Hindutva, Neoliberalism and the Reinventing of India



Abstract. The 2014 parliamentary election in India reduced Congress party to merely 44 seats in the lower house, big blow for a party whose history is integral the country’s founding narrative. In the last parliamentary election the Congress party polled only 19.3% of the votes declining from 28.6% in 2009, while on the other hand the main right wing party i.e. BJP won 282 parliamentary seats and 31% of the national votes. The extreme right-wing organisations have undoubtedly become the central pole of Indian politics. Moreover, its recent success in Uttar Pradesh provincial election, which is one of the most populated province with 215 million inhabitants, is the strongest evidence yet of the broader shift to the right and the BJP’s victory in UP state strengthens this shift. This paper intends to study the recent rise of extreme right-wing Hindu organisations in India. Most prominent among these organisations are RSS, BJP, VHP, Bajang Dal and Shiv Sena. However, all of them work together under the philosophy of Hindutva (i.e. Hindu-ness) and are rabidly anti-minority in their stance. The aim of this study is to highlight the recent rise in extreme right-wing Hindu organisations and to examine their ideas and philosophy regarding Indian history and culture. It is also useful to set this against a global context in which divisive and ultra-nationalist forces are on the rise within Europe and Donald Trump has assumed the US presidency. The study argues that the adoption of neoliberal economic policy in 1991 has increased GDP, but hardly any expansion in employment, which is known as ‘jobless growth’. The study also finds the far right encroachment into India’s liberal institutions and it seems that Indian polity is undergoing a historically unprecedented change with extreme-right to dominance into vast areas of ideology, economy and culture.

Keywords: India, Hindutva, Neo-liberalism, Secularism and minorities.

JEL. N30, N35, N40.


India; Hindutva; Neo-liberalism; Secularism and minorities.

Full Text:


Ahmed, A. (2004).On Communalism and Globalisation – Offensive of the Far Right, New Delhi: Left Words.

Alam, J. (2007). Ethically speaking, what should be the meaning of separation for secularism in India, Social Scientist, 35(3-4), 3-18.

Ambedkar, B.R. (1990). Did the Hindus never eat beef? The untouchables: Who were they and why they became untouchables?, in B.R. Ambedkar, Writings and Speeches, v.7, (pp.323-328), Bombay: Government of Maharashtra.

Anderson, W.A., & Shridhar, D. (1987). The Brotherhood in Saffron: the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh and Hindu revivalism, Westview Press.

Ansari, H. (2016). Vice President of India, addressing the 16th convocation of University of Jammu, April 2, Indian Express, New Delhi.

Ayyub, R. (2016). Gujarat Files: Anatomy of a Cover Up, New Delhi.

Basu, A. (2015). Violent Conjunctures in Democratic India, Delhi: Cambridge University Press

Bagchi, A.K. (2010). Colonialism and Indian Economy, New Delhi: Oxford University Press.

Banaji, J. (2016). Fascism: Essays on Europe and India, New Delhi.

Bhagwati, J. (1993).India in Transition: Freeing the Economy, Oxford: Clarendon Press.

Bhatt, C. (2001). Hindu Nationalism, Origin, Ideology, and Modern Myths, Berg: New York.

Brass, P. (2003) The Production of Hindu-Muslim Violence in Contemporary India, Seattle: University of Washington Press.

Brass, P. (2006a). Collective violence, human rights, and the politics of curfew, Journal of Human Rights, 5, 323-340. doi. 10.1080/14754830600812324

Brass, P. (2006b). Indian Secularism in Practice, Indian Journal of Secularism, 9(1), 115-132.

Casolari, M. (2000). Hindutva’s foreign tie-up in the 1930s – Archival evidence, Economic and Political Weekly, 218-228, January 22.

Chandra, B. (1984). Communalism in Modern India, New Delhi: Vani Education Books.

Chandra, B. (1971). Modern India, New Delhi: NCERT.

Chang, H.-J. (2014). A Pelican Introductions Economics: A User’s Guide, Pelican, New York.

Chang, H.-J. (2014). Economics: The User’s Guide, London: Penguin Books.

Constitutional Assembly Debates. (1948). Discussions on the adoption of the draft constitution of India by B.R. Ambedkar, vol.7, (pp.38), Part VII, New Delhi.

