Ideology of Hindutva as It Developed and Its Present Praxis

Seminars and Colloquia

Veer Savarkar is revered by the Saffron Family as the prime proponent of Hindutva. But Savarkar, in the last phase of his life, articulated the following dream: “My India would be a democratic state in which people belonging to different religions, sects or races would be treated with perfect equality. No-one would be allowed to dominate others.”

The first Hindutvadi prime minister of India, Atal Bihari Vajpayee, followed his mentor and equated the Islamic mazar and the Christian church with a Hindu shrine. His successor, Narendra Modi, has also made deliberate efforts to reach out to Muslims and Christians. His abolition of the primitive teen talaq practice has endeared him to many Muslim women.

But the crucial question is, how should we evaluate this “conciliatory” venture? Has the doctrine of exclusionary and aggressive Hindutva really changed its colors? What do the actual practice and prevailing reality say?

Professor Subhoranjan Dasgupta will touch on two examples of recent communal carnage. First, the relentless persecution of the minority Kuki Christians by the Meitei Hindu majority in Manipur. And second, the unprovoked assault on foreign Muslim students by a militant Hindutva brigade in Ahmadabad, the capital of Gujarat. The former were performing namaz peacefully in the corridor of their hostel. 

Should we regard these two examples, only two among many, as the actual mirror of prevalent practice? Should we claim that the ideology of Hindutva has tried occasionally to amend itself but without attaining any tangible result?

Subhoranjan Dasgupta is a journalist, author, critic and professor at the Institute of Development Studies, Kolkata. His areas of expertise include Marxian and neo-Marxian aesthetics and the sociology of literature, as well as the Partition of Bengal. He is currently working on the book Theory and Practice of Hindutva, focusing on the time of its inception in the 1920s up to the present day.

Misha Glenny, Rector of the IWM, will moderate the colloquium discussion. 


Fellows Colloquia are internal events for the IWM Visiting Fellows and Guests.