Iron Heels

Fascists are Marching

Purnendu Mukherjee

The poisonous seeds of the Sangh Parivar sown in Nagpur nearly a century ago coming to the fruition with the coming to power of Narendra Modi, the diehard Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) pracharak.

The brahminical-Hindu-fascists represented by Modi and his brigade are trying to occupy the intellectual space and carrying out relentless attacks on academic institutions, through media, through Chanakyan malicious propaganda etc.

The fascists are trying to hide their economic agenda of servility to the corporate bigwigs and the imperialist MNCs, behind the rising cultural and physical attacks and all round onslaught on dalits and minorities.

In order to resist and beat back these brahminical-Hindu-fascists, it is more than urgent to understand the true nature and history of fascism, as well as its specific manifestation in India through RSS and its affiliates.

Fascism is one of two main forms of bourgeois class rule, the other being bourgeois democracy. Capitalist class tries to rule by observing and following democratic norms, values, rights etc so long it can perpetuate its capitalistic exploitation without any resistance from the ruled classes. But when crisis engulfs the capitalist system and it cannot earn its super profits or its system is threatened by the revolts and uprisings of the working class and other exploited classes, then the bourgeoisie throws off its façade of democratic rule and resorts to naked dictatorship. It is also corporatism because it is the merger of state and corporate power.

Fascism in Europe rose when the global capitalist system faced its worst crisis ever. People everywhere are witnessing such growth of fascist forces and ultra right forces in the present day world including India, as the economic crisis is once again haunting the world capitalist system.

Fascism has always based itself on mass mobilization of workers and democracy to come to power.

Fascism mobilizes the masses that is majority of the people, in the name of patriotism. To do so it always portrays a group or a community as a threat to the security of the country and mobilize the majority community or race to attack the former and isolate them. It also creates a hype about national security and in the current day world about "terrorist threat" to make people forego their democratic rights.

There is a popular notion that fascism is promoted and propped up by lumpen bourgeoisie. In reality, "Fascism is the open terrorist dictatorship of the most reactionary, most chauvinistic, and most jingoistic imperialist elements of finance capital". This holds good as far as imperialist countries are concerned.

In case of the less developed or third world or semi-feudal, semi colonial countries like India, it is the comprador bourgeoisie as a whole and the landlord class that exercise this fascist dictatorship. In the concrete conditions of India, the element of caste and religion creeps into this equation. So it is the dictatorship of the upper caste, Hindu reactionary chauvinistic, jingoistic elements of the ruling establishment, this can be ideologically best described as Brahminical-Hindu-Fascism. This was most evident when all the big business houses from Ambanis, all the Adanis, Tatas, Birlas, Agarwal with all the resources at their disposal were fully behind Modi in propping him up as the prime-ministerial candidate.

As per bourgeois ideology, elections define democracy. If elections are held regularly and different groups of the ruling classes are given an opportunity to contest and win, then the democracy is thriving. Never bother about the trampling of all democratic rights like right to assemble, right to association, right to freedom of expression, right to strike etc.

But from the point of view of the toiling classes and those organizations and parties, who fight for them, these very rights define democracy and elections are only one way of expression of people's will. Seen from this angle India as a whole has never been a democratic country. (Kashmir and North-Eastern States have always been under fascistic rule, especially as far as struggling people are concerned.) In other parts of the country, struggling people, especially those who became threats to this exploitative system have always borne the fascistic repression, right from Telengana struggle days. Democratic rights have existed only to some extent in a limited manner in urban areas. That space is also shrinking day by day. Most repressive fascistic laws like TADA, POTA, UAPA, AFSP, sedition law etc. are enacted and implemented. The police and armed forces act with impunity when they break law and kill with impunity in the name of 'encounters'.

Added to this state power, vigilante groups and armies like Ranveer Sena, TPC, JPC, Salwa Judum, Nayeemuddin gang etc. are aided and abetted to carry out murderous attacks on revolutionary movement.

Sangh Parivar outfits like Sri Ram Sene, Bajrang Dal, Shiv Sena, ABVP, Hindu munnavi etc. are given a free had under the present BJP-RSS dispensation to carry out attacks and pogroms on Muslims, Christians and Dalits. This is one of the classic and characteristic of Fascism. Universities, villages, towns are all increasingly witnessing these attacks.

