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

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Reflections on 'Gujarat Pradesh' of 'Hindu Rashtra'

The economic relation between the adivasis and the Muslims in rural north Gujarat is of the kind that most radical analysts have deemed to be sufficient to justify a violent class struggle. And that is just how the VHP is likely to project it as in the coming days - an explanation for adivasi participation in the violence that could be quite embarrassing for radical analysts. It is time for radical analysts to give up simplistic assumptions and modes of analysis, not for the sake of the VHP, but for possible progress in human affairs.

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.

Caste, Hindutva and Hideousness

The Hindutva movement has made serious attempts to forge a unity among Hindus, without disturbing the relative power relations among the castes. The Sangh parivar, for all its rhetoric on upliftment of the dalits, hardly ever raises a voice against castebased discrimination or atrocities against dalits. This ambivalent attitude has led to considerable disenchantment and confusion among the dalits which is exacerbated during times of tension.

Durban and After

Having successfully brought up the debate of dalit emancipation at the international level, it is necessary now to firstly contextualise the movement in the rising tide of Hindutva and secondly, within the logic of economic liberalisation. For, the movement for dalit emancipation has arisen as a major political discourse at the same time that Hindutva and economic liberalisation have emerged on the Indian political stage.

The 'Vinayaka Chaturthi' Festival and Hindutva in Tamil Nadu

The increasing popularity of the Vinayaka festival in Tamil Nadu under the auspices of the Hindu Munnani is another example of the Sangh parivar's successful appropriation of localised, traditional Hindu rituals to create a wider 'Hindu unity'. Though internal divisions of caste and class remain, as does factionalism among different Hindu organisations in the state, the primary goal for the parivar in the utilisation of such rituals is to persuade all Hindus to become conscious of belonging to a single, majority 'community', rather than to initiate a campaign of social engineering to overcome caste divisions.

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