Praveen Swami (born 1969) is an Indian journalist and author specialising on international strategic and security issues.
- In 2008, Hindutva leader B.L. Sharma 'Prem' held a secret meeting with key members of a terrorist group responsible for a nationwide bombing campaign targeting Muslims. [...] Last week, Anders Behring Breivik, armed with assault weapons and an improvised explosive device fabricated from the chemicals he used to fertilize the farm that had made him a millionaire in his mid-20s, set out to put Norway on fire. Even though a spatial universe separated the blonde, blue-eyed Mr. Breivik from the saffron-clad neo-Sikh Mr. Sharma, their ideas rested on much the same intellectual firmament. In much media reportage, Mr. Breivik has been characterised as a deranged loner: a Muslim-hating Christian fanatic whose ideas and actions placed him outside of society. Nothing could be further from the truth. Mr. Breivik's mode of praxis was, in fact, entirely consistent with the periodic acts of mass violence European fascists have carried out since World War II. More important, Mr. Breivik's ideas, like those of Mr. Sharma, were firmly rooted in mainstream right-wing discourse.
- Europe's fascist parties have little electoral muscle today but reports suggest that a substantial renaissance is under way. The resurgence is linked to a larger political crisis. In 1995, commentator Ignacio Ramonet argued that the collapse of the Soviet Union had provoked a crisis for Europe's great parties of the right, as for its left. The right's failure to provide coherent answers to the crisis of identity provoked by a globalising world, and its support for a new economic order which engendered mass unemployment and growing income disparities, empowered neo-fascism. [...] Europe's mainstream right-wing leadership rapidly appropriated key elements of the fascist platform, and successfully whittled away at their electoral success: but ultimately failed to address the issues Mr. Ramonet had flagged. Now, many are turning to new splinter groups, and online mobilisation. Mr. Brevik's comments on the website Document.no provide real insight into the frustration of the right's rank and file.
- Mr. Breivik, his writings suggest, would have been reluctant to describe himself as a fascist — a common feature of European far-right discourse. [...] These ideas, it is important to note, were echoes of ideas in mainstream European neo-conservatism.
- Mr. Brevik's grievance, like Mr. Sharma's, was that these politicians were unwilling to act on their words — and that the people he claimed to love for cared too little to rebel.
- For India, there are several important lessons. Like's Europe's mainstream right-wing parties, the BJP has condemned the terrorism of the right — but not the thought system which drives it. Its refusal to engage in serious introspection, or even to unequivocally condemn Hindutva violence, has been nothing short of disgraceful. Liberal parties, including the Congress, have been equally evasive in their critique of both Hindutva and Islamist terrorism. Besieged as India is by multiple fundamentalisms, in the throes of a social crisis that runs far deeper than in Europe, with institutions far weaker, it must reflect carefully on Mr. Brevik's story — or run real risks to its survival.