The Indian dystopia might be the all American future if the Democratic party continues to support their corporate oligarchs. Their silence on the Republican party’s or Trump’s endorsement of Christian orthodoxy is dangerous. Their silent support of white supremacist ideology can destroy not just the Democratic party but the idea of America.
The US Democrat’s Victory is Hope But Not a Promise: Take the Example of India
The November 3rd, 2020, election results have made a Democrat victory evident in the American elections. Joe Biden and his vice-presidential candidate, Kamala Harris, have already started discussions about cabinet formation and the future course of action in America.
This election saw a record turnout of voters and Biden’s Democratic Party getting a higher number of votes than ever in history. This is a celebration of the American people’s belief in democracy. But does that mean that it is the celebration of the Democratic party or Biden? The answer remains complicated.
Pre-polls predicted a landslide victory for Biden and his party. But it turned out to be a tight election. Trump’s support base was seen to be intact and strong. The Republicans managed to carve out a victory in 25 states and gave a tough fight in others. The final results show that Democrat’s vote share was nearly 4% above that of Republicans. This along with the reports of record voting this year is a clear indication that the vote for Democrats is a vote against Trump rather than a vote for Biden.
The people who had a distaste for Biden and his elite corporate group of democrats chose to vote for him so that they won’t see another term of Trump. Their hatred for Trumpian ideals was more prominent than their distaste for Biden. So instead of Biden and his team flaunting the recorded vote they got, it would be better if they prevent the disenchanted votes from leaking away in the next elections. But how long can the neo-liberals fool the oppressed of America?
Other Factors Involved
Besides the Trump factor, two other factors worked for the Democrats. They were Kamala Harris’s nomination as their Vice Presidential candidate and Bernie Sander’s fierce campaign for Biden even after the Democratic party’s betrayal.
Kamala is an individual character of her own – she herself has been in the race for president with Biden before being dropped by the Democrats. She is a Black from her father’s side and Asian-Indian (Tamilian to be precise) from her mother’s side. Her nomination by democrats was a calculated play to consolidate the votes of non-white Americans. It worked.
Bernie Sanders, a Vermont senator, was a progressive and visionary face among the neo-liberal oligarchs of Democrats. He was emphatic about policy changes America needed to develop, and he put his weight behind universal health care, universal education, and a prominent Green Deal to combat climate change. He was evidently far ahead of his democratic contemporaries, a one-man army who worked tirelessly against the oligarchical hegemony in American society. Because of his stance and views, he is often called the ‘left’ or even ‘radical left’ by both Democrats and Republicans alike. This made him a political untouchable even within the ‘all accommodating’ Democratic Party.
He was in the race four years back, but the Democrats dropped him for Hillary Clinton. This time also their opposition to Bernie continued.
After all the betrayals, he still endorsed and campaigned for Biden’s win. His energetic campaign for Biden gave a major boost to Biden’s campaign, causing his dejected followers and political untouchables of all classes and races to come out and vote for Biden.
If the Democrats take their victory for granted and continue to sideline the oppressed of the American society and polity, then they will have to pay a heavy price. They will end up being like the Congress Party of India.
Congress Party of India
The neo-liberal centrist Congress Party was the strongest party of the Indian subcontinent for decades. They ruled over India for 60 years without major challenges. But, today their electoral prospects are continuously eroding. From having above 400 seats in the 545 strong Parliament during the 1970s and 1980s, they are now finding it difficult to even gain 50 seats.
Today, the ultra-right communal RSS-BJP rules the roost with 302 seats. Along with its alliance partners, they have a tally of 353 seats which is their historical high. At present, the upper house called Rajya Sabha (similar to the US Senate) and the lower house called Lok Sabha (similar to the US House of Commons) has RSS-BJP in the majority. They are capable of passing legislation without any other party’s support. This has made it easy for them to implement their theocratic fascist agendas.
The federalism of the subcontinent is in peril. Kashmir has been stripped of its special status and statehood in a day. The opposition parties in the political landscape of India is fastly dissipating. Dissent is being punished by sedition laws, incarceration, and political murders. All this was in the making for a long time. Lower caste groups, religious minorities, and tribals fear for their life and dignity more than ever before.
RSS-BJP had this at the back of their head for a very long time. They won each election under the communal Planck. So it’s no surprise that this is happening under them. But, it was the Congress Party’s ineptitude and complicit rule that paved way for the rise of ultra-right communal fascism in India.
They were silent when RSS-BJP undertook an all India campaign to destroy a centuries-old mosque, for the construction of a Hindu temple. This campaign resulted in nationwide communal riots, which resulted in a widening rift between religious groups. The RSS-BJP consolidated a large share of 80% of the Indian populace claiming that they are all Hindus and the temple is their right.
The well-oiled propaganda machinery of the RSS-BJP made the North Indian populace forget the caste divisions between them which paved way for the demonizing of religious minorities – especially Muslims. The RSS-BJP’s firm control over Indian media helped them to a large extent. The rise of Islamist terrorism after the US invasion of Afghanistan and Iraq normalized Islamophobia globally – and this normalized Islamophobia, morphing into a communal hatred and rioting in India. The result was the ghettoisation of Muslims, especially in the Hindi speaking belt of North India.
