New World Order: India under Modi

President Joe Biden speaks with Prime Minister of India Narendra Modi at the G20, Tuesday, November 15, 2022, at the Apurva Kempinski in Bali, Indonesia. (Official White House Photo by Adam Schultz) More: Original public domain image from Flickr

The potential inevitability of Modi’s triumph in elections this summer necessitates a closer examination of its potential ramifications for peace, social justice, and human rights within India and on a broader international scale, writes Harsev Bains

In the ever-evolving dynamics of the emerging world order, the ascendancy of the Global South emerges as a defining feature. Against this backdrop, the discussions surrounding the re-election prospects of Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi have become a focal point of discourse among pundits and analysts. Delving into the potential inevitability of Modi’s triumph necessitates a closer examination of its potential ramifications for peace, social justice, and human rights within India and on a broader international scale.

Modi’s political journey is a tapestry woven with fervent support and vehement criticism. While some laud his leadership for fostering economic growth and national development, others raise poignant concerns about the impact on social cohesion, religious harmony, and democratic values. The question of whether Modi’s victory is genuinely inevitable calls for a nuanced analysis of India’s political landscape.

From a geopolitical standpoint, Modi’s administration endeavours to position India as a pivotal player in the evolving global order, fostering economic ties and strategic alliances. However, the implications of his potential victory extend beyond economic considerations, impacting peace, stability, and diplomatic relations in the region.

The tenets of social justice and human rights occupy a central role in evaluating Modi’s potential re-election. Concerns regarding religious intolerance, freedom of expression, and minority rights have ignited impassioned debates. Understanding how these factors intersect with the evolving world order is imperative for gauging the impact of Modi’s continued leadership.

The National Democratic Alliance (NDA), spearheaded by the Bhartiya Janata Party (BJP) under the leadership of PM Narendra Modi and Home Minister Amit Shah, following the directives of the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS), stands today as a substantial challenge to the unity and integrity of India, as defined by its constitution as a Sovereign, Socialist, Secular Democratic Republic.

Drawing parallels between historical instances of totalitarianism, such as Nazi Germany, and the current Indian political landscape underscores the need for international solidarity against rising authoritarianism. This solidarity is crucial, given the potential implications for India’s democracy.

Comparing the paths of the Nazi Party and the RSS reveals intriguing similarities:

– The German Workers’ Party, formed in 1920 and led by Adolf Hitler a year later, initiated the process of replacing senior government officials with allegiance to the Nazi Party upon Hitler’s appointment as Chancellor.

– The Nazi Party, a propagator of Nazi ideology, functioned as both an ideology and a political party.

– The Nazi Party had militia-style trained paramilitary groups, organized as Sturmabteilung (SA), and later the Schutzstaffel (SS), under the leadership of Heinrich Himmler, who quashed dissent and achieved subordination.

– Complete media control was a hallmark of Nazi Germany, with Joseph Goebbels appointed as the Reich Minister for Propaganda and Public Enlightenment in 1933 to rally support for the Nazi Party’s ideology.

– Pursuing the Nazi ideology, which described Jews as impure, led to the systematic planning and execution of the genocide of Jews and other minorities.

In response to India’s first war of independence in 1857, British colonialists, disturbed by the unity of Hindus & Muslims, introduced the instruments of divide and rule aiming to exploit and amplify differences. Encouraged by the British, the Muslim League formed in 1906, and Hindu Sabhas and the Hindu Mahasabha formed in 1913.

The ‘Hindutva,’ a book by Hindu Mahasabha leader Vinayak Damodar Savarkar, published in 1923, serves as the driving ideology for communalists.

The Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS), formed in 1925 by Dr. B.K. Hedgewar, is considered the Indian equivalent of the Nazi party. While borrowing from Nazi teachings, its modus operandi is different, featuring over 60,000 military drill units.

The RSS operates as a paramilitary organization with various branches, and the Bhartiya Janata Party (BJP), its public political arm, is the most well-known. Prime Minister Narendra Modi and many members of the Indian Parliament align with the RSS and the Hindutva ideology.

For the purposes of political and social violence, intimidation, and the prevention of electoral franchise, RSS paramilitary troops are deployed. The dedicated information technology department, known as the IT Cell, directly reporting to the leadership, pushes propaganda, rallies people behind its ideology, isolates moderates, neutralizes opposing media, and targets human rights activists and minorities for the promotion of the BJP and its political aspirations in India and abroad.

The BJP holds 10,000 social media cell meetings to ensure constant propaganda, and a majority of mainstream media outlets are owned and run by individuals sympathetic to the BJP agenda.

Following the General Elections in 2014, the BJP commenced the process of replacing senior government officials with allegiance to the RSS, further escalating after 2019. Many government officers either voluntarily or through fear of Enforcement Directorate (ED) intimidation subscribe to the combined power of the BJP and the street power of the paramilitary RSS, defining the forces of Hindutva.

In the opposition block, the Indian National Congress (INC) and the Communist Party of India (Marxist) [CPIM] central drivers of the opposition coalition I.N.D.I.A., play a pivotal role. They counter the narrative presented by the NDA, emphasising democratic values, secularism and social justice. Their stance is crucial in shaping the discourse on India’s political trajectory.

For progressive freedom-loving socialists who are part of Liberation in Britain, focusing on a specific aspect or dimension of the situation in India is a strategic consideration. Campaigning could centre on issues related to social justice, inclusivity, and human rights, aiming to raise awareness and advocate for change. By collaborating with like-minded organizations and leveraging international solidarity, British progressives can contribute to the global dialogue on democratic values and social equality.

In conclusion, as the world witnesses the rise of the Global South and grapples with the challenges of an evolving international order, the analysis of Narendra Modi’s political trajectory becomes integral. While the inevitability of his victory remains a topic of debate, the implications for peace, social justice, and human rights underscore the need for a vigilant and engaged global community. For Liberation in Britain, a focused campaign on specific issues aligns with the values of progressive socialism, fostering dialogue and advocacy for a more just and inclusive India and a world at large.

*Note: Hindutva is a political nationalist ideology seeking to establish Hindu supremacy in India. The term is distinct from Hinduism, the religion practiced in India, and not all Hindus follow Hindutva ideology*

Harsev Bains is Chair of Liberation’s Education Committee and National Vice President of the Indian Workers’ Association GB

This article first appeared in Liberation Journal

Photo: Creative Commons

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