Hindu Mahasabha in Colonial North India, 1915-1930: Constructing Nation and History

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  • Edition: 1st
  • Format: Hardcover
  • Copyright: 2012-06-27
  • Publisher: Routledge

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This book examines the emergence of Hindu nationalism as a political ideology represented by the Hindu Mahasabha by exploring the campaign for Hindu unity and organisation #xE2;#xAC;#x1C; which was launched in the context of the growing Hindu-Muslim conflict in north India in the early twentieth century. It explains that the Mahasabha articulated Hindu nationalist ideology as a means of constructing a distinct Hindu political identity and unity among the Hindus in conflict with the Muslims in the country. The Mahasabha had its ideological focus on an anti-Muslim antagonism rather than the anti-British struggle for India#xE2;#xAC;"s independence, adding to the difficulties in the negotiations on Hindu-Muslim representation in the country. The Mahasabha showed its occasional alliances with the British, too. Bapu suggests that the Mahasabha had a limited class and regional base and was unable to generate much in the way of a mass movement of its own, but developed a quasi-military wing, besides its involvement in a number of popular campaigns -- cow protection, Nagari, etc. He argues that the Mahasabha rejected the Indian National Congress#xE2;#xAC;"s vision of a secular #xE2;#xAC;#xDC;territorial India nation#xE2;#xAC;" and instead advocated a #xE2;#xAC;#xDC;Hindu state#xE2;#xAC;" [Hindu rashtra] based on a Hindu majority rule by situating the Muslims outside the Indian nation.

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