Lessons From the Past for the Future: The Definition and Mobilisation of Hindu Nationhood by the Hindu Nationalist Movement of India

Sammyh S. Khan, Ted Svensson, Yashpal A. Jogdand, James H. Liu

Abstract


Guided by a self-categorisation and social-identity framework of identity entrepreneurship (Reicher & Hopkins, 2001), and social representations theory of history (Liu & Hilton, 2005), this paper examines how the Hindu nationalist movement of India defines Hindu nationhood by embedding it in an essentialising historical narrative. The heart of the paper consists of a thematic analysis (Braun & Clarke, 2006) of the ideological manifestos of the Hindu nationalist movement in India, “Hindutva: Who is a Hindu?” (1928) and “We, or Our Nationhood Defined” (1939), written by two of its founding leaders – Vinayak Damodar Savarkar and Madhav Sadashiv Golwalkar, respectively. The texts constitute authoritative attempts to define Hindu nationhood that continue to guide the Hindu nationalist movement today. The derived themes and sub-themes indicate that the definition of Hindu nationhood largely was embedded in a narrative about its historical origins and trajectory, but also its future. More specifically, a ‘golden age’ was invoked to define the origins of Hindu nationhood, whereas a dark age in its historical trajectory was invoked to identify peoples considered to be enemies of Hindu nationhood, and thereby to legitimise their exclusion. Through its selective account of past events and its efforts to utilise this as a cohesive mobilising factor, the emergence and rise of the Hindu nationalist movement elucidate lessons that further our understanding of the rise of right-wing movements around the world today.

Keywords


India; Hindu nationalism; Indian independence; Hindu-Muslim relations; entrepreneurs of identity; social identity theory; self-categorisation theory; social representations theory

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https://doi.org/10.5964/jspp.v5i2.736

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Citations:

  • Sammyh S. Khan, Nicholas Garnett, Daniella Hult Khazaie, James H. Liu, Homero Gil de Zúñiga (2020)
    Opium of the people? National identification predicts well‐being over time
    British Journal of Psychology, 111(2), p. 200(ff.)
    https://doi.org/10.1111/bjop.12398
  • Joshua Uyheng, Cristina Jayme Montiel (2020)
    Cognitive polyphasia in a global south populist democracy: Mapping social representations of Duterte’s regime in the Philippines
    Journal of Social and Political Psychology, 8(1), p. 30(ff.)
    https://doi.org/10.5964/jspp.v8i1.1119
  • Damilola Makanju, Andrew G. Livingstone, Joseph Sweetman, Geoffrey Wetherell (2020)
    Testing the effect of historical representations on collective identity and action
    PLOS ONE, 15(4), p. e0231051(ff.)
    https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0231051
  • Joshua Uyheng, Gilana Kim T. Roxas, Martina Magpusao Herras (2020)
    Veiled apologetics and insurgent nostalgia: Sociogenesis of contested memories of the Marcos dictatorship
    Asian Journal of Social Psychology
    https://doi.org/10.1111/ajsp.12429
  • Catarina Kinnvall (2019)
    Populism, ontological insecurity and Hindutva: Modi and the masculinization of Indian politics
    Cambridge Review of International Affairs, 32(3), p. 283(ff.)
    https://doi.org/10.1080/09557571.2019.1588851
  • Sarah Jay, Anatolia Batruch, Jolanda Jetten, Craig McGarty, Orla T. Muldoon (2019)
    Economic inequality and the rise of far‐right populism: A social psychological analysis
    Journal of Community & Applied Social Psychology, 29(5), p. 418(ff.)
    https://doi.org/10.1002/casp.2409
  • Hema Preya Selvanathan, Brian Lickel, Jolanda Jetten (2020)
    Collective psychological ownership and the rise of reactionary counter‐movements defending the status quo
    British Journal of Social Psychology
    https://doi.org/10.1111/bjso.12418



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