Modi with the RSS, the far-right Hindu nationalist organisation

Hindu Taliban Rule India – Guardian

By Anish Kapoor

The Hindu god Vishnu has several incarnations, many of them human. The latest of these appears to be Narendra Modi. All over India there are images of the man, right arm raised in the benevolent gesture of good fortune. But this strong-but-enlightened-man image hides the frightening and shrill reality of an increasingly Modi-led Hindu dominance of India.

The country’s openness to social and religious minorities (more than 500 million people) and regional differences is at serious risk. Of late, Modi’s regime has effectively tolerated – if not encouraged – a saffron-clad army of Hindu activists who monitor and violently discipline those suspected of eating beef, disobeying caste rules or betraying the “Hindu nation”.

In the UK, people might perhaps be familiar with India’s cricket prowess, atrocities in Kashmir or the recent horrific rape cases. But beyond that, many of us choose not to know. India’s global image now mimics China’s – a rising global economic power with attractive trade and investment opportunities. As a result, business trumps human rights, with little concern, especially on the part of David Cameron’s government, for the rising wave of Hindu tyranny.

All this is good news for Prime Minister Modi, who flew into London today. He won’t be seriously called to account for human rights abuses or systematic thuggery. If there is one thing that has marked the man’s first year and a half in power it is this: he is not a man who takes kindly to scrutiny or criticism. In fact, he has used the very economic agenda that causes Britain to turn a blind eye to his regime’s human rights abuses to muzzle dissent within India.

Modi’s latest move has been the strangulation of Greenpeace India, culminating last Friday with the organisation’s licence to operate being removed. Respect for human rights and environmental organisations is so often a litmus test for the democratic state of a country. Worryingly, the Indian government has been cracking down on all “foreign-funded” charities for the past year, claiming that the national economy is threatened by environmental restrictions and other “un-Indian” activities. Nine thousand NGOs have been “de-registered” in a concerted effort to force out these “nuisance” groups and cast them as foreign enemies.

Of late, many Indian journalists and human rights activists have been harassed and threatened with “sedition” charges: for example, Teesta Setalvad, who still seeks justice for the victims of communal violence in the state of Gujarat in 2002, when Modi was the state’s chief minister; and Santosh Yadav, arrested in September in the state of Chhattisgarh on what Amnesty International believes are fabricated charges resulting from his investigatory journalism exposing police brutality against Adivasis (indigenous people). A few weeks ago, even a musician who sang a satirical song criticising the state governor of Tamil Nadu over alcohol sales was charged with “anti-Indian activity”.

This alarming erosion of democracy is a slippery slope that may end up targeting not just minorities and “outsiders” but any dissenting “insiders”. What I’ve seen happening is a spirit of fear taking hold, which threatens to silence activists, artists and intellectuals alike. We’ve never known that before.

A Hindu version of the Taliban is asserting itself, in which Indians are being told: “It’s either this view – or else.” A friend told me: “There is huge oppression of anyone who’s different.” Last month, dozens of Indian writers handed back their literary awards in protest, following communal violence against Muslims and attacks on intellectuals.

India is a country of 1.25 billion people, including 965 million Hindus and 170 million Muslims. We have a long tradition of tolerance and, despite differences, have managed to pull our huge country together. But the government’s militant Hinduism risks marginalising other faiths and tearing apart these bonds. Many of us dread what might then happen.

We in Britain cannot bite our tongues any more; we have a responsibility to speak out. And we need to work on at least two fronts: demand that Cameron not make business deals at the cost of human rights, and press Modi to answer for the Indian government’s abysmal rights record; and recognise and support the many Indian citizens, journalists and organisations that are resisting growing Hindu fanaticism and state authoritarianism.

I’ll be joining protesters outside Downing Street today. Following the lead of India’s opposition groups, we have a duty to speak out for the people Modi is trying to silence, precisely because we are free to do so.

Gujarat Massacre

Indian Writers Return Awards due to Modi’s Intolerant India – Guardian

Dozens of Indian writers have returned top national awards in a protest against what they call a “climate of intolerance” in the emerging economic power.

The campaign, described as an “unprecedented rebellion by the cream of India’s literary talent” in the local Indian Express newspaper, follows a series of incidents of communal violence and attacks on intellectuals since the Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) won power in a landslide election victory in India last year.

