The Hindu Hoax

How upper castes invented a Hindu majority

During a religious ceremony marking the inauguration of the construction of the Rama temple, the prime minister, who heads the government of a country with a secular constitution, participated in the religious ritual, acting like a priest. pib
31 December, 2020


TODAY, IN INDIA, nearly all media have been co-opted into “Hindu nationalism,” which appears to be virtually the only permissible perspective on politics. According to this perspective, “Hindu” is both an ancient religion and an ethnic group mythically born with it, thus making “Hindus” the eternal natives of India. This political project seeks to return India to an ahistorical past in which Hindus were supposedly free of external “mlechcha,” or impure, mixtures—from the ancient Greeks to the European colonial powers.

Many enthusiastic political observers recently claimed that the “Hindu state” has been in effect since 5 August 2020, when the construction of a Rama temple was inaugurated with a religious ceremony. The temple is being constructed on land in Ayodhya, previously known as Faizabad, where there once stood a sixteenth-century mosque. The mosque was demolished in 1992 by a mob assembled by leaders of Hindu organisations, including the currently ruling Bharatiya Janata Party. In the ceremony, which was televised by every major news channel, the prime minister, who heads the government of a country with a secular constitution, participated in the religious ritual, acting like a priest. The event—in which the constitutional and the theocratic were confused with each other—was held on that particular date for a reason.

Exactly a year earlier, on 5 August 2019, the BJP government revoked Article 370 of the Constitution, which had provided a certain level of autonomy to the erstwhile state of Jammu and Kashmir. The government increased deployment of troops in the region, suspended civil liberties, severely restricted communication systems and suppressed any attempts at protest. Since the government began cracking down on protests after the passage of the Citizenship (Amendment) Act in 2019, similar measures of repression are now unfolding in the rest of India. The government, in its many public demonstrations of religious and caste bias, and now in conjoining the executive and the ceremonial priest, has rejected the foundational principles of the Constitution. The Constitution is a contract, a democratic promise which all those who would become Indian made to one another theoretically. We have now witnessed the manifest surrender of this promise.

Divya Dwivedi is a philosopher based in the subcontinent. Her research and publications are on ontology, narratology and the philosophy of politics. She is the editor of Narratology and Ideology. With Shaj Mohan, she has published Gandhi and Philosophy: On Theological Anti-politics (Bloomsbury Academic, UK, 2019).
Shaj Mohan Shaj Mohan is a philosopher based in the subcontinent. His research publications are in the areas of metaphysics, reason, the philosophy of technology and politics. Mohan is a co-author, with Divya Dwivedi, of Gandhi and Philosophy: On Theological Anti-politics (Bloomsbury Academic, UK, 2019).
J Reghu is a political theorist and public intellectual from Kerala. He translated early feminist writing in India into Malayalam at the beginning of his career. His later research has focussed on caste and political formations in Kerala, and he has lectured on these topics at international universities. The resulting publications have appeared in several anthologies.