I am raising a serious issue that touches upon a person’s legal right of exclusive possession of his/her personal creation – whether a scientific formula, or a literary piece, or even a political programme. This is known as copyright, or patent in relation with certain products. If anyone uses that material without the permission of its original author, or fails to acknowledge credit to its producer, he will be liable for prosecution.
Now, may be I am being the devil’s advocate, as I am raising a hypothetical question. Suppose if Hitler were alive today (thank God, he isn’t !), under the prevailing copyright and patent laws, wouldn’t he have been entitled to sue Narendra Modi for infringement of the copyright of the Nazi model which Hitler alone designed in Germany in the 1930s ? After all, it’s Hitler’s ideas and tactics that Modi has plagiarized from the Nazi text book. Modi’s speeches, like those of Hitler’s are filled with misinformation, religious majoritarian and nationalist chauvinist sentiments, and aggressively promote his personal image to the mindless cheer of the mob. His lieutenants in the BJP, in their public utterances and lectures, spread vitriol against Muslims, and political opponents who are branded as urban Naxalites – in the style of the same hate -filled anti-Jewish and anti-Communist propaganda that was spewed by Goebbels and other Nazi leaders .
Similar to Germany in the 1930s, we witness today in India, armed marauders and murderous gangs of the Sangh Parivar, the Vishva Hindu Parishad, Bajrang Dal and other outfits going on a killing spree, in the footsteps of the Nazi Storm Troopers, shouting `Jai Shri Ram,’ almost sounding like `Heil Hitler !’
Stealing Hitler’s patent of shaping governing institutions
Even India’s official snooping department, the NIA (National Investigative Agency), has taken a leaf out of the book of the Gestapo (`Geheime Staatspolizei’ – the Nazi secret police). Like the Gestapo which hounded, imprisoned and killed Hitler’s political opponents and other intellectual dissidents, the NIA in India today is hauling up social activists, students and youth participants in civil liberties movement, independent journalists who expose cases of the violation of human rights both by state agencies and the ruling BJP leaders. They are arrested and put behind bars for years, without trial. (I have dealt in detail with the neo-Nazi functioning of the NIA in my article: India’s `Gestapo’ – National Investigative Agency in Countercurrents, 26/12/21).
If we turn to another institution – the jails in India – where these social activists and political dissenters are imprisoned, we again find that the Modi government is stealing the patent of `concentration camps’ that Hitler invented. He created the camps in Dachau, Buchenwald, Auschwitz and other places, and established a strict model whereby the prisoners were to be exterminated through different methods – gas chamber, torture, starvation, denial of medical treatment among other means.
Narendra Modi has adopted some of these methods from the jail manual that Hitler fashioned for his concentration camps. Instead of spending money on setting up separate gas chambers, Modi has modified Hitler’s model by turning the Indian jails into mini-gas chambers. Thanks to the suffocating toxic environs within their premises, polluted drinking water and food, and denial of medical treatment, the number of deaths in these jails increased by seven percent from 2019 to 2020 – according to the officially released Prison Statistics India, 2020 report.
Among the victims of these mini-gas chambers in Indian jails, there are prominent social activists and political dissidents. To mention two recent cases – the octogenarian Father Stan Swamy who was imprisoned for organizing the tribal poor to assert their rights, died in Taloja Jail in Maharashtra on July 5, 2021, after having been denied medical treatment by the jail authorities. On August 25, 2021, in Nagpur Central Jail, a political activist Pandu Narote died – again following similar denial of necessary medical care. Pandu Narote was a co-accused with G. N. Saibaba, a professor of Delhi University, who remains confined in the same Nagpur central jail, on the charge of association with Maoists. Wheelchair-bound Saibaba is 90% disabled, and is confined in isolation within a narrow cell which is shaped as an oblong . Known as `anda cells’ (egg-shaped cells), similar cells have been set up in other jails too for the solitary confinement of political prisoners and social activists.
In fact, the Modi government has improved upon the Nazi model of concentration camps by inventing the `anda cell.’ In the Nazi concentration camps, while the prisoners could at least share each other’s company and ordeals (and often put up collective resistance), in the `anda cells’, the individual prisoner is left alone to protest against acts of injustice, and wrestle within his own mind to protect himself from sinking into mental depression.
Narendra Modi’s obligation to Hitler
Judging by the record of the style of governance by Narendra Modi, as described above, Modi should acknowledge his debt to Hitler – along with his `gurus’ in the Sangh Parivar – from whom he derived inspiration. He should not have any qualms in including a foreigner among his political teachers, or even placing him on a higher pedestal, in his altar of devotion.
To recall the past, Narendra Modi’s Hindu guru M.S. Golwalkar way back in 1939, paid tribute to Hitler by praising him for exterminating the Jews, and advised Indians to imbibe that model by destroying their Semitic counterparts in India, the Muslims. Following is Golwalkar’s infamous statement: “To keep up the purity of the Race and its culture, Germany shocked the world by purging the country of the Semitic races and the Jews. Race pride at its highest has been manifested here…. a good lesson for us in Hindusthan to learn and profit by.” (We or Our Nationhood. 1939).
Shouldn’t Narendra Modi in public announcement, pay tribute to Hitler for `learning and profiting by’ him ? Only by this acknowledgement, he can overcome the allegation of stealing Hitler’s copyright and patent rights – an allegation that might be hurled against him by the present day neo-Nazi followers of Hitler in Europe and elsewhere.
Sumanta Banerjee is a political commentator and writer, is the author of In The Wake of Naxalbari’ (1980 and 2008); The Parlour and the Streets: Elite and Popular Culture in Nineteenth Century Calcutta (1989) and ‘Memoirs of Roads: Calcutta from Colonial Urbanization to Global Modernization.’ (2016).