More than 40 novelists, essayists, playwrights and poets have now given back awards from the country’s most prestigious literary institution, the Sahitya Akademi.

One of the most prominent is the niece of Nehru, journalist and author Nayantara Sahgal, who claimed that “India’s culture of diversity and debate is now under vicious assault”.

The row took on an international dimension earlier this week when Salman Rushdie weighed in, telling a local television network that the failure of prime minister Narendra Modi and others to act was allowing a new “degree of thuggish violence” in India.

On Tuesday, 80-year-old novelist Dalip Kaur Tiwana said she was returning her Padma Shri, one of the most important national decorations, which she won in 2004.
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Tiwana, from the northwestern state of Punjab, said she was acting out of solidarity with those “protesting against the increasing communalisation of our society”.

The two incidents that have most angered the writers are the lynching of a Muslim labourer last month, and the murder of a rationalist thinker in August.

In the first, a mob in the village of Bisara on the outskirts of Delhi, the capital, believed their victim had eaten beef and beat him to death outside his home. Cows are sacred in Hinduism.

In the second incident, Malleshappa Kalburgi, an award-winning scholar whose frequent criticism of what he saw as superstition and false beliefs had angered Hindu extremists, was gunned down in the southern state of Karnataka.


“To kill those who stand for truth and justice puts us to shame in the eyes of the world and God,” Tiwana said.

The authors, who write in English as well as regional languages, have called on the Sahitya Akademi, which was established nearly 60 years ago by India’s independence leader and prime minister Jawaharlal Nehru, to publicly condemn the murder of Kalburgi.

The upsurges of sectarian tension in recent years have often coincided with elections. Currently, voting is underway in a key state-level election in the east of India.

Some analysts say rightwing groups allied to the BJP are pushing to see how far they can go under the Modi government.

Samir Saran, of the Observer Research Foundation, said that “louder and more rabid rightwing groups” in India felt emboldened by the mandate won by Narendra Modi, leader of the BJP, in last year’s poll and believed they now had more freedom of action.

Rushdie said: “What has crept into Indian life now is a degree of thuggish violence which is new. And it seems to be given permission by the silence of official bodies, the silence of the Sahitya Akademi … by the silence of the prime minister’s office.”

However, Saran said said the greater scrutiny and reporting of such incidents following Modi’s victory obscured how such incidents had happened under previous governments led by the centre-left Congress party too.

“It is definitely getting greater prominence now,” he said.

On Wednesday Modi spoke about the lynching last month, as well as the cancellation of a Pakistani Muslim musician’s concert in the commercial capital of Mumbai following threats from a rightwing group. The prime minister called the incidents “unfortunate” but said his government was not to blame.


Senior BJP officials have dismissed the writers’ protests, accusing them of being politically motivated.

“If they say they are unable to write, let them stop writing,” Mahesh Sharma, India’s minister for culture, told reporters.

However, he also condemned the murders of Kalburgi and Mohammed Akhlaq, the labourer lynched by the mob last month.

The sectarian violence has had a significant impact on India’s image overseas and could undermine Modi’s drive to attract investors.

In one case earlier this year, a critically acclaimed Indian novelist announced his “death” as a creative artist following threats and protests by rightwing Hindu and caste groups prompted by his book about a woman’s efforts to get pregnant with a stranger through a religious ritual.

Perumal Murugan said he planned to stop writing and asked his publishers to withdraw all his works of fiction from sale.

In February last year, religious conservatives forced the removal from sale of a book on Hinduism by the US academic Wendy Doniger, claiming it was insulting to the faith.

An editorial in the Times of India newspaper at the time condemned “the growing power of bullying self-appointed censors” displaying “a Victorian hangover with a Taliban temperament”.

There is a long history of clashes over culture and effective censorship by parties and leaders from across the political spectrum in India.

The sale of Rushdie’s 1988 novel The Satanic Verses remains proscribed in India and its author was unable to appear at the Jaipur literary festival in 2012 after Muslim organisations protested.

Politicians have repeatedly sought to ban or restrict the sale or production of specific books. In 2010, MPs loyal to Sonia Gandhi threatened legal action to stop the sale of a “fictionalised biography” of the Congress party leader.

