Maharaja Sayajirao University
Maharaja Sayajirao University

India is home to a right-wing nationalist party advocating for Hinduvta, a word meaning “Hinduness”. Manifesting itself in many ways, this term has morphed in to a political ideology, which finds its roots in nationalistic tendencies, decolonization, and the advancement of Hindu interests. Hinduvta has found itself as a core ideology of the RSS, an organization which was founded in 1925. From this organization stemmed the idea for Nathuram Godse to assassinate Mohandas Gandhi, and the organization has continued on to be a right wing paramilitary faction in the country. India’s modern-day formation (independent in 1947), came at the sacrifice of 10 million displacements and 2 million dead.

Today, the legacy of the ideology is alive and well. India’s Prime Minister has capitalized on the uprising of the BJP, a nationalist party. The leadership of the BJP has created a stronghold on domestic education, politics and society especially in Western states. Class politics in Gujarat boils down to who is on control of the means of production, which is held by a very small portion of the population.

Ethno-religious divisions between classes after a series of riots in 2002 combat calls for violence and hatred with the free press. The obsession of Hindu parents to educate their children with marketable technical skills such as technology development has stifled the growth of creative and social sciences, referred to as a “…contempt for humanities and the arts”.

A specific case where this is prevalent took place in 2007. In that year, a student for Master of Fine Arts was protested by local lawmakers which claimed the students work was derogatory to Vishnu, Durga, and Jesus. This was considered to be a blood libel for both the student and the entire Faculty of the Arts at the college. The police arrested the student, charging him with “promoting enmity between different groups on grounds of religion”. In the following days, the school did not support the student nor did they make any attempts to bail him out of jail. After protests broke out in support of the student, the Dean was subsequently fired for not being able to prevent them from happening.

 

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