25 Sep, 2015
Behind the extraordinary transformation of India’s landscape promised, but not yet delivered, by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, a parallel development is taking place. It is an alteration in what might be called “the common-sense of the republic”, and if not exactly presided over by Modi, it has been greatly enabled by him.
The relationship is one of mutual convenience, for the forces behind this transformation, in turn, believe strongly – even fanatically – in Modi’s government. But the paradox is that they have no investment in the character or constitution of the state over which Modi presides – or indeed in democracy itself, except as a mechanism for majoritarianism.
The organisation that is behind this holy war – it is nothing less than that – is called the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS), a Hindu nationalist group established in 1925. Some sense of the kind of conservative, patriarchal order the RSS wants to bring into being in India is implicit in the kind of order it already has: membership is restricted to Hindu males.