25 February, 2021

Our Rashtra Mata In Heaven

Dasgupta expatiates on the great Hindu reawakening that lay at the roots of the freedom struggle. The Hindu right is thus seen through cultural nationalism.

‘Modi has made Hindu ideology an instrument of change and power’
Photograph by Getty Images
Our Rashtra Mata In Heaven

What the emergence of Narendra Modi in the political centrestage has done is to redefine Indian polity, and reclaim that core aspect of Indian nationhood which in many ways had inspired India’s global importance and identity in the last three centuries. From the fringes and sidelines to the mainstream, the growth of the Hindu nat­ionalist political movement has transformed and channelled Indian national discourse, making relevant the hitherto ignored or taboo strands of the Indian freedom movement.

India was awaking from a thousand years of slumber, as Swami Vivekananda had observed in the late nineteenth century. In fact, it is not an exaggeration to say that Swami Vivekananda was the fat­her of modern Indian renaissance. The freedom moment gradually came to focus on the immediate aspect of throwing out the British. But it simultaneously triggered an unresolved national churning in India after the British left. The Congress under Jawaharlal Nehru got the first chance to shape India after 1947. But the teachings and aspirations of an awakened India, as...

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