Essay

India: Liberal Democracy and the Extreme Right

Print edition : June 07, 2019

December 6, 1992: With the destruction of Babri Masjid, the institutionalisation of communalism was firmly entrenched. Photo: Sanjay Sharma/Indiapix network

Gujarat, 2002: Anti-Muslim rioters running amok in Ahmedabad. Photo: MANISH SWARUP/Associated Press

March 1975: Jayaprakash Narayan leading a march to Parliament in Delhi. The anti-Emergency movement served to legitimise the RSS as a respectable force in Indian politics. Photo: The Hindu Archives

November 12, 1992: Prime Minister P.V. Narasimha Rao (right) and Union Finance Minister Manmohan Singh. Photo: UNI

A working committee meeting of the Hindu Maha Sabha in Delhi that V.D. Savarkar (centre, with umbrella) presided over. B.S. Moonje is to his right and Syama Prasad Mookerjee is to his left. Photo: THE HINDU ARCHIVES

May 27, 1948: The trial of the persons accused of participation and complicity in Mahatma Gandhi’s assassination in the Special Court in Red Fort, Delhi. (Left to Right, front row): Nathuram Vinayak Godse, Narayan Dattatraya Apte and Vishnu Ramkrishna Karkare. Second from right in the back row isVinayak Damodar Savarkar. Photo: THE HINDU ARCHIVES

M.S. Golwalkar. Photo: The Hindu Archives

K.B. Hedgewar.

This article, written by Aijaz Ahmad in the summer of 2015, was published in the 2016 edition of Socialist Register, which is “‘an annual survey of movements and ideas’ from the standpoint of the independent new left”. The journal, founded by Ralph Miliband and John Saville in 1964, is published in October by Merlin Press in the United Kingdom, Monthly Review Press in the United States, Fernwood Books in Canada and LeftWord Books in India. The 19 essays in the 2016 edition, its 52nd, explore “right-wing political forces and parties around the globe, bringing to bear the Register’s reputation for detailed scholarship and passionate engagement on some of the most troubling developments in world politics today”.
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