Corbridge, S., & Harris, J. (2000).Reinventing India, Cambridge: Cambridge Polity Press

Desai, R. (2016). Hindutva and fascism, Economic and Political Weekly, l.LI(53), 20-24.

Deshpande, B.V., & S.R. Ramaswamy. (1981). Dr Hedgewar the Epoch Maker, Bangalore: SahityaSindhu

Dube, S.C. (1965). The study of complex cultures, in T.K. Unnithan, I. Deva, & Y. Singh, Towards Sociology of Cultures in India, New Delhi: Prentice Hall.

Economist. (2015). Intolerable: The ugliness of Indian politics threatens to scupper Modi’s grand visions”, p.71, November 7, London.

Economist. (2014). Why India’s Muslims are so moderate?, London.

Guardian. (2015). Letter to the British Prime Minister Regarding Mr. Modi’s Visit to UK, November 12, London.

Engineer, A.A. (2002). Gujarat riots in the light of the history of communal violence, Economic and Political Weekly, December 14, Mumbai.

Engineer, A.A. (1995). Lifting the Veil: Communal Response and Communal Harmony in Contemporary India, New Delhi: South Asia Books.

Epstein, G.A. (2005). Financialization and the World Economy, Cheltenham, UK: Edward Elgar.

Farasat, W., & Jha, P. (2016). Splintered Justice: Living the Horror of Mass Communal Violence in Bhagalpur and Gujarat, New Delhi: Three Essays Collective.

Friedman, M. (1962). Capitalism and Freedom, Chicago: University of Chicago Press.

Girdner, E.J., & Siddiqui, K. (2008). Neoliberal globalization, poverty creation and environmental degradation in developing countries, International Journal of Environment and Development, 5(1), 1-27.

Girdner, E.J., & Siddiqui, K. (1990). Political economy of communalism in India, Asian Profile, 18(2), 56-89.

Golwalkar, M.S. (1939). We, or our Nationhood Defined, New Delhi: Bharat Publication.

Gopal, S. (1991). Anatomy of a Confrontation: The Babri Masjid-Ramjanambhumi Issue, New Delhi: Viking.

Graham, B. (1990). Hindu Nationalism and Indian Politics: The Origin of Bharatiya Jana Sangh, Cambridge University Press.

Habib, I.S. (2017). Bhagat Singh and us, Indian Express, March 25, New Delhi. [Retrieved from].

Harvey, D. (2005). A Short History of Neoliberalism, Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Hasan, M. (1988). In Search of Identity and Integration: Indian Muslims since Independence, Third World Quarterly, vol. 10(2), 818-842. doi. 10.1080/01436598808420084

Hasan, Z. (2016). Kairana and the politics of exclusion, The Hindu, 17 October, Chennai. [Retrieved from].

Hasan, Z. (1982). Communalism and communal violence in India, Social Scientist, 10(2), 25-39.

Hayek, F. (1944). The Road to Serfdom, Chicago: University of Chicago Press.

Heredia, R.C. (2016). Rehabilitating riot victims: Welfare relief or citizen rights?, Economic and Political Weekly, LI(24), 26-27.

Indian Express. (2016). Politics of morality, Editorial, July 28, New Delhi. [Retrieved from].

Jaffrelot, C. (2016). October 2: Notes on a death, Indian Express, October 1, New Delhi.

Jaffrelot, C. (1996). The Hindu Nationalist Movement and Indian Politics, 1925 to the 1990s, London: Hurst and Co.

Jha, P. (2014). BJP WinBlow to Muslim politics: Singhal, Hindustan Times, July 17, New Delhi.

Khan, I.A. (2001). State in Mughal India - Re-examining the myths of a counter-vision, Social Scientist, 29(1-2), 16-45.

Komlos, J. (2016). Another road to serfdom, Challenge, 59(6), 491-518.

Kosambi, D.D. (1962). Myth and Reality, Studies in the Formation of Indian Culture, Bombay: Popular Prakashan.

Kotz, D. (2015). The Rise and Fall of Neoliberal Capitalism, Cambridge, MIT: Harvard University Press.

