We have all been reading the news, sharing the jokes and following the Adventures of Modi as he travels the world. Most of us have begun to notice that things are changing in our country and society. New laws are being passed and old laws are being ignored.
So let’s ask ourselves a question;
Is life in India today similar to Life in a Fascist Regime?
The following are the different identifiers of life in a Fascist regime. (As stated here) I shall draw comparisons between each identifier and life in India today. This should allow us to determine for each of ourselves whether we feel that life in India is akin to life in a Fascist society.
Fascist governments control the way people live. Those who criticize the government or do not obey are punished. They must leave the country, go to prison or are often executed.
If you are an Indian reader, you have already thought about the favourite word of the current Indian government upon reading the first identifier.
The BJP or Ban Janta Party does not even try to disguise the reason for its bans. It does not need to, the number of supporters of the Party and it’s conservative Hindutva ideologies are strong enough to simply state how they would like us all to live and then make sure we all do so.
The most directly fascist move in the list of bans would be the Ban on beef. Just this year (2015) Maharashtra and Haryana banned the sale and possession of beef. In effect treating it like drugs in the eye of the law. The proposed sentence of 5-7 years for possession has also been called out for it’s harshness in comparison to ‘criminal’ offences. But lets look at the fascist nature of the move.
In a region like India, we have either celebrated our religious differences or fought over our them. For this very reason the Preamble to our Constitution states that the Indian Government is Secular in nature and the constitution provides us with the fundamental Right to Freedom of Religion.
In a fascist societies one group is chosen as the superior race. To exercise their power over the ‘inferior’ races the superior race will alienate the inferior groups by making them follow the rules as defined by them i.e the superior race.
The ban on Beef had an added benefit of destroying several beef related industries that traditionally in India has only had non Hindu participants, from Christian farmers to Muslim beef exporters.
The consumption of Beef is not a religious duty of Muslims, Christians or other religious groups in India. But the consumption of Beef is a choice provided to them by their religion and country.
The ability to rob someone of this free choice because it does sit well by the superior race, is at the core of Fascism.
The Bikini ban of Goa is yet another such apparition of Facism in modern India. Foreigners and those not subscribing to the life style of the superior race are considered inferior and therefore need to be alienated or made to behave in an agreeable manner.
Fascist governments have party members, workers and supporters who believing in their own collective superiority will take to Moral Policing. Wherein a group of individuals, will force on others their beliefs and way of life. Witnessed most recently in the case of Madh Moral Policing by Mumbai Police, where the police rounded up over 50 couples from the beaches and Hotels for behaving indecently (i.e they were together but not married). The same actions of the police were later called illegal, intrusive and unconstitutional by the Bombay High Court.
Civilian Moral Policing is also prevalent in India today, take the following two Horrific incidents for example;
Fascist leaders want to make their state strong and powerful. They claim that only the strongest and fittest in the population can survive. With the help of a strong army they go to war and expand their territory.
The go to topic in relation to this identifier, is the India-Pak conflicts that have risen since the BJP have come to power. But if we were being mature about this we would easily realize that India – Pak conflicts are just a farce. Neither will actually start anything because neither have a vested interest in a conflict. Besides, and maybe more importantly both are Nuclear Powers. (i.e Nuclear powers never declare war on each other)
But both use the misinformation from these border conflicts to influence the way their citizens perceive; their own governments – the government of the ‘enemy’ – the People who are the ‘Enemy’
Besides military might there is another way a state gains power and strength: Money. A powerful economy that is capable of affecting the functioning of the different economies of our world by its own movements, that is power and strength.
Therein lies the sitting Indian government’s focus. Sitting? Sorry the travelling Prime Minister and his Government. The objective is to open trade with the powerful economies so as to gain might, power and influence both in-state and internationally.
But the cause and effect of such a rapid burst into the global economy requires a lack of ‘regulations and reforms’ for corporations. This inadvertently leads to the economy getting hooked to the tide of the global market. Which inadvertently causes strain on the currency but the effect of which is only felt by the lower income groups and thereafter through the toll on the environment due to the practices of unregulated corrupt corporations. Read Narendra Modi’s War On The Indian Environment.
Surajbai, 80, poses at the site of her old home in Barkutta, which was destroyed. The land is now under the proposed area of expansion by the Kusmunda coal mining operation.
School teachers show children that only the state is important. Pupils must exercise to stay healthy. Young organizations are often created in which children admire the state and learn slogans and songs. They are trained to march and follow the beliefs of the ruling party.
Remember that the state we are talking about is the Bharatya Janta Party, whose core ideologies are Conservatism, Hindu Nationalism and Hindutva.
“They (non-vegetarians) easily cheat, tell lies, they forget promises, they are
dishonest and tell bad words, steal, fight and turn to violence and commit sex crimes.” Class Six CBSE textbook titled, ‘New Healthway: Health, Hygiene, Physiology, Safety, Sex Education, Games and Exercises’ teaches eleven year old students the ‘truth’ about non veg people.
‘Instead (of celebrating birthday with cakes and candles), we should follow a purely Indian culture by wearing swadeshi clothes, doing a havan and praying to ishtadev (preferred deity), reciting mantras such as Gayatri mantra, distributing new clothes to the needy, feeding cows, distributing ‘prasad’ and winding up the day by playing songs produced by Vidya Bharati.’ – Shikhan nu Bhartiyakaran (Indianisation of Education) by Dinanath Batra. This textbook is used in Gujurat Primary Schools.
