By Abdul Sattar
The third attack on Indian-Americans within a span of 12 days has created a sense of fear and insecurity among non-white Americans, South Asians in particular. One assumed that such attacks would have stoked the Hindu right-wing faction, prompting them to issue hard-hitting statements against Trump and target US interests in India. But no such announcements were made.
Instead, prominent RSS leader Kundan Chandrawat announced a bounty of INR10 million for Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan whom he accused of killing around 300 RSS activists. To prove the terroristic credentials of this hate-spitting outfit, Chandrawat cited the massacre of Muslims in Gujarat.
The muted response of Hindu fundamentalists towards this violence against their compatriots should not come as a surprise to those who are familiar with the psyche of fascist organisations and their proponents. Such xenophobic elements have always directed their assaults on weaker sections of society. But when it comes to dealing with the powerful, they turn out to be the biggest cowards. For instance, the racist bands of the Ku Klux Klan directed their brutal attacks against hapless slaves. Hitler’s fascists targeted Jews, gypsies and other unfortunate sections of society. Mussolini’s Blackshirts tortured thousands of impecunious workers to death. The Haganah resorted to ruthless violence to subjugate indigenous Palestinians and Franco’s mercenaries in Spain decimated thousands of poor peasants.
In Bangladesh, Muslim fascist thugs carried out organised attacks on the Hindu minority. The Afghan Taliban launched a holy mission to purge the country of the Hazara Shias following the capture of Bamiyan. In Myanmar, pacifist Buddhist monks excelled in fascist tactics by slaughtering several Rohingya families. In India, Hindu fundamentalists mowed down thousands of Muslims in Gujarat while religious fascists in the land of the pure have numerous massacres against minorities and the underprivileged – such as the Gojra and Joseph Colony incidents – to their credit.
If the killings of Indians had occurred in Bhutan or the Maldives, the saffron warriors would have declared a war on these poor countries and urged the Indian government to wipe out generations of the attackers. But since the heinous crimes have been committed by the citizens of the most powerful country on the earth, the valiant victors of Gujarat and Ayodhya have decided to turn a blind eye to the incidents. After all, they share the hate-spitting ideology of Donald Trump.
It was Donald Trump’s Hindu friends who had heaped eulogies on him during the US election campaign and Trump reciprocated this sycophancy by declaring ‘the butcher of Gujarat’ a great leader. He assured his ideological brothers that they will always find a friend of Hindus and India in the Oval Office.
It appears that the heinous attacks on Indians – which have sent a shiver down the spine of many citizens of India and compelled a large number of people to cancel their planned trips to the US – are the first testimony of this friendship between the US and India. India’s right wing government, which is otherwise quick at sabre-rattling when allegedly provoked by Islamabad, does not seem to be furious over the attacks.
The RSS, which has around 60 million members across the world, has not issued a call to boycott American goods or target US interests. Saffron-clad warriors of the Vishva Hindu Parishad and other extremist outfits did not venture out on a rampage spree. Their sense of honour was not challenged by these racist attacks on their compatriots in the land of liberty.
What Hindu fundamentalists failed to understand is that the doctrine of hate, xenophobia and collective insanity that the man in the White House preached during the election campaign is detrimental not only to non-Americans but to the land of liberty as well. It may tear the social fabric of US society, pitting one section of people against another one.
Immigrants, including a large Indian community, will be the greatest losers of this situation. It is therefore important that the Indian diaspora, the religious right in particular, should reach out those that are trying to contain Trump’s lunacy. Extending blanket support to a person like Trump owing to his anti-Muslim and anti-Chinese credentials is a recipe for disaster. The seeds of hatred that his election campaign has sowed may engulf the US society, undermining the moral authority of the sole superpower of the world.
If the anti-immigrant rhetoric remains unabated, more racist attacks on Asians and other non-white people cannot be ruled out. Capitalist America is going through economic chaos. The panacea of the free market has brought disaster to the bastion of liberal democracies. Washington seems to be turning its back to Adam Smith and other prophets of laissez-faire. The other capitalist economies may follow suit but such steps will only exacerbate the crisis.
The descent of the capitalist world into chaos may trigger racism and xenophobia in the US and other parts of the world, pitting the toiling masses against one another. The followers of Trump in the US, fascist leader Le Pen of the National Front in France and Tommy Robinson of the English Defence League may seize this opportunity to ratchet-up support for their anti-immigrant and xenophobic propaganda.
Anti-immigrant sentiments are also making inroads among sections of the white working class across the Western world while marginalised sections of Muslim communities are turning towards extremist groups to find solace from unemployment, poverty and other harsh realities of life. This has broadened the gap between the white working class and Muslim working population, with the former viewing the later as aggressors who are bent on destroying western culture and traditions.
The anti-Muslim environment encouraged the Hindu religious right to hobnob with people like Trump who, like them, considers ‘Islamic’ terrorism to be the biggest danger. But immigrants from India, Pakistan and other parts of the world need to understand that Trump’s ideology is catastrophic for the working population, immigrant workers in particular. Harsh measures against an immigrant community will not make others stronger.
The worsening economic conditions may force the new US president to further ratchet-up support for anti-immigrants rhetoric. This will be catastrophic for all immigrant workers without regard to colour, religion and nationality. Unity within the ranks of the working population is the only way to counter hate-mongering.