India on its way to a Hindu-nationalist dictatorship?

India on its way to a Hindu-nationalist dictatorship?

After the new law about Kashmir, the BJP and the RSS and other Hindu nationalists now question Gandhi’s role and praise his assassin Ghandse and Modi is now pushing for a new legislation in form of the Civil Amendments Act (CAA) and a National Registration law which stigmatizes Muslims, Christians and other religions. There are now mass protests aginst this law as the Indian Supreme Court is not reliable anymore and the secular character oft the Indian state, its society and constitution is questioned. A good article explaining this is:

„India belongs to all

Shyam Saran
Former Foreign Secretary and senior fellow, Centre for Policy Research

It is ironic that the year in which we celebrate the 150th anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi, the Father of the Nation, we are locked in a debate about what kind of country should India be. Was not this issue settled when, after intense, but always civilised debate, a Constitution for the Republic of India was adopted on January 26, 1950? All the diverse communities of India, all shades of opinion and political persuasions were represented in the Constituent Assembly. They worked under the shadow of the trauma of the Partition and the assassination of Gandhi. This was an India still in the making. Its future was uncertain. Yet, the leaders of independent India were still able to put together a charter to guide the newborn nation, at once practical but also visionary. The Constitution draws inspiration from what is best among India’s own civilisational attributes, but also acknowledges the imperatives of a modern, egalitarian and enlightened society. In the past seven decades, India has often fallen short of the benchmarks it set for itself. But today is different because the benchmarks themselves are being questioned, derided and violated. It is some reassurance that those who undermine the Constitution still feel compelled to swear by it. Nehru may have been discarded but Gandhi still enjoys residual shelf life.

The Citizenship Act Amendment (CAA) is significant not for this or that specific clause but because it announces an imagining of India starkly different from what the Constitution envisioned. For the very first time, there is a law which introduces a distinction based on religious faith with respect to citizenship. This is irrespective of the claim that existing Muslim citizens will be unaffected by it. This is not the same as affirmative action based on social or economic infirmities accepted in the Constitution. It is possible that the arcane technicalities will be found by courts to validate it but that will be papering over the grievous wound inflicted on the very fabric of the Constitution.

The alternative imagining of India is a country that privileges the adherents of the Hindu faith. It is based on the as yet untested assumption that an overarching Hindu identity, ranging across sectarian, caste, regional and linguistic differences can be constructed on a Hindu-Muslim binary. The Hindu rashtra concept builds on this assumption. The case of Assam may suggest otherwise. The Constitution also strives to create an overarching Indian identity but one which is based on citizenship which transcends, but does not seek to either privilege or suppress these separate identities, including religious identities. Citizenship, as defined in the Constitution, is individual based and has nothing to do with other affiliations or identities that an individual may have. He enjoys fundamental rights as a citizen and this is not subject to his affiliation with any social or religious community. It is this concept of citizenship which the CAA has violated.

The CAA is a matter of concern also because of what has preceded it and what is intended to follow it. On August 5, Article 370 was suspended, J&K was bifurcated into Union Territories, and a virtual lockdown was imposed in the Muslim-majority Valley which mostly remains in place. Internet access has been denied to the residents of the Valley but they may now take consolation from the fact that this is also occasionally the fate of fellow citizens in several other parts of the country, including UP. Then came the historic SC judgment on the Babri Masjid case. Curiously, the acts of placing idols in the precincts of the masjid and the subsequent demolition of the masjid itself were held to be criminal acts, and yet, the judgment was in favour of a Ram temple being constructed at the same location. Decisions by the ruling party to make Yogi Adityanath the Chief Minister of UP despite his record of deep antipathy towards Muslims and the nomination of Pragya Thakur, who glorifies Gandhi’s assassin, Godse, as a candidate for election to the Lok Sabha, which she won handsomely, all point to an unmistakable pattern, an incontrovertible direction. If there are doubts about where we are headed one should see the video, which has been widely circulated, of schoolchildren in Puducherry re-enacting the demolition of Babri Masjid as a glorious historic achievement and being applauded by the Lt Governor. The government’s obfuscation over the updating of the National Population Register which has commenced, the creation of a National Register of Indian Citizens which is to follow and the construction of detention centres where those of doubtful citizenry may be held, seek to camouflage an intent to create an India very different from what we signed to as ‘We the People of India’ in 1950. This is what lies at the heart of the struggle unfolding on the streets across India. It is heartening that it is young students belonging to different faiths, who are together defying the power of a coercive state to reclaim peacefully the vision of India enshrined in the Constitution.

