Hitler – A Hero For Hindu Nationalists
India is a rich and diverse nation with a proud ancient heritage. But as Alexis de Tocqueville, “All free peoples appear glorious to themselves; but national pride does not manifest itself among all in the same manner.”
In other words: nationalism can sometimes be a very ugly concept. India’s Hindu nationalists are the exemplification of the excesses of nationalism. The country’s nationalist parties are far-right and often organize themselves along the lines of late European fascist parties with chants, salutes and what can euphemistically be called “youth clubs.”
[Sebastian DâSouza / AFP.]
Parties such as the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) are dogmatically committed to preserving Hindu identity against the ostensible threat of globalization, Indian Muslims and conversion to Christianity among Hindus.
Although the senior leadership in the nation’s far-right parties do not advocate violence, splinter groups and individuals actuated by their rhetoric often do engage in violence in their efforts to achieve stated goals.
Albeit shocking, it should nonetheless not be surprising that individuals with the aspiration of achieving nationalist purity what look for inspiration in the man who infamously championed it to horrific ends: Adolf Hitler.
Reverence for Adolf Hitler â who is hailed as a hero in textbooks in the Hindu nationalist-ruled state of Gujarat, while Mein Kampf remains popular at bookstores â is one of the many sinister aspects of ârisingâ India today. This cult of Hitler as a great âpatriotâ and âstrategistâ grew early among middle-class Hindus.
This is a sad and despairing aspect in a country that is rising in the world as already the most populous democracy. The present-day Hitler admirers though do not pick on Jews, their main target are the nation’s 150 millions. Hindu nationalists view these Muslims as a fifth column aligned with Pakistan.
Hindu nationalists also believed that Indian Muslims were breeding fast, subsidised by plutocratic Arabs and treacherous Pakistanis. Apart from cunningly outpacing a docile Hindu population, their rising and unproductive population was a drag on India, which was destined to be the greatest superpower of the 21st century.
Today, more than a decade after Hindu nationalists finally assumed political power in India and accelerated Indiaâs shift to a free-market economy, Muslims are visibly the most depressed and vulnerable community in India. Terrorist attacks mounted by a small radicalised minority among them increasingly contradict Indiaâs claims as a superpower; but they are far from posing, except in the paranoid Hindu nationalist imagination, an existential threat to India. They tend to be worse off than even low-caste Hindus in the realms of education, health and employment. After dying disproportionately in many Hindu-Muslim riots, more than two thousand Muslims were the victims of a pogrom in 2002 in the Western Indian state of Gujarat. Their main tormentor, Narendra Modi, the business-friendly chief minister of Gujarat (who is also an outspoken admirer of Israel), is now heralded as Indiaâs likely prime minister while tens of thousands of his Muslim victims languish in refugee camps, too afraid to return to their homes.
If India is serious about taking its rightful place in the community of nations and being a genuine world power then it put aside the grotesque far-right Hindu nationalism and embrace Western liberal democracy pluralism.