The Hindutva ideology, as propagated by the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS), has been likened to the supremacist ideology of the Nazi Party. Just as the Nazi regime targeted Jews and non-Aryan races, the RSS has been accused of promoting hostility towards the Muslim population in India. As Martin Luther King Jr. once said, ”Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.” The actions of the RSS, with the support of the state, have led to the marginalization and exclusion of the Muslim community, drawing parallels to the early campaigns of the Nazi regime against Jews.
The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) are two influential political and ideological organizations in India that promote Hindu nationalism, or Hindutva. Hindutva is a political ideology that seeks to establish India as a Hindu nation and marginalize religious minorities, especially Muslims. Some critics have compared the BJP and the RSS to the Nazi Party of Germany, a fascist movement that advocated racial supremacy and persecuted Jews and other groups. In this essay, here are some similarities between the BJP, RSS, and Nazis regarding their beliefs, practices, and propaganda.
Comparison between two ideologies and possible overlap:
Similarities between the BJP, RSS, and Nazis are that they all believe in racial and religious superiority. Nazism promoted Aryan supremacy, a pseudoscientific concept claiming that people of Germanic descent were superior to other races. The BJP and the RSS promote Hindu supremacy, a religious and cultural concept claiming that Hindus are superior to other faiths. Both cases stigmatize religious communities as inferior, impure, or enemies. As part of its political objective to establish a pure Aryan race, the Nazi government persecuted Jews, for example. Similarly, the BJP and the RSS constantly defame Muslims, Dalits, and other lower castes as dangers to Hindu identity and culture.
The exclusion of religious minorities from politics and society is another similarity the BJP, RSS, and Nazis shared. The Nazi administration passed laws depriving Jews of citizenship privileges and prohibiting them from marrying non-Jews. The BJP-RSS administration in India has adopted the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA), which provides citizenship to non-Muslim refugees from neighbouring countries but excludes Muslims. The CAA has been challenged as a discriminatory statute that contradicts India’s secular constitution and creates a religiously based citizenship hierarchy. Furthermore, the BJP and RSS discourage interfaith partnerships between Hindu women and Muslim men. They have implemented legislation making religious conversion through marriage illegal, which they call “love jihad.” Interracial couples have been harassed and arrested as a result of these laws.
Another thing that the BJP, RSS, and Nazis have in common is that they all utilize propaganda to disseminate their ideologies and affect public opinion. The Nazi dictatorship glorified Hitler and the Nazi Party through numerous media outlets such as newspapers, radio, films, posters, rallies, and speeches.
They also used propaganda to vilify Jews and other groups as subhuman or evil. The BJP-RSS government in India uses social media platforms such as WhatsApp, Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, and websites to promote Hindutva ideology and policies. They also use propaganda to spread misinformation, hate speech, fake news, and conspiracy theories against Muslims and other groups. For example, they have accused Muslims of spreading COVID-19, carrying out terrorist attacks, kidnapping Hindu girls, infiltrating institutions, and plotting to take over India.
Ghettoization and Pogroms: A Comparative Analysis
Ghettoization refers to segregating certain segments of society based on race, religion, economic status, or social standing. Originating in Venice, Jews used it to distinguish themselves from the rest of the population. After Nazi Germany invaded Poland, Jews were forced to relocate to designated urban areas, resulting in food shortages, crowded living conditions, and the fear of forced labor in Nazi factories or concentration centers. Under the guise of resettlement, the Nazis transported Jews from ghettos to extermination centers.
In India, ghettoization follows a paradigm prevalent in the majoritarianism of the BJP-RSS regime. In affluent urban neighborhoods, Muslims are frequently denied rental properties, and developers refuse to sell to Muslims. This causes Muslims to lose their homes and relocate to safer communities with other impoverished Muslims. As the BJP-RSS regime continues its Hinduization of the nation, these Muslim enclaves, encircled by and dependent on the majority Hindu population, make Muslims easier targets.
The term pogrom, which means to inflict devastation or demolish violently, refers to violent attacks by non-Jewish local populations against Jews in the Russian Empire and other countries. 1938 witnessed Kristallnacht, the most significant pogrom in Nazi Germany, which led to the Holocaust. In India, the BJP-RSS administration has caused 3,399 instances of communal unrest between 2016 and 2020. The Gujarat Pogrom of 2002 and the Delhi Pogrom of 2020 were two of the most violent pogroms in recent years.
The Nazis’ actions before and during the Holocaust relate to the contemporary situation in India, warning that India is on a perilous path toward becoming a fascist state. According to Genocide Watch, the situation in India has already reached the stages of division, preparation, and persecution. The statement urges global leaders to denounce human rights crimes in India and foreign organizations to collaborate with Indian civil society to remove the repressive framework.