Book Review: Republic of Hindutva by Badri Narayan

When we discuss Indian scholars who are actually seminal research at the grass root level, Badri Narayan Sir for me comes right at the top. In a way this work of his carries forward from his earlier work, “Fascinating Hindutva: Saffron politics and Dalit mobilization”.

The book has 6 chapters which deal with the following issues;

Chapter 1 provides an overview of the RSS and a short description of its functioning. It also provides an insight into how the RSS tries to identify as well as fulfill the aspirations/desires of the most marginalized castes in the country.

Chapter 2 provides an insight into how the marginal groups like Dalits, tribals and even minorities are being coopted into the Hindutva fold, and how the RSS carries its mobilization campaigns amongst them.

Chapter 3 deals with the changing nature of polarization in Indian electoral politics and as to why RSS today does not find exacerbation of communal tensions and communal riots in its interest.

Chapter 4 and 5 deal with the role that RSS plays in electoral politics of India and its relationship with the BJP during elections, especially in the last 2 Lok Sabha elections.

Chapter 6 deals with the challenges that the RSS is likely to face going forward and how they are likely to resolve them.

For me the most important chapter in the book was the epilogue which highlighted the changes that the outbreak of Chinese virus has created in the society. The creation of a ‘bio public’ which has started valuing biological safety over all other entrenched social considerations provides in my view, both an opportunity as well as a challenge for Hindutva.

A good and very easy read, written in a pretty lucid style.

(PS: If you have been following the Hindutva movement for long, you will find the book great, but will not find much you don’t already know)

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