is given in Moonje’s diary, and takes 13 pages (Nehru Memorial Museum and Library (NMML), Moonje papers, microfilm, rn 1).

The Indian leader was in Rome during March 15 to 24, 1931. On March 19, in Rome, he visited, among others, the Military College, the Central Military School of Physical Education, the Fascist Academy of Physical Education, and, most important, the Balilla and Avanguardisti organisations. These two organisations, which he describes in more than two pages of his diary, were the keystone of the fascist system of indoctrination—rather than education—of the youths. Their structure is strikingly similar to that of the RSS. They recruited boys from the age of six, up to 18: the youths had to attend weekly meetings, where they practised physical exercises, received paramilitary training and performed drills and parades.

According to the literature promoted by the RSS and other Hindu fundamentalist organisations and parties, the structure of the RSS was the result of Hedgewar’s vision and work. However Moonje played a crucial role in moulding the RSS along Italian (fascist) lines. The deep impression left on Moonje by the vision of the fascist organisation is confirmed by his diary:

“The Balilla institutions and the conception of the whole organisation have appealed to me most, though there is still not discipline and organisation of high order. The whole idea is conceived by Mussolini for the military regeneration of Italy. Italians, by nature, appear ease-loving and non-martial like the Indians generally. They have cultivated, like Indians, the work of peace and neglected the cultivation of the art of war. Mussolini saw the essential weakness of his country and conceived the idea of the Balilla organisation.... Nothing better could have been conceived for the military organisation of Italy.... 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: so that the artificial distinction so much emphasised by the British of martial and non-martial classes amongst the Hindus may disappear. Our institution of Rashtriya Swayamsewak Sangh of Nagpur under Dr Hedgewar is of this kind, though quite independently conceived. I will spend the rest of my life in developing and extending this Institution of Dr Hedgewar all throughout the Maharashtra and other provinces.”
Riaz Haq said…
Global #Hindu Nationalists: Meet The Army Of #BJP's #NRI Supporters From #America, #Europe. In #election season, hundreds of #NRIs descend on #India to push for #Modi’s second term. #Elections2019 #Islamophobia https://www.outlookindia.com/magazine/story/india-news-the-bhakts-overseas-call/301372

London-based software professional Santosh Gupta has taken a six-month break from his hectic work schedule—he is on a mission to secure a second term for Prime Minister Narendra Modi. Ramesh Shah, 70, is also in India on the same mission, but separately. Both Gupta and Shah are part of the Overseas Friends of BJP (OFBJP), the ruling party’s foreign cell that has 25 chapters across the world. With just weeks to go for the first phase of the general elections, hundreds of such BJP supporters are campaigning in India or from abroad­—overseas warriors of the BJP’s vast army of supporters in the battle of ballots.

Gupta and his 30-member team are in India since November; they are among 300 professionals from the UK chapter in India. Last week, Gupta’s team visited a number of colleges and met with students in Bangalore, Mumbai, Delhi and Pune. He is content with the positive feedback they are receiving, except from students of Jawaharlal Nehru University.

-----------------------

The United States chapter of the BJP is also capturing the imagination of the sizeable Indian community. Georgia-based medical professional Dr Vasudev Patel, who is in charge of the ground operations, says Modi made India more prominent in the world map.

Patel, who moved to the US in 1984, shares a personal rapport with Prime Minister Modi. “I have been working with Modi since 1975,” says Patel, who bel­ongs to Mehsana in Gujarat. The campaign is on full swing with ‘chai pe charchas’ being held on a weekly basis in at least 20 cities.

With the elections drawing close, Patel spends at least two hours on a daily basis to coordinate with social media and friends back home. “Every week, a group of at least 150 professionals gather at fam­ous places like World Coca Cola Centre or Times Square, make small videos on the Modi government and post it on social media,” he says. The US chapter, which boasts a membership of 6,000, also has a dedicated team that has been assiduously working to execute plans. Car rallies are also being held in various states to garner support of the Indian community.

Patel says that even senators and governors acknowledge India as a growing power, which wasn’t the case before. “We held a candle march after the Pulwama incident, in which thousands turned up. One senator also took part in the march without any invitation,” says Patel.

