One of the few surviving intellectuals, Umberto Eco, described the following as the characteristics of fascism.
· The cult of Tradition: Elevation of a particular culture as superior to all others, rejection of modernism
· Anti-intellectualism, irrationalism
· Belief that disagreement is treason
· Fear of difference
· Appeal to a frustrated middle class, the fears and aspirations of the lower social groups are highlighted in order to accentuate the fears of the middle class
· Obsession with a ‘plot’ and hyping up of an enemy threat: e.g. hatred of certain sections of the society
· Aversion to pacifism
· Contempt for the weak
· Selective populism
· ‘Newspeak’ or doublespeak meant to restrict critical thinking
· Distorting history, blatantly lying, copious use of propaganda
The Right Wing in India has been making ample use of all of the above ever since Mr Narendra Modi became the Prime Minister. Most Indians seem to have accepted the new system as an inevitable one. We, Indians, get used to anything too quickly. We have got used to the Indian version of fascism.
The latest is Shiv Sena’s breach of privilege motion against Shobha De and protests in front of her residence. What the lady said was that the state of Maharashtra had no right to impose Marathi films on movie-watchers of Mumbai during the prime time in the multiplexes. The fascists of Maharashtra accused the lady of criticising the government and “even ridiculing the Chief Minister.”
Maharashtra has already decided what its people will eat, what they will wear, who they will marry, and so on. The various avatars of the Right Wing in the country are deciding what the people of the country can or cannot do. Which books we can read, which movies we can watch, what we can eat or wear, which language we may speak, which god(s) we can worship, who we can fall in love with, where we can kiss the beloved...
Will our politicians and their moral goons slip between the bed sheets to check the brand of the condom used? Will they force us to drink the urine of the sacred cow? Will Manu return in new forms?
Will they outdo Hitler himself?