“It’s become a question of an individual’s right to speak, to think, to write, to eat, to dress, to debate,” said Maya Krishna Rao, a playwright and actor, who returned her award to the academy this week.

Modi with the RSS, the far-right Hindu nationalist organisation

Persecution of Minorities in Modi’s India – GMA Blog

The worldwide Sikh community is in anger and unrest ever since the recent desecration of Sikhs’ Holy Book Sri Guru Granth Sahib was discovered in the village of Bargari, near Kot Kapura in Faridkot district in Punjab, India. Subsequently, the Sikh community aired their concern and worry about their everyday persecution in protests, but the situation even worsened as police rather than guarding the protests opened fire and killed two protesters and left dozens of other left injured.

This tragic most recent incident is yet another episode of endless catalogue of Sikh persecution who feel alienated, disillusioned and abandoned in their own country. The police brutality, which included the use of water canons and even fire arms against the protesters, resurrected the memories of the 1984 Sikh genocide in the Golden Temple. Some members of the Sikh community believe state behavior has not changed in more than three decades. India, being one of the largest democracy in the world has failed to honour its international obligations to which it is the signatory countries where its own citizens are targeted by its own police.

Right to protest and peaceful assembly is the basic fundamental rights of every democratic country in the world. It is enshrined in the Article 20 of United Nations Declaration of Human Rights as well as in Article 21 in the United Nations International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights. The signatory state is obliged by the UN treaties to honour its obligations towards its own citizens. The Indian government instead of looking into the case of the desecration of Sikh’s holy book rather targeted the protestors and ordered its policeto disperse the crowds through water cannons and batons. The misdirected state action lead to the killing of two Sikh members and left many injured.

This rigid, cold and indifferent state behavior is not alien to Sikh community. The police brutality of Sikh massacre which killed more than 3,000 sikhs in the Gold Temple still fresh in the members of Sikhs around the world. Some resonated their fear and concerns to this day as evidenced in the most recent police brutality.

Since the leader of the right-wing Indian People’s Party (BJP), Nerandera Modi came to power, the plight of minorities has worsened and calls for ‘Hindu India’ begin to grip minorities who have suffered persecutory events in the past. The Gujarat 2002 Massacre of Muslims, when Modi was the Chief Minister in the Gujarat State, and the 2008 persecution of Christians in Orissa are few to mention. The most recent state led oppresions include a ban on beef for Muslims and state violence against the Sikh.

While the Indian government claims the recent desecration of Sri Guru Grath Sahib has ‘clear and concrete evidence’ of foreign funding does not justify the questions of the state violence, while multiple arrests have been made in connection with the alleged desecration will the attempts suffice the institutionalised persecution minorities suffer in India?

Bio Shahid Khan

Open Letter to British Indians – Daily O

Dear British Indians,

While some of you might be excited to welcome the Prime Minister of India to the United Kingdom, I would like to attract your attention to some of the recent unfortunate incidents that have raised serious questions on his government’s democratic commitment.

But before that, let me point out some of the things that have affected you in the past in the UK. You as a minority community in Britain have had bitter-sweet experiences historically. At times, your Chicken Tikka Masala is hailed as Britain’s true national dish, and at times your Diwali is snubbed as a non-British festival. At times, your contributions in this country are emphatically recognised, and at times you are blamed for living parallel lives, separate from the mainstream. At times, your presence in this country is celebrated, and there are days when you are considered a burden on welfare state in Britain.

You do remember Stephen Lawrence, don’t you? He was a member of a minority community like yours who was murdered in cold blood in a racial attack in London in 1993. Mindless racism did not only lead to his killing but also failed to give justice to his bereaved family. The Metropolitan police, which inquired into his murder, was found to be “institutionally racist”. You wouldn’t like to be a victim of such racism in the country you live, would you?

I am sure you are also aware of an openly xenophobic and ultranationalist party called British National Party (BNP), which calls for resettlement of migrant populations to their countries of ethnic origin. You wouldn’t like an idea like that to be translated into power, would you?

Now juxtapose these issues of the country you live in, that is UK, with some of the incidents that have happened in the country of your origin, that is India, under the watch of the prime minister you are excitedly waiting to welcome.