Ramesh Shah, who is currently touring villages in India, sums up why the diaspora community passionately bats for the BJP and Modi. Shah, who has been in India since last November, has visited villages in Jharkhand, Gujarat and a few other states. “No other leader connected with the diaspora the way our PM did. He inspires me to do more at this age,” says Shah, who hails from Aravalli in Gujarat. A US-based retired engineer, Shah campaigns along with his wife. “I feel powerful because of the strong leadership.”
Riaz Haq said…
“You just have to look at the crowds that gathered at Wembley Stadium and Madison Square Garden to realize the immense clout of influence that the diaspora can have over Indian politics,” said Dr. Ingrid Therwath, who has a Ph.D. in political science and has been studying the Indian diaspora for 20 years.

https://thediplomat.com/2019/04/the-indian-diasporas-influence-on-the-general-election/


“The Indian diaspora is a sizeable community,” Therwath added. “For the last 20 years the Indian government and Indian right-wing political groups have really done a lot to maintain a relationship with these people. There’s been a wooing of the Indian diaspora in the U.K., and specifically of the Hindu diaspora in the U.K. “

In the run up to the 2019 general election, the Overseas Friends of BJP in the U.K. noted that an estimated 2,000 volunteers had registered with them to travel to India to campaign on the ground. So what makes the BJP so appealing to the Indian diaspora?

Tracing history, Therwath noted during the State of Emergency in India in 1975, the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) was banned in India. They thus began to develop outside the country. By the time their political wing, the BJP, came to power in 1998, they had built strong international networks globally — particularly in the U.K. and the United States.

“The BJP has historically stood for a strong state, promising the idea of clean governance and making India a world-class nation and an emerging tiger,” explained Sharma. “A lot of this rhetoric appeals to Indians living abroad; they have the fantasy of coming from this land that can equal the one they currently live in.”

Today, Modi has won over much of the diaspora community.

“Modi projects the idea that India is a strong and proud country,” explained Therwath. “He professes to be all about the economy and he stands for the upper caste Hindus of the middle class. If you look at the pro-Modi NRIs, you’ll see that they are upper caste Hindus in business, who belong to the upper middle class. So it makes sense that they would back Modi from a socioeconomic point of view.”

From the perspective of the Indian political parties, this diaspora support is crucial. While the NRIs’ financial and technical support is important, Sharma added, “In ideological terms, the NRI community has always been a placeholder for the success of the entrepreneurial Indian who has made it. An NRI is seen by many in India as a mark of success and influence. For an influential NRI to back a political party or candidate can become a very strong endorsement.

“The BJP is a party that understood the power of the diaspora very early on.”

However, while the Hindu right have a clear edge over diaspora support, the anti-Modi perspective exists overseas as well. Both Sharma and Therwath were quick to point out that the Indian diaspora does not have one common voice.

“The Indian diaspora has always had a soft spot for the BJP, but the anti-Modi voice is not just getting stronger, it has always been there.” said Sharma. “They have a relatively marginal presence compared to the pro-BJP and pro-Modi supporters, but they are not insignificant.”
Riaz Haq said…
Hatred and extremist views in #India's #Hindu Diaspora:"To destroy Hindu history is the secret conspiracy of the Christians," and "If it comes to Islam, they are the world’s worst religion." #Hindutva #Modi #BJP #Islamophobia #Christians https://www.itv.com/news/2015-02-18/exposure-the-charities-accused-of-promoting-hatred-and-extremist-views/

Hindu Swayamsevak Sangh UK (HSS) "runs as a voluntary organisation with weekly youth leadership training centres across the country," according to its website.

But undercover filming shows children as young as 13 being taught at a summer camp organised by the charity that the number of good Muslims "can be counted on fingers".

The same tutor at the camp can also be seen telling children, "To destroy Hindu history is the secret conspiracy of the Christians," and "If it comes to Islam, they are the world’s worst religion."

The charity has since told Exposure that depicting it as "anti any religion" is "wrong and counterproductive to the positive work HSS has done in building interfaith relations."

We promote Hindu values which are about cohesiveness, duty to society and universal peace.

Our actions over the years show that HSS promotes diversity and unity in Britain.

We are investigating these alleged comments to ensure those who made them are better informed, trained or prevented from making statements which may be interpreted as anti another community.

– HINDU SWAYAMSEVAK SANGH UK
Asked about the programme's findings, the Charity Commission said they were "absolutely shocking" but said, "We don’t have a power to shut down an ineffective or a troubling charity in that way".

