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Fighting Hindutva – South Asia Solidarity and Ambedkar International Mission #nohindutva

 

On May 30th, 2014 — around 35 people gathered in City to critically assess the role of progressive South Asians in challenging an emboldened Hindu right in the diaspora. The 3-hr meeting was meant as a start to a conversation that integrates anti-caste and queer politics within the left, anti-communal response to Hindu fundamentalism. This report attempts to both document the points raised in the meeting as well as serve as a resource tool for other organizers in our fight to effectively disrupt Hindutva in the diaspora. (The meeting was live-tweeted by @darkmatterrage. The storify can be found on twitter here and under #nohindutva).

The meeting was divided into four parts (detailed below). The resources/handouts used are all linked in this report.

Part I: Indian Elections, Modi and the Hindu Right (Biju)

 

Indian Elections, Modi and the Hindu Right (Biju) – Summary Points

    • The broad ideological framework of Hindutva: Hindutva’s relationship to India as a geographical terrain is a set of claims about who India belongs to. It is unification of two notions – fatherland and holyland. And in doing so, Hindutva unites those individuals who make theological and geographical claims. The two work together to exclude a certain set of people.
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    • How has the Hindu right has been able to operationalize these ideologies? Romila Thapar’s notions of syndicated Hinduism. By taking a diverse set of philosophies and canonizing it, brahminizing it through a narrow prism.

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    • There is also the organizational formation of Hindutva in India. They have created a large number of organizations, the fountainhead of which is the RSS (organized around ideas of nationalism, with a borrowing from the European fascist movements).

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    • Indian Elections: India has not had a single party achieve a simple majority in Parliament for over 25 years. The obvious question is how did the BJP pull this off? I suggest reframing the question slightly. In that, how is it that no one was expecting a victory of such significant proportions? (including the BJP – see Modi’s opening remarks).

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    • What are the factors on the ground that informed each other in complicated ways that led to such a huge BJP victory? To begin the discussion, rather than name these factors comprehensively, I will lay out three vectors of the Indian elections.

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    • 1. Indian bourgeoisie, Indian capitalist class switching completely and in large numeric numbers to the Hindu right. In 2010, The TATA-nano plan was unveiled in Gujarat. It was hailed as the quickest turn around from commissioning to production. The ease with which Modi brushed aside the farmer protest movement against the TATA-Nano plan. It was an important moment for the media, the elite class and Indian bourgeoisie to see – here’s a man who could do this. Combined with the growing reputation of the Congress party of “policy paralysis” – a term that gains momentum in the media around 2010. These forces, in turn, acts as a platform for Modi’s campaign – who is re-imagined as an economic superman (despite no evidence). There is no “Gujarat Model”. Gujarat’s economic growth has been tepid, while its social indicators has been very low (follows the models of many other states).The answer to “policy paralysis” according to the Indian, capitalist class was authoritarianism. And in doing so, India has elected an authoritarian government through an democratic process. Within this frame, Modi’s reputation during the Gujarat pogrom helped bolster his image as decisive and no-nonsense. Over the past ten years, there has been a huge expansion of media by both the Ambani groups. Indian media has gone through a thorough re-structuring.

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    • 2. “Youth Bulge” (without characterization of the youth beyond age). It’s only a number, without any other information about the youth. 150 million is a number. Many are rural. They are a post-Babri Masjid generation and even a post-Gujarat carnage generation. Even as we talk about youth as a post-x generation, we empty them of any ideological formation. So what has been the youth’s ideological make-up informed by in the last decade? Values of neo-liberal citizenship – hyper-individualism and hyper-utilitarism (ex. corruption)

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    • 3. Majoritarinism – which has been enfolding since 1952 – Ambedkar’s fight for the Lok Sabha seat . The problem of majoritarinism is not unique to India, it is a fundamental failure of liberal democracies all over the world. Ambedkar was very clear in states and minorities that majoritarinism in liberal democracies would only recreate social inequalities in Indian society through governments.

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    • This is the first time that a party was able to win a parliament majority with only a 31% popular vote. This is a modern day enfolding of what Ambedkar warned us about over 50 years ago – that of the crisis of communal majoritarinism.

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  • Hindu Right in the Diaspora will try and consolidate around this victory. The diaspora has been playing a key role. The Modi candidacy has been significantly promoted through the Indian diaspora. Everything from the Public Relations firm that Modi used (Washington DC-based APCO Worldwide) to the British Indian who ran Modi’s Delhi campaign office. So how will the diasporic Hindutva refashion itself? By pushing RSS and other such organizations to the back and bringing forward a public front — like the Hindu American Foundation (HAF) as its liberal front. HAF is an organization that positions itself as pro-minority within the frame of multiculturalism while being deeply casteist, Islamphobic and of course, a huge supporter of Modi. HAF and other Hindu right organization functions within a frame of minority-rights in the diaspora. Ex – discussion of the California text book struggle.

Read mor where – http://fightinghindutva.wordpress.com

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