ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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Theorising Hindutva

Gujarat, Cradle and Harbinger of Identity Politics: India’s Injurious Frame of Communalism by Jan Breman and Ghanshyam Shah, New Delhi: Tulika Books, 2022; pp 388, `1,200.

There are at least four crucial features of this book Gujarat, Cradle and Harbinger of Identity Politics: India’s Injurious Frame of Communalism that make it int­ellectually relevant for any systematic exploration of Hindutva politics. First of all, it offers us a historical perspective to unpack the political economy of Hindutva in the specific context of ­Gujarat. The formation of Hindu Gujarati identity during colonial period is treated as a point of departure to examine the subsequent Hindu radicalisation. The authors, however, do not exaggerate the impact of colonial knowledge politics. This openness helps them to map out the specificities of postcolonial political trajectories and experiences.

Second, this engaging story of Gujarat politics is not told entirely as a region-specific phenomenon. The authors carefully trace the linkages between the changing landscape of national politics and the peculiarities of the state-level political configurations. The impacts of national events such as the Emergency (1975–77) and liberalisation of economy (1991) are contextualised in relation to the changing patterns of party politics in Gujarat. At the same time, the national manifestations of the Gujarat-specific political phenomenon are given adequate attention. The rise of Narendra Modi and his much-talked-about Gujarat model is a good example in this regard. The authors make a convincing argument that Gujarat’s Hindutva experiment has been actually nationalised in the post-2014 period.

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Updated On : 19th Sep, 2022
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