Chapter

• Militant Hinduism

John Stratton Hawley and Vasudha Narayanan

in The Life of Hinduism

Published by University of California Press

Published in print December 2006 | ISBN: 9780520249134
Published online May 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780520940079 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1525/california/9780520249134.003.0018
• Militant Hinduism

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In regard to the question of militancy versus tolerance, this chapter reports on a trip the author made to Ayodhya in early 1993, a month after Hindu militants destroyed the mosque that had been built there by a lieutenant of the Mughal emperor Babar in 1528. A symbol of Muslim hegemony in India's past, the Babri Mosque had emerged in the 1980s as a central feature of the rhetoric of hindutva (“Hindu-ness”) that was spread by India's principal right-wing organizations. One of these is the Bharatiya Janata Party, which, until the elections of spring 2004, had led India's ruling political coalition. On the whole, the need to build a ruling coalition took precedence over the need to build Rama's temple. Yet as events in Gujarat and Maharashtra have shown, anti-Muslim Hindu militancy backed by the BJP and its associate organizations is far from dead.

Keywords: Ayodhya; Hindu militants; Rama's temple; anti-Muslim militancy; BJP

Chapter.  3508 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Hinduism

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