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The Hindu nationalist movement in India
 9780231103350, 0231103352

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The most

exhaustive book on Hindu nationalism

A

scholarly tour de force.

NEW YORK REVIEW OF BOOKS

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CHRISTOPHE JAFFRELOT

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THE HINDU NATIONALIST MOVEMENT ^ ft J* J~lol* IN INDIA /J* A A ,.

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CHRISTOPHE JAFFRELOT

The

Hindu Nationalist

Movement

in India

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313$m'ERSTRlET «AHF7U*C7SCO,CA 94108

Columbia University Press New York

Columbia University Press New York First

published as Les nationalistes hindous by

Presses de

la

Fondation Nationale des Sciences Politiques (© 1993) © C. Hurst & Co. (Publishers) Ltd., 1996

English translation and updating All rights reserved

Typeset by Print Line, New Delhi Printed in India by Thomson Press (India) Ltd

Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data Jaffrelot, Christophe.

[Nationalistes hindous.

The Hindu

nationalist

English]

movement

in India/

Christophe Jaffrelot.

cm.

p.

Includes bibliographical references and index.

ISBN 0-231-10334-4 1.

India

politics





Politics

India.

I.

paper)

—20th

century.

2.

Hinduism and

Title.

DS480.45.J29813 324.254'082 dc20



(alk.

and government

1996

95-12330

CIP

C

10

987654321

For Matthieu

ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS 1

is based on the second part of my Ph.D. thesis which was written in 1987-91 under the guidance of Jean Leca, whose help was especially useful in shaping the theoretical framework of the study, and of Bruce Graham,

This book

to

whom I largely owe my quest for accuracy in addition to much information. The

present edition draws from a French book

considerably amended, enlarged and updated.

English-reading public,

among whom

2

which has been

I tried to

are a greater

adapt

it

for the

number of people

familiar with India than there are in France. Secondly, the French version

has been brought up to date, which led me to add a fifth part. Besides my attempt at constructing a model of Hindu nationalist strategies,

one specific feature of this book

is

the concern

it

shows

for the

my fieldwork in Madhya Pradesh (central India). I thank Jean-Luc Chambard, the Diwan family and Mr relations between the national and local levels based on

N. Rajan as well as the successive directors of the Alliance Franc.aise in Bhopal Alain Passagne, Vincent Despagnet and Roger Thevenot for their help while I was conducting research in that state between 1988 and 1995. This work benefited from the assistance of Chandra Ranade in the I conducted in Delhi and Madhya Pradesh and from the advice of Dr Naheed Ahmad, Alice Thorner and Lorraine Kennedy. Most of my trips to India in connection with this work have been supported financially by the Centre d'Etudes et de Recherches Internationales (Fondation Nationale des Sciences Politiques) whose then director, Jean-Luc Domenach, has always been most helpful. The active work of translation was a co-operative effort, in which Christopher Hurst Hurst and Michael Dwyer, the directors of the originating publisher,

transcription of the Hindi interviews

C

& Co., played a vital part. Naturally the book's shortcomings are mine alone. Finally, this

my 1

'Des national istes en quete d'une nation. Les partis nationalistes hi.idous au siecle',

2

book would not have been possible without the support of

wife, Christine.

Ph.D. thesis,

Institut

XXeme

d'Etudes Politiques, Paris, 1991.

Les nationalistes hindous - Ideologie, implantation et mobilisation des annees 1 920 aux annees 1990, Paris: Presses de la Fondation Nationale des Sciences Politiques, 1993. vii

31

CONTENTS

Acknowledgements

page

Abbreviations

vii

xviii

Glossary

xx

INTRODUCTION Part

1.

I.

1

THREE HINDU NATIONALIST STRATEGIES

STIGMATISING AND EMULATING THREATENING OTHERS' - THE FORMATION OF HINDU NATIONALISM The genesis of Hindu nationalism The A rya Samaj and 'A rya nationalism

1

12 '

1

The Hindu Sangathan movement: stereotypes of and the Hindu inferiority complex

the

Muslim 19

Savarkar and Hindutva ethnic nationalism

25

The RSS:

33 35 35

a Hindu nationalist sect

The sectarian crucible of the Hindu nation - An ideological akhara - The world- renouncer as an activist

40

RSS Brahminism and its social contradictions An ideology of the ethnic nation rather than of the race

50 53 55 58 62

or the state

German sources of Golwalkar' s

45

ideology

A

special kind of racism The primacy of social organism The organisation above men

shakha network The northward expansion and the pracharaks modus

Priority given to the expansion of the

64

'

66

operandi ix

61

Contents

x

Explaining the RSS's relative attractiveness in the 1940s

68 72 75

The RSS and the Hindu Mahasabha A North India movement 2.

