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5 - The Double-Sidedness of Hindutva

Inside the BJP’s Think Tanks

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  09 May 2024

Anuradha Sajjanhar
Affiliation:
University of East Anglia
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Summary

Chapter 5 examines the BJP’s attempt to build centres of elite, traditional intellectuals to legitimise its identity politics. While dismantling advisory committees, quashing dissent, and attacking universities and established research institutions, the BJP has built think tanks to bring together stakeholders in government and civil society and give its political ideology a footprint in already established policy networks. Some scholars have characterised the BJP’s think tanks as institutions of ‘soft Hindutva’ (see Anderson 2015), that is, organisations that avoid overt association with the BJP and Hindu-nationalist linkages but pursue a diffuse Hindutva agenda nevertheless. Through an ethnographic study of the BJP’s two most prominent think tanks, this chapter demonstrates how manifestations of Hindutva can be both explicitly political and anti-political at the same time: advocating for political interventionism while eschewing politics and forging an apolitical route towards cultural transformation.

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Chapter
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The New Experts
Populist Elites and Technocratic Promises in Modi's India
, pp. 133 - 161
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Print publication year: 2024

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