Pieter Friedrich – Gandhi has got to go

Speech at Davis, CA, USA Gandhi Statue

Yesterday [19 June 2020] marked the 155th anniversary of Juneteenth, the day celebrating the final liberation of African-Americans from slavery.

The struggle did not end there. It continued for decades as African-Americans faced segregation, discrimination, systemic racism.

It continues even today as our country is still dotted by statues of Confederates, statues of people who fought a war to preserve slavery.

Today, these statues are being torn down, sometimes through legal processes and sometimes by understandably infuriated crowds angry over the ongoing glorification of slave-holders.

These statues should be taken down. But there’s at least one useful thing about these statues. At least they stand for what we expect. They symbolize what they are intended to symbolize.

They represent exactly what we think they represent. There is no confusion. What you see is what you get: a statue of a racist.

In our complex world, however, what you see is not always what you get.

The path we must take in the struggle to free our society from racism is more clearly marked if and when the history we are taught truthfully reveals that yes, this person who is elevated on a pedestal and glorified through a statue was, actually, a racist.

We face a more complicated journey when confronted by statues of people who, we are told, represented justice, equality, and peace and yet, actually and in fact, represented the exact opposite.

As in the case of Mohandas Gandhi.

“Whether it was Martin Luther King Jr or Nelson Mandela, the basis of their ideas was Mahatma Gandhi, it was Gandhi’s vision.” That’s what Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi said last year to commemorate the 150th birthday of the so-called “Mahatma” or “Great Soul.”

Thus, we are told, the struggle for black liberation, from the United States of America to South Africa, owes its very existence to Gandhi.

The “Gandhi” movie was released in 1982. This Hollywood depiction of the Indian icon is the narrative about Gandhi with which most people in the West are familiar.

What was not advertised, however, is that the Indian government funded the film.

Nor did anyone want to advertise what the Indian government, while paying to promote Gandhi as a cult figure, was actually doing to people in India.

Five years before the “Gandhi” movie was released, the Indian government was still imposing an “Emergency” on the country.

They suspended elections, imprisoned and tortured journalists and political opponents across the country, and forcibly sterilized millions upon millions of Muslims, Dalits (those formerly known as “Untouchables”), and others.

In 1984, two years after the “Gandhi” movie was released, the Indian government led a genocide against Sikhs in New Delhi, the capital of the country, and other areas, killing thousands upon thousands. Butchering them in the streets.

In the 1990s, the Indian police and army disappeared tens of thousands of Kashmiris and Punjabis, creating widows and orphans en masse, at the same time, the Indian government was paying to install hundreds of statues and busts of Gandhi all around the world.

They were still going at it hard in the early 2000s when violence erupted in Gujarat, Gandhi’s birthplace.

“Erupted” is not exactly the correct term for the organized slaughter. It was a pogrom.

For three days, Modi, who is now prime minister of India, oversaw the systematic extermination of thousands of Muslims by mobs affiliated with his political party and supported by the police.

A few years later, in another state, Modi’s political party, the BJP, massacred Christians.

But what do we hear today?

“The world bows to you, beloved Bapu,” said Modi on Gandhi’s last birthday. Modi called Gandhi “the best teacher to guide us,” said he “epitomized trust among all sections of society,” and insisted that he “envisioned a world where every citizen has dignity and prosperity.”

Two months after Modi bowed to Gandhi as his guide, the BJP passed a new citizenship law that made religion the basis for becoming an Indian citizen.

The law is intended to be combined with a proposed National Register of Citizens. Coupled together, these laws provide a legal route for the BJP to begin cleansing the land of Muslims, and, ultimately, of all non-Hindus.

Two months after that, the BJP, with collaboration from the police, staged an anti-Muslim pogrom in New Delhi.

And yet, the BJP’s Modi tells us: “As long as Gandhiji’s philosophy remains embedded in humanity, he will remain relevant and continue to inspire us.”

Hiding behind the mask of Gandhi as the so-called “Father of India,” the violent and supremacist rulers of that country today use “Gandhiplomacy” or “propaGandhi” as a foreign policy weapon to conceal their atrocities and divert attention from their constant and most egregious violations of human rights.

Yet what if Gandhi is only able to be used to whitewash the BJP’s atrocities because Gandhi himself has been whitewashed?

What will we find if we strip away Gandhi’s mask?

What if Gandhi did not represent what we are told he represented? What if the story we think is really true is actually propaganda?

What if the statues of Gandhi do not symbolize what they are intended to symbolize? What if we’ve been fed poison passed off as sugar? What if Gandhi was actually a champion of racial inequality?

The hard fact of the matter is that Gandhi was, actually, a champion of racial inequality.

Gandhi’s anti-black racism is widely acknowledged today, although rarely closely examined and often quickly excused. According to his grandson, Gandhi was “at times ignorant and prejudiced about South Africa’s blacks.” That’s an understatement.

Gandhi lived in South Africa for 21 years. He spent a huge portion of his professional life there. He didn’t leave until he was 45 years old. And while he was there, yes, he said a lot of racist things. A lot of very racist things.

He called black Africans “savages” and said that they “are very lazy,” “are of no use,” and are “as a rule uncivilized.”

He called Africans “the children of black heathendom and outer darkness” and claimed that an African’s “sole ambition is to collect a certain number of cattle to buy a wife with and, then, pass his life in indolence and nakedness.”

Time and time again, Gandhi argued that special taxes, passes, and registrations were necessary for Africans but wrong for Indians because, he said, Indians were hard workers but Africans did not work at all.

