Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Homo Anarchicus vs Homo Hierarchicus: The difference between Fascism, Nazism and RSS's Modism

One is always afraid that one's comments on RSS may be construed adversely by them or their enemies and one could end up in the dumps in several literal and figurative ways. I have not considered the RSS seriously before. This blog is after a study through the internet (all images and videos are from there) and I think.t that, try as hard as they would, they may not really have it in their homo-indicus ways to be anything but  tolerant.

It seems eminently possible that the next government at the centre will be led by Narendra Modi. This is a development which should be much outside my comfort zone. But, then, when have I ever been comfortable?!

It is quite likely though, as the private TV channels would want us to believe --- you may have noticed how these channels increase the volume of anti-congress speakers --- and as the Congress party refuses to make any experienced effort to dispel this belief. The verbal juggernaut of Modi is more than what the politically inexperienced likes of Man Mohan Singh and his PMO or the willingly first-a-mother perennial outsider Sonia Gandhi can effectively counteract. Modi will be controlled, some say, by the RSS, an organization that now needs to be understood, as I will attempt through my eyes (only) in the rest of this blog.

It is true that if Modi comes to power, it will be through the very disciplined campaign of the very middle-class cadres of the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) and the very commanding financial power of our Gujubhais. In my childhood days we thought we were impressed by the financial power of Uncle Scrooge of Walt Disney’s Donald Duck family. In one comic strip Uncle Scrooge had built a big statue of himself with his money. Uncle Scrooge would otherwise be very stingy with the way he gave money to other middle-class poors. Modi’s building of Sardar Patel’s statue reminds me of Uncle Scrooge’s attitudes.

It may be an unhappy coincidence that the R of RSS is the rashtriya equivalent for national in the German Nationalsozialismus shortened to Nazi; SS of RSS is for Swayamsevak Sangh, which is not too different from Hitler’s dreaded SS for Schutzstaffel which could mean “protection squadron”. The RSS is, to its followers, a voluntary help society.

The RSS has an extraordinary ability to organize people in an ordered and disciplined manner as shown in the picture below. The one in the extreme right is in Kollam, Kerala. Their webste claims that one lakh (100,000) swayamsevaks had gathered in the 40 acre field (less than one person for every two square metres) to listen to Sarsanghachalak (supreme leader) Dr. (veterinary, incomplete) Mohanji Bhagawath. The fear that comes to the mind of my like-minded people --- judging by reports of Godhra, Ishraat Jahan, Babri Masjid, Ram Mandir, Hindu terrorism --- is that Modi’s ascent will be the dawn of new Hindu (whatever Hinduism means for them) fascism --- a word we don’t really understand. It may be a sign of some times that when I searched for some images and got the images below and clicked on them for details of the pictures I was led to a porn site. Later, my computer got infected. A computer specialist who is also a member of the RSS told me that the RSS sites are targets of such pranks.  On the other hand, when I mentioned to another expert that I was writing this blog, they warned me that the RSS will get to you. That’s how it is in this world now.

Fascism, a term used mainly by liberals for those who are “middle-class” in their orthodoxy, militarily nationalistic, aroused easily especially when present as a mob, or in parades with martial music, and a tendency to raise their hands synchronously with a shout of “Heil” (Hitler) or a “hail” (Caesar) or a “jai” (Modi!Modi!Modi!). This does not make them fascist per se. They become fascists in the hands of someone who moulds them to act in unison by the power of flag-waving or xenophobia. Modi, to his credit, has the mass-waving magic of a Mussolini or a Hitler but hardly a moral-raising reputation of a Gandhi of the Mohandas kind.

I have no idea of how the RSS works. Some very nice and principled people I know are unabashedly solid followers of RSS. The RSS followers I am deeply suspicious of are the shopkeepers, the most rabid of them being those who do not seem to pay their taxes and do not pay their vat. Actually, I cannot find a small-time --- and that means every small shop-keeper in every city I know in RSS’s Bharat --- who give me a bill leave alone a bill with vat amount in it. Given the difficulty in finding a news item in the highly flourishing advertisement prints of Times of India, it is difficult to imagine that the GDP as calculated from official returns should show so little growth.

There are, however, these simple nice middle-class highly disciplined people in their khaki skirt-like half-pants and with their dandas whom I have been seeing from my childhood days, especially healthy early in the mornings. I remember being told they did not wear leather shoes in their official parades because of their reverence for the holy cow. I vaguely remember the Patna around 1947 when, in the midst of the Hindu-Muslim riot, we, as young pre-ten children, will be hiding under our beds, and an axe or a dagger will be thrown in through the window for our protection. My mother was thankful to the RSS for this.

