India’s Saffron Capitalism – Radhika Desai in Counterpunch

Radhika Desai

Desai CoverIt is clear that the new Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) government in New Delhi is unapologetically devoted to corporate interests and promises to bring the wonders of Modi’s Gujarat ‘model’ to the rest of India. With a secure majority of its own in the Lok Sabha, the party can do so is unhampered by even the minimal resistance the stroppy regional satraps that were its coalition partners offered between 1998 and 2004.

A graph of the Bombay Stock Exchange’s Sensex index on counting day would have more fittingly conveyed the meaning of the electoral verdict than the footage of hoi polloi banging drums, lighting crackers, smearing gulal and eating laddoos that usually accompanied reportage of the election results. With a name that calls a condom to mind more readily than a stock market index, the Sensex hit an orgasmic high of 25364.71, crossing the 25,000 mark for the first time.

Never before has the county’s corporate elite stood so solidly behind a single party. Never before has it contributed so massively to its campaign, and never before has any party in India spent more on its campaign than the ruling US President had on his. These facts were not unknown but it took the independent Economic and Political Weekly to call the BJP’s victory ‘the biggest corporate heist in history’.

Even so, India’s capitalists had not secured the BJP victory on their own. The BJP is a member of the ‘Sangh Parivar’ around the fascist Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS). The Parivar’s hundreds of thousands of highly motivated workers campaign for the BJP: no other party has such organizational muscle at its command. The Parivar’s Hindutva ideology targets India’s significant Muslim minority in particular and Modi was Chief Minister of Gujarat during the 2002 genocide of Muslims there. He is widely considered responsible, at the very least, of not acting to prevent or mitigate it.

Reportage and commentary are unable to link Hindutva and the corporations satisfactorily. At best, they claim there is a tradeoff between the ‘Hindutva’ and ‘development’ (i.e. corporate) agendas. Development has been foregrounded and Hindutva pushed into the background. That, even on this account, it still lurks there is neither denied nor disinterred for consideration.

Click here to read the rest of the article on Counterpunch.org. You can buy Radhikda’s latest book, Geopolitical Economy: After US Hegemony, Globalization and Empire (Pluto, 2013) from plutobooks.com for just £19.50 including free UK P&P.

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