Koushiki Dasgupta, "Sadhus in Indian Politics: Dynamics of Hindutva" (Sage, 2021)

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Koushiki Dasgupta's Sadhus in Indian Politics: Dynamics of Hindutva (Sage, 2021) maps the changing face of contemporary Hindu politics, evaluating the influence of sadhus (ascetics) on the course of politics in India. This book explores the anxieties around ascetic engagement with public affairs, understanding politics as janaseva and polities as rajniti, and the authority exercised by these sadhus. It investigates the spirit of ‘individualism’ reflected by the sadhus in the organized and unorganized domains of politics, and traces the dialectics of ‘Hindutva’ reflected through selected case studies, exposing the patterns of how the sadhus got involved in the muddled world of politics. This book also demonstrates the uneasy conflict between the modern Hindu right wing and Hindu traditionalists with their advocacy of Sanatan Dharma. It turns towards sadhus and gurus to explore the ‘Hindu-ness’ of the Hindus and confronts the metanarrative of Hindutva offered by various institutions.

Raj Balkaran is a scholar, online educator, and life coach. For information see rajbalkaran.com.

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