The Commission also said that in the draft Charities Bill it has asked for a specific power to wind up a charity that is no longer fit for purpose.

Since filming, it has confirmed it is investigating the serious concerns raised by Exposure about Global Aid Trust and HSS (UK), and that it has removed The Steadfast Trust from the Register of Charities.
Riaz Haq said…
Hindu Swayamsevak Sangh (HSS) is a subsidiary of Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) for supporting and mobilising Hindus living outside India. Founded in 1940s in Kenya, it is currently active in 39 countries and boasts 570 branches.
History

http://www.popflock.com/learn?s=Hindu_Swayamsevak_Sangh


Two volunteer members of the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (swayamsevaks) that had settled in Kenya in 1940s and started a shakha (branch). Since such shakhas were not on 'national' (rashtriya) soil, they were renamed as the branches of Bharatiya Swayamsevak Sangh, later Hindu Swayamsevak Sangh (HSS). RSS Pracharaks Bhaurao Deoras and others spent several years abroad to develop the organisation. During the Emergency RSS was banned in India and, consequently, sent its organisers abroad to seek support and carry out activism.
The British wing of the HSS was established in 1966, and shakas were established in cities like Birmingham and Bradford.
In North America, the HSS gave the lead to the sister organisation Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP, World Hindu Council), which was founded in Canada in 1970 and in the United States in 1971. The HSS followed in its wake. Currently, the United States has 146 branches of the HSS, the largest network outside the Indian subcontinent.
Australia
The HSS organisation in Australia, as elsewhere, says that its focus is on the country in which it is based and that it does not send money to India. It claims to be "ideologically inspired by the RSS vision of a progressive and dynamic Hindu society that can deal with its internal and external challenges, and contribute to the welfare of the whole world". Aside from providing links to the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS), they also have links with organisations such as the Vishwa Hindu Parishad and the Hindu Youth Network. They exist to raise awareness in matters relating to Hindus but support no political party or candidate.
Nepal
The HSS was established in Nepal around 1992 by a group of Nepali students who were influenced by leaders of the Hindu nationalist RSS while studying in India. The two bodies share a similar Hindutva ideology. The HSS are reluctant to clarify their sources of financial support other than to say that members donate what they can. Their presence is particularly prevalent in the Terai region and they have regimented programs of education, dissemination of ideology and exercise as elsewhere in the world.
The Nepali HSS has been among several groups campaigning for a reversal of Nepal's 2006 decision to become a secular state after years of being ruled by a Hindu royal family. They say that the king had not favoured Hindus, that the decision was engineered by anti-Hindu groups, included communists and missionaries, and that in any event it was unnecessary because there had been no persecution of religious minorities under the previous system. Among their demands has been that only Hindus should be appointed to high official posts.
United Kingdom
The UK HSS organisation was established in 1966. HSS is involved in personality development for young people in the UK. UK HSS runs Shakha for men, Samiti for women and Balgokulam for children with increasingly popularity. UK HSS is actively involved in developing relationships with the local community. UK HSS has introduced many new sports in UK like Kho-kho, ring etc.


Riaz Haq said…
Author Ashutosh in"Hindu Rashtra" talks about call to arms for #Gandhi’s #Hindus . “#Hindutva has an infinite appetite to quarrel with the past” under #Muslim rule. #Modi wants “masculine and martial nationalism” aimed at “#Kashmir, #Pakistan and #Islam” https://www.asianage.com/books/210419/a-call-to-arms-for-gandhis-hindus.html

As time moves forward, Hindu Rashtra will take its rightful place as a well-researched attempt to explain the unfolding of the Modi years. Review by Mani Shankar Aiyar

Ashutosh takes the reader by the hand, as it were, through the beginnings of Hindutva: the invention of this hitherto unknown word by V.D. Savarkar, its elaboration by M.S. Golwalkar, and its being put into political practice by the current icon of “masculine and martial nationalism”, Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

“Hindutva,” the author observes, “has an infinite appetite to quarrel with the past”. The past is seen, in Savarkar’s words, as “millions of Muslim invaders from all over Asia (falling) over India century after century with all the ferocity at their command to destroy the Hindu religion, the lifeblood of the nation”. Savarkar held that in this the Muslim invaders succeeded only because the Hindus had become “weak and cowardly” by upholding the “perverted virtues” of “compassion, tolerance, non-violence and truth”. The answer lay in recasting the Hindu as “masculine and martial”, the very qualities that Mr Modi seeks to embody. Ashutosh continues: “Modi epitomises Hindutva nationalism, which is founded on an adversarial attitude towards Muslims and believes that India’s history is one of Hindus being tortured in their own homeland for thousands of years because of the ruthlessness of Muslim rulers”.

