The ascendancy of the BJP to power marked the beginning of fascist onslaught in India. Enforcing a militant nationalism, atrocious violations of labour laws, brutal repression of dissidents, creating mass hysteria by using various means of media, armed squads to terrorise minorities and dalits, these are the characteristics of the fascist terror that India has to face today. What is attempted in the following article is to expose the fascistic character of the ruling party, the BJP and its parent organisation, the RSS.
The RSS has existed for almost a century, it has been acting behind the scenes for years to realise their dream of a Hindu Rashtra (Hindu Nation). Their brand of nationalism was deeply influenced by Italian and German Fascism. On of the founder ideologue of RSS, BS Moonje, even visited Italy to meet Mussolini, whom he was deeply impressed by. The Ballila military schools in Italy under the fascist regime, was an inspiration of Moonje, who went on to inaugurate the Bhosala military school in Nashik. Moonje went on to become a great influence on the RSS. The RSS theoretically is a voluntary social organisation dedicated to India’s resurgence and global peace.(according to its website), and was founded by Dr. K.B Hedgewar in 1925.
Since its inception it is heavily inspired by fascist parties of Germany and Italy. The ideological roots of the Sangh have complex origins, on one hand, they are inspired by the Arya Samajists lead by Swami Dayanand Saraswati, and also the Hindu nationalism espouded by Vivekananda and the Swadeshi movement of Bengal. In fact, the book Anandmath, by the Hindu Nationalist and literary figure, Bankim Chandra Chattopadhyaya, talks about an onslaught on Muslims. It is a romanticised and highly fictionalised account of the sanyasi (ascetic) rebellion, where the anti-imperialist aggression of the sanyasis is replaced by an anti-Muslim aggression. A popular scene in the book is when a hoard of the rebel saints, plunder a Muslim village, and conduct mass rapes of women. This scene is enacted as a game in the RSS shakhas. Anand Math is repleted with scenes of Muslim massacres and was the first major work outlining the concept of a Hindu Rashtra. Something that was picked up later by RSS.
The Arya Samaj, talks about a ‘golden age’ when the Aryans were aware of the complete truth of the Vedas. The Varna system is seen as a pure division of labour by them, where members of each Varna do their duty as a moral task and take great pleasure in doing so. Dayanand Saraswati held that over the years, the varna system became corrupted, especially due to Muslim and British invasions. The reformed Arya Samaji Hinduism in fact draws heavily from Utilitarian concepts of rationality. The Arya samaj was also influential in the formation of the Hindu Mahasabha, and it gave great support to the cow protection movement of the 19th century in northern India which lead to the Azamgarh riots. In fact the activities of the gau rakshini sabhas of the 19th century serve as a model for gaurakshaks today. A major contradiction that exists in the Hindutva camp is that on one hand, they call for ‘Hindu unity’.
Where they feel Hindus of all castes should join hands in fighting their common enemy, Christianity and Islam, on the other hand they are they very forces that carry out atrocities against dalits. Ever since the Modi government has come to power, the caste based violence has drastically increased. The cow slaughter ban which was implemented in many BJP ruled states itself was an attack on the dalit community, as a lot of members of lower caste groups are traditionally involved in the leather tanning industry. Golwalker claimed that caste atrocities were a British phenomenon, he stated that, “The feeling of inequality, of high and low, which has crept into the Varna system, is comparatively of recent origin. The perversion was given a further fillip by the scheming Britisher in line with his ‘divide and rule’ policy. But in its original form, the distinctions in that social order did not imply any discrimination such as big and small, high and low, among its constituents. On the other hand, the Gita tells us that the individual who does his assigned duties in life in a spirit of selfless service only worships God through such performance. “(Bunch of Thoughts; Once the Glory, PP 98).
Here is another example of how the Sangh peddles lies to the people, where on one hand, even though while making a false claim, Golwalkar speaks about the evils of caste atrocities, a glaring contradiction is presented by the fact that this Hindutva brigade considers Manusmriti as a holy book, this is proved by the fact that when the constitution of India was being finalised, the Sangh complained: “To this day his laws as enunciated in the Manusmriti excite the admiration of the world and elicit spontaneous obedience and conformity. But to our constitutional pundits that means nothing” (Organiser quoted in Empire and Neoliberalism in Asia, pp 252). ”
While the Manusmriti had absolutely vulgar and perverse details about oppressing both lower castes and women. The Manusmriti also formally laid down the foundation of the formalised caste system, as will be made evident by the following excerpt, “To Brahmanas he assigned teaching and studying (the Veda), sacrificing for their own benefit and for others, giving and accepting (of alms). The Kshatriya he commanded to protect the people, to bestow gifts, to offer sacrifices, to study (the Veda), and to abstain from attaching himself to sensual pleasures; The Vaisya to tend cattle, to bestow gifts, to offer sacrifices, to study (the Veda), to trade, to lend money, and to cultivate land. One occupation only the lord prescribed to the Sudra, to serve meekly even these (other) three castes. “(The Laws of Manu, Translated by G.Buhler, PP 3).
Not only Dalits, the Sangh also has atrocious views on women, in fact on numerous occasions, Hindutva leaders have made statements that lay bare their views on women. V.D Savarkar, the most sophisticated ideologue of Hindutva, showed great disdain for the likes of Hindu rulers such as Shivaji, for being to virtuous and docile, as according to him, Hindus had allowed their women to be raped at the hands of Muslim invaders, it would be justified to do the same with Muslim women. This exposes the patriarchal roots of Hindutva ideology, where women are seen as mere objects and political tools, a symbol of honour of the ‘enemy’ community, where defilement of the enemies women are a way of celebrating ‘victory’. The primary decision making body of all activities of these Hindu terror groups, is undoubtedly the RSS, to this day, RSS has no women member. In fact women like Sadhvi Prachi of the Hindutva brigade call upon Hindu women to produce at least 4 children in order to counter the growing Muslim population. The BJP has placed someone like Yogi Adityanath as the chief minister of the largest state of the country, a man like yogi who openly called upon Hindu men to rape even dead Muslim women.
