Hindu nationalism amongst the nationalisms

Much of the discussion over the last few weeks on this weblog (see “Open Thread”) has involved the internal politics of India, and its clearer trajectory in regards to a Hindu sense of self. Most of the comments are not really worth reading, as they repeat platitudes. I have said little because I know very little which would add much to the discussion.

That being said, let me take a break from pre-Christmas activities, and just express the framework or “filter” which I use to understand what’s going on in India (and elsewhere) today. I am not someone who believes that to understand modern social-political ideologies in post-colonial nations all you need to do is understand the colonial experience. On the contrary, I lean toward the position that many national identities have deep roots and histories (e.g., China, Iran, and England, to name three). For more on this perspective, see Azar Gat’s Nations.

But, neither is it true colonial, Western, and international, currents are irrelevant in understanding notionally primal and indigenous nationalists and pan-nationalisms. To give three examples. Chinese nationalism in the early 20th-century explicitly looked to the West, and east toward the success of Japan, in attempting to create a post-imperial identity. Iran in the early 20th-century coalesced around a resurgent Persian national identity in a multi-ethnic society which had heretofore been bound together by Shia Islam (imposed on Iran by Turkic Safavids in the 16th and 17-century). Finally, the emergence of the German nation-state under the Kleindeutschland vision is hard to understand without the French Revolution, and the shock it imposed on German elites, and in particular the Prussians.

These three instances are clear, distinct, and organic nationalisms. In many ways, elements and configurations of these nationalisms were preexistent to the 19th/20th-century variety. The Safavid state under Shah Abbas I to me served as a template for the Pahlavi project. There were inchoate elements of German nationalism in various polities of the Holy Roman Empire, in particular in the Habsburg domains, where aristocratic cosmopolitanism was always balanced with the hegemony of German culture around Vienna. Finally, the imperial Chinese state in various forms was already proto-modern quite early. I would emphasize the Northern Song period, around 1000 A.D.

But there are other nationalisms developed in the 20th-century which created something de novo in a very real sense. Kemal Ataturk attempted to fashion a form of Turkish post-Ottoman identity explicitly modeled on a Western European template. Though Ottoman Turks did have an ethnic identity, and some level of ethnic chauvinism, the reality is that the Ottoman identity was primarily one of religion. Modern Turkish is written in a Roman alphabet. This means that modern Turks are detached psychologically from the literature of the Ottoman period, which is written in Arabic script. This was clearly a conscious attempt by Ataturk to fashion something new and unmoored from the past.

Even more nebulously, Pan-Turkism and Pan-Arabism appealed to an ethnonationalism more organically suited to the European context and history.  Though Pan-Turkism never became much more than moral and logistical support by the Turkish government for various national resistance movements (Turkey has long supported a community of Uighurs), Pan-Arabism was influential in much of the Arab world in the middle of the 20th-century.

Pan-Arabism was closely connected to Arab Nationalism and in particular the Ba’ath parties.  A reductive way to describe Ba’athism is that it was a escape valve for religious minorities to espouse a form of nationalism that united them with Muslims, and often Sunni, majorities. But Ba’athism became popular for a reason. The rationale for Ba’athism may have some connection to the discomfort with majoritarianism by minority elites in the Arab world, but the 20th-century demanded a form of social cohesion beyond what Sunni Islam had earlier provided (the radical Leftism of some Arab nationalist movements is another path).

Because of Arab opposition to Western imperialism in the early 20th-century, it is not surprising that Ba’athism has been connected in some way to fascism. The problem with our understanding of fascism and right-wing nationalism in the early 20th-century is that Nazism has overshadowed all other forms. But movements to challenge Communism’s appeal to the young and radical were diverse and widespread. For example, right-wing Zionism of the Revisionist school (the ideological ancestors of the Likud party) had connections to these broader trends.

Which brings me to three ideologies which also arose in the modern period: Hindu nationalism, Pan-Islamism, and the “Two-nation theory.” Hindu nationalism and Pan-Islamism arose at the same time, as notables and intellectuals within Hindu and Muslim traditions reacted to the shock of Western modernity. Both these traditions have a mythos of being primal, but the reality is that many elements are quite modern.

To illustrate this, the Iranian Islamic Republic was an explicit attempt to turn back toward indigenous forms and values, but it retains a broad democratic system of governance (democracy being Western). The Shia movement in Iran clearly had resonances with earlier Pan-Islamists, in particular in its early ambitions, and over the past few centuries had integrated and reacted to stimuli from the West far more extensively that modern traditionalist Shia establishments.

Hindu nationalism is in a similar boat. On the one hand, its roots are ancient, and it reflects a vision with deep local roots. But it has had to adapt and develop tools which are quite modern, and only comprehensible in the modern context. Which brings us back to some associations of right-wing Hindus with right-wing movements elsewhere…and a connection to Nazis and genocide.

You could present the case that Hindu nationalism is particularly pernicious at the root. It is brown Nazism of a sort. I am very skeptical of this take, because Hindu nationalism has a rationale of its own, and must be viewed as an indigenous reaction to Western imperialism. Palestine’s Zionist Revisionists associated with Italian fascists in the 1930s. If you know the history of Italian fascism this is not so peculiar. Similarly, various Arab notables and nationalists expressed pro-fascist, and later even pro-Nazi views. Some of this is due to shared affinity because of common enemies, while some are purely mercenary and situational.