Over and over again, Gandhi told the white colonizers it was an “insult” and a “gross injustice” for Indians to be classed with Africans.

Gandhi told the colonizers: “Indians are undoubtedly infinitely superior to the Africans.” Gandhi even told the colonizers that Indians and Europeans belong to the same “stock”, “the Aryan stock.”

While the Africans sweated and bled under the oppression of colonialism, Gandhi was hobnobbing with the colonizers, telling them that he believed in “the purity of race,” that he wanted “the purity of all the races and not one alone,” and that he thought that “the white race in South Africa should be the predominating race.”

And, here’s the important part, Gandhi didn’t just say racist things. He demanded racial segregation. And he joined the white colonizers in a war to exterminate African freedom fighters.

For fifteen years, from 1895 to 1910, Gandhi campaigned, sometimes successfully, for segregating Africans from Indians in neighborhoods, schools, post offices, trains, prisons, and even on footpaths.

Gandhi was 36 years old when he begged the colonizers to allow Indians to play their part in a war against Zulu rebels, when he raised a special fund and sent care packages to the colonial British soldiers fighting those Zulus, and when he ordered Indians to volunteer for military service to fight Africans because “now is the time when the leading whites want us to take this step.”

Then Gandhi partnered with the colonizers in their war against the Zulus, and afterwards insisted that there was no reason for outrage over the “great atrocities” perpetrated “by the whites” on the Africans.

For a man who is championed as a “Great Soul” and pushed as a saint for the African-American civil rights struggle, Gandhi sure is a strange choice.

Gandhi never changed.

Was it just the “young” and “immature” Gandhi before he evolved? That’s what some suggest to whitewash the racism and demands for segregation that were repeatedly raised by an exceptionally well-educated man in his 30s and 40s.

Gandhi never changed. He never acknowledged his words or his actions. He never apologized for them. And he definitely never took responsibility for them.

Instead, Gandhi moved back to India and switched from promoting racism to promoting casteism, and then he threw being a sexual predator into the mix.

Ranging from “hateful soul” in South Africa to “great asshole” in India, Gandhi was certainly a mixed bag. But he was not a Mahatma.

“Great soul,” after all, is not usually a term that we reserve for men in their 70s who force their teenage relatives to sleep naked with them. “Convict,” maybe. But not Mahatma.

“Gandhi was never tempted by power,” Prime Minister Modi tells us. But Indian feminist Rita Banerji tells a different story.

She says: “I saw Gandhi as a classic example of a sexual predator, a man who uses his position of power to manipulate and sexually exploit the people he directly controls.”

The statue behind me was paid for by the Indian government. It was first installed in 2016. Indian-Americans who protested the installation warned the city government who they were honoring.

“Gandhi was a child molester,” said former Yuba City councillor Tej Maan. “He was a predator on members of his own family, young women,” said Sacramento attorney Amar Singh Shergill.

The City of Davis ignored the truth.

Amar Singh Shergill also said, “If the statue can go up, it can come down.”

That’s what happened to a statue of Gandhi in Ghana that was installed at the same time as the one here in Davis.

Two years after it was installed, it was torn down. Around the world, Gandhi’s statues are being blocked, protested, and even vandalized because of his racist legacy.

Here in America, we are pulling down Confederate statues because they symbolize exactly what they’re intended to symbolize. Racism.

Gandhi, a man whose real legacy is racism, casteism, and sexual abuse, has been falsely projected as a civil rights hero.

He has robbed our true civil rights heroes of their rightful place. The Gandhi statues around the world do not symbolize what we are told they are intended to symbolize.

It’s time to start being honest about history and truthful about what symbols actually symbolize.

History grounded in reality reveals that statues of Gandhi are actually symbols of racism.

Whether it’s for the Africans whose rights he trampled on, or for the Dalits who suffer from his support for the caste system, or for the women he preyed upon, or for the minorities in modern India whose oppression is whitewashed by propaGandhi, one thing is clear: Gandhi has got to go.

Pieter Friedrich is a South Asian Affairs Analyst who resides in California. He is the co-author of Captivating the Simple-Hearted: A Struggle for Human Dignity in the Indian Subcontinent. Discover more by him at pieterfriedrich.net

Pieter Friedrich – Cultural Malware: The Rise of India’s RSS

California – USA, 13 March 2020. In 2019, on Christmas Day, the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) marched through the streets of the Indian city of Hyderabad in the state of Telangana. Armed with lathis, the iron-bound bamboo poles used by police, the uniformed cadres of the RSS paraded to the beating of drums and blaring of bugles.

The march followed a 3-day training camp to increase Telangana’s nearly 3,500 RSS shakhas (branches). At least 8,000 swayamsevaks (members) were expected to participate, reported The Indian Express.

It was a grand display of incredible discipline and military precision that, for some, conjured up images of another organization. “RSS today took a massive Nazi-style march,” wrote Ashok Swain, a professor of Peace and Conflict Studies at Uppsala University in Sweden.

Claiming the RSS was “inspired by the Nazis,” poet Meera Kandasamy wrote: “Their military style uniform, marching the way they go after one enemy is all in line with the fascists.”

The march also drew criticism for another reason: all other rallies in the city were banned at the time. Hyderabad’s population is 30% Muslim, more than twice the national average. It has been a stronghold for rallies against the newly passed Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) and the proposed National Register of Citizens (NRC).

Yet, seeking to quash dissent, the Government had specifically prohibited public assemblies, the only exception made was for the Hindu nationalist paramilitary, the RSS.

