On July 17, 2019, Ambassador Walter Lindner (Germany’s ambassador to India) visited the headquarters of the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) in Nagpur, Maharashtra. His visit condones the RSS paramilitary as well as its ideological and institutional inspiration by European fascist movements like those of Hitler’s Germany and Mussolini’s Italy.
He was further pictured with a photo of RSS leader M.S. Golwalkar, who wrote glowingly in support of Nazi racial policy.
Golwalkar believed that being Indian meant being Hindu. So he wrote, “Only the Hindu has been living here as the child of this soil.” Just in case his reader misunderstood his intentions, he also phrased it another way: “We repeat: in Hindustan, the land of the Hindus, lives and should live the Hindu Nation.”
Golwalkar thought that the only true Indian “patriots” were people who aspired to “glorify the Hindu race and Nation,” claiming, “All others are… traitors and enemiesto the National cause.” He called it “treason” for an Indian to convert away from Hinduism, writing, “It is not merely a case of change of faith, but a change even in national identity. What else is it, if not treason, to join the camp of the enemy?”
In 1935, the Nazis began redefining “national identity” in Germany when they passed the Nuremberg Laws, stripping Jews of citizenship and banning relationships between Germans and Jews. This was followed in 1938 by Kristallnacht, the first Nazi pogrom against Jews.
In 1939, as the Second World War broke out in Europe with Nazi Germany’s invasion of Poland, Golwalkar detailed the RSS’s vision for an ethno-state:
“The foreign races in Hindustan must either adopt the Hindu culture and language, must learn to respect and hold in reverence Hindu religion, must entertain no ideas 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 into 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.”
Declaring that “our Race Spirit has once again roused itself,” he compared this new racial consciousness to that washing over Nazi Germany. “The ancient Race Spirit, which prompted the Germanic tribes to over-run the whole of Europe, has re-risen in modern Germany.”
Denouncing Judaism as “an intolerant faith,” he wrote, “To keep up the purity of the race and its culture, Germany shocked the world by her purging the country of the Semitic races — the Jews. Race pride at its highest has been manifested here.” He concluded that Germany had set a good example by showing how it was supposedly “impossible” for different “races and cultures” to be “assimilated into one united whole.” Thus, Golwalkar proclaimed the Nazi policy towards the Jews as “a good lesson for us in Hindustan to learn and profit by.”
Germany must in no way demonstrate any tolerance for fascism, especially for fascist movements like the RSS which have a demonstrated record of admiring and seeking to model themselves after Nazi Germany and other affiliated fascist movements.
We, the undersigned, demand that Ambassador Walter Lindner resign or, failing that, be recalled. We demand immediate intervention by Chancellor Angela Merkel and Foreign Minister Heiko Maas to achieve this goal.