The Rise of Saffron Fascism

Intensification of Interlocking Oppressions in Modi’s India


  • Kritika Taparia University of Alberta


Fascism redux, or the development of far-right, ultranationalist rhetoric after World War II, is increasingly becoming a problematic and pervasive phenomenon across the globe. A unique form of fascism redux in India, known by some scholars as “saffron fascism”, was popularized during the rise of Hindu nationalist party Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and its leader, Narendra Modi. Importantly, the rise and maintenance of saffron fascism involves the amplification of interlocking oppressions in Indian society. This paper argues that precolonial-, colonial-, and neoliberal-era vulnerabilities and rationalizations continue to allow fascist ideas and policy to perpetuate gender-based violence, class and caste oppression, and Islamophobia against subalternized communities in India.

Top half is the painting The Examination of a Witch by T.H. Matteson. It depicts people, supposedly 1600s American colonists in Salem, in various states of uproar as they accuse the central figure, a young girl of witchcraft in a trial. The girl is holding her dress to her chest as her back is examined for signs of witchraft. In the upper left hand corner is SUSA, INVOKE VOLUME 8. Below the painting reads the title: Women in law Examining Women on different sides of justice, as well as additional topics of international fascism.