The RSS is probably the world’s oldest and largest paramilitary group. A secretive, unregistered organization, its size is unknown, but estimated at approximately six million swayamsevaks. It keeps no records and has no bank accounts.

It is uniformed, armed, and all-male. Women are only allowed in the separate women’s wing. It also has countless special-purpose subsidiary organizations, the most important of which are:

  • Akhil Bhartiya Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP), the student wing, founded in 1949.
  • Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP), the religious wing, founded in 1964.
  • Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), the political wing, founded in 1980.
  • Bajrang Dal, the VHP’s youth wing, founded in 1984.

These groups maintain “symbiotic links” with the RSS, write historians Walter Andersen and Shridhar Damle, by recruiting swayamsevaks “who have already demonstrated organizational skills in the RSS,” a process which guarantees a “high degree of conformity” in behavioral norms and a “high degree of loyalty” to the mother organization.

According to M S Golwalkar, the RSS’s second and longest serving Supreme Leader (1940-1973), the mission of these affiliates was to serve “their own specific roles in their respective fields,” while also working as “recruiting centers for the Sangh from the ideological point of view.” He ordered them to “ideologically capture all other fields.” Their common ideology is Hindutva.

The US Commission on International Religious Freedom calls Hindutva an ideology “which holds non-Hindus as foreign to India.” Amnesty International says: “Hindutva is the political ideology of an exclusively Hindu nation.” An exclusively Hindu nation is exactly what the current Supreme Leader of the RSS, Mohan Bhagwat, insists that India is and should be.

One of the many times Bhagwat reiterated this demand was in October 2019, at an event celebrating the foundation of RSS. “The vision and proclamation of the Sangh regarding the identity of the nation, social identity of all of us, and the identity of the country’s nature are clear, well-thought-of and firm that India is Hindustan, a Hindu,” he declared.

He also said: “I was the RSS chief in 2009 as well, but not so many people were here to listen to me. Today, there are more people, because of the growth of the RSS in various sectors.”

Indeed, the RSS has grown, or, rather, metastasized.

The RSS hoped to become “the core around which society itself would become strengthened and cohesive,” explains journalist Hartosh Singh Bal. It was intended to provide a foundation for the country by becoming a predominant group with a hand in every aspect of life in India.

Under Bhagwat’s leadership, today the RSS operates as a state within a state. It is essentially, a shadow government. It is more than just that, argues novelist Arundhati Roy.

“No longer a shadow state or a parallel state, it is the state,” she writes. “Day by day, we see examples of its control over the media, the police, the intelligence agencies. Worryingly, it appears to exercise considerable influence over the armed forces, too.”

It has taken decades of quiet, hard work for the RSS to achieve this level of social and political control. For a long time, the paramilitary was busy laboring at the state level. In 2002, for instance, Roy reported that “the police, the administration and the political cadres at every level” had been “systematically penetrated” in the state of Gujarat.

This is where Modi first cut his teeth as a BJP politician. It is also where the RSS conducted its first pogrom of the 21st Century, which the former leader of the VHP called a “successful experiment which will be repeated all over the country.”

“The traditional muscle power of the BJP has always been the RSS,” said a former US ambassador to India. “The RSS can survive without the BJP but the BJP cannot exist without the RSS. This inextricably links the BJP to the RSS’s Hindutva (Hindu nationalist) agenda. If the BJP does not toot the Hindutva horn, the RSS will not mobilize the Hindu voters.”

Today, however, the RSS’s role is much broader than merely mobilizing voters. It doesn’t just provide boots on the ground to help win elections, it pulls the strings of the party’s elected officials.

Indian attorney A G Noorani calls the BJP “a creature of the RSS,” adding: “Without it the BJP will collapse. Not only does the RSS provide the muscle, cadres who constitute the indispensable foot soldiers during elections, but also the top officials.”

The background of the country’s leadership clearly reflects this. In 2014, when Modi first took office as Prime Minister, 41 members of his government’s 66-person cabinet had an RSS background. Before reshuffling the cabinet in 2017, the BJP first held a “crucial coordination meeting” with the RSS. Today, 38 out of 53 ministers, nearly 75 percent, hail from the RSS.

That includes the infamous duo of Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Home Minister Amit Shah. The two met in 1982, when Modi was 31 and Shah was 17; they became inseparable partners and rose to power through the labors of the RSS. Shah, who is now president of the BJP, acts as Modi’s lieutenant and probable successor.

Other cabinet members with an RSS background include: Defense Minister Rajnath Singh; Transportation Minister Nitin Gadkari; Human Resource Development Minister Ramesh Pokhriyal (who is in charge of education); and Ravi Shankar Prasad, who is Minister of both Communications as well as Law and Justice.

With so much power in its hands, criticism of the paramilitary has become nearly an anti-national act of sedition. “Any form of dissent, or attempt to question the views of the RSS, the BJP or Prime Minister Narendra Modi, is now framed as a threat to national integrity,” writes Hartosh Singh Bal. “In effect, the idea of the nation has come to be conflated with an ideology, a political party or an individual.”

Pieter Friedrich is a South Asian Affairs Analyst who resides in California. He is the co-author of Captivating the Simple-Hearted: A Struggle for Human Dignity in the Indian Subcontinent. Discover more by him at pieterfriedrich.net.

www.pieterfriedrich.net

Pieter Friedrich – Cultural Malware: The Rise of the RSS

Origin story of Nazi-inspired paramilitary that rules India

Los Angeles – California – USA, 19 February 2020. “The violence in which the RSS, and the Hindu nationalist movement it has cultivated, is implicated includes assassinations, bombings, and even pogroms against Christians, Muslims, and anyone who stands up against its xenophobic agenda,” said Pieter Friedrich at a 19 February 2020 seminar.

