The ‘Bulli Bai’ app suspected offenders were arrested by the Mumbai police on January 4. The two people who were detained, Shweta Singh, 18, and Vishal Jha, 21, are symptoms of a more serious illness. It is a new form of fanatical alt-right majoritarian radicalization. They are not isolated incidents of young people gone wrong. The same as the IIT student who threatened to rape Virat Kohli’s daughter. These people are the result of a radical environment that is motivated by the rhetoric of a “Hindu Rashtra.” But is wary of the official propagandists of Hindutva due to their “pragmatism” and alleged “softness” towards Muslims and Dalits. These people are call Trads.
What is “Trads vs Raitas”?
The hazardous alt-right online environment known as “trad-wing” has drawn a sizable number of young men and women in India over the past few years. Here, they act as self-styled “civilizational warriors.” Other right-wingers are labelled “raitas” by traditionalists as being too liberal. Unlike the trads, the raitas are said to believe in a Hindu nationalism that is more symbolic than religious. Their name is a play on the term “raita failana,” or to botch up. Further, it comes from the phonetic pronunciation of right-wing.
Contrarily, traditionalists uphold a restricted form of religious primacy that leaves little room for bending the law to suit political expediency. They view raitas as moderates who don’t differ significantly from liberals and leftists.
After the post-election violence in Bengal and after PM Modi gave in to farmer protests and abolished the contentious farm regulations, the divisions between these two Hindutva subcultures became apparent. The trads savagely criticised him for what they claim was his moderate answer, while the raitas praised his pragmatism.
This alt-right movement’s organic and self-sustaining nature sets it apart from the network of coordinated hate crimes. People are willingly joining this movement out of a sense of community, regardless of what they may stand to gain or lose. In that regard, it might be seen of as an online army of people who are fervently supportive of the cause and who express their political commitment through twisted comedy.
Despite the lack of formal structural structure, these venues function as a subculture, creating a visual language that is both novel yet relies on a long history of divisive imagery.
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