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

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The Colours of Politics

The good ol’ Bard said: “A rose by any other name would smell as sweet.” But for the good ol’ Saffron, these times are neither odorous nor politically pungent.

How come the word “saffron”—denoting one of the most delectable and expensive of spices—has been transmogrified into a term of harsh criticism and even abuse in current Indian political polemics, with the artificially derived or manufactured neologism, “saffronisation,” standing for the most regressive political thinking, and restrictive, backward-looking, revanchist politics with the strategic objective of diminishing the inclusive Indian nationhood?

And why, in the process of combating such reactionary policies and programmes, the democratic forces have virtually made a gift of the ownership of this noble spice—or at least the term that denotes the spice—to their political adversaries, who naturally are happy to accept the identification of the term and the vaunted symbols of the Indian nationhood with themselves, though, in actual fact, the colours associated with the votaries of Hindutva have little to do with the object—saffron—or even the colour associated with the word?

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