Hindu Nationalist Movement & Indian Politics
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Hindu Nationalist Movement & Indian Politics

Author: Christopher Jaffrelot

Although the peaceful, inward-looking doctrine of the Hindu religion hardly seems to lend itself to endemic nationalism, a phenomenal surge of militant Hinduism has taken place over the last ten years in India. Indeed, the electoral success of the Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has proven beyond doubt that these forces now pose a significant threat to India's secular character. In a historically rich, detailed account of the Hindu nationalist movement in India since the 1920s, Christopher Jaffrelot explores how rapid changes in the political, social, and economic climate have made India fertile soil for the growth of the primary arm of Hindu nationalism, a paramilitary-style group known as the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS), together with its political offshoots. He shows how the Hindu movement uses religion to enter the political sphere, and argues that the ideology they speak for has less to do with Hindu philosophy than with ethnic nationalism The Hindu Nationalist Movement and Indian Politics makes a major contribution to the study of the genesis and development of religious nationalism, and is essential reading for anyone who seeks to comprehend the spread of endemic conflict.

Book Reviews

Perhaps the most important contribution to the study of Hindu nationalism.'— Business Standard.

'This is the most systematic study I have seen on the topic of Hindu nationalism, a movement that has grown rapidly over the past decade and now poses a challenge to India's secular government.'— Walter Andersen, author of The Brotherhood in Saffron.

'The Hindu Nationalist Movement and Indian Politics is painstakingly researched and gracefully written.'— Amrita Basu, Amherst College

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Published by

Penguin Books India


14 Oct 2000





Book Format





Indian Subcontinent only







Price (Rs.)


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