The circus of ‘Howdy, Modi!’ in Houston Texas on Sunday 22 September showcased both Modi and Trump sharing the stage in front of around 50,000 Indian American while several thousand people gathered outside in a counter demonstration shouting ‘AdiosModi’, meaning go back Modi.
There seems to be an ideological alliance between Narendra Modi, a lifetime member of the Hindu supremacist organisation RSS and Donald Trump who has far-right sympathies.
Modi’s visit and Trump’s decision to attend it was aimed at mobilising votes of the largest Indian diaspora for the Republican Party.
White supremacists and neo-Nazis have projected their fantasies about a racially pure society onto the Indian culture and in response received a warm welcome from Hindu fundamentalists in India particularly the RSS.
There seems to be a strong alliance developing between the Hindu far right known as Hindutva and the Western alt-right but actually having a long history, going all the way back to the construction of the Aryan race identity, one of the ideological roots of Nazism, in the early 20th century.
Today, the two groups share a common goal in eroding the secular character of their respective states and a common “enemy” in Muslim minorities. This is why they often act in coordination and openly support each other.
In an article published in Al-Jazeera, Aadita Choudhary from York University in Toronto explains why white supremacists and Hindu nationalists are so alike.
“In the US, the Republican Hindu Coalition, a group with strong links to the Hindu nationalist movement in India, has been rallying behind President Donald Trump’s controversial immigration policies, like the Muslim ban and the border wall,
Meanwhile, in India, a far-right Hindu nationalist group named Hindu Sena (Army of Hindus), which has been linked to a series of inter-communal incidents in India, has been throwing parties to mark Trump’s birthday.
On top of their shared Islamophobia and disdain for secular state structures, the destructive actions, protests and aggravations of Hindu nationalists and the Western far right are also very much alike.
Hindu nationalists in India, empowered by the BJP’s landslide election victory in 2014, and inspired by European ethnonationalism and fascism, reject the constitutional secularism of the Indian state, propose that India is fundamentally a Hindu nation, and insist that minorities, especially Muslims and Christians, do not belong in a “Hindu country”.
Ever since the start of the normalisation of far-right ideas in the West, a surge in racist, anti-Semitic and Islamophobic attacks was witnessed across the US and Europe.
The same happened in India after Hindutva officially became the governing ideology in the country. Over the past few years, countless Muslims, Christians and low-caste Hindus have been persecuted, assaulted and even killed for allegedly killing cows.
But despite all these similarities, there is major a difference between Hindu fundamentalism in India and far-right movements in the West: the liberal reaction to it.
Hindu nationalism and white supremacy are the two sides of the same coin. For the global movement against racism, white-supremacy and fascism to succeed, anti-fascists across the world need to acknowledge and stand up to the Hindu nationalism threat.”