Over the past few years, we have been experiencing the nature of fascismin India. It has similarities and differences to fascism in history. Now we have reached some consensus that Brahminical Hindutva has become fascism in our country. The Hindutva forces have been making preparations for about a hundred years to get to the current state. This added to the crises in the post-colonial Indian political system. Based on these two sources, that is, the politics of Hindutva and the ongoing crises of post-colonial India, fascism has gained strength through parliamentary politics.
At this juncture, the crucial question is: where does fascism get its support? The answer lies in India’s oppressive social structure, which has been reproduced for ages. It is not uncommon for the ruling class to resort to severe repression during financial crises. Fascism, however, uses race or religion as a prop and transforms –¬¬‘democracy’ into a dictatorship.
Fascism is advancing, holding the ancient socio-cultural foundation of the Indian subcontinent. Thus, we should not understand Hindutva fascism as a mere phenomenon that arose in response to a financial crisis. At the same time, we can’t think that fascism has come into existence because of the Sangh Parivar’s efforts over a century to capture power, or because of BJP’s electoral victory.
Economic crises continue as the country’s fundamental contradictions remain unresolved. They have their immediate effect on society. But, there is another important aspect related to those crises. That is, the ruling class has its own model of Indian society. During the process of its making, it has inevitably taken the form of fascism. The efforts of the RSS over the last hundred years are also a part of this. Similarly, policies followed by parties in power and parties aspiring to come to power are also part of the same model that the ruling class sketched out. This is the uniqueness of fascism in our country. This is not going to change if the BJP loses power tomorrow. The rulers aren’t going to withdraw their fascist policies even if aspects of the financial crisis are abated.
Fascism in India is based on the structure of Indian civilization, socio-cultural systems, and related ideology. It utilizes all existing forms of inequality, domination, discrimination and violence. It glorifies and sanctifies them. It attributes eternity to them. It destroys progressive values that have come forward throughout the history of various struggles against dominant and oppressing forces. It eliminates all forms of modernity. It attempts to rewrite Indian history with these intentions.
For all these reasons, fascism gets support from society. Yes, this is a peculiar feature of fascism. This can happen because a part of modern human beings’ psyche is inclined towards the values of ancient social structures. When there are external stimuli, such as religious fundamentalism, the connection between them gets further strengthened. People can slip into ancient ideology because of the influence of activities of religious forces that are constantly going on around them. This is where fascism gains its support. People’s support in the form of silence is an important character of fascism. Another feature of fascism is that it puts the working class at the forefront of the opposition to the progressive movement.
No doubt, fascism in India has a strong class base. Yet, the cultural dimension of fascism is so powerful that Brahminical Hindutva fascism can also be called cultural fascism. It may not massacre thousands of people or put them in concentration camps as it did in Germany. Seventy years of parliamentary democracy may not allow it. So this may be called low intensity fascism, which goes on for a long time and slowly eliminates the progressive forces. It attempts to eliminate all forms of alternatives. Finally, it prepares the people to adjust to inhumane conditions that are combined with feudal rudeness, capitalist exploitation, caste, patriarchy, and Hindutva.
To dismantle Hindutva fascism’s cultural base, this is the right time for oppressed identity movements and progressive and revolutionary forces to work strategically. Some work has already been done in this direction. But, it needs to be taken further.
We need to have a deep insight into the fascism of India, which is based on our civilization, culture and social systems. Dominant tendencies within them should be sharply critiqued. The struggles of the oppressed communities and working class over thousands of years must be comprehensively traced. The ideologies that have emerged in history as alternatives to Brahmanism should be studied. All of these are embedded in the fields of philosophy, literature and culture. Due to historical limitations, alternative tendencies that revolted against the Brahmanism of the day may have taken a religious form. Their materialist core of them must be recognized. In order to do this, all indigenous models in Telugu societies must be studied. This should be based on the language, culture and literature of the working castes.
The civilization and culture on which Indian fascism relies should be turned into a weapon against itself. For this to happen, indigenous materialist and rationalist streams need to be modernized and strengthened. A holistic approach to confronting Brahminical Hindutva fascism can be synthesized only in the course of practice. For this, it is necessary to unite oppressed identities and progressive and revolutionary forces into a strong literary-cultural movement against fascism.
(At 50 years conference held on 11-12 January 2020 at Hyderabad)