Return of the Swastika

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Return of the Swastika is a book by Koenraad Elst.

Foreword Note from the Editor

  • I. The "Fascist" BJP: A Reality Check
  • II. Mahatma Gandhi’s Letters to Hitler
  • III. Hinduism, Environmentalism and the Nazi Bogey
  • IV. The Eternal Return of Nazi Nonsense
  • V. The Religion of the Nazis
  • VI. Disowning Golwalkar’s We
  • VII. Islam and Immigration in Europe
  • VIII. Return of the Swastika
  • Elst: "Return of the Swastika (Voice of India 2006): The author takes up some further issues raised by the “RSS = Nazi” slander campaign, such as the common but wholly mendacious claim that Narendra Modi had the history textbooks in Gujarat whitewash Hitler’s record. He analyzes various exaggerations and pure myths pertaining to the Nazi connections to Hinduism. Developing the Golwalkar argument further, he also criticizes the RSS policy of falsely omitting We from Golwalkar’s “Complete” Works. Following an oft-repeated pattern, two leading secularists criticized in this book, Meera Nanda and Sanjay Subramaniam, have struck back with campaigns of slander, since they found themselves unable to reply on contents."


  • Gandhi was gravely mistaken in thinking that you can make the enemy disarm by first disarming yourself. Yet, he was right in setting his sights on peace. Being prepared for war was the right tactic, but its target should have been a bloodless crisis management, not war. Strength should be mustered not to make but to avoid war, the source of many evils.
  • Then again, if the company people keep is to decide whether they are politically respectable, then the Nouvelle Droite stands exonerated. The lengthy attention in articles, and subsequently the invitation to contribute, which Alain de Benoist received from the American liberal periodical Telos, would not have been possible if the top-class intellectuals on the Telos editorial board had smelled a Nazi there. The membership list of the patronage committee of the periodical Nouvelle Ecole includes many top-ranking intellectuals including a virtual who’s who of Indo-European studies. Many of the professors in this field clearly don’t see the New Right as a continuation of the worst possible misuse of their field of scholarship, viz. the Nazi distortion of the “Aryan” heritage.
    • The religion of the Nazis, 2006
  • My own reasons for rejecting the Nouvelle Droite after initial sympathy in the early 1990s were mainly the following: (1) a specific instance of papering over the nasty collaborationist aspects of the careers of two Belgian writers in Nouvelle Droite articles about them, exposed in a reader’s letter; not being very knowledgeable about that part of our history, I felt cheated; (2) the lack of scholarly seriousness among its second-rank writers and their palpable subjection of method to eagerly held beliefs, esp. on topics like Pagan and Indo-European history; (3) my suspicions against the rather pompous use of obsolete terminology (e.g. why describe a hoped-for confederal democratic unity for Europe as an “Empire”, after the model of the Holy Roman Empire, when “confederacy” would do the semantic job less ambiguously?) as arguably an implicit admission of nostalgia for premodern social relations; (4) my nagging suspicion that its critique of egalitarianism in the name of “differentialism” could at heart simply be a plea against equality in favour of inequality, Old-Right style; (5) its sympathy for Islam, one element which it does indeed have in common with Hitler and Himmler and the authors discussed by Poewe, and strange for alleged neo-Pagans given that Mohammed’s career consisted in the extermination of Paganism from Arabia; (6) its lack of a credible philosophical or religious backbone, compensated for with restless explorations of Pagan mythologies and frivolous exercises in aimless erudition or contrarious rhetoric (the annual conference in Paris is called Journée de la Pensée Rebelle, “day of rebellious thought”, a sign of prolonged adolescence), which struck me by its contrast with the solid philosophical and religious grounding of modern Hindu thinkers whom I had read, such as Sri Aurobindo, or whom I knew in person, particularly Ram Swarup and Sita Ram Goel; and finally (7) my scepsis vis-à-vis its central theme of “identity”. .... Wisely or unwisely, I have not taken my scepticism to be a reason for any active hostility to the Nouvelle Droite people, some of whom I