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GHIL Lecture

Tanika Sarkar

The Past in the Present

Historical Pedagogy of Hindu Nationalism in India

Summer Lecture Series

29 June 2021

(0:59 h)



GHIL Lecture

Tanika Sarkar

The Past in the Present
Historical Pedagogy of Hindu Nationalism in India

This lecture discusses the historical pedagogy of the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (‘National Volunteer Organisation’), which is the ideological inspiration behind India’s Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP). The BJP has been continuously in power for the last seven years. Together, the two movements are interrelated parts of an intricate organizational apparatus which has innumerable affiliates all over the country. A particular version of Indian history has long been a core part of their propaganda machinery, and their vast range of formal and informal educational institutions propagate identical historical lessons. After a brief overview of the cardinal tenets of this history, this talk focuses on the methods of dissemination which have captured the popular discourse to a large extent and have predisposed significant sections of the electorate towards the BJP. The conclusion will highlight how and why this version of history has proved so successful in dislodging far more credible and compelling alternatives. 

Tanika Sarkar is Emeritus Professor of History at Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi. Her work investigates questions of religion, gender, and politics in both colonial and post-colonial South Asia, with a particular focus on women and the role of the Hindu Right. Her most recent book is Hindu Nationalism in India (2021).