Category : Book Review
Author : Iman Fathima
Anustup Basu’s Hindutva as Political Monotheism presents its significance beyond Bharatiya Janata Party, right-wing governance or Islamophobia and is relevant across various fields of inquiry into majoritarianism in democracies, both locally and globally. However, there is one aspect that I think could warrant inclusion in this monograph: the histories of southern and northeastern India’s variants of Hindutva, and the repeated cultivation of its ideology despite failures and civil unrest, especially in states like Assam and Tamil Nadu.

The book does an excellent job of tracing its origins but when discussing Hindutva’s present and future, it would be remiss not to include those regions whose resistance to Hindutva has contributed to its reshaping over the past decades. Hindutva 2.0 cannot merely be the product of North Indian socio political characteristics but also involves unique geographical histories, politics, economies, and cultural literary moments. A deeper analysis of Hindutva’s reach in regions beyond its bastion, like Uttar Pradesh or Maharashtra, is required to contribute to our evolving conceptualization of Hindutva and where it is headed. Trends of Islamophobia are also dependent on such contexts, therefore it is equally important to consider the ramifications of Hindutva’s political jealousy toward Abrahamic faiths in the subcontinent, its borrowing of their theological compendia toward unconstitutional political ends such as the recent issue of implementing the National Register of Citizen that aimed to eliminate “foreigners” from India while promising to offer asylum to Hindu refugees.

At the risk of being pessimistic, there seems to be no obstruction in Hindutva machines, and its growth today will not be threatened even if their political parties suffer electoral losses. Their proliferation can be attributed to the robust civil society organizations like the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh and the greater Sangh Parivar’s activities, which is only briefly addressed in specifics in Hindutva as Political Monotheism.


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