Unveiling the Shadows: India’s Troubling Path Toward Autocracy and Worse

Like China and Russia, India is rapidly becoming a one party autocratic state ruled by a dictator who has no problem using violence to put down opposition to his policies. - Gurnam Singh

Narendra Modi at an event in Jaipur, Rajasthan, in September 2023 – Photo: Videograb from his Facebook

By Gurnam Singh | Opinion |

Recent revelations from the Canadian Government and the Five Eyes intelligence alliance — comprising the United Kingdom, the United States, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand — have sent shockwaves across the globe. These revelations have exposed India’s alleged state involvement in the assassination of Sikh activist, Hardeep Singh Nijhar.

India, once seen as the world’s largest democracy, is fast transforming into a one-party autocratic state, mirroring the trends witnessed most notably in China, Russia, Turkey and Hungary. At the helm of India’s decent towards autocracy is Prime Minister Narendra Modi, a leader who has demonstrated a willingness to employ violence to quell opposition to his policies. Behind the carefully cultivated image of a Hindu deity lies a man deeply rooted in the dangerous Hindutva ideology.

Like China and Russia, India is rapidly becoming a one party autocratic state ruled by a dictator who has no problem using violence to put down opposition to his policies. The truth is that, behind the image of a Hindu God which the Prime Minister of India Narendra Modi has cultivated, lies a man wedded to dangerous Hindutva Ideology.

The facts speak for themselves. In 2002, when he was the Chief Minister of Gujarat, Modi presided over a pogrom that killed 2,000 people, mostly Muslims. Because of his role in this violence, Modi was banned from entering the United States for 10 years and the UK.

The BBC in January 2023 broadcasted a documentary that based on meticulous investigative journalism concluded that Modi was directly responsible for the pogrom of Muslims in Gujarat.

Jack Straw, Britain’s Foreign Secretary at the time, told the BBC that Modi played an active role in encouraging Hindu extremists to attack Muslims and discouraging police from protecting them. Quoting the police response to the pleas of Muslims, the April 2002 Human Rights Watch report about the Gujarat pogrom was titled “We Have No Orders To Save You.

Modi’s ‘reward’ for this genocide was to become elected as Prime Minister of India — twice. Now seeking a third term, in partnership with various right wing ‘Hindu’ outfits, he is moving towards the final stage of the project of Hinduization of India.

In some senses Modi is a puppet that is being controlled by a dangerous nexus of right wing Hindu organisations, with included the parent paramilitary movement called the Rashtriya Swayamsewak Sangh (RSS). To give you an indication of the dangerous collation of right-wing forces behind Modi and his BJP, please see the below graphic recently produced by Justice for All, 28th Feb 2023, in a detailed resport entitled, The Nazification of India. (https://www.justiceforall.org/resources/reports/indiannazis/ )

While Modi’s fortunes continue to rise in India, democracy declines and India’s positioning around the world continues to fall. For instance, The Economist Intelligence Unit’s Democracy Index classifies India as a “Flawed Democracy”. In 2022 Reporters Without Borders placed India among the worst countries in terms of media freedom, ranking it 150th out of 180 countries.

The Indian government claims that criticism of their policies in the West is simply the continuing effects of Western colonialism. I let you make your own mind-up about this, but it was no other than Arundhati Roy, author of The God of Small Things, which won the Booker Prize in 1997 who has said that “India is becoming a Hindu-fascist enterprise.” (The Hindu, October 09, 2022)

In confronting this monster, we must not forget, fascist groups have no religion, faith or morals, other than the hunger for power. The BJP, is no friend of vast majority of Hindus in India who are themselves the victims of Modi’s dangerous brand of corporate Hindutva fascism. As Rahul Gandhi recently claimed during a presentation in Paris: “They have nothing to do with Hinduism. They are out to get power at any cost, and they will do anything to get power… They want dominance of a few people and that is what they are about. There is nothing Hindu about them,” (Mint, 10 Sep 2023).

Gurnam Singh is an academic activist dedicated to human rights, liberty, equality, social and environmental justice. He is an Associate Professor of Sociology at University of Warwick, UK. He can be contacted at Gurnam.singh.1@warwick.ac.uk

* This is the opinion of the writer and does not necessarily represent the views of Asia Samachar.


India-Canada bilateral relations: 8-year twist turns friends to foes (Asia Samachar, 27 Sept 2023)

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