Haaretz: From Modi to Yogi: The Militant Monk Who Could Lead India to Full Hindu Theocracy
Inside the rise and rise of Yogi Adityanath, 49 year-old priest, chief minister of India’s most populous state, sexist superpatriot and demagogue for a Muslim-hating, Hindus First worldview even more fanatical than Modi
By Swati Chaturvedi
Yogi Adityanath, the diminutive 49 year-old saffron-clad fire-breathing monk and chief minister of Uttar Pradesh (India’s most populous and thus, electorally, its kingmaker state), head priest of the powerful Goraknath Mutt (a temple-monastery-shrine complex), part of India’s ruling Bharatiya Janata Party but boasting a famously frosty history with its elite, whose rampant, purist Hindu nationalism many believe exceeds even Modi’s, is up for re-election.
And if the BJP wins the crucial state elections that are just four months away, Yogi, who is universally addressed (according to his own request) as Maharaj (King) will be the front runner to be the heir and successor to Narendra Modi, the hardline Hindutva prime minister of India.
Yogi Adityanath is sui generis in the Hindu nationalist ecosystem, known as the Sangh, as unlike the Modi and other current BJP government ministers, he has no current connection to or background in the secretive and militant Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS), the mothership of the BJP and source of its Hindus First vision for India. The RSS has been banned multiple times, most notoriously for its involvement in Gandhi’s assassination. And yet Yogi is today a contender for the party’s top job.
So what explains the rise and rise of Yogi as the new Hindu Hriday Samrat (Emperor of Hindu Hearts), an obsequious piece of puffery over which, until recently, was Modi’s favored epithet? In two words: Muslim hate.