Title

“A Victory for Secular India”? Hindu Nationalism in the 2004 Election

Abstract

At least since the last decade of the 20th century, there has been strong scholarly interest in a perceived global wave of religious nationalism. Critical to that movement was the most important recent development in Indian politics, the rise of the Hindu right. Commentators lamented a fundamental change in the Indian body politic, the demise of India's celebrated secularism. However, others predicted that the Hindu nationalists would be forced to move to the center to gain votes, jettisoning much of their peculiar ideology in the process. The 2004 national parliamentary election was a crucial test of these contending interpretations. Would the Bharatiya Janata Party rely on its established arsenal of communally controversial issues? Would it emphasize themes designed to appeal to a broader audience? Analyzing reports published in national newspapers and news magazines, I will reach the surprising conclusion that the answer to both of these questions is yes.

Department(s)

Religious Studies

Document Type

Article

DOI

https://doi.org/10.1017/s1755048310000520

Publication Date

2010

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