Nationalism seems to be most dangerous when it mixes intense pride with deep grievance.
is worried that exactly these conditions --“insecurity, confusion and aggressiveness”-- dominate Indian life today. The Hindu regime of Narendra Modi nurses bitter grievances against both the west and the Muslim world, and he regularly speaks of freeing India from “a thousand years of slavery.”
Today a new generation of Indian nationalists lurches between victimhood and chauvinism, and with ominous implications. As the country appears to rise (and simultaneously fall), many ambitious members of a greatly expanded and fully global Hindu middle class feel frustrated in their demand for higher status from white Westerners.For anyone who knows the history of the twentieth century, these words indeed have an ominous ring. On the other hand India is a huge, diverse, and notoriously ill-organized place, very different from Germany or Japan. I think the victory of the Hindu parties in the last election had more to do with unemployment and Congress Party corruption than a real turn of the Indian populace toward angry nationalism. So while the Hindus are making life miserable for western scholars who want to publish the truth about India's past, and they may end up stoking more anti-Muslim riots or border clashes with Pakistan, I doubt they will lead India into Fascism or another great war. Whatever the dreams of their ideologues, I just don't think most Indians are willing to be led in that direction.
. . . . the apocalyptic Indian imagination has been enriched by the exploits of Hindu nationalists, such as the destruction in 1992 of the 16th-century Babri Masjid mosque, and the nuclear tests of 1998. Celebrating the tests in speeches in the late 1990s, including one entitled “Ek Aur Mahabharata” (One More Mahabharata), the then head of the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (the National Volunteers Association, or R.S.S), the parent outfit of Hindu nationalists, claimed that Hindus, a “heroic, intelligent race,” had so far lacked proper weapons but were sure to prevail in the forthcoming showdown with demonic anti-Hindus, a broad category that includes Americans (who apparently best exemplify the worldwide “rise of inhumanity”).
A Harvard-trained economist called Subramanian Swamy recently demanded a public bonfire of canonical books by Indian historians — liberal and secular intellectuals who belong to what the R.S.S. chief in 2000 identified as that “class of bastards which tries to implant an alien culture in their land.” Denounced by the numerous Hindu supremacists in social media as “sickular libtards” and sepoys (the common name for Indian soldiers in British armies), these intellectuals apparently are Trojan horses of the West. They must be purged to realize Mr. Modi’s vision in which India, once known as the “golden bird,” will “rise again.”