The Modi government received huge funding from monopoly capitalists in India, such as the Adani and Ambani group, while campaigning for elections. Something that is seen in generous concessions that this government has been giving to all the big capitalists and particularly to these two conglomerates On one hand, the under the BJP rules, atrocities against Dalits and minorities have increased, attack on educational institutions such as JNU, where ordinary students are branded ‘anti-nationals’, a passive aggression is used on social media to supress dissenting voices, the large sections of the mainstream media have become the stooges of the mainstream media, all of this is combined by policies that favour none but the big bourgeoisie and finance capitalists of India and abroad. What is seen is a gross dilution of labour laws, where the social security of workers is being compromised, and the job security of the workers is becoming more and more precarious. All this is being done well within the constitutional framework, small amendments here and there are enough to do the damage, for example amendments in the Factories act, and the industrial disputes act, which exempts majority of the factories in the country from all labour laws. Hence employers of over 70% of the industrial work force are no longer obliged to ensure proper working conditions, provide compensation in case of retrenchment, pay overtime etc. As the government is aware of the resistance it will face, if these reforms are enacted on a national level, utilising the fact that the labour laws fall under the concurrent list of the constitution, all these reforms are being enacted on the state level, as 22 of the 29 states have a BJP government. All this is being done under the pretext of ‘ease of doing business’ where all the rights won by workers through a history of struggles are being stripped off them with a single stroke of the pen. The promise of job creation which attracted a large number of young people to vote for the BJP government, has proved to be one of the hundreds of lies the government has cooked up. In fact large number of layoffs have happened even in the IT sector.
Policies such as GST and demonetisation further went on to damage small entrepreneurs and small and poor farmers, while big capitalists were left unscathed. The list of lies the government has been telling the people seems to be of no end, the promise of loan waiver of farmers was clearly a lie, when instances of suicides of farmers have only risen and across the nations a large number of farmer agitations have taken place. The state has shown its brutal character in the recent instance of the Thoothilkodin firings and the killing of farmers in Madhya Pradesh at the hands of the police in 2017. The police and army which are instruments of violence at the hands of the ruling class, rapes, murders and atrocities against Adivasi’s protesting the onslaught of capital in Baster, the police brutalities committed in Kashmir, are telling of this fact.
Fascism is the naked rotten face of capitalism when the bourgeois state apparatus is unmasked of its democratic illusion. When capitalism is in crises, fascism is used as a tool at the hands of finance capitalists to maintain its own rule. A characteristic feature of fascism is when, in order to divert people’s attention from the real enemy that is responsible for their miserable conditions, capitalism, a false enemy is presented before the people. In India, that false enemy is the minority communities. The BJP’s communal agenda came to the fore in instances of communal violence in the Modi ruled Gujarat of 2002, and later on in Muzzafarnagar in 2013, where Hindutva forces committed mass rapes and murders of Muslims. It must be noted that Golwalker, in his famous book ‘bunch of thought’ said that the major threats to the nation are Muslims Christians and Communists. The Hindutva forces have religiously accepted this, and violently act upon it. The need of the hour is to gather forces and fight the fascist terror.
Since the 1970s and the Jan Sangh’s partnership in the Janata government, the RSS constantly and gradually worked out its agenda to destabilize the same political system, methodically. Attacking the pillars of parliamentary democracy is the key strategy of RSS which yielded results for it. If we forget this key aspect, we will be at fault in understanding what lies underneath the so called Modi phenomenon and end up equating this with any other kind of authoritarian tendency.
We can see that no other right-wing authoritarianism, has entrenched itself into the State apparatus as deeply and as tactically as the BJP and RSS has done over the last four decades. Moreover, Hitler also came to power through the political system he opposed and got acceptance for himself by being within the very same system. The aim is same but the strategy different. Just because the RSS is deploying a different strategy, we should not fail in recognizing its fascist tendencies.
A lot of members of left parties, such as the Yechury faction of the CPI (M) are using the current fascist danger as an excuse to ally with bourgeois parties such as the congress for parliamentary games, on the other hand the Karat faction does not characterise the BJP as fascist, calling it communal authoritarian, they have mechanically quoted the Dimitrov thesis to deny the current situation to be a fascist one. It is true that all the actions of the central government have been largely within a constitutional framework, and a fear of violence, more than actual violence is prevalent, however, it is clearly in the interest of the fascist powers to make use of legal means as far as possible, to further their desired aim.
But if the fascist forces are utilising the opportunity to organise using the constitutional means this in no way suggests that the communists can sit back and wait for a violent attack, instead, this is the time to mobilise the exploited and the oppressed under the leadership of the working class to fight the fascist elements and march forward for the socialist revolution. If the parliamentary left is thinking in terms of allying with this or that bourgeoisie parties to counter the BJP on the other hand we find that the Maoists are also pursuing a line that is not able to further the cause of Indian revolution. For them armed conflict seems to be the only way of struggle. This ultra-left adventurist line instead of furthering the cause is being utilised by the ruling class to subjugate the people’s struggle in name of fighting extremism. We must not fall into the left adventurist trap, and abandon mass work and organise mass fronts, it is the most opportune time to form a nationwide Anti-Fascist Proletarian Front.
The prevailing situation calls for an extensive open mobilisation in order to rally the masses in our favour.