Hindutva way of normalising violence
Bhabani Shankar Nayak
The pestilence of Coronavirus has given free hand to the Hindutva fascists in India to undermine all democratic norms and constitutionally established institutions. The caste, class and gender based structural violence is ubiquitous. Both the organised and fragmented nature of Hindutva violence is accelerated by the current political regime led by BJP government under the leadership of Mr Narendra Modi. There is a symmetrical relationship between the rise of Hindutva cult of fascist authoritarianism, violence and declining of democracy and failure to consolidate the governing liberal values in India.
In the name of cultural nationalism, the Hindutva forces are pushing India to dark ages and actively manufacturing misinformation and myths by rewriting history. The Hindutva narratives are not symbolic but engage with material realities of everyday life of individuals and communities. The centrality of Hindutva ideology is all about controlling individual rights by forcing food habits, dress patterns, reproductive choices, religious and spiritual freedoms.
Hindutva forces hide their regressive social, political, religious and cultural outlook by intensifying propaganda to advance and implement neoliberal economic reforms in the name of economic growth and development. These flawed policy perspectives accelerate social and economic crisis by overemphasising the role of market forces. Market forces find their natural ally with Hindutva force to run their errant political economy of capitalist consolidation processes. In the absence of democratic polity and representative opposition, the market forces develop oligarchical economic system where the state and Modi government ensures protection and facilitates capitalist accumulation processes in India.
The rampant privatisation of public resources has served the corporations but puts pressure on government’s ability generate revenue for public welfare. There is massive reduction of funding to public health and education. This helps in the growth of private healthcare and education institutions in India. The Modi government has failed to check growing unemployment in urban areas, agrarian destress in the rural areas, crisis in both formal and informal sectors of Indian economy. As social and economic condition of poor has continued to worsen, people are looking for alternatives, but BJP led Modi government is directionless. It continue to divert public attention from real issues of people by focusing on supercilious agendas of Hindutva that threaten the unity and integrity of India.
The Hindutva regime in unison with neoliberalism has created a condition in which Indians have lost their control over their democratic rights. The predetermined fascist ideology of Hindutva and neoliberalism are incompatible with democratic norms and traditions. The culture of corporate dominance over state and government, political and social repression, authoritarian intimidation and surveillance are everyday outcomes of Modi government and its prevailing model of misgovernance. It strengthens of power of lynch mobs promoted by the RSS Hindutva cult. It is systematic strategy to accelerate social and religious conflicts to destabilise constitutional and liberal democracy in India by electoral means. Hindutva forces are following four strategies to normalise religious violence, social conflicts and economic marginalisation in India. It follows the politics of assimilation, co-option, dominance and monopolisation over making of narratives with the organisational network of the RSS. Such a combination of strategies help in diverting issues of poverty, inequality and unemployment.
The normalisation of everyday violence by lynch mobs help Hindutva forces to hide their bourgeoisie hypocrisy and failures in all fronts of governance. Violence always strengthens the power of ruling and non-ruling elites whereas it disempowers the masses and perpetuates impoverishment, disparity and exploitation. Such an outcome is visible in India under BJP led Modi government. The Hindutva forces and cult of violence provide central social and political institutions and create regimes of capitalist accumulation for the crony capitalists in India.
Both structural and erratic forms of violence are integral to Hindutva and capitalist system where peace, prosperity and progress are necessary illusions for the survival of ruling capitalist regimes. Mr Narendra Modi’s government displays this illusion in everyday governance of India and its people. These forces talk about peace and progress but practice violence that destroys prosperity.
Such a process helps in establishing the hegemony of Hindutva and its violence which reduces people’s understanding of nature of our everyday crisis. The culture of fear and struggle for survival becomes primary that takes a toll on intercultural and interreligious social relations in India. The prevailing crisis is an opportunity for the crony capitalist friends of Hindutva to pursue regulations and economic policies that are concomitant with the requirements of capital and market forces. The Modi government is proactively doing this work for his corporate friends who provide him with lump sum money through electoral bonds. In this way, violence breeds political dividends for Hindutva forces and profits for capitalist.
Hindutva politics and capitalist system are twin beneficiaries of Hindutva violence. In this way, Hindutva is an ideological ally of capitalism and its authoritarian culture of governance led by caste and class elites in the Indian society. The Hindutva foot soldiers are ideologically groomed by the RSS to normalise violence to perpetuate caste-class hegemony and weakens working class struggles for justice and equality.
Violence in contemporary India is not natural. It is manufactured by the Hindutva forces. From organising riots to garlanding of mob lynchers have become an unofficial policy directive of the BJP governments in the states and at the centre as well. The cycle of violence is pushing India backward and putting Indian in long term crisis. It is within this context, democratic, liberal, secular and progressive forces in India needs to mobilise the masses for peace, equality, liberty, citizenship rights and justice.
The collective struggle against Hindutva violence can only ensure these objectives for the future of India and survival of Indians with dignity. There is no alternative to mass movements. Only mass movement can defeat Hindutva politics and its entrenched regressive ideology based on everyday violence. The emancipation from violence is a necessary condition for participatory democratic development in India. Unity, solidarity and struggles are three undefeated strategies in history to defeat Hindutva violence and repair the broken republic of India.
Bhabani Shankar Nayak, University of Glasgow, UK