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

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The Nationalism of Pseudo-Science

Hindutva's political success always seems inversely proportional to the development of science and reason.

The Sangh Parivar’s project of cultural nationalism in India has always rested on the premise of a revival of the “glorious ancient Hindu past” of the country. This envisages a “modern” India which is based on the identity and symbolism of Hindu nationalism. That is why, despite the Parivar’s political wing positioning itself as an agent of “development and economic growth”, these core beliefs continue to be expressed and asserted repeatedly.

The remarks by Prime Minister Narendra Modi at the inauguration of a hospital in Mumbai in late October claiming a scientific pedigree and historical veracity for mythological references were followed by a rash of statements by his party colleagues and ministers in the same vein. The prime minister had claimed in Mumbai that modern medical achievements – plastic surgery, cloning and in vitro fertilisation – were all practised in India’s ancient past. In Parliament, when some of his colleagues were questioned about these remarks by the opposition, they were stoutly defended and further claims such as Indian astrology trumped all sciences, that India had nuclear bombs and planes in ancient times, etc, were made! Earlier, in his speech to the United Nations General Assembly, Modi had suggested that climate change can be mitigated by the practice of yoga.

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