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Hindu Nationalism: A Reader

Christophe Jaffrelot (Editor)

In India and beyond, Hindu nationalism came into the headlines in the 1990s, when the Ayodhya movement-to build a temple in place of a mosque-gained momentum.  This was when the Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) came to power.  This stream of Indian politics is, however, considerably older: in fact older than the left, the Congress, and any others.  The first part of this reader, comprising the writings of both famous and unknown ideologues, shows that some of the nineteenth-century Hindu socio-religious reformers, such as Dayananda (founder of the Arya Samaj), prepared the ground for Hindu nationalism by positing a Vedic Golden Age.  On this foundation, leaders of the Hindu Mahasabha and the Rashtriya Swayamsewak Sangh (RSS) elaborated their vision of Hindu India in the twentieth century.  Now, V.D. Savarkar viewed the Muslim as the perfect ?Other?, a figure to be stigmatized and emulated with fascinating ambivalence.  A full-fledged ethno-religious concept, Hindutva, came into being, a notion that mentors of the Jana Sangh and the BJP-such as Deendayal Upadhyaya-refined subsequently by adding Gandhian nuances as well as more exclusivist overtones.  The second part of the reader outlines every major political issue on which the Hindu nationalist movement has taken a distinct position.  These include: how to participate in party politics without diluting the core cultural doctrine; how to cope with conversions by catering more to class needs; how to promote Hindi without atienating South India; how to fight reservations without losing the other Background Classes vote; how to criticize secularism without seeming communal; how to reform education and the economy; how to recuperate Kashmir; and how to make the Hindu diaspora replicate the original ideology beyond India?s boundaries.  In brief, this reader is indispensable for anyone who wishes to understand contemporary Indian politics, society, culture, and history.

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About the author

Christophe Jaffrelot

Dr. Christophe Jaffrelot is Research Director at the CNRS (Centre National de la Recherch Scientifique) and teaches South Asian politics and history at Science Po (Paris). From 2000 to 2008, he was Director of CERI (Centre d’Etudes et de Recherches Internationales) at Sciences Po. Dr Jaffrelot’s publications include The Hindu Nationalist Movement and Indian Politics, 1925 to the 1990s (1996 and 1999), India’s Silent Revolution: The Rise of the Lower Castes in North India (2003), and Dr Ambedkar and Untouchability: Analysing and Fighting Caste (2005). He has also edited Pakistan: Natinalism without a Nation: (2002), and co-edited, with P.Van der Veer, Patterns of Middle Class Consumption in China and India (2008) as well as, with L Gayer, Militias of South Asia (2010).

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Bibliographic information

Title Hindu Nationalism: A Reader
Format Hardcover
Date published: 09.01.2007
Edition 1st ed.
Publisher Permanent Black
Language: English
isbn 9788178241609
length xiii+391p.