Hindutva 2.0 is in crisis (The Hindu)
Mains Paper 2: Society
Prelims level: Hindutva
Mains level: Secularism, regionalism and communalism
- The idea that the construction of a controversial temple at the site of a
demolished mosque can lead to the formation of capital in the country could be
intriguing for the uninitiated.
- For the proponents of Hindutva, however, this notion is integral to their idea
of development and progress.
- The proposition is that an aggressive assertion of the collective Hindu
identity is an essential precondition for India’s development.
- This is a point that pro-market supporters of Prime Minister Narendra Modi
self-deceptively overlooked ahead of the 2014 Lok Sabha elections, though he
himself had made his position clear.
- Asked whether he was “pro-business” or a “Hindu nationalist,” he said in 2013:
“There’s no contradiction between the two. It’s one and the same image.”
- This has been a core component of Hindutva thought for decades, it was Mr.
Modi’s reign in Gujarat that made it acceptable, and popular.
- If enough people still thought Mr. Modi’s 2014 campaign was jettisoning
Hindutva for development, it was convenient for him.
- Hindutva politics over the years had suffered from three inherent
contradictions that stunted its growth: friction between pro-market segments and
Hindu traditionalists in the Indian right wing; contradictory requirements of
the centralised, disciplinarian, ideologically rigid core of the RSS and
building a mass mobilisation through a political wing; and consolidating a Hindu
vote bank among a people hierarchically and oppressively divided by the caste
- That is Hindutva 2.0 where material progress is married to a religious social
agenda; disciplined organisation and mass mobilisation are balanced; and the
lower rungs in the caste hierarchy are enlisted as part of an omnibus Hindu
identity in which they are offered social acceptance and political
- All these factors that worked in Mr. Modi’s favour are now unravelling, and
Hindutva 2.0 is in crisis.
- Enrolment of a critical mass of Dalits and backward caste populations into the
Hindutva politics that is widely perceived as a project for the nourishment of
upper caste dominance was Hindutva 2.0’s second success.
- Mr. Modi presented himself as a lower caste leader and sought to appropriate
Dalit and backward caste figures ranging from B.R. Ambedkar, Sree Narayana Guru
to Ayyankali and even Mata Amritanandamayi into his politics.
- The idea of Hindutva is based on the premise that there is a collective
interest for the community common to all caste groups.
- Given the social, economic, linguistic, cultural diversities within Hindus, a
common thread that could unite them all is the image of a common enemy. Cow
protection has been the convenient tool here.
- While Hindutva 2.0 offered a lot of rousing rhetoric for Dalits and backwards
as quoted above, it also demonstrated an unprecedented hostility towards
autonomous lower caste mobilisations.
- Brazenly partisan police action and the continuing police oppression of Dalit
groups which organised protests, such as at Bhima Koregaon in January 2018, are
signs of this intolerance of lower caste mobilisation against the Hindu right.
The BJP governments in power also emboldened sections of the upper castes to
seek to recapture the space lost to lower caste politics in earlier years.
- The iron grip of the RSS on the BJP, and the former’s search for ideological
purity have not only contributed to constant friction between the two, but
historically also limited the electoral successes of Hindutva.
- The RSS did not entirely trust Atal Bihari Vajpayee, who was often accused of
being a closet Nehruvian, the more ideologically pure BJP leaders did not have
any significant mass appeal.
- With Mr. Modi at the helm, Hindutva 2.0 overcame this dilemma, combining mass
appeal and uncompromising Hindutva credentials in his persona.
- The synergy between the RSS and the BJP has never been stronger than its is
today. But this disciplined march towards the goal of a Hindu Rashtra under the
command of a ‘strong leader’ has created a new friction within.
- BJP legislators, Ministers and leaders who feel suffocated and powerless,
despite being technically part of the ruling dispensation, now have a limited
stake in Mr. Modi’s continuation in power.
- A large number of sitting members of the Lok Sabha are likely to be denied
tickets in 2019, if Mr. Modi continues on the ‘Gujarat model’ for beating
Q.1) What does Section 124A of Indian Penal Code deal with?
(a) Atrocity against women
(c) Crime for demanding dowry
(d) Atrocity against SC/ST
Q.1) Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s winning formula of 2014 is under severe
stress; can he refresh it?