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Fascinating Hindutva

Fascinating Hindutva
Saffron Politics and Dalit Mobilisation

First Edition
  • Badri Narayan - Govind Ballabh Pant Social Science Institute, Allahabad

January 2009 | 216 pages | SAGE India
In the present socio-political scenario of India, Dalits have emerged as a major force in the electoral arena and politically mobilising them has almost become a compulsion for all political parties.

Fascinating Hindutva: Saffron Politics and Dalit Mobilisation is a deconstruction of the fascinating tactics used by the Hindutva forces to politically mobilise Dalits. Based on original empirical data from extensive field work in UP and Bihar, the book documents how the Hindutva forces are adept at digging out the myths, memories and legends of Dalit castes that are popular at the local level and reinterpreting them in a Hinduised way. They project the heroes of these myths and popular folk narratives either as brave Indian warriors who protected the Hindu religion and culture from the Muslim invaders of the medieval period, or as reincarnations of Lord Rama, so as to link the myths of these Dalit castes with the unified Hindu meta-narrative. The author has also tried to deconstruct the making of the ‘popular’ in the North Indian rural society and investigate the communal elements induced in it.

Interestingly, the author argues that this reinterpretation of the past serves as a powerful cultural capital for the Dalit communities, who use it, on the one hand, to seek acceptance from the upper caste Hindus by glorifying their caste position and, on the other, to subvert the dominance of the upper castes.

The book will interest a wide readership including students, academicians and researchers in the fields of History, Political Science, Anthropology and South Asian Studies, as well as political activists.
Introduction: Pastness and Politics
Saffron Imagining of the Local: A Communal Map of an Indian Village
Exploring Dalit Militia: Local Cultures and Communal Politics
Making of a Warring Hero: Hindutva Politics of Memory and Forgetting
Creating Popular Politics: Caste Histories and BJP's Electoral Discourse
Legend War: Mapping the Political Mobilisation of the Nishads
The Politics of Cultural Resources: The Mushahars of North India
Saffronisation of a Dalit Hero: The Story of Salhes of North Bihar
The Path Traversed and the Way Ahead

This easily accessible book is highly recommended reading for those wishing to understand the changing lines of politics in India. It offers rich insight into the myths and traditions of Dalits and is particularly useful for readers interested in the instrumental use by the BJP of cultural memories.

South Asia Research

Written in an extremely accessible style is the need of the hour and fills an often felt vaccum to understand the wider dynamics of attempter Dalit co-option by the Sangh Parivar.

South Asian History and Culture

This is a fascinating study of the strategies and tactics being used by Hindutva forces for mobilising the Dalits around its political agenda…. These volumes should be of interest to scholars in the field of social history, cultural studies and tribal and Dalit affairs

The Tribune

The author has successfully demonstrated the recreation and reinterpretation of local myths and legends by Hindutva forces to fit into the overall political ideology of the party…. Overall, it is an honest book written with good intentions.

Sociological Bulletin

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ISBN: 9788178299068

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