Speaking at the University of California, Los Angeles, Friedrich detailed the importance of the RSS in modern India, the historical circumstances of its origins, and what its founders believed. “It’s no surprise that the RSS is responsible for such shocking violence considering its ideological ties to European fascism,” he said.

“The correlation between fascism in the West and Hindu nationalism in the East traces all the way back to the paramilitary’s origins in the 1920s,” he stated.

Describing how Hitler published Mein Kampf and founded the SS in the same year that the RSS was founded, he claimed that the group’s founders “took ideological inspiration from, and even engaged in direct contact with, the rising fascist movements in Italy and Germany.”

Noting that a former US ambassador to India had called the RSS the “traditional muscle power” of the ruling BJP, he explained, “Its role is much broader than that, however. Today, the RSS doesn’t just provide boots on the ground to help win elections, it pulls the strings of the party’s elected officials.”

Friedrich pointed out that Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Home Minister Amit Shah, and 75 percent of the BJP-controlled Central Government’s Union Cabinet hail from the RSS. “Since December 2019, the streets of India have been engulfed by mass protests against the Citizenship Amendment Act and the National Register of Citizens,” he said.

“Essentially, these are protests against the implementation of the RSS’s agenda.”

“Under the RSS regime in India today, the fascist vision of the founding fathers of the Hindu nationalist movement is swiftly being implemented with deadly consequences and, the longer that the RSS rules the roost, the deadlier those consequences will be,” concluded Friedrich.

An author and activist who specializes in analysis of South Asian affairs, Friedrich has spearheaded demands for resignation of Western diplomats who met with the RSS. Last year, thousands signed a petition demanding that Ambassador Walter Lindner, Germany’s envoy to India, resign after laying flowers at the feet of a statue of the RSS’s first leader.

“Germany must in no way demonstrate any tolerance for fascism, especially for fascist movements like the RSS which have a demonstrated record of admiring and seeking to model themselves after Nazi Germany and other affiliated fascist movements,” stated the petition.

In September 2019, when Modi visited Houston, Texas for a rally dubbed “Howdy, Modi,” Friedrich coined the response: “Adios, Modi.”

“The RSS developed with inspiration from the Nazis,” he said at the Houston City Council days before the event. “And it produced Narendra Modi. Modi’s hands are stained with blood. Those who shake his hand in welcome cannot wash their hands of complicity in his crimes.”

Pieter Friedrich is a South Asian Affairs Analyst who resides in California. He is the co-author of Captivating the Simple-Hearted: A Struggle for Human Dignity in the Indian Subcontinent. Discover more by him at pieterfriedrich.net.

www.pieterfriedrich.net

Pieter Friedrich – “Cultural Malware: RSS’s Infiltration from India to America”

Seminar on India’s RSS paramilitary hosted at UCLA

On 19 February, I’ll be delivering a lecture on the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh, the 100-year-old, Nazi-inspired paramilitary that pulls the strings of the Indian government under Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s regime. Topics covered will include:

– What is the RSS?

– What is Hindutva?

– How important is the RSS in India today?

– What kind of violence has the RSS committed?

– What else was happening in the world when the RSS was founded?

– What does the RSS believe?

– What did the Guru of the RSS teach?

– Who are the neo-Hindutva RSS ideologues today?

– What is the RSS’s international wing?

A short evening seminar hosted by Jakara Movement and the UCLA Sikh Students Association, “Cultural Malware: RSS’s Infiltration From India to America” will take place at:

UCLA’s Moore Hall 3340
2043 Portola Plaza
Los Angeles, CA 90095

Pieter Friedrich is a South Asian Affairs Analyst who resides in California. He is the co-author of Captivating the Simple-Hearted: A Struggle for Human Dignity in the Indian Subcontinent. Discover more by him at pieterfriedrich.net.

www.pieterfriedrich.net

Pieter Friedrich – US Consul General David Ranz pays tribute to RSS Paramilitary’s 1st Chief

Calls raised for envoy to India’s resignation after perceived endorsement of RSS

German Ambassador Walter Lindner sparked raging controversy in July 2019 after he visited the headquarters of the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh in Nagpur, Maharashtra, India and laid flowers at the feet of the paramilitary’s first chief.

“The RSS shares the fascist ideology of the Nazi Party and supports extreme Hindu nationalism,” reported The Jerusalem Post.

“During World War II, RSS leader M S Golwalkar openly admired Adolf Hitler and Benito Mussolini, and took inspiration from Adolf Hitler’s ideology of racial purity.” Consequently, thousands signed a petition demanding Ambassador Lindner’s resignation.

Similar controversy has ignited after David Ranz, the US Consul General in Mumbai, paid a similar visit to RSS headquarters on 6 February 2020. Accompanied by RSS-Nagpur President Rajesh Loya, Ranz paid tribute to a statue of RSS’s first chief, K B Hedgewar, by laying flowers at its feet.

Hundreds have signed a petition demanding Ranz’s resignation. The petition insists that Ranz must resign for what is perceived as an endorsement of the “Nazi-inspired RSS paramilitary.”

The petition notes that the RSS was founded the same year that Hitler reformulated the Nazi party and claims Ranz’s visit condones the RSS’s “ideological and institutional inspiration by European fascist movements like those of Hitler’s Germany and Mussolini’s Italy.”