This brings me to the “Two Nation Theory.” As above, this is based on a myth. The collapse of Ashraf hegemony, the rise of Indian Muslims, reconfigured the social and political landscape. Muhammed Ali Jinnah was the grandson of a Hindu merchant of ambiguous sectarian affiliation who was personally not particularly pious. The idea of an Indian Muslim nation makes sense for such a man, but not the Turco-Persian grandees of yore.

For various reasons, the Indian republic rejected this vision. I believe that in doing so they rejected the march of history, which has been toward greater sectarian identity and passion. Western commentators attempt to understand Hindu Nationalism on their terms, but just like the rise of an indigenous Indian Muslim identity is now stripped of West Asian accretions in the substance*, Hindu Nationalism is not comprehensible without understanding the interests and foci of native elites.

Where does this leave us? Everywhere and nowhere. In the past and looking to the future. Extracted out of the context of world history over the past 200 years Hindu Nationalism can seem uniquely invidious. But I doubt it is so unique at all. Rather, it is a novel cultural complex that draws deeply on indigenous atavisms. It is part of a broader waxing of local movements the world over.

* Pakistanis may claim West Asian origins or associations, but the national language is Urdu and Indo-Aryan dialect. The Ashraf of yore would have enshrined Persian as the national language.

78 thoughts on “Hindu nationalism amongst the nationalisms”

  1. Do you mean to say that Hindu nationalism is a delayed response to colonialism and pan-islamism?

    If yes, isn’t it supposed to be like this? Unite against a common force? Only exception in India is that it was delayed by about 5-6 decades because of Socialists/Apologists/Marxists’s control on India has loosened. Apart from that the information revolution is making one group realize what ‘other groups’ think of them. This is making similar groups coalesce into one identity.

    Unfortunately, in India this phenomenon is starting to create panic amongst it’s Muslims who are looking to the west/middle east to ease their apprehensions of this new ‘Hindu India’. Both Muslims and Hindus of India have to realize that India is their natural home and nobody, literally no ‘others’ will take them when in pain. A similar trend is being set in state level politics of India. Increasingly, states are electing local leaders but they keep on voting for BJP on the national front. In a sense they want to preserve their culture/language. India is headed towards a truly republic federalism which wasn’t the case before. Both, NDA (Congress party + allies) and NDA (BJP+allies) have tried to homogenize India in one way or the other but, at the end of the day they forgot that identity is a real thing and you can’t take it away from people. There are exceptions to this though, for e.g, China, where empires have always been stronger than ethnicities. Extrapolating this phenomenon, Pakistanis and Bangladeshis should realize that we’re all hindusthanis and the only way to solve border issues is by dissolving the borders through peaceful means. The animosity can be erased only if we can focus on commonalities and not differences.
    Vande mataram

    1. “We’re all Hindustanis”–

      No, Pakistanis are NOT “Hindustanis”. We are citizens of our own sovereign state and have our own distinct national identity. I’m fairly sure Bangladeshis feel the same way. There was no movement for East Bengal to unite with West Bengal in 1971 and one doesn’t exist now (as far as I am aware).

      Borders are not going to dissolve. The best that Pakistan and India can hope for is to live in peace and prosperity as two separate sovereign states. After 72 years, Pakistanis are not going to give up the Islamic Republic to become part of some “Akhand Bharat”.

      1. Let me clarify, when I said dissolve the borders, I didn’t mean to smash the borders but have ‘borders’ like in mainland Europe. We need those ‘borders’ to keep bad elements from running amok. In no way I was proposing open borders. States in India have some kind of ‘border’ in between ’em.

        1. I would be all for an EU type arrangement in South Asia. Easier trade and travel between countries can only be a positive thing. Additionally, this would be one way of solving the whole contentious Kashmir issue.

          However, this cannot happen with a Hindutva regime in India. As India becomes more and more of a Hindu Rashtra, the border between India and Pakistan will become harder and more impenetrable. Strident Hindu Nationalism only reinforces the Pakistani establishment’s Two Nation Theory.

      2. “No, Pakistanis are NOT “Hindustanis””

        LOL, why just Pakistanis, i had once a S-Indian take umbrage when called Hindustani. 😛

  2. \he Indian republic rejected this vision.\

    It is unfair to blame Indian republic for rejecting Indian Muslim nation. Before that could be given a chance of working together and experimenting, Jinna’s strategy and tactics pre-empted that possibility and went on separatism. I personally believe if Pakistan had not broken out violently , a modus operandi and co-habitation was possible with secular Indian nationalism, Hindu and Muslim nationalisms within a same political dispensation.

  3. Just feel than Hindutva (or S-Asian Islamism) can not be Nazism because S-Asians are too weak to be Nazis.

    The Germans are exceptional in doing both good and bad stuff, we (S-Asians) are far too incompetent in either. And that perhaps is the saving grace.

    1. lmfao what. Indians can be plenty good and bad. the issue is that Indians have too many different tribes in their fold. All the factions check each other. that’s why super radical stuff doesn’t happen. it isn’t about weakness. stop projecting your own

      1. Whatever might be the reason, the final conclusion (we came to) is the same. No super radical stuff (for better or for worse) in either direction.