Levkovsky, A.I. (1966). Capitalism in India: Basic Trends in its Development, Delhi: Peoples Publishing House.

Lokhande, S.B. (2015). Communal Violence, Forced Migration and the State: Gujarat since 20002, New Delhi: Cambridge University Press.

Mander, H. (2016). Terrorism and communal violence must carry same stigma and punishment, Hindustan Times, March16, New Delhi. [Retrieved from].

Mukhia, H. (2016). The pseudo alternative, Indian Express, July 25: New Delhi. [Retrieved from].

Nagaraj, R. (2017). Economic reforms and manufacturing sector growth: Need for reconfiguring the industrialisation model, Economic and Political Weekly, LII(2), 61-68.

Nayar, K. (2016). Travesty of justice, Mainstream, LIV(28), July 2. [Retrieved from].

Noorani, A.G. (2016a). RSS and Gandhi’s Murder, Frontline, October 14. [Retrieved from].

Noorani, A.G. (2016b). Vajpayee’s insaniyat, Frontline, September 30. [Retrieved from].

Noorani, A.G. (2015). India’s Sawdust Caesar, Frontline, December9. [Retrieved from].

Noorani, A.G. (2014). Muslims and police, Frontline, December 10. [Retrieved from].

Noorani, A.G. (2000). The RSS and BJP – A Division of Labour, New Delhi: Left Word Books.

Oza, R. (2007). The geography of Hindu right wing violence in India, in D. Gregory, & A. Pred (Eds.), Violent Geographies, London: Rutledge.

Pande, B.N. (2006). Hindumandiraur Aurangzeb kefaramanin, New Delhi: Maulana Azad Academy.

Pandey, G. (1992). In defence of the fragment: Writing about Hindu-Muslim riots in India today, Representations, 37, (pp.27-55). Los Angles: University of California Press.

Panikkar, K.N. (2004). In the name of nationalism, Frontline, 21(6), March 13. [Retrieved from].

Panikkar, K.N., Byresand, T.J., & Patnaik, U. (2002). The Making of History: Essays Presented to Irfan Habib, New Delhi: Anthem Press.

Panikkar, K.N. (1997). Communal Threat Secular Challenge, Madras: Earthworm Book Ltd.

Rai, V.N. (2016). Hashimpura Retold, New Delhi: Penguin

Salam, Z.U. (2016a). Smothering with affection, The Hindu. March 25. [Retrieved from].

Salam, Z.U. (2016b). Unfazed by attack, Frontline, August 31.

Sarkar, S. (2008). Nationalism and poverty: Discourses of development and culture in the 20th century India, Third World Quarterly, 29(3), 429-445. doi. 10.1080/01436590801931421

Sarkar, S. (1999). Conversions and politics of Hindu right, Economic and Political Weekly, pp.1691-1699, June 26, Mumbai.

Savarkar, V.D. (1989). Hindutva – Who is a Hindu? Sixth Edition, New Delhi: Bhartiya Sahitya Sadan.

Sen, A. (2015). The Country of First Boys and Other Essays, London: Oxford University Press.

Sen, A. (1993). The threats to secular India”, The New York Review Books, March 11.

Sethi, M. (2013). Sinful Liberal and the War against Jehadi Terror, May 9. [Retrieved from].

Sharma, R.S. (1990). Communalism and India’s past, Social Scientist, 18(1-2), 3-12.

Siddiqui, K. (2017). Capital liberalization and economic instability, Journal of Economics and Political Economy, 4(1), 659-677.

Siddiqui, K. (2016a). Will the growth of the BRICs cause a shift in the global balance of economic power in the 21st Century”, International Journal of Political Economy, 45(4), 315-338. doi. 10.1080/08911916.2016.1270084

Siddiqui, K. (2016b). International trade, WTO and economic development, World Review of Political Economy, 7(4), 424-450. doi. 10.13169/worlrevipoliecon.7.4.0424

Siddiqui, K. (2016c). The economics and politics of hindu nationalism in India, Asian Profile, 44(6), 497-507.

Siddiqui, K. (2015a). Challenges for industrialisation in India: State versus market policies, Research in World Economy, 6(2), 85-98. doi. 10.5430/rwe.v6n2p85

Siddiqui, K. (2015b). Agrarian crisis and transformation in India, Journal of Economics and Political Economy, 2(1), 3-22.

