Following up on the report Jerry forwarded on the massacres in Gujarat, I am giving the Economic and Political Weekly website address for a recent article by Jan Breman on "Communal Upheaval as Resurgence of Social Darwinism". If one is interested in the full analysis (excerpt below), he should probably go to the website soon as this article will be removed. rb http://epw.org.in/showArticles.php?root=2002&leaf=04&filename=4360&filetype=html The end of the Hindutva politics of exclusion is not yet in sight. Before my departure from Ahmedabad, I acquired a pamphlet urging the Hindu majority to avoid all economic transactions with Muslims. The call for a total boycott - don't buy from their shops or engage in business with them, don't employ or be employed by Muslims - is not a new one and the same message of systematic discrimination already circulated in previous rounds of communal rioting. There is also the appeal in the text to Hindu men to keep their daughters and sisters under close scrutiny lest they fall prey to the lust of the bestial Other. The hatred radiating from these sentences is as ignominious for the targeted males as it is for the females belonging to the majority, who are portrayed as lacking the will and the capability to be in charge of their own virtue. One could, of course, argue that the separate niches occupied by Hindus and Muslims in the labour market militate against exclusion from economic life of a newly created segment of untouchables. I am not so sure that such a plan of action, contingent upon a more comprehensive blueprint and backed up by the kind of intimidation we have already witnessed, would prove to be abortive in the end. The design does not seem to be so dissimilar from what happened during the initial phase of the Nazi regime in Germany. Prior to the actual elimination of Jewish people from mainstream society by the state, their property was identified and either destroyed or confiscated. In the latest orgy of violence in Ahmedabad, which combined a killing spree with the selective and ruthless destruction of Muslim shops, garages and other business establishments, I see a notable resemblance to the Kristallnacht in the early 1930s when the policy of German Nazification began in earnest. Seen from that perspective it is quite alarming to observe the complete absence of feelings of shame and remorse among those who propagated or participated in the Ahmedabad onslaught after the worst of the pogrom was over. The dominant mood was rather one of glee and satisfaction, or even a sense of fulfilment, expressed in statements such as 'they had it coming' or 'they got what they deserved'. The chairman of the VHP in Ahmedabad went on record as proudly claiming that 'it had to be done'.5 What sort of future does the Sangh parivar leadership have in store for the religious minority in the country? As second-class citizens, as the apex body of the RSS made clear at a recent Bangalore meeting: 'Let the Muslims understand that their real safety lies in the goodwill of the majority'. Such phrases come dangerously close to labelling them as Untermenschen.
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