The formation of RSS in 1925 was inspired by the same ideologies that were used to form the fascist or nazi parties after First World War. Their leader Golwalikar openly admired Adolf Hitler. They were not anti-socialist to begin with; they were anti Muslims, who, like Catholics and communists, were kind of totalitarians RSS would love to emulate.

The RSS man in the picture above (second from left) is doing what has been called by the RSS as SanghPranam. The salute with the down-turned palm above the heart is also known as the Zogist salute adapted from the salute to Zog-I, President of Albania, who came to power in 1925, the same year that RSS was founded. Mussolini’s Roman salute (left of figure above) is thought to be modelled on the basis of a painting of 1784 (extreme right of figure above). None of these salutes have the clenched fist salute of Chaplin’s 1917 “Hand that will rule the world” (middle of figure above).

The one thing common about the fascists, Nazis, RSSists, is their demagoguery. There are two kinds of demagogues. The ancient demagogues (Type I) are those who was considered to be “a popular leader who represented the ordinary people.” Like Jesus and his sheep? The modern demagogue (Type II) is “... a political leader who gains power by appealing to people's emotions, instincts, and prejudices in a way that is considered manipulative and dangerous.” The demagogues of Type I are usually made out to be demagogues of Type II by demagogues of Type II who think that they themselves are type I demagogues. It sounds complicated but it is true ... perhaps. The picture below shows some popular demagogues in action. Only one of these, I think, can be deemed to be as of Type I. Notice, how they use a demonstrative/remonstrative finger of their hand.

A demonstrative/remonstrative finger is what Narendra Modi uses when addressing big crowds (see picture below right). He does attract large crowds, sometime perhaps as many as the RSS cadres gathered to pay homage to their supreme leaders. The happy Narendra Modi mask in the picture at left below stands out with raised V-for victory sign amidst the mass of BJP-colour-capped cadres, next to (what seems to be) a solitary un-capped turbaned face.

It seems to me that the training of RSS squads also involves picking out demagogues and training them right from their childhood. In the video below . is this very innocent and attractive young girl, seen urging (the crowd to shout jai in response to her Bharat mata ki ... . The obviously .pleased with her effort and she is able to dispense with some very grown-up advice also. .


Varun Gandhi would have failed the RSS demagogue classes. In the first part of the Video below. 

Varun Gandhi, is obviously fresh from his Gandhi family background (see picture below left). He sounds very bhole-bhale naive and obviously untrained (see image on left of picture below). Varuna Gandhi has been chosen by the BJP obviously because he was expected to have as much charm as the Gandhi family because he is a shahzada, a crown prince. They probably thought initially that his background was sufficient and he did not require any training in demagoguery. They did train him adequately (see right of picture below).  As the second part of the video shows, Varun Gandhi is transformed to a warrior, raising his hands in Jai SreeRam and urging the crowd to cut throats. Varun Gandhi was tutored to such an extent that even his young audience was startled.enough to hide their faces. Since that time Varun Gandhi has been eminently acceptable to the RSS cadre. . For an ancient Indian such as me, the shahzada’s speech was hardly becoming of his family name! 

The finger-waving VHP speaker does it very well using both hands admirably and continuously. while urging. the people to form a Hindu Vote bank hich should be alright for the RSS and Modi since he is not urging the formation of a secular vote bank. He does his finger waving extremely well .when warning about naxalite or communal muslim elements. Part of it is shown in the video with link below. I forget who the speaker is.

Modi has all these finger pointing talents. He plays the crowd very well and very professionally. Varun Gandhi can learn from him.. This speech of Modi is one that you least expect if you think he is an RSS man. Indeed, if you are young and not prejudiced, the speech can be inspiring. That is all you need to be in any case as long as election strategies are concerned. The crowd is a BJP-RSS crowd and Modi plays them well.. "are you tired?" "can we have a chat among ourselves?" "I sold tea in the train, and now you look at me... Dont'worry about your background... If you have the will to serve then just jump into the fray" "I never even saw the insides of a chief minister's office... now look at me!". 

Modi perhaps perhaps forgets and sticks to his junior RSS .ways where he must have been a very successful sevak. In the video below he is doing what the little girl did earlier. He urges them and they respond (picture below) "ill you repeat what I say? Will you shout with your full heart? Repeat after me Yes, we can, yes we can" He is obviously attempting an Obama effect. He then makes his own contribution. Instead of "Yes we can" he shortens to "Can" and then continues "will do". He is safe. He hails both Telengana and Seemandhra in Hyderabad. He ends with  Vande Mataram and shortens it to Vande hoping to sound perhaps like guns going off. He is a master RSS demagogue.. He does this VandeVandeVande" in other rallies,  I have noticed.  It is not necessary that a tea vendor cannot become (with increasing degree of difficulty) a prime minister, or a philosopher, or a string theoretician. The tea vendor has to sell his ware well. That Modi must have done well. ...  


