Far Right Violence Surges in US and India

Are you nervous in regards to the rising political energy of violent white nationalists in America? Effectively, you’ve obtained loads of firm, including U.S. nationwide safety and counterterrorism officers. And we’re nervous, too — nervous sufficient, in reality, to really feel that it’s time to try the expertise of India, the place Hindu supremacist dogma has more and more been enforced by way of violent means. Whereas there are putting parallels between each nations, India seems to have ventured additional down the street of far-right violence. Its expertise may doubtlessly provide Individuals some beneficial, if grim, classes.

As a begin, let’s take a look at two latest incidents, one in India and the opposite in the US.

Legal guidelines handed in most Indian states towards the killing of cattle have served as a typical pretext for the violent enforcement of Hindu beliefs. Just lately, for instance, three males had been arrested on fees of abducting and murdering Junaid and Nasir, two Muslim males transporting cattle by way of the northern state of Haryana. They first beat Junaid to demise, then strangled Nasir. Each our bodies had been incinerated in a automotive left along with the street. That assault was linked to paramilitary gangs often known as gao rakshaks (cow protectors) who, in these final years, have been on a rampage of violence in northern India, although comparable horrors have lately been recorded additional south in Maharashtra, dwelling to India’s largest metropolis, Mumbai.

In the US, too, violent hatred is each on the rise and being all too perversely celebrated on the correct. Inside three days of being charged with involuntary manslaughter, Daniel Penny, the U.S. Marine veteran who made nationwide information by choking to demise Jordan Neely, a homeless, mentally in poor health Black man on a New York Metropolis subway automotive, raised a whopping $2.7 million from the Christian crowdfunding website GiveSendGo. Charged with manslaughter, he’s already been dubbed a “subway Superman” by Florida Republican Congressman Matt Gaetz, whereas his fellow Floridian, Governor Ron DeSantis, tweeted that to “cease the Left’s pro-criminal agenda” all of us should “stand with Good Samaritans like Daniel Penny.”

Sadly sufficient, these episodes, occurring half a globe aside, are simply two information factors in surges of violent extremism sweeping each India and the US. That development first took off in India in 2014 with the election victory of Narendra Modi’s Bharatiya Janata Get together (BJP), making him prime minister. In the US, it hit large time with the 2016 election of Donald Trump as president. However such mayhem — and the broad approval of political violence by Hindu supremacists there and white supremacists right here — has solely grown within the years since.

These incidents additionally illustrate one essential distinction between far-right violence in India and the US. Whereas the surge of Hindu-supremacist violence has turn out to be a nationally organized collective effort, most American white-supremacist violence remains to be being dedicated by people performing alone.

Within the U.S., we’ve skilled a rising outbreak of hate shootings through which the victims merely discover themselves within the wrong place on the fallacious time (and all too usually of the fallacious coloration), at the same time as a longer-term development of mass killings dedicated by racially motivated and ever higher armed “lone wolves” rises. Notably, amongst these solo actors, Kyle Rittenhouse, who shot and killed two Black Lives Matter protesters in 2020, and a number of others have reaped lavish reward from main Trumpublican politicians, together with that MAGA kingpin The Donald himself. (He, in reality, invited Rittenhouse to Mar-a-Lago in 2021.) And 2023 is already on monitor to set a record for mass shootings, whereas hate crimes on the whole rose to more than 200 per week in 2021, the final yr for which the FBI has full information. The overwhelming majority of these crimes had been dedicated by unaffiliated people.

In India, against this, hate violence is commonly extremely organized. The cattle vigilantes lately arrested in Haryana, for instance, had been affiliated with Bajrang Dal, the youth wing of Vishnu Hindu Parishad (the World Hindu Council), which, in flip, is an offshoot of an unlimited Hindu nationalist paramilitary group, Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS).

The RSS motion was launched in 1925 with one mission: to make India (then nonetheless a British colony) a Hindu Rashtra — that’s, a “Hindu Nation.” Its strategy was impressed by the fascist actions of a century in the past in Italy and Germany. Right this moment, it has a membership of 5 to 6 million and holds every day conferences in additional than 36,000 completely different places throughout India. Worse but, the ruling BJP social gathering, with Modi at its head, is an offshoot of RSS.