Think of two Muslim men being lynched by raging mobs in separate incidents in Dadri in the northern state of UP and in Imphal in the eastern state of Manipur. Politics of hatred caused the loss of two innocent lives. And also think of several leaders of the PM’s BJP, time and again, threatening to send Indian Muslims to Pakistan.

Do you find the lynching of the two men in India any different to the killing of Stephan Lawrence in the UK? And do you find the BJP leaders’ threats to send Indian Muslims to Pakistan any different to the BNP’s determination to send people like you to the countries of your origin?

In fact, if there is a difference between the Indian community in UK and the Muslim community in India, it is this that the Indian community in UK has indeed predominantly migrated in the recent memorable history, that is, after the Second World War, whereas Muslims in India have not. Muslims have been living in India for centuries.

So if, despite this fact, you find BNP’s ideology as racist, xenophobic and regressive -and rightly so – can those BJP leaders’ views be legitimate, tolerant and progressive? If not, then why not lodge your protest with the visiting leader of that party, who is also the prime minister of India?

Please remember, both in the UK and in India these horrific crimes and appalling threats are directed against the minorities by some fanatic nationalists. If you,as a minority in UK don’t approve of racist killing of Stephan Lawrence and the xenophobic views of BNP, then isn’t it your moral duty to raise your voice against similar things happening against your minority counterparts in India?

After all, you are some of the most privileged people on earth to straddle between the largest democracy and one of the oldest democracies of the world. You have inherited the democratic values like tolerance, respect, dignity and equal opportunities for all. You know what democracy means and how politicians should treat you.

So if you plan take a ride on the UK Welcomes Modi bus or decide to go to Wembley on Friday, please bear in mind that you might be turning a blind eye to what is happening in India. Prime Minister Narendra Modi is coming on a state visit. What transpires in his meetings with PM David Cameroon and the Queen will make the visit a success or a failure, not his photo op with you.

Yours truly,

Mohammad Behzad Fatmi

Modi Not Welcome - Modi with much maligned Punjab CM Badal

Modi the Manipulater – Guardian

In 2005, when Narendra Modi was the chief minister of the wealthy Indian state of Gujarat, local police murdered a criminal called Sheikh Sohrabuddin in cold blood. At an election rally in 2007 for the ruling Hindu nationalist BJP, Modi assured his citizens that Sohrabuddin “got what he deserved”. What should be done, he asked, to a man found possessing illegal arms? The pumped-up crowd shouted back: “Mari nakho-mari nakho!” (Kill him, kill him!)
The lynch mob’s cry was repeated in a village near Delhi last month as zealots beat to death a Muslim farmer they suspected – wrongly – of keeping beef in his house. While Modi makes a triumphant visit to the UK after more than a year as India’s prime minister, the Hindu supremacists are, as the novelist Mukul Kesavan wrote last month, in “full hunting mode, head up and howling”. In recent weeks, activists and scholars have been shot dead amid a nationwide campaign against “Hindu-baiters” that targets secular intellectuals and “westernised” women as well as public figures with Muslim and Christian names, and western NGOs such as Greenpeace. The assassinations follow months of violence and intimidating rhetoric by Hindu supremacists. A range of public figures, from Shah Rukh Khan, Bollywood’s biggest star, to India’s respected central banker, Raghuram Rajan, have spoken out against the rising tide of sectarian hatred. More than 40 of India’s most distinguished writers have returned their awards to the Sahitya Academy, the national literature academy. Many others, including artists, scholars, filmmakers and scientists, have since joined the protests, which reached boiling point after Hindu fanatics lynched at least four people in connection with beef-eating.
Modi turned beef into an incendiary issue during his run for India’s highest political office; he and his party colleagues reinfused it with anti-minorities venom during recent local elections in the state of Bihar. The chief minister of one of India’s richest states declared last month that Muslims could only live in the country if they stopped eating beef. The house magazine of the RSS, the parent outfit of Hindu nationalists, cited ancient scriptures to justify the killing of “sinners” who slaughter cows. The culture minister Mahesh Sharma said of protesting authors: “If they say they are unable to write, let them first stop writing. We will then see.” On Saturday, Modi hinted at his own views on the subject by posing for pictures with organisers of a Delhi demonstration against protesting writers, where slogans such as: “Hit the fraudulent literati with boots” and, “Presstitutes suck up to Europeans” had echoed.

