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

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Unveiling Everyday Hindutva

Saffron Republic: Hindu Nationalism and State Power in India edited by Thomas Blom Hansen and Srirupa Roy, Cambridge University Press, 2022; pp Xii + 318, `1,295 (hardback).

The author thanks M S Visakh, Dayal Paleri and the anonymous reviewer of EPW for their constructive comments.

Hindu nationalism in India has received much attention from diverse scholars since the late 1980s. This edited volume focuses on capturing the features of the new Hindutva, specifically the avatar of Hindu nationalism after the victory of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) in the 2014 general elections. The victory of the BJP in the 2019 general elections, which gave a consecutive second term for the Narendra Modi-led government, has raised serious concerns over the majoritarian rule in India among various sections of the population. Previous studies on Hindutva were heavily engrossed with the mobilisation aspect of Hindu nationalism. However, recent scholarship has highlighted the limitations of prevailing explanations and the need for developing novel approaches to unpack the new avatar of Hindutva after 2014, variously understood as neo-Hindutva (Anderson and Longkumer 2018; Reddy 2018; Chatterji et al 2019; Narayan 2021). This volume, aptly titled Saffron Republic: Hindu Nationalism and State Power in India, makes an important contribution to this emerging scholarship on neo-Hindutva. Beginning with a fascinating introduction by the editors Thomas Blom Hansen and Srirupa Roy, this volume comprises 13 chapters organised around four themes, namely rule, articulation, inclusion, and violence. This book is part of a series titled Metamorphoses of the Political: Multidisciplinary Approaches, published by the Cambridge University Press with the M S MerianR Tagore International Centre of Advanced Studies, featuring insightful writings on neo-Hindutva by academicians, journalists, documentarists, activists, and independent researchers.

This review attempts to situate the volume in the context of the emerging literature on neo-Hindutva and examines how the concept of neo-Hindutva helps us to understand the contemporary transformations of Hindu nationalist politics as described in this volume. Without dwelling into individual chapters, I would like to cull out the concept of new Hindutva for the discussion.

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Published On : 20th Jan, 2024

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