02 October, 2020

The Greater Common God Also

Hindu right-wing groups find a ‘cause’ in the war’s orphans

Tribhuvan Tiwari
The Greater Common God Also

At the Gayatri Vidya Mandir, on the Dharampura Road in Jagdalpur, a group of children hang around a television set watching the Ramayana serial in a darkened room, which is also a classroom, recreation centre and dormitory. On the terrace, overlooking a mini-Tirupati Balaji temple, another lot is sitting cross-legged on the floor, eating a mid-day meal of rice, dal and vegetables.

For the RSS and its affiliate organisations as well as for other Hindu outfits like the Gayatri Parivar, winning the hearts and minds of the orphans of the conflict in Bastar is the first step towards the rapid saffronisation of southern Chattisgarh, once a Congress stronghold, with some CPI presence. Jagdalpur’s Gayatri Vidya Mandir is one such of the many facilities in the state, others found in places as far away as in Raipur and Rajnandgaon, where the orphans of the conflict are exchanging their tribal culture for a brand new Hindu identity.

The 35 children here—between the ages of five and 12 approximately—have all lost...



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