count as friends. This is a Christian trait: Jesus spent time with sinners, and I have always been an opponent of boycotting people. Time permitting, I accept invitations from that side, so that I spoke at their conference in Antwerp in 2000, if only as a stand-in for an announced speaker who had cancelled at the last minute for health reasons (Pim Fortuyn, no less, the Dutch liberal sociology professor who criticized Islam, subsequently went into politics, and ended up murdered by a leftist). In the Nouvelle Ecole issue of the same year, I had a little joust with Prof. Jean Haudry about the Aryan invasion theory, a thesis defended in the past by colonialists and Nazis, and now by European rightists and Indian leftists. As a privileged witness, I would consider it a reassuring fact that the Nouvelle Droite clearly doesn’t mind giving a hearing to people it disagrees with. That in itself is a commendable counterpoint to the prevalent leaden atmosphere of la pensée unique, i.e. of the single imposed opinion.
    • The religion of the Nazis, 2006
  • In Hindu scriptures, the Chakravartin is described as a suzerain who receives tribute from subject rulers, but who respects the autonomy (swarajya) and local customs (swadharma) of his subject nations. Is that what Hitler did? The Buddhist ideal of the Chakravartin was emperor Ashoka, who had his regrets about his initial military conquest (needed to round off his predecessors’ conquests upto India’s natural borders, easy to defend) chiselled in stone pillars. He explicitly dropped the ambition of further military conquest and opted for “religious conquest” (Dharma-Vijaya) instead. And lest anyone start misquoting this, the meaning of “religious conquest” is not something like Jihad, Islamic war against the Infidels, but simply promoting morality and sending out Buddhist missionaries. Far from illustrating that Buddhism had its imperialists too, as the Trimondis present it, the story of Ashoka is one of pacifism.
    • The religion of the Nazis, 2006
  • And then it gets really bad: "Indian government funded in part the work of ISKCON (Hare Krishna) in re-forestation of Vrindavan. Department of environment is supporting temples to maintain sacred groves. Ecological aspects of Sanatana dharma have been included in the school text books of at least one state, UP." Let's put this in perspective. Most relevant secularist school textbooks, not only in UP, contain the highly disputable claim that Islam stands for "social equality", but we are asked to feel scandalized that a similar claim is made for Hinduism and ecology. Christian and Muslim denominational schools which receive state funding under Art. 30 of the Constitution (unlike Hindu denominational schools, which are excluded from this provision for not being "minority institutions"), mix their educational task with not just the exercise but also the propagation of religion. Yet the secularists never express any objection to this massive nationwide intrusion of religion into education at vast taxpayers' expense, not even when one of them is inflaming her audience against the participation of Hindu organizations in state-funded environmental policies.
  • If half the length of the paragraph about a conference of traditional religious leaders in Mumbai is actually about "Nazi and neo-Nazi groups" (this even though most of the participants belonged to peoples who have suffered under the white racism championed by Hitler and hence were most unlikely to support neo-Nazism), it is likewise quite fair and appropriate to question the author's motives. ...The claim about a non-monotheistic international may be embryonically correct, though it partly stems from a projection by Marxist circles of their own working-style onto other movements. ... If so, we should wish this effort at cultural decolonization all the best. ...Nothing evil has been decided or planned there, unless Ms. Nanda wants us to believe that the rejection of Christian proselytism (i.e. the planned destruction of religious traditions through the conversions of their practitioners) is somehow evil. ... Those elders could have told Ms. Nanda a thing or two about the destructive role of the Bible-toting and Doomsday-predicting and Pagan-slandering missionaries in their respective societies. ...It remains a scandal that men of such merit are smeared with insinuations of Nazi links. And it will not do to plead that the explicit slander sentence: "The Elders are Nazis", is missing. (Ch 3)