Good governance needs credibility, transparency and accountability. These attributes are becoming hard to find in the current ruling dispensation, whether in respect of political or economic decision making. Above all, in a democratic country, the state must not raise its fists to rain blows on its citizens. ‘Sabka Saath, Sabka Vikas’, and the additional element the PM has now added, ‘Sabka Vishwas’, should not remain a politically expedient slogan. It should become the benchmark for all government action, for it truly imbibes the spirit of the Indian Constitution.

Now Modi makes a military reform and so called experts claim that this is a very democratic measure:

„India’s 1st commander-in-chief takes over sans powers

By appointing first chief of defense staff with curtailed powers, premier Modi ensures civilian supremacy, say experts

As India recently appointed its first commander-in-chief — a single point authority to head all the three defense services — the powers of the post have been curtailed sufficiently to avoid the possibility of any military take over and to ensure civilian supremacy.

Sounds for me similar to the measures Erdogan was taking against the Turkish military to weaken it and to prevent any potential coup d´etat against the AKP and himself. The EU and NATO´ at this time were so stupid to praise Erdogan for these democratic reforms and didn´t understand that he was just weakening the military to the point that he could establish his islamofascist leadership. And the joint staff of chief and the higher echelons of the Turkish officers were weakened further by the Ergenekon trial and get corrupted by new armenstprograms and anti-Kurdish nationalism, that they didn´t support the desperate young officers when they tried to make their failed coup d´etat.

And sounds similar for me like Hitler when the German military was coming under his control, even with an oath on the Führer and the German generals with the exception of General Beck supported his rearmament program, the coming war till Stalingrad. When parts of the German military and national conservatives discovered that the war was lost, they tried a desperate coup d´etat but failed. This Stauffenberg and his supporters were also just rats who supported Hitler as long as he won.

One important question which was never a topic of Western analysis is how the Indian army recruited and on which ideological base. Everybody thought that Ghandi was a pacifist and that the Indian army was recruited from a democratic peaceful mainstream. However, in the Indian army Gandhi, Nehru are as much as respected as Indian Nazi collaborator and nationalist Chandra Bose.

Bose was for the armed struggle, for a war and the Indian Army on the one side recruited from the former British trained elements, but also from Bose elements as they could not recruit that much from Ghandi pacifists, but had to rely on nationalists. Of course, the Indian army is yet secular, but it is nationalistic on a high degree and authoritarian. I would compare these Bose elements with the German national conservatives, the Wehrmacht and the Prussian military. which cooperated with Hitler and his Nationalsocialists as he met their nationalistic demands. Same with the Turkish army now. And if it is against the Treaty of Versailles, Kurds or Pakistan, they will march along with a non-secular and authoritarian party and its leaders.

However, I hope that Modi´s Kashmir and Pakistan policy is not leading to war as I had an interview with the retired General Asthana who supported „out- of the box-thinking“ including that he claimed that Pakistan’s nuclear weapons were just a bluff. I hope that nobody in India is so mad to risk a war with Pakistan as nationalism and anti- Muslim resentments are growing.Hopefully, they remember that they are both nuclear powers. The difference is to Hitler and Erdogan is that Modi doesn´t want a Hinduist Greater Indian Empire as the neo-Ottomanian empire or the Great German Reich with the exception of Kashmir and Pakistan.Modi isn´t such an expansionist and revisionist power.

The comment of a Russian India expert:

„Well, that remains to be seen and will test his ability to control things „

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