Tag Archives: Fascism

Should only Minorities be Worried over Mr Modi? Sanjay Kumar

(Photo Courtesy : ibnlive.in.com)

Guest Post by SANJAY KUMAR

By stealth, wealth, and media barrage a phalanx of powerful interests is trying to create a public opinion favourable to Mr Narendra Modi. It appears the entire privilegenstia of the country, the super rich capitalists, professional elites, entrepreneurs of the religion, top bureaucracy, including retired army men and police, upper castes, media pundits, even NRI academics, are united in their enthusiasm for Mr Modi. From Ratan Tata to Ramdev, people have been told how the man is the only saviour of a country in crisis. What exactly do this bunch of rich and privileged, but discontented people hope from Mr Modi as PM is important for the future of the country. The moot point here is the difference between declared intentions and actual motives. Perhaps even more important is the response of Mr Modi’s political opponents, because that indicates the kind of resources the country can fall back upon when confronted with the reality of him in power. The moot point here is a lack of understanding of the significance of the usual, non-Modi type politics for ordinary Indians. The stakes are high indeed. Far from what the phalanx and its ideologues claim, it is actually this politics which is their target, and which they wish to change under Mr Modi.

The most prominent charge leveled by Mr Modi’s opponents is that he is communal and divisive, and will alienate minorities. From Mr Lalu Prasad to Prof Amartya Sen, that appears to be the chief misgiving. If the charge against Mr Modi is so framed, then by implication it also appears to be asserting that if there had been no Gujarat 2002, Mr Modi and the kind of politics his party represents will be as good or bad as any other party politics. Are minorities’ misgivings about Mr Modi’s the only fact that the rest of Indians should worry about? Is the hesitation of minorities about him the only legitimate concern that may stop the man from reaching the PMO? Continue reading Should only Minorities be Worried over Mr Modi? Sanjay Kumar

Modi-Fascism and the Rise of the Propaganda Machine

Almost every day, Modi takes off from Ahmedabad airport in an EMB-135BJ, an Embraer aircraft, for his rallies. The jet is owned by Karnavati Aviation, a group company of the Adani Group. “We record two movements of Modi’s aircraft daily. No matter where he goes to address rallies, he always comes back home,” said an air traffic control official.

Recently, Modi’s aircraft was denied permission to fly by DGCA in Delhi for over two hours, following which he lashed out at the central government for stalling his movement. Ever since, Modi has increased the use of choppers to cover smaller distances. “Mostly, politicians use chopper to reach places where bigger aircraft can’t reach,” said an ATC official.

Over the past few days, Modi flew in an Augusta AW-139 chopper, owned by the DLF Group, for his rallies in north India, especially in Uttar Pradesh and Bihar. ‘Fleet of 3 aircrafts ensures Modi is home every night after day’s campaigning’, Times of India, April 22, 2014

The Political Culture of Fascism

In an earlier post, I had joined issue with a section of liberal intellectuals, whose ‘liberalism’ was either rendering them too gullible or simply complicit in the formation of the Narendra Modi phenomenon – which I have no hesitation in referring to as the Indian edition of fascism. The gullibility or complicity of many of these intellectuals also manifests itself in the myopia that grips them when the talk about the impending challenge before democratic politics in India – a brief glimpse of which is provided in the quote above, that indicates the alliance, the power bloc that will rule, were Modi to come to power.

The Modi-formation is ‘fascism’, in the sense that it takes direct inspiration from the particular history that goes by that name, especially its Nazi episode and knows that even though it cannot replicate the conditions of its existence in India, it can nevertheless use its cardinal ideas. The exaltation of the Nation/ nation-state, the manic obsession with ‘national security’ to the extent of the destruction of democratic rights, identification and suppression of scapegoats – the Other (the Jew, the Muslim, the homosexual, and all kinds of ‘wayward’ sexualities – often, all rolled into one) and of course, the intellectuals, artistes and human rights activists. A key aspect of this political culture is the combination of violence with mass frenzy that is sought to be continuously whipped up and directed against the imagined enemies of the ‘Nation’. Continue reading Modi-Fascism and the Rise of the Propaganda Machine

The Pro-Establishment Intelligentsia and the Modi Phenomenon

For several months, I have been hearing Narendra Modi’s campaign speeches quite regularly, paying attention to his themes, rhetoric and imagery. As expected, he has vigorously attacked key political opponents — the Nehru-Gandhi family, Nitish Kumar, Mulayam Singh Yadav. But a systematic silence has also marked his campaign. Quite remarkably, Hindu nationalism has been absent from his speeches.

