The Rise of the Hindu Right

By Overdorf, Jason | Newsweek International, December 1, 2008 | Go to article overview

The Rise of the Hindu Right


Overdorf, Jason, Newsweek International


Byline: Jason Overdorf

Upcoming elections in India could help usher an even more nationalist BJP back into power.

It's election season in India, and that's bad news for the hapless Congress party. Six states go to the polls in the coming month, in what some experts are calling a bellwether for next year's general election. And though the races are too close to call, some pundits say Congress is likely to fare poorly. But that's not the worst of it. The slack in four of the contests may be taken up by the opposition Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP)--a Hindu nationalist organization that's surging in strength in a new, more aggressive form. In an especially worrisome twist, police say they recently uncovered possible links between BJP-associated Hindu nationalist organizations and suspected Hindu terrorists--a first for a mainstream Indian party.

The BJP's renewed appeal can be explained, at least in part, by timing. Under the leadership of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, who is not known for his political acumen, Congress has lost the last eight state elections in a row. Now the worldwide financial crisis has sent inflation spiraling and slowed growth, further damaging the government's chances. The BJP hopes to capitalize on the bad economic conditions when voters head to the polls in Chhattisgarh, Delhi, Jammu and Kashmir, Madhya Pradesh, Mizoram and Rajasthan this month. While nothing's guaranteed, many observers expect Congress to get trounced. "Their machine is in tatters," says Mahesh Rangarajan, a Delhi University political analyst.

While that's bad for Congress, it wouldn't necessarily be a problem for India--but for two things. First, the state elections could well forecast the fate of the Congress-led ruling coalition, the United Progressive Alliance (UPA), in next nationwide poll, which must take place before May 2009. (The UPA's own rural-development minister recently said the state votes represented a "mini general election.") And second, the BJP has taken a nastier turn since it last led the country in 2004.

To get a sense of the shift, consider the BJP's candidate for prime minister this time around. Lal Krishna Advani is an aging rabble-rouser who in the mid-1990s helped gather a huge Hindu mob that tore down the 16th-century Babri Mosque, leading to riots that killed more than 2,000 people (Advani was later cleared of criminal charges). He is far more radical than his predecessor, Atal Behari Vajpayee, who served as prime minister from 1998 to 2004. And Advani's heir apparent is Gujarat's chief minister, Narendra Modi--who has been denied entry to the United States for his alleged role in the 2002 riots in Gujarat that killed more than 1,000. Not long after the riots, Modi warned a crowd that Muslims were trying to erode India's Hindu majority by having many children. "We have to teach a lesson to those who are increasing the population at an alarming rate," he said.

Then there's the alleged terror link. Since Oct. 24, the state of Maharashtra's Anti-Terrorism Squad has arrested 10 Hindu nationalists--including a lieutenant colonel in Army intelligence, a prominent Hindu spiritual leader and a former party worker from the BJP's student wing--for suspected involvement in a 2006 attack previously blamed on Muslim extremists. The case has yet to come to trial and the suspects maintain they are innocent. But the news, if true, would mark the first known terrorist bombing in India's history involving Hindu extremists--rather than Muslim radicals, separatists or Maoist revolutionaries--and the story has shocked the country. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

The Rise of the Hindu Right
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Full screen

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.