But why continue this quarrel with the past even unto the 21st century, well after India, albeit a partitioned India, gained her Independence? M.K. Gandhi laid down the fundamental parameter of our contemporary nationhood in the following terms: “The assumption that India has now become the land of the Hindus is erroneous. India belongs to all who live here”.

Golwalkar held in direct contrast that the coming into being of Pakistan “is a clear case of continued Muslim aggression”. This led Nathuram Godse to justify assassinating Gandhi as, “Gandhiji was himself the greatest supporter and advocate of Pakistan… In these circumstances, the only effective remedy to relieve the Hindus from the Muslim atrocities was, to my mind, to remove Gandhiji from this world.”

This meshes seamlessly, as cited by Ashutosh, with Vinay Katiyar, several times BJP MP from Faizabad, asserting in an NDTV interview on February 7, 2018: “Muslims should not stay in this country. They have partitioned the country. So why are they here? They should go to Bangladesh or Pakistan. They have no business being here in India”. And that explains the conflation of “Kashmir, Pakistan and Islam” which Hindutva enjoins as “the duty of every Indian to fight”.

It is from such beliefs, argues Ashutosh, that have arisen the horrors of lynching and murder in the name of gau raksha and “love jihad”, assault and assassination of “anti-nationals”, the undermining of the institutions of democracy, and the nurturing of a new breed of “right-wing television channels that have become platforms for the propagation of Hindutva ideology: muscular nationalism; warmongering; militarism; bashing of Islam, Kashmir and Pakistan; and ridiculing and condemning liberal and secular values”.

The writer goes into each of these, and more, linking them to the ideology that inspires such hate and prejudice. The basic dream of Hindutvavadis, he shows, is “to make Hindus ruthless and masculine as they assume Islam did to its followers” by “effectively us(ing) state power to spread religion”.

Riaz Haq said…
#India's Young and Well-Educated young #engineers, #doctors, #lawyers, chartered #accountants, #bankers and #journalists Are Marching to the Beat of #Hindu Nationalism whose early leaders publicly admired #Hitler and #Mussolini. #Modi #BJP https://www.ozy.com/fast-forward/indias-young-and-well-educated-are-marching-to-the-beat-of-hindu-nationalism/93992#.XOQsnpDZlok.twitter via @ozy

Founded in 1925, the RSS has long counted India’s urban middle class as a key base, with shakhas in neighborhood parks a common sight throughout India. But that relationship was beginning to snap with a millennial generation that found the organization’s rigid hierarchical structure outdated, and the daily physical exercises boring, says Mukhopadhyay. As liberal, left-leaning education and politics dominated India, the RSS came to be seen as regressive among the English-speaking elite of the country. Dhillon’s neighbor, 42-year-old Supreme Court lawyer Bipin Bihari Singh says that people didn’t want to be identified as shakha participants.

That’s now history because the RSS is adapting — except its ideology — with the times. After consulting a top fashion designer, it swapped its khaki shorts in 2016 for smart brown trousers and made the uniform optional. The RSS now recruits door-to-door and offers weekend and virtual events for those who can’t attend daily meetings. In meetings, Sanskrit lexicon is now occasionally replaced by English, and the RSS has launched 65 new affiliate bodies targeting specific professions. Since 2016, an average of 100,000 new recruits have signed up through just the website each year, compared to just over 60,000 annually before that, according to the RSS.

Abhishek Junnarkar, a 38-year-old assistant vice president for a multinational company, says the RSS “trains us how to save our country from people who want to overpower us.” That sense of threat from an often-unspecified source — be it Muslims, Christian missionaries, Pakistan, communists or secular liberals — is at the heart of the RSS training.

Take the common shakha game Lahore Kiska Hai (Whose is Lahore). The group leader asks, “Lahore kiska hai,” and players shout back, “Lahore hamara hain (Lahore is ours).” Players then push each other to grab a stone that’s meant to symbolize Lahore. The RSS vision for India, after all, includes most of South Asia as a single nation.