Notably, Hedgewar had declared that India is an exclusively Hindu nation. “The Sangh wants to put in reality the words ‘Hindustan of Hindus’,” said Hedgewar. “Hindustan is a country of Hindus.

Like other nations of other people (eg. Germany of Germans), this is a nation of Hindu people.” According to the petition, after an RSS co-founder visited Mussolini in Italy, he described the RSS “under Hedgewar” as a fascist institution of the same kind as those led by Mussolini.

The petition further references writings by M S Golwalkar, the longest-serving RSS chief, which praised Nazi Germany’s “purging” of the Jews. It notes that the RSS has been repeatedly implicated in acts of mass violence against minorities. It also notes that the US’s Central Intelligence Agency has labeled major RSS affiliates as “religious militant organizations.”

The incident comes only a week after a petition requesting the US State Department add the RSS to its list of Foreign Terrorist Organizations garnered nearly 9,000 signatures.

The full text of the petition demanding Ranz’s resignation follows:

  • On 6 February 2020, US Consul General David Ranz of the Mumbai consulate visited the K.B. Hedgewar memorial in Nagpur, Maharashtra to pay homage to him as the first chief of the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS).
  • Ranz’s visit condones the RSS paramilitary as well as its ideological and institutional inspiration by European fascist movements like those of Hitler’s Germany and Mussolini’s Italy. Its earliest leaders praised Nazi racial policies and said that Indian Muslims should be treated like German Jews. They demanded that India be declared a Hindu nation and taught that non-Hindus were traitors.
  • The RSS was founded in 1925, the same year that the Nazi party was reformulated with Hitler as its leader. In 1931, RSS co-founder BS Moonje met Mussolini in Rome. After praising the dictator’s fascist youth group, ONB, for its “military regeneration” of Italian youth, Moonje wrote, “India and particularly Hindu India need some such institution for the military regeneration of the Hindus.” He claimed that “the idea of fascism vividly brings out the conception of unity amongst people” and declared: “Our institution of Rashtriya Swayamsewak Sangh of Nagpur under Dr Hedgewar is of this kind.”
  • Hedgewar was RSS chief from 1925–1940. He was succeeded by M.S. Golwalkar. The longest-serving RSS chief, Golwalkar, called it treason for an Indian to convert away from Hinduism or refuse to “glorify the Hindu Race and Nation.” In 1939, he also wrote glowingly in support of Nazi racial policy: “To keep up the purity of the race and its culture, Germany shocked the world by her purging the country of the Semitic races — the Jews. Race pride at its highest has been manifested here.” He called this “a good lesson for us in Hindustan to learn and profit by.”
  • The RSS has been repeatedly accused of instigating violence. It has been banned several times, the first time following the assassination of M.K. Gandhi by a former RSS member.
  • In 2002, Human Rights Watch named the RSS and its subsidiaries as the groups responsible for an anti-Muslim pogrom that killed 2,000 in the Indian state of Gujarat. In 2012, Swami Aseemanand, a full-time RSS worker, confessed to orchestrating several terrorist bombings which claimed hundreds of lives from 2006 to 2008. Many other instances of bombings, assassinations, and pogroms have been laid at the feet of the RSS.
  • In 2018, the Central Intelligence Agency listed RSS subsidiaries like the Vishwa Hindu Parishad and Bajrang Dal as “religious militant organizations.” In its June 2019 report, the United States Commission on International Religious Freedom warned that the RSS’s agenda “to alienate non-Hindus or lower-caste Hindus is a significant contributor to the rise of religious violence and persecution.”
  • The RSS (including its many subsidiaries) has been linked to many other major incidents of anti-minority violence all across India. These include the 1947 Jammu Massacre (20,000+ Muslims killed) and the 1969 Gujarat Riots (400+ Muslims killed) — both of which occurred shortly after visits by Golwalkar. Later RSS-sponsored pogroms include the 1985 Gujarat Riots (hundreds of Muslims killed), the 1987 Meerut Riots in Uttar Pradesh (hundreds of Muslims killed), the 1989 Bhagalpur Riots in Bihar (900+ Muslims killed), the 1992 nationwide riots following the Babri Mosque destruction (2,000+ Muslims killed), the 2002 Gujarat Pogrom (2,000+ Muslims killed), the 2008 Odisha Pogrom (100+ Christians killed), and countless other smaller-scale incidents.
  • The US diplomatic mission in India should have nothing to do with the RSS.
  • Consul General Ranz’s laying of flowers at the feet of RSS chief Hedgewar is widely interpreted as an endorsement of the paramilitary. His action was reckless and prejudicial. He has discredited himself and his office.
  • We, the undersigned, demand that Consul General David Ranz resign or, failing that, be recalled. We demand immediate intervention by President Donald Trump and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo to achieve this goal.

Pieter Friedrich is a South Asian Affairs Analyst who resides in California. He is the co-author of Captivating the Simple-Hearted: A Struggle for Human Dignity in the Indian Subcontinent. Discover more by him at pieterfriedrich.net.

www.pieterfriedrich.net

Pieter Friedrich – 5000 Sign Petition for USA to declare RSS a terrorist organization

Calls USA State Department to list RSS as “Foreign Terrorist Organization”

A petition, started by author Pieter Friedrich on 30 January 2020, has gathered over 5,000 signatures from people requesting the US State Department to add India’s Rashtriya Swyamsevak Sangh (RSS) paramilitary to its “Foreign Terrorist Organization” list. The petition reads:

Founded in 1925, the RSS took direct inspiration from the European fascist movements of the 1920s-1940s, including the Nazi Party. Today, it has metastasized into a 6 million + member uniformed and armed paramilitary. The RSS is responsible for acts of gross violence, including participating in every major pogrom in independent India. We are calling on the US State Department to declare the RSS a terrorist organization.

