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Posts Tagged ‘Hitler’

The Saffron Swastika – Fascism’s India moment

In Political on November 24, 2012 at 10:36 am

Bal Thackeray, the leader of Shiv Sena died due to illness on the 17th November, 2012.  He was 86.  The political leaders of the country, along with the corporate honchos, filmdom’s Bollywood super stars and a large swath of urban Mumbai population paid rich tribute to this man.  State honors were provided as he was laid to rest in Shivaji Park.  He was wrapped in the Indian national flag, as a tearful Mumbai was artfully covered by a media that blared obsequious peans of it’s own.

In a quickly staged media event, a deferential following paying last rites to the elder Thackeray  was concocted as lending legitimacy to a leader’s factious legacy.

Most calling him Hindu Hriday Samrat or the emperor of Hindu hearts.  In a compelling The Hindu op-ed titled An Authentic Indian Fascism, Praveen Swami wrote about the abundance of tributes flowing in:

It is tempting to attribute this nauseous chorus to fear or obsequiousness. Yet, there is a deeper pathology at work. In 1967, Thackeray told the newspaper Navakal: “It is a Hitler that is needed in India today”. This is the legacy India’s reliably anti-republican elite has joined in mourning.

Swami goes on to argue that the Shiv Sena represents an authentic Indian fascism, created by the accommodations that India’s liberal democracy sought with communalism.  His litmus test of fascism has been Gramsci’s understanding that fascism is the excrement of a dysfunctional polity. He is correct in his observation that it was a dysfunctional polity that gave rise to the Shiv Sena.  But, was it fascism?

I apply a different definition and test this authentic Indian fascism.  Swami is right in his opinion that there are many fundamental building blocks within Shiv Sena that approached a classic fascism model.  I take Michael Mann’s construction instead, of classic fascism and apply it here to the Shiv Sena model.  Same subject, different angle.  According to Mann:

The pursuit of a transcendent and cleansing Nation-Statism through para-militarism. 

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