Modi’s muscular nationalism fits this narrative. “People want to work for the nation the way he does,” says Ajay Mudpe, RSS publicity head in the Konkan region. But working “for the nation” can mean “othering” those the RSS sees as outsiders. A WhatsApp campaign in a Noida neighborhood, for example, led to a boycott of Bengali Muslim household helpers who were en masse labeled “ illegal migrants from Bangladesh. Meanwhile, the National Voters Forum, an affiliate of the formally apolitical RSS, has been urging professionals to vote for a party that works for the “interest of the nation” — code for the BJP.

Back in Supreme Towers, Dhillon says he’ll stay with the RSS no matter how the BJP does this week. The deep roots the organization has put down in India’s high-rise apartment blocks aren’t going anywhere. “Once in RSS, always in RSS,” he says.
Riaz Haq said…
#SiliconValley's #Indian #American #Hindu Congressman Ro Khanna rejects #Hindutva, asks fellow Hindus to speak for "equal rights for #Hindus, #Muslims, #Sikhs, #Buddhist & #Christians.” http://www.sanjoseinside.com/2019/09/03/op-ed-ro-khanna-rejects-hindutva-launches-new-debate-for-south-asian-americans/#.XW7y5uqXWe8.twitter via @SanJoseInside

by Amar Shergill


There was a political shift in the South Asian American community last week which arrived quietly but will have consequences for years to come. It reverberated from its origin in the progressive wing of the Democratic Party with implications for the United States, India and world geopolitics.

Congressman Ro Khanna (D-Fremont) tweeted the following on Aug. 29: “It’s the duty of every American politician of Hindu faith to stand for pluralism, reject Hindutva, and speak for equal rights for Hindus, Muslims, Sikhs, Buddhist & Christians.”

The quote seems innocuous without context, therefore, a brief political summary follows.

The history of the South Asian subcontinent is complex with language, religion, ethnicity and caste that predate America by several millennia. The Indian democracy has been managing this complexity with mixed success since its colonial independence in 1947. In fact, violence against minorities has often been a path to electoral success. Although there are many examples, the most recent and infamous are the 1984 Genocide of Sikhs in Delhi and the 2002 Gujarat Massacre of Muslims.

In recent years, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi has won elections by pairing violent political rhetoric with virtual impunity for those that engage in the rape, torture, murder and oppression of Indian Christians, Muslims, Sikhs, Buddhists, Ravidassias, and Hindu Dalits. (See the US Commission on International Religious Freedom Reports for detail.) Modi’s political party (BJP) and its cultural counterpart organizations (RSS, VHP, etc.) form the backbone of the Hindutva movement. However, in deference to the complexity of India, we should note that this is not simply a religious conflict. Hindutva is a fascist and supremacist movement similar to white supremacist movements in the US. It mobilizes around a virulent religious ethno-nationalism, holding that India is a homeland for only Hindus and uses violence to intimidate compliance around its economic and political policies.

Every organ of Indian democracy is in crisis under Hindutva and progressive movements across South Asia have been mobilizing to ask the world for solidarity as they continue to bravely resist the volatile conditions in the region. Further, Modi and the Hindutva movement have set upon a path to influence U.S. policy from within the American political system, which brings us to recent events.

Last month, Caravan published a longform exposé by South Asian analyst, Pieter Friedrich. The article sourced and detailed decades of Hindutva organizing in the US and their development of political allies. At the top of that list is Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard, also a candidate for the US presidency, who has cultivated deep ties to the Hindutva movement. She attends their events in India and the US, solicits money from American Hindutva organizers, and even invited their leaders to her intimate wedding ceremony. As an apparent term of that bargain, she does not engage in criticism of the Indian government and often advocates its positions during US policy debates.

