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Hindu Nationalism

8 Pages

Religious Studies
Course Code
Peter Beyer

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The role of colonial policies and structures  Christian Missions and Britsh Imperialism o Tried to convert people in India o Their roles were also to manage the religion o Instituted public structures  The public service and the colonial armed forces o Modernizing elite formed among the indigenous elite in India  British had a habit of thinking in racialist terms and would divide human beings in terms of race o Also tried to institute a legal system based on that of Britain  Regularly structured courts of law  Law that would be enforced in these courts, which weren't there yet  There were laws, but they weren't formed in a codified way.  Legal language is extremely precise; if it doesn't say exactly what you mean, then that's not what it means.  If it's not precise, then they are set on precedent  Most legal systems around the world are actually not set up this way  The Indian people were not used to it and found it to be a novelty.  India did not have a printing press or a railroad before British colonialism The Arya Samaj and mass Hinduism Has a couple of important characteristics  Founded by Dayananda Saraswati in 1875 who chose to name it the Society of the Aryans  Placed a lot of importance on the Vedas  Believes that castes should be an acquired status, and not something that a person is born into  Anglo-Vedic colleges: It is about Vedas, but the language involved is language. It is almost an extreme novelty.  An invented ritual: shuddhi o Not really something new o If you were a member of a high cast and did something that was polluting, you would undergo a purification ceremony o Used the idea of purification rituals and made them into something like conversion rituals.  But who will convert? You are either born Hindu or not  Many Hindu people fall off the right path and should be brought back  Targets are fellow south Asians who are Muslim, low caste Muslims and Sikhs  Believe that everyone in Southeast Asia is Hindu but they have just fallen off the path. (especially Muslims)  Believe any religion with roots in India are a branch of Hinduism, ie Sikhism, Jainism, and Buddhism  NOT Islam or Christianity  Conversion does not apply to anybody who isn't Indian  Arya Samaj never got to be that popular The development of competing communities  Christian Missions o Their role is to go around the world and make sure that people become Christian o What kind of effect do these have in India?  Mainly elicit a reaction- debates  Indians have to clearly define what their religious identity is in order to have a strong debate  Self-conception through contrast and comparison o Sikh identification; from the 16th century, Sikhs knew that they weren't Muslim and that they were also not Hindu. o The idea comes into play that the Hindus are a threatened majority. But how can the majority be threatened?  There are nationalism undertones. The way they are threatened is that they have any control over their own country.  Has never been clear where Hindu nationalism ends and where Indian nationalism begins; the distinction between Hindu and Indian isn't being carried out very clearly here. Indian nationalism, territory, and internal pluralities  British colonial boundaries: the accident of empire o British divided India internally into different states and territories o "princely states": the prince gets to stay in power, but he is operating for the British  Religions o Religious identities forming themselves much clearer than before  Linguistic differences o States in India divided by and named for the language that is spoken there  Caste differences o Certain names are associated with certain areas which are associated with specific castes  The cultural differences? o The range and variability in culture of the people in India who are supposed to be one nation are significantly more different than the cultural differences in all of Europe. The Congress Movement (Indian National Congress; founded in 1885)  Its social bases o Its goal is to make India one single nation o It includes both Hindus and Muslims and has never stuck to a single religion, and declares this o It is ruled, however by people in higher castes. It is not exclusive but it is dominant.  Its vision o India should be sovereign o All inclusive: not Hindu, Muslim, Jain, Sikh but all of these and more  The example of Mohandas Gandhi o Middle elite, educated in London, "religiously eclectic" o Developed ideals that he put into indigenous terms: swaraj, satygraha, brahmacharya (self-rule, non-violence, asceticism) o He is not just Hindu The Muslim League Was congress a Hindu movement in disguise? For many people, not, but for the Muslims yes.  Founded in 1906 by people who were former members of the congress movement  Why did they want their own movement? o For a long time, there was the idea that among everything, Muslim status had to be dealt with. o One of the questions is whether or not Muslims need their own state o Even if the country includes Muslims, if another religion is the majority then that majority will rule anyway. The Hindu Mahasabha Takes a different direction and says that it will be a Hindu rule  Has an explicitly Hindu nationalist vision o What it means to be Hindu isn't an explicit identity o Seeks not to use religion as a main identifier. Communalism  Means the opposite of secular.  Congress invented this word o Tries to include all the differences and tries not to identify the nation with just one subset.  It sort of means fundamentalism, etc but we need to understand this term to know what Indian politics is like.  Congress sees itself as secular- neutrality o Believes state identity is superior to any religious identity o Ie, charter of rights in Quebec- says when people wear ostentatious religious clothing in public institutions, it is violating the state neutrality.  Muslim league, Mahasaba, Akali movement all seen as communalism which is the wrong way to go  Seen as a contrary movement of what India should be. Indian Politics after the Nehru Era India Gandhi is the daughter of Nehru. Their family is a legacy. Family is important because Nehru had important personal influence in the first few years of Indian independence.  Indira Gandhi and the end of the congress system o Is not Nehru's direct successor. o 1966-1971 has consolidation of power under the congress system. o Weakness of the system is that it has the potential to be challenged by other political parties. o Tried to surround herself with her own political era (I am the unity of India, etc). Did this largely by centralizing power, and appealing to the poorer classes. Pursuit of a relatively planned economy  She plays the "Pakistan card"- in the wake of independence of India, and Pakistan, they have never had good relations. They had a series of wars.  Tried to orient the country as having Pakistan as a challenge and having to stand up to them. o Does religious come into play?  She tended to lean towards the Hindu nationalism way of doing things. She saw India as having a predominantly Hindu identity.  Tended to oppose the Sikhs in Punjab  The State of Emergency and the Janata Dal 1970s are a bad time. One of the reasons Gandhi can stay in power is because she doesn't have an opposition that is large enough to be able to take her power from her. o From 1971-1975  Corruption has become a very large problem  Powers get voted and afterwards, people from the opposition try to buy them off  Socialist program is successful but creates tensions for people who are not benefitting from it.  Social mobility: Many people living in rural areas although the cities are enormous.  The threat of Hindu nationalism  Congress is starting to be seen as a viable option o State of emergency 1975-1977  Congress system tries to keep itself as the national governing party  RSS: o 1977 elections- victory of the Janata Dal coalition  The opposition forms a coalition, runs in the 1977 election and wins.  Led by Morarji Desai, who is a former congress member. Becomes the prime minister of India due to the coalition victory.  First time in history when the Congress party has not been in power. In a different period in 1977 than before.  Janata Dal an unstable coalition and the government fell apart after 2 years. By 1980 there is another election, and the
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