This is the opening paragraph from an article by an important US-based Indian political scientist, Ashutosh Varshney. This article, published in the Indian Express on 27 March 2014, under the caption “Modi the Moderate” has been now followed up by another piece in the same newspaper that somewhat modifies the earlier position, this time by “Hearing the Silence”. Strange that he did not hear the silence in the first instance, even after having listened to Modi’s speeches closely (‘paying attention to his rhetoric and imagery’). Not that he did not ‘hear the silence’ then. He did, but just two weeks ago, identified the silence as being about Hindu nationalism. In the second piece, the silence is apparently about  minority rights. How did he read the silence as one thing two weeks ago and as just the opposite two weeks down the line? What exactly was he reading?

Intellectuals generally take words very seriously. Words in their insularity, words in their most manifest meanings. But really, do words mean anything in and of themselves? One line of argument that derives from within the ancient Mimamsa tradition, for example, would argue that meaning lies in the way words are chosen, arranged and formed into sentences. There is something that happens in this process which Mimamsa scholars call ‘akanksha’ – or the expectation that this arrangement within a text generates in the reader of the text. The meaning that a text produces then, is a matter of a complex negotiations between the text and the reader – the bearer of akanksha. And since the reader is never one but many, the expectations that the text generates in different readers could arguably be many. Continue reading The Pro-Establishment Intelligentsia and the Modi Phenomenon

भाषा का फासीवाद

भाषा का कार्य न तो प्रगतिशील होता है और न प्रतिक्रियावादी, वह  फासिस्ट है: क्योंकि फासिज़्म अभिव्यक्ति पर पाबंदी नहीं लगाता, दरअसल वह बोलने को बाध्य करता है. रोलां बार्थ का यह वक्तव्य पहली नज़र में ऊटपटांग और हमारे अनुभवों के ठीक उलट जान पड़ता है. हम हमेशा से ही फासिज़्म को अभिव्यक्ति का शत्रु मानते आए हैं. लेकिन बार्थ के इस वक्तव्य पर गौर करने से, और हमारे आज के सन्दर्भ में खासकर, इसका अर्थ खुलने लगता है. इसके पहले कि हम आगे बात करें, यह भी समझ लेना ज़रूरी है कि बार्थ की खोज कुछ और थी. वे अर्थापन की नई विधि या पद्धति की तलाश में थे. अंततः उनकी खोज अर्थ से मुक्ति की थी, एक असंभव संधान लेकिन दिलचस्प: स्पष्टतः वह एक ऐसी दुनिया का स्वप्न देखता है जिसे अर्थ से मुक्ति हासिल होगी( जैसे किसी को अनिवार्य सैन्यसेवा से छूट मिली होती है). हम हिन्दुस्तानियों के लिए इसका पूरा अभिप्राय समझना कठिन  है लेकिन एक अमेरीकी या रूसी या इस्राइली के लिए नहीं. उन्हें पता है कि वयस्क होते ही राज्य उनको  सेना में भर्ती होने के लिए बाध्य कर सकता है. प्रसंगवश अनेक न्यूनताओं के बावजूद भारतीय लोकतंत्र के पक्ष में  यह बात भी है कि उसने अपने नागरिक को सैन्य पदावली में परिभाषित नहीं किया. भारतीय होने की शर्त या उसकी कीमत अपना सैन्यीकरण नहीं है. Continue reading भाषा का फासीवाद

Lies, Damn Lies and NaMo – Why I do not support Modi and why you shouldn’t either: M Akhil

ImageGuest Post by M AKHIL: Listen to the flourish. The stage is set, the side-kicks are in place and the sycophants are scampering tirelessly to welcome their emperor. Narendra Modi has started his journey to the high seat of Indraprastha.

