So, India has had an election. The little fact of over a billion people choosing their leader should be something worth noting, though the West doesn’t seem to be paying attention.
For the record, the people who have won are the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) but the far more important thing is this guy:
His background is worth noting – a longstanding member of the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS), the National Patriotic Organisation.
As wikipedia notes, this is effectively a paramilitary organisation, one of whose members assassinated Ghandi for not being Hindu enough (wrap your heads around that one).
Lets see what wikipedia has to say:
During WWII leaders of the RSS were open admirers of Adolf Hitler. Madhav Sadashiv Golwalkar, who became the supreme leader of the RSS after Hedgewar, drew inspiration from Adolf Hitler’s ideology of race purity. RSS leaders were supportive of the Jewish State ofIsrael, including Savarkar himself, who supported Israel during its formation. While Golwalkar admired Jews for maintaining their “religion, culture and language”.
For the record, their official uniform plus salute looks like this:
So: the Brown Shorts.
This may be a little unfair or it may not be. I’m just thinking how we’d react to the election of someone with a similar background in, e.g., Austria.
I like India. I love India. I think that the destiny of the Indian nation will determine the twenty first century the same way that the United States determined the twentieth, and the British Empire the nineteenth. If there is one thing that the Obama administration deserves to be raked for (not that the Republicans seem to have the brains for this) is switching US support back to Pakistan and away from India. Incidentally, it is the famous moron Bush who did realize what the right side of that particular argument is.
Let me stipulate something: I don’t believe that India is about to collapse into totalitarianism, nor do I believe for one second that the hundreds of millions who voted for Modi are a bunch of fascists. It is, however, a worrying lurch.
I can tell you exactly why it happened. Courtesy of Indian Express:
This time I found myself sitting between a historian from BHU and a retired museum curator. They said of that morning’s crowds that they had never seen such an exhibition of political support before in Benaras. I asked why Modi was so popular and they said people were desperate for real change. For Benaras, they want municipal infrastructure and the Ganga to be cleaned. For India, they want a leader who will stand up to “insults” from China and Pakistan, and in terms of “vikas”, they want economic policies that will create prosperity and jobs. They told me of the hopelessness of public services in education and healthcare and said these could be easily improved with good governance.
we, with the loudest voices in the media, have failed to reflect what is really happening in India and the real problems of ordinary Indians. In our constricted, English-speaking, colonised world, we have never dared to admit even that mass education in our country is churning out young people who leave English-medium schools without being able to speak either English or their own languages.And, this is only one of the grim problems that remain unmentioned as we babble on daily about secularism and communalism and how India will be destroyed if Modi becomes prime minister. Let me state clearly that if he destroys the India created by 67 years of Congress-style secularism and socialism, he will be doing India a real service.
Unfortunately, even if Hindus have moved on for the most part from the extremism and jingoistic pride of that period, the secular commentary has not. In fact, it has only become worse, if such a thing was possible. It should come as no surprise to anyone therefore that the numerous earnest and passionate appeals to Indian voters to reject Mr. Modi that populated the august pages of The Guardian, The New York Times, and The Economist in recent months probably had very little meaning for voters in India. To know why, it is worth recalling what else these publications had to say about Hindus, Hinduism, and India in the last few years, before they took up their outraged positions on behalf of India’s supposedly vanishing secularism.
The Economist once described a holy Hindu deity, the Shiva Lingam at Amarnath, as a “penis-shaped lump of ice.”
The Guardian once lampooned the passing of a revered Hindu guru, who probably did more to uphold India’s secular, multi-religious fabric than any intellectual or activist ever did, and derided his teachings as simplistic “peace, love and vegetarianism.”
The New York Times published a spate of op-ed pieces after the 2008 Pakistani terrorist attacks blaming India and Hindu nationalism. Not to mention its serious advocacy for a Hinduism “expert” who compares ancient Hindus to Nazis in her book and unilateral exclusion of dissenting opinion.
Get the idea? If not, let me make it plain: You can bet your last penny that none of those publications would dare say anything like that about Islam.
I have warned about this over, and over, and over again, and I will keep doing so: when liberal secularists abandon the field when it comes to Islam, it doesn’t mean that everyone sits down, holds hands and sings Kumbaya. It means that people turn to those forces that actually have the guts to stand up to the jihad. And if those forces discombobulate the nice, liberal secularists – well, too fucking bad.
Imagine what it is like having a neighbour like Pakistan. And you can see the ethnic cleansing of your own people in their own land, every single day. Now imagine that what you see from the great bastions of secularism and liberalism in the West is, oh I don’t know, a smirking empty headed dolt explaining that the desire of jihadists to tear Kashmir out of the Indian nation is perfectly acceptable, reasonable and secular…
Well, at this point a hard-ass Hindu nationalist sounds pretty good, no?
Fuck, right now I wish we had Modi in Europe. Seriously, because do you know who his European equivalent is?
Putin has been positioning himself as the great conservative strongman, protector of European civilization from decadence – and also from Islam. He’s about the only guy who seems to take the ethnic cleansing of Middle Eastern Christians as something more than an irritation.
