Hindutva, Neoliberalism and the Reinventing of India
Abstract. The 2014 parliamentary election in India reduced Congress party to merely 44 seats in the lower house, big blow for a party whose history is integral the country’s founding narrative. In the last parliamentary election the Congress party polled only 19.3% of the votes declining from 28.6% in 2009, while on the other hand the main right wing party i.e. BJP won 282 parliamentary seats and 31% of the national votes. The extreme right-wing organisations have undoubtedly become the central pole of Indian politics. Moreover, its recent success in Uttar Pradesh provincial election, which is one of the most populated province with 215 million inhabitants, is the strongest evidence yet of the broader shift to the right and the BJP’s victory in UP state strengthens this shift. This paper intends to study the recent rise of extreme right-wing Hindu organisations in India. Most prominent among these organisations are RSS, BJP, VHP, Bajang Dal and Shiv Sena. However, all of them work together under the philosophy of Hindutva (i.e. Hindu-ness) and are rabidly anti-minority in their stance. The aim of this study is to highlight the recent rise in extreme right-wing Hindu organisations and to examine their ideas and philosophy regarding Indian history and culture. It is also useful to set this against a global context in which divisive and ultra-nationalist forces are on the rise within Europe and Donald Trump has assumed the US presidency. The study argues that the adoption of neoliberal economic policy in 1991 has increased GDP, but hardly any expansion in employment, which is known as ‘jobless growth’. The study also finds the far right encroachment into India’s liberal institutions and it seems that Indian polity is undergoing a historically unprecedented change with extreme-right to dominance into vast areas of ideology, economy and culture.
Keywords: India, Hindutva, Neo-liberalism, Secularism and minorities.
JEL. N30, N35, N40.
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