        And that’s a good thing.

    2. in doing both good and bad stuff, we (S-Asians) are far too incompetent in either. And that perhaps is the saving grace.

      S Asians are competent enough when they emigrate to the west.

      I think less incompetency, and more procrastination and laziness.

      We react (including me) and then procrastinate and too lazy to follow up.

      1. AASI is not good for warfare. For example,
        *Rohingyas(comparatively AASI shifted) couldn’t stand against mongoloid Burmese and Rakhains.
        *A lot of Bengali muslims(comparatively AASI shifted) were killed in riots in Assam by mongoloid Ahoms and couldn’t stand against Ahoms.
        *Ancient indian(comparatively AASI shifted) empires could never stand against foreign invaders(different west eurasian invaders including aryans)

        Steppe is connected to warriorship,discipline,pride,aggression,nationalism and violence. Probably, some of these also applies to Iran HG to some extent.
        For example,
        *A lot of cruelties took place during the Gujrat riot. Gujratis have comparatively more steppe (and Iran HG).
        *Steppe shifted North Indians are comparatively more violent and crime prone(rape,murder etc)
        *Steppe shifted North indians dominate India politically and culturally
        *Afghans (who have higher steppe and very little AASI) have been successfully fighting the most powerful militaries for a very long time. The Afghan Taliban had also established a non-corrupt stable government.
        *AASI shifted indian groups live in a single undefined multicultural country named “india” which is too diverse to be a real nation. OTOH steppe and Indus shifted groups are more likely to have ethnostates: e.g. Kashmiri separatism, Khalistan movement, punjabi majority Pakistan, Afghanistan as an ethnostate for Afghans etc.

        If there are different subtypes of AASI, IndusP and Steppe then those subtypes may have different attributes

        1. Bengalistani
          AASI shifted indian groups live in a single undefined multicultural country named “india”

          Sri Lanka is a country where almost all are AASI shifted.
          The even more AASI shifted LTTE gave the Indian Army and later Rajiv run for their lives.

        2. Bengalistani
          AASI shifted indian groups live in a single undefined multicultural country named “india”

          Sri Lanka is a country where almost all are AASI shifted.
          The even more AASI shifted LTTE gave the Indian Army and later Rajiv run for their lives.

          Culturally Sri Lankans maybe be different, DNA wise pretty much similar.

        3. Bengalistani
          AASI shifted indian groups live in a single undefined multicultural country named “india”

          Sri Lanka is a country where almost all are AASI shifted. Culturally Sri Lankans maybe be different, DNA wise pretty much similar.

          The even more AASI shifted LTTE gave the Indian Army and later Rajiv run for their lives.

        4. “The AASI is not good at warfare”!

          Utter rubbish!!!

          The Marathas were AASI biased, with the sole exception of some of their brahmin leadership. The Marathas almost took over the mantle of the Mughals.

          Indian history is very slanted to what happened in the Indo-Gangetic plains. The many dynasties of the Deccan are mostly ignored in the larger sweep of Indian history. The Chalukyas, the Rashtrakutas, the Cholas, the Pandyas, the Yadavas, and most notably the Vijayanagar empire – to name just a few built empires that were mighty in their own right.

          Please do some reading and research.

          1. “…brahmin leadership”
            Marathas had steppe shifted leaders ig.
            Ultimately marathas were defeated…weren’t they?
            Those “AASI shifted” empires u r mentioning: Were their leaders/emperors also AASI shifted? Were they successful against steppe(and indus) shifted empires?

            I believe that AASI is intellectually supreme…but not good at warfare and being disciplined.

        5. Notwithstanding the highly voluble Marathi manoos on social media, the Marathis are closer to N-Indians (in their orientation, social views) than they ever were to S-Indians. Just like the Gujratis. That’s why the Marathas concern of everything North to them (even Peshawar) and nothing South to them (unlike Deccan powers like Vijaynagar etc) , even though geographically South was closer.

          Shivaji himself during his coronation had to prove that he is descended from Rajputs. And of course only a Brahmin from the gangetic belt (and not Rameshwaram) conducted his coronation

          1. \ Marathas concern of everything North to them (even Peshawar) and nothing South to them \
            Wrong. Marathas and Shivaji went through Tamilnadu and established kingdom in Tanjore. Maratha kingdom in Tanjore culturally was a mix of Tamil, Telugu, Marathi and sanskrit. There is a goddess temple outside Chennai where Shivaji prayed

          2. Man that’s like one example and even u know what i am talking about when i say Marathas were more N-Oriented than South. Even when they grew in power post Shivaji, their main concerns (unlike other Deccan powers) to fight folks on the North (like Rajputs,Afghans,Bengalis etc) than Nizam of Deccan.

