Article

Political Hinduism

Christophe Jaffrelot

in Hinduism

ISBN: 9780195399318
Published online January 2011 | | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/obo/9780195399318-0040
Political Hinduism

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Hindu nationalism is one of the oldest ideological streams in India. It took shape in the 1920s soon after the first Indian communist party and before the first Indian socialist party. In fact, it runs parallel to the dominant Indian political tradition, the Congress, which Gandhi transformed into a mass organization in the 1920s. Hindu nationalism then developed an alternative political culture to the dominant idiom in Indian politics. This came about partly because—in the wake of the discourse of Bal Gangadhar Tilak (b. 1856–d. 1920) and his apologia of a Hindu tradition of violent action—the Hindu nationalists rejected nonviolence as a legitimate and effective reaction against the British. The movement also rejected the Gandhian and the Nehruvian conceptions of the Indian nation. Mahatma Gandhi until the end insisted that he spoke on behalf of all communities and that the Congress represented them all. Jawaharlal Nehru, even before he became the first prime minister of India, looked at the Indian nation in a similar universalistic vein, considering that it was a collection of individuals who were equally entitled to citizenship rights. In contrast, the Hindu nationalist movement has evolved and cultivated an ethno-religious definition of the Indian nation.

Article.  8132 words. 

Subjects: Hinduism

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