by Mussawer Safi 21 July 2023
The Hindutva Concept is seen as hostile against the Muslim population in India, just as the Nazi Party did in Germany with its anti-Jewish and non-Aryan races. During the early campaigns of the Nazi regime, Jews were subjected to dehumanization, marginalization, and a social and economic boycott. With the support of the state, the RSS is also involved in similar activities, leading to their exclusion. Hindutva stems from the ideological writings of V. D. Savarkar, and its rise to prominence was aided by the decline of the Indian National Congress and the destruction of the Babri Mosque.
Since 1972, Narendra Modi has been an active Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) member. He played a significant role in the RSS/Sangh Parivar’s aggressive actions against the Indian Muslim community, which resembled the Holocaust. The Nazi regime instigated violent attacks, known as pogroms, against Jews and non-Aryan ethnic groups, ultimately leading to their systematic extermination. During the tenure of Prime Minister Modi, instances of pogroms, such as the Gujarat riots in 2002 and the Delhi riots in 2020, along with additional measures such as socioeconomic boycotts, have contributed to the marginalization of the Muslim community.
India’s far-right RSS shows how India’s ruling party’s Hindutva ideology resembles Nazi supremacist ideology. The Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) leader, who organizes violent rioters to promote the organization’s propaganda, is well protected by the government. The RSS also plans combat drills for 60,929 Shakha units every day, which comprises About 500,000 people come every day. The RSS also holds 10,000 meetings weekly in India to discuss social media.
The BJP, RSS, and Nazis have similarities. Both sides believe in racial and religious superiority. Nazism promoted Aryan supremacy, whereas the BJP and RSS promoted Hindu supremacy. Both cases stigmatize religious communities. The Nazi government persecuted Jews as part of its political mission. Similarly, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and the RSS actively demonize Muslims, Dalits, and other castes who remain at the bottom of the caste hierarchy.
Both times, religious minorities were marginalized and excluded from politics. The Citizenship Amendment Act’s implementation by the BJP-RSS has been compared to the Nazis’ exclusion of Jews from the political process. Interfaith relationships face legal barriers. The Nazis’ Law for Protection of German Blood and Honor barred Jews from marrying “German blood,” and the BJP-RSS’s Prohibition of Unlawful Conversion of Religion Ordinance barred Hindu women from marrying Muslim men.
Both political philosophies extensively use propaganda to spread their beliefs. The BJP-RSS uses the Special Material Technology Cell to spread misinformation, demonize disadvantaged groups, and sway public opinion favoring Hindutva. The BJP and RSS doctrines have been compared to Nazism. Indian textbooks have also been criticized for demeaning Muslims.
Like the BJP and RSS, the Nazis romanticize history. The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) believe Hindus invented several modern technologies millennia ago, including the Nazis. Religious and economic boycotts are prevalent. The BJP-RSS leadership has been accused of boycotting Muslim-owned businesses and professions, drawing comparisons to the Nazis’ treatment of Jews.
Hitler believed that those with “Aryan blood”—German ancestry—were perfect physically and spiritually. Hinduism’s caste system emphasizes racial purity. The caste system in India is called “Varna” (hue). Brahmins—paler-skinned people—hold the highest position in this hierarchy. India has oppressed Dalits and Adivasis, indigenous communities.
The “love jihad” legislation, or the Prohibition of Unlawful Conversion of Religion Ordinance, is one example of the discriminatory practices and Islam-phobic conspiracy theories that have grown across India. This regulation restricts mixed marriages, particularly those involving Hindu women. Upholding the law is the responsibility of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) militias. Sadly, violence has been committed against interracial couples. There have been reports of physical assaults and fatalities. In a disturbing turn of events, the RSS has been accused of supporting a plan known as “Reverse Love Jihad,” which calls for Muslim females to be abducted and forcibly married to Hindu men.
In a manner comparable to Nazi Germany, there have been efforts to target religious customs in India. Nazi Germany outlawed kosher slaughter in 1933, meaning animals had to be conscious when slain. Hindutva groups affiliated with the BJP and RSS have launched a similar campaign against kosher cuisine in India. Thousands of Muslim-owned butcher stores have closed due to this campaign, and there are demands to cease purchasing all halal-certified products. Falsely claiming that Islamic economic growth is a threat and that money from kosher practices could be used to finance Islamic terrorism, these Hindutva groups exploit the dread of the Hindu community.
There are parallels between the methods used by the Nazi government to disseminate propaganda and those used by the BJP-RSS administration in India. Public displays, manipulating the media, and delivering speeches. Some films, such as Triumph des Willens, glorified Hitler and the Nazi Party. In contrast, others, such as Der ewige Jude, portrayed vulnerable minorities, such as Jews, as less human and more monstrous.
The BJP-RSS government in India employs its marketing juggernaut in a unique manner and context. Due to the effectiveness of this marketing juggernaut, India’s media freedom score has decreased significantly. The BJP manages the government’s official Information Technology (IT) Cell, which plays a crucial role in molding narratives and regulating the flow of information. According to Reporters without Borders, India is now ranked 150th out of 180 countries, a concerning development. Even though the Nazis’ marketing strategies were distinct, the similarities made people concerned about the erosion of democracy and freedom of expression in India.
There are parallels between the propaganda of the Nazi regime and that of the BJP-RSS government in India. Both factions desired control of the media and the educational system to shape public opinion and consolidate their influence. Concerns have been raised about the erosion of democracy and freedom of speech in India due to the BJP-RSS government’s marketing tactics and media control. These connections must be understood to safeguard democratic norms and nurture an independent media environment that supports diversity and inclusion.