ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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Counter-narratives to Hindutva Claims

Beyond the Eurocentrism–Indigenism Binary

Two discourses—non-indigenist critiques of Eurocentrism and Dalit–Bahujan–Adivasi narratives—that fracture “Hinduism” are put in conversation with each other here. This engagement produces a complex field of thought and practice that simultaneously rejects both Euro-normality and Brahminical patriarchy.

For some time now, we have been faced with repeated claims from the Hindu right that they are correcting the Eurocentrism of secular discourse that has failed to recognise and celebrate “Indian” genius. Some of their ideologues call for “decolonising the Indian mind” (Sinha 2017), but this understanding of decolonisation is always a simplistic counterposition of the “West” with “India,” in which both left and secular ideas count as emanating from the West, and Hindutva is presented as the only legitimate Indian perspective. This is a characteristic Hindutva position, which de-historicises “India” into a timeless “Hindu” formation extending back over millennia and homogenises “the West,” even when it is continuously being driven by the anxiety to be recognised and validated by this very West.

Apart from the well-known challenges to this project from left-wing, secular and feminist politics, with which we are all familiar, this article draws attention to two other discourses that challenge the common sense being produced by Hindutva. The first counter-narrative comes from a position that has for long been critical of Eurocentrism, but not from a Hindutva perspective that homogenises both “Europe” and “India.” Rather, it comes from a perspective that recognises the complex interplay of historical exchanges that have shaped both of these, and by implication strongly contests Hindutva claims to a pure Hindu past.

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Updated On : 20th Sep, 2019

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