          3. The marathas are essentially a deccan people, an amalgamation of southern cultivators and tradesman. Their folkways, consanguineous marriage customs, totemic clan system all map neatly to their dravidian neighbours (and starkly contrast with Gujarat). Moreover, their primordial myths, deities and kuldevtas are shared with kannada and telangana people. That Shivaji needed benares brahmins to legitimise his rule if anything speaks to the fact that deshastha brahmins of the deccan, who are also the native brahmins of north karnataka, and cognate with other southern brahmins, would not create a lineage out of their own historical milieu. Their intrusions into hindustan, and they were very clear about not being hindustanis, echoed that of past deccan dynasties like the rashtrakutas and chalukyas. Hindustan was impressively fertile and rich compared to the deccan, the perfect landscape to plunder. The marathas, a group still coming into being in the modern sense, were already an important part of the military elite under the Nizam and had fiefdoms all over the south. The deccan all the way down to the tungabhadra river was essentially domestic policy for them. The idea of Maharashtra itself has only been recently monopolized by the marathi speaking world. In antiquity chroniclers would speak of three maharashtras, corresponding to different partitions of the land between the kaveri and godavari basins. The rashtrakutas, a predominantly kannada administered polity, was ,as implied by its name, the uniter of these lands.

          4. Maratha focus on North India from the time of Baji Rao I was primarily driven by his judgement that the Mughal Empire was in steep decline and as a result easy pickings were to be had. The South OTOH had a fragmented polity which Aurangzeb and tried to bring under a unitary state – Mughal, and failed. In the north, Mughal governors were simply not ready for Maratha raids as had been observed multiple times in Surat from back when Shivaji was in power.

            This Maratha expansion to the north allowed the Nizam of Hyderabad to stay in power, and also allowed Hyder Ali to establish himself in Karnataka.

            There has been much commentary on whether Baji Rao made the right choice and whether it would have made more sense for Marathas to consolidate power in the Deccan before venturing North. But in order to do this, the Marathas would have to also build a credible navy, which was not a priority.

            Sorry for the ramblings above. Let’s not mix up Marathi’s Devnagari script in Maharashtra with genetic makeup of the bulk of the Marathi speaking communities.

        6. “AASI shifted indian groups live in a single undefined multicultural country named “india” which is too diverse to be a real nation. OTOH steppe and Indus shifted groups are more likely to have ethnostates”

          This one takes the cake. I am sure our heavily AASI-shifted Dravidian friends will have something to say to you.

          1. Then considering Sri Lanka (an exceptional AASI shifted ethnostate which is probably a matter of luck) and Tamil nationalism issues, i think may be the subtypes of AASI are important

          2. Then considering Sri Lanka (an exceptional AASI shifted ethnostate which is probably a matter of luck)

            Not a matter of luck. Two main reasons
            a) Because a commitment to Buddhism, more or less by saying Sti Lanka was chosen by the Buddha. Different version of the Jewish chosen people of God. In Sri Lanka, it the land that is chosen.

            b) There are non of varna dharma castes in Sri Lanka to sap the self confidence of the Sudras.

            One has to recall it was the AASI that ventured far an wide into the unknown. Not cowardly or diffident traits.

          3. LOL, people seem to take this thing seriously.

            Somehow AASI folks want to be both intelligent and martial. C’mon folks leave at least one for us 😛

          4. Lol…ok…i didnt criticize AASI though…i believe that AASI has something to do with higher intellect.

            Environmental factors (weather,culture,class etc.) are also very important.

            My racial theories may change depending on what I come to know.

        7. \he Afghan Taliban had also established a non-corrupt stable government.\

          Hahaha what a joke. Whatever the capabilities of Afghans as warriors , making a stable state is not one of them. In fact the very instability has attracted foreign powers like Alexander, USSR, US, , Pakistan to meddle in Afghanistan to make it more unstable

        8. Compare Afghans or even Indians who are violent sporadically or even socially to Thai. Thai don’t look violent or aggressive. OTOH, Thailand has been remarkably unified , stable and independent for more than 10 centuries

        9. Old style 19th century racism, with martial race theory, etc giving way to 21st century racism under different categories AASI, Steppe and WHY . Who said science can be put for racial and racist uses ?

          1. these people love to frolic in their own confirmation biases that validate their derivation of self esteem from their perceived ancestral laurels, insofar as they fail to derive it from more meaningful elements, especially achievements, in their own lives

            My mtK1a and YHM52, the reverse cucking, guide me

            May the sky mother smile upon me. May the Jungle Father give me strength. Jai Shree Ameen.

  4. some random notes on the origin of hindu nationalism, to further the understanding of readers..

    beginnings of modern hindu nationalism (HN) can be traced to bankim chandra chatterji, and specifically to his major literary work ananda matha. in this work he clearly expressed the idea that india belongs to hindus alone, and specifically pointed out muslims and britishers as foreigners.

    many pre-gandhi independence movement figures were tinged with hindu nationalist colors (tilak, aurobindo, bipin pal). even gandhi with his eccentric ways gave a nod to hindu nationalism (fixation with cow protection, use of ram-rajya trope etc). only nehru was a truly secular nationalist in the western model.

    fascination with nazism/fascism was common in myriad political movements in 1920s and 30s. true understanding of what horrors runaway nationalism can lead to wasn’t realized until the gates of auschwitz were thrown open. even subhash bose, who was no friend of HN was enamored by it. (during his stint as a gen secretary of congress in 1928 he tried to convert congress into a some sort of para-military organization, complete with uniforms and other such trappings. he of course gave himself the rank of “general officer commanding” of this corps. clearly subhas’s militaristic tendencies were evident quite early.)

    the idea that an authoritative, infallible leader can cut through the quagmire of democratic debates and get the job done has some inherent appeal. this is proably the main reason major figures of HN like savarkar or hedgewar looked to it for inspiration.