On the day of Modi’s election last May, I wrote in the Guardian that India was entering its most sinister phase since independence. Those who had monitored Modi’s words and deeds, noted their consistency, and feared that Hindu supremacism could deliver a mortal blow to India’s already enfeebled democratic institutions and pluralist traditions had come to much the same conclusion. Modi is a stalwart member of the RSS, a paramilitary organisation explicitly modelled on European fascist parties, whose members have been found routinely guilty of violence against Indian minorities. A pogrom in Modi-ruled Gujarat in 2002 killed more than 1,000 Muslims and displaced tens of thousands. (It was what prompted the US and UK governments to impose a visa ban on Modi). Whether or not Modi was personally complicit in the murder and gang rapes, they had clearly been “planned in advance”, as Human Rights Watch said in the first of countless reports on the violence, “and organised with the extensive participation of the police and state government officials”. Among the few people convicted was Maya Kodnani, Modi’s ministerial colleague, and a fanatic called Babu Bajrangi, who crowed to a journalist that he had slashed open with his sword the womb of a heavily pregnant woman, and claimed that Modi sheltered him after the riots and even changed three judges in order for him to be released on bail (Modi has not responded to these allegations).
Though sentenced to dozens of years in prison, Kodnani and Bajrangi are frequently granted bail and allowed to roam free in Modi’s India. India’s foremost investigative body, the CBI, had accused Modi’s consigliere, Amit Shah, who is now president of the BJP, of ordering the execution of Sohrabuddin (among others), but withdrew its case against him last year, citing lack of evidence. Meanwhile, Teesta Setalvad, a human rights activist and one of Modi’s most persistent critics, is saved from arrest only by the interventions of the supreme court.

Modi conveyed early the audacity – and tawdriness – of power when in May 2014 he flew from Gujarat to the oath-taking ceremony on a private corporate jet emblazoned with the name of his closest corporate chum. In January this year he turned out in a $15,000 Savile Row suit with personalised pinstripes to hug Barack Obama. Launching Digital India (a programme to connect thousands of villages to the internet) in Silicon Valley last month, the eager new international player seemingly shoved Mark Zuckerburg aside to clear space for a photo-op for himself (the video has gone viral). One of his most fervent cheerleaders in India now complains that the prime minister is like a new bride remaking herself for her powerful and wealthy in-laws.
Consequently, many in his own neglected family are turning against him. On Sunday, his party’s vicious and lavishly funded campaign in elections in Bihar, one of India’s largest and poorest states, ended in humiliating defeat. But Modi’s glossy makeover seems to have seduced many in the west; Rupert Murdoch tweeted after a recent meeting that Modi is India’s “best leader with best policies since independence”. Sheryl Sandberg declared she was changing her Facebook profile in honour of Modi’s visit to Silicon Valley in September. His libertarian hosts did not seem to know or care that, just as Modi was arriving in California to promote Digital India, his factotums were shutting down the internet in Kashmir, or that earlier this year his government advocated a draconian law that the Indian police used repeatedly to arrest people posting opinions on Facebook and Twitter. Nor did the Bay area’s single-minded data-monetisers fuss about the fact that Modi had launched Digital India in India itself with a private party for his most fanatical troll-troopers – people who are, as the magazine Caravan put it, “a byword in online terror, hate and misogyny”. In a dog-eat-dog world primarily organised around lucrative deal-making, the only value seems to be economic growth – albeit, for a small minority.


Modi’s speeches about his country’s cruelly postponed and now imminent glory have packed stadiums around the world with ecstatic Indians. At Wembley this weekend, some more grownup men and women chanting “Modi, Modi!” will embarrass themselves in history. The seemingly unembarrassable Tory government discovered new muscles while kowtowing to Xi Jinping, and will no doubt find them useful for some Indian style-prostration, sashtanga pranam, before Modi.

