Hindu nationalism and Zionism in exclusionary lockstep – Asia Times

Hindu nationalism and Zionism in exclusionary lockstep - Asia Times

The benefits are in for India’s public election. The country’s prime minister, Narendra Modi, has won much votes to stay in charge for a second consecutive term. However, his Bharatiya Janata Party ( BJP) has experienced significant losses and is gearing up for alliance speaks after failing to elicit a lot for the first time in ten years.

The BJP is premised on Hindutva, a Hindu separatist philosophy. The elections of Hindutva, which were developed in the early 20th century, insist that those who value just India’s landscape as divine should be the center of the nation’s national identity. Muslims and Christians, whose sacred websites lay in the Middle East, were consequently considered next- class citizens.

Modi embraced Hindutva during his election strategy. He falsely claimed that the Indian National Congress, the main opposition group, was inspired by the Muslim League‘s philosophy, which had pushed for India’s partition in 1947.

And he used statistical concerns to deny that the opposition intended to transfer wealth to “infiltrators” who “have more kids” by using demographic concerns amounted to significantly higher Muslim fertility rates.

But Hindutva does n’t stop at India’s borders. In response to the ongoing conflict in Gaza, Hindu nationalists have targeted another Muslims around the world. Hindu separatist groups in India have organized pro-Israel marches, and BJP monster farms have spread disinformation and anti-Palestine anger online.

On April 26, 2023, volunteers from the Hindu nationalist militia group Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh protest in Chennai, India. Idrees Mohammed / EPA

What is the origin of this odd Hindu-Zionist cooperation? One source of inspiration is the earliest Hindu patriots, who modeled their Hindu position on Zionism.

Hindutva’s leader, Vinayak Damodar Savarkar, supported authoritarian nationalism and the digging out of all disintegrating causes. These included left-wing internationalists and Muslims who supported political limits for their communities.

As a result, he yet condoned the Nazis ‘ racist legislation in two statements in 1938 that, as he saw it:” a country is formed by a lot living therein”. Savarkar himself was n’t racist, either. He frequently expressed his support for the little Jewish-Indian minority because he thought it was very minoritarian and unimportant to harm Hindu cohesion.

In reality, Savarkar praised Zionism as the beauty of ethno- patriotic thinking. Savarkar wanted the Hindus to experience the exact same level of religious and racial awestruckness as Zionism.

His head was significantly more perceptive of this double attachment than the Western model of “blood and ground” nationalism without spiritual space.

Hindu nationalists continue to hold this tradition today and still regard Zionism as a particularly alluring social philosophy. Some Zionists were working with Hindu nationalists to regain their holy property from a Sunni population whose spiritual roots there were not as old as their own.

In a similar way, Hindutva’s followers saw it as engaged with a Muslim community that it significantly outnumbered, but which had considerable social authority. The Mughal monarchy, which ruled much of India from 1526 until the British Raj was established in the 19th century, gave rise to this power.

This plan was more popularized by Savarkar’s intellectual son, Madhav Sadashivrao Golwalkar. According to Golwalkar, Zionism was the “attempt to rebuild Palestine with its ancient inhabitants of the Jews… to revive the almost dead Hebrew regional life” in 1947.

Delegitimizing Muslim members

Just as the Palestinians had to make means for those whose claims of old sacred space took primacy, but also, in Golwalkar’s view, did “non- Hindu people of Hindusthan” have to be “wholly subordinated to the Hindu nation”. Part of this process today has been redefining citizenship.

Israel passed a law in 2018 that delegitimized its non-Jewish citizens and rebranded the nation as” the nation-state of the Jewish people.” Similarly, India’s controversial Citizenship Amendment Act in 2019 eased paths to citizenship for immigrants from several religious groups, but not Muslims.

Human rights organizations contend that this law could be used to defraud many Muslims of their Indian citizenship as a result of rhetoric that makes millions of Indian Muslims vulnerable to illegal immigration.

Hindu nationalists have also launched a cultural conflict to bolster” Hindu civilization” and remove all of its symbols. This is in perfect accord with Israel’s extreme right’s desire to resurrect Solomon’s Temple on the site of Jerusalem’s holy Temple Mount, where the al-Aqsa mosque compound is located right now.

In 1969, a Zionist extremist burned the south wing of al- Aqsa. The fundamentalist organization Jewish Underground planned to bomb the Dome of the Rock, an Islamic shrine located at the compound, in 1980.

A gold-domed mosque sitting on top of a hill in Jerusalem.
The al- Aqsa mosque compound on Temple Mount, Jerusalem. Photo: udra11 / Shutterstock via The Conversation

Savarkar and Golwalkar suggested a similar project that would destroy mosques and create temples in their place. Since this is where the Hindu god Ram was mythically born, Hindu nationalist organizations concentrated their efforts on the Babri Masjid Mosque in Ayodha.

Lal Krishna Advani, the co-founder of the BJP, spearheaded a national campaign in 1990 to build a new temple, a proposal that had been for decades barred by the Indian Supreme Court. However, the fervor that the campaign elicited led to the 1992 demolition of the Babri Masjid mosque by a Hindu nationalist mob.

And after a new Indian supreme court decision in 2019 gave permission to construct a temple there, Modi celebrated his inauguration with a grand ceremony in January 2024.

A few months later, in May of 2024, Israeli national security minister Itamar Ben-Gvir declared from the compound of the al-Aqsa mosque that a Palestinian state would never exist. As he did, his entourage unlawfully prayed on the disputated Temple Mount site.

Hunderte of other mosques in India are now facing danger because Hindu prayers are offered from the site of the destroyed Babri Masjid. Hindu nationalists are asking for the majority of the Hindu population to receive land owned by Islamic trusts.

As Modi seeks to win a third term, he may aim to make India an exclusive Hindu holy land, but with a stronger opposition than before.

Vikram Visana is Lecturer in Political Theory, University of Leicester

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