Benjamin Zachariah has been studying the history of the Indian Right and of Indian manifestations of fascism and Nazism for nearly two decades. Zachariah is the author of Nehru (2004), Developing India (2005), Playing the Nation Game (2011), and After the Last Post (2019). Zachariah who has taught and researched in several countries is an expert on the historiography of India, and the intellectual histories of romantic anticapitalism and global fascism. He has taught and researched in several countries. In this moment of unrest, and brutal violence by the India and state-backed groups he observed, “The Sangh parivar has nearly completely captured the state, and coordinated its institutions so that they are subservient or loyal to the needs of the party and the leader. The courts are no longer free, the police work at the behest of the ruling party, some armed forces personnel appear to be politically supporting the ruling party, and a parliamentary majority is being misused to pass laws that are incompatible with the constitution – but since the courts have been captured, who is to say so?”
The idea of Hindus as a ‘race’, and as ‘Aryan’, would have sounded ridiculous to many people after 1945, but it’s back in a big way, and no one laughs. BJP backed by RSS is no more a fascist movement in search of power; rather it has captured the state. The German word ‘gleichshaltung’, which would sound harmless enough in English because it means ‘coordination’, was used by the Nazis to describe their control of all institutions, associations, and forms of public life in the country. Nothing was to remain outside of their control and the similar is being practiced in today’s India. This spirit has also reflected in recent verdicts of Babri Masjid and transfers of impartial judges hearing Delhi pogrom cases.
Hindu nationalist grip on society and politics is so far unchallenged. National Register of Citizens (NRC) and The Citizenship (Amendment) Act (CAA) are permanent source of discontent and divisions across India. According to both internal and external observers, citizenship would be determined along religious criteria, which risks undermining the country’s traditional secularism. India has the longest-running continuous fascist movement in the world – the RSS was founded in 1925. It’s nearly 100 years old. Golwalkar, a Hindu nationalist idealized by RSS members famously thought that the Nazi example of getting rid of Jews from Germany should be followed in India for Muslims. Those who don’t ‘naturally’ belong to India-that-is-a-Hindu-Rashtra are at the moment primarily Muslims, because they are a majority among the minorities.
Irrespective of the CAA and NRC, the people of India have many reasons to be dissatisfied. The economy is in a mess. Students are being attacked by paid thugs of the government in their universities, ordinary people are being lynched by Sanghis in many parts of the country. India is flouting all norms of international law and the United Nations resolutions on Jammu and Kashmir. It has abrogated Articles 370 and 35A of Indian constitution while bringing a constitutional end to the special status of the occupied territory which is clear violation of the United Nations Security Council resolutions on Kashmir. After the new enactment, India will be able to settle Indians in the occupied territory, change its demography while outnumbering local Kashmiris. As such, India has changed 92-year-old state subject laws of Jammu and Kashmir.
Communal violence and discrimination against religious minorities has increased in India. The most recent violence unleashed against Muslims in Delhi by armed Hindu mobs during President Donald Trump’s visit to India is a portent and a lesson. As Trump sat down to dine with India’s prime minister, Narendra Modi, Hindus in the same city were beating and shooting Muslims. More than 53 people were killed—and more than 200 people, mostly Muslims, were injured. The Delhi police, who report directly to Home Minister Amit Shah, either stood idly by or escorted the mobs. Videos of police breaking CCTV cameras and taunting prone and bleeding Muslim men while filming them with their smartphones circulated on social media. The prosecution of minorities in India reflects the neo-Nazi Ideology of BJP/RSS.
A recent report featuring data released by the National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB) says minorities particularly Muslims, Christians and Sikhs are more likely to be undertrials, detenus and convicts than Hindus. They are most likely to be detained and imprisoned. Muslims, Dalits and adivasis —three of the most vulnerable sections of Indian society — make up more than half of India’s prison population.
The Indian government is "criminalising very normal political activity as seditious. Arrests, death threats and even alleged torture of journalists, human rights activists and lawyers by agencies of the central Indian state has been termed in a 2016 Amnesty International report a "near total information blackout”. Kashmir Reader, a prominent English-language newspaper, was asked to stop publication while restricted free speech is far from unprecedented in India, many observers describe a decline in the quality of the freedom of expression in India since Modi took office in 2014. As popular as the BJP is, its religiously inflected brand of nationalism has raised concerns about government-backed sectarianism and low tolerance for dissent. After a Muslim man named Pehlu Khan was killed by Hindu vigilantes, Rajasthan’s home minster Gulab Chand Kataria, a senior BJP figure, responded that the attackers had done "a good job by protecting cows from smuggling”.
Ever since the general elections in the spring of 2019, won overwhelmingly by Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Bharatiya Janata Party, pressure on the media to toe the Hindu nationalist government’s line has increased. Indian authorities continue to use laws on sedition, defamation, and counter-terrorism to crack down on dissent. Journalists faced increasing pressure to self-censor due to threat of legal action, smear campaigns and threats on social media, and even threats of physical attacks. Indian govt’s blanket internet shutdowns in IOJ&K and mainland remained highest in the world in 2019. Apart from communication shut down, complete lock down of IOJ&K exceeding 300 days has been criticized by international community and human rights organizations.
There has been concerted efforts by the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) to make India “oppositision-mukt Bharat”. This has already been announced by the BJP leaders. “We will win the 2019 polls and after the 2019 victory, nobody will be able to remove us for the next 50 years.” Said Union Law Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad in September 2018. “After these elections there will be no elections in 2024,” said Sakshi Maharaj, BJP Lok Sabha Member of Parliament from Unnao. Actually both Ravi Shankar Prasad and Sakshi Maharaj had expressed in their words a “Modi-fied” version of the RSS master plan for India. In this context, the failure of democracy and secularism will endanger the lives of millions of innocent citizens in India if the world continued to be silent on human rights issues in Neo-Nazi state.