Homo-Anarchicus vs Homo Hierarchicus
One redeeming feature of the second half of Varun Gandhi’s video above is that when he raises his arm as a true believer there is disbelief among many young people in the audience that is expressed more as a snicker than an appreciation. I am hoping that there is a basic difference in the attitudes of young men of India than the youth of Western countries. The basic difference is that the western youth are part of what could be called homo anarchicus while the Indian youth is part of homo hierarchicus.

There is a difference in being a true Hindu or a true Indian --- not of the Ram Mandir or the Babri Masjid kind --- and in being a true westerner. Life and living is not really difficult in the friendly climate of India even in the monsoon. Problems appear when one compares one’s daily living with that of the recently material-ised Western world. It is this “easy” life in India that makes us anciently non-material-ised so independently minded and so difficult to regiment in a authoritarian society. Indira Gandhi found that out. The communists in India never got to be totalitarian, fortunately. This independent-ness required, as Louis Dumont treatised in his book Homo Hierarchicus, a caste system that limited some naturally anarchic degrees of freedom. The first paragraph from the introduction of this book is given below.

On the other hand the harsh and extreme climes of the European world led them to a deep appreciation of nature. The gloriousness of the summer  and the frosty cold of the winter. It led to a dependence of the ordinary man on an organised society, such as that of a kingdom that provided security as well as a strict hierarchy. There was always a tendency to dislike hierarchical structure. Those who protested against them became anarchists.  The word “anarchy” (Thesaurus: disorder, chaos, lawlessness, revolution, mayhem, rebellion, mobocracy) by itself is not a friendly word to the middle-classed.  It has actually a much less sinister meaning.

Spartakus Freemann’s blog “L’anarchie : entre bouddhisme politique et sectarisme activiste” puts it well about the fear and the hope that is associated with anarchists:
Anarchie, anarchiste, anarchisme, que de mots chargés de craintes (fear) et de fantasmes mais aussi d'espoir (hope), d'humanisme et de liberté !

Although, Italians were part of the winning World War I team and the Germans were on the losing side Fascism came to power in Italy much before (nearly ten years before) the Nazis. This was because in Italy the democratic socialists were already in power. Because of the Bolshevik example in Russia, the fascist leader Mussolini was encouraged by the emperor to take over power in Italy. This move was made simple to protect the interests of the rich industrialists who were afraid that they would meet the same fate as their counterparts in Czarist Russia. Once in power in Italy, the fascists took advantage of the in-fighting in Italian politics to use ruthless political methods to put an end to divisions. They were not intellectually mature enough, however, to understand their place in the world and they made a mess of their Foreign policy so that by 1935 they had reached a disastrous conquest of Ethiopia! The early Fascist exercises were mainly to replace all administrative posts by people who were loyal to their part. They deprived the King of his rights to select Prime ministers, Fascist podestàs replaced the local mayors, and all local governance were subjected to central authority. Little by little the Fascist state became the personal dictatorship of Mussolini, Il Duce.

Hitler learnt well from Mussolini including his Roman salute. Following the fascist example, Hitler's primary aims in domestic policy was the total indoctrination of the German people. In the video given in the link below Hitler is speaking for the first time after coming to power. He is urging his men to obey. That is the fear. He seems to be a bit weak and the response he gets from the crowd is certainly more orchestrated than what Modi got from his Hyderabad crowd. That is the hope. One will not be able to regiment homo hierarchicus. Always a paradox!

Dr. Joseph Goebbels as the Minister of Propaganda, spread the popularity of Nazism among citizens with complete control over what the people could and could not see or read. Anti-Nazi messages were blocked out and books were banned. Propaganda campaigns over radio, film, newspapers, and mass rallies, all supported Hitler. Any anti-Nazi message in media such as literature and journalism were prevented from reaching the public. Teachers had to be selected by the Nazis. Hitler’s views on the supreme Aryan race were taught by selected teachers as part of the Hitler Youth brigade and the League of German Maidens which prepared ideal Nazi men (soldiers) and women (mothers). Most significantly, no notable movement against Hitler came from the people of Germany. All of this led eventually to Auschwitz and the execution in gas chambers of millions of Jews while all the time the overwhelming majority of Germans stood silent.

