- Author: Manjari Katju
- Publisher: New Text
- ISBN: 9781635878264
The Vishva Hindu Parishad (VHP) gained public recognition through its Ramjanmabhoomi campaigns in the 1980s. It continued to make headlines till the demolition of the Babri mosque in 1992 and the ban imposed on it, after which it was relatively quiet in public life except during elections. This move away from a career of high publicity to a more shadowed existence between the mid-1990s and 2013 was a strategic turn brought about by a change of political circumstances and weakening of support for its big campaigns. From lofty programmes that were not paying much dividends to hegemonise Hindu nationhood, the VHP moved its focus to the grass roots both in urban and rural areas, working with renewed energy on conversions, cow protection, primary education, collective festivities, etc.
The book discusses the VHP’s onward journey in India between 1995 and 2015 and its engagement with ideas of democracy, freedom and religion to take Hindu nationhood ahead. It examines how the VHP has drawn on the writings of V.D. Savarkar and M.S. Golwalkar to build an alternative conception of freedom and a critique of Indian democracy. These alternative ideas as articulated by the VHP are premised upon Hindu majoritarianism and exclusive conception of citizenship. Manjari Katju’s lucid and engaging book anchors the VHP in its ideological roots and increases our understanding of an organisation that has influenced and continues to influence Indian politics and social life.