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

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Religious Nationalism in India

Nation, Nationalism and the Public Sphere: Religious Politics in India edited by Avishek Ray and Ishita Banerjee-Dube, New Delhi: Sage, 2020;
pp viii + 265, 

Since 1947, as a number of scholars have argued, the history of modern India is about the triumph of secular nationalism (Khilnani 1997; Anderson 2012). In this narrative, religious nationalism was an aberration to the usual course of history. On the contrary, the recent emergence of religious nationalism in India, with the rise of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) in power, has raised several questions. If the history of the Indian nation state is about the triumph of secular nationalism, then why did the people vote the BJP to power, a party which supports the idea of a Hindu nation? Why did the scholars fail to understand the importance of religious nationalism in India?1 Several scholars are now intrigued by these questions. The collection of essays under review is a recent addition to this literature.

The focus of this collection is to ponder on the subject of religious nationa­lism in South Asia. Though there have been attempts to explore this subject, this collection is unique in its approach, as each essay explores a unique space— temples, gaushalas, travelogues, movies, news channels, etc—to understand how the idea of religious nationalism has unravelled within that space. The result is a rich tapestry on the subject of religious nationalism in the subcontinent. The collection compels us to think that not only is there a shift in the trajectory of nationalism in the subcontinent, but also that we are witnessing a paradigm shift in the assessment of religious nationalism itself.

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Updated On : 23rd Jan, 2023
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