    1. \fascination with nazism/fascism was common in myriad political movements in 1920s and 30s.\

      Why 20s and 30s ? even till today. Stalin and Mao have more bodycount than Hitler in their rise to power and discharge of power. But no liberal or left dare to say anything wrong about them.

      Liberalism is a handmaiden of western imperialism, in the 19th C or now.

      1. What liberals have you been talking to that still defend Stalin? Even most people who call themselves socialist will argue that Stalin perverted socialist ideas and established what in practice was another authoritarian regime.

  5. kamal ataturk and fellow young turks saw their religion as a burden that held them back instead of a source of strength. therefore they consciously disassociated themselves from their religion and chose a european style ethno-nationalism as a foundation for their new state.

    in the hindsight this has actually harmed them more than helping them. had they shown more pride in their ottomon and islamc past they could have become the natural leaders of the islamic world. (the world was in fact looking up to them to take on this mantle. gandhi in far away india was leading a movement to restore an islamic caliphate under turkic leadeship!).

    banking on islamic past would also have allowed them to assimilate ethnic minorities like kurds in a more natural way. now kurds are a perennial pain in the rear for them.

    leaning on turkic nationalism hasn’t led them anywhere. pan-turkism remained a non-starter. it led to a dead end. except turkey, all other turkic nations remain under the yoke of soviet (now russian) and chinese imperialism.

  6. Good piece Razib, just one detail.

    I (and others) don’t associate Hindu Nationalists with genocide simply for flirting with fascist Germany/Italy in the early 1900’s. As you allude to, plenty of early nationalist movements did this.

    What concerns me (and others), are statements from the founders of Hindu Nationalism that specifically laud the Nazi’s program against its Jews, and state that it should be the model for Hindu treatment of Muslims in India. Again, stating bluntly, that Muslims should be cleansed from the country, or at best, tolerated for a time as 3rd class citizens.

    Even more concerning, is that these figures (and statements) have never been repudiated by Hindu Nationalists in the modern period. In fact, the more that liberals and minorities have demanded it, the more Hindu Nationalists have celebrated these figures. Whenever pinned down on these specific statements, the response is anything from “what about the Mughals” to, “Hinduphobia”. Basically, responses that indicate they are still sympathetic to the program of Muslim genocide.

    As I posted on an Open Thread some months ago, major Hindu Nationalist rallies still feature speakers that call for Hindus to rise up and cleanse the country (greeted with thunderous applause). These figures and organizations aren’t analogous to some crazy mullah in rural Pakistan, or a neo-nazi on his youtube channel. These people run the government of India. An analogous situation cannot be found in most of the world (including Islamic world).

    1. \statements from the founders of Hindu Nationalism that specifically laud the Nazi’s program against its Jews, and state that it should be the model for Hindu treatment of Muslims in India\

      This is the old canard repeated by left historians and people like Ramachandra Guha

      A comprehensive understanding of this is given in

      “Golwalkar did not want to draw attention to the existing regime in Germany as some kind of model to be emulated. On the contrary, elsewhere in the same book, he contrasts the militaristic barbarity displayed by the contemporaneous Germans with the Hindu “spiritual giants” who “stalk the world in serene majesty” and serve as the homegrown role models for modern India …. In his survey of nations whose experience and nationalism are to “serve as a good lesson for us in Hindusthan to profit by”, the very first one is the Jewish nation ……………..Damodar Savarkar’s trail-blazing book Hindutva (1923), which speaks out in favour of the Zionist project.
      The book was never reprinted after that, so that over 99% of all Sangh activists now alive have never even seen a copy. ”

      I am not in awe of Hindutva or it’s leaders or writings , and I am against the tendency of left historians to quote without end few quotes by a young man in the 1930s as if that defines Hinduta for all time to come .

      This is all the more ironic when the violent anti-semtism is the norm in most Islamic countries and Pakistan even sent terrorists to kill few Jews in Mumbai

      1. While an Indian from a small town wrote one quote favoring a particular policy of the Nazis , hundreds of thousands of Muslims fought as regular SS divisions and nazis subcontracted their usual atrocities to these Muslims units . Muslims from Albania, Kosova, Bosnia were willing recruits , duly recruited , blessed and encouraged by Hussein Amin , the Palestinian leader, a close friend of Hitler and top Nazi officials.


        1. This is not as big a deal as you think. Indian PoWs fought in the Waffen SS too, as part of the so-called “Indian Legion” (Subhash Bose had a had in creating this, with some support from Goebbels). Every country occupied by the Germans contributed to the Waffen SS. On the other hand, there were Bosnian Muslims who fought for the Partizans (I have no idea what the relative proportions for-against were though.)

          1. The Indian legion was not volunteers , it was largely prisoners of war. They had no escape from their lot. They were no different from Kapos , i.e. a Jewish police to help Nazis run ghettos and concentration camps. This contrasts with Muslim battalions who volunteered for the Wehrmacht under religious encouragement

          2. Equating Indian POWs conscripted by the SS with Arab stormtroopers (not to mention modern day Islamist wish for Jewish genocide. Heck even their holy tome calls for Jews to be murdered) is consistent with Indian left’s equal-equal p-secularism.