A little bit about Dinanath Batra, he was appointed as the full time General Secretary of Vidya Bharati in 1990. A little bit about Vidya Bharati, it is self termed as The Educational Wing of the famed RSS. It runs one of the largest private network of schools in India. As of 2013, it had 25,377 schools, with over 3.4 million students, over 147,500 teachers, over 15 teacher training colleges, 12 degree colleges and 7 vocational and training institutions. Most of the Vidya Bharati schools are affiliated to the Central Board for Secondary Education or their local State Boards.
“The pilot and the Indian together thrashed the negro and tied him up with rope. Like a tied buffalo, he frantically tried to escape but could not. The plane landed safely in Chicago. The negro was a serious criminal…and this brave Indian was an employee of Air India.” Prernadeep -2 used in English Medium Primary Schools in Gujurat. This one is so outrageous that you probably do not believe it exists.
The most amazing instance would have to be the following, amazing in that it actually is something that exists in School textbooks;
“Hitler lent dignity and prestige to the German government within a short time, establishing a strong administrative set-up.”
International achievements of Nazism – Gujarat textbook for Class X
‘This text book rubbishes the Holocaust and projects Hitler as the true leader. It’s quite disturbing to think of the 13 to 15-year-olds that studied this textbook, walking around thinking that one of the most horrifying attempted genocides of the 20th century was, in fact, only a story about an authoritarian’s dignified rise to power.’
Fascist governments try to give all people work, mainly in the industries they need. They build roads, hospitals and industries which help them rise to power.
It is, of course the basis on which BJP came to power, the promise of developments that will benefit the Common man, and the promise that the Entrepreneur’s life is going to become extremely easy assuring BJP the required donations and votes.
“Our government has speeded up the construction of highways by seven times,” said the Union Road Transport and Highways Minister, Nitin Gadkari. BJP-led Centre is building highways at a pace of 14-km per day while the previous Congress regime laid only two kms a day, Gadkari said National Highway works worth Rs Five Lakh crore would be generated in the next five years providing employment opportunities to 50 lakh youths.
Another example of this could be the PM Modi’s 1.25 Lakh Crore Special package assigned to Bihar (The third most populated state in India) just ahead of Bihar Polls. In regards with which the BJP President Shri Amit Shah said that Hon’ble Prime Minister has granted a comprehensive economic package to establish Bihar in the list of developing states so that the state could become a self-reliant state, to provide jobs for the younger generation and everyone will be able to achieve all-round development opportunities whether it will be farmers, labourers, women, downtrodden or backward class.
The flip side to all of this is whether these new developments in infrastructure and industries will hurt or help the economy. One such situation already showing its head is the states that are hurting from Ghost Airports. Albeit most of these airports were planned by the Congress government they need to be addressed now, besides BJP too is on an airport spree; PM to open new airport in Chandigarh on Sept 11, 2015.
India has spent more than $50 million since 2009 on eight airports that do not receive scheduled flights, these airports needs to be noted given the Prime Minister is betting on the economy to fuel growth.
One such airport, Jaisalmer’s $17 million new terminal building.
“They (the government) need to realise it’s not a case of ‘build the airport and we will come’, Sanjiv Kapoor, COO at SpiceJet Ltd in regards with their decision to stop flying to a Mysore airport due to lack of demand.
We need to take care lest Indian cities end
up in similar internet articles as the ones with post-apocalyptic images titled Ghost Cities Of China.
- In fascist countries no other political parties are allowed. The government controls newspapers, radio and television. There is no freedom of speech.
“If freedom of expression is under attack, if religious freedom is threatened and if substantial parts of society live in physical fear for their safety, then such a society cannot be said to be a true democracy,” Mr. Rushdie said in early 2014.
Today in India, the BJP led parts of the government are already known for bullying journalists. Take Vel Singh Bhuraiya for instance, a BJP MLA from Madhya Pradesh. Who decided he had enough power to threaten a Journalist with an Encounter.
Or the fact that newly BJP powered Ministry Of Information and Broadcasting sent notices to news channels seeking their explanations on their coverage of the recent Yakub Memon story. Why would they send that? News organization need not answer to the Government right? At-least in the world’s largest democracy? Right?The tendency of a state to interfere with News Media is truly fascist in it’s nature, and has been identified in every dictatorship and Fascist society in history and those existing today.
Do you guys remember the ironically named Ministry Of Truth from George Orwell’s 1984? Sound familiar to the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting?
“If you look at his behaviour in Gujarat, where intellectual freedom is suppressed… He is a bully and a bigot… Unlike others, I don’t believe he will change, because at 62 you cannot have a personality transformation,” –Ramachandra Guha
More than anything else, what is truly worrying is the kind of self censorship that is prevalent in today’s Indian society. This means that we have begun to change our own behaviours because of the tendency of our Government. This should never be the case. A people should never be afraid of their own government.
In conclusion ask yourself the same question we did at the beginning;
Is life in India today the same as life in a Fascist regime?
Leave your answers in the comments.