Threats To Indian Democracy Essay

3298 words - 13 pages

I. Introduction

This paper examines the extent to which the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) in collusion with Sangh Parivar constituents Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) and Vishwa Hindu Parishwas (VHP) have sought to undermine secular India through subversive measures in implementing Hindu nationalistic programs to secure political power. The BJP remains the sole political party out of these named factions, yet through the historical and cultural power of the RSS and widespread religious influence of the VHP, the entire movement of the Sangh Parivar has been able to garner a stronghold in the country's political arena through corrupt anti-Muslim rhetoric and discursive measures to initiate Hindu communalism. This aim at communalism is the driving force behind the popularity and strength of the party's livelihood.

By enforcing VD Sarkvakar's philosophy of Hindutva through rashthras, yatras, ashrams, centers for Hindu education, and scholarship programs for tribals, the Sangh Parivar through their "holding" parties and affiliates, specifically the VHP in this context, have continually enforced religious solidarity as a method of gaining political capital. This political capital has been utilized for the benefit of the BJP, in mobilizing the rising middle class and using their status as potential and profitable voting blocks.

The aim, as put by one organizer, is to "galvanize Hindu society by consolidating its soft and vulnerable flanks."(Hansen 103). Thus, this idea of Hindutva usurps religious and moral foundations of Hinduism for the conversion of the religion's tenets and appeal into political currency. The RSS and VHP, in aims of bolstering BJP viability, have sought to translate religious ideals into the ideals of nationhood. Religious identity, hence, equals national identity and minority groups become casualties in the process (almost literally with respect to rioting and active communal violence). India's Muslim minority has been perpetually marginalized at the expense of the BJP's methods of obtaining political power. I will delve further into this point in discussing the Ram Shila pujan and how this event strengthened BJP status while simultaneously engendering heightened Hindutva sentiment.

Essentially, Hinduism and Hindu rhetoric, as seen by Sangh Parivar, has nothing to do with religion and everything to do with consolidating India's populous into units of power in accordance with their univocal framework. VD Sarvarkar himself wrote in his book Hindutva that `Hindutva is not identical with what is vaguely indicated by the term Hinduism (Noorani 8). Hindutva derives much of its rhetoric from demonizing the Muslim "other" as the violent, lustful, rage prone aggressor and juxtaposes this myth with euphemistic Hindu femininity, while also supposing that Hinduism, at its core, is inclusive and egalitarian because it hasn't been indoctrinated like western monotheistic religions. This rhetoric serves to foster a...

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