Modi was always an odd choice to lead India into the 21st century. Meeting him early in his career, the distinguished social psychologist Ashis Nandy assessed Modi as a “classic, clinical case” of the “authoritarian personality”, with its “mix of puritanical rigidity, narrowing of emotional life” and “fantasies of violence”. Such a figure could describe refugee camps with tens of thousands of Muslim survivors of the 2002 pogrom as “child-breeding centres”. Asked repeatedly about his culpability in the killings, Modi insisted that his only mistake was bad media management. Pressed repeatedly over a decade about such extraordinary lack of remorse, he finally said that he regretted the killings as he would a “puppy being run over by a car”.
More importantly, Modi was a symptom, easily identified through his many European and Asian predecessors, of capitalism’s periodic and inevitable dysfunction: he was plainly the opportune manipulator of mass disaffection with uneven and unstable growth, who distracts a fearful and atomised citizenry with the demonisation of minorities, scapegoating of ostensibly liberal, cosmopolitan and “rootless” people, and promises of “development”, while facilitating crony capitalism. To aspiring but thwarted young Indians Modi presented himself as a social revolutionary, the son of a humble tea-seller challenging entrenched dynasties, as well as an economic moderniser. He promised to overturn an old social and political order that they saw, correctly, as dominated by a venal and unresponsive ruling class. His self-packaging as a pious and virtuous man of the people seemed especially persuasive as corruption scandals tainted the media as well as politicians and businessmen in the years leading up to 2014.

Modi’s earliest supporters in his bid for supreme power, however, were India’s richest people, lured by special favours of cheap land and tax concessions. Ratan Tata, the steel and car-making tycoon, was one of the first big industrialists to embrace him in the wake of the anti-Muslim pogrom. Mukesh Ambani, another business magnate and owner of a 27-storey home in the city of slums, Mumbai, soon hailed his “grand vision”. His brother declared Modi “king among kings”. Even the Economist, reporting on Modi-mania among “private-equity types, blue-chip executives and the chiefs of India’s big conglomerates” was startled by the “creepy sycophancy”. It shouldn’t have been: in Modi’s India the Ambanis are fast heading towards a Berlusconi-style domination of both news and entertainment content and delivery mechanisms.
Media management has ceased to be a problem for Modi; the television channels and press owned by loyal supporters hectically build him up as India’s saviour. Modi also attracted academics, writers and journalists who had failed to flourish in the old regime – the embittered pedantocrats and wannabes who traditionally serve in the intellectual rearguard of illiberal movements. Predictably, these victims of ressentiment – who languished, as Nietzsche wrote, in “a whole tremulous realm of subterranean revenge” – are now taking over Indian institutions, and filling the airwaves with their “rabid mendaciousness and rage”.

Many non-resident Indians, denied full dignity in the white man’s world, also hitched their low self-esteem to Modi’s hot-air balloons about the coming Indian Century. The Modi Toadies, as they are widely referred to on social media, have turned out to be an intriguingly diverse lot: they range from small-town zealots campaigning against romantic love between Muslim and Hindus to a publicist called Swapan Dasgupta, a former Trotskyite and self-proclaimed “anglophile”. But it should not be forgotten that a variety of global elite networks went to work strenuously on Modi’s behalf: the slick public-relations firm APCO that works with Central Asian despots and suave technocrats as much as the rented armies of cyberthugs rampaging through social media and the comment sections of online articles.
A former special adviser to Tony Blair authored a hagiography for English-speaking readers. The Labour peer Meghnad Desai helped alchemise Modi’s record of assisting big corporations into an electorally potent myth of “efficiency” and “rapid development”. Jagdish Bhagwati and Arvind Panagariya – two Ivy League Indian economists charged with “poverty-denialism” by the recent Nobel laureate Angus Deaton – said in a letter to the Economist that the anti-Muslim pogrom in Modi’s Gujarat was actually a “riot”. As Modi appeared likely to become prime minister, the intellectual grunts at American thinktanks churned out op-eds hailing Modi as the man to accelerate India’s neoliberalisation, and reorient its foreign policy towards America and Israel. Many foreign correspondents and “India hands” lost their intellectual confidence and judgement before such diligently manufactured consensus.

