Skip to main content

India might slip into fascism if Gujarat's neo-liberal model is imposed on India, warn top scholars

By Our Representative
A well-attended seminar “India’s descent into fascism: How can we stop it?” saw two senior scholars, Anil Choudhury of the Indian Social Action Forum, Delhi, and Prof Ghanshyam Shah, an eminent Gujarat-based social scientist, presenting diametrically opposite view on the reasons behind possibilities of India slipping under a fascist rule. While both agreed that things had become increasingly difficult for working classes across India to fight for their rights, and this was a clear sign of how the danger of a fascist rule might take over in the country, Choudhury believed that the race to push India to eight per cent rate of growth is forcing the movement towards fascism.
Prof Shah, on the other hand, giving example of the rise of Hitler in Germany and Mussolini in Italy, felt that fascism took shape under a situation of grave economic crisis, making the ruling classes to adopt to authoritarian ways to suppress the increasing demands of the working population. “One must remember that fascism in Germany arose after Hitler won the elections polling 96 per cent of the votes”, he warned participants in an oblique reference to the way Gujarat chief minister Narendra Modi is seeking to go on the national scene to project Gujarat as India's model.
The seminar was organised by voluntary organisation Anhad,founded by a Delhi-based social activist Shehla Hashmi a decade ago in the wake of the Gujarat riots. Those who collaborated included Aravalli Adivasi Vikas Trust, Behavioural Science Centre, Janvikas, Janpath, Paryavaran Mitra, Prashant, People's Union for Civil Liberties (PUCL) and Safar. Others who spoke included PUCL's Gautam Thakker, Prashant's Father Cedric Prakash, theatre personalities Kabir Thakore and Paresh Vyas, literary critic Prakash Shah, environmentalist Mahesh Pandya, well-known danseuse and activist Mallika Sarabhai, activists Raju Solanki, Sofia Khan, Mehul Makwana and others.
Choudhary, who delivered the keynote address, said, "There gave the example of how a fascist-authoritarian rule might become a reality in coming days by citing land acquisition process in Delhi-Mumbai Industrial Corridor (DMIC), a major portion of which passes through Gujarat. “Being planned in collaboration with Japan, both the UPA government in Delhi and Gujarat government want it to be built come what may. Already, farmers have begun to file cases in court against forced acquisition in order to ensure that they are not dispossessed. However, if the ruling classes really want the DMIC with industries on two sides of the corridor and sprawling buildings to come up in the next 10 years, they will have to impose an authoritarian fascist rule”.
He added, "We must ensure that India does not adopt the Gujarat model, which pursues neo-liberal policies which supports the corporate sector at the expense of the common people".
Interestingly, both agreed on how an atmosphere of intolerance and insecurity has to stay in Indian polity, which they at believed is a clear indication of things to come. Saying that the neo-liberal policies going on at the Centre as well as in Gujarat are responsible for this state of affair. “A situation would arise when people would not be able to use the existing democratic institutions for their political ends”, Choudhary said. The seminar was held at the Mehdi Nawaz Jung Hall in Ahmedabad.
Meanwhile, a statement issued at the end of the one-day seminar said, “The spectre of the country’s descent into fascism stares at us. The long reign of the UPA has not halted or arrested the march of the communal fascist forces; indeed there seems today to be a greater acceptance of ideas that we would call fascist. The strident demands for death penalty – whether for alleged rapists or terrorists – the impatience with rule of law; the acceptability among the young urban people and the desire for a strong authoritarian leader, all again point to the circulation and reception of fascist ideas.”
Suggesting how this is happening, the statement added, “There have been several low intensity riots across the country during the past couple of years: Gopalgarh (Rajasthan); Faizabad and Kosi (UP), Dhule (Maharashtra), Forbesgunj ( Bihar), Kosamba, Chota Udaipur ( Gujarat) which really points to the potential return of communalism to the centre-stage of Indian politics. It also indicates the fragility of communal peace and the continuing communalization of the police force at the local thana level, which openly target the minority community in times of violence, as the video of the Dhule and Forbesgunj violence graphically illustrated.”
The statement continues, “The communal violence of 2013 mimics that of the early 1990s, in that disputes over places of worship, as in Bhojshala in Madhya Pradesh, or the aggression over the Bhagyalakshmi temple in the Charminar premises in Hyderabad, are returning. On the one hand, one sees local-level riots engineering machinery gearing up, and on the other the cleansing and anointing of communal leaders as the development idols. The rise in the power of the middle class via a corporate media, which aggressively pushes the agenda of ‘corruption-free efficiency’ at the cost of issues of social justice, secularism and democracy movements, is further pushing the Indian polity towards the Right. A symptom of this can be seen from the rising clout of godmen, which is a sign of the alienated middle class seeking shortcuts for maintaining status quo.”

