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Home > Research > Research projects piloted by CEH

The Cultural Entrenchment of Hindutva. Local Mediations and Forms of Resistance (2005-2007)

ATIP CNRS-SHS « Jeunes Chercheurs »

In this project we study how nature-related issues are brought before law courts; how the environment and animal protection are handled at judicial level by lawyers, activists, and the state; how nature is ‘judicialised’ and ‘governed’ through the judiciary in different countries, and how the global debate on acknowledging some kind of rights to nature and animals is implemented in actual litigations.

Perhaps one of the most striking aspects of radical nationalist movements across the world is their capacity to appeal to and influence those far beyond their immediate circle of supporters. Radical movements, by the very nature of their rhetoric, tend to impose their own categories of reference on other political actors, and thus play a crucial role in shaping the political debate, even defining their opponents’ agenda. In the case of India, the project aims at analyzing the process, both top down and bottom up, which leads to adhesion, sympathy, or mere convergence with Hindutva’s radical programme. The emphasis is laid on figures of mediation between Hindutva organizations and local people. With the focus shifting successively from organizational affiliation to political opposition, passing through forms of convergence, it becomes more and more evident that the mediators involved at local level may not necessarily be members of nationalist organizations themselves, and that the influence of the Sangh Parivar is the result of a complex interaction with diverse, if not antagonist, stakes.

Coordinated by Daniela Berti, CNRS-CEH (centre hosting the project), in partnership with Nicolas Jaoul,(CNRS-IRIS).



ed. (with Nicolas Jaoul and Pralay Kanungo) Cultural Entrenchment of Hindutva. Local Mediations and Forms of Convergence, New Delhi / Abingdon, Routledge, 344 p.

The book reflects on the discreet influence of Hindutva in situations / places outside or at the margins of its organisational and mobilisational arena, where people denying any commitment to the Sangh Parivar incidentally show affinities and parallelisms with its discourse and practice. Case studies highlight different dynamics of Hindutva’s cultural entrenchment. The first section gathers together cases where RSS-affiliated organisations have set up cultural programmes at regional level, involving the mediation of people whose interest does not necessarily mean that they endorse the Hindutva agenda. The next section deals with convergence and refers to cases where followers gather around a charismatic personality, whose precepts and practice may bring them towards a closer affinity with the Hindutva programme. The last section deals with the contexts of resistance where social milieus engaged in opposing Hindutva may, in fact, paradoxically, and even inadvertently, imbibe some of its ideas and practices in order to contest its claims. .>>Cover, presentation, and table of contents