THE STRATEGY OF ETHNO-RELIGIOUS MOBILISATION AND THE POLITICS OF SECULARISM The

political context after

80

1947

81

Nehru's secularist struggle

The

first

Hindu

83

attempt to exploit the issue of

traditionalists

Ayodhya

and Hindu nationalists join together

91 in

defence of the Hindus of East Pakistan

Nehru and

the

Hindu

Secularism as a legitimate norm of the Indian political system

1

107

further marginalisation of the

Hindu Mahasabha

extremist party in

Madhya Bharat

A SPECIFIC PARTY-BUILDING STRATEGY: THE JANA SANGH AND THE RSS NETWORK The RSS and

its

109

1

14

115

politics

The birth of the Jana Sangh First the part, then the whole

The RSS and

02

107

The Hindu Mahasabha

1 1 1

affiliates

Minimal public involvement: the

19

1

23 23

1

25

1

The Jana Sangh, replica and auxiliary of the RSS The complementarity of the RSS and its affiliates party's organisational

129

priority

The Jana Sangh 's Sanghathanist party- building pattern The case of Madhya Pradesh

-Mandsaur - Ujjain -WestNimar

1

3

132 138 141

144

A counter-model of party-building

1

49

TOWARDS STRATEGIES OF MODERATION?

1

58

Adjusting to the political context

159

Part

II.

OSCILLATION AND HYBRIDISATION IN

4.

98

The

An

3.

96

traditionalists

THE

1960s

'

1

'

Contents

xi

The dual constraints of the 'Congress system - The Hindu traditionalists and state politics - Nehru and the politics of secularism The Jana Sangh 's opposition to public ownership of the economy - The desire for decentralisation - The Jana Sangh as spokesman for

1

59 60

1

65

1

69 69 172 1

1

'the

middle world'

From dogmatism

to pragmatism? The origins of integration with the legitimate opposition The 'cluster technique a party -building pattern borrowing from both Sangathanism and the aggregative method

1

78 80

1

83

1

93

1

',

5.

THE MIXED STRATEGY: HINDU MOBILISATION AND ELECTORAL ALLIANCES The Vishwa Hindu

Parishad: the strategy of stigmatisation/

emulation and the religious network

194

Pracharaks and 'modern gurus The VHP, a consistory for Hinduism?

196

The

1

94

strategy of ethno-religious mobilisation under a double

202 204 208 209 210

constraint

The cow protection movement The firm secularism of the Centre The cow protection movement in Madhya Pradesh The unreliability of religious leaders Electoral progress and increased reliance on notables

213

and princes Electoral alliances and coalition governments

Part

6.

III.

221

THE CONTRADICTIONS OF THE

1970s

LOCAL CADRES AND POPULISM The main

division within the Jana

Sangh

230 is

not vertical but

23

horizontal

The influence of the Sangathanist network

in

shaping

party strategy

The choice between traditionalist integration and Sangathanist populism The primacy of the organisation over individuals

The

central

government's fight against communalism

23

233 236 238

4 9 5

'

Contents

xii

The patriotic and populist roles of the Jana Sangh:

problem

the

of outdoing the Congress

The sociological

240

limits of populism: the Jana

Sangh's inability

widen its base The appeal to the masses and the decline of The cost of relying on princes

to

THE HINDU NATIONALISTS IN THE

7.

The

activist turn: the

and the

The

political

banks

MOVEMENT'

'J.P.

Jana Sangh leadership,

RSS back in

'vote

its

255

convergence of social reformers

258

associating without losing

266

one's identity

The

8.

Emergency: crucible of integration

272

Unity 'from above'

277

THE IMPOSSIBLE ASSIMILATION

282

Towards

283

a political culture of synthesis?

The ex-Jana Sanghis and

Return to

Part IV.

291

the question of unity

'Shakha culture' or 'Janata culture'? The Janata Party Hindi belt

9.

255

local cadres

step

A windfall and a dilemma:

244 245 246

in the

292 301

'political untouchability'

THE CONVERGENCE OF HINDU NATIONALIST STRATEGIES IN THE 1980s

THE CONTRADICTIONS OF THE B.J.P. AND THE EROSION OF SECULARISM The BJP:

heir to the Janata Party?

Risks of divorce from the grassroots and the

RSS

3

1

3

1

3

1

Notabilised swayamsevaks and ideological notables

320

and princes

The RSS's

reservations regarding the

The erosion of secularism 10.

