On October 02, 2019 – on his 150th birthday – Gandhi’s ashes were stolen from his memorial in India and his picture desecrated with the word “traitor”. The Indian media...
On October 02, 2019 – on his 150th birthday – Gandhi’s ashes were stolen from his memorial in India and his picture desecrated with the word “traitor”. The Indian media reported it to be an act of the RSS.
Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) is an Indian right-wing, Hindu nationalist paramilitary volunteer organization which was founded in 1925 to unite Hindus and promote Hindu superiority. It is the parent organization of the Bharatiya Janta Party (BJP). Currently, the RSS is the world’s largest NGO with a network throughout India and abroad. It was banned once during the British rule and then in post-independence India in 1948 when one of its members assassinated Mahatma Gandhi.
The RSS draws its inspiration from the Nazi theory of racial superiority by considering Hindus to be the purest race. It aims at the Hinduization of South Asia. Several reports by international media have uncloaked the Hindutva indoctrination of Indian youth in which they are given a daily dose of Hindu nationalism.
Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi is a life-long member of the RSS. Rising through the ranks of the RSS and then the BJP, he became the CM of Gujarat in 2001. One year after he assumed the charge of CM, in 2002 thousands of Muslims were killed in the Gujarat carnage.
Fast forward to 2014: Modi becomes the PM of India. The RSS’ hold on Indian polity grows ever stronger. Mob lynching of Muslims occurs frequently. Cow slaughter is de-facto banned in many states of India. Violence in Kashmir also soars to new heights. In his second term as PM, Modi has revoked Article 370 in Kashmir, stripping the valley of its special status and violating UN resolutions on Kashmir.
All this begs an important question: What is the future of India under the RSS? On the economic front, India is witnessing its worst economic meltdown with GDP growth rate shrinking to 6.2 percent in 2019 compared to 8.2 percent in 2016-17. American companies showed little interest in investment in India during Modi’s recent visit to the US where he met multinationals from the banking, defence and oil sectors.
None of the giants committed to any big-ticket investment, which could have come as a respite for a slowing Indian economy that is facing rapid job losses. This at a time when American companies based in China are aggressively looking for greener pastures due to the raging US-China trade war.
On the political front, India is swiftly becoming a powder keg for minority Sikhs, Dalits, Naga people and Muslims. Space for freedom of religion and speech is rapidly shrinking, setting the ground for ethnic riots. The outburst against revocation of Article 370 in Indian-occupied Kashmir rekindled the Khalistan and Nagaland movements with Sikh expats joining the Kashmiri protest throughout the Western world. Many political pundits believe that the snowball effect of this will bring the Indian economy to its knees.
On the international stage, India’s image has never been this tarnished. Over the years, India has spent billions of dollars to build its soft power as the largest liberal democracy of the world. This soft power is rapidly diminishing in the wake of the recent human rights violations in Kashmir. Excessive reporting has been done by the Western media regarding the recent wave of state atrocities in Indian-occupied Kashmir. The narrative of Kashmir being an ‘internal matter’ of India has been badly defeated, making India vulnerable.
Be that as it may, there a few sane voices across the border that are countering the complete control of the RSS over India. We, on this side of the border, can only hope that better sense prevails before it’s all too late.
The writer is a political commentator and public policy analyst based in Islamabad.