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5 Things you learn about Hindu Nationalism from ‘Awakening Bharat Mata’

The inspiration for the right in India has come from multiple and, often, contradictory sources. The proprietorship of Hindutva does not, for instance, belong to Veer Savarkar, although his contribution is seminal. The Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) too deserves serious attention, not merely for the influence it exercises on the BJP leadership, but for its approach to the larger question of national regeneration. Equally important is the influence of individuals such as Bankimchandra Chattopadhyay, Swami Vivekananda and Sri Aurobindo, not to mention the Arya Samaj movement.

In Awakening Bharat Mata, Swapan Dasgupta, BJP Rajya Sabha MP, brings an erudite insider account of the phenomenon of Hindu nationalism. Here are some points he brings forth:

  1. So intense was Nehru’s distaste for what he used to call the ‘RSS mentality’ that he even subordinated the challenge posed by the communist parties to the more pressing battle against ‘Hindu right-wing communalism’

  2. During the Jayaprakash Narayan–led movement (1973–75) against Indira Gandhi’s government and the patchy struggle against the Emergency (1975–77), a host of non-Congress parties, including Lohia-ite socialists, Gandhians, free-market liberals, and even a section of the communist movement, were willing to rub shoulders with the ‘Hindu right’.

  3. Under the Modi dispensation, when the BJP commands an absolute majority in the Lok Sabha and controls more state governments than ever before, the attacks against right-wing subversion have become sharper and to the point where the term ‘fascism’ is bandied about continually.

  4. Vajpayee, writing in 1973, he described the Jana Sangh a ‘centrist party’ that ‘has been subjected to attacks from both the extreme right as well as the extreme Left.

  5. Hindu nationalism was equated with fascism in Europe in the 1930s and a distinguished American professor of law, in an unexpected foray into Indian politics, described the BJP-led coalition government of Vajpayee as ‘increasingly controlled by right-wing Hindu

Swapan Dasgupta’s Awakening Bharat Mata is a collection that attempts to showcase the phenomenon of Hindu nationalism in terms of how it perceives itself. AVAILABLE NOW.

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