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

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Temple as the Political Arena in Kerala

The left in Kerala faces a serious crisis when it encounters the cultural politics of the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh. It is a complex and unfolding situation demanding serious attention, and the familiar modes of analysis may not help much.

Currently, the temple-centred activities are major cultural enterprises in Kerala. There is no mistaking the boom in temple constructions, refurbishing and reviving of defunct temples, and also a renewed claim on the “public” that is staged across Kerala in recent years. How can we understand this phenomenon at a time of growing concern over the rise of Hindutva politics across India?

Much of the debates on Hindutva politics appear to start or end with the Narendra Modi government and its way of functioning. At the same time, the political intervention of the Sangh Parivar in the everyday cultural field does not receive equal attention. Temples in Kerala have been identified as a field of cultural politics by the Parivar. At the same time, the left and democratic forces have been compelled to intervene in temples as a response to Hindutva appropriation of temple culture. In short, temples have been developing as the political arena in contemporary Kerala.1 Yet, the existing temple culture too provides extensive opportunities to enlarge the ideological base of Hindutva politics.

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Updated On : 16th May, 2017
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