In 2002, Modi was the chief minister of the state of Gujarat when horrific communal violence took nearly 2,000 lives, principally Muslim, in a political and social earthquake that helped kick off the present wave of Hindu nationalism. In 2014, on the power of the Hindu nationalist bona fides he’d earned 12 years earlier, he grew to become prime minister and shortly all hell broke free.

Cows and Bulls**t

In a majority of India’s states right now, cow slaughter is designated against the law and put in the same category with rape, homicide, or sedition. As Harsh Mander, who has organized towards communal and religiously-inspired violence, explains in his book Partitions of the Coronary heart, “The marketing campaign right now that claims to defend [the cow] has nothing to do with love of any form.” It’s as an alternative “one other extremely emotive image to beat down India’s minorities into submission and worry.”

Legal guidelines towards cattle slaughter and beef consumption lay largely dormant till 2014. Now, they’re being enforced ever extra violently by Hindu supremacist vigilantes. These legal guidelines, in reality, have offered a much-needed pretext for excessive violence. As Tej Parikh noted lately within the Asia-Pacific journal The Diplomat, “Two Muslim girls had been raped in Mewat [in Haryana state] in early September [2022], after their attackers had accused them of consuming beef.” And to place these acts within the context of this second, he added that “the utmost sentence for a convicted rapist in Haryana is three years lower than for a cow slaughtering offense.”

As Mander has identified, such beef bans are a software for subjugating Muslims, Dalits (previously referred to pejoratively as “untouchables”), Christians, and Adivasis (Indigenous peoples) to Hindu rule. Unusual as it could sound, an American analogy could possibly be the criminalization of abortion. In a single nation, cattle, within the different, human fetuses are getting used as right-wing implements to oppress, socially management, and reassert supremacy over vital sections of our respective populations.

As within the U.S., violence towards girls is rampant in India and perpetrators are sometimes handled with exceptional leniency. Contemplate Sandip, Ramu, Lavkush, and Ravi, 4 upper-caste Hindus who, in 2020, tortured, gang-raped, and killed a 19-year-old Dalit woman in the midst of a pearl millet discipline within the state of Uttar Pradesh. This March, a court docket discovered Sandip alone guilty — and solely of “culpable murder not amounting to homicide.” The opposite three males had been acquitted.

Within the Hindu supremacist context, the phrase ghar wapsi (which accurately means “homecoming”) refers to forcibly changing folks from Islam or Christianity to Hinduism. In a latest typical case, a BJP politician, the state secretary of Chhattisgarh in northeastern India, dwelling to many low-caste Hindus and tribal peoples, coerced greater than 1,100 Christians into present process a ghar wapsi ceremony.

Hindu supremacists often use confinement and violence to safe such conversions. As an illustration, two girls have filed a grievance towards monks at a yoga heart within the state of Kerala the place they had been held captive in an effort to take action. “I used to be pressured to do work as housemaid together with cleansing and making ready dishes for 65 inmates,” one in all them swore in her affidavit. A priest, she wrote, “threatened that they might kill Isaac [her Muslim husband] if I went again to him.” The opposite girl instructed the court docket, “Individuals on the [yoga] heart requested me to go away [her Muslim husband] Hameed. Once I resisted, they slapped my face, kicked my decrease stomach and stuffed material in my mouth to forestall me from screaming.”

Hindu nationalists are additionally elevating alarms over “love jihad,” a false conspiracy principle that claims Muslim males are out to appeal Hindu girls into wedlock, conversion, and the manufacturing of Muslim infants. A lately launched propaganda movie, The Kerala Story, purports to point out how 32,000 girls from that state had been converted to Islam and recruited by Islamic State terrorists. Irrespective of that none of that ever occurred, “love jihad” rhetoric, together with the portrayal of Muslim males as “deceitful, sexual monsters,” is being embraced even by white supremacists in the US, according to Zeinab Farokhi, a professor at Toronto College.