Hindutva being an ideological outlook differs from Hinduism, which is a religion, it has been growing especially for the past 3-4 decades. Though the RSS has been trying to rally hindus behind the slogan Hindi-Hindu-Hindutva since 1925 it is from the late ’80s that the fascist ideology has seen a significant growth. After the opening of the locks of Babri Masjid for the worshipping of the idol of Ram till the demolition of Babri Masjid and the pogrom of Muslims in Mumbai and other places, can be marked as one phase. The second phase is Narendra Modi becoming the CM of Gujarat and the pogrom of Muslims in Gujarat and his emergence as a tough Hindu leader as well as obedient blue-eyed boy of big capital. The third phase is his promotion by the moneybags as a prime ministerial candidate and his subsequent election as the PM.

His elevation as the PM has unleashed the fascistic forces to the fullest extent.

The BJP and Sangh Parivar are whipping up false notions of patriotism and ultra nationalism with their rabble rousing by insisting on giving the slogans like "Bharat Mata ki Jai" "Vandemdtaram" etc, and Pakistan bashing. By resorting to such postures, they want to hide all their anti-people and pro-imperialist policies.

The RSS, in fact, never participated in the freedom struggle. It had opposed non-cooperation movement and Quit India Movement. It is not even in favour of tri-colour national flag.

The BJP has opened up gates for FDI in all the fields, permitted 100% FDI in several key sectors like pharmacy, cable network, DTH, including defence sector via automatic route, without being subjected to government approval.

Modi Government is bending backwards to meet US objections to India's nuclear liability law so that US giant corporations can set up nuclear power plants without being subjected to risk factors at a time when countries like Germany, Japan and other developed countries are moving towards completely getting rid of nuclear power.

BJP Government is taking steps to privatize the nationalized banks while allowing foreigners in insurance business. Demonetization and cashless economy etc. are geared towards benefiting big finance, both domestic and foreign, operating in the IT sector.

Labour laws are being amended to allow the MNCs and private companies to hire and fire at will and not to allow the workers to organize, while allowing the companies to employ the workers as casual workers without any rights and at abysmal low wages and work conditions.

They are raising the bogey of terrorism and Pakistan to hide their failures and trying to whip up jingoistic passion. Though the government for the present is not resorting to China-bashing directly it is exploring all avenues to resort to anti-China hysteria.

The BJP government and RSS are trying to carry out saffronization in every field. The syllabus and curriculum of school books and also the college books are being changed to promote superstition, wrongly portraying history, glorifying Hinduism in spite of its obnoxious caste system, inculcate Brahminical ideology and unequal ethics and patriarchal values instead of modern secular liberal values and values of equality.

In the name of traditional Indian Values, Sangh Parivar outfits are carrying out attacks on women and men by forming anti-Romeo squads etc. These attacks are carried out during Valentine Day; in the name of opposing love-jihad etc. There is a sinister design in this. Brahminical ideology is opposed to inter-caste and inter-religious marriage.

Saffronization of curricula and academic institution is being done with renewed vigour by the current regime. In all the states, where they are in power, the school books are being filled with false history glorifying the past, decrying the Muslim rules and thus trying to influence the gullible minds of the children. Academicians with RSS back-ground are being made the heads of various academic, cultural and social institutions. They are trying to suppress all progressive, liberal, anti-caste organizations, students and intellectuals with an iron hand. ABVP goons and other Sangh outfits are actively collaborating with the bureaucracy.

Such heads of institutions are inviting police into the campuses at the drop of the hat and resorting to repressive measures. Suspensions and rustication of students are becoming the norm of the day. All pretensions of any decency and decorum are given a go-by. This was most glaringly seen in the case of Rohit Vemula and others in HCU, of APSA in Chennai, in JNU, in BHU, in Punjab University, FTII, Pune, Jadavpur University etc. This is even on the increase.

There is another sinister design in this. Attention of the students is being diverted from issues like unemployment, imperialist plunder, growing inequality etc. Singing Vandemataram is being made the only touch-stone of patriotism.

