Fascism was a system of government that flourished in Europe in times between two World Wars, and has since been appearing and reappearing in several parts of the world. The current rise of Narendra Modi, a staunch Hindu nationalist in India, is the latest version of fascism which was applied by Adolf Hitler in Germany, Mussolini in Italy and Franco in Spain.
Fascism is right-wing political philosophy which opposes egalitarianism and is based on conservatism, authoritarianism and powerful nationalism in which a dictator becomes the central figure of authority. It encourages suppression of the opposition as well as minorities and several social, religious, ethnic, racial and political groups by regarding them anti-national.
A government’s control on economy and centralisation of authority give a dictator or a leader a powerful authority to act on his own as a saviour to rid the nation of all evils. The small social, religious and ethnic groups suffer at the hands of the government authorities and suppression is deemed the only priority in the system.
India is emerging as a fascist government as its Prime Minister Narendra Modi is groomed by RSS or Rashtarya Sawak Sang, an extremist Hindu organisation established in 1923 with an aim and dream to convert all the South Asian regions into one Hindu state.
Soon after coming into power, Modi tried to establish the authority of Hindu nationalism on the basis of superiority over all other non-Hindu groups in India. At least 360 million Dalits, low caste Hindus, are already living in utter poverty and are denied the basic human rights. They are regarded as the most unclean and are not allowed to visit the temples and shrines of upper class Hindus. Dalits cannot enter a Hindu majority area with shoes on and are forced to keep them away from the superior Hindus so that they should not even cast a shadow over them.
In the name of Hinduism and nationalism, the Rashtarya Sawak Sang holds the banner of democracy firmly in its hands not allowing anyone to violate the party rules or oppose any government step. India recently claimed surgical strike on Pakistan to create war hysteria in Hindu population and propaganda is blatantly used as a tool to eulogise Modi and his team. The Bhartiya Janata Party has used the fake surgical strike to manipulate elections in several Indian states. The so-call largest democracy in the world is heading toward totalitarianism and voices of dissent are suppressed on one pretext or the other.
The Modi government amended the constitution to punish those depicting the occupied Kashmir as the disputed territory in violation of the United Nations resolutions and in defiance of the international community. The second part of the plan was to incorporate the disputed territory in Indian union by rescinding article 370 of the constitution, but the government miserably failed after popular uprising in Kashmir. The violence started after the assassination of Kashmiri freedom fighters. Hundreds of Kashmiris have been killed, blinded and thousands are wounded but the cycle of Indian atrocities failed to subside.
The picturesque Kashmir valley has been turned into a garrison of the Indian army and killing field of Kashmiri youth. The puppet government backed by New Delhi has let loosed a reign of terror in the valley and has started a witch-hunt of the pro-freedom Kashmiris. The Indian intelligence agencies are picking up youth for interrogation, and most of them have never returned to homes.
The worst aspect of fascism is that peace is not an option for the man in authority. The Indian troops have resorted to unprovoked firing on civilians on Azad Kashmir and there is no letup in the intensity of hostilities since the trouble started five months ago.
India has also launched diplomatic offensive against Pakistan to isolate it in the world community, but its bid has so far miserably failed. India has also started building dams on the rivers in violations of the international agreements and the aggressive policy has brought the South Asia neighbours on the brink of war. Modi, a member of the modest social class, has managed to create hype by raising anti-Pakistan stance in elections, which led him into the power corridors.
Like Mussolini in Italy, Modi enjoys all the dictatorial powers on the behest of BJP majority in the Indian parliament. The RSS volunteers are unleashed to suppress the minorities and persecution of Dalits and Muslims is widespread.
Dalits are being openly flagged and punished on the allegation of cow slaughtering and Muslims are pushed to the wall on the issue of Babri Mosque.
The Modi government wants to erase all the images of secularism which India had been proud of since its independence from the British raj. The government is doing everything to create communal disharmony and polarisation. Dalits are the product of Indian caste system and have been living under utter poverty and persecution for hundreds of years. The government policies are the biggest danger not only for the Indian union, but also for the region as Modi has bulldozed all the peace initiatives by Pakistan so far. Not only New Delhi refused to participate in the Saarc moot, it also persuaded other countries in the region to stay away. Ironically, India claimed a victory in the cancellation of the moot in line with fascist system.
The latest misadventure is the cancellation of Rs500 and Rs1000 Indian currency notes, making the entire nation stand in lines in front of banks. The move is a ploy to blame Pakistan for allegedly disturbing the Indian economy through fake notes. At a time when the world is heading towards collaboration in various forms, India is eluding every peace effort and is posing a great danger to peace in South Asia.