On Aug. 12, the author of the Caravan article tweet-replied to a Gabbard campaign post, providing a link to the piece. Khanna also replied. The exchange is provided below:

Khanna’s statement was immediately recognized by South Asian politicos as a seismic shift in Indo-centric politics. He is the highest ranking American elected official of Indian origin, with a deep understanding of and connection to South Asian politics, and, yet, he stated in decisive moral terms that the dominant political ideology of India must be rejected as a matter of fundamental human rights.
Riaz Haq said…
All in the Family
The American Sangh’s affair with Tulsi Gabbard

PIETER FRIEDRICH
01 August 2019


https://caravanmagazine.in/politics/american-sangh-affair-tulsi-gabbard


TULSI GABBARD, a United States Congresswoman, entered the historic First Unitarian Church of Los Angeles to the strains of Marvin Gaye’s “Ain’t No Mountain High Enough.” She shook hands with her cheering fans, leaped on stage with a smile, accepted a garland of white flowers from a supporter, folded her hands in greeting and said, “Aloha.” It was a sunny Saturday morning in March 2019, and she was campaigning for the Democratic Party’s nomination for president. Addressing an animated crowd of hundreds, she urged them to “stand together.” The 38-year-old representative for Hawaii’s second congressional district, who frequently refers to herself as a “Karma Yogi,” declared that the nation is divided. “What we are seeing is this dark shadow caused by a corruption of spirit that is ruling our land,” she warned—a clear reference to the polarisation of Trump’s America.
----
Outside the venue, around two dozen people had gathered to protest. They were neither irate protestors opposing her domestic policies nor activists angered by her stance on America’s wars. They were people such as Baljit Kumar, a young Dalit refugee residing in nearby Riverside. “She supports the people I ran from in India,” Kumar told me. Claiming that Gabbard’s congressional campaign financing is heavily augmented by American affiliates of the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh—the parent organisation of India’s ruling Bharatiya Janata Party—protestors held bold red, white and blue signs proclaiming her “Prince$$ of the R$$.” Since 2015, a handful of articles in online Western media outlets have speculated about Gabbard’s perceived closeness to the Indian prime minister, Narendra Modi, and the BJP.

The mood inside the hall was different. As she concluded her speech, the crowd chanted: “Tulsi! Tulsi!” The emcee, Jimmy Dore—a comedian who hosts a popular YouTube show, and is a Gabbard supporter—opened the floor up for questions. As hands went up all around, he pointed to me. Aware that my prepared question was about to strike a discordant tone, I removed my hat and glasses.

“It is getting serious,” Gabbard joked.

“In your first two terms in office, you met the RSS spokesperson at least three times,” I said. “You spoke at many RSS events, including two in India. When did your collaboration with the RSS begin and how much money have they given you?”

The usually unflappable Gabbard, who speaks with slow deliberation, grimaced. She paused long enough for an audience member to shout, “Speak up.” Finally she responded. “I am a soldier, and I took an oath,” she began. “One oath in my life. That was an oath to serve and protect this country, to put my life on the line for the people of this country.”

---------------------

She grew more emphatic. “We stand for aloha. We stand for diversity. We stand for peace and bringing people together around these shared ideals of freedom and opportunity for all people.” Gesturing to the audience to stand, she continued, “Thank you everybody for standing with me. It is this kind of attacks that are rooted in religious bigotry that we must stand together and condemn. Whether these attacks are being targeted at Hindus, or Buddhists, or Muslims, or Jews, or atheists, or Catholics, we must stand united and condemn this hate and bigotry because an attack against one of us is an attack against all of us.” Again, the crowd chanted, “Tulsi, Tulsi.”

Riaz Haq said…
All in the Family
The American Sangh’s affair with Tulsi Gabbard

PIETER FRIEDRICH
01 August 2019


https://caravanmagazine.in/politics/american-sangh-affair-tulsi-gabbard

Yet, as they say, the devil is in the details.

TULSI GABBARD IS NOT OF INDIAN ORIGIN, but identifies as a Hindu. She has visited India only once—in 2014, on the personal invitation of Narendra Modi. And yet, before she was even elected to office, she promised to be “a strong voice in Congress for improving India–US relations.” When she won a seat in the US House of Representatives in 2012, she made history as the first Hindu ever elected to the chamber. At the outset of her first term, she joined the House India Caucus—a coalition of representatives who support pro-India policies. She now co-chairs the body.

Now, Gabbard hopes to make history in the 2020 election by becoming the first female president. At present, she is a dark horse in the race. She is lagging in the Democratic primaries—internal elections to choose the party's nominee for the presidency—and has to battle high-profile contenders such as Kamala Harris, Joe Biden, Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders.