        2. Bosniain (and Kosovo) muslims and Catholic Croats joined Nazis from the day 1 after their aggression on Yugoslavia. They left Yu army and turned weapons against Serbs. Moreover, they started from day 1 to conduct genocides against Serbian villages and civilian in today’s Bosnia and Croatia and in couple months killed hundreds of thousands. By the end of the war they killed about 1.5 million. There were two stream of Serbs’s resistance- communist partisans and nationalistic royal chetniks. In last 6 months of the war when the result was predictive, when Russians were in front of Warszawa and Budapest few muslims and Croats converted to partisans. After the war, communist tried to make the picture that all nations unified resisted Nazis what wasn’t the truth. They indoctrinated kids in school and carried permanent strong propaganda. They even used converted muslims and Croats to destroy chetniks and again muslims, now as partisans, killed many thousands of Serbs in already liberated country. Muslims and Croats never been denazified and that is the main reason why they started the war again in 90ies.

          The main feature of Bosnian muslims were extreme primitivity and public knowledge that they were converts and traitors of their nation. Their hatred towards Serbs was constant and still is very strong. Serbs invested a lot to civilize them (opened universities for them, many companies had directors muslims, developed their economy, established theaters, Academy of Science, philharmonia, sport clubs, political representation, diplomacy, high army officers, etc). It was unsuccessful project, the highest number of ISIS fighters per capita was from Bosnia and Kosovo.

          I am really puzzled where this primitivity and hatred coming from considering that the genetics is the same. I can see here that very similar situation is in S. Asia. Maybe it is not the main indicator but for e.g. none here denounced jihad and taqiyya (trade mark of Bosnian muslims for centuries). There was only one response, but this probably came from an anonymous stalker with mental problems. It is so typical that they are cowards to publicly speak. The rigid tenets of their movement are simply against the civilization’s streams where the term ’intellectual’ is an oxymoron. It is enough to see how they treat their own women and even worse what’s happening when they come to civilized society as we see this in Europe.

    2. ‘An analogous situation cannot be found in most of the world (including Islamic world).’

      Because you’ll finished off the others or made them musalmaans!

  7. Again, stating bluntly, that Muslims should be cleansed from the country, or at best, tolerated for a time as 3rd class citizens.

    to be clear, i don’t think this will happen

    1) the indian state can’t kill 200 million people. persecution and marginalization seem quite a bit more plausible. though tbh the ‘secular state’ has struck me as kind of fake for a while and even since the beginning.

    2) the nazis were sui generis. even other european fascists were horrified when they ended up going through with their rhetoric! the italian army was notorious for ignoring commands they saw as evil or crazy, while the hungarian arrow cross fascists refused to liquidate the native jewry en masse (once the german nazis took over they did do this)

    1. I would say on (1) persecution too is also a long shot. Indian muslims have enough capital (and not just numbers) to allow persecution . They have enough allies across the board (Dravidians ,Bengalis,liberal-left, other minorities) .

      In purely cynical terms, the Hindu right has enough incentive to not go “too hard” on muslims, albeit this creates a coalition bigger then their political coalition. That’s why u see the current Govt backpedaling on NRC.

      The thin line b/w political marginalization (so to create a image that “Hindus” are winning) and not too much marginalization (to create the image of “Hindus” under siege by the others) is the trick.

  8. to clarify a few points

    1) i do think in *some* ways the sublimation and marginalization of hindu nationalism in the public political domain for much of the post-independence era is kind of like the marginalization of political islam in much of the arab world. on the popular level there was more pent up demand for this ideology after the failures of top-down elite westernization (or native forms of westernization).

    2) the corrupt parochial and nepotistic congress elites were fake much of the whole time. as HM notes some of his relatives were in congress and switched seemlessly to BJP. no ideological change underneath. the avowed/explicit shift is only in line with the behavior and attitudes that were prevalent and pervasive for decades. as we all recall communal riots happened in the 1990s under a ‘secular’ government.

    IOW, hindu nationalism may change things on the margin but i doubt it’s the qualitative shift people seem to be think it is.

  9. indthings, after running this weblog for ten years, i have kind of the attitude about indian hyperbolic rhetoric that people talk about when they allude to arabic’s poetic flourishes and the importance of not taking it literally.

  10. It is a very strange kind of religious nationalism that in 5.5 years of rule, hasn’t even mentioned let alone reverse the grotesque inequalities arrayed against Hindus in India: They can’t set up and run even privately funded educational institutions with the same autonomy that’s available to even Govt. funded educational institutions run by member of the minority community*! They can’t freely administer and control the finances of their temples which have been taken over by the govt. Not just that, the income of the temple fills up the govt. coffers and they can’t even stipulate a fixed portion to be spent on explicitly religious purposes.

    *This state of affairs was brought about by India’s secular liberal party, the Congress (under Sonia Gandhi) by an amendment (the 93rd) to the constitution almost immediately after coming to power in 2004. The amaedment had the effect of overturning the judgement of a 11 judge bench in ’02 that had placed minority and non-minority institutions on level playing ground.

    1. Clearly this government has had the power and the votes to rectify all of these injustices. Why haven’t they done so? Perhaps because what they really value is not putting Hindus, Muslims and others on an equal footing but rather because they enjoy seeing Muslims in a considerable state of distress (which their policies are bringing about)?

