Modi has been affiliated with the (Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh) RSS as a pracharaksince 1972, drawing inspiration from the Sangh Parivar’s agenda for a Hindu state in India. The history of the Sangh Parivar is interwoven with complex politics. In response to British colonization, the Sangh’s agenda was to build a strong Hindu nation through physical and military training and construction of a fundamental Hindu identity that asserts higher-caste cultural values. It was a political strategy for free-India where upper-caste and -class Hindus could accumulate and maintain social and cultural power and privilege over religious minorities (especially Muslims and Christians) and lower caste and adivasi people. This political strategy and ideology of the Sangh was formulated in the early decades of the 1900s, motivated by Nazi and fascistic ideologies, and German and Italian programs for ethnic cleansing toward nation building. The ideological and paramilitary training in Germany and Italy in the 1920s and 1930s inspired early Hindu nationalist leaders such as Vinayak Damodar Sarvarkar and Balkrishna Shivram Moonje. Madhav Sadashiv Golwalkar, one of the early ideologues of the RSS, expressed his admiration for Nazi agendas very clearly in 1938: “To keep up the purity of the nation and its culture, Germany shocked the world by her purging the country of the Semitic races — the Jews. National pride at its highest has been manifested here.” He continued: “The non-Hindu people in Hindustan must either adopt the Hindu culture and language, must learn to respect and revere Hindu religion, must entertain no idea but the glorification of the Hindu nation… in one word, they must cease to be foreigners 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.
Modi, as the Chief Minister of Gujarat, incorporated the teachings of the Sangh in his governance of Gujarat. According to a Times of India article, entitled: “In Modi’s Gujarat, Hitler is a textbook hero,” tenth grade school texts: “present[s] a frighteningly uncritical picture of Fascism and Nazism. The strong national pride that both these phenomena generated, the efficiency in the bureaucracy and the administration and other ‘achievements’ are detailed, but the exterminations of Jews and atrocities against trade unionists, migrant laborers, and any section of people who did not fit into Mussolini or Hitler’s definition of rightful citizen do not find mention.”Another strategy deployed by Hindu nationalists in Gujarat is to acquire popular support for Hindutva through social, developmental, charitable and cultural work. Sangh members often show up in various villages building schools, constructing wells, and organizing religious functions. They are also usually among the first to arrive at the site of a natural disaster, offering relief and rehabilitation aid. The Sangh utilizes such opportunities to mobilize local communities, including women, adivasis and dalits, for its cadres, involving them in Sangh campaigns against religious minorities. The participation of Sangh-affiliated, women, of Hinduized, adivasi and dalit communities in the assault on Muslims in Gujarat in 2002 exemplifies this pattern.