Month: May 2014

Nagesh Rao

From Socialist Worker.Org: Fear Clouds the Indian Elections

IN THE lead-up to India’s parliamentary elections–which began in early April and continue through mid-May–progressive intellectuals, activists and organizations sounded the alarm over the prospect of a victory for the candidate of the Hindu right, Narendra Modi.

A statement by well-known left intellectuals published in The Hindubegan, “Never before in post-independence India have political forces, which are a front for an organization committed to creating a Hindu Rashtra [Nation], made as strong a bid for power as in the coming elections.” Similarly, Salman Rushdie, Deepa Mehta and others warned that Modi’s election “would bode ill for India’s future as a country that cherishes the ideals of inclusion.”

Journalist and rights activist Praful Bidwai issued an even more forceful warning:

If Modi wins, his regime is likely to be even worse [than Indira Gandhi’s imposition of emergency rule in 1975-76], with systematic attacks on civil and political rights, railroading of all legitimate opposition, despotic imposition of corporate-driven economic agendas, and further militarization and communalization of society, which will lead to harassment of conscientious citizens, and outlawing and repression of dissent.

This sense of alarm is justified. Narendra Modi is a former pracharak (literally, propagandist) for the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS, or National Voluntary Association), which functions as the ideological and organizational backbone of the fascist Sangh Parivar, the “family” of Hindu fundamentalist groups that includes militant cadre organizations such as the Bajrang Dal and the Shiv Sena. (more…)