Gabbard has perhaps the most peculiar personal history of any candidate running. Born in American Samoa, and raised in Hawaii by a Catholic father and a practising Hindu mother, she was primarily homeschooled. Her parents oversaw a Hare Krishna splinter group called the Science of Identity Foundation, and the family campaigned intensely against gay marriage. She was immersed in the Bhagavad Gita, and kept her childhood copy of it with her when she was deployed as a medical administrator to Iraq. Later, she gifted the same copy to Modi.

---------------

Gabbard's rise in US politics came out of nowhere, and is inexplicable until one considers how Sangh donations gave her a leg up when she was a virtual unknown. The first Indian-American donors to her first congressional campaign—who were also among the first non-Hawaiians to support her—are top executives in RSS affiliates in the United States. Donor names provided in filings to the Federal Election Commission, which I collated with lists from Sangh websites and promotional materials as well as media reports, reveal that hundreds of leaders and members of such groups gave hundreds of thousands of dollars to Gabbard in the formative years of her congressional career. Kallie Keith-Agaran, a Democratic activist in Hawaii, has also compiled a database of Gabbard's donors. Her extensive documentation of their contributions and affiliations closely corroborates my independent findings.

Gabbard emerged on the US political scene at a pivotal moment for the Sangh’s aspiration to see Modi as the Indian prime minister. Since 2002, Modi and the RSS had both grown increasingly controversial in the United States, facing protests by academics as well as censure by the US government. Modi stood accused of complicity in the anti-Muslim pogrom that had taken place in Gujarat, while he was the chief minister of the state. Even by conservative estimates, the pogrom took over a thousand lives. Afterwards, he was denied a visa to the country. The greatest diplomatic triumph for the American Sangh was rehabilitating Modi’s tainted reputation in the United States. Gabbard played a significant part in that projec
Riaz Haq said…
All in the Family
The American Sangh’s affair with Tulsi Gabbard

PIETER FRIEDRICH
01 August 2019


https://caravanmagazine.in/politics/american-sangh-affair-tulsi-gabbard

Amongst Gabbard’s many donors are various members of the US chapters of groups such as the Hindu Swayamsevak Sangh, the Overseas Friends of the BJP and the Vishwa Hindu Parishad of America. Thanks to her connection to leading figures of the American Sangh—such as Vijay Pallod, a businessman from Texas; Bharat Barai, an oncologist from the Chicago region; and Mihir Meghani, a physician from California—she has been eagerly welcomed at many Sangh fundraisers around the country.

“She has proved it at a young age that she is a capable leader,” Barai told me. “When a capable Hindu candidate will contest, sure, I look at it favourably. But, of course, I don’t vote for every Hindu candidate. They also have to be capable.” Pallod told me he liked Gabbard because she was a “moderate” and seemed genuine. “She is not like many politicians who do not keep their word,” he said.

Even as mainstream interfaith groups refused to participate in events hosted by the American Sangh, Gabbard repeatedly spoke at its events, in the United States and abroad. While organisations such as Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International have published reports warning about the spread of Hindu-nationalist violence under Modi’s administration, Gabbard has called India an “indispensable partner” to the United States, and pushed for enhanced cooperation between the two countries. Gabbard's donors have publicly applauded her for supporting Modi before he was elected, for speaking against the US decision to deny him a visa after 2002 and for working against congressional efforts to recognise human-rights violations in India.

Tulsi Gabbard began her six years in office as a liberal Democrat. She is now closely aligned with the progressive wing of the Democratic party, and is campaigning for president with rhetoric about peace and diversity. Yet by the end of her first term, one Indian paper was describing her as “the RSS fraternity’s newest mascot.” Few in the United States realise that Gabbard's relationship with the RSS does not agree at all with the progressive image she cultivates. The RSS, as a mainspring of Hindu nationalism, is an organisation that pushes a regressive ideology at odds with a multicultural society. It campaigns for a homogenous, hegemonic culture it hopes will turn India into a Hindu State, in which minorities such as Muslims and Christians will, at best, be second-class citizens.

“The Sangh in America backed Tulsi Gabbard because they understand that the international community is increasingly worried about the sectarian violent politics of the Sangh in India,” Ashok Swain, a professor of peace and conflict studies at Sweden’s Uppsala University, told me. “They want some powerful political personalities on their side, particularly in the United States. They believe Tulsi can be one of them, who can provide them cover from international sanctions. Tulsi has also done that in the past.”

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