BJP

as a political

norm

326

330

THE HINDU SENSE OF VULNERABILITY AND THE R.S.S.'s POLITICAL OFFENSIVE

338

The

338

inferiority

complex

of the majority revisited

Contents

The

VHP and building the Hindu

The

VHP

xiii

nation against the Other

as the spearhead of the RSS's

new

strategy

- The laborious relaunching of the VHP (1979-81) - Activists, sadhus and patrons - The emergence of a Hindu

network at

346 347 350

ecclesiastical structure

(1982-4)? The development of the VHP network at the local level The increasing involvement of a particular religious

The attempt

345

political

351

353 355

Hindu mobilisation

358

Reconversions, the welfarist tactic and temple-building

3^g

The Ekatmata Yatra - or the shaping of an ideological

The revival of the Ayodhya issue The contribution of ex- Congressmen

360 363 364

THE MAKING OF A HINDU VOTE?

369

devotionalism

11.

The communalisation of politics

369

Avoiding the dangers of 1967: the strength of the religious network

The BJP between integration and a mixed strategy

The reinstatement of the Sangathanists An accommodating 'legitimate opposition' The BJP is won over to the strategy of ethno- religious

and

A

374 375 378 381

mobilisation

The 1989

371

mobilisation: the success of

election campaign: populism, 'political bhaktV

383

riots

superimposition of strategies: the case

ofMadhya

Pradesh

Ram as a national hero for the Processions, communitas

and

'angry Hindu' riots

as an all-India

392 398

phenomenon The shilanyas

The BJP's

victory in

the forefront

384 388

Madhya Pradesh:

the activists in

404

9 2 1

Contents

tiv

Part V.

THE EARLY

HOW TO CONQUER

1990S:

AND RETAIN POWER MAKING A BID FOR POWER: THE SCOPE AND

12.

LIMITATIONS OF THE HINDU MOBILISATION Mandir versus Mandal: Hindu mobilisation and caste conflict From the mixed strategy to ethno- religious mobilisation pure and simple - The BJP, the VHP and V.P. Singh - Hindu nationalist reactions to the Mandal report - The Rath Yatra: a national procession and demonstration of strength

- Another wave of communal riots - The Kar Seva and the creation of a cult of martyrdom An expanding base, but why? The affinities between the new elite and the BJP: the impact of social and economic change -

The 1991

An aggressive electoral campaign The BJP as a national party? in

power

1

412 41 412 414

416 41 420 424 432 436 436 438 446

elections

The cost of being

4



THE PARADOX OF THE RAMJANMABHOOMI

13.

MOVEMENT

449

Problems of division of labour The BJP 's difficulties as a nationalist and a government 6 December 1992 party The unleashing of communal violence

449 450 455 458

The

464 464 468

reaction of the central government: an ambivalent tactic

A In

The

crackdown quest of a compromise

limited

at

Ayodhya

strategy of ethno-religious mobilisation in question

The resilience of BJP unity The risks in relying on sadhus and Bajrang Dalis 14.

THE B.J.P. HELD IN CHECK IN THE HINDI BELT A gradual shift in emphasis in the ethno-nationalist repertoire The 1993 campaign for the Assembly ethno-religious mobilisation ebbs

The BJP

in

473 474 478

482 482

elections: the strategy of

away

search of an ethno-nationalist image

485 485

1 1

Contents

xv

The difficulty of exploiting the Ayodhya issue - The weakening of the VHP - Ayodhya: an issue on the wane? The Congress (I) 's electoral strategy and the difficulty of the BJP in evolving an economic programme

The

of power:

test

- Indiscipline among party workers - Dissensions and the 1993 elections The poor performance and 'pro-rich' image of the Patwa government issue of loan-waiving

alienation of the tribals

OBC vote and the question of reservations The 1993 elections in Madhya Pradesh: the BJP sustains damage - The BJP becomes ever more urban - Bhopal: the making of a stronghold The BJP

49

Madhya Pradesh

The decline of the sangathanist pattern - Patwa, Sakhlecha and Joshi as faction leaders? - The development of groupism

- The - The - The

487 487 489

in Uttar Pradesh,

_

494 494 494 497 500 502 504 504 505 506

510 51 51

Himachal Pradesh, Rajasthan and 515

Delhi

CONCLUSION

522

EPILOGUE

533

Can

the

Hindu

nationalists cater for the socio-economic

interests of the

OBCs?

534

The BJP emphasises socio-economic rather than

536

ethno -religious issues

Populism and the 1994-5

The

state, the judiciary

539

state elections

544

and the Hindu nationalists

Will tensions emerge in the 'Sangh parivar'?

547

February 1996

550

APPENDIXES A.

Victims of Hindu-Muslim

riots,

1986-90 (map)

551

B.

Hindu-Muslim riots in India and resulting victims, 1954-93

552

C.

The same information

553

D.

Performance of the Jana Sangh and the BJP Sabha elections, 1952 to 1991

as in B. in graphic

form in

Vidhan 554

Contents

xvi

E.

Performance of the Jana Sangh and the BJP 1952 to 1993-5

in

Lok Sabha

elections,

555

F.

