Hindutva as Political Monotheism

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Anustup Basu
  • Durham, NC: 
    Duke University Press
    , September
     2020.
     296 pages.
     $27.95.
     Paperback.
    ISBN
    9781478010944.
     For other formats: Link to Publisher's Website.

Description

In Hindutva as Political Monotheism, Anustup Basu offers a genealogical study of Hindutva—Hindu right-wing nationalism—to illustrate the significance of Western anthropology and political theory to the idea of India as a Hindu nation. Connecting Nazi jurist Carl Schmitt's notion of political theology to traditional theorems of Hindu sovereignty and nationhood, Basu demonstrates how Western and Indian theorists subsumed a vast array of polytheistic, pantheistic, and henotheistic cults featuring millions of gods into a singular edifice of faith. Basu exposes the purported “Hindu Nation” as itself an orientalist vision by analyzing three crucial moments: European anthropologists’ and Indian intellectuals’ invention of a unified Hinduism during the long nineteenth century; Indian ideologues’ adoption of ethnoreligious nationalism in pursuit of a single Hindu way of life in the twentieth century; and the transformations of this project in the era of finance capital, Bollywood, and new media. Arguing that Hindutva aligns with Enlightenment notions of nationalism, Basu foregrounds its significance not just to Narendra Modi's right-wing, anti-Muslim government but also to mainstream Indian nationalism and its credo of secularism and tolerance.

About the Author(s)/Editor(s)/Translator(s): 

Anustup Basu is associate professor of English at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and author of Bollywood in the Age of New Media: The Geo-televisual Aesthetic.

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