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The Saffron Wave: Democracy and Hindu Nationalism in Modern India
     

The Saffron Wave: Democracy and Hindu Nationalism in Modern India

by Thomas Blom Hansen, Princeton Univ Pr
 

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ISBN-10: 0691006717

ISBN-13: 9780691006710

Pub. Date: 03/23/1999

Publisher: Princeton University Press

The rise of strong nationalist and religious movements in postcolonial and newly democratic countries alarms many Western observers. In The Saffron Wave, Thomas Hansen turns our attention to recent events in the world's largest democracy, India. Here he analyzes Indian receptivity to the right-wing Hindu nationalist party and its political wing, the

Overview

The rise of strong nationalist and religious movements in postcolonial and newly democratic countries alarms many Western observers. In The Saffron Wave, Thomas Hansen turns our attention to recent events in the world's largest democracy, India. Here he analyzes Indian receptivity to the right-wing Hindu nationalist party and its political wing, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), which claims to create a polity based on "ancient" Hindu culture. Rather than interpreting Hindu nationalism as a mainly religious phenomenon, or a strictly political movement, Hansen places the BJP within the context of the larger transformations of democratic governance in India.

Hansen demonstrates that democratic transformation has enabled such developments as political mobilization among the lower castes and civil protections for religious minorities. Against this backdrop, the Hindu nationalist movement has successfully articulated the anxieties and desires of the large and amorphous Indian middle class. A form of conservative populism, the movement has attracted not only privileged groups fearing encroachment on their dominant positions but also "plebeian" and impoverished groups seeking recognition around a majoritarian rhetoric of cultural pride, order, and national strength. Combining political theory, ethnographic material, and sensitivity to colonial and postcolonial history, The Saffron Wave offers fresh insights into Indian politics and, by focusing on the links between democracy and ethnic majoritarianism, advances our understanding of democracy in the postcolonial world.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780691006710
Publisher:
Princeton University Press
Publication date:
03/23/1999
Pages:
328
Product dimensions:
6.10(w) x 9.20(h) x 0.90(d)

Table of Contents


Introduction. Hindu Nationalism and Democracy in India 3
Hindu Nationalism and Postcolonial Trajectories of Democracy 5
Hindu Nationalism and the Imaginings of India 10
About This Book 14
1. Modernity, Nation, and Democracy in India 16
The Democratic Revolution 20
Social Antagonisms and Politics 22
Discourse and the Analysis of Politics 24
Governance and Nationalism in Colonial India 29
Colonial Governmentalities 31
India as a Cultural Nation 39
Competing Nationalist Discourses 44
Producing Citizens and Communities in Independent India 46
Conclusion 57
2. Imagining the Hindu Nation 60
Ideology and the Impossibility of Identities 60
Objectification of Communities 65
Inversion of Orientalist Epistemology 67
Semitization of Hinduism 71
From Hindu Community to "Hindu Nation" 74
Hindutva and the "Lack" in the Hindus 77
The Nation as Fullness and Purity: M. S. Golwalkar 80
In the Gandhian Garb: Deendayal Upadhyaya and "Integral Humanism" 84
Constructing the "Founding Myth" 86
Conclusion: Hindu Nationalism and Democratic Revolution 88
3. Organizing the Hindu Nation 90
Culture versus Politics 92
The Sangh Parivar 96
Sevikas in Thane City 99
Hindu Missionaries at the Frontier 104
Cohesion, Leadership, and Control in the Sangh Parivar 107
Constituencies and Strategies of the Sangh Parivar 115
The "Sangha" Citadel in Pune 116
Lower Castes for a Higher Cause 122
The Sangh Parivar in the Political Field 133 Ambiguities of Politics 126
4. Democracy, Populism, and Governance in India in the 1980s 134
Populism and the Transformation of Governance 134
Competing Populisms 140
The Rise of the Other Backward Classes as a Political Identity 141
Caste and the Impurities of Politics 145
Religious Symbols in the Political Field 148
Muslim Minoritization 150
A Hegemonial Crisis 152
5. The Saffron Wave 154
Toward a National Hinduism 154
BJP as a New Beginning 157
Communalizing the Political Field 159
Patriotic Bricks 161
Contingencies of Electoral Politics 165
Opening Other Fronts 168
Roadside Patriotism 169
Ayodhya and Organized Communalism 172
The Demolition of Babri Masjid and After 181
The Disjunction of Agitational and Electoral0 Politics 185
Hindutva and Respectability 188
Political Imaginaries in Suburbia 191
After the Wave 197
6. Communal Identities at the Heart of the Nation 200
The Normal and the Pathological 200
Violence and Communal Consciousness 203
Communal Subjects and Political Action 214
7. Hindu Nationalism, Democracy, and Globalization 218
Hindu Nationalism and Governance 219
Hindu Nationalism and Democracy 223
Hindu Nationalism and Globalization 229
Democracy and Xenophobias in India 235
Notes 239
Glossary 269
Bibliography 273
Index 289

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