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Fascism - The Emerging Threat To Indigenous People

By Goldy M. George

01 October, 2003

Communalism of polity is preliminary to fascism of polity. In today's context it is not mere communalism of polity, rather it is the fascism of state under the Hindutava brigade is what is happening in India. Hence as an activist working with Dalits, and also associated with some of the Adivasi movements, I would like to emphasis some of the major threats faced by the Dalits and Adivasis or Indigenous people.

What is Fascism?

Before getting into a detailed discussion, let us understand what fascism is all about. Fascism is a terrible kind of political domination; capable of infringing on any eligible rights of any communities to unpredictable magnitude. Historically it is an output of the capitalistic system and takes various shapes and forms, depending upon the particular social order. Although this came into practice as a political ideology in 1919 with the Italian dictator Benito Mussolini, it has much older roots in India and other parts of world.

Often it is associated with racial superiority. In our context it could be widely observed in caste domination and feudal relationship. The denial of Eklavya, a Bhil, of his right to education and his subsequent assault; the assassination of Asur king Ravana; the deceitful murder of Bali, the king of vanaras are only some impulses of this trend of domination over indigenous people.
Further these communities were addressed as Rakshashas, barbarian, wild, uncivilised, etc. Both Vedic and Sanskrit texts have justified the invasion and exploitation of Aryans and explicitly support the superiority of Aryan race and Vedic philosophy to the extent that their fate of being in the lower social strata is god given.

The present phase of fascism is a more organised and systematic attempt to continue the caste-class legacy. It started with the emergence of Hindu Chauvinism under the leadership of RSS led camp. This camp learnt various things from different sectors. They learnt the skills in organising and mobilising from Communist parties, mastered the management techniques from Churches & Christian institutions, the one-man dictator model of Adolph Hitler and the also the methods of maintaining private militia. In nutshell, the wholesome exercise was to sustain and strengthen the same old ideology of purity of the three upper varnas and Shudras and Panchamas as impure and pollutants.

Controlling Indigenous Life:

All the possible institutions of civil society, right from the electronic media to primary schools, were applied by the champions of Hindutava to create a sensation of inferiority and thus to manipulate the masses. Among the indigenous people two processes were induced in parallel. One was the deliberate formation of institutions such as Vanvasi Kalyan Ashram and Dalit Sanghs to train-up youth cadres and thus to inculcate a feeling that indigenous tradition and culture is inferior to that of Hindu religion. Secondly, the insurgence of consumeristic culture in such areas. Both these process went in parallel and are inter-related and empowers the coexistence. One of the outcomes of these trends is the crucial osmosis of Hindu strings and civilisation with all its flaws among the indigenous people.

Nevertheless this fondness of controlling indigenous people has two basic reasons. One was to perpetuate the political power and right over their life though legitimising the social system and second to establish an unquestioned command over the resource zones of the country. Another vital part of the process is the development of internal colonisation. This is a vicious conspiracy by the Brahministic society to cohere the Dalits into their fold. Similarly Adivasis a wonderful model of egalitarianism have been transformed into an exploited class. Jharkhand and Bastar are the best examples to check the impact of such trends and processes.
Earlier these aspects were efficiently engineered through the socio-religious structures, but today it is taking a political shape, which in fact is communalisation of polity or fascism is all about.

Expansion of Communal-Fascist base among Dalits & Adivasis:

Communal-fascism is exploring its way to elaborate its base and activitiesand action. It appears that building of philanthropic and religious institutions like Vanvasi Kalyan Ashram, Dalit Sanghs, Deen Dayal Shodh Sansthan, Saraswati Sishu Mandir, Sanskriti Bihar, Vikas Bharit, Gayatri Pariwar, Brahmakumari Samaj, etc. are some of the strategies adopted to create inroads among the Dalits & Adivasis. Another strategy applied is the steady and systematic capturing of the community panchayats and organisations. The best example of this is Gujarat where the communal fascists have got their stranglehold.

All these have added impelling force to the Hindutava card among Dalits and Adivasis. By and large this consists of concepts like de-Dalitisation and de-Adivasisation. Eventually this tendency empowers the fascist forces and broadens its space.

Expansion of fascism has so far and is disintegrating the Dalit-Adivasi ideology, theology, and identity and intimidated their very existence. Apparently this ruptures the community, deteriorates the noble notions of sharing, caring and co-operation, expansion of patriarchy and battered the inkling of community ownership over resources.

Fascism-Globalisation Nexus:

While going into further analysis, fascism acts close to the current process of globalisation. Both these are two inter-dependent and inter-linked facets of capitalism. While globalisation is supposed to capture the global economic and political power by cutting the national boundaries and establishing/capturing the market, fascist forces acts as their local agents in its approaches and attitudes with a bonus of suppressive socio-cultural and religious domination.

The ideology of capitalism assumes absoluteness only through its offspring fascism. In India, Washington is taking a lenient view to prop up the communal fascist government of the BJP Hindu nationalists. The global governance can afford to accommodate and promote religious fundamentalist regimes as long as they are useful weapons in their hand because they have several things in common.

The political segments in India, by and large, strive and thrive to cater the global and national capitalistic market. As a part of this practice, there is an invisible 'safety net' around the capitalist camp. Having nothing to do with the people, the resources are rapidly being opened for the neo-colonisers to be explored and exploited. This great surrender before the global capital market implicates the momentum by which the fascist-capitalist nexus is plundering the resources.

Targeting the resources is directly an assault on indigenous masses. Since their land, property, forest and other resources are the greenland for any sort of investment, strategies and planning are formulated in such a way to allure them so that they get entangled in the web and are unable to break it. This eventually culminates into large scale of displacement and migration, heavy loss of land and resources, robs them of their rich tradition and culture, and leads to the irreversible and perpetual loss of livelihood source. Therefore fascism is utmost visible in the market.

Final Word:

Never before in the history have we witnessed such a period of deliberate drift of further confusing and disempowerment of Dalits and Adivasis. It has constantly succeeded in gearing up its organisational tactics and mobilisation methods to subtly crush the energy of people, and divert it; thus draining off their capacity to fight for their rights and their ability to resist injustice. It is sucking them like a vampire day by day.

Hence attack on Christians and other minorities is nothing but a direct assault on Dalits & Adivasis. Certainly this has a much older history. As a Christian committed to the mission and life of Jesus, I stick on to the Kingdom values of Justice & Peace, Equality & Harmony, and Liberty & Humanity.
Under this circumstance, where humanitarian norms and values are degenerating and the indigenous people stand at the receiving end, is it possible for us to go back to these communities and unveil the wolf inside the goat's skin? Can we stand with the Dalits and Adivasis in developing a counter movement to combat the fascist-capitalist forces? Can we intentionally foster the indigenous people towards a socialist, secular, democratic and decentralised polity, which would lead us to the Kingdom values? This is the biggest challenge before us, or else the story will remain the same.

Goldy M. George is a social activist working on Dalit & Adivasi Human Rights in Chhattisgarh.