Stand Against Hindu Fascism

Asha Ramachandran, Deputy Opinion Editor

My dad is the odd one out in his family. While the rest of the family are devout, fundamentalist Hindus who support Prime Minister Narendra Modi and the Bharatiya Janata Party, my dad is a staunch atheist and absolutely loathes Hindu fascism. As the BJP has consolidated political power, I have watched my dad furiously rave about how much he despises the BJP and how fascism and religious fundamentalism are destroying India. Despite his admirably strong convictions, he is extremely reluctant to confront his BJP-supporting family members back home, likely because he wants to avoid stirring tensions. 

The BJP, India’s ruling political party — whose founders praised Hitler and Mussolini in the party’s early days — espouses the fascist ideology of Hindutva. Hindutva equates Indian national identity with Hindu identity and enables the forcible suppression of non-Hindus and low-caste Hindus. Recent policies put forth by BJP supporters include the Citizenship Amendment Act, passed by parliament in December. It provides a path to citizenship for refugees of every South Asian faith but Islam. Under the disguise of patriotism, Hindu fascists politically persecute and subject minorities who do not fit their Hindutva profile to violence. 

Hindutva has inspired terrorism and mob lynchings of marginalized people across India, especially targeted against Muslims and Dalits (low-caste people). There are some Indian Americans who have been protesting BJP fascism and the Delhi pogrom, as rallies of hundreds of people have been held across the country in the last week, including a protest organized by NYU’s South Asia Society — but this is not nearly enough. A crowd of about 50,000 Indian Americans showed up at President Trump’s “Howdy Modi” event held in Houston in September of last year, cheering and applauding raucously as the two far-right leaders who have both invoked anti-Muslim sentiment held hands and embraced. 

Far too many Indian Americans, especially Hindus, have been complicit in the BJP’s fascism through their support of Modi and their utter silence on Hindutva terrorism. 

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But there is no room to be silent anymore. The last week of violence in New Delhi, India’s capital, was akin to a pogrom, a state-sanctioned week of riots and mob lynchings committed against a marginalized religious group and historically a precursor to genocide. Hindu mobs burnt down mosques and planted flags of Hindu deities on the ashes, set fire to Muslim-owned businesses and homes and beat and killed Muslims openly in the streets. These mobs were comprised of BJP supporters and even police themselves.

Hindutva has deep roots in the Indian diaspora. Prime Minister Modi, the leader of the BJP, and his Hindu fascist agenda have long been supported by many Indian Americans. The Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh, a terrorist organization according to the Terrorism Research and Analysis Consortium, who some call the paramilitary wing of BJP, has its largest overseas presence in the U.S. 

As Hindu fascist terror escalates, particularly in the wake of the Delhi pogrom, it is important to challenge Hindutva in every way possible — from confronting family back home to mobilizing in the streets. It is essential that diaspora Indians also challenge BJP-aligned organizations such as the Overseas Friends of BJP, the Vishwa Hindu Parishad of America, and the Hindu Swayamsevak Sanghin, the international wing of RSS, in their efforts to help legitimize and spread Hindu fascism.

Ethnonationalism against immigrants and refugees along with Islamophobia and anti-Semitism as well as other factors seem to be fueling fascism’s rise globally. Common themes such as racism, xenophobia, misogyny, and militarism underlie the increasing popularity of the far-right and right-wing terrorism in countries such as India, Brazil, the U.S. and the Philippines. The BJP is part of the international rise of politicians weaponizing religion and nationality to foment hatred against marginalized communities to the point where hundreds have been attacked by its supporters. 

If Modi supporters in the U.S. can turn up by the tens of thousands, even as the Indian government commits barbaric acts of violence in Muslim-majority Kashmir at the same time, how is it that demonstrations against BJP only draw hundreds in the U.S.? Resistance is so weak because Islamophobia and Hindu fascism are pervasive. With Hindu fascist violence threatening the lives of Muslims more and more each day, it is more urgent than ever to reject Hindutva, organize against BJP-aligned groups in the U.S. and stand in solidarity with the Muslim community.

Opinions expressed on the editorial pages are not necessarily those of WSN, and our publication of opinions is not an endorsement of them.

A version of this article appeared in the Monday, March. 9, 2020 print edition. Email Asha Ramachandran at [email protected]

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13 COMMENTS

  1. Shame on you Asha Ramachandran for shaming an ideology which you are obviously clueless about. The very fact that you are able to do this fearlessly is because of the essence of the principles of Hindutva- tolerance !! One suggestion if you dare- if you are true to your and your dad’s atheist salt – write a similar article about the genocide of minorities in Islamic countries, write about the terrorism propagated and the loss of innocent lives around the world by the jihadi ideology. Gotta have guts !! Write about the Catholic Church and the pedophile pastors!
    This will clear up your brainwashed brain !

  2. Asha, please educate yourself instead getting deluded by motivated fake news. Making victims to be oppressor will only leave you wearing a burkha. Under Sharia there are no minority rights. Would you support a radical idea such as Uniform Civil Code for all Indians?