Thus, Modi rose frictionlessly and swiftly from disgrace to respectability in a world where money, power and status are the measure of everything, and where human beings, as Balzac bitterly wrote, are reduced to being either fools or knaves. He may be very far from fulfilling his electoral promise of creating adequate jobs for the one million Indians who enter the workforce every month. He still deals mostly in fantasy, gushing about “smart cities” and “bullet trains”, and a digital India in which fibre-optic cables will bring remote villages online. But among global elites who see India as a fast-growing economy and counterweight to China, poverty-denialism shades easily into pogrom-denialism. A tweet by a New-York-based venture capitalist responding to protests by Indian writers sums up the prevailing morality: “The icons of new India are the wealth creators. Nobody gives a rat’s ass anymore about the writers.”
Modi’s ascent through a variety of enablers, whitewashers and wealth-creators invites us to probe our own complicity as fools and knaves in increasingly everyday forms of violence and dispossession. For Modi’s ruthless economism is a commonplace phenomenon, marked everywhere by greed, sophistry and a contempt for human life and dignity – symptoms, as GN Devy, one of India’s most bracing thinkers, put it last month, of a worldwide transition into a “post-human” existence.

In India itself, the prostration before Mammon, bellicose nationalism, boorish anti-intellectualism, and fear and hatred of the weak predates Modi. It did not seem so brazen previously because the now supplanted Indian elite disguised their hegemony with what Edmund Burke called “pleasing illusions”: in this case, reverential invocations of Gandhi and Nehru, and of the noble “idea of India”. Thus, the Congress party, which first summoned the malign ghosts of Hindu supremacism in the 1980s and presided over the massacre of more than 3,000 Sikhs in 1984, could claim to represent secularism. And liberal intellectuals patronised by the regime could remain silent when Indian security forces in Kashmir filled up mass graves with dissenters to the idea of India, gang-raped with impunity, and stuck live wires into the penises of suspected militants. The rare protestor among Indian writers was scorned for straying from literature into political activism. TV anchors and columnists competed with each other in whipping up patriotic rage and hatred against various internal and external enemies of the idea of India. The “secular” nationalists of the ancient regime are now trying to disown their own legitimate children when they recoil fastidiously from the Hindu supremacists foaming at the mouth.

One can only hope that the barefaced viciousness of Hindu supremacists will jolt the old elites out of their shattered dogmas and pieties while politicising a cheated young generation. It is true that Modi and his Toadies embody without shame, ambivalence or euphemism the brutality of power; they don’t give a rat’s ass about pleasing illusions. Yet their assaults on the authorised idea of India are creating a fissure in the unfeeling monolith through which a humane politics and culture might flow. The alternative, as recent weeks show, is a post-human India, where lynch mobs roused by their great leader shout: “Kill him! Kill him!”

Modi Not Welcome - Sikh farmers of Gujarat protest, via MaliceThoughts

Sikh Farmers Flee Gujarat – Times of India

CHANDIGARH: Targeted by land mafia, attacked by goons and booked by cops, Sikh farmers who had made the inhospitable terrain in Bhuj area of Gujarat cultivable, are now forced to flee the land they had made their home.

The recent attack on farmers on January 25 has only reinforced their fears and they have no plans to return anytime soon. Farmer Jagjit Singh was seriously injured in an attack allegedly by a group of local farmers in Loria village of Bhuj district. This was the second attack on Sikhs in Gujarat within a month. Some Sikh farmers have alleged that local agriculturists in connivance with politicians want to drive them out of Gujarat. This attack triggered the exit of a dozen Sikh farmers.

Many have returned to their original hometowns in Punjab and Ganganagar after giving their land on contract farming. Having sold their land, most are virtually living hand to mouth now.

Eighty-four-year-old Tej Ram Sharma said he left Bhuj area and came to Moga about a month ago. “There was fear that an untoward incident could happen any moment and we deputed someone to take care of our 40 acre land and came back to Punjab. I get some pension and that is the only source of income. Prime Minister Narendra Modi should step in,” he said with a choked voice.

In the run-up to the Lok Sabha polls, Modi had assured at a rally in Ludhiana in February 2014 that no Sikh farmer in Gujarat would ever be evicted. “Sikh farmers have as much the right to live there as Narendra Modi,” he had said. But nearly one year down the line, fear haunts the Sikh settlers.

Lachhman Singh Brar, who came to Faridkot three months ago, said that apart from the threat of local mafia, even farming as a vocation was becoming financially unviable as they are being deprived of facilities like farmer credit scheme.