One has to ponder over the economic reasons for the rise of Fascism, or Nazism to guess why RSS-ism would rise to power in India.

The Jews of Europe had control over the money-lending trade and other small businesses with which the common man came into contact. Larger business stores controlled by Jews took over the smaller ones run by the local people. The adverse financial effects of being a loser in WWI led to the Germans being bled by the various treaties of War. The Emperor of Germany ensured the various treaties were honoured and led to the rise of the power of Jewish money lenders who were though to be villainous as all money lenders all over the world are known to be or have to be. The 15th century Prince of the Humanists, Desiderius Erasmus, would write about the Jews as: “The Jewish usurers are fast-rooted even in the smallest villages, and if they lend five gulden they require a security of six times as much. They charge interest upon interest, and upon this again inerest, so that the poor man loses everything that he owns.” Such anger against the Jews continued in Germany after WWI. It led to their abominable slaughter of the Jews. It is another matter that the price for this slaughter was paid for by the Palestinians thanks to the cunning of the British and the creation of the Israeli state, as protector of the middle-east oil. Money-lenders never lose; they just reappear in another form.

What social need has to be fulfilled for the RSS to come to power?

This part is purely speculative, even if it seems obvious to me.

The RSS has now completed nearly 88 years without coming to power, the way it would have really wanted. Vajpayee was not really an RSS man. He had a sense of humour and a lack of urgency that could never have made him a fascist or a Nazi. What one requires is a social economic threat that the striking leftists could not achieve. After all, the Shivsainiks were encouraged to come to power in old Bombay by the Congress and by Mill owners to counter the threat of agitating Leftists. The immigrant labour has not really posed a threat since the local people do not want to work as hard.

At the time the RSS was founded, the small groceries and businesses around Mumbai/Gujarat and elsewhere may have been in the hands of Muslims. They retained considerable business power after the British left. After all, many of the thriving business centres of Indian cities were dominated by Muslims if they were not dominated by Sindhism and Gujaratis, and Rajasthanis. As a group, the muslims were perceived as the biggest threat to small-time business. They had to be removed. The muslims themselves had a certain haughtiness and exclusiveness about them perceiving themselves to be part of an alien conquering race. This was so especially in the border regions with our Pakistani neighbours. Gujarat, has a long border with Pakistan and the Muslim businessman could have posed a competition.

The Godhra riots could have taken place to scare away the Muslims --- just as they scared the Muslims of Mumbai to Mumbra --- much to the vote-garnerning happiness of local non-muslim business men. If that is the case, then one could have every reason to be wary ---provided, of course, one is not one of them who are not them.

The small-time businessman is also wary of too many subsidies being given to the poor. If these subsidies are authentically given and taken, they pose a big threat to the ordinary usurer and small businessmen. As some BJP supporter said on TV the other night, if you give rice and wheat at the rate of a rupee or so per kg, how will business grow and how will GDP grow? How indeed? Manmohan Singh’s Congress economists would use these arguments. Rahul Gandhi’s socialistic congress do not care about these monetary arguments.

Ironically, the RSS’s time may now come when all the food-bill subsidies and minimum-wage subsidies are in position. Such bills harm the middle-class businessmen, many of whom form the working RSS cadres.

In the Homo-hierarchicus consciousness the vaisyas (skilled traders, merchants, minor officials) would have the maximum to lose in hierarchy if the Sudras (unskilled workers) or pariahs (the true indigenous people or Gandhi’s Harijans) have a respectability and independence coming from these bills. For them, poverty, like death, should not be eliminated, if they are not to be equal at the bottom.

But there is something humongous in our homo-hierarchicus ways! When it comes to a crunch, we are not really bothered about our hierarchicus. After all, we found Mahatma Gandhi, a teli caste traditionally involved in extracting edible oil and considered to be of vaisya caste (or lower), to be a man to be held in high-enough esteem to capture the imagination of the whole country and lead it to political freedom.

It also speaks volumes of homo-hierarchicus that a fellow teli, Narendra Modi, preferred to set up the building of world’s biggest statue for Sardar Patel, whom he certified to be the person who united India. Modi would not find Gandhi big enough! It shows Modi’s political dependence on the RSS. It would have been understandably difficult to commission a statue of fellow Gujarati since the RSS was involved in Gandhi’s assassination.

Gandhi, after all, was not a true Hindu-Indian as far as the RSS is concerned as Gandhi wanted the Muslims to be part of a greater India! The RSS could prefer  a more fascist-nazi Gandhi as in the caroon below

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