      1. Only on the whole Indian state temple control, the reason why the current Govt doesn’t do anything on it (while employing rhetoric on it on social media) because it precisely know what will happen if temples go to private hands.

        This current Govt power rests on OBCs and Dalits. Upper castes has been voting for it for time immemorial (with little to no impact) . If temples go into private hands it will signify again the rise of caste practices/politics which will nullify whatever little social movement made in the last 70 years so on that front. This will demolish the whole “Hindu Unity” thing going on now. So yeah this Govt is more far-sighted than its voters/followers.

        1. If that is the issue, they don’t need to give up temple control. They can ensure that temple money is spent on running School chains, Colleges and Hospitals which are explicitly labelled as being funded by the temple. These could have ample reservations for the communities that you mention. Basically allow the temples to have the same power and influence in society that minority religious institutions have.

          Currently the money just goes to the govt. coffers to be spent on ‘secular’ purposes which includes paying the salary of imams and church priests in several states!

        2. Don’t you find it odd that all the suggestions you had, really means more state control on the temples rather than less?

          I get you anger, but first, most of the big temples come under state jurisdiction and they will never relinquish power to the Union. At the end of the day the people of the state should hold responsible the state Govt rather than Union if the temple money is mismanaged.

          I mean when you elect Dravidian parties what do you expect them to do with Hindu temples? Manage them properly ? LOL

          1. I’m not angry and these are not my suggestions. I’m just pointing out the incongruity of labels like Hindu Nationalist given the state of affairs in India. Without giving up state control and without alienating their vote bank, there are basic but critical things that the BJP govt. would have done if they were a ‘Hindu Nationalist’ party which they haven’t.

            It’s also to point out the hypocrisy of those who would cry over the tearing of the liberal,secular fabric when India favours Hindu, Buddhist refugees over say, Rohingyas, but are hardly bothered by such absurd and grotesque inequities amongst citizens which are written in law.

      2. If that is the case, then why has the Modi govt. steadily increased the funding for scholarships, loans and infrastructure developement funds available to only the poor among the minority communities (check out the schemes of the Minority affairs ministry). These are central govt. schemes that Modi opposed as Gujarat CM on the basis of religious discrimination.

  11. \they enjoy seeing Muslims in a considerable state of distress \

    CAB per se does not put Indian Muslims in any state of distress as Indian citizens are not the target of CAA. . The opposition parties and foreign liberal media talk up the Indian Muslims into a state of distress. Instead of lulling Indian Muslims into a state of true security , the irresponsible opposition and media whips them into false insecurity.

    Whatever the govt does, the opp is going to bitch .The liberal media are professional bitches

    1. Oh, come on! The constant refrain from BJP leaders, most prominently Amit Shah, for a while now has been that a nationwide NRC would follow and accompany a CAB (now CAA). It’s only the current set of protests that may have stopped the march toward a nationwide NRC in its tracks. BJP leaders, including Modi, are lying through their teeth when it comes to this issue. There’s ample video proof of these guys having stated explicitly why they wanted to pass a CAB before attempting a nationwide NRC.

      It’s also disingenuous, even dishonest, to say that Indian citizens are not the target of this. Sure, but the whole point of this damned exercise is supposedly to determine who the heck an Indian citizen is and who is not! If you have papers that satisfy a bureaucrat, you are in, otherwise you are out. It’s a vacuous tautology to say that Indian citizens are safe when one is automatically deemed not to be a citizen unless one can prove they are.

      1. That is putting cart before the horse. I see no genuine reason for opposing CAA. OK, it allows non-Muslims from south Asia to get priority in citizenship now. It is possible more proviso can be added later for Uyghur Muslims, Ahmedis, etc. When BJP goes and another set of parties rule the Centre , they are free to invite Uighurs, victims of Al-Shabab in Somalia, victims of Boko Haram and who have you.

        If BJP is nazi as Pakistan paints it to be, if they have one tenth the genuine concern for Indian Muslims which they profess, Pakistan should make similar laws allowing Indian Muslims free entry to Pakistan in when and if ever the “Nazi” govt becomes really Nazi without quotes.

        NCR is a different thing. There should be genuine discussions on the need, practicalities, organization, troubleshooting etc instead of whipping up communal frenzy.

        Any modern state has to have a proper accounting of it’s citizens. Of course it can cut both ways – easier for social benefits and security, tax collection . On the flip side more social control. In many countries there is a ID card for Citizens and genuine residents – France, Belgium, Germany. Nobody has accused them of nazi, fascist, etc . Only when a Hindutva govt takes initiatives , all the epithets in the world are let loose.

      2. Lets not fret too much on NRC. Its positively poisoned and i dont see any Govt including future non BJP Govt ever do anything much on it.

        All this now would have an adverse impact on even normal/harmless census collection like NPR etc. Going forwards i think Govt will use Aadhar as citizenship etc.

        1. NRC would be welcome so as to cover more and more population for income tax collection. EVery modern state runs on tax funds to drive it’s defence or social service programs. India must make sure 100% of adults are registered for tax collection.