“Even though the local population has cordial relations with the Punjabi farmers who migrated there about five decades ago and actually helped locals with new farming techniques, the bureaucracy and politicians have been indifferent,” he said.

Sardul Singh has returned to Ganganagar, leaving behind 20 acres near Kothara. “There was threat to our lives and we thought it better to give the land on contract and leave. The recent attack on Punjabi farmers in which both parties have been booked by the police goes to show the state of affairs,” he alleged.

“The farmers’ fear is growing as they are being deprived of their right to own the land despite having won the case in High Court,” said another farmer who has returned to his village on Punjab-Haryana border.

For several years, Sikhs were facing the threat of being uprooted under a law enacted by the Gujarat government that purportedly bars non-Gujaratis from buying land in the state. The farmers won the case in the Gujarat high court but the state government challenged the HC order in the SC.

Surinder Singh Bhullar, a farmer settled near Bhuj, said many Punjabi farmers had moved out after selling their land at throwaway prices. “Over the past four years, we have approached every government agency but to no avail. The freeze on our land has not been removed even after the high court ruled in our favour. Punjabi farmers are spread apart and get together only once a year. There are some who had sold off everything to buy land in Gujarat and have nowhere to go,” he said.

Himmat Singh Shergill, Aam Aadmi Party ( AAP) leader who represented the farmer in court, said it was a sorry state of affairs and the Sikh farmers had nobody to turn to. The local land mafia wants them to abandon their land and leave the state, he alleged.

Farmers undivided Punjab and Rajasthan had gone to Kutch district in 1965 at the exhortation of then prime minister Lal Bahadur Shastri.

Gujarat Massacre

Fake Encounters –

Fake encounters, are extrajudicial executions, usually of people in custody, generally staged to appear as though they occurred in gun battles. Between October 2002 and December 2006 there were at least 21 extrajudicial killings by Gujarat Police (Amnesty reported 31 such killings between 2002 and 2007). More than a dozen senior police officers are in jail or facing prosecution in connection with fake encounter killings. The Gujarat state is directly implicated in many cases, most famously the killing of Ishrat Jahan, a nineteen year old woman from Mumbai, along with three others in 2004. Modi praised the police involved in killing Ishrat Jahan and branded her a terrorist. But no evidence of her involvement with terrorism has ever been produced despite certain media claims based on unidentified sources. In the run-up to the encounter there is evidence of frequent contact between top BJP officials and officers, most notably Amit Shah implicated in the killing. In March 2014, the CBI reportely obtained a recording of Modi’s top aides, including G.C. Murmu andA. K. sharma, discussing with police officers how to sabotage the Ishrat Jahan probe.

Another well known fake encounter killing was that of Sohrabuddin Sheikh and his wife, Kausar Bi, who was raped before her murder. Modi justified this killing, saying that Sheikh got what he deserved,leading to intervention from the Election Commission. In March 2014new evidence emerged that Modi was directly monitoring another encounter killing, that of Tulsi Prajapati, witness to the killing of Sohrabuddin Sheikh. According to a lawyer representing victims’ families, there is a clear pattern to the Gujarat encounter killings, with the victims branded as terrorists often without evidence.

In September 2013, a senior police officer D. G. Vanzara, who had been in jail since 2007 for involvement in several fake encounters, resigned from service, claiming that the officers involved were implementing state government policy. It is currently unclear whatlegal or political repercussions these revelations will bring.

Both fake encounters and other human rights violations by the Gujarat police such as the arrest, illegal detention, and torture of Muslim youth, seem to be about creating the impression that Islamic terrorism is an imminent threat, with Modi emerging as the tough guy taking action on terror. In the run up to the election, and during the election, there have been several stories about imminent terrorist threats against Modi without any evidence provided.

What the West Doesn’t Want to Admit About Modi – Naujawani

Written by Narvir Singh

A lot of Sikhs are outraged by the audacity for some Gurdwareh, including Gurdwara Sri Guru Singh Sabha Southall, to support Narendra Modi on his tour to the UK. They are appalled that Sikhs could agree to have our institutions included in the ‘Modi Welcome Committee’. But why is supporting the new Indian Prime Minister the worst decision ever?