CAB 2019, discriminatory citizenship and now a nationwide NPR-NRC:
IS India headed the German way? In the 1930s after a sweep to power, the Reichstag passed a slew of laws that discriminated against its Jews, Romans, Blacks and dissenters. Called the Law for Protection of German Blood & German Honour, the world watched as othering became the German way.
Back home, in the India of 2019, are there similarities? MS Golwalkar (Bunch of Thoughts, We or Our Nationhood Defined) and BS Moonje (a Ten Day Diary) were both equally struck by not just Hitler’s Germany’s discriminatory laws and policies (vis a vis Jews) but committed also to fascist Italy’s violent, militaristic mode to achieve its goals.
Moved by the understanding that purity of German blood is the essential condition for the continued existence of the German people, and inspired by the inflexible determination to ensure the existence of the German nation for all time, the Reichstag unanimously adopted the a law, that was discriminatory. India by excluding Muslim migrants from equal rights to claim citizenship by naturalisation is going down this same, dangerous path.
It was in 1920 that the Nazi Party’s 25-point programme spelt out their objective of segregating Jews from ‘Aryan’ society and ending their economic, social and political rights. After storming into power in 1933, the Nazis started moving quickly towards this objective by bringing in laws and regulations to isolate Jews. It is estimated that nearly 2,000 such statutory changes were ordered at all levels, from national to provincial to local. Some of these anti-Semitic laws are listed below.
Before that, a timeline of events. Is India going the same way ?
What Happened in Nazi Germany
- 1933: New laws to remove Jews from government service; forbidding Jews to become lawyers; limiting number of Jewish students in public schools; revoke citizenship of naturalised Jews and “undesirables”; banning them from editorial posts; banning ‘Kosher’- ritual slaughter of animals.
- 1934: Jewish students forbidden from appearing in exams for medicine, dentistry, pharmacy and law; Jews excluded from military service.
- 1935: Infamous Nuremberg Laws: exclude German Jews from Reich citizenship and lose voting rights; prohibit them from marrying or having sexual relations with persons of “German or German-related blood.”
- 1935-36: Jews banned from parks, restaurants and swimming pools; not allowed use of electrical/optical equipment, bicycles, typewriters or records; Jewish students removed from German schools and universities; Jewish teachers banned from govt. schools.
- 1938: Special identity cards issued to Jews; excluded from cinema, theatre, concerts, exhibitions, beaches and holiday resorts; forced to add the names ‘Sarah’ or ‘Israel’ to their own; Jews’ passports stamped with a red letter ‘J’.
- On November 9-10 night (called Kristallnacht or Night of Broken Glass) countrywide violence against Jews, synagogues burnt and shops destroyed.
- 1939: Many Jews evicted from their homes; Jews’ radios confiscated; Jews told to hand over all gold, silver, diamonds, and other valuables to the state without compensation; curfew for Jews.
- 1940: Jews’ telephones confiscated; war-time ration cards for clothes stopped.
- 1941: Jews forbidden use of public telephones; forbidden to keep pets; forbidden to leave the country.
- 1942: Fur coats and woollen items of all Jews confiscated; not allowed to receive eggs or milk.
This is only the story of some of the legal changes. In life, Jews along with Roma people, sexual minorities, trade unionists, communists and social democrats, blacks – all ‘Non-Aryans’ – were systematically isolated, tortured and killed in the most horrendous ways. Often, these laws were used as pretext for violence. The Nazi storm troopers implemented these policies, which were fully sanctioned by the fascist rulers and its Fuhrer, Adolf Hitler.
What did the Laws begin to say?
The Nuremberg Lawswere exclusivist, anti-Semitic and racist. Enacted by the German Parliament on September 15, 1935, the two laws were the Law for the Protection of German Blood and German Honour, which forbade marriages and extramarital intercourse between Jews and Germans; and the employment of German females under 45 in Jewish households, and the Reich Citizenship Law, which declared that only those of German or related blood were eligible to be Reich citizens. The remainder were classed as state subjects without any citizenship rights. The laws were expanded on November 26, 1935 to include Romani people and Blacks.This supplementary decree defined Romanis as “enemies of the race-based state”, the same category as Jews.
Out of sly foreign policy concerns, prosecutions under the two laws did not commence until after the 1936 Olympics in Berlin Books considered un-German, including those by Jewish authors, were destroyed in a nationwide bookburning. Jewish citizens were harassed and subjected to violent attacks. They were actively suppressed, stripped of their citizenship and civil rights, and eventually completely removed from German society.
These statutory diktats, known as the Nuremberg Laws, had a crippling economic and social impact on the Jewish community. Persons convicted of violating the marriage laws were imprisoned and (subsequent to March 8, 1938) upon completing their sentences were re-arrested by the Gestapo and sent to Germany’s notorious concentration camps. Non-Jews gradually stopped socialising with Jews or shopping in Jewish-owned stores, many of which closed due to lack of customers. As Jews were no longer permitted to work in the civil service or government-regulated professions such as medicine and education, many middle class business owners and professionals were forced to take menial employment.
Will CAB and Nationwide NRC set the base for systemic discrimination?
The ideological underpinnings of the present regime are there for all to see. The Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) has been clear in the past of its support to discriminatory citizenship. It has also lauded what the Nazis did. RSS supremo and chief ideologue M.S. Golwalkar has this to say in his famed book“We – Or Our Nationhood Defined”:
Germany shocked the world by her purging the country of the Semitic Races—the Jews. Race pride at its highest has been manifested here. Germany has also shown how well-nigh impossible it is for Races and cultures, having differences going to the root, to be assimilated into one united whole, a good lesson for us in Hindusthan to learn and profit by. (p.87-88)
Golwalkar goes on to define the Hindu Nation and asserts that “All those not belonging to the national i.e. Hindu Race, Religion, Culture and Language, naturally fall out of the pale of real ‘National’ life.” (p.99) He advises that such people would be considered foreigners if they “maintain their racial, religious and cultural differences.” (p.101)
The RSS ideologue then puts it out in crystal clear terms:
….the foreign races in Hindusthan must either adopt the Hindu culture and language, must learn to respect and hold in reverence Hindu religion, must entertain no idea but those of the glorification of the Hindu race and culture, i.e., of the Hindu nation and must lose their separate existence to merge in the Hindu race, or may stay in the country, wholly subordinated to the Hindu Nation, claiming nothing, deserving no privileges, far less any preferential treatment – not even citizen’s rights. (p. 105)
Besides discrimination, violence, fear and intimidation have been the RSS way. As India heads into the new year, violence and conflict are likely to follow this brazen abrogation of rights.