East Meets West, West Meets Caste

Washington and New Delhi lately introduced that Prime Minister Modi might be making a state go to to the U.S. in June. Throughout that go to, notes the Indian outlet The Wire, “Modi is prone to go to New York for Yoga Day on June 21.”

Certainly, he’ll, for that annual yoga occasion was Modi’s brainchild. In 2014, he proposed that an Worldwide Day of Yoga be celebrated on the summer time solstice and the U.N. Common Meeting adopted a resolution to that impact. An avid yoga practitioner, Modi then wrote, “Yoga embodies unity of thoughts and physique, thought and motion… a holistic strategy [that] is effective to our well being and well-being.” Nowadays, possibly Modi ought to take a bit extra time for yoga, which could permit him to realize a extra holistic understanding of the hate and cruelty now rippling by way of Indian society. (Substitute Donald Trump for Modi doing yoga, if you’d like a bit grim humor proper now.)

Right this moment, there are an estimated 4.3 million South Asian-Individuals dwelling within the U.S., together with folks from Bangladesh, India, Nepal, and Pakistan. A report launched by a caste-abolitionist group, Equality Labs, entitled “Caste in the US,” discovered that even in America, “many South Asians who establish as being from the ‘decrease’ castes… have a tendency to cover their caste,” as a result of they worry that “they and their households could possibly be rejected from South Asian cultural and non secular areas, lose skilled and social networks, and even face bullying, abuse, and violence.”

Just lately, nonetheless, just a few rays of sunshine have pierced the political gloom. In February, Seattle grew to become the primary metropolis within the U.S. to prohibit caste discrimination and (joke, joke) yoga had nothing to do with it. The ban handed due to the laborious work and solidarity of native activists, together with socialist Seattle metropolis council member Kshama Sawant who proposed it. Then, on Could eleventh, casteism was banished from a complete state, the nation’s largest, when the California senate passed a bill to that impact.

So as to add one other constructive word, the very subsequent day, Modi’s BJP was trounced by the Congress Get together in elections to the legislative meeting of Karnataka, an important state in Indian politics. When the BJP gained it 5 years in the past, it was thought of a key step in that social gathering’s rise to nationwide dominance. Now, these of us in favor of real democracy and never right-wing terror in each nations can solely hope that the Karnataka defeat is a harbinger of BJP’s decline (simply as we hope that neither Donald Trump nor Ron DeSantis can take the White Home in 2024).

However even small victories don’t come with out pushback from Hindu-nationalist expatriates and RSS/BJP “intellectuals” in India, as is true with Trumpists in America. Unsurprisingly sufficient, they condemned the brand new caste measures within the U.S., declaring them “Hinduphobic” (simply as white right-wingers right here chant “All Lives Matter” within the context of police violence and to mock the Black Lives Matter motion). However, asks the political theorist Kancha Ilailah Shepherd, “How can the observe of caste discrimination… be tackled with out native legal guidelines or institutional guidelines?”

Too many upper-caste Indians and white Individuals consider themselves as the one ones worthy of having fun with the spoils of the earth. They need all of it and are able to get it by exploiting, to not say violating, non-upper-caste our bodies in India and non-white ones within the U.S., together with cows and fetuses, utilizing faith as a software in each instances. The our bodies of Dalits, Muslims, Christians, the folks of occupied Kashmir, liberals, journalists, historians, local weather and human rights activists, educators, Blacks, Indigenous folks, girls, LGBTQ folks — all of them are fodder for the violent right-wing in each nations.

Within the sludge of such harmful exceptionalism, there might be felt a way of uncertainty, a possible for each of our societies to interrupt down utterly. Sadly, yoga and vegetarianism don’t encapsulate life in India; upper-caste exceptionalism does. Equally, “peace and love,” to not communicate of democracy, hardly outline life in America anymore for a rising set of Trumpublicans. For them, white exceptionalism does and, worse but, as of late it goes all too effectively armed with that best-selling weapon of this second, the AR-15 semi-automatic rifle.

Actually, there must be a deeper dialogue of all of this earlier than it’s too late.

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