Introductory Lecture – Accelerating Hindutva


The Mandal Commission riots in 1990 heralded an upper caste reaction against ‘reservations’ and onset of Hindutva that exploded into destruction of the Babri Masjid in Ayodhya, 1992. At a more subtle level, withdrawal of Ramanujan’s essay on mutiple Ramayanas in 2011 symbolised a creeping Hindutva takeover of educational curricula. The Everyday Life of Hindu Nationalism (Shubh Mathur 2008) charts the often violent ethnic cleansing of Muslim areas in Rajasthan by the RSS. When the Gujarat riots erupted in 2002 this was the culmination of a huge expansion of RSS influence that started with its foundation in 1925, and Savarkar’s promotion of Hindutva around the same time. More recent signs of authoritarian crushing of dissent are the Bhima Koregaon violence (2018) and arrests, and the anti-Citizenship Acts protests during 2019-20. The book I am a Troll (Chaturvedi 2016) gives insight into the populist politics that is marginalising dissent.

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