Gilbert Sebastian is an assistant professor at the Central University of Kerala. He is also the Secretary of the Central University of Kerala Teachers Association, (CUKTA) Kasaragod. A Post Doctoral fellow from Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU), Sebastian teaches in the Department of International Relations and Politics. A purported audio clip of one of his lectures on Fascism and Nazism in which he continuously spewed venom against Hindus, Swastika, Hindutva, RSS, BJP and other Hindu organisations went viral on social media.
OpIndia got access to the audio of half of his lecture and the slideshows that he allegedly used during the lecture. Sebastian claimed that across the world, ‘Right Wing’ governments were coming into power and called it “Right-Wing resurgence in the world”.
Right-Wing comes to power because of middle and business class
In his lecture, Sebastian claimed that to come to power, Right Wing uses lucrative promises. He gave the example of the great depression of the 1930s during which Benito Mussolini in Italy and Adolf Hitler in Nazi Germany came to power. He claimed these Right Wing political parties promised jobs, better income and infrastructure to come to power. Not only the middle-class but the corporate world also helped them to win the elections.
Sebastian claimed that the same tactics were used by the Bharatiya Janata Party to win the elections in India. He claimed BJP won the elections on the pretext of jobs and infrastructure, but they have done nothing since they came in power.
Interestingly, Sebastian completely ignored the fact that since the Modi-led BJP government came into power in 2014, India has progressed in several sectors. Distributing electricity connections, gas connections, homes, DBT for different government schemes, soil health cards, multiple AIIMS, improved road infrastructure, Swachh Bharat Abhiyan and several other schemes have helped India to improve its position in terms of infrastructure. Blinded with the hate for BJP, Sebastian continued to mislead his students.
BJP does appeasement to attract Dalits and working-class – claimed Sebastian
Sebastian claimed in Kerala and other South Indian states, as people are educated, they do not support BJP. Mainly Dalits and the working class do not trust BJP, he added. However, nowadays, some Dalits and the working-class are supporting the party, but that is because of the political appeasement BJP does. According to him, Dalits can be lured to vote for BJP by appeasement.
A similar statement was made by a TMC leader recently. On April 10, TMC leader Sujata Mondal Khan had labelled Dalits as ‘beggars by nature and claimed that they sold themselves to the BJP. She said, “There is a saying that some are beggars by nature while others are beggars by circumstance. The Scheduled Castes here are beggars by nature.”
The fake information on Hindu Holy Symbol Swastika
During his lecture, when Sebastian talked about the Nazi’s Hakenkreuz, he referred it to as Swastika and tried to make it look like that both the symbols are the same. When he mentioned Hakenkreuz as Swastika at the very beginning of the lecture, he asked the students if they know where else this symbol is used. For a few seconds, no one spoke up. He again asked them if they are aware of who uses the symbol. One of the students said that it is used in temples, but he did not take the name of any religion.
Irked by the fact that no one was ready to say anything on the blunt misleading comparison, he again forced the students to speak up. One of the students spoke up, but he was not audible. Then he asked the student to write it in the comment section on Zoom. The student said the Swastika symbol represents Kali or Shakti, whom he referred to as the ‘Black Female Goddess’.
There are two aspects of this part of his lectures that are incorrect. First of all, Hakenkreuz is NOT Swastika. It is the hooked cross. There was no reason for a Catholic party to adopt a sign from Hinduism. The second aspect is what Swastika represents.
Contrary to what Sebastian taught in his lecture, Swatika comprises of ‘su’ meaning ”good” and ‘asti’ meaning ”to be”. In other words, well-being. It dates back some 6,000 years to rock and cave paintings. Scholars generally agree it originated in India.
It has also meant a symbol of good luck, prosperity and all things auspicious for other ancient cultures, including the Vikings and Greeks, besides Hindus, Buddhists and Jains. It finds mentions in the Vedas as well. It symbolises many things like Surya (the sun) and Brahma, the creator. It is seen as a power symbol and is also the emblem of Ganesha, the god of good luck. In both Hinduism and Jainism, the Swastika is used to mark the opening pages of account books, doors and thresholds.
‘RSS is the ‘Brows Shirts’ of India’ – said Sebastian
He further said that, unlike other political formations, fascism uses semi-autonomous civil society groups as militant outfits. For example, the Blackshirts in Italy and the Brown Shirts in Germany. He proceeded and put the RSS & VHP in India in the same category. He also claimed that RSS was inspired by Adolf Hitler and subtly compared the brown shirts of Nazis with RSS’s attire.
‘Hindu parties have militant outfits’
Sebastian said Rashtriya Swayam Sevak Sangh (RSS) is the mother of all Hindu parties in India. BJP is the political outfit of RSS. He did not stop there and claimed that Vishwa Hindu Parishad and Bajrang Dal are militant groups of RSS. He further alleged that the Hindu NRIs sitting abroad send money for VHP and Bajrang Dal to create unrest in the country.
He claimed that BJP is only at the front of RSS. Many autonomous Hindu bodies in India allegedly do the dirty work for RSS. He added that Congress itself is the main organisation. But in RSS, there are a lot of autonomous bodies that work under the main organisation.
Then came the most bizarre statement. He claimed that as BJP is only the political front, someday, RSS will announce that there will be no elections in the country and will abolish BJP. “They might do that. I am serious. They might do that,” he said. He claimed that as the autonomous bodies under RSS do the dirty work, the organisation is able to present itself with a clean image.
He also blamed Bajrang Dal for the 2002 riots in Gujarat. Sebastian conveniently ignored the fact that the riots in 2002 were not initiated by any Hindu organisation. They happened in the aftermath of the Godhra train burning incident in which 59 innocent Kar Sewaks were burnt alive by a large Muslim mob.
North Indian Hindus are the root cause of atrocities against women in India
Sebastian claimed that the Hindus living in North India are the root cause of atrocities against women in India. He gave the example of the Nirbhaya case. He said one of the main accused was regular with his daily ‘pooja path’. In the documentary, India’s daughter, that accused claimed that the answer to women like Nirbhaya is rape. “But he used to do pooja path. What kind of hypocrisy was that?” he added.
During his lecture, he kept spewing venom against India, BJP, RSS, Hindus and other Hindu organisations. He spread misinformation about Swastika and Hindus. He tried to paint Hindus as criminals, uneducated, ill-informed and rioters. As OpIndia only got hold of half of his lecture, it is not known what he had said in the remaining lecture.