Siddiqui, K. (2014a). Growth and crisis in India’s political economy from 1991 to 2013, International Journal of Social and Economic Research, 4(2), 84-99. doi. 10.5958/2249-6270.2014.00487.5

Siddiqui, K. (2014b). Contradictions in development: Growth and crisis in Indian economy, Economic and Regional Studies, 7(3), 82-98.

Siddiqui, K. (2014c). Modernisation and displacement of rural communities in India, Journal of Social Business, 4(2-3), 3-27.

Siddiqui, K. (2014d). Higher education in the era of globalisation, International Journal of Humanities and Social Science, 3(2), 9-32.

Siddiqui, K. (2013). A review of Pakistan’s political economy, Asian Profile, 41(1), 49-67.

Siddiqui, K. (2012). Developing countries experience with neoliberalism and globalisation, Research in Applied Economics, 4(4), 12-37. doi. 10.5296/rae.v4i4.2878

Siddiqui, K. (2009a). Politics and religion in modern India, Z-Net, 8th January. [Retrieved from].

Siddiqui, K. (2009b). Globalisation, Hindu extremists and violence in India, Klassekampen, pp.10-11, (in Norwegian), February 16, Oslo.

Siddiqui, K. (1999). New technology and process of differentiation: Two sugarcane cultivating villages in UP, India, Economic and Political Weekly, 34(52), A39-A53.

Siddiqui, K. (1997). Credit and marketing of sugarcane: A field study of two villages in Western Utter Pradesh, Social Scientist, 25(1-2), 62-93.

Siddiqui, K. (1991). Root cause of violence in Kashmir, BergensTidende, (in Norwegian), May 31, Bergen, Norway.

Siddiqui, K. (1990). Historical roots of mass poverty in India, in C.A. Thayer et al,. (Eds.) Trends and Strains, (pp.59-76), New Delhi: Peoples Publishing House

Singh, P. (2015). Institutional communalism in India, Economic and Political Weekly, L(28), 48-56, July 11, Mumbai.

Singh, R. (1990). Communalism and struggle against communalism: A Marxist view, Social Scientist, (pp. 4-21), October-September.

Srikrishna Commission. (1998). Damning Verdict: Report of the Inquiry into the Riots at Mumbai During December 1992-January 1993, Mumbai: Sabrang Communications

Srivastava, S. (1991) How the British saw the issue, in S. Gopal, (Ed.), Autonomy of a Confrontation: The Rise of Communal Politics in India, London: Zed Books.

Stiglitz, J. (2010). Free Fall: America Free Markets and the Sinking of the World Economy, New York: W.W. Norton.

Thapar, R. (2013). The secular mode for India, Social Scientist, 41(11-12), 3-10.

Thapar, R. (1989). Imagines religious communities? Ancient history and the modern search for Hindu identity, Modern Asian Studies, 23(2), 209-231. doi. 10.1017/S0026749X00001049

Truschke, A. (2017). They want to treat Aurangzeb as a political football, Frontline, March 17, Interviewed by Ziya Us Salam,

Truschke, A. (2016). Culture of Encounters: Sanskrit at the Mughal Court, Columbia University Press.

Tyabji, N. (2015). The politics of industry in Nehru’s India, Economic and Political Weekly, L(35), 97-103.

Vanaik, A. (2001). The new Indian right, New Left Review, 9, 43-67.

Varshney, A. (2017). When the state looks away, Indian Express, March 1, accessed on 13th April, 2017. [Retrieved from].

Vijayan, P.K., & Gabriel, K. (2015). Hindutva’s psychological warfare: The insidious agendas of Ghar Wapsi, Economic and Political Weekly, L(11), 22-24.

World Bank, (2015). World Development Indicator, Washington D.C.: The World Bank.

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1453/jest.v4i2.1280


  • There are currently no refbacks.

Journal of Economic and Social Thought - J. Econ. Soc. Thoug. - JEST - www.kspjournals.org

ISSN: 2149-0422

Editor: jest@ksplibrary.org   Secretarial: secretarial@ksplibrary.org   Istanbul - Turkey.

Copyright © KSP Library