Comments

Anonymous said…
bookmarked!!, I like your site!

TRENDING

World Bank clarifies: Its 26th rank to India not for universal access to power but for ease of doing business

By Our Representative
In a major embarrassment to the Government of India, the World Bank has reportedly clarified that it has not ranked India 26th out of 130 countries for providing power to its population. The top international banker’s clarification comes following Union Power Minister Piyush Goyal’s claim that India has “improved to 26 position from 99” in access to electricity in just one year.

Modi model? "Refusal" to build Narmada's micro canals, keep Kutch dry; help industry

By Medha Patkar*
This is the latest photograph of the Kutch Branch Canal (KBC) of the Sardar Sarovar, as of April 8! What does it show, expose, and what memories do you recall? Is it dry or dead? Is it a canal or a carcass of the same?

Bill Gates "promoting" GMO, Bt cotton, like cartels that have roots in Hitler's Germany

By Our Representative
World-renowned environmental leader and ecologist Dr Vandana Shiva has expressed concern that Bill Gates, founder of Microsoft Corporation, has joined the bandwagon of “a poison cartel of three" – Monsanto and Bayer, Syngenta and ChemChina, Dow and DuPont – all of whom allegedly have “roots in Hitler’s Germany and finding chemicals to kill people”.

Indian talc products contain "contaminated" asbestos structures, can cause cancer: Study

Counterview Desk
A recent study, using polarizing light microscopy, transmission electron microscopy (TEM), electron diffraction, and X-ray analysis on multiple over-the-counter Indian talc products for the presence of asbestos, has concluded that large quantities of body talc products are likely to pose a public health risk for asbestos-related diseases, especially for the cancers related to asbestos exposure.

Why are you silent on discrimination against Dalit jawans? Macwan questions Modi

By Rajiv Shah
Close on the heels of releasing his book in Gujarati, "Bhed Bharat", which lists 319 cases of atrocities against Dalits and Adivasis across the country over the last five years, well-known Gujarat Dalit rights leader Martin Macwan has shot an open letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, telling him the reasons why he does not want vote for the BJP.

Jharkhand Adivasi lynched to death by mob "chanting" Jai Shri Ram: Fact-finding team

Counterview Desk
On April 10, 2019, Prakash Lakda, a 50-year old Adivasi of Jurmu village of Gumla’s Dumri block, was lynched to death by a mob of men from the Sahu community of neighbouring Jairagi village. Three other victims from Jurmu – Peter Kerketta, Belarius Minj and Janerius Minj – sustained severe injuries due to the beating by the mob. A fact-finding team of Jharkhand Janadhikar Mahasabha (JJM), comprising of several activists and representatives of member organisations, conducted a fact-finding inquiry into the incident on April 14-15.

Investigation shows Narmada downstream "seriously" polluted. Reason: apathy, greed

By Rohit Prajapati, Krishnakant, Swati Desai*
Our investigation regarding quality of water flowing in the Narmada river downstream of the Sardar Sarovar Dam (SSD), dated April 6, 2019, between 11.00 a.m. to 4.00 p.m. reiterates, what is commonly known now, that the Sardar Sarovar Project (SSP) is planned without considering its impact on the downstream Narmada River stretch of 161 kilometres, its ecology, biodiversity and fishery, and lakhs of people living close to and dependent on the river directly or indirectly. This, in turn, has led to its present disastrous state.

Emergence of a rare Dalit teacher in IIT-Kanpur "disturbed" certain faculty members

By PS Krishnan, IAS (Retd)*
Dr Subrahmanyam Sadrela, a faculty member in the Department of Aerospace Engineering, Indian Institute of Technology (IIT)-Kanpur since January 1, 2018, and one of the rare Dalit members of the faculty in IIT group of institutions, is facing the threat of revocation of his PhD thesis, and thereby also jeopardizing his job and career.

RTE in remote areas? Govt of India "plans" to close down 2.4 lakh schools

By Srijita Majumder*
The Right to Education (RTE) Act, 2009, came into effect on April 1, 2010, for the first time made it obligatory on the part of the State to provide free and compulsory education to all children from 6-14 years of age in India. The Act, despite its limitations, had progressive elements like neighbourhood schools, community participation, ban on corporal punishment, no detention, continuous and comprehensive evaluation and it hence it appeared that India was not far from achieving universal elementary education.

Election Commission suffering from worst-ever "credibility crisis": Ex-bureaucrats

Counterview Desk
In an open letter to President Ram Nath Kovind, a group of ex-bureaucrats have lamented ‘weak-kneed’ responses of the Election Commission of India (ECI) in the run up to the 2019 Lok Sabha elections. Citing various violations of the model code of conduct, and pointing towards how ECI has taken little action, the letter asks the President to tell ECI to “conduct itself in a manner where its independence, fairness, impartiality and efficiency are not questioned.”