Awakening Bharat Mata: The Political Beliefs of the Indian Right

December 4, 2020
Awakening Bharat Mata: The Political Beliefs of the Indian Right

The rise of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) was much more thanan ordinary electoral phenomenon: it brought to the fore twocontrasting views of nationhood: between those who saw modern Indiain terms of secular republicanism and on the other hand were thosewho sought to blend technological modernity with the country'sHindu inheritance. The Right's ascendancy and the debates thataccompanied it, anticipated many of the concerns that findreflection today in the United States and Europe.The phenomenon of Hindu nationalism was also a profoundintellectual challenge to the loose Left-liberal consensus that hadprevailed in India since Jawaharlal Nehru became Prime Minister in1947. The idea of Hindutva and the political character of the BJPhave been closely scrutinised by scholars, and the impulse has beento view India's Right-wing politics as either a variant of fascismor merely a collection of sectarian prejudices.In fact, the inspiration for the Right in India has come frommultiple and often contradictory sources, including the influenceof individuals such as Sarvarkar, Bankim Chandra Chatterjee, SwamiVivekananda and Sri Aurobindo, not to mention the Arya Samajmovement.This collection is an attempt to showcase the phenomenon ofHindu nationalism in terms of how it perceives itself. Many of theconcerns that drive the Indian Right are located in the country'snationalist culture. In trying to locate some of the ideas,attitudes and beliefs that define the Indian Right, AwakeningBharat Mata also seeks to identify the nature of Indianconservatism and identify its similarities and differences withpolitical thought in the West.This book is not about Hindu nationalism in power but as asocial and political movement and its aim is to encourage a moreinformed understanding of an idea that will remain relevant inIndian life far beyond victories and defeats in elections.