Christian-to-Hindu conversos in India; Nick Cohen on communalism

In my last post on the unhealthy obsession with Zionism of the UN’s World Conference Against Racism, Racial Discrimination, Xenophobia and Related Intolerance I listed a tiny fraction of minority groups facing harassment, exclusion and persecution because of who they are or what they believe. Today’s Observer makes this point.

Writing about Britain, Nick Cohen predicts that the communalism exemplified by Ken Livingstone (who gained the support of all ethnic minority groups except, for obvious reasons, Jews) at the expense of that of the white working class vote in the mayoral elections. After a conversation with Jon Cruddas, he observes acutely:

“…he desparied of an officialdom that unthinkingly played the BNP’s game by seeing ‘everything through the prism of race’. Did it really not guess that working-class voters would reclassify themselves as ‘whites’ and join the identity game?”

Cohen goes on to worry about a political Left which has gone over to communalism and may now be incapable of unifying as workers against the fascist threat.

I recalled how the SWP spent all last year trying to unify workers against Israel. After resisting that for so long it was incredibly disorientating when over night the central committee reprogrammed their ants to build against the BNP. Luckily we have Hope Not Hate for whom I’ve pushed a few leaflets and doubtless will again.

On the next page, Gethin Chamberlain describes the grotesque forced conversions of Christians by Hindu Nationalists in the Indian state of Orissa. Converso was one of the names for Jews and Muslims who had been forced to convert to Christianity in C14th and C15th Spain. While Chamberlain was interviewing Indian conversos for his story, Hindu nationalists assaulted his driver.

“‘You want to know what is happening? Now I will tell you why this is happening.’ He blamed the Christians for taking the jobs of Hindus, for the murder of the Swami. The only solution was for Christians to convert, he said. ‘This is a Hindu community. Everyone can stay here, as long as they are part of that community.'”

More on Hindu nationalism from OpenDemocracy and this review of Martha Nussbaum’s The Clash Within. Amazingly, Christophe Jaffrelot’s 2007 primary source reader on Hindu Nationalism is also available as a Google Book.

Hindu Nationalism

By Christophe Jaffrelot

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