This post has been self-published on Youth Ki Awaaz by Annie Fraser. Just like them, anyone can publish on Youth Ki Awaaz.

Dangers Of The Resurgence Of Right Wing Extremism, In India And The US

More from Annie Fraser

By Annie Fraser:

When we think about right-wing extremism, we might feel concerned but not seriously threatened. After all, the word “extremism” alludes to views, behaviors, or incidents that aren’t normal or ‘normalized,’ and are therefore rare and unlikely to occur. Whether it be, the seemingly sparse acts of Saffron or Hindutva terror in India, or the shrill right-wing propaganda spread by personalities such as Glenn Beck and Rush Limbaugh in the United States, right-wing extremism around the globe is being dismissively treated on a case-by-case basis. We doubt extremists’ abilities to conquer our societies and governments, and we are not concerned about their power to drag our countries into a downward spiral of domineering inequality, intolerance, and oppression. And it is within this doubt that we have gone seriously wrong.

As we observe and study the followers of right-wing extremist groups, in the United States and in India, we can’t help but note the similarities shared by members of these groups. People drawn to these groups appear to exhibit a need to feel superior to others. They attempt to fulfill this need by demeaning and blaming others, by embracing racism, false paranoia, and by the condemnation of minority groups. In the United States, extreme right-wing groups fight to ensure that racial minorities and immigrants be stripped of their civil rights, that gays be denied the same rights that their straight neighbors are afforded, and that Christianity prevails, both in government and society in general. In India, Saffrons demonize any religion outside of Hinduism and aggressively propagate the Hindutva way of life.

So, where does this all come from? What causes these extremist beliefs to emerge in the first place? It’s my personal belief that the need to feel superior stems from a loss of dominance. In the United States, right-wing extremist often include large numbers from the white fundamentalist Christian community. Prior to the election of Barrack Obama, the White house was occupied by an outspoken Christian President, George W. Bush. Bush often referenced his religious beliefs and mentioned prayer as being a necessary part of his daily decision-making processes. His openness with regard to his personal Christian religious beliefs, according to many, was not appropriate in a country that is supposed to maintain a separation between Church and State. The Christian Right, however, welcomed Bush’s open Christianity. In addition, at the end of Bush’s presidency, the country entered into the worst economic recession since the Great Depression. Many people in the United States lost their homes, their investments, and their financial security. Many were angry and afraid and needed someone to blame. Who better to be the object of this anger than the first black President, various racial minorities, gays, various religious groups, etc?

Looking back even further in U.S. history, one can also point to a series of events that is still having an impact on the social and political foundation of the United States and has caused a power shift within the country. Starting with the abolishment of slavery in 1865, followed by the Civil Rights Movement, and then the disintegration of conventional values due to various youth and social movements, previous minorities, particularly racial, as their socioeconomic statuses progressively improve. Because of this, the white Christian majority is losing its hold. Similarly in India, Hindu nationalist right-wing extremists fervently grasp their slipping authority as religious majority and are becoming more accepted and influential. Furthermore, the right-wingers, feeling bitter about being robbed of their supremacy from minorities, slyly target these minority groups as the scapegoats for the country’s problems. What’s worse, their opinions cannot be changed due to the practice of cognitive dissonance. Driven to hold their attitudes and beliefs in harmony, right-wingers will search out any information that supports their point of view, and ignore all information that goes against it.

What is most frightening about right-wingers in the United States is that the right-wing philosophy is slowly merging with extremist values. Center-left Democrats and center-right Republicans have always evenly played United States politics. Within the last decade, though, the Republican Party, a major stakeholder in America’s political structure, has been dangerously migrating more away from the center and towards the right. In the name of God, Jesus, and liberty, we have witnessed the emergence of far-right political parties (such as the Tea Party), with their followers blaming gays, immigrants, Muslims, and Democrats for the country’s problems. “Yeah, a bunch of crazies”, you might be thinking, “But their extremist views will never gain political traction”. Wrong. As of now, Tea Party sympathizers form roughly one half of the Republican foundation. Meaning, if any future Republican candidates expects to win, they will be required to appeal (at least in some aspects) to the ideologies possessed by right-wing extremists.

If extremism can creep its way into major American political forces, who is to say that the same cannot happen in India? If you’re curious as to the implications of the normalization of extremist politics and policies, then look to Germany and the rise of the Nazi Party and the Holocaust.

For now, we must stop underestimating the power of right-wing extremists. We cannot brush off the rise of “small”, but far-right parties with an extremist agenda, and if we continue to turn a blind eye, then we are practicing naivety at its purest form.

You must be to comment.
  1. Anurag Rathord

    There is nothing like Hindu Extremism in India. This term was politically motivated and given by a very famous leader for sake of his vote bank politics. Some people called RSS a hindu extrimist group but i would like to tell that talking about rituals, beliefs and their rights is not a part of extremism but exploding bomb on the name of religion is extremism. So called leftist will never talk about middle east they talk about secularism and spreading one’s religion’s message and demanding about their rights iis a part of secularism. I am not a right wing supporter but as a student of political science i m writing this. I don’t know the case of US but there is nothing like Hindu Extremism in India, this is just a term derived only for political interests. Sorry If m hurting……………Sorry

    1. Charles

      There is nothing like Hindu Extremism in India?