The RSS is infamous for its members dressing in uniforms which strongly resemble those worn by members of the Hitler Youth. It was founded in 1925, the same year that the Nazi party was reformulated with Hitler as its leader. In addition to drawing inspiration from the Nazis, the RSS modeled itself after Mussolini’s fascist movement in Italy.

In 1931, RSS co-founder BS Moonje met Mussolini in Rome. After praising the dictator’s fascist youth group, ONB, for its “military regeneration” of Italian youth, Moonje wrote, “India and particularly Hindu India need some such institution for the military regeneration of the Hindus.”

He claimed that “the idea of fascism vividly brings out the conception of unity amongst people” and declared: “Our institution of Rashtriya Swayamsewak Sangh of Nagpur under Dr Hedgewar is of this kind.”

The longest-serving RSS chief, M.S. Golwalkar, called it treason for an Indian to convert away from Hinduism or refuse to “glorify the Hindu Race and Nation.”

In 1939, he also wrote glowingly in support of Nazi racial policy: “To keep up the purity of the race and its culture, Germany shocked the world by her purging the country of the Semitic races — the Jews. Race pride at its highest has been manifested here.” He called this “a good lesson for us in Hindustan to learn and profit by.”

In its June 2019 report, the United States Commission on International Religious Freedom warned that the RSS’s agenda “to alienate non-Hindus or lower-caste Hindus is a significant contributor to the rise of religious violence and persecution.”

The RSS has been repeatedly accused of instigating violence. It has been banned several times, the first time following the assassination of M K Gandhi by a former RSS member.

In 2002, Human Rights Watch named the RSS and its subsidiaries as the groups responsible for an anti-Muslim pogrom that killed 2,000 in the Indian state of Gujarat. In 2012, Swami Aseemanand, a full-time RSS worker, confessed to orchestrating several terrorist bombings which claimed hundreds of lives from 2006 to 2008. Many other instances of bombings, assassinations, and pogroms have been laid at the feet of the RSS.

The RSS (including its many subsidiaries) has been linked to many other major incidents of anti-minority violence all across India. These include the 1947 Jammu Massacre (20,000+ Muslims killed) and the 1969 Gujarat Riots (400+ Muslims killed) — both of which occurred shortly after visit by Golwalkar. Later came the 1970 Bhiwandi Riots in Maharashtra (190+ Muslims killed), the 1983 Nellie Massacre in Assam (2,200+ Bengali Muslims killed), the 1984 Sikh Genocide in Delhi (3,000+ Sikhs killed), the 1985 Gujarat Riots (hundreds of Muslims killed), the 1987 Meerut Riots in Uttar Pradesh (hundreds of Muslims killed), the 1989 Bhagalpur Riots in Bihar (900+ Muslims killed), the 1992 nationwide riots following the Babri Mosque destruction (2,000+ Muslims killed), the 2002 Gujarat Pogrom (2,000+ Muslims killed), the 2008 Odisha Pogrom (100+ Christians killed), and countless other smaller-scale incidents.

Pieter Friedrich is a South Asian Affairs Analyst who resides in California. He is the co-author of Captivating the Simple-Hearted: A Struggle for Human Dignity in the Indian Subcontinent.

Discover more by him at pieterfriedrich.net

www.pieterfriedrich.net

Pieter Friedrich – Over 3000 sign petition for US to declare RSS a terrorist organization

Calls US State Department to add RSS to “Foreign Terrorist Organization” list

A petition, started by author Pieter Friedrich on 30 January 2020, has gathered over 3,000 signatures from people requesting the US State Department to add India’s Rashtriya Swyamsevak Sangh (RSS) paramilitary to its “Foreign Terrorist Organization” list. The petition reads:

Founded in 1925, the RSS took direct inspiration from the European fascist movements of the 1920s-1940s, including the Nazi Party. Today, it has metastasized into a 6 million + member uniformed and armed paramilitary.

The RSS is responsible for acts of gross violence, including participating in every major pogrom in independent India. We are calling on the US State Department to declare the RSS a terrorist organization.

The RSS is infamous for its members dressing in uniforms which strongly resemble those worn by members of the Hitler Youth. It was founded in 1925, the same year that the Nazi party was reformulated with Hitler as its leader. In addition to drawing inspiration from the Nazis, the RSS modeled itself after Mussolini’s fascist movement in Italy.

In 1931, RSS co-founder B S Moonje met Mussolini in Rome. After praising the dictator’s fascist youth group, ONB, for its “military regeneration” of Italian youth, Moonje wrote, “India and particularly Hindu India need some such institution for the military regeneration of the Hindus.”

He claimed that “the idea of fascism vividly brings out the conception of unity amongst people” and declared: “Our institution of Rashtriya Swayamsewak Sangh of Nagpur under Dr Hedgewar is of this kind.”

The longest-serving RSS chief, M S Golwalkar, called it treason for an Indian to convert away from Hinduism or refuse to “glorify the Hindu Race and Nation.”