  3. Radical Islamiats killed many Hindus in Delhi and that started the riots.
    You are fulfilling agenda of radicals, who want to make Indians fight each other.
    I challenge you, go live in Afg/Pak/Bangladeah or even Kashmir. Can you do it? If not, then think for a minute, why not?

  4. Asha, glad you wrote this and made your position clear.

    Let me appeal to the student in you who is open to new ideas and is not an ideologue.

    First some homework –
    https://youtu.be/ihqwB_D9IbE
    Watch this video and read the book on the topic by the speaker- Dr Rajat Mitra.

    Once you have done the homework reflect on this –
    The video is about a genocide (and I am using this term very responsibly, unlike the “pogroms” that you see in media these days) that happened 30yrs ago in Kashmir. Then your dad was likely around your age now.

    Did he tell you anything about what happened in Kashmir? Did he get worked up about it then like you are getting worked up about Delhi riots today?

    I can bet the answer is no.

    Modi and CAA did not happen suddenly. There is a history here which I am afraid you will likely not learn from your dad or your professors or NYT.
    But I can assure you that you will find it in your university libraries.

    So make use of your privilege as a student and do some serious and honest research into the subject. Don’t just fall for the propaganda.

  5. Asha,

    You are brave girl with bright future.

    I assume you are also seeker of the truth. With that I suggest you go deep into this before making conclusion. It requires study of following:

    1. What is the history of India and why it was partitioned?

    2. Why natives of India went through genocide at the hands barberian invaders centuries after centuries?

    3. Why innumerable mosques were built on top of temples? (There are ample proofs of this in present times).

    Let’s ignore history for a bit even though it is relevant today. Since you can verify something similar happening in PRESENT TIME

    1. Condition of Hindus and their temples in neighboring countries like Pakistan and Bangladesh.

    2. Condition of Hindus in India itself. (They are kicked out from Kashmir and their temples demolished. Similar situations happening in West Bengal, Kerala and many states of India where they have become minority).

    3. Actual data of violence against Hindus vs violence by the Hindus. The data confirm that even in the region where Hindus are majority, they are-more at of receiving end of violence at the hand of minority).

    Now here is big question?

    Does the ideology or religion which caused the destruction and partition of India still present on the ground?

    The answer from the perspective of most Hindus living in India is resounding YES. Hindu see day in and out how their rights and lives are trembled upon by bigoted but determined minority.

    In such scenario of merciless attacks, any human with survival instinct will act for defending himself.

    Hindus very well know that what future holds for them when they will become minority in India. It will be nothing different than conditions of Yazidis at the hand of ISIS(subject of research for you).

    It is unfortunate that people relying on propaganda declare Hindu resistance as fascism. From their perspective Hindus should stop their survival efforts and opt for outright suicide instead.

  6. Please educate yourself and your data on 400k Kashmiri Hindu pandits still refugees due to Islamists pushing them out of Kashmir. Please educate yourself of thousands of Hindus leaving Pakistan and Bangladesh and the CAA being the only law protecting them. Also finally, BJP is not in power in Delhi, its AAP and it was Tahir Hussain who was arrested.

  7. Good article. Very important to criticize Islamophobia and the resurgence of right-wing ideology, hopefully before it’s too late.

    • Agreed. Any thoughts on hinduphobia ? Any knowledge of recent history of the region ? Any objective assessment of things over a period ?

  8. Unfortunate to see young kids Like you are coming to conclusions without knowing history. Please do yourself a favor and educate yourself about the real history and then put the pen on the paper. The sad state of Hindus today is just because of their universal acceptance and belief in Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam. We can clearly see how it is being exploited by writers like you. Shame on media.

  9. Disgusting, you are living in dream world and have perhaps never seen or visited ground situation infested by jihadis. I suggest you go and live in Kashmir, you will be dead or converted to Islam in a week. Take this challenge, all your *Hawa Mahal* that you have created by reading stupid news will.be shattered.

  10. Shame on you and your father whose daughter you are..wish your parent have taught you about Hindu religion….Hinduism is the way of life and it is only one region on the earth who never force anyone to convert.. recently had riots in Delhi ..innocent Hindus were chopped and have been through in gutter. It is not your fault ..It is a problem for all parents who don’t properly educate their children about our religion. And after the age when they grow up they are misguided by others because their roots are so weeks for our religion.

    • Hindu is the most savage religion under RSS-BJP. People like you have changed the image of India from a peaceful Gandhi loving country to a fascist where minorities are lynched everyday, forced to say jai Sri ram, to save their lives from Hindu hooligans… Hindus are forcibly converting during COVID19 lockdown for some food. You will not get away with this. You will force the people to rise against RSS-BJP govt. you watch

  11. Great article… We are all humans first any government that differentiates between citizens based on religion, cast or color is unacceptable. All low income citizen deserves govt support. My heart goes out to Migrant laborers and other poor souls who are under lockdown with no food and medicines

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