Notables and activists among Madhya Pradesh BJS and BJP MLAs by region, 1957-90

556

G.

Occupations of Madhya Pradesh BJS and BJP MLAs, 1 957-90

558

H.

Caste- and community-based distribution of Jana Sangh

and BJP J.

MLAs in Madhya Pradesh,

1

952-93

559

Madhya Pradesh Vidhan Sabha election results, 952-93 1

(9

560-8

maps)

SELECT BIBLIOGRAPHY

569

Index

577

MAPS India

xxi

Madhya Pradesh Votes

won by

the

xxii-xxiii

BJP

in the national

Lok Sabha election, 1991

440

TABLES Distribution of castes, tribes and religious communities in

Madhya Pradesh, 1931

133

Analysis of individuals imprisoned during the Emergency

276

ILLUSTRATION Poster showing a model of the proposed temple on the site of the Babri

Masjid in Ayodhya, and

Ram

393

xvn

ABBREVIATIONS

ABKM

Akhil Bharatiya Kendriya Mandal (executive committee of the

RSS)

ABVP

Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarhi Parishad

AMU

Aligarh Muslim University

ARIPP

BHEL

Annual Register of Indian Political Parties Bharat Heavy Electricals Limited

BHU

Benares Hindu University

BJP

Bharatiya Janata Party

BJYM BLD

Bharatiya

Yuva Morcha Lok Dal

Bharatiya Janata

BMAC BMCC

Babri Masjid Action Committee

BMS

Bharatiya Mazdoor Sangh

Babri Masjid Coordination Committee

BSF

Border Security Force

CPI CPI(M)

Communist Communist

CRPF

Central Reserve Police Force

DAV College EPW

Dayanand Anglo- Vedic College Economic and Political Weekly Hindu Mahasabha Indian Annual Register

HM IAR IAS

.

Party of India Party of India (Marxist)

Indian Administrative Service

UPS INTUC

Indian National Trade Union Congress

IOLR

India Office Library and Records (London)

The Indian Journal of Political Science

Camp

ITC

Instructors' Training

JP

Janata Party

JS

Jana Sangh

JSAIGC

Jana Sangh All India General Council

JSCWC

Jana Sangh Central Working Committee

LSS

MAS

Lok Sangharsh Samiti Modern Asian Studies

MISA

Maintenance of Internal Security Act

MLA

Member of Legislative Assembly

xvm

Abbreviations

xix

MP

Member of Parliament

NAI

National Archives of India

NMML

Nehru Memorial Museum and Library

OTC PAC

Officers' Training '

Provincial

Army

(New

Delhi)

Camp

Constabulary (Uttar Pradesh Police)

PSP

Praja Socialist Party

RFSP

Revue Francaise de Science Politique

RRP

Ram

RSS

Rashtriya

SGPC

Shiromani Gurudwara Prabhandak Committee

SP SSP

SVD VHP

VKA

Rajya Parishad

Swayamsevak Sangh

Socialist Party

Samyukta Socialist Party Samyukta Vidhayak Dal Vishwa Hindu Parishad Vanavasi Kalyan Ashram

GLOSSARY

dharna gherao

sit-in

a form of protest that involves surrounding an individual in

order to prevent him leaving a building or another location

Gram Raj Abhiyan campaign

for village

autonomy

where a guru teaches the Vedas

Gurukul

the place

jagirdar

a chief or noble to

whom

to

brahmacharis

local land revenues

and other

policing or judicial functions were assigned in the colonial

and pre-colonial period kar sevak

a volunteer at

who took part in the movement to build a temple

Ayodhya movement launched

Hindu Sangathan

a

Hindu Rashtra

the

kisan

peasant

Mandi Samiti

local market committee in charge of regulating the purchase and sale of notified agricultural produce

in the 1920s with the aim of uniting Hindu society by transcending divisions of caste and sect

Hindu nation

panchayat

local representative

Pandit

a learned

committee elected by several villages

Brahmin

pith

monastery

pracharak

propagandist and full-time

Ram Shila Pujan

the cult o/the bricks with which the

was

to

be

built (also

RSS worker

Ram temple at Ayodhya used as a means of fund-raising)

from debt

Rin Mukti

lit.

sadhu

world renouncer, ascetic Hindu

Sangathan Mantri

organising secretary of the Jana Sangh and later the

sanghchalak

a leading citizen acting as a local patron of the

liberation

sarpanch

head of a panchayat

sarsanghchalak

chief of the

satyagraha

non-violent protest

RSS RSS

shakha

local branch of the

tehsil

sub-division of a district

swayamsevak

a

zamindar

lit.

RSS

BJP

RSS

volunteer

a possessor of land; formerly a revenue farmer

recognised as a landlord by the British Raj

xx

XXI

XX11

82°

80°

26°

UTTAR PRADESH

24


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