In 1939, he also wrote glowingly in support of Nazi racial policy: “To keep up the purity of the race and its culture, Germany shocked the world by her purging the country of the Semitic races,the Jews. Race pride at its highest has been manifested here.” He called this “a good lesson for us in Hindustan to learn and profit by.”

In its June 2019 report, the United States Commission on International Religious Freedom warned that the RSS’s agenda “to alienate non-Hindus or lower-caste Hindus is a significant contributor to the rise of religious violence and persecution.”

The RSS has been repeatedly accused of instigating violence. It has been banned several times, the first time following the assassination of M K Gandhi by a former RSS member.

In 2002, Human Rights Watch named the RSS and its subsidiaries as the groups responsible for an anti-Muslim pogrom that killed 2,000 in the Indian state of Gujarat.

In 2012, Swami Aseemanand, a full-time RSS worker, confessed to orchestrating several terrorist bombings which claimed hundreds of lives from 2006 to 2008. Many other instances of bombings, assassinations, and pogroms have been laid at the feet of the RSS.

The RSS (including its many subsidiaries) has been linked to many other major incidents of anti-minority violence all across India. These include the 1947 Jammu Massacre (20,000+ Muslims killed) and the 1969 Gujarat Riots (400+ Muslims killed), both of which occurred shortly after visit by Golwalkar.

Later came the 1970 Bhiwandi Riots in Maharashtra (190+ Muslims killed), the 1983 Nellie Massacre in Assam (2,200+ Bengali Muslims killed), the 1984 Sikh Genocide in Delhi (3,000+ Sikhs killed), the 1985 Gujarat Riots (hundreds of Muslims killed), the 1987 Meerut Riots in Uttar Pradesh (hundreds of Muslims killed), the 1989 Bhagalpur Riots in Bihar (900+ Muslims killed), the 1992 nationwide riots following the Babri Mosque destruction (2,000+ Muslims killed), the 2002 Gujarat Pogrom (2,000+ Muslims killed), the 2008 Odisha Pogrom (100+ Christians killed), and countless other smaller-scale incidents.

Pieter Friedrich is a South Asian Affairs Analyst who resides in California. He is the co-author of Captivating the Simple-Hearted: A Struggle for Human Dignity in the Indian Subcontinent. Discover more by him at pieterfriedrich.net.

To sign the petition go to:

www.pieterfriedrich.net

 

OFMI – RSS Occupies San Francisco Indian Consulate Premises to Support Citizenship Law

Human rights group issues “Bloodshed Beacon” for social conditions in Modi’s India

San Francisco – California – USA, 29 January 2020. On India’s 70th Republic Day, the San Francisco Consulate hosted a small rally organized by local leaders in India’s powerful Hindu nationalist paramilitary, the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS), in support of the country’s controversial new Citizenship Amendment Act.

Approximately 1000 Indian-Americans faced off against the consulate’s rally to protest for “Azadi” (freedom). “The RSS wants to make India a religious apartheid state,” warned Mohamad Khan as he held a sign: “#RejectCAA, make India secular again.”

Protestors in at least 30 US cities flooded the streets on January 26 to raise the alarm about risk to religious freedom under Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s administration. All seven of India’s diplomatic mission in the US were protested. Standing on the fenced consulate grounds, around 50 people rallied in support of Modi and his ruling Bharatiya Janata Party.

Demonstrators appeared led by Romesh Japra, a local newspaper publisher, and Chandru Bhambhra, the Bay Area president of the Hindu Swayamsevak Sangh. Bhambhra is also former president of the Overseas Friends of the BJP. The HSS is the international wing of the RSS; the OFBJP is the BJP.

“The consulate is sold out to the RSS,” said Balbir Singh Dhillon, president of West Sacramento Sikh Gurdwara. “Where is the democracy in letting partisan groups occupy a diplomatic office? The consulate let itself become a symbol of the RSS. The consulate represents Modi when it should represent all Indians.”

On January 29, Organization for Minorities of India issued a Bloodshed Beacon for India. The warning is issued when social conditions present a high risk for a state-sponsored massacre.

“Modi is sending his police out to murder anti-CAA protestors in India,” warned Arvin Valmuci, OFMI spokesperson. “BJP Minister Anurag Thakur was caught raising slogans of ‘Shoot the Traitors,’ meaning protestors.

We just saw how RSS demonstrators at the San Francisco consulate behaved like hired thugs. Indian social conditions currently present an extremely high risk situation for Christians, Muslims, Sikhs, and most minority communities.”

“The pro-CAA people were mostly all men who looked like they were operating under orders,” said Pieter Friedrich, an author who spoke at the protest against the CAA. “The group was being directed by Bhambhra and India Post publisher Japra.

The rally was obviously happening with the consulate’s sanction and played Bollywood tunes over a loudspeaker. The other side was a very mixed crowd. Lots of families with small children. They played live music.”

At the protest, Friedrich warned, “Under Modi’s iron-fisted regime, Christians, Dalits, Muslims, Sikhs, and every Hindu who disagrees with the hate, violence, and supremacy of the RSS lives in fear of their lives.”

“The RSS is responsible for lynchings, assassinations, bombings, and pogroms against Christians, Muslims, and anyone who stands up against its xenophobic agenda,” explained Jada Bernard, an activist who recently protested Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard for her alleged ties to the RSS.

“This began as us speaking up for our neighbors across the globe, but now we have to protect our own children from these poisonous policies infecting our politics. We’ve got American politicians are actively backing the RSS’s foreign policy goals.”