With the free rein given to Hindu communalists, attacks on muslims in the name of love-jihad, beef eating etc. have risen dramatically. This is being done with ulterior motive of polarizing communities for immediate political gains also, apart from subjugating the minorities and especially, the Muslims. Though the Sangh Parivar speaks broadly in terms of all Hindus, including Dalits the very nature of Hinduism, they preach strengthens casteism in its worst form. Vigilante gangs in the name of Go Rakshaks, are on the rampage particularly in North-India.

BJP is trying to impose its Hindu code in the name of uniform civil code. UCC is only a stick in the hands of BJP to beat Muslims with. It does not promote UCC with any noble, secular and democratic ideas.
Laws like anti-conversion law, anti-atrocities act (which sound noble, but victimizes Muslims and Christians more) etc. are being enacted.

With such an atmosphere ghetto-isation of muslim minority is taking place on a large scale.

Judiciary is supposed to uphold the liberal, democratic and secular values enshrined in the constitution. But Judiciary is increasingly becoming a tool in the hands of the Saffron Forces. Though sometimes one may find a few exceptions, the judiciary is becoming more and more saffronized, albeit in the name of patriotism, fighting terrorism etc. The so-called terrorists and Maoists and their sympathizers are denied bail, awarded death sentences and life imprisonment in the flimsiest of excuses and evidence, to even satisfy the so-called "collective conscience of the nation". At the same time, the Hindu Communal Killers, upper caste Senas and their heads are granted bail, acquitted in the most heinous crimes, etc. In the name of keeping up the morale of the Security forces, the judiciary turns a Nelson's Eye on the worst possible crimes by the Security Forces in the form of brutal torture of political activists in custody, muslims, adivasis, dalits and others who fight for their rights, sexual assault and rape of women, burning of adivasi villages, cold-blooded killings and all that.

The judiciary is also taking upon itself to enforce false patriotism by making the singing of National Anthem compulsory in Cinema Halls, by extolling the virtues of cow-urine and cow.

This connivance of judiciary with obscurant ideology is a typical trait of fascism. A free hand is given to security forces in the name of fighting terrorists and maoists.

There is an increased promotion of obscurantist ideas and outlook about the role of women in society. The traditional "Stree Dharma" of women of serving the man and his family is being emphasized. The girls are being imbibed with this patriarchal ideology in Sarswati Sisumandirs.

Durga Vahani and a number of women's organizations have been floated to fill the minds of women with rabid anti-muslim and anti-christian ideology and also fill their minds with false notions of ''Matree Shakthi" and "Stree Shakthi", where there is no place for gender justice or gender equality, but sole dharma of a woman is to serve the husband, children (and especially male children) and parents-in-law, and to impart the children in turn with these patriarchal values.

The RSS and BJP have always advocated Akhand Bharat and the RSS was even opposed to the formation of linguistic states for fear of encouraging nationality sentiments, rather than the pan-Indian national sentiment. Its ideology serves well the interests of comprador capital. This Pan-Indian ideology and anti-muslims ideology converge in the case of Kashmir and the repression on Kashmir is increasing by the day. Though for various reasons, self-determination nationality movements are witnessing a setback in recent times, the BJP and the Central Government are going to unleash the repression multiple times, as and when the movements surge forward.

The Akhand Bharat ideology serves well the expansionist designs of the ruling class and is thus a threat to smaller nations in the South-Asian region.

GST which Modi had opposed when he was the CM of Gujarat is in force now. All such economic policies are adopted to serve the Pan-Indian market for the big business and MNCs relegating the interests of small 'national' and regional entrepreneurs to the background.

This increasing fascism has to be met and fought back by the broadest possible united front. There is a need for the revolutionary forces, progressive and democratic forces, anti-caste and anti-Brahminical forces, women's organizations, religious minorities, adivasi organizations to come together to fight against the fascist organizations and the state.

Many such initiatives are already underway in many states and some attempts have been made at the all-India level too. Such initiatives have to be conveyed to make broadest possible front against the growing fascism.

Vol. 50, No.22, Dec 3 - 9, 2017