By Theodore Shoebat
The year 2014 saw the election of Narendra Modi, and with it the world witnessed the beginning of a nationalist and tribalist phenomena that began in the East. With the popularity of Shinzo Abe in Japan, and the victory of Modi, an atmosphere of jingoist fervor was very real. Just a number of months after Modi’s win, Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader Rajeshwar Singh declared, “Muslims and Christians will be wiped out of India by December 31, 2021.” These words were not received by the Americans who, overtaken by their hatred for Obama and seeking their own nationalist hero, saw in Hindu fanaticism against Muslims a hope for a world victory against Islamization. Many people in the American Right expressed a disturbing degree of respect for the anti-Islamic mob that was and has been brewing in India.
But the reality is that the Hindu fanatic will kill both the Muslim and the Christian, because to him the most important thing is the establishment of a Hindu purist state. So, when India’s recent CAB (Citizenship Amendment Bill) allows citizenship only to non-Muslims, essentially keeping Muslim immigrants to the status of non-citizen, what we are witnessing is an incremental step towards Hindu tyranny, because Muslims — since 9/11 — have been the easiest scapegoats on earth. It begins with Muslims, and it will expand to Christians, because the Hindu hates Christianity with just as much frenzy. If you are to understand the BJP, you have to look at its umbrella organization, the RSS (Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh). The ideology of the RSS is highly influenced by the work if M.S. Golwalkar who believed that both Muslims and Christians wanted to create their own states within India. In the words of Jyotirmaya Sharma:
“Golwalkar considered Christians to be anti-national as well. They too had designs on annexing a piece of territory of the Hindu nation. They preached their faith in the name of religious education, he alleges, but the real motive was increasing their numbers through conversion in places like Nagaland and Jharkhand. They would one day invoke the principle of self-determination and demand an independent state. They too, like the Muslims, were internal enemies.”
Golwalkar believed that the only people worthy to be called Indians were those whose pitrubhoomi (fatherland) and punyabhoomi (sacred land) were in India. To demonstrate Golwalker’s Hindu tribalism, we will present a statement of his:
“The non-Hindu peoples in Hindusthan (different from Hindustan) must either adopt the Hindu culture and language, must learn to respect and hold in reverence Hindu religion, must entertain no idea but those of glorification of the Hindu race and culture i.e., they must not only give up their attitude of intolerance and ungratefulness towards this land and its age-long traditions but must also cultivate the positive attitude of love and devotion instead—in other words they must cease to be foreigners, or may stay in the country, wholly subordinated to the Hindu nation, claiming nothing, deserving no privileges, far less preferential treatment—not even citizen’s rights. There is, or at least should be, no other course for them to adopt. We are an old nation; and let us deal, as old nations ought to and do deal, with foreign races, who have chosen to live in our country.”
V.D. Savarkar, a major ideologue behind the Hindutva ideology, defined a Hindu with the typical nationalist talk of “fatherland”:
“A Hindu means a person who regards this land of Bharat-Varsha from the Indus to the Seas as his Fatherland as we as his Holyland, that is the cradle land of his religion. These are the essentials of Hindutva—a common nation (rashtra), a common race (jati) and a common civilisation (sanskriti).
When we look at the rise of Hindu nationalism, we should not see some sort of heroic uprising against Islamic tyranny, but really a gang of opportunists who are using the dangers of Jihadism as a way to bolster their own advocacy for Hindu despotism. Its all a power play of utilizing certain problems and concerns as leverage to spark favor for a form of political leverage, taking one evil to justify another.
The rise of nationalism in the East expanded to the West and this is manifested in the recent popularity for the AfD and the Austrian Freedom Party. The phenomena tribalism can lead to nothing good, since pride in one’s tribe means resurfacing old rivalries, old hatreds, and old wars.