In 2018, OFMI reported that at least 15 diplomats in nine countries had recently participated in RSS events abroad. Former Indian envoy Deb Muhharji called it “absolutely shocking.” Former foreign secretary Shivshankar Menon warned that “civil services are being politicized,” saying, “They are supposed to represent India, not any individual party or sect or group.”

In 2019, OFMI reported that the HSS was “infiltrating” government offices throughout the US, including those of two congressmen and nine law enforcement departments. “The presence of the RSS’s international wing in American police departments frightens minorities of Indian origin and inculcates a feeling of deep insecurity,” said Valmuci.

“This is an attempt by the HSS to legitimize a fascist paramilitary responsible for state-sanctioned pogroms against minorities in India.”

The Organization for Minorities of India was founded in 2006 to advance individual liberties of Christians, Buddhists, Dalits, Muslims, Sikhs, and all Mulnivasi people of South Asia by encouraging secularism, progressive human rights, liberation of oppressed peoples, and universal human dignity. Visit OFMI.org for more information.

www.OFMI.org

OFMI – Tulsi Gabbard Campaign attacks protestors to smother “Foreign Interference” claims

Gabbard Town Hall in New Hampshire degenerates into violence against anti-RSS protestors

Concord – New Hampshire – USA, 10 January 2020. US presidential candidate Tulsi Gabbard’s town hall in Concord, New Hampshire degenerated into a brawl as campaign staff assaulted protestors who silently unfurled signs accusing her of whitewashing India’s Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS).

The congresswoman was scheduled to speak at the January 8 event, but announced the night before that she was returning to Washington, DC “due to last minute scheduled briefings and votes related to stopping further escalation of war with Iran.”

She participated via live-stream, taking questions from the sparse audience. Moments after local politician Eric Gallagher asked Gabbard’s opinion about ongoing protests in India against the Citizenship Amendment Act, six people stepped to the front holding signs with slogans including “Tulsi: Mascot of India’s KKK”.

Campaign staff immediately charged and tackled one of the protestors. Deputy National Campaign Director Caitlin Pomerantz and volunteer Daniel Martinez were caught on camera hustling protestor Pieter Friedrich out of the event.

“I’m being assaulted,” he shouts as they grab him. “Do not touch me. Let go of me.” As he is shoved out the room, he shouts, “Tulsi Gabbard whitewashes Modi’s fascist forces in India”.

“I’ve filed a police report and hope to press charges,” wrote Friedrich on Twitter.

An analyst of South Asian affairs who recently published a cover article in India’s Caravan magazine regarding Gabbard’s association with the RSS, he also Tweeted, “The people who attacked me have been identified not only as Gabbard campaign staffers, but also as members of her Islamophobic and homophobic Hawaiian cult, the Science of Identity Foundation.

The physical violence they used illustrates SIF’s vicious tactics for suppressing opposition to any of its members who pursue political office, which is a key part of their agenda.”

“We don’t want a repeat of the Holocaust,” Amin Zama, president of the Boston chapter of Indian American Muslim Council, said at the protest. While holding a “Tulsi: Tell Us About RSS” sign, he added, “RSS, which is behind the BJP government ruling India right now, is behind everything. Tulsi gets support from RSS”.

As the town hall ended, Zahir Adil of Justice For All passed out flyers headlined: “Save India From Indian Fascists”. The flyer warned that Washington DC-based organization, Genocide Watch, has issued two Genocide Alerts for India. “RSS based its ideology on the ideas of racial purity preached by German Nazis and fascists in the 1930s and 40s”, claimed the flyer.

“During World War II, the RSS openly supported Adolf Hitler. RSS is a bit like the SS of Nazi Germany, only more powerful, semi-secret, and extremely dangerous.”

“The RSS is a terrorist organization that has slaughtered Christians and Muslims in the streets of India”, explains Brian Wright, an associate director of Organization for Minorities of India.

“Their vision is to turn the country into a Hindu nation where it’s illegal to convert to any other religion. The only thing American politicians should be doing with the RSS is condemning them”.

“It’s heartening to see spreading protests against Tulsi Gabbard’s collaboration with the RSS and the BJP”, remarks OFMI’s Arvin Valmuci. “This is the fourth time she’s been protested over her ties to those extremist groups. We agree with the protestors that Congresswoman Gabbard has a track record of pay to play with India’s fascists.

We call for her immediate resignation and for the Congressional Ethics Committee to launch an investigation into the foreign interference in her congressional campaigns”.

Organization for Minorities of India was founded in 2006 to advance individual liberties of Christians, Buddhists, Dalits, Muslims, Sikhs, and all Mulnivasi people of South Asia by encouraging secularism, progressive human rights, liberation of oppressed peoples, and universal human dignity.

Visit
www.OFMI.org

Pieter Friedrich – Tulsi Gabbard campaign violently assaults peaceful protestor

On 8 January 2020 evening, I attended a Concord, New Hampshire town hall for presidential candidate Tulsi Gabbard and raised signs regarding her association with the Nazi-inspired RSS paramilitary.

I was immediately violently assaulted by Gabbard campaign thugs, who attacked me for quietly and peacefully holding signs reading “Tulsi: Mascot of India’s KKK” and “Tulsi Whitewashes India’s KKK.”

Pieter Friedrich is a South Asian Affairs Analyst who resides in California. He is the co-author of Captivating the Simple-Hearted: A Struggle for Human Dignity in the Indian Subcontinent.

Discover more by him at

www.pieterfriedrich.net

YouTube video on the event :

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ovV5Omof5Y4&feature=youtu.be