      Don’t be so sure, brother. She hasn’t blamed the RSS explicitly here, but I presume you have heard about Bajrang Dal, RHS, and many instances of Shiv Sena even. Don’t digress here. The topic she was speaking about is India. She has no obligation to speak about Middle East, Islamic right wing or Islamic terror. Whether you agree or not, the Hindu right wing is a power to reckon with. Don’t believe me? You just need to open your eyes and look at the amount of bullying every person who did not support Modi had to take. Extremism in any form is wrong, but this is something that right wing sympathizers have been doing always – Ignore anything that weakens their cause, scour the internet for info that supports it, digress speaking about right wingers of other religions, put blame on all left wing parties, call secular people pseudo-secular and anti-national, be condescending to people of other faiths since you think yours is the most tolerant of all the world religions.

      … coming from an Indian agnostic non-practising Christian.

  2. Krishna Pachegonker (@krishpachegonkr)

    This is really a very insightful piece on the prevalent trends of right-wing politics in india which is very detrimental to the inclusive, multi-religious identity of this country! The resurgence of Modi and the hype created by corporates with media is totally against the idea of iNDIA envisioned by Nehru, Gandhi, Great Akbar, Shivaji, Indira Gandhi!!!!

More from Annie Fraser

Similar Posts

By Ritwik Trivedi

By IMPRI Impact and Policy Research Institute

By shakeel ahmad

Wondering what to write about?

Here are some topics to get you started

Share your details to download the report.









We promise not to spam or send irrelevant information.

Share your details to download the report.









We promise not to spam or send irrelevant information.

An ambassador and trained facilitator under Eco Femme (a social enterprise working towards menstrual health in south India), Sanjina is also an active member of the MHM Collective- India and Menstrual Health Alliance- India. She has conducted Menstrual Health sessions in multiple government schools adopted by Rotary District 3240 as part of their WinS project in rural Bengal. She has also delivered training of trainers on SRHR, gender, sexuality and Menstruation for Tomorrow’s Foundation, Vikramshila Education Resource Society, Nirdhan trust and Micro Finance, Tollygunj Women In Need, Paint It Red in Kolkata.

Now as an MH Fellow with YKA, she’s expanding her impressive scope of work further by launching a campaign to facilitate the process of ensuring better menstrual health and SRH services for women residing in correctional homes in West Bengal. The campaign will entail an independent study to take stalk of the present conditions of MHM in correctional homes across the state and use its findings to build public support and political will to take the necessary action.

Saurabh has been associated with YKA as a user and has consistently been writing on the issue MHM and its intersectionality with other issues in the society. Now as an MHM Fellow with YKA, he’s launched the Right to Period campaign, which aims to ensure proper execution of MHM guidelines in Delhi’s schools.

The long-term aim of the campaign is to develop an open culture where menstruation is not treated as a taboo. The campaign also seeks to hold the schools accountable for their responsibilities as an important component in the implementation of MHM policies by making adequate sanitation infrastructure and knowledge of MHM available in school premises.

Read more about his campaign.

Harshita is a psychologist and works to support people with mental health issues, particularly adolescents who are survivors of violence. Associated with the Azadi Foundation in UP, Harshita became an MHM Fellow with YKA, with the aim of promoting better menstrual health.

Her campaign #MeriMarzi aims to promote menstrual health and wellness, hygiene and facilities for female sex workers in UP. She says, “Knowledge about natural body processes is a very basic human right. And for individuals whose occupation is providing sexual services, it becomes even more important.”

Meri Marzi aims to ensure sensitised, non-discriminatory health workers for the needs of female sex workers in the Suraksha Clinics under the UPSACS (Uttar Pradesh State AIDS Control Society) program by creating more dialogues and garnering public support for the cause of sex workers’ menstrual rights. The campaign will also ensure interventions with sex workers to clear misconceptions around overall hygiene management to ensure that results flow both ways.

Read more about her campaign.

MH Fellow Sabna comes with significant experience working with a range of development issues. A co-founder of Project Sakhi Saheli, which aims to combat period poverty and break menstrual taboos, Sabna has, in the past, worked on the issue of menstruation in urban slums of Delhi with women and adolescent girls. She and her team also released MenstraBook, with menstrastories and organised Menstra Tlk in the Delhi School of Social Work to create more conversations on menstruation.

With YKA MHM Fellow Vineet, Sabna launched Menstratalk, a campaign that aims to put an end to period poverty and smash menstrual taboos in society. As a start, the campaign aims to begin conversations on menstrual health with five hundred adolescents and youth in Delhi through offline platforms, and through this community mobilise support to create Period Friendly Institutions out of educational institutes in the city.

Read more about her campaign. 

