The Hindutva fascism is replacing seven decades of secular democratic traditions and liberal constitutional practices in India. The well-established decentralised institutions of governance are destroyed with processes of the centralisation of power by the BJP government led by Mr Narendra Modi. The civilizational traditions of inter-faith dialogue and religious harmony in Indian society is ruined by the majoritarian politics of Hindutva forces. The Indian economy today is in its worst crisis in history even before the outbreak of Coronavirus pandemic. The growing Indian economy was stalled due to economic mismanagement, false economic priorities, irrelevant and arbitrary economic policies. The internal security, neighbourhood policies of India and its external relationships are tattered by the personality cult driven Modiplacy. The economic, social and political crises in India are not isolated events. These are self-inflicted wounds by the ignorance and arrogance of Modi government, which is driven by anti-democratic and obscurantist ideology of the RSS. Where did India go wrong? What are the ideological factors that landed Indians in such a situation of desperation and despondency? How to characterise Modi government? The answers to these questions are central to understand the predicaments of India and Indians today.

The ‘unbridle neoliberal capitalism’ in economy, ‘higher caste identity-based supremacist ideology in politics’, ‘authoritarianism in governance,’ ‘evangelical cultural and religious outlooks’, and ‘false propaganda’ are the five defining characters of Mr Narendra Modi led BJP government in India. These features are central to the forward march of Hindutva fascism in India. These forces are transforming every democratic, judicial, educational, health and security establishments in India to kowtow before the RSS ideology, which derives its historical inspirations from the racist European Nazism and fascism. These forces have historical twin targets. Their first ideological target is to consolidate higher caste Hindus by spreading the politics of fear and hate. It helps in creating the culture of otherness, where religious minorities are branded as enemies of the Indian nation. The second target is to attack political left, human right organisations and activists, progressive and democratic organisations and political parties. The objective is to destroy any form of opposition to the BJP led governments in India.

The Supreme Court of India has given ideological breathing space to fascist forces by defining it as ‘Hindutva is not a religion, but a way of life and a state of mind’ in its 1995 judgement. It helped the BJP to get greater social and political acceptance among politically naïve liberals in India. The first part of the judgement is correct as Hindutva is not a religion. It has nothing to do with Hindu religion and spiritual Hindus. But second part is absolutely a biased conceptualisation. Hindutva is neither a way of life nor a state of mind. It is a political project of reactionary higher caste Hindu identity politics, which is against the democratic, secular and liberal ethos of Indian constitution and multicultural ethos of Indian society. The interconnection between the Hindutva fascism, Indian judiciary and neoliberal capitalism, which is pushing India in a ruinous path of no return. This troika creates Indian form of lawfare, which is against egalitarian principles and promises of Indian Constitution and seven decades of judicial practices in independent India.

The Supreme Court of India destroys universalistic appeal of the Indian Constitution by not halting the implementation of exclusionary laws of the BJP government. The Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA), National Register of Citizens (NRC) and National Population Register (NPR) are unnecessary and unjustified attempts to institutionalise exclusionary form of citizenship and governance, which is antithetical to the Indian society and Indian Constitutional practices. Some of the existing legal and parliamentary traditions help the Hindutva led government to make new laws in Indian legislatures to destroy democracy and deepen social, economic, cultural and religious crises in India. The lawfare is a weapon to pursue the politics of the ruling classes. It is used to destroy any form of political opposition to the reactionary government in India. The lawfare in India provides legitimacy to reactionary political and economic forces by disciplining the masses. It enhances the power of regional, national and international capital and weakens the power of labour. The lawfare helps in socialising the policies and normalising the politics of Hindutva fascist forces in India.

The lawfare creates both conditions, institutions and regimes of capitalist accumulation with the help of Hindutva fascist forces. The social, economic and political crisis is an opportunity for the capitalist classes to capture the natural and other resources in the country. Mr Narendra Modi’s successful bid to be the PM of India twice shows his media made popularity; read it as manipulation helps him to pretend to be the messiah of the masses. He was successful in selling the false development narratives to the electorate by taking advantage of widespread anger against neoliberal economic mismanagement and corrupt practices of the United Progressive Alliance led by the Indian National Congress. However, after defeating Congress party, Modi led BJP is following the same neoliberal economic policies with letter and spirit. The rules and regulations are made to facilitate the mobility of capitalism in India. It helps in the further consolidation of capitalism with the authoritarian governance and fascist politics of Modi led BJP. This is the reason for which Modi is considered to be the darling of capitalist oligarchs in their local, regional, national and international incarnations.

The Ayodhya verdict of the Supreme Court of India has revealed that the lawfare in India is intertwined with so called popular narratives and nationalist sentiments. The so-called popular narratives and nationalist sentiments are shaped by the propaganda of the bourgeois media and reactionary political forces led by BJP and RSS. It seems that historical facts and evidences are no longer sacred in Indian judicial practice. The insidious cult of RSS and BJP is looming large on Indian republic and its future depends on our collective conscious to comprehend the seriousness of the crisis. It would be hypocritic to be silent patriotic when Hindutva fascism is destroying lives and livelihoods of millions of Indians by implementing disastrous economic and development policies. It is time for political struggles to expose the fake nationalism of RSS and BJP, and restore liberal, constitutional democracy in India. The progressive political struggle to defeat Hindutva fascism is the only alternative for the survival of India and its forward march towards a path of peace and prosperity.

Bhabani Shankar Nayak, Coventry University, UK


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