Congress itself had blood on its hands due to the role it played in the anti-Sikh riots of 1984. These riots claimed 3,000 Sikh lives. What differentiates this from RSS-BJP induced riots is that the former was a reactionary vendetta against Sikh people for their role in the assassination of Indira Gandhi. Indira Gandhi was the first female Prime Minister of India. Often dubbed as the ‘Iron Lady’, it was during her tenure that Congress rose to an invincible status.
Besides being the ideological antonyms, what differentiates Congress from RSS-BJP is that the congress has confessed to their crimes in 1984. They have sought public apology for their acts from the Sikh community. They formally regret their actions on paper. Congress had a two-time Prime Minister from the Sikh community, Dr. Manmohan Singh who ruled India from 2004 to 2014. The present Chief Minister of Punjab is Captain Amarinder Singh is from Congress, who also hails from the Sikh community.
This shows that Congress made a serious effort to reach out to the Sikh community and wanted to mend their relationship. The case of the RSS-BJP is quite a different tale. They have never accepted their crimes against religious minorities or lower castes. In fact, they reject any wrongdoing and proudly flaunt their credentials as oppressors by alleging that anyone who tries to reach out to minority communities is doing ‘minority appeasement’. This narrative is taking its toll on the Indian subcontinent due to the neo-liberal silence of the Congress. Since 1992, the RSS-BJP has continuously used communal riots and pogroms as a tool to build its footprint in the Indian subcontinent.
The year 2002 saw the unfolding of a notorious communal pogrom as well. The Godhra communal pogrom of Gujarat saw 2,000 innocent people brutally killed – the majority of them were Muslims. The present Prime Minister of India, Narendra Modi, was the Chief Minister of Gujarat in 2002. Allegations by Teesta Setalvad and reporting by Rana Ayoobi evidentially proved his hand in the Pogrom. But, the Congress Party was silent.
A Hidden Reason?
The Congress Party’s silence has more to do with their Brahmanical leadership and mindset than anything else. In India, the upper caste, who are influenced by Brahmins, irrespective of political affinity, dreams of a society where they are served by the lower caste as “masters”. This de facto slavery was the intent of Brahmins when they forced British colonizers to adopt Manusmriti or the laws of the Manu to understand and rule Indian polity. Both the RSS-BJP and the Congress are dominated by Casteist Brahmins and upper caste members in their ranks.
Manusmriti has some extreme casteist and misogynistic verses. Chapter 2, Verses 30, 31, 32 firmly lays down casteism by birth as the “Law of the Universe”. The lower caste (which includes women) are seen as creations destined to serve the upper caste, especially Brahmins. Chapter 5 verses 148 and 149, chapter 8 verse 416, and chapter 3 verses 12 and 13 all invoke extreme misogyny.
Manusmriti is the pinnacle of the Brahmanical worldview which boasts Aryan supremacy. Brahmins consider themselves along with other upper castes as Aryans. According to them, others are people who are born to serve Aryans are the de facto slaves. This is the reason why Ambedkar burnt its copy publicly on December 25, 1927.
The RSS-BJP endorses Manusmriti and once campaigned for the rejection of the Indian Constitution for Manusmriti. Religious minorities are on par with lower caste or untouchables according to Manusmriti. However, for the Brahmin-led RSS-BJP, their immediate concern is Muslims and agnostics or atheists. The former is dealt with explicitly due to the normalizing of Islamophobia globally, naming them extremists and terrorists. The latter is dealt with covertly by naming them left-wing terrorists and China-supporting Maoists.
RSS-BJP is explicit in their agenda but the silent support of neo-liberal Centrist Congress over the years can only be explained by one fact. Congress has casteist Brahmins and the upper caste at their helm. They silently endorse the Laws of Manu. One of the Congress-ruled states of India – Rajasthan – has the statue of Manu at their High Court.
The Indian left has largely deflected these creeping tendencies. The changing Indian polity and society towards the ultra-right end of the spectrum have started dwindling their strong resolve.
Many Indians, especially North Indians, endorse the ultra-right fascist RSS-BJP. This is evident from the recent political and societal trends. Their misunderstanding of casteist Brahmanism as their religion of Hinduism is paying rich dividends for the RSS-BJP.
A Possible Future
The Indian dystopia might be the all American future if the Democratic party continues to support their corporate oligarchs. Their silence on the Republican party’s or Trump’s endorsement of Christian orthodoxy is dangerous. Their silent support of white supremacist ideology can destroy not just the Democratic party but the idea of America. Instead, it is time that the Democrats wake up from their status-quo trance and endorse the ideals of the left.
The idea of socialism or the left being untouchable and something to be shunned should be taken down before it’s too late. The discourse in this direction normalized by the ultra-right of America needs to be barricaded and uprooted at all costs.
The Democrats should create their own narratives based on liberty, equality, and fraternity instead of playing into the ultra-right ideology. This can help American polity and society to be steered away from the present discourse-based on ultra-right ideals.
If not, then the 2024 elections would be the beginning of the end for the Democratic Party and the world’s oldest democracy. The Indian-style theocratic fascism is a dystopia that America should avoid at all costs. This is critical for America to remain a global superpower economically, socially, and politically for the times to come.