The Modi Surprise and the limits of Hindu Nationalism

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India’s Modi claims victory as he heads for reduced majority

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi has claimed a historic third win in a row in the country’s parliamentary elections, but his ruling alliance appears to have failed to win a large majority as predicted.

What surprised me at the beginning of the India election was two things:

1 – The overwhelming narrative that Modi was going to win a super majority election landslide and

2 – The bewildering level of violence and oppression that Modi’s proxies were prepared to met out to everyone who was an opponent.

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It seemed weird to me that on the one hand Modi was predicted to win a huge majority yet on the other hand his forces were using dirty tactics to beat up, frame and arrest their political opponents.

Turns out Modi was on a list more trouble than he had calculated.

The decision to lean into the worst elements of Hindu Nationalism was driven out of desperation, not strength as Modi’s reforms educate a new middle class, but can’t provide the jobs for that new educated middle class.

There looks like there really is a limit to Hindu Nationalism and as NZ and the world scrambles to economically detach from China, India keeps getting mentioned as our new saviour, but Modi’s authoritarian regime with questionable human rights practices seems as problematic as relying on China.

Is India a trading alternative from an authoritarian regime with questionable human rights practices OR is India another authoritarian regime with questionable human rights practices?

Arundhati Roy: The dismantling of democracy in India will affect the whole world

I thank the Charles Veillon Foundation for honoring me with the 2023 European Essay Award. It may not be immediately apparent how delighted I am to receive it. It’s even possible that I am gloating. What makes me happiest is that it is a prize for literature. Not for peace. Not for culture or cultural freedom, but for literature. For writing. And for writing the kind of essays that I write and have written for the past 25 years.

They have mapped, step by step, India’s descent (although some see it as an ascent) into first majoritarianism and then full-blown fascism. Yes, we continue to have elections, and for that reason, in order to secure a reliable constituency, the ruling Bhartiya Janata Party’s message of Hindu supremacism has relentlessly been disseminated to a population of 1.4 billion people. Consequently, elections are a season of murder, lynching and dog-whistling – the most dangerous time for India’s minorities, Muslims and Christians in particular.

It is no longer just our leaders we must fear, but a whole section of the population. The banality of evil, the normalisation of evil is now manifest in our streets, in our classrooms, in very many public spaces. The mainstream press, the hundreds of 24-hour news channels have been harnessed to the cause of fascist majoritarianism. India’s Constitution has been effectively set aside. The Indian Penal Code is being rewritten. If the current regime wins a majority in 2024, it is very likely that we will see a new Constitution.

It is very likely that the process of what is called “delimitation” – a reordering of constituencies – or gerrymandering as it is known in the US, will take place, giving more parliamentary seats to those Hindi-speaking states in North India where the BJP has a base. This will cause great resentment in the southern states and has the potential to balkanise India. Even in the unlikely event of an electoral defeat, the supremacist poison runs deep and has compromised every public institution that is meant to oversee checks and balances. Right now, there are virtually none, except a weakened and undermined Supreme Court.

…I’m not sure moving our trade from an Authoritarian Communist Regime that is committing cultural genocide and mass repression to a Racial Supremacist Fascist State that is committing hate crimes is really all that much of a win for New Zealand ethically.

Our trade is jumping out of the Chinese pan and into the Indian fire while our American Capitalist masters demand more heat.

Where we can utilise Modi’s extremism for our own ends is by targeting the very educated he’s created. NZ is in urgent need of more doctors, more engineers, more scientists – these are who we should be targeting from India rather than the abusive migrant worker relationship we have now.

NZ educational facilities alongside the Government should open training institutes up in India to create courses for Indian trained drs, engineers and scientists that once completed there can be transferable to NZ with immigration status included.

We should capitalise on Modi’s successes while providing a life line for those Indian citizens who can’t stand his extremism.

 

6 COMMENTS

  1. The problem IMO bringing indian immigrants of the calabar mentioned is that we don’t know there nationalistic tendencies. Apartheid Israel has a similar policy taking in Indian immigrants to fill job vacancies instead of employing Palestinians. India & apartheid Israel have a close relationship because as they perceive have a “muslim problem” The Hindutva roots are predicated on ‘NAZI’ ideology and implemented this into their nationalistic features.

    Hindutva like Zionism is a modern invention — a political ideology. They also have hatred for minority groups and ACT leader David Seymour is one of these politicians that will take advantage of this anomaly by advocating for unfettered indian immigration at the cost of Maoridom and our country cultural well being for votes.

  2. There’s considerably more evidence of mass killings of the people of Kashmir- who have been completely stripped of any political rights in the so-called ‘democracy’ of India- than there is of repression of Uyghurs in China (a concept invented by the deranged ‘christian’ zionist Adrian Zenz).

    • Yes The Kashmir Files was an eye-watering revelation of the mass killings of Kashmiris wasn’t it. Just as well chief censors, including ours, resisted the insane pressure put on them to ban the film.

  3. NZ is becoming a pawn of the US, which is just as, or even more of, an authoritarian protofascist regime as Russia, China and India.
    Don’t you think we need to treat all these imperialist masters as monsters who are all engaged in wars and genocides and threatening the future of humanity.
    Time is past when we have to compromise and negotiate human morality with these regimes.
    Our allies are the workers and poor farmers around the world who have a common interest in throwing these regimes out and building their own workers and poor farmers governments to save the world from war, genocide, nuclear winter and actual species extinction.

  4. > Where we can utilise Modi’s extremism for our own ends is by targeting the very educated he’s created. NZ is in urgent need of more doctors, more engineers, more scientists – these are who we should be targeting from India rather than the abusive migrant worker relationship we have now.

    This sounds like a good way to import Hindu extremists. You might find the ACT Party in agreement with you on that idea.

  5. “Where we can utilise Modi’s extremism for our own ends is by targeting the very educated he’s created. NZ is in urgent need of more doctors, more engineers, more scientists – these are who we should be targeting from India rather than the abusive migrant worker relationship we have now”.

    Cut back on the immigration. Train enough of our own people to be nurses and doctors and scientists. Correct the tax settings so the nurses and doctors are paid properly and don’t leave. If the country wasn’t donating $2.9billion to landlords it could afford 19,000 more doctors and nurses.

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