ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

Marzia CasolariSubscribe to Marzia Casolari

Role of Benares in Constructing Political Hindu Identity

From the late 19th century onwards the development of a conscious Hindu political identity manifested itself in the emerging Indian polity. In Benares with a history marked since antiquity by an uninterrupted line of sacredness, the process was more fractured and conflict-ridden with memories of Hindu-Muslim conflicts that were a frequent occurrence after the mid-17th century. Growing economic cleavages and the available political and educational opportunities increasingly fostered divisions among communities that in turn assisted in the formation of a robust, aggressive Hindu identity. Since the late 1990s, however, it has been the vocal members of the Sangh parivar who have taken over the domain and definition of Hindutva.

Hindutva's Foreign Tie-up in the 1930s

To understand militant Hinduism, one must examine its domestic roots as well as foreign influence. In the 1930s Hindu nationalism borrowed from European fascism to transform 'different' people into 'enemies'. Leaders of militant Hinduism repeatedly expressed their admiration for authoritarian leaders such as Mussolini and Hitler and for the fascist model of society. This influence continues to the present day. This paper presents archival evidence on the would-be collaborators.
Back to Top