  12. Gujus be peaceful and promote unity. We ain’t fightin peoples. We be middlin in terms of steppe,aasi,and Iran HG related. Das how we unite everybodys. We also da brownies mostly. Not as many blackies or whities among our ranks.

    1. The hate/envy which non mercantile ethnicities now have towards Gujjus now in India has to be seen to be believed. I think Modi/Shah have permanently altered how rest of India views Gujjus

      1. “The hate/envy which non mercantile ethnicities now have towards Gujjus now in India has to be seen to be believed.”

        What kind of stuff? I haven’t really noticed it.

        1. Bongs have a dislike of any enterprising community. Gujjus are just one of them.

          But there’s enough hatred for Marwaris, Punjabis as well.

          Don’t think it’s fair to extrapolate that to the rest of the country.

          I am quite sure that if Reddy’s and all start making business forays up north, they’ll get the same treatment there.

    1. harold1398, what topics interest you?

      Among the many we have coming up are:
      1) Wilfred Reilly
      2) Glenn Loury
      3) An Indian economics PhD student to discuss Harvard’s censuring of Prof Roland Fryer Jr.
      4) A program that provides 400 K free meals a day to Indian poor school children (that is likely to expand to over 1 million free meals a day within months)

      The following guests have agreed to join . . . albeit without a set date and interview topic decided yet:
      5) Russell Targ about scientific evidence for psychic phenomonen
      6) Makarand Paranjape (what should we discuss with him?
      7) Someone who runs 20 free schools in India for poor people that have outstanding academic results
      8) An American school teacher with creative ideas about reforming American K-12

      There are many more in the pipeline.

      Which gets us back to the first question. What types of interviews “DO YOU WANT”?

  13. In theory, the ‘2 nation theory’ is based on religion, but in pratical terms, the political space in India & Pakistan is dominated by Punjabis (hindus & muslims respectively)

    There is also the financial competitive dynamics between Sindhis(Karachi) in pakistan & gujaratis/western indians (Bombay/Ahmedabad)

    So in theory this is religion based nationalism but in practice just a couple of communities dominate: 1 politically & the other financially

    1. Sorry, Punjabis do not dominate politically in India. Delhi and what happens there does dominate the news in India as the politicians try and control the news media. Punjabis have however had a disproportionate cultural impact through Bollywood. And they have also been greatly over represented in the Indian armed forces for historical reasons.

      Interestingly, it is the Gujaratis who are dominating India politically right now – Modi and Amit Shah, to be specific!

      As for Pakistan, I thought Karachi also had more than its share of Gujarati business community – Khojas, Memons, Bohris, etc. Perhaps I got that wrong.

      1. One of the things which i felt make Gujju great politicians is their pragmatism/deal making which they value over valor/self- Image. Opposite of N-Indian traits.

        Both Modi and Shah in that sense are perhaps the least Gujarati politicians. 😛

        1. lol Modi and Shah are classic gujus actually. they are pragmatic in the beginning, until they get enough power to put in their real agenda. Look at Modi backtracking on national NRC.

          Amit Shah is an ultra shrewd dealmaker. Look at the shit they almost pulled off in Maharashtra. Modi, a man banned from entering the US, became PM.

          These guys are ultra strategic dealmakers. Gandhi did his share of British appeasement too. Gujaratis like all people are actually radical at their core. Pragmatism is just an exercise in delayed gratification. It is the ability to shun primal until the time is right. Because once one has real power, like double majority in both houses, influence in judiciary, and executive position, true intentions then will reveal themselves in all people.

          Modi delayed all of these shenanigans till his second term for a reason. These guys are geniuses.

    2. lol please don’t give Punjabis of India so mucn credit. They don’t own politics. Gandhi clan is Kashmiri. Narsimha Rao was from andhara. Shah, Modi, Desai, Jinnah, Gandhi, and Sardar Patel Gujarati. Politicans are from all over.

      Punjabis own bollywood. Even army now is much more gangetic plain heavy. Main thing Punjabis control in India is beauty standard and bollywood. Main thing they own in Pakistan is pretty much everything.

  14. /“Finally, the emergence of the German nation-state under the Kleindeutschland vision is hard to understand without the French Revolution, and the shock it imposed on German elites, and in particular the Prussians.”/


    “What nationality were the Prussians?
    Prussia, which was to become a byword for German militarism and authoritarianism, began its history outside Germany altogether. The people called Preussen in German, who inhabited the land on the south-eastern coast of the Baltic, were Slavs, related to the Lithuanians and Latvians.”

    >>>> The term ‘Slavs’ did not exist at that time. Prussians were Serbs who spoke Serbian language.

    Google: “Otto von Bismarck served as prime minister of Prussia (1862–73, 1873–90) and was the founder and first chancellor (1871–90) of the German Empire.”
    Bismark unionized 25 German states in one Empire.

  15. Portraits of Hindutva: From Harappa to Ayodhya Paperback – 20 Dec 2018
    by Rajesh Singh (Author)

    “In Portraits of Hindutva: From Harappa to Ayodhya, the author traces the growth of what has today become a deeply polarizing issue. He recounts events which shaped the phenomenon and personalities that were its torchbearers and explores the evolution of Hindutva from religious to spiritual to political, spanning a period beginning from the Indus-Saraswati civilization and rounding it off with the demolition of the Babri Masjid in Ayodhya.”

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