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24 December, 2007

Will Modi's win in Gujarat threaten India as a democratic and secular nation?

by Ghulam Muhammed

Today, this question will be on the minds of majority of people of India and even weighing heavily with international community. Can an emerging economic power like India should be available to a fascist political movement that may wreck the peace of the world?

Modi's election victory should be analyzed through three dominant undercurrents: It pits the state of Gujarat against the Central Government. It pits Hindus against the Muslims. It pits lawlessness against the Laws of the land.

Modi in Gujarat had orchestrated a campaign against the Central government, which is ruled by Congress and the Communists, diametrically opposed to Modi's Hindutva. When he raised the slogan: Jeetega Gujarat --- Gujarat will win; he left out the other part of the slogan, haregi Dilli --- Delhi will be defeated. The old Indian History of the Mughal Delhi, whom he derisively refers to as Sultanate of Delhi, has been resurrected to de-legitimize Congress and CPM and other coalition members of the UPA government, who carry the banner of secularism. Just as Communists have carved two states as their regional strongholds, where they are ensconced on a long term basis, Modi too feels, Hindutva needs a secure base in a regional state with its own private and distinct identity.

The difference between CPM and Modi is that while CPM has courted Muslim votes, both in West Bengal and in Kerala, to solidify its rule in a longer term consolidation and reaped its benefits. Modi, a true follower of the extremely radicalized RSS movement, that is ideologically committed to the physical destruction of Muslims, in India and abroad, has deeply communalized Gujarat polity and had demonized Muslims to carve out his own communalized vote-bank that is against the letter and spirit of Indian constitution. In fact, he is grossly in violation of the election code of conduct that prohibits and even debars any political party that does not confirm to Constitutional benchmark of believing and practicing the twin fundamentals of democracy and secularism.

For all practical purposes, Modi's progress has all the contours of a Hitler winning his election in a democratic Germany but later using his political power to impose his own brand of fascism, built around nationalism and racial superiority and exclusivity. Hitler had his Jews, while Modi has his Muslims. Hitler had his kristallnacht, Modi had his 2002 pogrom. On hearing that a German Embassy staff, Vom Rath was shot by a German Polish Jew living in Paris; after intense discussion, Hitler left 'fighters dinner' while Propaganda Minister Joseph Goebbels delivered the speech instead, in which he commented that "the F¨¹hrer has decided that such demonstrations should not be prepared or organised by the party, but insofar as they erupt spontaneously, they are not to be hampered." This may seem a fairly innocuous comment, but attending chief party judge Walter Buch later stated that the message was clear; with these words Goebbels had commanded the party leaders to organise the pogrom that would later be known as Kristallnacht. The SA shattered the storefronts of about 7500 Jewish stores and businesses, hence the appellation Kristallnacht (Crystal Night). Wikipedia describes: "At 1:20am on November 10, 1938, Reinhard Heydrich sent an urgent secret telegramme to "All Headquarters and Stations of the State Police, All Districts and Sub-districts of the SA" containing instructions regarding the riots.
The timing of the riots varied from unit to unit. The Gauleiters started at about 10:30pm, only two hours after news of vom Rath's death reached Germany. They were followed by the SA at 11pm, and the SS at around 1:20am. Most were wearing civilian clothes and were armed with sledgehammers and axes, and soon went to work on the destruction of Jewish property. The orders given to these men were very specific, however: no measures endangering non-Jewish German life or property were to be taken (synagogues too close to non-Jewish property were smashed rather than burned); Jewish businesses or dwellings could be destroyed but not looted; foreigners (even Jewish foreigners) were not to be the subjects of violence; and synagogue archives were to be transferred to the S.D. The men were also ordered to arrest as many Jews as the local jails would hold, the preferred targets being young, healthy males.

In exactly similar scenario, Modi held a meeting of his top people and reported to have given 3 clear days to avenge the Godhra train burnings, blaming local Muslims for the accident.. Just as on cue, in Germany party cadre destroyed hundreds of shops owned by Jews; in Gujarat a similar orgy of death and destruction was unleashed on Muslims. Their shops and properties were looted and then burned. In rural areas, Muslims were unceremoniously butchered, burned or buried in mass graves. Muslim women were raped, killed and burned. Some were torched alive.

Hitler gave one night. Modi is reported to have given three days.

Modi's public campaign brought the worst fascist logic to all his aggressive assertion. When he challenged Sonia ben to hang him for the premeditated murder of Sohrabuddin, he was challenging the rule of law in India. Modi did not care for the fact that he was in open and direct contempt of court and even liable to be prosecuted as the prime accused as the mastermind in a fake encounter, that is currently being pursued in courts. During the election campaign, Modi's outbursts were typical of Hitlerian harangues. He kept on challenging the law of the land.

Congress in opposition is in such a terribly unstable condition, that it dare not challenge Modi or his Bharatiya Janata Party, even when they commit blue murder in broad daylight. This weakness of secular and democratic opposition has boosted the aggressive politics of the fascist movement and bodes ill for the future of the country, as a bastion of democracy and secularism.

If political forces in India are not alert and aware, India could become a victim of a fascist takeover. Once entrenched, only wars can dislodge the usurpers.

Ghulam Muhammed, the author of this essay, can be contacted at>

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