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Type: Journal article
Title: Marketising Hindutva: The state, society and markets in Hindu Nationalism
Author: Chacko, P.
Citation: Modern Asian Studies, 2019; 53(2):377-410
Publisher: Cambridge University Press (CUP)
Issue Date: 2019
ISSN: 1469-8099
Statement of
Priya Chacko
Abstract: The embrace of markets and globalization by radical political parties is often taken as reflecting and facilitating the moderation of their ideologies. This article considers the case of Hindu nationalism, or Hindutva, in India. It is argued that, rather than resulting in the moderation of Hindu nationalism, mainstream economic ideas are adopted and adapted by its proponents to further the Hindutva project. Hence, until the 1990s, the Hindu nationalist political party, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), its earlier incarnation, the Jana Sangh, and the grass-roots organization, the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS), adopted and adapted mainstream ideas by emphasizing the state as the protector of (Hindu) society against markets and as a tool of societal transformation for its Hindu nationalist support base. Since the 1990s, Indian bureaucratic and political elites, including in the BJP, have adopted a view of the market as the main driver of societal transformations. Under the leadership of Narendra Modi, in particular, the BJP has sought to consolidate a broader support base and stimulate economic growth and job creation by bolstering the corporate sector and recreating the middle and ‘neo-middle’ classes as ‘virtuous market citizens’ who view themselves as entrepreneurs and consumers but whose behaviour is regulated by the framework of Hindu nationalism. These policies, however, remain contested within the Hindu nationalist movement and in Indian society generally. The BJP’s discourse against ‘anti-nationals’ and the use of legal sanctions against dissent is an attempt to curb these challenges.
Rights: © CambridgeUniversity Press 2018
DOI: 10.1017/S0026749X17000051
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