Re: my use of the term conservative, Nick Cohen summarizes it:
If you can rid yourself of the idea that being a conservative means merely supporting private enterprise, you will see what it meant.
Nineteenth-century radicals loathed Russia above all other states because it had a quasi-religious mission to preserve autocracy at home and promote reactionary regimes abroad. To true believers, the “Third Rome” of Christian tsarism defended the divinely ordained old order against the threats of liberalism, socialism, nationalism and modernity.
The leathery old American conservative “Pat” Buchanan, who has been involved in every foul movement on the American right since Richard Nixon’s day, knows a potential collaborator when he sees one. Putin could be the leader of “conservatives and traditionalists in every country”, he said, and lead the fight against the “militant secularism of a multicultural andtransnational elite”.
Brian Whitmore of Radio Free Europe quotes Moscow journalists talking of Putin’s Russia replacing the old Communist International with a new“conservative international” that unites the religious and the repressive in a common front. You can see its work already. When Ukraine seemed close to reaching agreement with the EU, an advertising campaign, apparently financed by an oligarch close to Putin, warned that joining Europe meant allowing gay marriage. Fear of queers was used to keep Ukrainians in line.
Putin has plenty of followers:
Since the mid-2000s, the Kremlin has courted the European far right. The Continent’s rightists, in turn, have pledged allegiance. Extremist parties in Eastern Europe supported Russia’s invasion of Georgia in 2008, reserving special criticism for Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili’s pro-American policies. Nick Griffin, the leader of the UK’s xenophobic British National Party,commended Russia for having “a robust, transparent and properly democratic system” after the rigged parliamentary elections in 2011. Last year, Italy’s Fronte Nazionale praised Putin for his opposition to homosexuality.
Of all of Europe’s far right, however, it is Hungary’s Jobbik party with which the Kremlin has the closest relationship. The largest right-wing party in Eastern Europe and the third-largest party in Hungary (it won over one-fifth of the vote in last month’s parliamentary elections), Jobbik counts Nazi sympathisers and anti-Semites amongst its supporters. Jobbik’s pro-Russia policies are clear: It wants Hungary to turn its back on the EU and join Putin’s Eurasian Customs Union, and it seeks to maintain the EU’s gas dependence on Russia. Last year, Jobbik’s leader spoke at the prestigious Moscow State University and met with members of the Duma. Jobbik’s website heralded the visit as “a major breakthrough” which made “clear that Russian leaders consider Jobbik as a partner.”
This is where you end up. When liberal secularists – and by ‘liberal’, I mean in the true, European sense of the word, not the American – quit the field in the face of Islam, they discredit the whole project. If you aren’t willing to fight Islamic fanaticism – as certain puffballs absolutely aren’t – you’re not merely not helping, you’re actually working for the other side, since people end up seeing liberal secularism as just a transitory stage before we’re subordinated to Islam.
I’m occasionally reproached for being ‘extremist’. It’s not that people disagree with what I say, it’s that they think I make my points too hard, and that there needs to be more moderate voices in this.
I have news for you: I’m the moderate. I’m as good as it’ll get. On the other side of me there are guys like this and that’s the only alternative you’ll get. I assure you, all those ‘moderate’ voices who fret about ‘Islamophobia’ – they will shut up like clams if we ever get to the point where Muslims are being rounded up and taken away to camps.
Why do I say that? Because that is what happened the last time around. Go look at the media record from the Milosevic years. You’ll find all the same people who whine that we’re just being too mean to the Taliban (or whatever) were adamant that we should do nada about Bosnia. You’ll find them taking the same stance over Crimea right now.
Thank goodness for Tony Blair. Had he not gotten Bill Clinton to live up to his obligations on Bosnia, there would now be, right in the heart of Europe, a national socialist state with strong ties to Russia, that had gotten its start by killing all the Muslims within its boundaries – and, oh boy, wouldn’t that just have been a barrel of laughs?
Those – I’m naming no names – who advocate the “Be nice and leave them alone” position just don’t realize just how bad this could get. If we saw the unopposed construction of concentration camps in Europe when a rinky-dink country like Yugoslavia went off the deep end – do you care to imagine what we might see if a serious power went that route?
Just try to imagine the world in the aftermath of a transformative catastrophe – a nuke going off in Bombay or Berlin. Just try to imagine the fear, the tension, the rage, and what they would draw in their wake.
I don’t want to live in that world. Whatever cockeyed beliefs they’ve been inculcated with, I think the majority of the world’s Muslims are good people. Even those who hold violently illiberal beliefs are redeemable – Ayaan Hirsi Ali began by supporting the Rushdi Fatwa. One of the many reasons I hate Islam is that it has enslaved a billion minds, minds that I am sure can find their way to freedom if we give them some much needed help.
None of that will be possible if a transformative catastrophe happens. So, to those who accuse me of whipping up hatred against Muslims – I am trying to save their sorry lives.
UPDATE: Good article on Modi.