Curiously enough, his current ride is being celebrated as a victory lap by his ardent supporters. A bit too quick, don’t you think? Especially for a man who was only a few years ago, in terrible danger of being convicted for one of the most gruesome state-sponsored genocides in the history of independent India. Of course, he hasn’t been convicted yet, but many of his ministers and close aides have been. Babu Bajrangi’s confessions on record must be more than enough proof for Modi’s culpability. 1 Alas! Facts get twisted in the most unimaginable ways as they threaten to blow away an edifice carefully built by a dominant plutocracy with immense help from the ‘State-Temple-Corporate Complex’. 2 Here, I shall attempt to bust the Modi bubble which is being ridiculously pumped up by the holy nexus, even as you are reading this. After all, the BJP is possibly the party with the highest following among Indian netizens and the online publicity team of the current supremo is meticulous. An alternative view will be stark, but hopefully it will serve as food for thought for those among us getting nauseated by the dominant narrative. Continue reading Lies, Damn Lies and NaMo – Why I do not support Modi and why you shouldn’t either: M Akhil

तार्किकता, भावुकता और फासिज्म

 28 फरवरी को याद करने पर अब कहा जाने लगा है कि यह नकारात्मक स्मृति है और इंसानी फितरत के मुताबिक़ हमें आगे बढ़ना  चाहिए. हिन्दुओं को, खासकर गुजराती हिन्दुओं, यह नागवार गुजरता है कि उन्हें  बार-बार 28 फरवरी , 2002 की याद दिलाई जाए. आखिर गुजरात में 2002 के बाद पूरा अमन है और वह विकास के मार्ग पर एक दृढसंकल्प मुख्यमंत्री के नेतृत्व में संकल्पपूर्वक बढ़ा जा रहा है और वहां के मुसलमान भी अब कुछ और बात करना चाहते हैं.

दरअसल भुलाने और आगे बढ़ जाने की शुरुआत 2002 में ही हो गई थी. 28 फ़रवरी से राज्य-संरक्षण में शुरू हुए मुसलमानों के कत्लेआम ने भारत के उद्योगपतियों के एक हिस्से को भी झकझोर दिया था. लेकिन कुछ समय बाद ही पूंजीवाद के तर्क ने मानवीयता की कमजोरी पर विजय पा ली और उन्होने नाराज़ मुख्यमंत्री से क्षमायाचना करके गुजरात की प्रगति में उन्हें हिस्सा लेने की इजाजत माँग ली  थी. सार्वजनिक रूप से उन्हें गांधी और पटेल से तुलनीय बताया जाना अब अटपटा भी नहीं लगता, बल्कि उलट कर कहा जा सकता है कि गांधी और पटेल में  ऐसे कई गुण नहीं थे जो गुजरात के ह्रदय-सम्राट में पाए जाते हैं , इसलिए यह तुलना वस्तुतः इन दोनों के प्रति पक्षपात है. पूंजीवाद के मूल अंतर्राष्ट्रीय चरित्र ने अंततः युरोपियन यूनियन को अपनी मानवीय हिचक को किनारे करके गुजराती यथार्थ को कबूल करते हुए कारोबारी नज़रिया अपनाने को प्रेरित किया. यह संभव नहीं था कि आर्थिक निवेश के ठोस आकर्षक आमंत्रण को   न्याय के अमूर्त आग्रह  के चलते ठुकरा दिया जाए. Continue reading तार्किकता, भावुकता और फासिज्म

Peaceful Protest Against Afzal Guru’s Execution at Jantar Mantar Broken Up by Right Wing Goons and Delhi Police

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A small group of citizens, mainly young people from different universities in Delhi, and people associated with civil rights groups and initiatives, had gathered at Jantar Mantar in New Delhi this afternoon at 1:00 pm to express their protest against the execution by hanging of Afzal Guru at 8:00 am this morning in Tihar Prison.

The protest was dignified and entirely peaceful. It was interrupted suddenly when a large mob gathered and began heckling the protestors. I was present there, and I clearly heard this mob of young men hurl, unprintable abuses at the men and women who were peacefully protesting against the execution of Afzal Guru. Some of them wore saffron scarves that clearly identified them as being the storm troopers of the far right. They repeatedly chanted violent and incendiary slogans which included the following – “shoot them all”, “kill the traitors”. These alternated with patriotic chants. I have never seen a more nakedly bloodthirsty exhibition of the far right wing version of Indian nationalism on the streets of Delhi. The mob made threatening gestures and advanced towards the line of protestors. Continue reading Peaceful Protest Against Afzal Guru’s Execution at Jantar Mantar Broken Up by Right Wing Goons and Delhi Police