A student from Delhi School of Social work, Vineet is a part of Project Sakhi Saheli, an initiative by the students of Delhi school of Social Work to create awareness on Menstrual Health and combat Period Poverty. Along with MHM Action Fellow Sabna, Vineet launched Menstratalk, a campaign that aims to put an end to period poverty and smash menstrual taboos in society.

As a start, the campaign aims to begin conversations on menstrual health with five hundred adolescents and youth in Delhi through offline platforms, and through this community mobilise support to create Period Friendly Institutions out of educational institutes in the city.

Find out more about the campaign here.

A native of Bhagalpur district – Bihar, Shalini Jha believes in equal rights for all genders and wants to work for a gender-equal and just society. In the past she’s had a year-long association as a community leader with Haiyya: Organise for Action’s Health Over Stigma campaign. She’s pursuing a Master’s in Literature with Ambedkar University, Delhi and as an MHM Fellow with YKA, recently launched ‘Project अल्हड़ (Alharh)’.

She says, “Bihar is ranked the lowest in India’s SDG Index 2019 for India. Hygienic and comfortable menstruation is a basic human right and sustainable development cannot be ensured if menstruators are deprived of their basic rights.” Project अल्हड़ (Alharh) aims to create a robust sensitised community in Bhagalpur to collectively spread awareness, break the taboo, debunk myths and initiate fearless conversations around menstruation. The campaign aims to reach at least 6000 adolescent girls from government and private schools in Baghalpur district in 2020.

Read more about the campaign here.

A psychologist and co-founder of a mental health NGO called Customize Cognition, Ritika forayed into the space of menstrual health and hygiene, sexual and reproductive healthcare and rights and gender equality as an MHM Fellow with YKA. She says, “The experience of working on MHM/SRHR and gender equality has been an enriching and eye-opening experience. I have learned what’s beneath the surface of the issue, be it awareness, lack of resources or disregard for trans men, who also menstruate.”

The Transmen-ses campaign aims to tackle the issue of silence and disregard for trans men’s menstruation needs, by mobilising gender sensitive health professionals and gender neutral restrooms in Lucknow.

Read more about the campaign here.

A Computer Science engineer by education, Nitisha started her career in the corporate sector, before realising she wanted to work in the development and social justice space. Since then, she has worked with Teach For India and Care India and is from the founding batch of Indian School of Development Management (ISDM), a one of its kind organisation creating leaders for the development sector through its experiential learning post graduate program.

As a Youth Ki Awaaz Menstrual Health Fellow, Nitisha has started Let’s Talk Period, a campaign to mobilise young people to switch to sustainable period products. She says, “80 lakh women in Delhi use non-biodegradable sanitary products, generate 3000 tonnes of menstrual waste, that takes 500-800 years to decompose; which in turn contributes to the health issues of all menstruators, increased burden of waste management on the city and harmful living environment for all citizens.

Let’s Talk Period aims to change this by

Find out more about her campaign here.

Share your details to download the report.









We promise not to spam or send irrelevant information.

A former Assistant Secretary with the Ministry of Women and Child Development in West Bengal for three months, Lakshmi Bhavya has been championing the cause of menstrual hygiene in her district. By associating herself with the Lalana Campaign, a holistic menstrual hygiene awareness campaign which is conducted by the Anahat NGO, Lakshmi has been slowly breaking taboos when it comes to periods and menstrual hygiene.

A Gender Rights Activist working with the tribal and marginalized communities in india, Srilekha is a PhD scholar working on understanding body and sexuality among tribal girls, to fill the gaps in research around indigenous women and their stories. Srilekha has worked extensively at the grassroots level with community based organisations, through several advocacy initiatives around Gender, Mental Health, Menstrual Hygiene and Sexual and Reproductive Health Rights (SRHR) for the indigenous in Jharkhand, over the last 6 years.

Srilekha has also contributed to sustainable livelihood projects and legal aid programs for survivors of sex trafficking. She has been conducting research based programs on maternal health, mental health, gender based violence, sex and sexuality. Her interest lies in conducting workshops for young people on life skills, feminism, gender and sexuality, trauma, resilience and interpersonal relationships.

A Guwahati-based college student pursuing her Masters in Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Bidisha started the #BleedwithDignity campaign on the technology platform Change.org, demanding that the Government of Assam install
biodegradable sanitary pad vending machines in all government schools across the state. Her petition on Change.org has already gathered support from over 90000 people and continues to grow.

Bidisha was selected in Change.org’s flagship program ‘She Creates Change’ having run successful online advocacy
campaigns, which were widely recognised. Through the #BleedwithDignity campaign; she organised and celebrated World Menstrual Hygiene Day, 2019 in Guwahati, Assam by hosting a wall mural by collaborating with local organisations. The initiative was widely covered by national and local media, and the mural was later inaugurated by the event’s chief guest Commissioner of Guwahati Municipal Corporation (GMC) Debeswar Malakar, IAS.

Sign up for the Youth Ki Awaaz Prime Ministerial Brief below