Mohan Bhagwat’s Nazism with Chinese characteristics

The biggest blunder anybody can commit while responding to the statements of Hindu Nazists, however critical your response or analysis may be, is to miss the basic point that these guys should not be allowed to speak to the public in a civilised and democratic polity. Remember great Zizek’s favourite joke about wheel-barrows[1] or Ali-Brahmanandam’s Isuka Bastaala joke[2]. While your scrutiny is focussed on something very striking, what is actually smuggled before your own suspicious eyes is something else.

Well, before ‘Bharat Mata ki Jai’ begins to be treated like ‘Hitler salute’ and those chant it get arrested for scare-mongering and ‘hate shouts’ (a sub-genre of the Hate Speech and seemingly a distinct Indian contribution), at least in some European, African or Latin American country to begin this much needed process of De-sanghification of India, the minimum we can do is to resist any temptation to treat Sangh leaders’ statements as just like any other public speech, deserving freedom of expression and critical scrutiny.

Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) has of late slowly but methodically managed to come to be treated as if it was not a criminal/fascist/terrorist organisation, the biggest in the world, and its declarations just like any legitimate outfit’s. Its judgements and advice and ‘stand’ on issues ranging from intimate affairs of the individuals (such as sex and clothing) to international affairs and economic policy have become increasingly seen as important.RSS is surely aiming at even as a moral high command of the nation, much above even the Central government, some kind of an idealised Rishi (Saint) status who stands above the secular powers of the Raja (King) in the pop Hindu mythology.

Probably excited by the easy and ever-growing success of public legitimisation RSS has already achieved, its chief, Mohan Bhagwat seems to have committed the classic mistake of any fascist past, present and future: a failure to know where to stop. In a happy discursive self-goal, Mohan Bhagwat took it upon himself to accept the burden of proof – something we have been at pains to tell the people and the world at large with nearly no success at all, even among those oppose Hindutva – and sets out to tell us how his politics would not produce a Hitler.

Hitler

1934, Nuremberg, Germany — Adolf Hitler and his Nazi Salute. Photo Courtesy : Times Live

Bhagwat’s ignorance of the contemporary sensibilities of the International community and even the recent history of the world helped the matters, but not him, in this attempt. He does it exactly in the Hitler’s own register of ‘National greatness’. His assurances that the great India was not interested in occupying others was exactly what Hitler was telling the world before launching his occupation spree.While not taking the fascist self-descriptions seriously is a traditional blunder of the anti-fascists throughout the history, in our mistaken belief in the instrumentalism and insincerity of the fascists, while it has been repeatedly proven that the fascists are honest to their ideals and sincerely committed to their ideology, often with far more commitment than their opponents’s to theirs, taking the fascist self-presentations seriously is futile, even misleading, if we don’t simultaneously factor in the fascist self-delusions in such assessments.

RSS supremo wants us to believe that his Nazist politics will be different from Mussolini’s and Hitler’s. There is no reason to believe that he himself doesn’t. His totalitarianism might probably be aimed at something like a China model, a dictatorship without a Stalin or Polpot at the helm: a combination of the old Brahminism’s speciality of relegating the secular power (Kshatriya) to lesser status than the priestly (Brahmin) one and the success story of the formidable neighbour across the border which has been an envy the Hindu Nazists for a long time (admittedly, and sadly undeniably, we Commies help fascists in more ways than one!). This would be Nazism with Chinese Characteristics.

Bhagwat RSS

RSS Chief Mohan Bhagwat

The assumed or hoped for neat separation of powers in the new totalitarian regime of Bhagawat’s designs, arranged in a harmonious hierarchy is nothing short of a veritable eclecticism in practice, in the real world, particularly when the large-scale social engineering is going to be attempted at involving the one fifth of world’s population cannot even be described as fantasy. Unlike Nazi Germany or China, Hindu Nazists want to have it both ways: consolidating a genocidal regime without any generous welfare net. They incite the mobs and keep them permanently mobilised in a dictatorial framework. Without warfare, those crowds might turn against bite the hand that doesn’t feed them.

To repeat what we have said elsewhere many times, naive Humanism is as unhelpful in this as forgetting materialist foundations of any politics because fascism seems to be an extraordinary moment when the usual calculations and interests are sidelined or bulldozed by feverish ideological frenzy. You cannot produce a mass of mass murderers without also bribing them. Not that ideology is a sham or a simple false consciousness. One needs to have sufficient material conditions taken care of and taken for granted to believe in ideology honestly and authentically.

Sangh Parivar state can postpone the disillusionment of its own cadre, voters and followers which must sooner or later come only if there is war and the whole population willingly walked beyond a point of no return, where ‘keep it going’ is the only option.With it comes the doom and disaster, for the people, victims as well as votaries, the Religion and its Nation-State in whose glory the painstaking hegemony they established, even the rest of the world which is a willing accomplice in all this with its regrettable (and eventually to be regretted).

Notes

[1] Zizek’s Wheel Barrow joke:  The story is about a worker suspected of stealing. Every evening as he leaves the factory, his wheelbarrow is carefully inspected, but the guards can find nothing. The wheelbarrow is always empty. Finally, when the penny drops, they realise that what the worker is stealing is the wheelbarrows themselves.

[2] In a similar wheel barrow type situation comedian Ali in a Telugu movie could be seen smuggling sand.

Images courtesy : Special Arrangement and Times Live.

This post was written by Chittibabu Padavala.

Chittibabu is a Dalit Marxist scholar based in Mumbai, India.  For more on Dalit Marxism and updates please see this Facebook Page. 

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