Analysing Fascism and other phrases thrown around these days

Image source: Hansindia

By Jaspal Singh

A young man, an undergraduate student has written and asked me, “Uncle what is Fascism? Some people in India and abroad are claiming that India is becoming Fascist, what does it mean?”

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Fascism is a phenomenon and ideology that arose in Europe between the two world wars, which led to the death of more than 60 million people. It is one form of liberal democracy in crisis, to protect the rule of a tiny minority, threatened by a revolution. The most authoritative work on it is by Georgi Dimitrov. Read it then we can have discussions on Fascism in Europe. I am not familiar with any authoritative work on Fascism in India. There has been this kind of talk for a long time. Some experts claim that more people have been displaced and killed in the last 70 years in India due to “Development” or lack of clean drinking water.

As far as those talking about Fascism in India, it reveals a crisis of imagination. They are well meaning, but they borrow and drop phrases and not analyse the conditions and draw conclusions. It is easy to just borrow phrases from different times, from somewhere else and impose them on conditions. I remember during Emergency in India, there were also those who talked about Fascism in India, but nobody paid attention to them in the movement against Emergency. If you go to the gathering of Indians during India Day in downtown Boston, where close to 20,000 people will gather, and ask people whether they know or understand what Fascism means, you will hardly meet anyone who understands it. I know if I ask people at our local Gurdwara, not one will know what I am talking about. But if you ask them about attacks on the rights of people, dignity and being, they will understand, although many of them may be in denial due to false consciousness, disinformation, deception and fraud. So why throw around phrases?

So it is better to analyze and draw conclusions rather than repeat borrowed and readymade phrases. It is a big disease in these circles in India of repeating phrases and not analyzing concrete conditions. Until yesterday they were trying to convince us how great, vibrant, secular democracy India is, how great it’s institutions are and we should trust them. They never told the truth that all the institutions of the Indian state came into being in 1858 after the suppression of the great revolt of 1857 and slaughter of 10 million people to enslave and plunder nature and humans and continued after 1947 to plunder, exploit and extract resources. They were not analyzing then and are not analyzing now.

Supreme Court of India has started daily hearings on Babari Mosque destruction case. Many people are predicting that it will rule in the favour of “Hindutva” forces. One of the lawyers in the 21st century made the argument that it is a matter of faith and no need for evidence, in an answer to one of the judges about the ownership of land. It suits the agenda of the ruling elite to incite beastly hatred based on religion amongst people. The ruling elite need a big blood bath to steal the land of farmers and divide their struggles. The hangmen and priests of the ruling elite want to continue the most devastating relations between humans and nature and inhuman relations amongst humans, negating gains of the struggles of the last hundred years or so.

The scrapping of the special status of Jammu and Kashmir on August 5, 2019, is part and parcel of this offensive of the Indian ruling elite. Adani, Ambani, Tata and others want to siphon off all the resources of Jammu and Kashmir. Just like Chhatisgarh and everywhere else, they are calling this land theft “Development”, national integration and other high sounding phrases.

Like everywhere else all the resources of Jammu and Kashmir will be handed over to Adani, Ambani, Tata, Birla and their foreign mentors. While the people will pay for the army, police, administration, roads, infrastructure etc, as usual. A great deal for Adanis and Ambanis, get trillions dollars’ worth resources for pennies in funding BJP and other political parties. They will set up water bottling plants, hydropower stations, mine the minerals, build resorts, private universities etc, and Kashmiris will be turned into coolies.

A BJP MLA stated that now their party workers can go to Kashmir and marry fair and beautiful women of Kashmir. It reminds me of Queen Victoria’s proclamation of 1858 to bring India under the British crown, promising ‘Peace, Order, rule of law, prosperity and good governance “, while the British stole more than 40 trillion dollars from India and slaughtered millions. It also shows once again that the Indian constitution does not guarantee anything. The ruling elite can turn it into toilet paper any time they wish.

Waris Shah the great Punjabi poet described such kinds of promises in his days as “fart of a camel” loud and full of stench.

George Bush also talked about liberating women in Afghanistan, Iraq and bringing democracy there. The home minister spun all kinds of fairy tales like the queen and Bush, about bringing, health, employment, education etc., as if they have all been achieved in the rest of India. The Prime Minister in his address to the nation “Congratulated the Kashmiris” for their military occupation, and stated that how it is going to bring them prosperity and affirm their rights including the Dalits. He said a new age has dawned in Jammu and Kashmir. Once again it reminded me of Waris Shah and his Camel. It is plain loot and plunder.

Anyone opposed to this loot and plunder is terrorized by the army and paramilitary forces. Jammu and Kashmir have been under army occupation for more than 30 years, killing more than 100,000 people. More than 500,000 soldiers have been occupying Jammu Kashmir. Formally scrapping special status has made it official and torn the veil. All communication has been cut, lockdown is in effect. It once again proves that the Union Of India is a colonial predatory state with two functions, Plunder and Terror as was during the British Raj.

Kashmiri people have no choice but to unite and fight this occupation and defend their rights. People in rest of India have to fight communal and chauvinist propaganda and diversion and stand with the people of Jammu and Kashmir and demand withdrawal of the army and paramilitary forces from Kashmir and affirmation of their Right To Be. They must rise and say Not In Our Name.

Those who are celebrating the trampling of Kashmiris by the boots of the army should do some soul searching, especially the NRIs, at least they have the possibility of looking at things objectively from distance and many of them claim to be educated and scientists. They should use their privilege to inform themselves and take off the blindfold of anti-consciousness. How can one celebrate a whole population being locked down by the army? And at the same time claim, Vasudhaiv Kutumbkam- Whole earth is one family? It shows a deep sickness of the soul. I heard a sick and ignorant statement, “India cannot afford the luxury of human rights”. I was thinking of writing to his university to withdraw his degree.

Sushma Swaraj passed away a few days ago. She was my age. I knew her when she was a law student at Punjab University. She was part of our circles, very personable, jovial but went separate ways and chose a different path. Swaraj her husband, was a socialist those days and close to George Fernandez. We used to joke with her that nothing good can come out of Ambala Cantt. because forces from Ambala Cantt. were sent to suppress the revolt of 1857, plunder and pillage Delhi. I thought of reminding her of this joke when I saw her picture blessing the Reddy brothers of Bellary. During the struggle against the emergency, we were together.

Then she became a minister in Haryana government, one of the youngest ministers. Some of our mutual friends from Ambala from those days kept in touch with her and informed me about her health and family from time to time. Unfortunately, I cannot bring myself to even say that may she Rest In Peace because she was complicit in so many crimes that the Indian ruling elite committed against nature and people.

There has been a spree of mass shootings in the US, which has shocked people. Some are blaming it on the racist and anti-immigrant hatred being fanned from the highest places such as president Trump and other white supremacist leaders and organizations. The ruling elite and their state are creating a climate of hatred, fear to incite working class and farmers against Afro – Americans and immigrants, to divert and distract from their struggles for renewal and renovation of relations between, humans and nature and amongst humans. Trump and his colleagues are stoking this fire regularly. White Supremacist ruling elite wants to reverse gains of last 70 years or so, whether it was the new deal of Roosevelt and workers movement or gains by civil rights movement or gains by women’s movement or gains of Environmental movement.

I am reminded of a couple of lines by a Bengali poet Shushank:

Saathi Re Bhai Re Dekho Rang Badal Raha Hai Aasman Ka

( my comrade, my brother, look the colour of sky is changing)

Jaspal Singh is a philosopher based in Cambridge, Massachusetts